Mitsubishi group companies vowed yesterday to stick by struggling Mitsubishi Motors after Daimler-Chrysler said it had given up on the auto maker and would try to sell its 37 percent stake. \nThe decision by the German-American company, which took even Mitsubishi Motors by sur-prise, left its strategy to become a global car maker in disarray and threw the future of the money-losing Japanese firm into doubt. \nDaimlerChyrsler said on Thursday it would not participate in a rescue capital increase planned by Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) because it could not agree on an acceptable deal with other shareholders in the Mitsubishi group. \nIt also said it would not provide any further financial support to Mitsubishi, the only unprofitable carmaker in Japan. \nBut three Mitsubishi group firms -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi -- said they would continue to support the company. \nThe three hold a combined 23 percent stake in MMC. \nA DaimlerChrysler spokesman in Germany said the company's stake in Mitsubishi Motors would be booked as discontinued business until a buyer could be found. \n"This clearly means separation," the spokesman said. \nThe decision was reached at an extraordinary meeting of the DaimlerChrysler supervisory and management boards on Thursday and just two weeks after chief executive Juergen Schrempp defended his global strategy in front of angry shareholders. \nMitsubishi had been expected to seek shareholder approval on April 30 for a ?700 billion (US$6.39 billion) bailout. \nSources and media had said DaimlerChrysler would fund more than half of that, with plans to consolidate the Japanese company into its books within a few years. Mitsubishi group firms were expected to provide more than ?100 billion. \nMitsubishi Motors said it was evaluating the situation and that chief executive Rolf Eckrodt was in touch with DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi group companies. \n"The move will leave Mitsubishi Motors with no choice but to shrink its business operations," said Hajime Yagi, a general manager at Meiji Dresdner Asset Manage-ment in Tokyo. \nReeling from losses on easy-term car loans in the US, the maker of the Pajero sport utility vehicle is expecting a net loss of ?72 billion for the 12 months to March 31. \nIt had a profit of ?37.36 billion the previous year. \nMitsubishi Motors' net automotive debt stood at around ?726 billion six months ago, while total interest-bearing debt was ?1.141 trillion. \n"This could be the end for Mitsubishi if nobody else injects fresh capital," one industry source said. \nJapanese government officials also expressed concern. \nDaimlerChrysler bought the stake in Mitsubishi over three years ago with a view to expanding in Asia, and the decision to cut its losses will intensify pressure on Schrempp, who faced calls to resign at the annual shareholder meeting on April 7.
Taipei on Friday rejected Hanoi’s characterization of its recent live-fire drill near Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) as “illegal,” saying that Taiwan’s claim to the small island in the South China Sea was “unquestionable.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement that the comments made by its Vietnamese counterpart about the military’s routine live-fire drills near Itu Aba on Tuesday were “unacceptable.” Earlier on Friday, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang called Taiwan’s military activity “a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty,” saying it had caused tensions and complicated the situation in the region. Hang
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said it is more than doubling its US investment to US$40 billion as it plans to make 3-nanometer chips in 2026 at a second Arizona fab, adding to the chipmaker’s original plan of building a US$12 billion fab to make 4-nanometer chips in 2024. The investment would mark the largest foreign direct investment in Arizona’s history and one of the largest foreign direct investments in the history of the US, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said in a statement yesterday. In addition to the more than 10,000 construction workers at the site, TSMC’s two fabs
ENHANCEMENT: The sale would update Taiwan’s Patriot missile system to improve its missile defensive capability and deter threats, the US Department of State said The US has proposed selling Taiwan as many as 100 of its most advanced Patriot air-defense missiles along with radar and support equipment in a deal valued at US$882 million, according to a US Department of State notice obtained by Bloomberg News. The proposal was made under the provisions of a 2010 sale and so technically is not new. It is classified as an enhancement to the earlier deal, with a potential total value of US$2.81 billion. The upgrade would not change the overall value of that deal, which infuriated Beijing at the time and led it to halt planned military exchanges
‘UNITED FRONT’ TOOL? There are already many accounts on Douyin impersonating government agencies, and even Premier Su Tseng-chang, DPP Legislator Mark Ho said Lawmakers and a number of experts yesterday called on the government to ban or heavily regulate Douyin (抖音) over concerns that the short-video platform could be used by China to spread disinformation. Owned by ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), Douyin and its international version, TikTok, are a subject of concern in democracies worldwide because of potential manipulation by the Chinese government. FBI Director Chris Wray on Friday said that Beijing might have the ability to control TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, “which allows them to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations.” TikTok could also be used to collect personal data