Bank employees arrested
Seven former and current bank employees have been arrested as part of a major operation against a US$810 million international money-laundering syndicate, authorities said yesterday. Police declined to name the banks the detainees worked for. Investigators said they are suspected of helping a key Hong Kong-based member of the syndicate apply for business accounts, including falsifying company documents and coaching applicants for interviews. Police said much of the money could be traced to several countries, including Italy, Germany and Vietnam.
Burberry sales down 9%
British luxury brand Burberry Group PLC yesterday said that underlying sales in the fiscal third quarter fell 9 percent as the COVID-19 pandemic closed shops and fewer tourists visited its European stores. Comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37 percent in the three months that ended last month, but the firm remained confident about its prospects, buoyed by sales growth of 11 percent at its Asia-Pacific stores. Burberry said that 15 percent of its stores are closed, with more than one-third operating on reduced hours.
Netflix beats estimates
Netflix Inc on Tuesday beat estimates for holiday-quarter paid subscriber additions, as original productions, such as Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit, helped attract more viewers sheltering at home due to fresh COVID-19 restrictions. The company said it added 8.51 million paid subscribers during the quarter that ended on Dec. 31 last year, beating analysts’ estimates of 6.1 million, IBES data from Refinitiv showed. Revenue rose to US$6.64 billion, edging past estimates of US$6.63 billion.
ASML celebrates milestone
ASML Holding NV, a supplier of semiconductor equipment, yesterday provided higher-than-expected forecasts for the first quarter and celebrated the 100th shipment of its newest lithography machine. The Dutch company expects first-quarter revenue of 3.9 billion euros to 4.1 billion euros (US$4.73 billion to US$4.97 billion), with a gross margin of up to 51 percent, it said in a statement. Analysts had expected sales of 3.52 billion euros and a gross margin of 49.3 percent.
EBay mulls S Korea sale
EBay Inc is exploring a potential sale of its online marketplace in South Korea, the latest step in a reorganization that has already hived off several units from the main US e-commerce business. The San Jose, California-based firm said it has “initiated a process to explore, review, and evaluate a range of strategic alternatives for its [South] Korea business. The company is considering options that would maximize value for its shareholders and create future growth opportunities for the business.” EBay has 183 million active buyers and about 11 percent of its annual sales comes from South Korea.
Interest rate unchanged
The central bank yesterday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as the country grapples with a surge in COVID-19 infections that could take months to subside. Bank Negara Malaysia maintained the overnight policy rate at a record low of 1.75 percent, as expected by 12 of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The rest had forecast a 25 basis point cut.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) largest customer accounted for 25 percent of its total revenue last year. Analysts believe the unnamed company to be Apple Inc. The world’s largest contract chipmaker generated NT$336.78 billion (US$11.9 billion) in consolidated sales from its largest customer last year, accounting for about 25 percent of the total, financial data provided by TSMC showed. With TSMC believed to be the sole processor supplier for Apple’s iPhone 12, analysts said the largest customer is likely the US consumer electronics giant, which drove the chipmaker’s sales growth. TSMC did not identify the customer. TSMC last year posted
RECRUITMENT: The latest hiring drive — for fabs in Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan — aims to catch up with growth in the company and new technology development Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday unveiled a plan to hire 9,000 people this year in the latest round of recruitment as the chipmaker races to boost capacity to alleviate a chip crunch and safeguard its technology advantage. TSMC’s talent recruitment this year might be the most ambitious in its history, while last year’s drive of 8,000 added recruits doubled the 4,000 new hires that it averaged over the preceding few years. The latest drive — for fabs in Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan — aims to catch up with growth in the company and new technology development, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said. The
CHASING AFTER THE US: China is scrambling to cut its dependence on the West for crucial components such as computer chips, an issue that has become more urgent China pledged to boost spending and drive research into cutting-edge chips and artificial intelligence (AI) in its latest five-year targets, laying out a technological blueprint to vie for global influence with the US. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) singled out key areas in which to achieve “major breakthroughs in core technologies,” including high-end semiconductors, operating systems, computer processors and cloud computing — areas in which US firms now hold sway. Beijing would also aim to get 56 percent of the country on faster 5G networks. Nationwide research and development spending is to increase by more than 7 percent annually, which “is expected to
GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), the world’s No. 3 supplier of silicon wafers, yesterday said that it has acquired a 70.27 percent stake in German competitor Siltronic AG, in a public bid that ended four days ago. With the acquisition of a controlling stake in Siltronic, the Taiwanese company is to become the world’s second-largest silicon wafer supplier. Last month, GlobalWafers secured more than 50 percent of Siltronic shares with an offer of 4.35 billion euros (US$5.2 billion) in a public tender that was due to end on Feb. 10, but the acceptance period was extended until Monday. In a statement released yesterday, the Hsinchu-based