Like Japan, Taiwan’s location on the edge of the Pacific makes it vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. But with no oil and gas of its own, the island state lacks any kind of energy security. Sarah Mishkin visits a nuclear power station under construction which may never be turned on.
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 »
A weak start to the new month for Asian equity markets following last week’s turmoil.
Investors worries’ about the possible end to the US Fed’s QE programme were compounded by generally gloomy PMI figures for key Asian economies, not least China. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.5 per cent lower at 3.30pm in Hong Kong. For emerging market investors the only consolation was that in Tokyo things were much worse, with the Nikkei closing 3.7 per cent down. 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 »
More evidence of global economic slowdown, as if we need it.
Taiwan on Tuesday announced a plunge in GDP growth to 1.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013, less than half the 3.7 per cent in the previous quarter and well below forecasts of 3.1 per cent.
By global standards, Taiwan is a smallish economy. But with its trade links to the rest of the world, it serves as a useful harbinger. And this is not good news. 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 »
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 »
After last month’s rather gloomy reading, March’s HSBC/Markit manufacturing indices for Asia have a far more positive hue.
In fact, all 6 countries with data released on Monday were above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction – and only India saw a fall in the reading. That’s not bad at all. 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 »