The value of presale and new housing projects in the six special municipalities is nearly NT$600 billion (US$21.63 billion) for this autumn sales season, as developers are regaining confidence because the COVID-19 situation has improved, the online housing unit of Addcn Technology Co Ltd (數字科技) said in a report last week. Including projects in Hsinchu City, the total amounts to NT$572.1 billion, a 5.4 percent increase from last year, as developers believe it is time to do business after sitting idle for the past four months, when COVID-19 disease prevention measures dampened buying interest, newhouse.591.com (591新建案) said. The autumn sales season, from Tuesday next week through next month, is a critical gauge of the new housing market’s health in the second half of the year, the online broker said. The potential sales volume in Taipei has more than doubled to NT$192.9 billion for this season on expectations that luxury houses in central locations might gain the attention of global investors in search of assets that can stand up to inflation. That explained why major developers such as Cathay Real Estate Development Co (國泰建設), Yuanlih Group (元利建設) and Ruentex Development Co (潤泰新) have all joined the arena, the report said. In particular, Taipei’s second-tier Tatung District (大同) is home to town-making and urban renewal projects that could generate handsome revenues for an extended period, it said. The value of new housing projects in New Taipei City increased 8.2 percent to NT$178.64 billion year-on-year, as rezoned areas in Tucheng (土城), Sindian (新店), Banciao (板橋) and Tamsui (淡水) districts continue to attract property development funds, the report said, adding that small apartments featuring two to four bedrooms dominate the market there. New housing projects in Taoyuan increased 11.5 percent to NT$95.99 billion, with Cingpu District (青埔) accounting for 50 percent of the total value, because builders are seeking to appeal
Rakuten International Commercial Bank Co (樂天國際商銀) on Friday announced that it would offer a relatively high interest rate of 2 percent for its fixed-term deposit accounts if clients deposit more than NT$20,000 at the Web-only bank, in a bid to enhance its competitive position in the Internet banking market. The annual interest rate of 2 percent would apply to three categories of monthly fixed-term deposits — NT$20,000, NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 — but the deposit rate would only be calculated once, when the deposits mature after one month, so the annual rate would be equivalent to a monthly rate of 0.167 percent, the bank said in a statement. After the fixed-term deposits mature, they would automatically become demand deposits and clients could then decide how to deal with them themselves, Rakuten Bank said. Although the deposit interest rate of 2 percent would not apply to deposits with a maturity term of more than one month, the rate is still four times the interest rate of 0.5 percent that Rakuten Bank provides for demand deposits, the bank said. Most local banks offer even lower interest rates for demand deposits, such as Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行), which offer 0.1 percent, and Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行) with 0.05 percent, the banks’ data showed. “It is a safe option for customers who have a low-risk appetite or who do not invest and want to pursue stable returns,” Rakuten Bank said. The monthly fixed-term deposit program marked Rakuten Bank’s latest effort to attract clients after it provided an annual deposit interest rate of 1 percent for deposits with a one-year maturity.
PROMISING TRIAL RESULTS: When using the intravenous push method it takes only 30 seconds to administer the firm’s medication for HIV patients, as opposed to 15 minutes
TaiMed Biologics Inc (中裕新藥) plans to apply within a month to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to license its Trogarzo “by intravenous push” treatment, as the company’s phase 3 clinical trial showed promising results, it said in a filing with the Taipei Exchange on Sunday. On March 1, 2019, the HIV/AIDS drug developer began its last stage of human testing in the US to observe whether Trogarzo by intravenous push could produce the same effect as its Trogarzo “by intravenous infusion” treatment, which has already been launched. Trogarzo by intravenous infusion needs to be diluted with saline solution and administration of the medication takes 15 minutes, while Trogarzo by intravenous push can be given to patients undiluted and takes only 30 seconds to administer, the company said. Twenty-two people who were infected with HIV-1, but were in a stable condition and had already taken Trogarzo by intravenous infusion for at least three months, participated in the phase 3 trial, TaiMed said in the filing. Participants initially took Trogarzo by intravenous infusion once every two weeks, but later took Trogarzo by intravenous push, also once every two weeks, the company said. They did not report any severe adverse reactions, but some had mild or medium adverse reactions, it said. The concentration of Trogarzo declined at similar rates in participants treated using the intravenous infusion and intravenous push methods, indicating that the different administration routes did not affect the rate of the drugs’ absorption, TaiMed said. The different methods of administration did not lead to a change in participants’ viral loads, and no one reported viral loads of more than than 1,000 copies per milliliter twice consecutively, it said. Meanwhile, no participants developed anti-Trogarzo antibodies, TaiMed said. “Overall, the test results have reached our objectives. We will apply for a biologics license,” TaiMed said. “It is
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) last year saved almost 2 million tonnes of water as part of its efforts to fulfill its commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the company’s financial disclosure report said. To reach its zero emissions goal, TSMC has been taking action to broaden its green influence and drive industry toward low-carbon sustainability, chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said in the company’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures report released last week. TSMC saved 1.927 million tonnes of water last year by adopting measures such as reducing water consumption by facility systems, increasing wastewater recycling by facilities and decreasing water discharge from the systems, the report said. Last year, it also invested NT$1.6 billion (US$57.69 million) in water conservation and recycling equipment, and spent an additional NT$1.2 billion on equipment operation and maintenance, it said. By 2030, TSMC aims to reduce the amount of water it uses by 30 percent from 2010, the report said, adding that its water consumption last year fell 8.9 percent from 2010. After Taiwan experienced a major water shortage from the end of last year to May, TSMC compiled statistics for drought risk assessments in the report, which showed that from 1986 to 2005 the longest Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County had gone without rain was 40 days, while for Taichung it was 52 days and for Tainan 62 days. The number of days Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County, Taichung and Tainan would go without rain in 2035 is forecast to rise 4.15 percent, 2.42 percent and 2.28 percent respectively from 2016, the company said. From 2081 to 2100, the longest stretch without precipitation in Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County could increase 14.44 percent from the 1985-to-2005 period, and it could grow 11.33 percent for Taichung and 10.73 percent for Tainan, it said. If a drought occurs every 10
Baking oil manufacturer Namchow Holdings Co Ltd (南僑投資控股) yesterday reported an unaudited net profit of NT$92.11 million (US$3.32 million) for last month, up from the previous month’s NT$57 million, but down from NT$104 million a year earlier. The firm — which also manufactures a wide range of products including frozen dough, noodles, ice cream and dish soap — blamed the annual decline in net profit on it receiving less investment gains from its Shanghai subsidiary, Namchow Food Group (Shanghai) Co (上海南僑食品集團). Earnings per share (EPS) were NT$0.42 last month, while revenue grew 2.24 percent annually to NT$1.66 billion, the company said. Cumulative net profit in the first eight months of this year rose 42.96 percent annually to NT$688 million, with EPS of NT$2.77, while consolidated revenue increased 16.76 percent year-on-year to NT$12.74 billion over the period, company data showed. Analysts said the company’s Taiwan business would continue to recover steadily this month as the COVID-19 situation in the nation has generally been brought under control and the baking industry entered its peak season ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The company’s China business would still benefit from stable sales of baking oil products and frozen foods, while its production of packaged foods, baked rusks and rice crackers for babies in Thailand would continue to steadily contribute to sales, analysts said. China remains the largest market for Namchow, accounting for about 60 percent of its sales last year, followed by Taiwan at 24 percent, New Zealand and Australia at 6 percent, the US at 4 percent, Europe at 3 percent and Thailand at 1 percent, the company’s annual report for shareholders showed. Namchow shares fell 0.72 percent to close at NT$48.45 in Taipei trading on Friday. They have increased 3.09 percent so far this year, underperforming the broader market’s 17.27 percent rise over the period.
Three women pose for photographs in a sunflower field at Chung-she Flower Garden in Taichung’s Houli District yesterday. The flower farm is a tourist destination in central Taiwan that features a variety of flowers throughout the year.
VERGE OF COLLAPSE: Evergrande shares yesterday plunged about 17 percent, as did those of other property firms, leaving the Hang Seng down 3.3 percent
Fears of a contagion from the potential collapse of battered Chinese real-estate giant China Evergrande Group (恆大集團) yesterday sent property shares plunging in Hong Kong, with the firm expected to default on upcoming interest payments this week. Evergrande, one of the country’s biggest developers, is on the brink of collapse as it wallows in debts of more than US$300 billion, raising concerns of a spillover into the domestic and global economy. The crisis has triggered rare protests outside the company’s offices in several Chinese cities by investors and suppliers — some of whom say they are owed as much as US$1 million — demanding their money. Adding to the anger, it emerged at the weekend that six top executives would face “severe punishment” for redeeming financial products before telling retail investors that the firm could not pay them on time. The firm said they must return the cash they redeemed “within a time limit,” adding that its investment arm must “strictly follow the announced repayment plan to ensure fairness and impartiality.” The crisis sent shares in the firm diving about 17 percent yesterday, leaving it down about 90 percent from the start of the year. Other property firms were also in the firing line, with Henderson Land Development Co (恆基地產) and New World Development Co (新世界發展) each about 12 percent lower. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (新鴻基地產) shed 9 percent. Meanwhile, insurance giant Ping An Insurance Group Co (平安保險) lost about 8 percent. China Minsheng Bank Corp (中國民生銀行), Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (中國農業銀行) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (中國工商銀行) all declined about 3 to 5 percent. The dash for the exit left the Hang Seng down 3.3 percent. A lack of comment from Beijing and the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday in China are only adding to the uncertainty, analysts said. BOCOM International Holdings Co (交銀國際控股) analyst
As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) government looks to tame China’s celebrities, the popularity of a new Universal Studios theme park in Beijing shows Hollywood’s enduring soft power among the nation’s 1.4 billion people. Tickets for yesterday’s grand opening, priced at 638 yuan (US$98.67), sold out within 30 minutes of going online last week — as did rooms costing as much as 20,000 yuan at the resort’s two hotels, state-run media reported. Fliggy (飛豬), an online travel site operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), last week apologized for overselling the 500 yuan Universal Express Pass that lets visitor skip lines. Yesterday morning, the park became the most-searched topic on the Sina Weibo microblogging site, as hundreds of visitors queued for entrance in the rain while those inside posted videos of their experiences. A grand opening ceremony was attended by top officials, including Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary of Beijing Cai Qi (蔡奇), state-backed news Web site The Paper reported. The surging demand underscores the challenge Xi faces in dampening the appetite for celebrities among the general public, as the CCP looks to curtail foreign influences and promote the concept of “common prosperity.” A commentary published widely in state-run media last month warned against “fan culture” and “worshiping Western culture.” Earlier this month, the National Radio and Television Administration — China’s broadcast regulator — ordered television companies and Internet platforms to ban film stars with “incorrect politics,” cap salaries and do away with idol worship. One of China’s most popular film stars, Zhao Wei (趙薇), was blacklisted from China’s Internet, while another actress was last month ordered to pay 299 million yuan in overdue taxes, late fees and fines. The popularity of the Universal Studios theme park shows resistance to the CCP’s tightening of cultural standards after decades of allowing Western influences, said
EMERGENCY MEETINGS PLANNED: Four small energy suppliers have already been forced to stop trading because of a major increase in wholesale gas prices
The UK is considering offering state-backed loans to energy firms after wholesale gas prices soared, prompting big suppliers to ask for support from the government to cover the cost of taking on customers from companies that have gone bust. Wholesale gas prices have risen in the past few months as economies reopen amid the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic and high demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia pushed down supplies to Europe, leading to quirks such as a shortage of carbon dioxide. The rise in prices has already forced four small energy suppliers to cease trading in the past few weeks and British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng held emergency talks with executives from National Grid PLC, Centrica PLC, EDF Energy and the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) regulator on Saturday. “If a supplier fails, OFGEM will ensure customers’ gas and electricity supply will continue uninterrupted,” Kwarteng wrote on Twitter. “If a supplier of last resort is not possible, a special administrator would be appointed by OFGEM and the Govt. The objective is to continue supply to customers until the company can be rescued or customers moved to new suppliers,” he wrote. Kwarteng said he was yesterday scheduled to hold meetings with the energy industry and consumer groups. Britain’s largest suppliers are requesting a multibillion-pound emergency support package from the government to help them survive the crisis, including the creation of a “bad bank” to absorb potentially unprofitable customers from failing rivals, the Financial Times reported. The BBC reported that the government was considering state-backed loans to keep firms afloat. Firms were beginning to be more hesitant about taking on new customers through regulator OFGEM’s supplier of last resort scheme, a source at one large energy company said. Under the scheme, energy firms bid to take on the customers from
The United Arab Emirates’ central bank sees increased risks of illicit financial flows emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, including money laundering and terrorism financing, it said in a report published on Sunday. The use of unlicensed money service providers for money laundering increased during the COVID-19 crisis last year, as well as the use of e-commerce to launder money, the report said. “Widespread lockdowns have resulted in a significant surge in e-commerce. Due to limited ability to move funds and goods during the pandemic, illicit actors are turning to e-commerce as a money laundering tool,” the report said. The number of so-called “money mules” — people who receive illicit funds into their bank accounts to hold or withdraw and wire elsewhere, taking a commission for their services — increased, the bank said, adding that accounts in the majority of cases belonged to low income individuals from Africa and Asia. The bank identified fraud risks linked to the pandemic, such as firms or individuals submitting false claims to qualify for government stimulus support. “As we continue to monitor and learn more about the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we have recently observed heightened external fraud threat, especially with cybercriminals exploiting both traditional and digital channels, to remotely perpetrate cyber-enabled fraud attacks at scale in a rapidly evolving environment,” it said. The report comes as the central bank steps up efforts to combat illicit financial flows. The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental anti-money laundering monitor, last year said that “fundamental and major improvements” were needed to avoid it placing the United Arab Emirates on its “gray list” of countries under increased monitoring.
Prudential PLC plans to raise up to US$2.89 billion in a new share offering in Hong Kong as the insurance giant eyes long-term growth opportunities in Asia and Africa. Prudential intends to offer about 130.8 million shares, or up to 5 percent of its issued share capital, on the Hong Kong stock exchange through a concurrent public offer and international placing to increase its Asian shareholder base, it said in a statement on Saturday. The new shares would be offered at a maximum of HK$172 (US$22.09) apiece and would be traded in Hong Kong on Oct. 4. Pricing is expected on Saturday, Prudential said. COUPON DEBT The company plans to use US$2.25 billion of the sale proceeds to redeem existing high coupon debt, with the balance to contribute to investments in Asia and Africa, where Prudential chief executive officer Mike Wells said it would be “entirely focused on long-term structural growth opportunities.” ASIAN RIVAL The offering comes days after Prudential completed the demerger of its US unit, Jackson Financial Inc, a move that could accelerate its competition with pan-Asia life insurer rival AIA Group Ltd. The London-based insurance conglomerate, already a leading player in Southeast Asian markets except Thailand, would face off more fiercely with AIA in China, which is the world’s most populous nation and has a growing middle class. GOALS The company is building capacity to serve 50 million customers by 2025, Prudential executive director James Turner said at a briefing in Hong Kong on Sunday. It currently has more than 17 million life customers in the two regions. While the tide is shifting for many companies in China, as President Xi Jinping (習近平) calls for “common prosperity” and reins in the country’s private-sector players, Prudential believes the regulatory direction is favorable. “One thing that we noticed is that all of these regulations are starting to come toward
SWEDEN PM touts sturdy economy The economy is robust enough to withstand the effects of the energy crunch that has gripped Europe and filtered into Scandinavia, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “We have a very, very strong economy,” Lofven said in an interview in New York on Sunday. “If we have dramatically higher prices in the long term, that will affect consumption, but I don’t think we’re there.” Sweden’s debt to GDP ratio has held below 40 percent even during the COVID-19 crisis and remains one of the lowest in Europe. That measure is set to fall to about 35 percent, Lofven said. AIRLINES Lufthansa to issue shares Europe’s largest airline group, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, said on Sunday that it would seek to raise more than 2 billion euros (US$2.34 billion) with a capital increase. The German company said its executive board had agreed to a share issue from tomorrow and “the gross proceeds are expected to amount to 2.140 billion euros.” The transaction, intended to improve its equity position and help repay state aid provided in the course of the pandemic, was underwritten by a syndicate of 14 banks, Lufthansa said. ELECTRONICS Merck to invest 3bn euros Merck KGaA plans to spend more than 3 billion euros through 2025 on its electronics business to capitalize on rising demand for semiconductor and display panel materials. The German company would expand production capacity, bolster research and development spending and is also considering bolt-on acquisitions, it said in a statement yesterday. The company makes materials and technologies for computer chips and display screens, as well as effect pigments — products that are sold to the automotive, printing and cosmetics industries. A global semiconductor shortage has been devastating vehicle production this year. BANKING JPMorgan begins expansion JPMorgan Chase & Co this week plans to launch
‘RED SLIPS’: Low interest rates are facilitating the flow of trade in deposits on presale housing, earning profit for many, though regulations could be breached
The practice of trading preorder “red slips” for presale housing projects persists amid strong market sentiment, ample liquidity and record-low interest rates, the Ministry of the Interior said on Friday. Red slips function as receipts for deposit payments for presale housing. Several local governments on Thursday conducted inspections at presale projects and found that red slips had been traded for profit by depositors at 48 out of 56 objects, which in one case breached the regulations, the ministry said in a statement. The inspections also found other breaches at 36 projects, including the withholding of information and sale contracts containing insufficient transaction information, it said. With the introduction of an actual-price registration system for property transactions nationwide and stricter reporting requirements for presale housing transactions on July 1, the government aims to curb the sale of red slips. Fines for illegal trading of the receipts are NT$150,000 to NT$1 million (US$5,408 to US$36,054). In a separate report on Monday last week, the ministry disclosed that 882,634 housing units were empty in the second half of last year — a historic low of 9.96 percent since its initial survey in 2009. The ministry attributed the trend to improving utilization rates. Unoccupied houses are defined as units that use less than 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. Among them, 69,581 were newly completed houses that have yet to find buyers, a five-year low and 4.34 percent fewer than three months earlier, the ministry’s first semi-annual report on housing occupation showed. Previously, the ministry issued the data annually. Releasing the data on a more frequent basis is part of the government’s efforts to rein in house hoarding, which drives up prices and impedes market access for buyers with lower budgets. New Taipei City had the most unoccupied houses nationwide at 131,300, followed by Kaohsiung’s 108,316 and Taichung’s 93,291, the report said. Kinmen County
FINANCE INCENTIVES: The computer server casings manufacturer is to invest in a plant in northern Taiwan, as part of a ministry program to encourage local ventures
The Ministry of Economic Affairs on Friday approved mechanical parts maker Chenming Electronic Tech Corp’s (晟銘電子) application to invest NT$1.9 billion (US$68.5 million) as part of the ministry’s three-year program to provide incentives for overseas Taiwanese companies to invest in Taiwan. Chenming Electronic, which specializes in computer and server casings, plans to set up an automated plant in northern Taiwan as it eyes growing business opportunities brought by the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and 5G technology, the ministry said in a statement. The company also aims to focus on systematic research and development of server casing products, and develop high-automation process technology through the investment, it said. The investment is expected to generate 100 job opportunities for local talent, it added. It was the second investment application by Chenming Electronic to be approved by the ministry, following one last year to set up an automated plant in Taiwan to become more competitive, the ministry said. The company, based in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), has manufacturing facilities in China and sales offices in the US. It decided to expand its operations in Taiwan to meet customers’ requests that it diversifies its production to lower risks amid trade tensions between the US and China, the ministry said. The ministry also approved investment applications by six other firms: diode maker Formosa Microsemi Co (美麗微半導體), China General Plastics Corp (華夏海灣塑膠), steel maker Wa Ta Her Co (萬大禾鋼鐵), solid recovered fuel developer Perfect & Outstanding Technology Inc (瑋傑科技), Tosei Seafood Co (東晟水產) and Titan Star International Co (立捷國際), a developer of security and sensor systems. As of Friday, the ministry had approved applications from 998 companies for a combined NT$1.34 trillion since the incentive program was launched in early 2019. The investments are expected to create 113,702 jobs, while another 52 firms are awaiting approval, the ministry said.
PChome Online Inc (網路家庭) is planning a private placement to seek strategic investors for its long-term development and collaboration across sectors, the e-commerce company said at a news conference at the Taipei Exchange on Friday. The company plans to raise NT$1 billion (US$36.05 million) from China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控), Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) and the management team of 21st Century Digital Technology Co (廿一世紀數位), it said after gaining approval from its board of directors earlier that day. Private placement refers to the sale of a large tranche of securities to a small group of investors. In such a transaction, buyers sign an investment letter stating that the securities would not be resold for a specified period of time. In PChome’s case, the sale of 9,376,463 common shares — at NT$106.65 per share — to the three strategic investors accounts for 7.35 percent of its outstanding shares, it said. “By leveraging the experiences and resources on financial services and valuable telecom big data, as well as its AI-enablement technology from the strategic investors, PChome anticipates to accelerate the data-driven digital transformation to not only reinforce its fintech ecosystems, specifically on e-commerce and fintech solutions, but also optimize its fintech subsidiary organization through this strategic partnership,” the company said in a statement. To integrate resources and promote cooperation to enhance shareholders’ interests, PChome said its board also approved a plan to obtain about 50 percent of the shares in 21st Century Digital. Based on their agreement, PChome plans to invest about NT$2.16 billion and exchange shares of its mobile payment arm Pi Mobile Technology Inc (拍付國際) to secure about 10.28 million common shares of 21st Century Digital, while 21st Century Digital is to acquire 34.49 million common shares of Pi Mobile through share swap. One share of Pi Mobile is worth 0.298 common shares of
CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) yesterday announced that they would raise gasoline prices by NT$0.1 per liter, while lowering diesel prices by NT$0.1 per liter, effective today. The firms last week cut gasoline and diesel prices by NT$0.1 per liter. The adjustment brings prices at CPC stations to NT$28.2, NT$29.7 and NT$31.7 per liter for 92, 95 and 98-octane unleaded gasoline respectively, while the price of premium diesel falls to NT$25.3 per liter, the company said. Prices at Formosa stations are to climb to NT$28.2, NT$29.6 and NT$31.7 per liter for 92, 95 and 98-octane unleaded gasoline respectively, while the price of premium diesel is to drop to NT$25.1 per liter. State-run CPC said in a statement that based on its floating oil price formula, the cost of crude oil last week increased 2.3 percent from a week earlier. The company said that crude oil production in the US has not yet recovered from Hurricane Ida, and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was further affected by Tropical Storm Nicholas. Formosa said in a separate statement that other factors contributed to the increase in international oil prices, such as US crude oil inventories falling to a two-year low last week, and an International Energy Agency forecast showing that global crude oil demand is expected to rebound sharply next month.
Amendments to the Financial Consumer Protection Act (金融消費者保護法) took effect on Friday, raising compensation benchmarks to NT$1.2 million (US$43,265) for investment-linked products and NT$120,000 for non-investment products, from NT$1 million and NT$100,000 respectively. The rising benchmark hike follows changes in inflation and economic growth, and aims to enhance consumer protection, the Financial Supervisory Commission said. Under the new regulations, after the Financial Ombudsman Institution (FOI) reviews a consumer complaint regarding a financial product or service, and determines appropriate compensation, the company should accept its decision without ability to appeal. The products include securities, trusts, funds, derivatives, gold, foreign securities, futures and investment-linked insurance policies, the commission said on Thursday. In disputes regarding non-investment products, such as medical insurance, the financial company must accept the FOI’s decision when it involves compensation of NT$120,000 or less under the new regulations, the commission said. The commission announced drafts of the amendments last month and did not receive any objections from companies in the financial sector, Hsu Tsui-wen (徐萃文), head of the commission’s legal department, said at a news briefing. In the past few years, about half of the complaints did not require a review by the FOI, as consumers and financial companies had reached settlements before the cases moved into the review stage, the FOI said. Among the remaining complaints, about half were withdrawn by consumers and one-quarter were resolved privately before FOI involvement, leaving the roughly one-quarter of remaining complaints to go forward to the FOI for a decision, the commission’s data showed. The new regulations are not retroactive, and an FOI decision is binding only for financial companies, the commission said. If a consumer believes that the amount of compensation is insufficient, they can reject the offer, request further negotiations or take legal action, it said.
CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) for a plan to cooperate over the supply of “carbon neutral” liquefied natural gas (LNG). Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said the agreement between CPC and TSMC to use carbon neutral LNG is a step in the right direction toward Taiwan’s ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Let’s take this chance to encourage other companies in Taiwan to realize the green supply chain together,” Wang said. CPC receives carbon neutral LNG from oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and the company is to use the British Standards Institutions’ PAS 2060 framework to show its results in carbon neutrality and reducing emissions. “As a major importer of LNG, CPC has a duty to keep importing carbon neutral LNG as a part of our energy transition,” CPC president Lee Shun-chin (李順欽) said. “The provision of carbon neutral natural gas products will help domestic manufacturers meet the decarbonization requirements set by Europe and the US.” J.K. Lin (林錦坤), senior vice president of information technology, materials and risk management at TSMC, said the chipmaker requested carbon neutral LNG products at the start of the year. “As the world’s leading semiconductor company, TSMC has been an active promoter of green manufacturing,” Lin said, “In addition to pursuing the use of renewables, we’ve asked for carbon-neutral products from CPC.”
FINAL DETERMINATION: The International Trade Commission said tile makers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam cut prices, so local makers lost domestic market share
Ceramic tile suppliers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have hurt Taiwan’s industry by setting unfairly low prices for their products, a finding released on Monday last week by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ International Trade Commission said. In its final determination, the commission found in favor of Taiwanese ceramic tile makers, saying that the dumping practices of ceramic tile makers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam resulted in a loss of market share in Taiwan by local suppliers. Suppliers from the four countries saw their combined share of the Taiwanese ceramic tile market rise to 38.2 percent in the first quarter of this year from 25.9 percent in 2016, because they sold their products at below market prices, it said. Taiwanese ceramic tile makers have seen their share of the domestic market decline each year, to 44.3 percent in the first quarter of this year from 58 percent in 2016, it said. Shipments of ceramic tiles from the four countries in the first quarter rose 61.3 percent year-on-year as foreign manufacturers continue to cut their prices in the Taiwanese market, the commission added. In the January-to-March period, suppliers from the four countries accounted for 60 to 70 percent of Taiwan’s total ceramic tile imports, the commission said. As ceramic tile exporters from the four countries cut their prices by 12 percent in 2017, 6.1 percent in 2018 and 3.4 percent in 2019, their sales rose more than 8 percent in 2018 and 2019, the commission added. A declining market share hurt the factory utilization rate of Taiwanese tile makers, caused their inventories to swell and reduced their return on investment to only 1 percent, it said. The importation of ceramic tiles from the four countries adversely affected the Taiwanese industry, the commission said, citing figures as evidence. The commission said that it would forward its final determination to
Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group (恆大集團) has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate, said Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd (恆大地產), its main unit. Evergrande, with more than US$300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers. It has a bond interest payment of US$83.5 million due on Thursday. The company said on WeChat on Saturday that investors interested in redeeming wealth management products for physical assets should contact their investment consultants or visit local offices. Financial news outlet Caixin on Sunday reported that an estimated 40 billion yuan (US$6.19 billion) in Evergrande wealth management products are outstanding. Such products are typically held by retail investors. Specific payment methods and details are subject to local conditions, a customer service representative said on Sunday. A proposal showed that wealth management product investors could choose from discounted apartments, office space, retail space or parking lots for repayment. Earlier this month, a stock exchange filing showed that Evergrande had repaid 219.5 million yuan in overdue debts due to supplier Skshu Paint Co Ltd (三棵樹塗料) in the form of apartments in three unfinished property projects. On Sept. 10, Evergrande said it would repay all of its matured wealth management products as soon as possible. Some of the biggest investors in emerging markets had significant holdings in Evergrande bonds, their latest filings showed. Ashmore Group PLC, a London-based money manager that specializes in buying emerging-market debt, was one of the biggest holders of the firm’s bonds with more than US$400 million, filing data at the end of June showed. BlackRock Inc, UBS Group AG and HSBC Holdings PLC were also large owners, many of them held by vehicles that focus on riskier emerging market or Asian credits. The size of the companies’