Lawyer drops Ghosn
The lawyer nicknamed the “Razor” who was spearheading Carlos Ghosn’s defense yesterday said he is quitting the case after his client skipped bail and fled the nation for Lebanon. Junichiro Hironaka’s office issued a brief statement saying it had “filed with the Tokyo District Court letters of resignation for all lawyers ... connected with all cases related to Mr Carlos Ghosn.” Hironaka, 74, has said he was “dumbfounded” by Ghosn’s escape, which he discovered through the media on the morning his client fled. Another member of Ghosn’s legal team, Takashi Takano, has also thrown in the towel on the case, a source close to his office said.
Hyundai invests in start-up
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co and its Kia Motors Corp affiliate yesterday announced plans for a major investment in London-based start-up Arrival to produce next-generation electric vehicles that cost less than standard-engine models. The 100 million euros (US$111.6 million) bet on the five-year-old technology firm comes as some manufacturers abandon Britain, because of uncertainties about how it would trade with EU nations once it leaves the bloc this month. Arrival is focused on designing and producing so-called Generation 2 electric vehicles, which are environmentally friendly autos made from scratch rather than being retrofitted, standard-engine production models.
India trade spat a challenge
The government is talking to India and trade officials in a bid to resolve concerns over New Delhi’s new palm oil import restrictions, a minister in Kuala Lumpur said yesterday amid a trade spat between the nations. A report on Wednesday said that New Delhi could also restrict imports of gasoline, aluminum ingots, liquefied natural gas, computer parts and microprocessors from the nation. However, no action has so far been taken. “This year, we foresee more challenges in some of our major markets,” Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok, who is in charge of the palm oil portfolio, told an industry conference, referring to India’s new palm import rules.
Bank ready for competition
Financial institutions are completely capable of coping with foreign competition as the US$40 trillion financial sector is freed up, the central bank said yesterday, after China and the US signed an initial deal on trade. The bank would strengthen financial supervision and prevent risks in the process of the sector’s opening, the People’s Bank of China added in a statement. Under the initial deal, China has promised improved access to its banking, insurance, asset management, payment and fund management services, and agreed to expedite by nine months a previous December deadline for removing foreign ownership caps on securities firms.
Inflation at 28-year high
Inflation ended last year at 53.8 percent, the highest figure since 1991 when the peso was pegged to the US dollar, data institute Indec said on Wednesday. Indec said the cost of living increased by 3.7 percent last month alone. The hardest hit sectors were health (72 percent), communications (64) and home maintenance equipment (64). The nation’s inflation rate is one of the highest in the world and second only in Latin America to crisis-hit Venezuela. Inflation in 2018 was 48 percent.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be