■ Number of foreign visitors up
Foreign visitor arrivals to Taiwan in the first eight months of this year totaled 2.19 million, up 16.2 percent from a year earlier, the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported yesterday. Japan, Hong Kong and Macau, and the US were the top three sources of foreign visitor arrivals to Taiwan, making up about 60 percent of the total, according to DGBAS.
Japanese visitors made a total of 719,000 visits to Taiwan for the January-August period, while those from Hong Kong and Macau made 293,000 visits, and those from the US, 262,000 visits.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese made more than 5.68 million visits abroad in the first eight months of the year, for a year-on-year increase of 7.4 percent, according to the statistics. Hong Kong was the leading destination, seeing 1.92 million arrivals from Taiwan. South Korea saw the biggest annual growth in Taiwan visitors at 25.5 percent, while Thailand saw the steepest decline, at 38.4 percent, DGBAS said.
■ New Allianz CEO appointed
Richard Fung (馮元輝) has been appointed the chief executive officer (CEO) and president of Allianz President Life Insurance in Taiwan, a joint venture between German Allianz Group and local conglomerate the Uni-President Group, the insurer said in a statement released yesterday. The appointment is subject to regulatory approval.
Fung has over 25 years of experience in insurance management in North America and Asia.
"We are confident that, under Richard Fung's leadership, we will continue to strengthen our leading position in Taiwan, focusing on all our distribution platforms in Taiwan," Asia Allianz's CEO Bruce Bowers said.
Allianz President Life Insurance created revenues of over 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) last year and expected to exceed the level this year, the insurer said.
■ Computer rivals to sell
Personal-computer makers in China and Taiwan will acquire US and Japanese rivals that are losing market share to the low-cost producers, according to the chairman of Acer Inc, the world's fourth-biggest PC maker.
"US and Japanese companies will eventually give up the low-margin, very competitive business," CEO Wang Jen-tang (王振堂), said. "They would very much sell to Asian companies."
Beijing-based Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) in May completed its US$1.25 billion purchase of IBM Corp's PC business, making it the world's No. 3 computer maker.
Acer has said it plans to become one of the world's top three PC sellers by 2007. The company is not considering any acquisitions right now, Wang said.
■ Taipower to sell bonds
State-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), the country's biggest electricity generator, will sell NT$14.7 billion (US$439 million) of unsecured bonds in its third debt sale this year to help fund expansion.
The state-owned utility will sell NT$4.7 billion of five-year bonds and NT$5 billion each of seven-year and 10-year debt, Lee Chuan-lai (李傳來), a Taipower public relations official, said. The sale will bring Taipower's total bond issuance this year to NT$47.1 billion, 44 percent higher than last year.
"The funds will all be used in expanding electricity supply," Lee said.
■ NT dollar gains ground
The New Taiwan dollar gained ground against its US counterpart Friday, rising NT$0.019 to close at NT$33.450 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.
Turnover was US$510 million, down substantially from US$1.06 billion the previous day.
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