HKL converts upscale office
The biggest landlord in Hong Kong’s Central business district is opening its first flexible office space in one of its premium buildings to capture the demand for agile workplace leasing. Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd (HKL, 香港置地) converted two floors in Edinburgh Tower into a 320-desk flexible workspace, which opened its doors yesterday. Leasing term in the office ranges from as short as three months to three years. HKL said the space mainly targets financial companies and professional services. An unnamed international financial institution has rented a suite, it said.
May exports surge 49.6%
Exports last month surged 49.6 percent from last year’s dismal level, as record jumps in shipments to the US and Europe helped boost an economy still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic at home, data released yesterday by the Ministry of Finance showed. The figures were largely in line with the median forecast from analysts. Shipments of vehicles and auto parts more than doubled, despite a shortage of semiconductors that has crimped vehicle production in the US and other markets. Shipments to the US gained 87.9 percent, those to the EU climbed 69.6 percent and exports to China climbed 23.6 percent.
UK in EV battery talks
The British government is in talks with six companies to build gigafactories to produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the Financial Times reported yesterday, citing people briefed on the discussions. Ford Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co, LG Corp, Samsung Electronics Co, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report said. The government’s plan to prohibit the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030 and hybrids by 2035 would require the nation’s vehicle plants to shift to producing electric models.
Vacation home sales surge
US real estate became a hot commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but an industry survey released on Tuesday said vacation homes were even hotter, underscoring how those who could afford it sought comfort far from cities, despite the economy’s collapse. The share of vacation homes sold out of all existing home sales is usually about 5 percent annually, but last year, it rose to 5.5 percent, and was at 6.7 percent for the first four months of this year, the National Association of Realtors said, with the ratio hitting 8 percent in April alone.
Zuckerberg’s rating slips
Mark Zuckerberg’s approval among some Facebook Inc employees has slipped, dislodging him from Glassdoor’s ranking of the Top 100 CEOs, a list he has been on annually since 2013. Worker sentiment on Zuckerberg, as measured by Glassdoor surveys taken by more than 700 Facebook employees from May last year to last month, declined particularly in the last months of last year and early this year, when Facebook was managing the aftermath of the US presidential election and misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic. While Zuckerberg still managed a rating of 88 percent, higher than the average 73 percent approval rating for CEOs generally, that was not enough for the top 100 list, where Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella scored 97 percent and Apple Inc’s Tim Cook scored 95 percent.
This time was supposed to be different. The memorychip sector, famous for its boom-and-bust cycles, had changed its ways. A combination of more disciplined management and new markets for its products — including 5G technology and cloud services — would ensure that companies delivered more predictable earnings. Yet, less than a year after memory companies made such pronouncements, the US$160 billion industry is suffering one of its worst routs ever. There is a glut of the chips sitting in warehouses, customers are cutting orders and product prices have plunged. “The chip industry thought that suppliers were going to have better control,” said
Enimmune Corp (安特羅生技) has obtained marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its EnVAX-A71 vaccine for enterovirus 71 (EV-71), becoming the nation’s first enterovirus vaccine completely made in Taiwan, it said yesterday. After spending 13 years and NT$1.5 billion (US$49.77 million) on the research and development of the vaccine, Enimmune plans to start manufacturing and marketing it by the end of March, the company said in a statement, without disclosing customer order figures. “It is possible that the vaccine would not be included in a national vaccination program initially, and consumers would need to pay for it themselves,” parent
Vaccine skeptics blocking transfusions for life-saving surgeries, Facebook groups inciting violence against doctors and a global search for unvaccinated donors — COVID-19 misinformation has bred a so-called “pure blood” movement. The movement spins anti-vaccine narratives focused on unfounded claims that receiving blood from people inoculated against COVID-19 “contaminates” the body. Some have advocated for blood banks that draw from “pure” unvaccinated people, while medics in North America say they have fielded requests from people demanding transfusions from donors who have not received a vaccine. In closed social media groups, vaccine skeptics — who brand themselves as “pure bloods” — promote violence against doctors
Asteroid mining start-up AstroForge Inc is planning to launch its first two missions to space this year as it seeks to extract and refine metals from deep space. The first launch, scheduled for April, is to test AstroForge’s technique for refining platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material. The second, planned for October, would scout for an asteroid near Earth to mine. The missions are part of AstroForge’s goal of refining platinum-group metals from asteroids, with the aim of bringing down the cost of mining these metals. It also hopes to reduce the massive amount of carbon emissions that stem from mining