Taiwan Business in Brief – April 2021

LINE Bank Starts Trial Operations

Online banking services company LINE Bank began trials of its Taiwan platform in late March. The trial operations, which were limited to the approximately 700 employees of LINE Taiwan, follow a series of stress, integration, and user tests. If the trial is successful, the online bank will make a full debut in late April, according to LINE Bank General Manager Morris Huang.

LINE Bank is one of only two internet-only banks in Taiwan, the other being Rakuten International Commercial Bank Co. Its launch on the island follows the opening of a similar bank in Thailand last year by major shareholder LINE Financial Taiwan Corp., which will be used as a benchmark for the success of the Taiwan platform.

Huang said the company has placed special emphasis on cybersecurity for the bank. It has also received membership approval for the Central Deposit Insurance Corp., allowing it to provide deposit insurance to clients. LINE Bank is expected to provide debit card and personal loan services in the first stages of its operation, with credit card services to come later.

Foxconn Starts Wisconsin Production

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., known overseas as Foxconn, has begun certain production operations at its manufacturing complex in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The mostly empty site, which was originally intended to manufacture 10.5-generation LCD displays, is now producing servers and 5G networking equipment for several clients, including Cisco. Foxconn Vice President Lu Fang-ming said that the company had begun trial operations at the site, and that it would eventually incorporate 5G-enabled smart factory solutions.

In addition, the company is currently in discussions about whether to produce electric vehicles (EV) at the Wisconsin complex in the future. Foxconn has made clear its interest in expanding its EV business, and last year launched its MIH open platform for EV development in Taiwan. MIH brings together Taiwanese EV component manufacturers to collaborate on developing the first completely Taiwan-produced EV. (See the Industry Focus section of this issue for more on the MIH platform and EV development in Taiwan).

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