Apple’s market value soars
Apple, maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, surpassed Chinese oil giant PetroChina (中石油) during trading on Thursday to become the world’s second-largest company in terms of market value. Apple shares hit a record US$292.76 during trading on Wall Street, giving the California gadget-maker a market capitalization of US$266 billion, more than PetroChina’s US$265 billion. Apple shares eventually closed at US$288.92, putting PetroChina back on top at the end of the day. ExxonMobile is the largest company in the world with a market capitalization of US$310 billion.
Branson eyeing hotels
After venturing into space tourism, British billionaire Richard Branson is seeking to expand his Virgin Group into the luxury hotel sector in North America. Already established as one of the world’s leaders in services ranging from mobile phones and music to air transportation, Branson now wants to enter the highly competitive hotel market. According to its Web site, Virgin Hotels aims to acquire up to US$500 million in properties in a number of key US cities, including New York, Las Vegas and Miami, over the next three years.
Olam, Louis Dreyfus in talks
Singapore-based commodities trader Olam International said yesterday it held “preliminary confidential discussions” with French rival Louis Dreyfus Commodities that could lead to a merger. In a statement to the Singapore Exchange where it is listed, Olam said the talks were still in their preliminary stage. Olam told shareholders that “it had engaged in preliminary confidential discussions with Louis Dreyfus Commodities in relation to a possible business collaboration which may take the form of, among others, a merger.” It emphazised, however, that the talks “are still preliminary and that no definitive agreements in relation to the possible collaboration have been entered into as at the date of this announcement.”
KNOC’s Dana bid picks up
South Korea’s state oil firm said yesterday its takeover bid for British oil explorer Dana Petroleum had won support from 64 percent of its shareholders. Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), which plans to secure at least 75 percent so it can delist the Aberdeen-based company, said in a statement its £18-a-share offer is now wholly unconditional. The Korean firm made its first approach to Dana in July, but the two companies’ management could not agree on a price. On Aug. 20 KNOC went straight to the shareholders with a £1.87 billion (US$2.9 billion) bid.
Business confidence up: Ifo
A closely watched survey showed that German business confidence has improved slightly this month — its fourth consecutive monthly increase. The Ifo institute said yesterday that its business confidence index edged up to 106.8 points this month from 106.7 last month. The index is a key indicator for the German economy, Europe’s biggest. Ifo said companies were increasingly positive about their current situation, but were more skeptical about the outlook for the coming six months. Strong exports helped the German economy grow 2.2 percent in the April-June period compared with the previous quarter. However, that pace is expected to slow in the year’s second half.
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
BIDEN NOD: A China watcher said that the inclusion of Taiwan is notable, as it is the only democratic state on the list that Washington does not officially recognize Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event. The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan. The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting
‘BADGE OF HONOR’: Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene, who is on China’s travel ban list, said delegation members joked that they would be joining her on it soon A delegation led by the chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan yesterday arrived in Taipei to participate in a conference on democracy later this week. The group, led by Matas Maldeikis, a Lithuanian lawmaker and an outspoken critic of China, touched down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:18am yesterday. Maldeikis said at the airport that he expected the trip to enhance understanding between Taiwan and Lithuania after cooperation between the two sides took a big step forward this past year. “This trip will be another step in understanding each other because we are dealing with the same challenges,”
GET A BOOST: After considering the potential for local outbreaks amid an increase in cases abroad, a committee recommended adolescents receive their second shots The level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended until Dec. 13, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, as it advised people in six high-risk groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. It also recommended that adolescents aged 12 to 17 who had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receive a second shot. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nationwide level 2 alert would remain in place for two more weeks from today. Chen said that during New Year’s events eating and drinking might be allowed in designated areas, while