No melon-aire this year
A pair of premium Japanese melons yesterday sold at auction for just a slice of the ￥5 million (US$46,000) reached at auction last year. The melons from Yubari on Hokkaido sold for a snip at ￥120,000 at the season’s first auction — 40 times less than last year’s record price tag. An official at the wholesale market blamed COVID-19 for keeping away rich corporate customers who usually compete to outbid each other for the most expensive fruit. The successful bidder wanted to show gratitude and support for local farmers, Kyodo news reported.
Undersea route survey set
Survey work is to begin soon on an ambitious plan to export power from a giant solar farm in Australia to Singapore via a 3,800km undersea cable. The Sun Cable project, backed by Atlassian cofounder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Fortescue Metals’ founder Andrew Forrest, has awarded a contract to Perth-based Guardian Geomatics to conduct a route survey. Sun Cable says the project can supply one-fifth of Singapore’s power needs.
Alibaba shares slump
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) shares yesterday slid 4 percent in Hong Kong, after a drop of almost 6 percent in New York City on Friday, following the company’s announcement that projected revenue growth would slow this year. It forecast sales growth this year of at least 27.5 percent to more than 650 billion yuan (US$91 billion), down from 35 percent previously. While it posted a better-than-expected 22 percent rise in March quarter revenue of 114.3 billion yuan, that marked its slowest pace of expansion on record.
Settlement talk boosts Bayer
Shares in German chemical giant Bayer AG rose sharply yesterday after reports it was close to a mass deal with US plaintiffs who say their cancers were caused by unit Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. Bayer stock was up about 6.3 percent in Frankfurt in early morning trade. “We’ve made progress in the Roundup mediation discussions,” spokesman Christian Hartel said, but added that Bayer “will not speculate about settlement outcomes or timing.” Bloomberg News reported earlier that the group had struck “verbal agreements” with between 50,000 and 80,000 out of a total of 125,000 US plaintiffs, set to be formalized next month.
French sales soar 230%
Book sales in France have soared since the country began to ease its lockdown, rocketing more than 230 percent in a week, a survey showed yesterday. A study for the trade weekly Livres Hebdo found that from May 11 to 17 bookshops did a roaring trade, with readers desperate to stock up while libraries remained shut. However, sales were still down 60 percent compared with the same period last year, and publishers say revenues have dropped by 80 percent.
Central bank boss leaving
Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob has decided against seeking a second five-year term for family reasons, Assistant Governor Chantavarn Sucharitakul said yesterday. He would ensure a smooth transition when his term ends in September, she said in a statement.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s