Vanguard International Semiconductor Co (世界先進) yesterday said it is seeking new merger-and-acquisition (M&A) opportunities and other ways to expand capacity, as increasing 5G smartphone penetration and a pick-up in the automotive sector are fueling demand for its chips. The company is also counting on a rebound in the global economy, which is forecast to grow 5 percent this year after contracting by an estimated 4 percent last year, amid optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic would be tamed as vaccinations spread, it said. Vanguard, which makes power management chips and driver ICs for flat panels, is feeling the robust demand. The chipmaker said its factories are already running at full capacity and are unable to fill some customers’ demand. It has recently implemented a new pricing scheme, charging higher prices if customers want to secure additional capacity that still needs to be built. “Demand for 8-inch wafers is pretty strong, mainly driven by the work-from-home, remote learning and stay-at-home entertainment trends, amid the pandemic,” company chairman Fang Leuh (方略) told reporters during the year-end media gathering in Taipei. Demand for driver ICs for flat panels used in TVs, notebooks and other devices are all on the rise, causing widespread supply constraints, Fang said. Overall, the demand for power management chips outpaces supply by more than 10 percent, estimates by some industry researchers showed. “Vanguard will continue to invest in new capacity expansion to support customers’ demand and growth,” Fang said. “Seeking a merger-and-acquisition deal is a direction the management is looking at.” Aside from M&As, Vanguard plans to add a capacity of 10,000 8-inch wafers at its Singapore fab this year and is also considering boosting the capacity of a local fab. A run-up in the penetration rate of 5G smartphones this year is giving a further boost to semiconductor demand, Fang said. Globally, 5G smartphones are forecast to account
The nation’s 5G smartphone penetration rate is forecast to climb to 80 percent by the end of the year, as more affordable handsets become commercially available, Samsung Electronics Taiwan Co (台灣三星電子) said yesterday. “The price of entry-level 5G handsets will probably drop to NT$7,000 to NT$8,000 by the end of the year,” Samsung Taiwan vice president Jacob Chen (陳啟蒙) told reporters during the launch of the company’s new flagship S21 5G smartphone series in Taipei. That represents a significant price drop from NT$12,000 at present, he said. Samsung is lowering handset prices as 5G component supply chains mature, Chen said, adding that folding phones are also likely to see a price drop. Prices for the S21 series are NT$4,000 to NT$7,000 lower compared with the previous generation. Samsung expects sales of the new 5G phones to increase 20 percent compared with the S20 series, Chen said. “The sales of flagship handsets were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,” he said. However, market penetration for 5G accounts would lag significantly behind handset penetration, he said. “Telecoms have been proactive in encouraging users to upgrade to 5G, but so far we haven’t seen a ‘killer app,’” he said. Following the debut of 5G services last year, about 35 percent of Taiwanese mobile users are forecast to upgrade to 5G services by the end of this year, Chen said. Noting that handsets priced at more than NT$20,000 account for 40 percent of the Taiwanese market, but make up 70 percent of the market value, Chen said the focus for Samsung is on the flagship model market. “We aim to be No. 1 in the Taiwan high-end Android market,” he said. The S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra are to go on sale on Jan. 29 in Taiwan.
Investors are advised to remain cautious and avoid stocks with high price-to-earnings (PE) ratios, weak cash flows and low earnings growth, as equity markets are overheating, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Tuesday. “We do not think that major stock markets are in a bubble now, although some securities’ PE ratios have been pushed too high as their share prices advanced,” head of investment strategy Allen Liu (劉家豪) told the Taipei Times at a meeting in Taipei. Liu was referring to the ratio of a company’s stock price to its earnings per share. Companies with high PE ratios are often regarded as overvalued. “However, given ample funds due to governments’ relaxed monetary policies and quantitative-easing programs, companies with high PE ratios are not necessarily bad targets,” Liu said. Companies with high PE ratios could still be worth a look if their earnings are expected to grow this year, as higher earnings per share would drive down their PE ratios to a more reasonable level, he said. Besides, firms that would benefit from future economic trends, such as digitalization or self-driving vehicles, could be good targets as their growth momentum could last longer, he said. That is why some local tech stocks, whose profits have not risen significantly, have kept on advancing, as investors are banking on them benefiting from these trends, Liu said. “It is safer and more important to buy the right stocks at a higher cost than buying cheap, but wrong stocks,” he added. Investors should also check companies’ cash flow, he said. A company that forecasts rising profits, but has cash flow problems might not be trustworthy, he said. HSBC Global Asset Management Taiwan Ltd (匯豐中華證券投信) chief investment officer Julian Lin (林經堯) on Wednesday also said that stock markets are not in a bubble yet, as governments’ quantitative easing programs are forecast to continue. Given
FUNDING: After hitting a record NT$813.19 billion last year, corporate bond issuance could grow further this year if interest rates remain low, a TPEX official said
Corporate bond issuance last year hit a record NT$813.19 billion (US$28.55 billion), up 106 percent from a year earlier, as companies took advantage of lower interest rates to repay old debt or fund new investments, Taipei Exchange (TPEX) data showed. Straight bond issuance totaled 209 last year, valued at NT$743.59 billion, up 109 percent from NT$354.85 billion in 2019, while convertible bond issuance totaled 100, valued at NT$69.61 billion, up 71 percent from NT$40.6 billion, the data showed. All of the straight bonds issued were fixed rate, with five-year bonds accounting for 41 percent, seven-year bonds 23 percent and bonds maturing in more than 10 years making up 24 percent. Most of the straight bonds’ coupon rates fell below 1 percent in line with the central bank’s rate cuts. The lowest was 0.36 percent — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) NT$1.9 billion bond issue last month, which was rated “twAAA” by Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), the data showed. Most of the straight bonds with coupon rates of more than 1 percent had a longer maturity, such as Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s (台灣高鐵) NT$10.5 billion 30-year bonds with a coupon rate of 1.3 percent, the data showed. “It was not surprising that corporate bond issuance rose last year, as even though companies did not have plans for expansion or new investments, they could borrow money to repay old debt, which would be more economical,” a TPEX official said by telephone. Whether bond issuance would maintain its strong growth this year remains to be seen, the official said, adding that if the low interest environment continues, it might provide an incentive for new bond issuance. The biggest bond issuer last year was TSMC, with NT$120 billion, followed by Taiwan Power Co (台電) with NT$84.1 billion, and Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), with NT$40 billion, TPEX data showed. Meanwhile,
Taiwanese crowdfunding campaigns raised more than NT$2.5 billion (US$87.78 million) last year, with one effort taking in NT$124 million, according to the crowdfunding tracking Web site Backtail. The number of individual donations also grew significantly to more than 1 million, rising from 660,000 in 2019, Backtail data showed. The biggest crowdfunding was for a proposed historical film trilogy by Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), which raised NT$124 million from 23,956 individual donations, the Web site showed. The films, with the first one expected to be released in 2024, is to feature Taiwan’s early history from the perspective of Aboriginal Siraya hunters and gatherers, Chinese pirates and Dutch missionaries. Wei is the widely acclaimed screenwriter and director of Cape No. 7 (海角七號), Kano and Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (賽德克:巴萊). The other nine were all related to group buying, a business model in which companies offer their products at significantly reduced prices on the condition that a minimum number of people commit to purchasing them. In the second-highest grossing campaign, 2,724 people pledged NT$53.14 million to buy the Ecovacs robot vacuum model, according to the Web site. Backtail’s review also drew attention to a crowdfunded “Taiwan Can Help” advertisement, which was published in the New York Times in April to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO and to offer global assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That campaign received 26,980 donations in less than one day — the second-highest number for any Taiwanese crowdfunding last year — and raised a total of NT$19.13 million, the Web site showed. In total, the 1,500 crowdfunding campaigns in Taiwan brought in more than NT$2.5 billion last year, compared with about 900 campaigns and NT$1.7 billion in funds the previous year, the data showed. Backtail’s statistics included information from the local crowdfunding platforms zeczec (嘖嘖), Flying V
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on Thursday said it would tighten regulations on property insurance companies and require them to adjust their policy premiums at least every five years. The measure aims to prevent insurers from engaging in price wars or setting unreasonably high rates, the commission said. The amendment to the Regulations Governing Pre-sale Procedures for Insurance Products (保險商品銷售前程序作業準則) would take effect in two months, Insurance Bureau Deputy Director-General Wang Li-hui (王麗惠) told a news conference in Taipei. Currently, property insurance companies are required to review their insurance products at least every six months and adapt their premiums based on their loss ratio or expense loading ratio, but they are not required to adjust them routinely, Wang said. The loss ratio is the losses an insurer incurs due to claims as a percentage of premiums earned, while the expense ratio is the ratio of the administrative and maintenance expenses compared with the premiums. A high loss ratio or expense ratio indicates financial distress, while low ratios suggest that insurance products are overpriced. While insurers are subject to FSC regulation when independently calculating their rates, some tend to be conservative about raising their premiums even though their loss ratio or expense ratio is high, Wang said. Those insurers are afraid of losing market share, as this hurts their financial strength in the long term, she said. On the other hand, some insurers are not proactive about trimming their premiums, even as their loss ratio or expense ratio decreases, Wang added. The tightened regulations would require insurers to regularly assess and adjust their rates for vehicle and fire insurance products, Wang said, adding that the rate adjustments would have to be approved by the insurers’ president and reported to the board of directors. Insurers that contravene the regulations would be fined NT$600,000 to NT$6 million (US$21,067 to US$210,674), she said, adding
PRESSURE ON: The nine, including oil giant CNOOC, were added to a US blacklist of more than 60 Chinese firms with alleged links to the People’s Liberation Army
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday blacklisted Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Corp (小米) for alleged military links along with the nation’s third-biggest oil company over its drilling in the South China Sea, part of a final push to ratchet up pressure on Beijing before US president-elect Joe Biden takes office. Xiaomi was one of nine firms added to the US Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies. Other firms include state-owned planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (中國商用飛機有限公司), which is central to China’s goal of creating a narrow-body plane that can compete with Boeing Co and Airbus SE. Meanwhile, the US Department of Commerce’s move against China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC, 中國海洋石油), the nation’s main deepwater explorer, denies it access to US technologies without specific permission. It follows a decision last month to blacklist more than 60 other Chinese companies. The new raft of curbs mark a late push by Trump to ensure his pressure campaign against China stays in place long after he leaves office next week. While Biden and many Democrats say they oppose Trump’s tactics on China, the restrictions will give the new president increased leverage over Beijing when his team negotiates on trade with leaders of the world’s second-largest economy. Biden has pledged to work with allies to develop a more coherent strategy against China, though it is not clear whether there would be any immediate shifts in policy. Under an executive order signed by Trump last year targeting what it calls China’s abusive business practices, US investors will need to unwind stakes in designated companies by November. Xiaomi surpassed Apple Inc in smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to the International Data Corp. It joined Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index in September last year after grabbing market share from Huawei Technologies Co (華為) as US
Japan’s major automakers have cut production at various factories due to a worsening global semiconductor shortage brought about as chipmakers struggle to meet soaring demand from consumer-electronics companies. Lockdowns and travel restrictions are prompting housebound shoppers to snap up more phones, game consoles, smart TVs and laptops, which in turn has fueled demand for the chips used in those devices. That means automakers from Toyota Motor Corp to Volkswagen AG are at risk of not getting enough parts to fuel a fledgling recovery in their own industry. China Association of Automobile Manufacturers deputy secretary general Chen Shihua (陳世華) said the chip shortage had caused a relatively big impact on the Chinese auto industry from late last month and might persist into the second quarter. He added that some chipmakers had boosted their prices, so it was hard to measure the impact in terms of vehicle-sales reductions. That has forced automakers all around the world to cut back on production. Toyota yesterday morning said that it would halt four production lines at three plants in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture due to parts shortages. The lines were to resume operation for the afternoon shift, a company spokeswoman said. Toyota on Sunday said that it was cutting production of its full-size pickup truck Tundra at its San Antonio, Texas, plant by about 40 percent this month. In China, Toyota on Monday halted lines at its factory in Guangzhou due to parts shortages. The US firm jointly operates the facility with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co (廣汽集團); the plant has produced upward of 300,000 vehicles annually in recent years, including the Camry. The lines resumed operation on Tuesday eve as the necessary parts were able to be procured, spokeswoman Shino Yamada said. Honda Motor Co is also considering cutting production due to the impact of the chip shortage in China. “We
Samsung Electronics Co on Thursday unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with a stylus for onscreen work called the S Pen, more than a month ahead of its usual annual release schedule for models of its flagship compact phone. Analysts have said offering a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series might signal the South Korean tech giant would merge the S line with its other premium smartphone range, the Note, already equipped with a note-taking stylus. That could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices. Samsung is also looking to grab market share after China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was hit with US sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts have said. An early launch is a likely tactic to capitalize on Huawei’s woes, Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim said. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year. Lim said Samsung faces intense competition in the high-end category from Chinese vendors amid growing demand for devices that can be used for remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as play like videogaming. In the US, the Galaxy S21 price range starts at US$799.99, the S21 Plus version at US$999.99 and the S21 Ultra at US$1,199.99. The series is to be widely available starting on Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online, the company said. With the most advanced processing chip in any Galaxy device, the S21 is 5G compatible and designed for shooting, and viewing video and images as well as onscreen work. The top end of the range, the Ultra — the only version compliant with the S Pen stylus, which has to be bought separately — sports a four-lens rear camera that allows different angles and zoom shots. Samsung plans to offer
China is considering accepting some stranded Australian coal cargoes, an effort that would help ease a logjam of vessels that have stacked up off its coast for months. The shipments that could be cleared are those that arrived before a ban on Australian coal went into effect, said a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. Deliberations are at an initial stage and any decision would need the approval of more senior Chinese leaders, the person said. The broader prohibition on Australian coal remains in place, and ideally the cargoes would be resold to buyers in other countries, the person said. China’s General Administration of Customs did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment. The opaque nature of the Australian ban, which has never been publicly acknowledged by Beijing, makes pinpointing its start date difficult. The government was rumored to have ordered its five biggest utilities to halt Australian purchases as early as May last year, while in October, power stations and steel mills were told to stop using Australian coal. In November, Beijing ordered traders to halt purchases of a raft of Australian commodities, including coal. Relations between the two trading partners have deteriorated since Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was barred from building Australia’s 5G network in 2018. Most of the stranded coal is the type used to make steel, while a smaller portion is used for power generation, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. About 70 ships are waiting to discharge, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg. China has had to contend with record prices for both types of coal this winter. The worst winter freeze in decades has driven heating demand to an all-time high, and thrown the nation’s energy markets into tumult. At the same time, Chinese steel mills are churning out
GLOOMY SKIES: While the 2.6 percent monthly decline was smaller than expected, analysts said the UK was still likely to see a double-dip recession
The UK economy shrank in November for the first time since the initial COVID-19 lockdown last spring, hit by a tightening of social-distancing rules. The 2.6 percent monthly decline was much smaller than most analysts expected — a Reuters poll had pointed to a 5.7 percent contraction — but several economists said the nation was still likely to suffer a double-dip recession. The British economy, which shrank more sharply than any other major advanced economy in the first half of last year, is now 8.5 percent smaller than it was before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February. “It’s clear things will get harder before they get better and today’s figures highlight the scale of the challenge we face,” British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said. However, the rollout of vaccines in Britain — which has been faster than elsewhere in Europe — was a reason to be hopeful, Sunak said. Several economists warned that Britain was still on course for renewed recession, with the economy likely to shrink in both the final quarter of last quarter and the first three months of this year. “A third lockdown means that a double-dip recession in the first quarter of this year may be inevitable, particularly if the current post-Brexit disruption persists through the quarter,” British Chambers of Commerce head Suren Thiru said. The scale of the hit to the economy in November was much smaller than in the first lockdown last year, something the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) attributed to businesses adjusting to social-distancing rules and schools remaining open. However, with a third, tougher lockdown now in place, and the impact of the nation’s new, less open trading relationship with the EU also a drag on business, the country is facing major challenges early this year. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey this week said that
TECHNOLOGY Group urges Prime probe A coalition of public interest advocates on Thursday asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether Amazon.com Inc breaches consumer protection laws with its process for canceling Prime subscriptions. A group led by Public Citizen said in a letter to the commission that the steps required to cancel Prime “are designed to unfairly and deceptively undermine the will of the consumer.” The letter draws on a complaint by Norway’s consumer protection agency, which on Thursday asked Norwegian regulators to determine whether Amazon breached local laws. A company spokesperson said Amazon makes it “clear and easy” to cancel Prime online, by phone or by opting out of automatic renewal. The report by Forbrukerradet, Norway’s state-backed consumer protection agency, documents how Amazon riddles the process with “dark patterns,” or manipulative techniques. ENERGY GE accuses Siemens of theft General Electric Co (GE) accused a Siemens Energy AG subsidiary of using stolen trade secrets to rig bids for lucrative contracts supplying gas turbines to public utilities, and cover up improper business gains totaling more than US$1 billion, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday. GE sued Siemens Energy Inc in a US district court in Virginia, alleging the theft traces back to May 2019, when the industrial conglomerates bid to provide gas turbine equipment and servicing to Dominion Energy Inc, a Virginia power utility that provides electricity to about 4 million customers on the east coast. The suit comes in the wake of Siemens AG spinning off its energy business to create Siemens Energy. GE alleges that Siemens Energy used trade secrets improperly received from a Dominion employee in part to win contracts that would boost the price of its initial public offering that took place in September last year. METALS Platinum price surging The world’s No. 1 platinum miner said the price
TO SPUR REVENUE: The contract chipmaker expects its profit to grow 15 percent this year, outpacing the foundry industry’s projected advance of about 10 percent
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday raised its projected capital spending for this year by 62 percent, a new high, in an attempt to satisfy customer demand for advanced technologies in the production of central processing units, high-performance-computing (HPC) devices and 5G applications. After investing US$17.24 billion last year, TSMC this year plans to spend US$25 billion to US$28 billion on manufacturing equipment and new facilities, including a fab in the US. About 80 percent of the budget would be allocated for developing advanced technologies including 3, 5 and 7-nanometer technologies, the company said. The larger-than-expected capital spending prompted speculation that TSMC might use it to cope with new CPU orders from Intel Corp, rather than demand for smartphone application processors from Apple Inc. “We don’t comment on specific customers or areas. Our capital expenditure is based on long-term demand and the industry mega-trends of 5G and HPC,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a virtual investors’ conference yesterday. CPU, networking and artificial intelligence accelerators would be the main growth drivers in the HPC segment, Wei said. Intel is expected to outsource production of its new CPU, dubbed Core i3, to TSMC in the second half of this year, using TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology, according to TrendForce Corp (集邦科技). The US chip giant is also planning to farm out production of mid and high-end CPU to TSMC, starting in the second half of next year, using 3-nanometer technology, the Taipei-based researcher said. TSMC chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said that strong demand for 3- and 5-nanometer chips in HPC applications gave the chipmaker confidence to boost capital spending at such a significant rate. “I think our business was in the past few years driven by smartphones. From this year, HPC is jumping on the bandwagon,” Liu said. “Our 5-nanometer demand is even stronger than
EXPANSION DRIVE: The investment of NT$2.9 billion to build a logistics center in Taoyuan would create up to 5,000 new jobs, PChome Online said
E-commerce company PChome Online Inc (網路家庭) has pledged to invest NT$2.9 billion (US$101.9 million) in a new smart logistics center in Taoyuan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. The project is part of the government’s Invest in Taiwan initiative to increase the nation’s competitiveness and sophistication in manufacturing, InvesTaiwan Service Center interim spokeswoman Nicole Chen (陳明珠) said. “It doesn’t matter if it is a manufacturing project or a service sector project. The initiative is looking for smart projects with a high degree of automation,” Chen said. The logistics center in the Chunghwa Post Logistics Park (中華郵政物流園區) in Taoyuan’s Gueishan District (龜山) would enhance PChome’s delivery capability and help ship Taiwanese products from small and medium-sized businesses to overseas markets, she said. The company yesterday did not elaborate on the investment. PChome chairman Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志) in May 2019 said that the company would invest NT$3 billion to set up systems and equipment in the new logistics center, and create up to 5,000 jobs. The ministry also announced that Winway Technology Co (穎崴科技), which provides semiconductor testing interfaces, broke ground on a NT$3.25 billion investment in Kaohsiung’s Nantze Export Processing Zone (楠梓加工出口區). Describing Winway as a “hidden champion in semiconductors,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Chuan-neng (林全能) said that the investment would complete the semiconductor cluster at the zone. Winway would provide services to ASE Technology Holding Co (ASE, 日月光投控) and NXP Semiconductors NV, which also have facilities in the zone. “The ministry will keep investing in the zone to make it a quality semiconductor manufacturing hub,” Lin said. The Winway project, which is also part of Invest in Taiwan, is expected to generate NT$1 billion in annual output and create 200 jobs, the ministry said. Export Processing Zone Administration Director-General Huang Wen-guu (黃文谷) said that the zone is “nearing capacity,” urging the government to
Taiwan’s electric vehicle (EV) industry has “three years left” to build its own brand, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) chairman James Huang (黃志芳) said at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, announcing that the council is to hold an electro-mobility trade show in October. Although Taiwanese components make up about 75 percent of Tesla Inc’s vehicles, according to the Chinese-language Commonwealth Magazine, there are no Taiwanese EV brands on the market. “We are looking ahead to 2035 because that is when many countries will be phasing out fossil fuel vehicles,” Huang said. “We all know that Taiwan is strong in EV hardware components, but until we have our own brand, we do not have a voice in the international market.” The council’s goal is to encourage local firms to build a “connected ecosystem centered on EV and autonomous-driving technology,” Huang said. The first edition of the 2035 E-Mobility Taiwan Show would help to spark that development and feature local manufacturers and “international investors from Wall Street and Silicon Valley,” he said. “Taiwan has the hardware supply chain and the software capability... The time has come to combine the two,” Huang said, adding that the nation has three years to “seize the opportunity.” EVs have in the past few months been a hot topic in Taiwan, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) in October last year announcing the launch of an open platform for EV development. Hon Hai at the time said that it aims to secure 10 percent of the world’s EV market by 2025. Hon Hai’s platform is “the Android of EVs,” Huang said, adding that the firm has been positive about participating in the e-mobility show. In June, TAITRA would hold an “e-mobility demonstration day,” where start-ups and university research groups can demonstrate their projects, and compete for a chance to
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday announced it would give incentive bonuses totaling NT$1.7 billion (US$59.7 million) to its employees and those at the firm’s major subsidiaries, after the smartphone chip supplier’s revenue hit US$10 billion last year. This is the biggest incentive bonus the Hsinchu-based handset chip designer has ever distributed in its 23-year history. About 17,000 full-time employees of MediaTek and five of its subsidiaries, including Richtek Technology Corp (立錡科技) and Airoha Technology Corp (絡達科技), would receive a “red envelope” of NT$100,000 each, the company said. “Surpassing US$10 billion is just the beginning. We will continue to [grow] on this basis,” MediaTek said in a statement. MediaTek, which has about 10,000 employees in Taiwan, said it has also allocated 20 percent of its annual distributable earnings for local employees’ year-end bonuses. MediaTek posted NT$322.15 billion in consolidated revenue last year, up 30.84 percent from NT$246.22 billion in 2019, a record for the company, as its 5G smartphone chips were adopted by a growing number of vendors. LG Electronics Co and Chinese smartphone vendors, including Realme Mobile Telecommunications (Shenzhen) Co (銳爾覓移動通信), Xiaomi Corp (小米), Vivo Communication Technology Co (維沃) and Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀), use MediaTek’s 5G Dimensity chips in their latest handsets. MediaTek last quarter overtook Qualcomm Inc as the world’s biggest smartphone chipset supplier for the first time, as its affordable chips gained traction in emerging markets, a tally by market researcher Counterpoint showed.
Presale housing project prices gained modestly across northern Taiwan last quarter due to higher construction costs, with healthy demand and low interest rates also lending support, the Chinese-language Housing Monthly (住展雜誌) reported yesterday. Presale housing projects, for which noticeable price hikes last year prompted the government to tighten credit controls and step up lending inspections, saw prices climb, even in the less popular counties of Yilan and Keelung, the report showed. “The price hikes are likely to continue this year, despite the latest wave of selective credit controls that slow, but do not stop, the pace of the increase,” said Ho Shih-chang (何世昌), the magazine’s research manager. The price upturn would be steeper if it was not for the credit controls that cap the loan-to-value ratios at 55 to 65 percent for corporate and multiple home owners as well as for unsold houses and land financing, Ho said. In Taoyuan, presale housing prices gained 2.5 percent from a quarter earlier to NT$244,000 per ping (3.3m2), with gains most evident in properties near Taoyuan International Airport and the high-speed rail station, Ho said, adding that presale housing prices rose 8.4 percent from a year earlier. Prices in Yilan emerged from years of corrections to grow 3.9 percent quarterly and 2.9 percent annually to NT$213,000, Ho said. While Yilan is popular among tourists, it is less attractive for housing investment due to long travel times to Taipei, Ho said. The government’s plan to extend the high-speed railway system to Yilan has reversed that trend, he said. Presale housing prices in Keelung saw a 2.4 percent increase quarterly and yearly to a record of NT$216,000 per ping, spurred by upscale housing projects, Ho said. In Hsinchu, the most notorious area for sales increases, prices edged up 0.9 percent quarter-on-quarter and 3.1 percent annually to NT$232,000, Ho said. Developers and builders have slightly
HAPPY AT HOME: A survey of Cisco employees showed that 49 percent reported feeling more energized working from home, while 39 percent said they felt healthier
Cisco Systems Inc is next month to open a software development center in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口), the first of its kind for the US firm in the Asia-Pacific Region, the company said on Wednesday. The center is to be inaugurated after the Lunar New Year holiday, which ends on Feb. 16, Cisco vice president of greater China operations George Chen (陳志惟), who is also head of Cisco Systems Taiwan Ltd (台灣思科系統), told a news conference in Taipei. The US information technology (IT), networking and cybersecurity solutions provider also released a workforce report at the news conference. Cisco Taiwan chief technology officer Robert Feng (馮志良) told reporters that the center would house tech start-ups from across the nation. With the assistance of Cisco’s presence, these firms are expected to speed up their product development, he added. In the initial stage, the center would focus on rolling out information security solutions, by combining the resources of Cisco and the start-ups, Feng said. In the long term, Cisco would work with these companies to put out new applications in the global market, he said. Cisco already operates similar centers in the US and Europe. Meanwhile, Chen said that when he assumed the role of head of Cisco Taiwan three years ago, the company had about 60 employees, but now has more than 100, focusing on a wide range of areas, such as information security, IT services and 5G networking. Citing the workforce report, Chen said that last year presented a challenge to enterprises in Taiwan and their employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which led the company to have employees work from home. Despite the adjustment to curtail infections, many employees said they had a positive experience working remotely, as they found they were able to work more efficiently, he said. The workforce report showed that 49 percent of the employees polled
The central bank has repeatedly called on the public and exporters to refrain from selling US dollars, but instead unite to help stabilize the New Taiwan dollar. The nation’s top monetary policymaker early this week issued the pleas on Facebook, saying that as more of its global peers are using social media to convey their messages, it would follow suit. Local companies should not take part in panic selling of the US dollar for fear that the greenback would depreciate further, the bank said in a post. It called the practice “suicidal,” saying that it would not only weaken the US dollar, but also harm corporate profitability. A strong NT dollar has significantly eroded net income at DRAM chipmaker Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技) and smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光), among other tech firms. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) yesterday identified foreign-exchange risks as a factor that might affect its earnings, as it used an exchange rate higher than NT$28 versus the greenback in its revenue guidance for this quarter. As of yesterday, the NT dollar had picked up 5.76 percent since late last year, next only to euro’s 8.33 percent advance and the yuan’s 7.74 percent gain during the same period, the central bank said. Meanwhile, the won appreciated 5.32 percent, while the yen gathered 4.44 percent, over the same period. “A stable exchange rate is favorable for all,” the central bank said in another post. “All participants can lend a helping hand in maintaining an orderly market.” Ongoing foreign-exchange volatility has a lot to do with the practice of major global central banks printing more money, especially the US Federal Reserve, to support their economy, it said.
Taichung-based Full Wang International Development Co (富旺國際開發) reported that revenue for last month surged to NT$1.04 billion (US$36.5 million), thanks to the sale of an industrial property in Taoyuan and profit recognition from a new housing complex in central Taiwan. The figure represented a spike of 5.73 times that of November and a threefold increase from a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Monday. The land in Taoyuan generated NT$910 million in revenue, while a recently completed apartment complex contributed the remaining sum, it said. For the whole of last year, combined revenue totaled NT$3.2 billion, nearly doubling the level in 2019, Full Wang said. Sales of residential properties and industrial plots accounted for 74 and 25 percent of the company’s revenue respectively, Full Wang told an investors’ conference last month. Tightening credit controls would not have a significant effect on the company’s earnings ability this year, because it acquired sufficient land to build new properties for the next four years, Full Wang chairman Lin Cheng-hsiung (林正雄) said. The central bank last month capped loan-to-value ratios at 55 to 65 percent, from 80 percent generally, for multiple home owners and corporate owners, as well as for unsold homes and land financing. Future property development projects would require twice as much capital, following selective credit controls intended to curb property price hikes, Lin said, adding that small and medium-sized developers would take a hit due to their modest financial standing.