World Business Quick Take – Taipei Times

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CHINA

Key tasks critical to growth

The nation’s economy can grow this year if key tasks set out by the government, including ensuring employment and people’s livelihoods, are achieved, Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) said yesterday. It is “practical and realistic” to not set a numerical growth target this year, as the nation is not immune from the economic shocks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Li told a news conference as the annual session of the National People’s Congress in Bejing closed. The government has the ability to take further action should the outlook deteriorate, he said.

AUTOMAKERS

Nissan posts US$6.2bn loss

Nissan Motor Co yesterday reported a staggering ¥671.2 billion (US$6.2 billion) annual net loss, its first in more than a decade, as it battles weak demand and the effects of the pandemic. The automaker said that it was slashing global production by 20 percent and confirmed that it would close a plant in Barcelona, Spain, that employs 3,000 people as it tries to return to profitability. The net loss for the year to March compares with net profit of ¥319.1 billion a year earlier. It declined to issue a forecast for the current fiscal year because of ongoing uncertainty.

TELECOMS

Singtel slashes dividend

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) yesterday cut its expected dividend after profit slumped to the lowest since 1993. The carrier booked a charge for costs related to its investment in an India-based carrier and said that the pandemic crimped mobile service revenue. Net income plunged 65 percent to S$1.08 billion (US$760.5 million) in the year ended March, the company said in a statement. That compares with the S$1.28 billion average of analyst estimates. The carrier is to pay a dividend of S$0.1225 per share for the year, compared with its previous outlook for S$0.175.

LIGHTING

GE to sell light bulb division

General Electric Co (GE) is getting out of the light bulb business, shedding a foundational enterprise from the days of Thomas Edison, the company announced on Wednesday. The 128-year-old company, in belt-tightening mode due to the effects of the pandemic, is to divest GE Lighting to smart home company Savant Systems LLC. The GE logo would still appear on light bulbs sold by Savant under a licensing agreement included in the transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple buys start-up Inductiv

Apple Inc has bought machine learning start-up Inductiv Inc, adding to more than a dozen artificial intelligence-related acquisitions by the technology giant in the past few years. The engineering team from Waterloo, Ontario-based Inductiv in the past few weeks joined Apple to work on Siri, machine learning and data science. Inductiv developed technology that uses artificial intelligence to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data.

UNITED KINGDOM

Brexit discussions to resume

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to resume Brexit talks in Brussels next month, the Times reported yesterday. The newspaper cited Downing Street’s negotiator with the EU, David Frost, as saying that Johnson would meet the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council to formally assess the state of the talks.

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