Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone Telecommunications (FET) were also each fined NT$600,000 for the chaos caused by offering NT$499 plans. NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that all three telecoms offered low-cost service plans during a seven-day sale period that began on May 9. The commission also explained in a statement why Chunghwa Telecom received the heaviest punishment. “Compared with the two other telecoms, the service plan offered by Chunghwa Telecom attracted the most subscribers. According to briefings from all three telecoms on Thursday last week, Chunghwa Telecom handled about 1.44 million applications during the seven-day sale, Wong said.
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporterThe National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday asked the management of Da Ai TV (大愛電視台) to visit the commission next week to explain the cancelation of its new television series, Jiachang’s Heart (智子之心), and if the decision had something to do with pressure from China. The series was canceled in China after only two episodes had been aired. The series was reportedly canceled because Chinese netizens criticized it for romanticizing the 1937 to 1945 Second Sino-Japanese War. The network denied that it had canceled the series because of political intervention, adding that it had filled the time slot with another series. NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said the commission’s preliminary investigation showed that the network has apparently mishandled the situation and failed to maintain the independence of program production and the network’s operations.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterPingtung County’s Siaoliouciou Island (小琉球) is to become a demonstration site for plastic reduction and low carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced yesterday to coincide with World Turtle Day. An island southwest of Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港), Siaoliouciou is the nation’s only island formed of coral reefs. Adding more water dispensers would encourage people to bring reusable bottles and reduce their consumption of bottled water, he said. If half of the visitors to the island could avoid buying 600ml bottled water — which has a carbon footprint of 150g — that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 75,000kg, he said. The EPA has also teamed up with Chunghwa Telecom Co, which sends text messages to people visiting the island to remind them to take their garbage with them and to reduce plastic consumption.
The North has portrayed the move as a goodwill gesture ahead of a planned June 12 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Trump in Singapore. However, doubts have since been cast by both sides on whether that historic meeting will take place. I think we’ll get those conditions, and if we don’t, we won’t have the meeting,” he told reporters. A handful of foreign journalists set off from Wonsan yesterday at about 8am, according to tweets from some of the reporters. They are expected to travel for about 20 hours by train, bus and finally a short hike to the remote test site.
AFP, BEIJINGThe US embassy in China yesterday issued a health alert after a US government employee experienced an “abnormal” sound and suffered a mild brain injury in an incident reminiscent of a mysterious illness that hit diplomats in Cuba. US and Chinese authorities are investigating the matter after the employee, who was assigned to Guangzhou, was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, embassy spokeswoman Jinnie Lee said. In an alert e-mailed to US citizens in China, the embassy said that it does not know what caused the symptoms or of any similar situations in the country. “While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. “The [US] Department [of State] is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause and impact of the incident,” Lee said.
By Hsiao Yu-hsin and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe industry’s bleak outlook on tourism from Southeast Asia and its perceived inability to fill the gap left by a decline in Chinese visitors could be mere pessimism, analysts said citing the results of a Tourism Bureau report on foreign exchange generated by visitors from Southeast Asia. Many in the tourism industry felt that while Southeast Asian tourists were filling the hole left by Chinese tourists with their numbers, they were not helping generate foreign exchange, the bureau said. However, Southeast Asian tourists coming for “pure tourism” spend more on average compared with their Chinese counterparts, the bureau said, adding that about 60 percent of Southeast Asian tourists come for “pure tourism,” compared with 70 percent of Chinese. Daily expenditure for Chinese tourists in this category stands at US$188, and they spend roughly half of what Southeast Asians spend on their room and board, the bureau said. Tourism from Southeast Asia grew 30 percent per month from the beginning of last year, and this year could possibly see another 600,000 tourists from Southeast Asia, said Hwang Cheng-tsung (黃正聰), an associate professor at Providence University’s Department of Tourism.
Metal Politics Taiwan will be screened in Taipei on Saturday as part of the Urban Nomad Film Festival. TAIWAN’S COMPLICATED HISTORYWilms says Metal Politics Taiwan was much harder to make than Art War. “But Metal Politics Taiwan follows Freddy’s journey, and has to explain everything along the way,” he says. Wilms says about 80 percent of the footage is of Lim making a speech. Luckily, there were visual opportunities in between, such as Lim attending US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, street protests and Lim making a rare return to his rock star persona for the 2016 Tshing Shan Festival (青山祭).
By Jason Pan / Staff reporterTaichung prosecutors yesterday charged 14 members of a telecom scam ring allegedly headed by a man surnamed Chen (陳) with aggravated fraud and engaging in organized criminal activities. Taichung police said that Chen is a well-known figure, and had been convicted of assault, fraud and other organized criminal activities. Lin said that his unit was conducting an illegal narcotics trafficking probe when they came across suspects who were in communication with Chen’s telecom fraud ring. After a period of surveillance, Lin’s units coordinated with Taichung police to raid Chen’s residence and a site housing other telecom fraud ring members. We estimated that about 100 victims had wired money to Chen’s group, based on correspondence records,” Lin said.
Her troupe made its debut at what is now called the National Experimental Theater in Taipei eight years ago with the stunning Woo! For New Paradise of Silent Island, which premiered in Hong Kong on Oct. 26 last year at the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, Ho has taken excerpts and imagery from Woo! Barbie and others that she made between 2000 and 2009 to offer a vision of contemporary Taiwanese society. The 50-minute show is divided into three parts: “New Paradise of Silent Island,” which sees betel nut beauties, swaying back and forth from tiny perches on tall poles, and people gathering together under neon lights. Is it a mix of East and West, traditional temple rituals and foreign influences?
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporterTaiwan’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market last year shrank 56 percent to US$6.15 billion due to a lack of high-profile deals, even though the transaction volume increased by double-digit percentage points, an M&A forum heard yesterday. Domestic industry consolidation drove the M&A market last year, accounting for 61 percent of the total transaction value, Yu said, adding that through M&A, local firms embarked on horizontal integration to expand their market share and consolidate their leadership positions. Some firms sought M&A opportunities abroad, which proved useful in boosting Taiwan’s export-focused economy, Yu said. Research has found that some Taiwanese companies have grown increasingly pessimistic and a few are contemplating withdrawing from China, he said. New venture capital offers another transformation model for Taiwanese companies, but a lack of confidence persists, Yu said.
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporterLeofoo Tourism Group (六福旅遊集團) is seeking to regenerate its 47-year-old Leofoo Hotel (六福客棧) in downtown Taipei after announcing plans to shut down its flagship property, Westin Taipei (台北威斯汀六福皇宮), at the end of this year, company officials said yesterday. Review of urban renewal applications tends to be lengthy and filled with uncertainty, Leofoo communications director Anne Wang (王淺秋) said, adding that the group has decided to transform Leofoo Hotel instead. Near Songjiang Nanjing MRT Station, Leofoo Hotel has 226 guestrooms and three restaurants that feature Chinese, Japanese and Cantonese cuisine, its Web site says. The hotel had an occupancy rate of 75.69 percent last year with an average daily room rate of NT$1,599, according to Tourism Bureau data. Leofoo is also taking advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival to launch special rice dumpling gift boxes that could generate NT$9 million (US$300,401) in sales, Wang said.
Mobile payments are ubiquitous in China; a consumer can spend a day without using any cash in Beijing or Shanghai, and even some beggars accept mobile payments. However, cash remains king in Southeast Asia. The mobile payment marketplace in Southeast Asia remains wide open, with no dominant players. Mobile payments address some of those problems. Mobile payment companies are betting that they can transform their platforms into financial supermarkets, offering everything from loans to insurance on top of payment options.
Consolidated sales rose to NT$12.7 billion (US$424.44 million) last year in Taiwan, driven mainly by micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors for the consumer electronics market, Barkey said. In Taiwan, all business sectors made positive contributions last year, with outstanding results from the mobility solutions wing, Barkey said. Bosch Taiwan is to benefit from the mandatory requirement that motorcycles and scooters larger than 150cc be equipped with ABS from next year. Bosch Rexroth, a subsidiary of the Bosch Group, was successful with its linear motion products for semiconductor testing and storage applications, he said. Bosch Taiwan is also actively promoting the concept of connected manufacturing in the areas of industrial applications and academic organizations, he said.
BloombergChina is to cut the import duty on passenger cars to 15 percent, boosting automakers such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) and Ford Motor Co just as the immediate threat of a trade war with the US recedes. Bloomberg News last month reported that China was weighing proposals to reduce the car import levy to 10 percent or 15 percent. A reduction in import duty follows a truce between US President Donald Trump’s administration and Chinese officials as they seek to defuse tensions and avert an all-out trade war. For Tesla, a tariff cut would provide a boon until the company manages to set up local production. In particular, high-end automakers would feel the effects of a tariff cut, because less of their production has moved locally.
The seasonal jobless rate stood at 3.69 percent, up 0.02 percentage points from one month earlier, the agency said in a report. Firms in the service sector added 5,000 workers to their payrolls, but companies in the industrial and agricultural sectors cut 2,000 and 1,000 jobs respectively, it added. The unemployment period last month averaged 23.9 weeks, 0.4 weeks longer than one month earlier, the report said. The jobless rate in Hong Kong is 2.8 percent and it is 2 percent in Singapore. South Korea has a jobless rate of 4 percent, while the US has an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent and Japan has 2.5 percent.