Web spending rises 4%
Online spending increased to US$15.3 billion this holiday season, a gain of 4 percent from the same period last year, ComScore Inc said. Sales of US$886 million last Tuesday nearly met this year’s record-matching Cyber Monday spending of US$887 million, research company ComScore said in a statement on its Web site. The report includes the first 34 days of the holiday shopping season that began on Nov. 1. Cyber Monday “was followed by several other strong online spending days helping to accelerate the growth rate,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in the statement. The first Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because consumers return to work after the holiday and make purchases online. ComScore has said it expects Internet retail spending to rise 3 percent for the entire season. Sales of consumer electronics and computer hardware have achieved “double-digit” growth rates compared to the same period last year, Fulgoni said.
German production rises
German steel production increased last month, a report said yesterday, a sign the economic situation in Europe’s largest economy is improving. The Federal Statistical Office said German mills produced 2.49 million tonnes of pig iron, an 8.1 percent increase over November last year. They produced 3.9 million tonnes of raw steel, up 8 percent. Compared with October, production of pig iron was up 7 percent while raw steel was up 2.4 percent. Despite the improvements, the impact of the recession over the past year remained evident. For the first 11 months of the year, pig iron production was 35 percent below last year’s levels, while raw steel production was 32 percent lower.
PNG LNG project announced
US energy group Exxon Mobil said yesterday it had reached an agreement with Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc to supply it with gas from its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea. Under the binding agreement, the PNG LNG Project to be operated by Exxon would feed the Japanese company some 1.8 million tonnes of LNG each year for 20 years, it said. The project plans to develop gas fields in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands and Western Province and transport the gas via pipeline to a LNG facility near Port Moresby for shipment overseas. Although final investment decisions are yet to be made, it is expected that the first shipments will be delivered by late 2013 or early 2014.
Plans brewing at Heineken
Heineken NV agreed to buy Asia Pacific Breweries India and sell stakes in PT Multi Bintang Indonesia and Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-Caledonie. Heineken signed a shareholders’ agreement with United Breweries Ltd and agreed on terms for the brewing and distribution of Heineken in India, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement distributed by Hugin yesterday. Heineken will sell a stake of 68.5 percent in PT Multi Bintang Indonesia to Asia Pacific Breweries for 157 million euros. The brewer will also sell its 87.3 percent interest in Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-Caledonie to APB for 57 million euros (US$232 million). Heineken said the effect of the transactions will be “broadly neutral” at net income level. The company expects a book gain of 145 million euros next year. Heineken will continue to hold a 42 percent stake in APB.
‘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
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient