Banking recovery fragile
The head of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan's No. 3 megabank, described the country's banking sector as fresh "from the hospital" yesterday and warned that its short-term recovery may still be hindered by the privatization of Japan's postal savings system and an imminent rise in interest rates. Sumitomo Mitsui president Teisuke Kitayama said during a Tokyo news conference that a widely expected increase in interest rates was likely to squeeze short-term profits at banks and the impending privatization of Japan Post would pose tough compe-tition to mid-sized regional lenders.
Sony meets PS3 sales target
Shipments in Japan of the new PlayStation 3 videogame consoles reached 1 million yesterday, Sony said, hitting the company's target about two weeks behind schedule. Sony had planned to ship 2 million PlayStation 3 consoles around the world by the end of last year. Last week, Tokyo-based Sony Corp said it met its shipping target of 1 million PS3 consoles in the US last year. It projected shipping another million in Japan during the same period. In a press release yesterday, the company said that global shipment of 2 million reached within about two months after a machine's launch was the fastest pace for any game console ever put out by the company.
LCD maker reports losses
LG.Philips LCD Co, a major maker of liquid-crystal-displays (LCD) used in flat screen TVs and computers, reported yesterday its third straight quarterly loss amid a decline in TV panel prices and high inventory costs. The Seoul-based company said it lost 174 billion won (US$186 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 328 billion won in the same period the year before. Sales increased 3.4 percent year-on-year to 3.1 trillion won. "We expect to reduce costs by 25 percent to 30 percent this year," chief financial officer Ron Wirahadiraksa said in a statement.
Citigroup seeks new name
Executives at financial giant Citigroup Inc are preparing to rebrand the company with a shorter name -- ``Citi'' -- and a new logo without the signature red umbrella, a report said. The new name and look will be presented to Citigroup's board this week following a 14-month review of the bank's brand, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing several executives close to the process. The plan could still undergo changes before a rollout that could begin as early as next month, the report said.
■ Mobile phones
New partnership formed
Singapore Technologies Telemedia, wholly owned by state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings, has partnered with Qatar Telecom to scout for mobile business prospects in Asia, the company said on Monday. Under the deal, Qatar Telecom will invest up to US$635 million in cash for a 25 percent stake in Asia Mobile Holdings, owned by Singapore Technologies Telemedia. The Singapore firm will retain a majority stake of 75 percent in Asia Mobile holdings which will be the two partners' "preferred vehicle for future mobile telecoms investments" in the Asia Pacific region, a statement said. Qatar Telecom said the partnership allows it an immediate entry into Singapore and Indonesia.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters