Sales surge 63% in Europe
New vehicles registrations last month rose 63 percent from a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said yesterday. The gains erased an early-year decline to leave sales up 0.9 percent for the quarter. Last month’s sales stack up well even relative to before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1.39 million vehicles registered was the highest since June 2019. “Only the critical global supply situation for various semiconductor categories currently has a limiting effect on this upswing,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at the Hannover Messe trade fair on Thursday. March tends to be a seasonally strong time of year for Europe’s auto industry, so registrations were still about 13 percent below what the industry averaged for the month in the decade before the pandemic, the ACEA said.
Google misled users: court
A federal court found that Alphabet Inc’s Google misled some consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday. The commission is seeking declarations and penalties from Google, but it did not specify an amount. “This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” commission Chair Rod Sims said in a statement. The case revolves around Google settings related to its location data collection, location history and “web & app activity.” The court found that Google wrongly claimed it could only collect information from the location history setting on user devices from January 2017 to December 2018.
The central bank is banning the use of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, as payments for goods and services, a decision published in the Official Gazette yesterday showed. The decision comes as many in the nation have turned to cryptocurrencies to shield their savings from rising inflation and the local currency’s slump. The bank said that transactions carried out through the use of cryptocurrencies presented “irrevocable” risks. Crypto assets are “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority. Their market values can be excessively volatile,” the bank said. It also cited their use in “illegal actions due to their anonymous structures,” and their possible use “illegally without the authorization of their holders.” The restriction is to take effect on April 30, the bank said.
Man crowd funds to pay PM
A rights advocate yesterday said that he had raised S$144,389 (US$108,297) through social media to cover defamation damages he had to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), the second such crowdfunding case involving a blogger this month. Lee sued Roy Ngerng (鄞義林) for a blog post in 2014, in which Ngerng allegedly implicated him in impropriety in connection with how funds in the nation’s mandatory retirement savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund, are managed. In 2015, the High Court ordered Ngerng to pay Lee S$150,000 in damages, in addition to S$29,000 in legal fees. Ngerng said he had revived his fundraising campaign after Leong Sze Hian (梁實軒), a financial adviser, raised S$133,000 this month to cover damages that he was ordered to pay Lee in a separate defamation case.
Dutch brewing company Heineken NV yesterday said that it has reached an agreement to acquire a subsidiary brewery of Taiwan’s Sanyo Whisbih Group (三洋維士比集團). Heineken is to assume majority ownership and management rights of the Long Chuan Zuan Co (龍泉鑽興業) brewery in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township (內埔), the Dutch company said. It would become the first multinational brewing company to operate brewery in Taiwan once the acquisition is completed. The deal has been approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission, but details of the financial transaction cannot be disclosed at this time, as terms of the settlement have not been completed,
LOOK WHO OWES: China’s exposure to Taiwanese banks was the second-largest, with Luxembourg third, followed by Hong Kong and Japan, the central bank said The US remained the largest debtor country to Taiwan’s banking sector for a 27th consecutive quarter in the first quarter of this year, with its exposure rising 8.3 percent from a quarter earlier on the back of an increase in US bonds, the central bank said on Friday. Data compiled by the central bank showed that outstanding international claims by Taiwanese banks on a direct risk basis to the US stood at US$125.38 billion as of the end of March. Department of Financial Inspection deputy head Pan Ya-hui (潘雅慧) said that the US Federal Reserve’s launch of a rate hike cycle in
GREEN CITY: The company is set to invest US$8 billion to make electric vehicles and batteries for a new city that would rely entirely on renewable energy sources Indonesia said that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) is considering investing in the country’s new capital city, a move that would bolster the US$34 billion construction project. Hon Hai, which is known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), is looking at setting up an electric bus system and an Internet of Things network at Nusantara, as Indonesia’s new capital is to be called, Indonesian Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia said in a statement yesterday. Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Saturday to discuss the company’s plan to invest US$8 billion to build a manufacturing plant
WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY: Costco Wholesale said it expected the purchase of the remaining 45 percent stake to add 1 to 1.5 percent to its earnings per share US-based Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said that it had purchased the remaining 45 percent stake in Costco President Taiwan Inc (台灣好市多) for US$1.05 billion, making the local company a fully-owned unit. “We estimate that the purchase would add about 1 to 1.5 percent to [our] earnings per share,” Costco said in a statement. Costco President Taiwan was established as a joint venture with Kaohsiung-based President Group (大統集團), which held a 45 percent stake. Since the first Costco store opened in Kaohsiung in 1997, 14 outlets have been set up in Taiwan, company data showed. PROFITABLE Three Costco stores in Taiwan — in Taipei’s Neihu