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.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) founder Jack Ma (馬雲) has been living in Tokyo for almost six months after disappearing from public view following China’s crackdown on the tech sector, the Financial Times reported yesterday, citing multiple unnamed sources. The billionaire has kept a low profile since the crackdown, which has included Chinese regulators scrapping the initial public offering of Ma’s Ant Group Co (螞蟻集團) and issuing Alibaba with record fines. However, the Times said he has spent much of the past six months with his family in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, along with visits to the US and Israel. The
‘REVOLUTION’: Elon Musk complained over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on Apple Store transactions and said the technology company has stopped advertising on Twitter Twitter Inc owner Elon Musk on Monday opened fire against Apple Inc over its tight control of what is allowed on the App Store, saying the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform. Musk also joined the chorus crying foul over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion-plus mobile devices. A series of Twitter posts fired off by Musk included a meme of a car with his first name on it veering onto a highway off-ramp labeled “Go to War,” instead
‘COMPETITIVE EDGE’: The local semiconductor sector would continue to outstrip the global industry, whose revenue is expected to contract 3.6 percent, ITRI said The production value of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry would expand 6.1 percent annually to about NT$5 trillion (US$161.5 billion) next year, as demand for advanced chips used in high-performance-computing and artificial intelligence devices are less prone to mounting inflation and external uncertainties, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said yesterday. That means the local semiconductor sector would continue to outstrip the global semiconductor industry, whose output is expected to contract 3.6 percent annually to US$596 billion next year, Gartner Inc has said. However, ITRI’s latest forecast represents a downgrade from its previous projection of 10 percent growth, as demand for PCs,
GLOBAL EXPANSION: The manufacturer said it increased its stake in the Chinese unit to 1.5 billion yuan and started rolling out electric Lordstown trucks at its Ohio plant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) has increased its investments in the Czech Republic and China by more than NT$6 billion (US$196 million) as part of its global expansion. The company, known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) internationally, has also begun shipping electric pickup trucks produced for US brand Lordstown Motors Corp. In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Friday, Hon Hai said it has raised investments in its Czech subsidiary Foxteq CZ by US$58.98 million through its PCE Paragon Solutions Kft unit. In the Czech Republic, Hon Hai has a research-and-development center and a product design center, and it assembles monitors, cellphones,