US probes Sony's SRAM biz
Sony Corp said yesterday that the US Department of Justice is probing its electronics unit. The firm received a subpoena from the Justice Department's antitrust division seeking information about its static random access memory (SRAM) business, Sony spokesman Atsuo Omagari said. Sony said it intends to cooperate with the investigation, which it described as an industrywide probe without elaborating. Omagari declined to provide other details about the probe. Last year, Sony produced US$27.7 million worth of SRAM. The product is made by outside manufacturers for Sony, which in turn sells the chips to other electronics makers, Omagari said.
Toshiba doubles net profit
Toshiba Corp yesterday said that it more than doubled its net profit in the fiscal first-half, thanks to strong sales of digital products, home appliances and flat-panel displays. The company, which did not break down earnings by the quarter, said it earned ¥39 billion (US$337.4 million) in the six months through September, up from ¥14.6 billion during the same period last year. The profit jump came on a 9 percent increase in first-half sales to ¥3.162 trillion, from ¥2.9 trillion the previous year, the company said. Toshiba also raised its fiscal-year profit forecast to ¥110 billion.
Samsung invests US$15m
Samsung Corp said it agreed to invest US$15 million in a subsidiary of General Electric Co to expand into tracking and protecting containers in Asia. Samsung will buy 10 percent of CommerceGuard to help operate the business in 12 Asian countries including South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, the Seoul-based unit of the Samsung Group said in a statement yesterday. Increased scrutiny by the US and other countries will help the container security industry grow to a US$3 billion market by 2010, Samsung said.
Duties on 58 items cut
China is introducing temporary tariffs on 110 energy-consuming export goods in a move to curb its soaring trade surplus and preserve energy, state media said yesterday. As part of the same policy, which takes effect today, import duties on 58 imported products will be cut, the China Daily reported, citing the finance ministry. "Clearly, this move shows that the Chinese authorities now attach more importance to external trade balance and domestic industrial restructuring than merely double-digit trade growth," the paper's editorial commented. The hike of export taxes and cut in import duties will "put a drag on the country's soaring trade surplus," it added.
Economic data worrying
Japan got a double dose of gloomy news yesterday with the unemployment rate rising to 4.2 percent in September from 4.1 percent in August and consumer spending falling sharply. The figures added to concerns that the world's second-largest economy is losing steam in tandem with the US'. Worries were mitigated, however, by a 50,000 decline in the jobless total from a year earlier to 2.8 million, down for the 10th consecutive month. The Bank of Japan reassured investors that a sustained economic recovery was set to continue. It announced as expected yesterday that it had agreed to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.25 percent.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations