■ Free-trade ports established \n \nThe Executive Yuan yesterday granted status as free-trade ports to Keelung Harbor and Kaohsiung Port, which are expected to start operations in September this year and January next year respectively. Hsu Tsai-li (許財利), Keelung City mayor, said yesterday that Keelung's free-trade port will create over 2,400 jobs after it starts operating. Authorities at the two harbors estimated that the two ports will increase investment by NT$4.56 billion (US$138 million) and will increase production value by at least NT$1.9 billion annually. The Executive Yuan announced implementation of the Regulations Governing Applications for the Establishment of Free Ports (自由貿易港區申請設置辦法) in September last year. \n■ More Matsu flights urged \n \nMatsu authorities have urged the sole carrier flying between the outlying island and Taiwan proper to open routes to destinations in central and southern Taiwan as soon as possible. The authorities recently made a request to Taipei-based UNI Airways Corp (立榮) -- the sole carrier approved by the Civil Aeronautics Administration to operate routes between Matsu and Taiwan -- to open Matsu-Taichung and Matsu-Kaohsuing routes by April 1. UNI Airways Chairman Cheng Kuang-yung (鄭光遠) made a promise during a November visit to Matsu that the two routes would open by the middle of last month, but so far nothing has happened. According to Matsu authorities, the postponement of the two routes has caused discontent and misunderstanding among Matsu's people and among many businesspeople based in China, who have long hoped for the routes to be established, especially since direct trade and transport services were set up in January 2001. \n■ 43 companies approved for park \n \nOfficials with the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration said yesterday that 43 companies have been approved to set up shop in the first phase of the park's operations, with a total investment amount of NT$428.1 billion. Since the park is not yet big enough to accommodate the more than 300 applicants, the Taichung County government has mapped out a second phase of the park to be built in a neighboring area. AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the first enterprise to enroll, has already gone ahead with setting up facilities and estimates that it will begin mass production at the end this year. \n■ Wan Hai denies reports \n \nWan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運), Taiwan's third-biggest shipping concern by market value, denied a newspaper report that the company may buy a stake in China Airlines (華航), the nation's largest air carrier, saying it is focused on marine transportation. A Chinese-language newspaper reported over the weekend that the government may sell a 30-percent stake in China Airlines to Wan Hai. "We don't own any shares in China Airlines, and we have never discussed buying into China Airlines," Wan Hai senior vice president Jason Lee (李炫宏) said. "We are focused on marine shipping," Lee said. State-run China Aviation Development Foundation (航發會) holds a 71-percent stake in China Airlines. No companies have approached the foundation about buying the stake to date. \n■ NT dollar drops \n \nIn line with a weak yen, the New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded lower against its US counterpart on the Taipei foreign exchange market. The local currency dropped NT$0.002 to close at NT$33.403, with a turnover of US$516 million.
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday announced it would give incentive bonuses totaling NT$1.7 billion (US$59.7 million) to its employees and those at the firm’s major subsidiaries, after the smartphone chip supplier’s revenue hit US$10 billion last year. This is the biggest incentive bonus the Hsinchu-based handset chip designer has ever distributed in its 23-year history. About 17,000 full-time employees of MediaTek and five of its subsidiaries, including Richtek Technology Corp (立錡科技) and Airoha Technology Corp (絡達科技), would receive a “red envelope” of NT$100,000 each, the company said. “Surpassing US$10 billion is just the beginning. We will continue to [grow] on this basis,” MediaTek
TO SPUR REVENUE: The contract chipmaker expects its profit to grow 15 percent this year, outpacing the foundry industry’s projected advance of about 10 percent Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised its projected capital spending for this year by 62 percent, a new high, in an attempt to satisfy customer demand for advanced technologies in the production of central processing units, high-performance-computing (HPC) devices and 5G applications. After investing US$17.24 billion last year, TSMC this year plans to spend US$25 billion to US$28 billion on manufacturing equipment and new facilities, including a fab in the US. About 80 percent of the budget would be allocated for developing advanced technologies including 3, 5 and 7-nanometer technologies, the company said. The larger-than-expected capital spending prompted speculation
CHINESE TIE-UP: The firm said its services with Zhejiang Geely would be related to vehicles, parts, intelligent drive systems and automotive ecosystem platforms Apple Inc’s local manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) outside of Taiwan, is setting up a vehicle venture, strengthening its automotive capabilities at a time when technology companies, including its California ally, are looking to expand in automaking. Hon Hai is joining forces with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co (浙江吉利控股集團) to provide production and consulting services to global automotive enterprises, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The production and consulting services are related to whole vehicles, parts, intelligent drive systems and automotive ecosystem platforms, Hon Hai said in a filing with
RECORD BUDGET: TSMC does plan to raise its proposed capital expenditure a lot, and could benefit if Intel outsources more of its production to foundries, analysts said Intel Corp’s earnings conference call on Thursday is expected to clarify the US semiconductor giant’s outsourcing production plans, which would be crucial regarding Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) performance, analysts said. “TSMC stands to benefit if Intel outsources more of its fabrication to foundries,” SinoPac Securities Investment Service Corp (永豐投顧) analysts said in a note on Friday. Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) was more cautious, saying that Intel’s contribution initially would be limited, but its outsourcing plans would still highlight TSMC’s leadership in technology, it added. “Intel will continue to manufacture server or high-end central processing units [CPUs], which have higher