Asia Pacific (APAC), Global Politics

Cross-strait News Daily Round-up for Dec. 9

Asus earns profits in November

Asus (TPE: 2357) announced on Dec. 8 that the company earned a total of US$1.6 billion in November, due to its roaring smartphone business.

Asus said that the revenue for November was a 5.1% growth, to compare with what it was for October. The total revenue for the first 11 months this year was US$14.5 billion, which was a 2.73% growth, to compare with the total revenue for the same period a year ago.

Asus said that its main income for November came from its sales of smartphones. A total of 1.3 million smartphones were sold within the month, while more than 1 million of them were sold in Asian countries. For December, Asus said that the total revenue will drop but it will all come back again in March.

During the fourth quarter, Asus said that sales of its laptops, smartphones, and tablets have been growing except the CPUs.

Demand for iPhones encourages the nation’s exports: MOF

Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Dec. 8 that the nation’s exports increased 3.7% year-on-year to US$26.68 billion last month due to strong demand for new iPhones.

“Electronics exports continued to grow by double digits last month, led by robust sales of domestic firms, especially in the semiconductor industry, said Yeh Maan-tzwu (葉滿足), director for Department of Statistics.

Yeh said that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the major supplier for iPhone 6’s chips, has indicated plans to increase capital investment expenditure for 2015 and suggested the need to expand its capacity to meet orders.

MOF’s report said that electronics exports rose 10.2% to US$8.79 billion in November, making up 32.9% of overall exports. Shipments of optical products increased 11% to US$1.74 billion during the same period, while basic metal products gained 9.5% to US$2.36 billion.

MOF’s report also said that exports came to US$288.2 billion and rose 3.3% from the same period of first 11 months last year, and outpaced the statistics agency’s forecast last month of 3.1% growth for the year. The report said that exports to the United States grew 11.4% to US$3.02 billion last month but the exports to the Europe advanced at a more modest 3.7% at US$2.22 billion.

Exports to China, the nation’s largest trade partner, contracted 0.3% to US$10.82 billion, due to the Chinese economic slowdown, the report said.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urges to sign agreements with the EU

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Dec. 9 that the nation is hoping to sign more free trade agreements with the EU.

“It will help both GDP grow,” Ma said.

The president made his remarks during his conversations with a group of delegates from French National Assembly, led by Yves Jego. Ma told Jego that he is hoping for more cooperation and interactions with France, as well as other EU members.

“An additional 11 European countries have signed agreements with us so we are expecting when France is in the picture as well,” Ma said.

Hong Kong is the world’s second most expensive place for house prices: survey

The latest “Global Living Survey: Global Cities Compared” ranked Hong Kong as the second most expensive city in a global survey of average prime residential new-build prices, at US$3,290 per square foot.

London took the lead for all the cities in the world with an average of US$3,380 per square foot, while New York checked in the third place with average prices of US$3,040 per square foot.

The survey, organized by international property consultant CBRE, looked at residential prices in 10 key global cities favored by high-net-worth individuals, also including Paris, Sydney and Singapore, among others.

“Depending on market trends, Hong Kong and London regularly oscillated between first and second place in the residential rankings,” CBRE said.

Chinese banks call for lower reserve ratio

Banks in China are urging the nation’s central bank to allow them to lend out more of their deposits, the China Economic Review reported on Dec. 9.

“The radio should be reduced to an ‘appropriate’ level to help banks and support the economy,” said Lian Ping (連平), chief economist for the Bank of Communications (SHA: 601328).

Lian said that the profitability of China’s big banks has come under increasing pressure as a rare drop in bank deposits is forcing lenders to curtail lending or look for more expensive sources of financing. Also, bank executives said that a planned deposit-insurance system and further cuts in interest rates also have the potential to reduce banks’ profit margins.