China's growth picks up
China's economy picked up speed in the first quarter, growing 11.1 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, the government said yesterday. Growth in the world's fourth-largest economy reached 10.7 percent last year and ran at 10.4 percent in the three months to December. The government has set a growth target of 8 percent for this year as a whole. The National Bureau of Statistics said the main measure of inflation, the consumer price index (CPI), rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier. CPI in March alone was up 3.3 percent, suggesting a pick up in price pressures.
US iPhone launch in June
The iPhone, Apple Inc's first mobile handset, is on schedule to hit the US market at the end of June, a senior executive with AT&T Inc said on Wednesday. The firm's wireless unit has an exclusive US deal to sell the highly anticipated new handset. "Our expectations are good. Our testing has been good," said AT&T chief operating officer Randall Stephenson. "The iPhone is on target to launch in June." There had been speculation on some blogs and reports that the iPhone could be delayed due to technical issues. Stephenson said more than 1 million customers have said that they would like to buy one of the phones when they're available for purchase.
Essar buys Minnesota Steel
India's Essar Global announced it would acquire US-based Minnesota Steel for an undisclosed amount in its second takeover of a North American firm this week. Minnesota Steel plans to set up a steel plant with an annual capactiy of 2.5 million tonnes when completed at an estimated cost of US$1.65 billion, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter. Essar said on Monday that it would buy Canadian steelmaker Algoma for US$1.58 billion to tap business opportunities in North America. Essar Global has interests in steel, oil, communications, shipping and construction.
LG goes into the red
South Korea's LG Electronics Inc announced yesterday it swung to a loss during the first quarter to March amid sluggish display sales. The country's second largest electronics company posted a net loss of 122.6 billion won (US$132 million) during the period compared with a profit of 150.8 billion won in the first quarter of last year. Sales rose four percent year-on-year to 6.03 trillion won but operating profit dropped 9.3 percent year-on-year to 172.9 billion won, the firm said. The company attributed the quarterly loss to seasonally weak demand for flat display panels for TVs or computer monitors.
Motorola posts loss
Motorola Inc posted its first quarterly loss since 2004 on Wednesday as dismal sales continued to vex the struggling mobile phone maker. Worse still, the company said its misfortunes would continue through the second quarter. Blaming disappointing sales of mobile phones, as well as expenses to cover a legal settlement, restructuring efforts and an acquisition, the telecommunications equipment maker said it lost US$181 million, or US$0.08 per share, in the first three months of this year. That compares with a profit of US$686 million, or US$0.27 per share, during the same period a year earlier.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
‘INCREASINGLY FAVORED’: Taiwan’s ‘transparent laws and efficient courts’ as well as its financial institutions give it a major advantage to become a financial hub, Tsai said Taiwan would liberalize banking and investment rules to establish itself as a regional financial hub, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Taiwan Capital Market Forum in Taipei yesterday. Recent world events could be an opening for Taiwan to become an international center for business investments and financial management, Tsai said at the forum, which was organized by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister publication of the Taipei Times). “We’re facing unknowns in the world right now, including the continuing impact of US-China trade tensions and the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19,” Tsai said. “These bring new challenges and opportunities.” Tsai
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would