Hackers spying for decade
Hackers, most likely from China, have been spying on governments and businesses in Southeast Asia and India uninterrupted for a decade, researchers at Internet security company FireEye Inc said yesterday. The cyberespionage operations dated back to at least 2005 and “focused on targets — government and commercial — who hold key political, economic and military information about the region,” FireEye said in a report, adding: “Such a sustained, planned development effort coupled with the [hacking] group’s regional targets and mission, lead us to believe that this activity is state-sponsored — most likely the Chinese government.” Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for Asia-Pacific at FireEye and coauthor of the report, said the attack was still ongoing, adding that the servers the attackers used were still operational, and that FireEye continued to see attacks against its clients, who number among the targets.
VW chair appears isolated
Ferdinand Piech, the grandson of the creator of the VW Beetle and the patriarch of the German automaker for more than two decades, is losing his grip on Volkswagen AG two years before his last term as chairman ends. Piech, 77, has found himself increasingly isolated after his hostile comments toward CEO Martin Winterkorn were quickly blunted by other power players at the Wolfsburg, Germany-based firm. The rebuttal may mark the beginning of the end of an era at Europe’s biggest carmaker. Volkswagen’s powerful works council, the state of Lower Saxony and even Piech’s cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, rallied to Winterkorn’s side after Piech escalated the power struggle by telling Der Spiegel in an interview on Friday that he was keeping himself “at a distance” from Winterkorn.
Elbit shifts market focus
US military spending may be flat, but that is not proving to be much of a problem for Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd. The company, long dependent on the US for much of its sales, has been shifting its focus to faster growing markets in Asia and Latin America. Elbit said last month that demand from those regions helped push up its backlog of orders to US$6.3 billion at year-end, an 8 percent jump from 2013. The US market accounted for 28 percent of sales last year, still the biggest slice from any single country, including Israel. However, unlike US defense contractors that focus on large programs like airplanes, ships and tanks, Elbit is succeeding with niche products and services in high demand in emerging markets, like upgrading aircraft systems and enhancing cyberwarfare capabilities.
Australia hurt by ore prices
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday said that the low iron ore price was shaving billions of dollars off government revenue forecasts, but he would not increase taxes to make up the shortfall. Hockey said that every US$10 fall in the price of a tonne of iron ore — Australia’s most lucrative export — cuts US$2.5 billion in tax revenue a year for the government. The price has fallen from about US$100 when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government was elected in September 2013 to less than US$48 last week due to weakening Chinese industrial demand and increased production. Hockey signaled that plans to return the national budget to surplus would be delayed when he announces his economic blueprint on May 12 for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
RESTRUCTURING: Taichung and Taoyuan profited most from local firms moving back high-end manufacturing amid the US-China decoupling of trade ties, the ministry said The government’s “Invest in Taiwan” initiative might this year see NT$627.1 billion (US$21.7 billion) of investment pledges realized, with several firms raising stakes and two dropouts due to customer losses, Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said yesterday. Wang made the statement at the monthly meeting of the Third Wednesday Club, a local trade group featuring the top 100 firms of each business sector. Since early last year, the government has launched three programs intended to help local companies grapple with US-China trade rows and the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly through moving production lines back to Taiwan. Thus far, the ministry
JOBS AT RISK? Most Cathay Dragon routes are to be operated by Cathay Pacific or a subsidiary, but it was unclear how Taiwanese workers would be affected Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) yesterday said it is planning new flight services for Taiwan as it announced a corporate restructuring that included the shutdown of its regional subsidiary, Cathay Dragon (國泰港龍), and could lead to job cuts in Taiwan. Cathay Pacific said the shutdown means that the one round-trip service between Taichung and Hong Kong per day and seven round-trip services between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong operated by Cathay Dragon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic would be terminated. “The parent company is planning a new schedule between Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Cathay Pacific assistant manager for corporate communications Moses Hou (侯恩錫)
OVERHEATED MARKET?: The gauge would be designed to provide more reliable information than private-sector data, and help improve policymaking, the council said The National Development Council (NDC) is considering creating a business climate index on Taiwan’s property market, allowing policymakers to better monitor market movements and intervene if necessary, NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday. Kung made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Economic Committee where lawmakers from across party lines voiced concerns about housing price hikes driven by capital repatriation. Kung said that the council is assessing the possibility of creating an index designed to provide more accountable and transparent information than data provided by private-sector market analysts, and could help improve policymaking. The council would compile a report on
STOCK MARKETS TAIEX closes slightly higher The TAIEX closed slightly higher yesterday as market sentiment remained cautious over the Nov. 3 US presidential election. Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was again the anchor stabilizing the broader market, preventing the main board from falling into negative territory at the end of the session, dealers said. The TAIEX closed up 14.88 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,877.25, on turnover of NT$167.982 billion (US$5.81 billion). TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, rose 0.44 percent after fluctuating between NT$451 and NT$456. The semiconductor subindex and the bellwether electronics sector