Container shipping industry recovering: Evergreen

By Ted Chen / Staff reporterEvergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) yesterday gave an upbeat outlook for this year as the global container shipping industry begins to recover from a downturn. “We are anticipating a turnaround this year, as the industry is bottoming out,” Evergreen Marine chairman Anchor Chang (張正鏞) told a news conference in Taipei. US west coast freight rates average about US$1,700, up from US$800 a year ago, while those for the east coast have improved from US$2,000 to US$3,200, Evergreen Marine president Lee Mong-jye (李孟傑) said. “There has been a seachange across the container shipping industry, and carriers are beginning to realize that cutthroat price competition is unsustainable,” Chang said, adding that clients have learned that the financial strain on shippers have impacted service quality. He added that the Ocean Alliance, of which Evergreen Marine is a member, would commence operations in April.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

Chung Hwa Pulp plans price hikes

By Kuo Chia-erh / Staff reporterPapermaker Chung Hwa Pulp Co (中華紙漿) yesterday said it plans to increase product prices by between 5 and 10 percent to reflect soaring material costs. Chung Hwa Pulp, a major subsidiary of papermaking conglomerate YFY Inc (永豐餘控股), manufactures pulp and paper products used in magazines, books and advertising posters. “The price hikes were mainly due to increasing material costs,” a Chung Hwa Pulp official said by telephone, citing soaring global prices of wastepaper and coal. The significant increase in global wastepaper prices has spurred Chung Hwa Pulp’s local peers to raise their product prices. Chung Hwa Pulp shares advan ced 0.4 percent to close at NT$9.97 in Taipei trading yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX, which slid 0.27 percent to 9,753.2 points.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

Alibaba deepens retail foray with supermarket tie-up

In its biggest old-economy deal, Alibaba is leading a bid to buy department store chain Intime Retail Group Co (銀泰商業) for as much as US$2.6 billion. Like Alibaba, the US e-commerce titan has extensive experience working with reams of valuable customer and supply chain data and shopping patterns. With Bailian, Alibaba will be tapping a network of 4,700 stores across 25 Chinese provinces. Apart from Intime, the Hangzhou, China-based company has already invested in retail operators, including Suning and Sanjiang Shopping Club Co (三江購物俱樂部), to further its so-called new retail experiment. Alibaba’s online payments system, Alipay, will be available at all Bailian stores.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

LCD panel price growth slows as TV makers mull cuts

This month, prices for 49-inch and 55-inch TV panels rose just 1 percent — or US$2 — from last month to US$180 and US$215 per unit respectively, while smaller-sized panel prices remained flat after months-long increases, it said. TV makers said that skyrocketing panel prices have eroded their bottom lines and it would be unacceptable to see a further price uptrend, the researcher said. “Just recently, some leading Chinese TVs were forced to cut panel orders for the first quarter as TV set inventories rose,” IHS Markit said. Meanwhile, global TV makers are reporting an overall balanced-to-tight panel supply for the current quarter, it said. This year is expected to be stable and healthy for the LCD panel industry, IEK analyst James Lin (林澤民) told reporters.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

A quiet revolution may be under way in Japan stocks

BloombergAfter years of disappointment, a quiet revolution may be under way in the Japanese stock market. Japanese companies have for years sat on record piles of cash — the equivalent of US$2.4 trillion in September last year, the most in the world. ‘The US$1.3 trillion fund last year said it would favor managers who actively engage. Even so, 824 companies announced buyback programs last year, a 16 percent increase from the prior year, UBS data show. The purchases were worth more than ¥6 trillion, UBS said.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

Tough UK line on rare-disease drugs stirs concern over impact after Brexit

BloombergA tougher stance in the UK on funding expensive medicines for rare diseases is raising questions about the government’s pledges to support a life-sciences industry that is already rattled by Brexit. The drug treats a rare and deadly disease called lysosomal acid lipase deficiency, which mostly afflicts children. Alexion is still seeking to reach an agreement with the health system after the “sizable” discount it proposed was rejected, Wagner said. Last week, it said that UK health authorities were disregarding expert medical opinion. Earlier this month, the firm suffered another blow from a separate UK judgement that is likely to restrict access of its drug Strensiq to some patients.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

Thai Q4 growth slowed to 3%

BloombergThailand’s economy last quarter grew at the slowest pace in a year, as private consumption moderated. The economy grew 0.4 percent from the previous three months, compared with the 0.7 percent median estimate. For the full year, the economy grew 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent in 2015. The death last year of the Thai king and a crackdown on illegal Chinese tourists hurt the economy, with private consumption weakening. “Supporting factors for the Thai economy this year are recovering exports, improving agricultural sector, government investment and spending, as well as tourism revenue,” National Economic and Social Development Board secretary-general Porametee Vimolsiri told reporters.

February 20, 2017 16:03 UTC

‘We’re not here for your oil,’ Mattis says on trip to Iraq

Reuters, BAGHDADThe US military is not in Iraq “to seize anybody’s oil,” US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said yesterday, distancing himself from remarks by US President Donald Trump at the start of a visit to Iraq. Mattis, on his first trip to Iraq as Pentagon chief, is hoping to assess the war effort as US-backed Iraqi forces launch a new push to evict Islamic State group militants from their remaining stronghold in Mosul. “We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” he told reporters traveling with him. A retired marine general who led US troops in Iraq, Mattis has also sought an exemption from Trump’s travel ban for Iraqis who served with US troops, including translators. Mattis is finalizing plans at Trump’s request to accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State and is expected to meet senior US and Iraqi officials while in Iraq.

February 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Davis gets 52 as West top East

At the defense-free dunkfest that now serves as the NBA's All-Star Game, Davis scored a record 52 points and led the Western Conference past the Eastern Conference, 192-182 on Sunday night. Davis was the star of stars in a game where the teams combined for more points than in any other All-Star contest. Being linked to Wilt Chamberlain, who had 42 points in the 1962 game, only made it more special, Davis said. "The next one I'm going to try to do is 100 points," Davis said. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, thanks to his West teammates deferring to their host time and again.

February 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

USC president gets personal over the classics

Since spring 2016, the university president has taught a semester-long classics course called "The Culture of Athenian Democracy." Aside from helping the student, a humanities foundation also enables them to learn to become a "complete human being with many different interests." Embracing the Diverse CultureNikias, who arrived in the United States of America in the late 1970s, said his personal experiences have helped shape him as USC president. This mindset — that readiness to welcome strangers from afar — has informed the way he leads USC. "That is why I look at USC today and see that we are truly an international university."

February 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Top US school inks new partnership with Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- "As of probably 10 years, the largest international alumni population of USC were Taiwanese. Over 440 students from Taiwan are currently enrolled at USC, making Taiwanese students the university's fourth-largest source of international students. The MOU will open up the door for a program allowing professors from Taiwanese universities to visit USC for short-term training or other purposes. While there are already similar partnerships with the school of dentistry, pharmacy school of social work, programs for the elderly, for USC, the new program is a means to expand into different working opportunities. "That's why we're looking for many different ways to expand relations with institutions in Taiwan."

February 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Starbucks price hikes brew up storm

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Netizens were left spluttering into their skinny lattes Monday after coffee giant Starbucks announced a raft of price hikes. The price of Starbucks' Coffee of the Day is set to go up by NT$10, with lattes, teas and chocolate beverages seeing a NT$15 hike. Other comments took a more cynical tone, saying sarcastically that it was the "trendy thing" to increase prices. Netizens took to comparing the prices of a Starbucks grande-sized latte sold in the two countries. In a bid to keep customers, Starbucks will offer free upgrades for four days, starting on the same day that its price hikes go into effect.

February 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

When religion and race influence democracy

Exit polls suggest a run-off between incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese and Christian, and Muslim scholar Anies Baswedan, who was regarded as a moderate. If a run-off election in April is ordered, Governor Basuki thinks the campaigning could turn "very ugly." But taken too far, the mixing of religion, race and politics could lead to catastrophic results. Moreover, as what happens in Jakarta has influence in the rest of the country, the political parties are viewing the local election as a proxy for the next presidential race. Such worthwhile efforts will be undermined if religion is allowed to set the agenda.

February 20, 2017 16:01 UTC

Starbucks to raise prices starting Wednesday

Coffee retail giant Starbucks announced today it would raise its beverage prices in Taiwan starting Wednesday. Twenty-nine beverages will see price hikes ranging from NT$5 to NT$20. These include Coffee of the Day (NT$10 increase) and lattes, teas and chocolate beverages (NT$15 increase). Starbucks, which is operated by Uni-President in Taiwan, said the price increases reflect higher material costs. It said it would launch free size upgrades starting on Wednesday for four straight days in a bid to keep customers.

February 20, 2017 06:24 UTC

Do anti-glare screens and apps actually work?

So do those anti-glare screens and light tone adjusting apps actually do the trick in reducing the amount of blue light reaching our eyes? Chen says that the quality of the screen filters placed on phone and tablet screens vary greatly. As for apps that adjust the light tone of the screen, Chen compares them to wearing sunglasses. As a primary color, Chen says that the reduction of blue light makes images more yellow and have lower saturation which can actually cause fatigue. Instead of relying on physical or software based screen filters, Chen recommends plenty of rest for your eyes when using devices.

February 20, 2017 04:25 UTC

Trending Today