Candy names to be changed
Nestle SA is to change the name of two popular Australian confectionery products, Red Skins and Chicos sweets, the food and beverage giant said yesterday, amid a global debate over racial inequality. The move is part of the corporate world’s reckoning with the treatment of African Americans, following anti-racism protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis late last month. “Redskin” is a slang term widely deemed offensive that refers to Native Americans, while “chico,” which translates to “boy” in Spanish, can be offensive to those of Latin American descent.
PMI jumps nearly 20 points
The economy’s revival from the country’s COVID-19 lockdown appears stronger than anticipated, with a measure of private-sector activity showing growth for the first time in four months. IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) jumped to 51.3 this month from 32.1 last month, beating economists’ expectations for 46.8. The individual gauges for manufacturing and services also climbed above the 50 key level. The reading echoes an analysis by Insee, the country’s statistics office, that the economy is getting back toward normal levels of activity faster.
Softbank to sell shares
Softbank Group Corp yesterday said it would sell T-Mobile USA Inc shares worth more than US$21 billion as it sheds assets to shore up its financial health. The move came a month after Softbank announced an US$8.9 billion annual net loss, hit hard by troubles with its unicorn investments, including WeWork, as well as market plunges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Softbank, which holds about 24 percent of the US telecom, said it would sell up to 198.3 million of more than 300 million shares in a transaction involving the telecom itself. T-Mobile shares on Monday closed at US$106.60, suggesting the sale would net Softbank more than US$21 billion.
UK given short deadline
The UK has just six weeks to finish negotiating a post-Brexit deal with the country if it wants an agreement ratified this year, Tokyo’s chief negotiator has said in an interview. Speaking to the Financial Times, Hiroshi Matsuura said the short timeline would mean both sides have to “limit their ambitions,” suggesting that goals set by London might be unachievable. “To avoid a gap in January, we must pass this in the autumn session of the Diet,” Matsuura told the paper, referring to the Japanese parliament. “That means we must complete negotiations by the end of July,” he said.
Vehicles sales to drop 25%
European vehicle sales are forecast to drop by a record 25 percent this year after the pandemic shuttered factories and showrooms, leading to a collapse in demand. Sales in the bloc are expected to fall to 9.6 million vehicles from 12.8 million last year, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday in its first forecast since January, before COVID-19 hit the region. That is the lowest number of vehicles sold in seven years, when the industry was emerging from a years-long decline after the 2008 financial crisis, and the steepest percentage drop ever. In the US, Ford Motor Co forecast a US$5 billion loss for the three months through this month.
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
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
DIGITAL COMMERCE: In 2016, only 2 percent of orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that has risen to 10 percent, Foodpanda Taiwan Co operations director Nick Yu said Online food delivery platforms have seen explosive growth in Taiwan this year, helped by business opportunities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, company executives said at a digital commerce conference in Taipei yesterday. When the threat of COVID-19 kept people from going out to eat, more people experimented with ordering food deliveries online, Foodpanda Taiwan Co Ltd (富胖達) operations director Nick Yu (余岳勳) said. Foodpanda started operations in Taiwan in 2012. “We experienced 5,000 percent growth in the past 24 months,” Yu said. “That’s more than the previous six years combined.” In 2016, only 2 percent of food orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that