Taiwan Business in Brief – November 2018

U.S. Restricts Exports to Chinese IC Company

The U.S. Commerce Department announced that American companies will need to apply for licenses for all exports or transfers of commodities, software, and technology to China’s Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., effective October 30, and that “such license applications will be reviewed with a presumption of denial.” Micron, the largest foreign investor in Taiwan, is bringing suit in California against Fujian Jinhua and its Taiwan partner United Microelectronics Corp. for alleged theft of Micron’s trade secrets for the production of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) integrated circuits. The Commerce Department statement said that “Jinhua poses a significant risk of becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security interests of the United States. It alluded to threats to the security of the “supply chain for essential components in our military systems.”

Wyoming Establishes Taipei Trade Office

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead led a trade delegation to Taiwan from his state in early October to take part in ceremonies for the opening of a State of Wyoming-Asia Pacific Trade Office in the Taipei World Trade Center. At a reception at the Sherwood Taipei featuring Wyoming beef, Mead said that besides agricultural products the office would seek to develop bilateral exchanges with Taiwan in the areas of technology, tourism, and education. Six other U.S. states currently maintain offices in Taiwan.

China Steel Launches Wind Power Alliance

China Steel Corp. (CSC) in early October announced the formation of Wind-Team, an alliance of domestic suppliers ready to support offshore wind-farm projects. Reportedly a total of 24 tier-1 and 40 tier-2 suppliers are currently involved. CSC has been given rights to develop one of the offshore wind-power concession zones, and aims for electricity from the zone to be connected to the national grid by 2024.

Investment News

  • In the first new private equity investment in Taiwan in several years, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia gained approval from the Investment Commission for a NT$9.3 billion (US$318.6 million) buyout of medical diagnostic equipment manufacturer Microlife Corp.
  • United Renewable Energy Co. (UREC), created through a merger of solar energy companies – Neo Solar Power Corp., Gintech Energy Corp., and Solartech Energy Corp., received a fund injection of more than NT$2.7 billion (US$87.32 million) in a private placement from the National Development Fund and the government-controlled Yao Hua Glass Co.
  • Ta Chen Stainless Pipe Co. announced plans to acquire Alumax Mill Products Co. of Texarkana, Texas for US$350 million. Ta Chen’s U.S. subsidiary, TCI, is already the largest aluminum products wholesaler in the United States.
  • Qualcomm Inc. disclosed plans to set up two R&D centers in Taiwan one for multimedia technology and the other to develop AI applications for mobile and IoT devices –to begin operations early next year. A statement from a senior executive said the company hopes to “assist Taiwan to cultivate its talents and upgrade its R&D capabilities.” In August the giant mobile-phone chip supplier agreed to investment US$700 million in Taiwan over the next five years as part of the settlement of anti-trust action brought by the Fair Trade Commission.
  • Eslite Spectrum Corp., operator of Taiwan’s iconic Eslite bookstore chain, said it would open a retail outlet in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district next fall, working together with Japanese bookstore Yurindo Co. Eslite currently has 42 stories in Taiwan, three in Hong Kong, and one in China’s Suzhou.
  • Kwang Yang Motor Co., whose KYMCO motor scooters are the biggest selling brand in Taiwan, announced plans to manufacture and market electric scooters in the Indian market together with unnamed local partners. The company is reportedly enjoying excellent sales in China.