IRS puts Equifax in review
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suspended a US$7.25 million contract with credit reporting company Equifax Inc on Friday, after members of the US Congress complained that the tax agency had awarded a no-bid contract to the company, which recently had a massive data beach. The IRS had contracted with Equifax to validate the identity of taxpayers communicating with the agency on the telephone or through its Web site. The IRS said it suspended the contract as “a precautionary step” while it reviews the firm’s security systems.
Facebook ventures into food
Facebook Inc wants to be a bigger player in the restaurant game. The social network has announced a new feature that will let users buy meals through third-party delivery services like DoorDash, or directly from a group of restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc and Five Guys. Facebook said it has no plans to hire drivers and deliver food, but hopes the new feature will keep users on its Web site longer.
Uber to stay in Quebec
Uber Technologies Inc is backing down on a threat to shutter its operations in Quebec this weekend. The San Francisco-based company on Friday announced that it would not pull the plug after all because it hopes to reach a deal with the province’s new transport minister in the coming months. The company on Friday also filed its appeal against a decision by Transport for London (TfL) not to renew its license. TfL last month said it would not renew Uber’s license to operate in the city owing to public safety concerns.
Kobes scandal widens
Japan’s Kobe Steel Ltd on Friday said that a snowballing falsified data scandal had affected around 500 customers, more than twice as many as initially thought. More than 30 foreign customers were affected, including Boeing Co, Airbus SE, General Motors Co, Tesla Inc, Daimler AG and PSA Group, according to Japan’s leading Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily. However, Japan’s No. 3 steelmaker insisted that the affected products did not appear to pose a safety risk.
Credit gauge tops predictions
China’s broadest gauge of new credit exceeded projections, signaling that the funding taps remain open, even as the government pushes to curb excessive borrowing. Aggregate financing stood at 1.82 trillion yuan (US$276 billion) last month, the People’s Bank of China said yesterday, compared with 1.48 trillion yuan a month earlier. New yuan loans stood at 1.27 trillion yuan, while the broad M2 money supply increased 9.2 percent, picking up from the prior record low.
Exchange to request tax cut
Hong Kong’s exchange operator is considering asking the government to remove or reduce a trading tax on stock transactions, as part of a review of the levy, according to a person familiar with the bourse’s thinking. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) made promoting the financial services sector part of her policy platform, a stance that encouraged Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd to discuss the tax, known as stamp duty, the person said.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a