MOEA approves subsidies
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said on Saturday that it has approved 43 innovative business development projects to receive its subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The 43 newly approved projects include eight from the chemical engineering sector, three from the biotech industry, 10 from the service sector, five from the information and communications sector, six from the electronics sector, and 11 from the mechanical industry.
The 43 applicants are expected to be granted more than NT$140 million (US$4.73 million) in subsidies for their innovation development projects, the ministry said.
Since 1999, the ministry has approved 4,817 applications from the SMEs and granted a total of NT$9.2 billion in subsidies.
Line app moving into China
Japanese mobile messaging service Line plans to expand to China this year following its success in Taiwan and Thailand, according to company executives.
NHN Japan Corp chief executive officer Akira Morikawa said on Wednesday last week that Taiwan and Thailand have become the two largest overseas markets for the Line app, with Line users exceeding 10 million each in the two countries, and the company is hoping to tap into China’s market this year.
Since its launch in June 2011, Line has gained 100 million users in 231 countries, and the fast-growing messaging service seeks to hit 300 million to 400 million users by the end of this year.
Touch panel shipments up
Global touch panel shipments are expected to grow more than 30 percent this year from last year on the back of solid demand, market informational advisory firm Displaybank said on Saturday.
In a research report, Displaybank said that the rapid growth in touch panel shipments largely reflects the rising popularity of smartphones and tablet computers.
According to the advisory firm, touch panel shipments are expected to exceed 1.8 billion units this year, up 34 percent from last year, when shipments totaled 1.35 billion units.
Displaybank said it is likely that touch panel shipments will rise further in 2016 to top 2.75 billion units, as more electronics gadgets are equipped with touch panels.
Smartphones to get thinner
This year, more smartphones will use in-cell technology, a solution that can make touch panels thinner, as manufacturers try to meet growing consumer demand, according to a forecast by the Taiwan Industrial Economics and Knowledge Research Center (IEK).
As consumers prefer lighter and thinner handheld devices, more smartphone makers will use such technology, the research center said in a report.
According to the IEK forecast, global sales of smartphones will reach 2.02 billion units this year, 25 percent, or 170 million units, of which will use in-cell technology.
The report projected that some 260 million smartphones will use the technology in 2015, while 410 million units will use it by 2017, a five-year compound annual growth rate of 25 percent.
Car prices expected to drop
The price of automobiles is expected to drop in Taiwan if the Japanese yen continues to depreciate, Morgan Stanley said.
Taiwanese auto companies mainly source components and vehicles from Japan and could benefit from the declining yen, Morgan Stanley said in a research note published on Monday last week.
In addition, Taiwan’s government has noted that it may ask companies benefiting from the yen’s depreciation to lower their selling prices, the brokerage said.
“Our checks suggest that the consensus among auto companies is that they may consider adjusting prices once the yen depreciates against the US dollar to the 95 to 100 level,” Morgan Stanley analyst Terence Cheng said in Taipei.
“Longer term, we believe a depreciating yen could help ease cost pressures on Taiwan’s auto companies or stop requests by Japanese suppliers to raise prices which happened during the period the yen was appreciating,” Cheng added.