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.
Facebook Inc on Wednesday reported its profit doubled in the second quarter as digital advertising surged, but warned of cooler growth in the months ahead in an update that sent its shares sinking. Profit rose to US$10.4 billion on revenue of US$29 billion, a 56 percent increase from last year, mainly from an increase in ad revenue, Facebook said. The number of people using the social network monthly climbed to 2.9 billion, a year-on-year gain of 7 percent, while about 3.5 billion people used at least one of the company’s apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. “We had a strong quarter, as we
FURTHER TAX MEASURES NEEDED? Corporate owners accounted for almost 30 percent of empty houses, many of which are held by firms that own 10 or more properties The number of unoccupied houses nationwide totaled 876,000 units last year, or 11.94 percent of all houses, the Ministry of the Interior said in a report issued on Thursday. Almost 30 percent of empty houses were owned by companies, suggesting that many corporate property owners engage in house hoarding, the ministry said. Excluding developers and builders, companies still owned 20 percent of empty houses, it said. The report is based on housing units’ electricity use and considers properties that use less than 60 kilowatt-hours per month as unoccupied. The study contradicts Ministry of Finance reports saying that house hoarding subsided and there is no
The Investment Commission has approved a plan by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to expand production at its plant in Nanjing, China. The plan was approved because the investment would come from the chipmaker’s earnings from the Nanjing plant and would not have an impact on its paid-in capital, the commission said. In addition, TSMC has pledged to invest NT$600 billion (US$21.43 billion) to NT$650 billion in Taiwan to create more jobs over the next three years, and has made efforts to protect intellectual property to prevent confidential business information from being leaked, it said. The
‘No SUPPLY BOTTLENECK’: Shipments would proceed as planned from the facility, which produces processors for a new line of iPhones to be launched next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) shipments would not be affected by the contamination of gas used in the manufacturing process at one of its key plants in Tainan, the firm said yesterday. While some TSMC production lines in Tainan’s Southern Taiwan Science Park received gas supplies that were found to be substandard, the chipmaker continued production using gas from other sources, the company said. Local media reported that the contamination was discovered at the world’s largest contract chipmaker’s Fab 18 on Thursday night and that production would be affected during four days of cleanup work. While not confirming that the contamination