Indonesia boosts local coal
Indonesia’s state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) yesterday said that together with the Indonesian Ministry of Energy it was strengthening a coal delivery monitoring system to ensure enforcement of domestic sales rules and energy security. The world’s biggest thermal coal exporter introduced an export ban on Jan. 1 as coal inventories at local power plants were at critically low levels, amid low compliance with a so-called Domestic Market Obligation (DMO). Under the DMO, miners must sell 25 percent of their output to the local market with a price cap of US$70 per tonne for power plants, below the current market price. Coal deliveries to local power plants will be monitored throughout the supply chain by PLN and a ministry department, while miners would receive automated warnings for any late shipments.
LG prices shares
LG Energy Solution priced shares to raise 12.75 trillion won (US$10.7 billion) in South Korea’s biggest initial public offering, setting aside concerns about battery fires that led to a mass recall of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars. At 300,000 won apiece, the shares were priced at the top of the marketed range, Seoul-based LG Energy said in a filing yesterday. The deal values the battery maker at about US$59 billion, ranking it the third-biggest company on the benchmark KOSPI, behind chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc. The offering was 2,023 times subscribed by institutional investors, LG Energy said. The firm is seeking to increase production capacity to meet burgeoning global demand for electric-vehicle batteries and improve the quality of its cells following a US$1.9 billion recall of General Motors Co’s Bolt EVs. It also wants to close the gap with market leader, China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (寧德時代).
Economy gains ground
The economy in November surpassed its size from before the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time with surprisingly strong growth before the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 struck. GDP rose 0.9 percent from October, when it gained 0.2 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Output was 0.7 percent above its level in February 2020, before the pandemic started. Growth was driven by stronger-than-expected gains in construction and manufacturing. However, economists are forecasting contractions last month and this month, when the virus led to unprecedented levels of staff absences.
Outbreak adds to stress
More global automakers have been caught in China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak in Tianjin, adding further stress to already strained supply chains. A production plant operated by Volkswagen AG’s (VW) joint venture with FAW Group (中國第一汽車集團) has been shuttered since Monday, along with a gearbox supplier controlled by the German automaker, VW said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. They join a Toyota Motor Corp factory that has been closed for five days. The closure of the VW plant might hit production of Tayron, Tayron X and Tayron plug-in hybrid models, and the Audi Q3, the company said. VW said that it expects to resume output “very soon” and catch up with lost production. Volkswagen has about 8,000 employees in Tianjin. The Toyota plant produces about 500,000 vehicles a year, including models such as the Corolla sedan and Rav4 SUV.
POTENTIAL SETBACK: Although Chinese chip designers and foundry firms already have US EDA software, they might be unable to update those programs under new US rules The US’ latest ban on advanced electronic design automation (EDA) software exports to China might hinder Chinese chip companies from accessing advanced semiconductor technology, as they attempt to upgrade to 3-nanometer processes in the next three to five years, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Friday announced bans on EDA tools for gate-all-around field-effect transistors (GAAFET), a new-generation semiconductor technology that US chipmaker Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co from South Korea are adopting to make 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer chips. The bureau in a statement said that gate-all-around field-effect transistor
WIDENING THE FIELD: Human resources managers must drop prejudices regarding gender, appearance and age to find the best candidates, Micro Technology said The job market for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry remained tight this quarter, as hiring activity slowed from a record high last quarter, a survey released yesterday by online human resource firm 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) showed. Ongoing labor shortages have prompted local semiconductor firms to recruit more women and foreigners in Taiwan and in Southeast Asia, the job bank said. The talent gap in the first quarter reached 35,000 people per month, a surge of 39.8 percent from the same period last year, as the contactless economy and digital transformation shore up demand for semiconductors, 104 Job Bank said in its annual report
POSITIVE CULTURE: Pursuing 12-inch wafers earlier than peers helped TSMC lead the industry, said a former executive, whose main regret was working for SMIC in China Corporate culture at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is what made the chipmaker a leading player in the global industry, a former executive said in an interview with California’s Computer History Museum. “One of the really important reasons that TSMC succeeded” is the culture at the firm, where “if equipment went down at two o’clock in the morning, we just called an equipment engineer,” and the worker would not complain, said former TSMC joint chief operating officer Chiang Shan-yi (蔣尚義). “We didn’t really do anything special, anything great, but we didn’t make any major mistakes,” when compared with competitors, such
Cloud computing equipment company Wiwynn Corp (緯穎科技), which counts Meta Platforms Inc as one of its key customers, is boosting capacity expansion in Malaysia through a new investment of about NT$1.94 billion (US$64.7 million), it said yesterday in a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The investment, which aims to help the company with business development and strategic arrangements, would be made through subsidiary Wiwynn Technology Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd to build a new factory, Wiwynn said in the filing. The announcement came about one-and-a-half months after the company started phase II of its new server printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)