MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday unveiled its premium 5G processors — the Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100 — as it vies for a larger slice of the world’s rapidly growing 5G smartphone market. Manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (台積電) 6-nanometer process technology, the Dimensity 1200 processor performs 22 percent better than the previous generation Dimensity 1000+ processor, and is 25 percent more power-efficient, MediaTek said. Chinese smartphone brands Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Realme Mobile Telecommunications (Shenzhen) Co (銳爾覓移動通信) are to be the first adopters of the latest Dimensity chips, the companies said during a virtual media briefing. Xiaomi plans to equip its first flagship gaming smartphone with the new processor and release the phone later this year, said Lu Wei-ping (盧偉冰), who is in charge of Xiaomi’s Redmi family. It was also one of the first smartphone vendors to use MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000+ in its premium phone — Redmi K30 Ultra — last year, Lu said. The first devices equipped with the new Dimensity 1200 and 1100 processors are expected to hit the market from the end of this quarter to the beginning of next quarter, MediaTek said. Two other Chinese brands — Vivo Communication Technology Co (維沃) and Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) — said they also intend to deepen their partnerships with MediaTek. China is the world’s biggest 5G smartphone market, with shipments last year estimated to total nearly 130 million units, MediaTek said. The company “continues to expand its 5G portfolio, with highly integrated solutions for a range of devices from the high-end to the mid-tier,” J.C. Hsu (徐敬全), corporate vice president and general manager of MediaTek’s wireless communications business unit, told reporters. With a diversified product portfolio, MediaTek shipped 45 million Dimensity processors last year, Hsu said. That meant it captured a 22.5 percent share of the world’s 5G market last year, as
Export orders for last month surged 4.8 percent month-on-month and 38.3 percent year-on-year to a record-high US$60.55 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported yesterday. That easily beat the ministry’s forecast range of US$56.5 billion to NT$58 billion. “The continued strength of 5G, high-performance computing and delayed demand for a certain smartphone product caught us by surprise,” Department of Statistics Director Huang Yu-ling (黃于玲) told a news conference in Taipei. Apple Inc, which used to release its new iPhone models in September, delayed this year’s launch to Oct. 23 due to production disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because the [smartphone] product is generally released earlier, we saw a bump in orders related to its release continue into December,” Huang said. Information and communications technology (ICT) orders totaled US$19.21 billion last month, down 7.8 percent month-on-month, but up 38.2 percent year-on-year, while electronic product orders reached a record high of US$19.29 billion, up 12.2 percent month-on-month and 58.4 percent year-on-year. Orders for optical equipment increased 7 percent from November and 37.7 percent from a year earlier to US$2.54 billion, as demand for monitors exceeded supply and prices of larger monitors went up, the ministry said. Orders for non-tech products also saw a robust recovery, as demand increased and commodity prices strengthened, it said. Orders for base metal products hit US$2.64 billion, up 8.9 percent month-on-month and 23.9 percent year-on-year; those for mechanical products reached US$2.3 billion, up 23.5 percent month-on-month and 29.7 percent year-on-year; and those for chemical products totaled US$1.87 billion, up 21.8 percent month-on-month and 15.4 percent year-on-year, the ministry said. For the whole of last year, export orders totaled US$533.66 billion, up 10.1 percent year-on-year. ICT products secured orders of US$164.44 billion, up 13.6 percent; electronic products booked orders of US$161.44 billion, up 25.3 percent; and optical products secured orders of US$24.28
Public and private research institutes plan to raise their forecasts for the nation’s economic growth last year and this year after major economic bellwethers turned out stronger and continue to outperform, Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) president Chang Chien-yi (張建一) said yesterday. Chang shared his views on the nation’s economic outlook in a speech to the Third Wednesday Club (三三會), a local trade group that limits membership to the top 100 firms of each business sector. The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) is to release this month an advance report on the economy in the fourth quarter of last year, and next month an update of its economic projections for this year. The DGBAS might revise up its GDP growth forecast for last year from 2.54 percent to between 2.7 and 2.8 percent, given stronger exports and other key economic indicators, Chang said. Exports expanded 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter, beating the government’s forecast by 3.9 percentage points, thanks to robust demand for 5G wireless devices and electronics used in the work-at-home and distance-learning trends, the Ministry of Finance said earlier this month. TIER would need to revise upward its own growth predictions, which are to be released on Monday next week, Chang said. In November last year, the Taipei-based institute projected growth of 4.1 percent for this year. “Taiwan appears to have emerged from an anemic economic state seen in past years, with GDP growth of 1 to 2 percent,” Chang said, adding that the economy is expected to expand by 4 to 6 percent from this year, bolstered by overseas and domestic demand. Investment by the public and private sectors is underpinning the difference, the economist said. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, whose clients include Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Nvidia Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and other
OPTIMISM: Public confidence in the economy in the next six months picked up, with people willing to spend more on durable goods, a Cathay Financial poll showed
Following the TAIEX’s dramatic rise over the past year, investors have turned cautious about the market’s direction going forward, a survey released by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) yesterday showed. Only 10.2 percent of those polled expected the weighted index to hit a peak of 15,500 to 16,000 points and 7.1 percent expected it to end above 16,000 points, the survey showed. A larger number, 40 percent, expected the TAIEX to peak above 15,000 points by the end of the first half, while 37.1 percent expected it to peak between 14,500 and 15,000 points, it showed. The index fell 0.45 percent yesterday to close at 15,806.18. The report surveyed 20,912 of Cathay Financial’s clients between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, when the TAIEX climbed from 14,732 points to 15,214 points. As a majority of Cathay’s clients are retail investors, their predictions likely reflect public confidence in the market rather than a research-based forecast about the market, a Cathay Financial official surnamed Wu (吳) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “Given that when we conducted a similar poll in January last year, with the TAIEX at about 12,000 points at the time, only 27 percent of respondents forecast that the TAIEX would continue climbing and peak above 12,500 points, it seems that Taiwanese are more upbeat about the stock market this year,” Wu said. Their optimism corresponds with a rise in their risk preference, with 33.3 percent of respondents willing to withdraw their fixed deposits and invest them in the stock market, up from 30.6 percent a month earlier and 25.6 percent a year earlier, Wu said. Overall, 46.3 percent of respondents expected the TAIEX to continue rising in the next six months, followed by 16.7 percent who believed it would be flat and 23.4 percent predicting that it would decline, the survey showed. Meanwhile, public confidence in the
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Taiwan fell to US$9.14 billion last year, down 18.32 percent from 2019, the Investment Commission said yesterday. The government last year approved 3,418 FDI projects, down 17 percent from a year earlier, it said. “Although total investment fell last year, the figure was still the sixth-highest on record,” it said in a release. Last year saw the fourth-highest FDI value in the past 10 years, after US$11.4 billion in 2018, US$11.2 billion in 2019 and US$11 billion in 2016, it said. “The commission still considers it a vote of confidence by foreign investors in Taiwan,” it said. UN Conference on Trade and Development statistics showed that FDI decreased by up to 40 percent worldwide last year, while Taiwan only saw a moderate decrease thanks to its success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission said. Commission data showed that 2,182 foreign companies received approvals to establish branches in Taiwan last year, contributing an aggregate US$590 million. Investment by companies in countries targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy totaled 515 cases, 20.16 percent fewer than in 2019, the data showed In terms of value, they totaled US$380 million, down 65.23 percent from a year earlier, it showed. Ninety Chinese firms received approvals to invest in Taiwan, down 37 percent from 2019. However, in terms of value, total investment jumped 329.98 percent to US$126 million, the data showed. The commission approved 475 applications by Taiwanese firms to invest in China, down 22.1 percent from 2019, the data showed However, in terms of value, total investment rose 41.54 percent to US$5.9 billion, it showed. Overseas investments by Taiwanese firms surged 72.31 percent to US$11.8 billion, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) investing US$3.5 billion in a factory in Arizona, the commission said. Additional reporting by CNA
Syntrend Creative Park chairman Jeff Gou, fourth left, Gamania Digital Entertainment Co chairman Albert Liu, fourth right, and models hold placards at a news conference in Taipei yesterday after announcing plans to jointly launch an online/offline festival from Friday next week to Sunday that would feature entertainment, gaming, shopping, dining and other recreational activities for visitors.
EV ACCELERATION: Hon Hai chief technology officer William Wei said he envisions that the open platform would develop into the ‘Android of the EV industry’
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) on Tuesday said that more than 400 firms have joined its platform for electric vehicles (EVs) that is open to outside developers. The company’s promotion of the platform, dubbed the MIH Open Platform, has attracted more than 400 participants to collaborate on resolving potential bottlenecks in the development of the emerging technology, Hon Hai chief technology officer William Wei (魏國章) told an economic forum in Taipei. Hon Hai in February last year announced a joint venture with automaker Yulon Group (裕隆集團) to manufacture EVs in two years’ time. Under the venture, Yulon subsidiary Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center (華創車電) is focusing on vehicle design and use of the MIH Open Platform, which would provide hardware and software to other EV developers. Hon Hai reported that it is investing NT$7.94 billion (US$279.43 million) for a 51 percent stake in the venture, while Yulon is investing NT$7.63 billion for a 49 percent stake, with its funds being spent on the open platform. The venture integrates Hon Hai’s device design and manufacturing expertise to accelerate EV development, the company said. Supervising the development of the open platform, Wei said that he envisions building the “Android of the EV industry,” adding that it would ensure timely applications and security. The platform would first work on the “EV kit,” or drive-by-wire technology for EV and component developers, Wei said, adding that platform participants would discuss establishing standards for EV specifications. The company is also working on a solid-state battery for EVs, which is to be released in 2024, Wei said. Hon Hai in January last year said that it was planning a 50-50 venture with Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to manufacture EVs and expand into the Internet-of-Vehicles market. Hon Hai said that it aims to have a 10 percent share of the global EV market by 2025
The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) last year hit an all-time low of 31, down 20 percent from 39 in 2019, as some firms were hesitant to make their debut on the local stock market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday. Last year’s count was even lower than 55 IPOs in 2008 and 50 in 2009, when the domestic capital markets were buffeted by the global financial crisis. The 31 IPOs raised NT$14.68 billion (US$51.66 million), down 47 percent from NT$28 billion in 2019, the commission said. Twelve companies last year postponed their IPOs after gaining regulatory approval to debut in Taiwan — six on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) and six on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX), Securities and Futures Bureau Chief Secretary Kuo Chia-chun (郭佳君) told a news conference, blaming adverse market conditions under the pandemic. Forty companies last year submitted IPO applications to the TWSE and the TPEX, missing the FSC’s target of 52, as the pandemic damaged balance sheets and made them no longer qualified to go public, Kuo said. Tigerair Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航), a low-cost carrier subsidiary of China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), had planned last year to shift its shares from the TPEX to the TWSE, but border controls seriously curtailed air travel, leading to deteriorating financial performance at the carrier, she said. The commission is aiming for a total of 45 IPO applications this year, Kuo said. Because of COVID-19, the number of IPOs around the world last year significantly dropped, with IPO activity falling 23 percent in South Korea and 13 percent in Hong Kong, she said.
Workers in tourism-related sectors are looking to switch jobs, with 26,000 having filed applications, an increase of 44 percent from 2019, 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) said yesterday. The number of job applications made online this month increased to 706,000, rising above the 700,000 mark for the second consecutive month — the second-highest figure over the past five years, 104 Job Bank said. The increase came as hiring activity also picked up momentum on the back of a stable economic recovery one year after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it said. Employees at airline companies, travel agencies and recreation facilities have sought to change jobs, as strict border controls around the world are likely to continue for a while, it added. Job opportunities at airlines last year fell 70 percent, followed by movie theaters at 58 percent, travel bus companies at 54 percent, tour companies at 46 percent and textile makers at 37 percent, the online job bank said. The manufacturing sector has the greatest number of vacant positions at 142,000, up 2.9 percent from 2019, 104 Job Bank said, adding that most job offers are from manufacturers of electronics, software and semiconductors. Hotels and restaurants are seeking to hire 121,000 employees — a 7.2 percent increase — to meet growing business needs ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, it said. Wholesale and retail operators are seeking to hire 98,000 workers, while non-tech manufacturers are seeking 97,000, it said. Contractors and real-estate companies are seeking to increase their payrolls by 55,000 workers, up 49.3 percent from 2019, it said. The local property market is booming, driven by Taiwanese companies returning home from China, excessive liquidity and low interest rates, it added.
Models pose with goods and prizes from their “fortune bags” at Chungyo Department Store in Taichung yesterday. To boost spending during the Lunar New Year holiday, department stores nationwide are preparing festive gifts to sell to shoppers at discount prices on the first day of the holiday as a way of thanking them for their support.
EQUITIES Investors lock in gains The TAIEX yesterday closed lower in a volatile session, as investors shifted to the sell side to lock in earlier gains amid concerns over the attitude of foreign institutional investors who have increased short-term futures contracts in recent sessions, dealers said. Market sentiment has also been affected by an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases related to a hospital in Taoyuan, with many investors fearing that an escalation of the disease would hamper economic activity, they said. However, contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) remained resilient, preventing the broader market from falling further, they added. The TAIEX ended down 71.19 points, or 0.45 percent, at 15,806.18, on turnover of NT$414.877 billion (US$14.601 billion). Foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$21.55 billion of shares on the main board, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. TSMC shares finished up 3.19 percent to close at a historic high of NT$647.00. INVESTMENT TWSE cohosts conference The Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) and MasterLink Securities Co (元富證券) yesterday held an investment conference in Taipei that featured in-person and online meetings in the same event, and held 25 one-on-one meetings between local listed firms and institutional investors in Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia, the exchange said in a statement. The forum, titled “Great Reset — New Industry Landscape after COVID-19,” received positive participant feedback, it said. The keynote address focused on corporate governance developments among local listed companies, it said. “The new format integrating physical and online meetings successfully increased interaction between listed companies and investors,” the exchange said. “The TWSE will continue to organize events for investors that introduce strongly performing listed companies to fuel local economic growth.” BANKING First Web-only bank opens Rakuten International Commercial Bank Co (樂天國際商銀) on Tuesday opened for business, becoming Taiwan’s first Web-only bank. Backed by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc, the bank is
CRACKDOWN: The Internet billionaire had not been seen in public since November when Chinese regulators suspended the initial public offering of his Ant Group Co
Jack Ma (馬雲), the billionaire founder of Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), yesterday made his first public appearance in more than two months, ending weeks of speculation about his whereabouts. Ma — one of China’s richest people with a fortune estimated at about US$58 billion — disappeared from the public eye in early November last year, when he was hauled in front of regulators for an October speech critical of China’s outdated financial system. Shortly afterward, the record-breaking US$37 billion initial public offering (IPO) of his financial group Ant Group Co (螞蟻集團) was spiked at the last minute by Chinese regulators in a shock move that some saw as retaliation for Ma’s outspokenness. However, a video clip of Ma giving a congratulatory speech to rural teachers as part of an annual awards ceremony organized by his charity was published on social media by Chinese financial news outlets yesterday morning. In the speech, Ma praised China’s poverty alleviation efforts, a central target of the Chinese Communist Party leadership, and vowed to dedicate more efforts towards helping rural teachers. “My colleagues and I ... are even more determined to devote ourselves to education and public welfare,” he said, according to a transcript of his speech published by Chinese news site Tianmu News. “China has ... entered a new stage of development, and is moving towards common prosperity,” he said. A spokesperson for the Jack Ma Foundation, his charitable arm, confirmed that Ma “participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event.” Since the Ant IPO was quashed, Chinese regulators have launched an anti-monopoly probe into Alibaba. Alibaba and Ant said they would cooperate with regulatory requests. In related news, Citigroup Inc’s private bank said that wealthy investors had rushed to offload stock in Alibaba. “A large number” of the bank’s ultra-rich clients from the Europe, the
US President Joe Biden’s picks to lead economic and foreign policy on Tuesday signaled that there would be no letup in Washington’s efforts to combat China’s trade abuses. The comments reflect an unusual area of common ground with former US president Donald Trump, who over the past four years unleashed an aggressive and costly trade war that imposed billions of US dollars in punitive tariffs on Chinese goods. Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for US secretary of the Treasury, and Antony Blinken, who was tapped to lead the US Department of State, nonetheless emphasized areas of difference, particularly the Biden administration’s commitments to working with Washington’s allies, and promoting investments to make US firms and workers more competitive against Beijing. Responding to questions from the US Senate Committee on Finance at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Yellen called China “our most important strategic competitor.” She accused Beijing of “undercutting American companies” by offering illegal subsidies, dumping products at below-market prices, stealing intellectual property and erecting barriers to US exports. “We need to take on China’s abusive unfair and illegal practices,” she said, adding: “We’re prepared to use the full array of tools” to address those issues. She also vowed to be watchful of the national security implications of China’s theft of “trade secrets” and “illegal efforts to acquire critical technology.” Biden’s transition team pushed for her “swift confirmation” in a statement after her testimony, saying Yellen “demonstrated that she is the bold, experienced leader needed at the helm of the Treasury to begin building our economy back better.” Blinken told the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, “president Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China,” but added: “I disagree very much with the way he went about it in a number of areas.” Unlike Trump, who pulled back from multilateral organizations and attacked the trade policies of
General Motors Co (GM) is teaming up with Microsoft Corp to accelerate its rollout of electric, self-driving vehicles. In the partnership announced on Tuesday, the companies said that Microsoft’s Azure cloud and edge computing platform would be used to “commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.” Microsoft joins GM, Honda Motor Co and other institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than US$2 billion in Cruise, bringing its valuation to about US$30 billion. Cruise, which GM bought in 2016, has been a leader in driverless technology and received the go ahead from California late last year to test its automated vehicles in San Francisco without backup drivers. Auto companies have been joining forces and bringing technology firms on board to try to spread out the enormous costs — and by nature, risks — of developing self-driving and electric vehicles. Honda is in on the Cruise project with GM; Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co have teamed up with Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company Argo AI; and Hyundai Motor Co joined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV last summer in a deal to use Waymo’s driverless vehicle technology. Toyota Motor Corp and Uber Technologies Inc are also working together, while Amazon.com Inc skipped over the automaker part of the equation and last summer bought self-driving technology company Zoox, which is developing an autonomous vehicle for a ride-hailing service. Stellantis NV, formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group,， on Tuesday laid out a roadmap for its development, notably in electric vehicles. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, who is also the head of PSA, said that the 14 brands that make up the Dutch company, now the world’s fourth-biggest automaker, would all offer electric vehicles by 2025. Stellantis already has 29 electric models for sale and plans to launch 10 more by the end of
HSBC Holdings PLC and Malayan Banking Bhd’s (Maybank) insurance venture are among shortlisted bidders for Axa SA’s business in Singapore, which could raise about US$700 million in a sale, people familiar with the matter said. The British bank and Etiqa, majority owned by a Maybank joint venture, have proceeded into the next round with a few weeks to go before a deadline for submitting binding bids, the people said. At least one Chinese firm is also among those invited to lodge offers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Axa has been considering a sale of its Singapore business as it seeks to raise funds divesting peripheral operations, Bloomberg News reported in August last year. CEO Thomas Buberl is trying to shift Axa’s focus on property and casualty insurance following its US$15.3 billion purchase of XL Group Ltd in 2018. Since then, Buberl has been reviewing options for smaller businesses across the world, including in the Middle East, to help pay for the XL deal. The Singapore unit, which offers life and property and casualty insurance, generated 615 million euros (US$746 million) of revenue in 2019, according to Axa’s annual report. It also provides services in savings and investments, its Web site shows. HSBC plans to accelerate its expansion across Asia in its imminent strategy refresh, chairman Mark Tucker told the virtual Asian Financial Forum this week. The lender last year said that it would speed up investments in the region, where it draws the bulk of its profit, but was grappling with risks from Hong Kong politics and the COVID-19 outbreak. Etiqa began in 2005 when Maybank Ageas, a joint venture between Maybank and Ageas SA, merged with Malaysia’s National Insurance Bhd. The firm provides general and life insurance, according to its Web site. It also operates in
REBOUND: A resurgence of COVID-19 cases is slowing the market’s recovery, but a widespread vaccination effort should drive up demand in the second half, the agency said
The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday trimmed its global oil demand forecast for this year as fresh COVID-19 lockdowns cloud the outlook, but said that mass vaccination programs should help bolster a second-half rebound. “Global oil demand is expected to recover by 5.5 mb/d [million barrels per day] to 96.6 mb/d in 2021, following an unprecedented collapse of 8.8 mb/d in 2020,” the IEA said in its latest monthly report. “For now, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases is slowing the rebound, but a widespread vaccination effort and an acceleration in economic activity is expected to spur stronger growth in the second half of the year,” it said. “This recovery mainly reflects the impact of fiscal and monetary support packages, as well as the effectiveness of steps to resolve the pandemic,” it added. The IEA said that it now expected demand in the first quarter of this year to be 0.6 million barrels per day less than previously forecast, with the full-year outcome revised down by 0.3 million barrels per day. On the supply side, the IEA said that after “falling by a record 6.6 mb/d in 2020, world oil supply is set to rise by over 1.0 mb/d this year.” “There may be scope for higher growth given our expectations for further improvement in demand,” the IEA added. It said that its forecasts assume that in the second half of this year, OPEC+ — OPEC members plus non-cartel producers, principally Russia — would continue to rein in output, withholding 5.8 million barrels per day of oil from the market in line with their agreement in April last year. The IEA said that OPEC+ has recently adopted a more flexible stance and would be meeting regularly to assess output levels. Oil prices have risen in recent weeks on hopes the global economy would get back on track
HONG KONG Bank employees arrested Seven former and current bank employees have been arrested as part of a major operation against a US$810 million international money-laundering syndicate, authorities said yesterday. Police declined to name the banks the detainees worked for. Investigators said they are suspected of helping a key Hong Kong-based member of the syndicate apply for business accounts, including falsifying company documents and coaching applicants for interviews. Police said much of the money could be traced to several countries, including Italy, Germany and Vietnam. APPAREL Burberry sales down 9% British luxury brand Burberry Group PLC yesterday said that underlying sales in the fiscal third quarter fell 9 percent as the COVID-19 pandemic closed shops and fewer tourists visited its European stores. Comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37 percent in the three months that ended last month, but the firm remained confident about its prospects, buoyed by sales growth of 11 percent at its Asia-Pacific stores. Burberry said that 15 percent of its stores are closed, with more than one-third operating on reduced hours. MEDIA Netflix beats estimates Netflix Inc on Tuesday beat estimates for holiday-quarter paid subscriber additions, as original productions, such as Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit, helped attract more viewers sheltering at home due to fresh COVID-19 restrictions. The company said it added 8.51 million paid subscribers during the quarter that ended on Dec. 31 last year, beating analysts’ estimates of 6.1 million, IBES data from Refinitiv showed. Revenue rose to US$6.64 billion, edging past estimates of US$6.63 billion. MACHINERY ASML celebrates milestone ASML Holding NV, a supplier of semiconductor equipment, yesterday provided higher-than-expected forecasts for the first quarter and celebrated the 100th shipment of its newest lithography machine. The Dutch company expects first-quarter revenue of 3.9 billion euros to 4.1 billion euros (US$4.73 billion to US$4.97 billion), with
FAST TURNAROUND: Taiwan’s control of the COVID-19 outbreak helped the sector recover, and there should be a continued boom this year, a research manager said
Hiyes International Co Ltd (海悅國際開發) retained the title of Taiwan’s top real-estate agency by last year securing more than NT$100 billion (US$3.51 billion) in business, an annual survey by Chinese-language My Housing Monthly showed yesterday. Hiyes, which has held the No. 1 spot for 12 consecutive years, won 41 consignment deals valued at NT$138.6 billion, with more business in New Taipei City and Taoyuan than in Taipei, the survey found. The findings suggest a continued southward migration, the survey said. JSL Group (甲山林) came second with 26 deals totaling NT$124.25 billion, or 1.5 times more than a year earlier, it said. The Global One (世界明珠), a mixed-use development project at the former site of Nankang Rubber Tire Corp’s (南港輪胎) plant in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) secured deals totaling NT$40 billion, while a residential complex in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城) contributed another NT$20 billion, it said. Newland Developers Group (新聯陽實業) ranked third by securing 21 deals totaling NT$74.5 billion, while Creator Marketing Co (創意家行銷) came fourth with 13 cases totaling NT$34.7 billion, the survey showed. Taoyuan-based 50jia Real Estate Group (五十甲建築) came fifth with 10 deals totaling NT$30.2 billion, followed by Top Scene Advertising Co (甲桂林廣告) with 11 deals at NT$29.2 billion and Pauian Archiland Co (璞園) with 11 deals at NT$28.71 billion, the survey found. Those agencies reported an increase in business of 25 percent to 53 percent from a year earlier, My Housing Monthly research manager Ho Shih-chang (何世昌) said, adding that the local property market had a profitable year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan’s quick and effective control of the virus outbreak made a fast recovery possible, while excessive liquidity and low interest rates also helped fuel growth momentum, Ho said. Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) ranked eighth by securing 17 deals mainly in Taipei and New Taipei City, which amounted to NT$26.1 billion, the
Domestic mutual funds last year grew 12.95 percent to a record NT$4.52 trillion (US$158.76 billion) as currency, equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) gained popularity among local investors, state-run First Securities Investment Trust Co (FSITC, 第一金投信) said yesterday. The increase of NT$518.6 billion is the third-largest in history, FSITC said, attributing the rapid growth to major global central banks printing money to boost their economies and ease the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low interest rates also helped drive money to risky assets, as investors are seeking better returns and time deposits no longer serve that purpose in many parts of the world, it said. Domestic currency funds grew NT$227.3 billion from the end of 2019, followed by increases of NT$134.2 billion and NT$80.8 billion in domestic ETF and equity funds respectively, FSITC said. Meanwhile, international bond funds, multiple asset funds and equity funds grew by NT$20 billion to NT$50 billion, it said. Assorted international funds took a hit with index-tracked bond funds shrinking by NT$81.1 billion and ETF equity funds declining by NT$20 billion, it said. FSITC said that it is expecting similar capital movements this year, as COVID-19 infections are spiking in the US, Europe and other countries, and their central banks would maintain loose monetary policies over the next few years. The US Federal Reserve, for example, has said that the chance of interest rate hikes is slim through 2023, FSITC said. Against this backdrop, global capital would continue flowing to risky assets, mainly stocks, to pursue higher yields, it said, explaining why global bourses have rallied to record highs. FSITC said that investors should take advantage of the trend and favor stocks over bonds, especially shares that benefit from a remote economy, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, self-driving vehicles and other innovative technologies.
The nation’s life insurers saw their combined first-year premiums (FYPs) plunge 28.7 percent year-on-year to NT$783.71 billion (US$27.53 billion) last year, with the ratio of premiums from bancassurance to total premiums dropping to 51.61 percent, the Life Insurance Association said in a report released on Monday. The decline in FYPs could be attributed to a reduction in declared interest rates amid a low interest environment, as the Financial Supervisory Commission implemented a rule that life insurers must set their declared interest rates based on the yields from the bonds they have invested, the association said. OTHER CAUSES Meanwhile, the commission has trimmed liability reserve interest rates twice, driving up the premiums clients pay for the same coverage and affecting insurers’ sales, it said. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an adverse impact as insurance salespeople have had to slow their marketing activities, it said. The fall in FYPs could also be attributed to some life insurers halting sales of their disability insurance policies late last year, as the commission had considered ordering insurers to set aside a higher reserve on the product this year in light of a higher loss ratio, it said. INSURANCE Traditional insurance policies’ FYPs dropped 32.9 percent annually to NT$576 billion, with life insurance products’ FYPs declining 36.5 percent to NT$477 billion, annuity insurance policies falling 18.4 percent to NT$44 billion and accident insurance products dropping 9.1 percent to NT$11 billion, it said. INVESTMENTS FYPs for investment-type products decreased 13.7 percent to NT$207 billion, a milder fall than traditional insurance products, as investment products benefited from bull markets, it said. BUCKING THE TREND Health insurance policies were the only insurance policy to buck the trend, with FYPs growing 7.7 percent annually to NT$42.88 billion, as consumers became more concerned about their health insurance coverage amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the association said. Life insurers’ FYPs are expected to