■ CREDIT CARDS
China to allow foreign cards
Citigroup Inc and four other banks will become the first foreign institutions allowed to issue credit cards on their own in China once they meet regulatory standards, the government said. Foreign banks have been allowed to issue cards since 2004 but until now were required to work through local partners. "After they have satisfied technical standards, the banks can officially start bank card services," a representative of the China Banking Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday on a government Web site.
Chevron signs CNPC deal
US energy giant Chevron Corp has signed a 30-year product-sharing contract with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) to jointly develop a large gas field in southwestern China. The gas block, occupying 1,969km2, marked China's largest onshore exploration involving a foreign group, said a CNPC statement released Tuesday. Under the terms, CNPC, the parent of China's largest oil producer PetroChina, will hold a 51 percent stake in the Chuandongbei gas block in Sichuan Province while Chevron has the remaining 49 percent, it said. The field has proven reserves of 175.97 billion cubic meters.
Matsushita in OLED talks
Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial, Canon and Hitachi are in talks on a multibillion-dollar deal to team up in thin panels for televisions and other electronics, a report said yesterday. The three companies are in the final stage of negotiations on forming an alliance to produce organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels, the Nikkei Shimbun economic daily said without naming sources. They also aim to invest £300 billion (US$2.6 billion) to build a new factory to make small and midsized liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels, it said. The three companies declined to comment on the report, saying nothing had been decided.
■ PRODUCT SAFETY
Chinese toys recalled
A Japanese importer is recalling 230,000 toys made in China due to excessive levels of toxic substances, an official said yesterday, the latest in a wave of global recalls of Chinese goods. The recall, which began on Tuesday, covers toys that were sold from 2004 up to the beginning of December this year, an official of Marushin Toys said. According to Japan's Toy Association Web site, the importer slapped fake safety labels on 16 items without the necessary authorization or inspections. Among the recalled toys, at least 132,000 contained excessive levels of lead and other chemicals, the association said. It was unable to check the remainder as there were none left in stock.
British bank eyes share
British banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks to buy 19.9 percent of Suzhou Trust in China, its latest attempt to ramp up its position in the Chinese market, state media said yesterday. "The two parties have got initial results in negotiations over key issues such as the selling price and the size of the stake," the 21st Century Business Herald cited an unnamed source close to the deal as saying. The value of the deal was not disclosed, the newspaper said. The potential deal would be the Royal Bank of Scotland's second purchase of Chinese financial assets. It currently holds 8.25 percent of Bank of China, one of the nation's big four state-owned lenders.
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had