■ China imposes phenol tariffs \nChina has begun imposing punitive tariffs of up to 144 percent on phenol imports from Japan, the US, South Korea and Taiwan because these products have been sold at below cost in the country, the Ministry of Commerce said. \nPhenol is used to make adhesives and plastics. \nChina will impose tariffs on phenol imports from the four countries to protect domestic makers of the chemical, the ministry said in a statement. The tariffs, enforced at a minimum of 3 percent, took effect yesterday and will last for five years. \n■ Chi Mei doubles sales \nChi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the nation's second-largest maker of flat-panel displays used in computers and televisions, had a third straight quarter of profit as sales doubled on higher prices. \nThe company had net income of NT$4.8 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of NT$608 million a year ago. The latest figure was derived by subtracting audited nine-month numbers from the full-year unaudited number that the company released. \nSales, reported monthly, rose to NT$21.3 billion from NT$10.1 billion in the previous period. Prices of flat-panel displays rose by as much as a third from a year earlier. \nLast year, Chi Mei's profit rose to NT$7.1 billion from NT$4.5 billion in 2002. Sales rose by more than half to NT$62 billion from NT$40.7 billion. \n■ Chip packager posts profit \nAdvanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體), the world's No. 2 chip packager, had a third straight quarter of profit as sales climbed by two-fifths. \nNet income was NT$2.1 billion (US$63 million), or NT$.61 per share, for the fourth quarter. That compares to a net loss of NT$28.9 million, or NT$.01, a year ago, the Kaohsiung-based company said. \nSales rose to NT$100.4 billion from NT$71.8 billion. \n"We were able to capitalize on particularly robust demand for high-end capacity from wireless communications customers," said chairman Jason Chang (張虔生). \n"Demand for our services was strong across our entire customer base," Chang said. \nAdvanced counts among its larger customers Motorola Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Agilent Technologies and Conexant Systems Inc. \nAdvanced Semiconductor plans to buy a computer-chip assembly plant from NEC Corp, a Chinese-language newspaper reported today, without citing the source of its information. \nThe company will announce Tuesday that it will pay US$80 million to buy the plant from NEC, the Chinese-language newspaper reported. \n■ Hon Hai denies HK report \nHon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the nation's largest company by sales, denied a Chinese-language newspaper report that it will consider a plan to combine holdings in 15 mobile-phone related companies for a Hong Kong listing. \n"At present, there is no concrete plan or timetable to list shares in Hong Kong," the company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp. \nNo bank has been hired to help manage a share sale, Hon Hai added. \nThe rumored plan would have allowed Hon Hai employees to take a stake in one of the company's most profitable businesses, where sales last year reached about NT$30 billion, the report said. \n■ NT dollar higher \nThe New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.057 to close at NT$33.33 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. \nTurnover was US$653 million.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be