Taiwanese consumers are a discerning lot when it comes to tech – it is the key industry in this island nation, after all – so it’s a bit surprising that a popular new brand on the market is a Chinese smartphone company, Xiaomi.
Strong sales meant Xiaomi nearly ran out of phones in its first foray in Taiwan, part (along with Hong Kong) of its first big push out of mainland China. But if the popularity of the launch showed the potential of the brand, some operational snags point to the trendy company’s inexperience in foreign markets. Continue reading »
Rain washed out the inaugural anniversary celebration for Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou; forecasts for full-year economic growth are being cut; and two of the country’s fighter jets have crashed during training exercises in the last week.
But there could soon be at least one bright spot in the gloom for Taiwan. Legislators are trying to lighten an unpopular transaction tax that has weighed on the local market since it first passed last year. Continue reading »
HTC, the bealguered Taiwanese phonemaker, expects sales to jump over 60 per cent between the first and second quarters. That’s quite an uplift, and certainly better than last quarter, when sales significantly missed expectations, driving down its first quarter profits to record lows.
What’s behind the change? Well, it helps to have a flagship phone to sell. Continue reading »
Apple may be souring the market with its unimpressive forecasts, but not all the suppliers who rely on the US tech group for orders are suffering.
Shares in Largan Precision, a Taiwanese lens maker, gained 7 per cent on Friday after it reported stronger than anticipated earnings for the last quarter and, against expectations, forecast more growth ahead. Its secret? Growth of other brands has been strong enough to offset Apple. That’s a change from the days when Apple was component companies’ key driver of growth. Continue reading »
Tech companies may be having a torrid time of it lately, with everyone from IBM to Apple disappointing investors recently.
Except for TSMC, that is. Booming demand for mobile gadgets, especially in China, helped the Taiwanese chipmaker beat expectations last week, and its stock has been rising ever since. Continue reading »
Since 2009, state-owned telecom China Mobile had been trying to get regulatory approval to buy 12 per cent of Taiwan’s Far EasTone operator, in what was the first agreement by a Chinese group to invest in a Taiwanese one.
The problem: In 2009, Taiwan didn’t let Chinese groups invest in its core telcos. The two had hoped that might change, but it hasn’t. So, as of Thursday, the deal is officially dead – at least until Taiwan liberalises more, says China Mobile. Continue reading »
China may be Taiwan’s historic enemy number one but recently it seems South Korea’s Samsung has made a bid for the title.
The smartphone to semiconductor chaebol competes against Taiwanese electronics groups in nearly every category. Now Samsung may find itself stung by Taiwan’s regulators investigating whether it broke the law by posting nasty comments about Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC in online discussion groups. Continue reading »
A televised singing contest from China’s Hunan province is the latest front in the fight between China and Taiwan.
Many Taiwanese TV stations, including some news stations, devoted hours last Friday night to broadcasting the final round of Hunanese show “I Am a Singer”. That has prompted Taiwanese regulators to begin investigating whether any station broke laws covering the broadcast of Chinese programming. Continue reading »
What makes HTC different from all the other struggling tech companies around these days?
Despite its falling sales, management at the Taiwanese smartphone maker has not been shaken up. The same chief executive has held the job for more than six years and the chairwoman has shot down local reports suggesting rifts in the leadership. That sets it apart from its peers, including Blackberry, Nokia — even Apple. So why have top management kept their jobs despite recent performance including a 98 per cent fall in profits in the first quarter? Continue reading »
Repatriating manufacturing back from China isn’t only a phenomenon of developed western markets.
Taiwan is home to many of the companies that helped build the Chinese contract manufacturing model and which continue to pour billions into the mainland. Yet Taipei, too, has been rolling out ambitious plans to bring those manufacturers back home. Will it work? Maybe. But as one economist points out, an equally interesting area to track is how Taiwanese companies are changing the way they invest into China. Continue reading »
HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has been fighting to turn around its plunging sales by learning lessons from Apple. First: spend on branding, which Apple does well and HTC does not. Second: don’t ship scratched phones, which Apple did when it first launched its iPhone 5.
To the dismay of investors and consumers, the launch of HTC’s newest smartphone has been delayed. The reason has been the difficulty producing the phone’s camera and metal back — compounded, says its marketing chief, by a desire to avoid Apple’s error and waste his newly-enlarged ad budget by annoying buyers with scuffed gadgets. Continue reading »
How serious is Taiwan about gender equality and, specifically, getting women onto the boards of its listed companies? The stock exchange in Taipei recently amended its corporate governance guidelines to encourage companies “to take the factor of gender equality into consideration” in forming boards.
Hardly the language of a determined crusader. But by regional and even global standards, Taiwan is not doing at all badly at getting women into senior positions. Continue reading »
Taiwan smartphone maker HTC has, again, reported a sharp drop in monthly sales.
The year on year fall of 44 per cent in its February sales is unsurprising — executives last month warned revenues would slip this quarter — but the trouble at HTC is also part of a broader upheaval in the mobile market as even market leader Apple and its rivals now grapple with how to deal with what consumers want, and how much they’re willing to pay. Continue reading »
Taiwan’s exports in January may have stalled but at least one important source of income has continued to show strong growth: mainland Chinese tourists.
The number Chinese tourists visiting the island during last week’s Lunar New Year, a key holiday in the Chinese world, rose 32 per cent from last year’s new year festival. Those mainland visitors, banned until as recently as 2008, are an important support for Taiwan’s weak economy, even if not everyone is happy with how newly-crowded some of Taiwan’s top tourists sites now are. Continue reading »
Taiwan’s unpopular president Ma Ying-jeou (left) has overhauled his cabinet to try to counter criticism that his administration has not done enough to strengthen the country’s struggling economy.
His new premier faces a challenging task assuming the post at a time of such public discontent. The toughness of the job is underscored by the speed with which his predecessors quit the post — he will be Taiwan’s fourth premier in the past five years. Continue reading »