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HTC a goner? October 23, 2013

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, iPhone, jobs, Politics, Shanghai, Taipei, Taiwan.
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A disturbing news about HTC cutting down its cellphone productions in Taiwan and China certainly didn’t help HTC’s stock which has already lost almost 90% of its market value since 2011:

Chart forHTC CORPORATION (2498.TW)

10-year stock chart of Taiwan’s HTC.

I believe many Taiwanese have been 套牢了by this stock as well because they bought the stock as it was moving up in 2010 and are still holding them in their brokerage accounts after it dropped from the record high of 新台币 1,238 to 新台币 136 now: a drop of 89% in about two and half years.

HTC is short of cash and has experienced disappointing sales in the US and China. The company may disappear or it may be taken over by someone else.

Another Taiwanese stock that is also facing difficult time is Acer.

Chart forACER INC TWD10 (2353.TW)

Acer 5-year stock chart

The reduction of PC sales worldwide hit Acer particularly hard. Its newer version of notebooks and tablets just couldn’t compete with tables from Apple and Samsung. It is losing market shares fast and the company probably doesn’t have enough cash to turn it around now. It once spent millions to hire CEO from foreign countries to run the company but Acer’s market share didn’t improve with foreign management. Unless the company can come up with something significantly new, it, along with HTC, may follow Nokia and Blackberry into sunset and cease to exist soon.

Two of Taiwan’s once brilliant technology companies are experiencing such a difficult time in the market place is very disturbing. To many Taiwanese, it probably feels like that the legs which were supporting Taiwan’s future was severed at the knees. Lack of funds to promote its products in the US and China may be one of its problems even though its products are on par or even better than those came out of Apple and Samsung. When a company’s market share is shrinking, it negatively impact its cash flow which hurts everything from research, innovation, product development and marketing. When we were in Shanghai about a month ago, we went to The Bund and saw Samsung’s Galaxy S4 was prominently marketed on the big screen in Pudong.

I am certain that the top management of both companies is responsible for misjudged the competitions from Apple and Samsung. I also wondered out loud that the in-fighting between 国民党 and 民进党 in the name of democracy probably bears some blame as well.

Maybe the outflow of top-notch professionals and professors to China in search for a decent salary had something to do with this too.

The bottom line is this: Taiwan’s problem is structural and is deep-rooted. It has rocked Taiwan’s foundation and has affected Taiwan’s GDP growth. Everywhere we go, Taipei’s streets and shops are filled with well-dressed and fashionable teenagers and people in their 20’s and 30’s. The restaurants are crowed and busy. TPE airport is busy with tourist groups to China, Japan, Korea, other countries in Asia and Australia. The younger generation is spending their parents’ wealth because they can’t make it by themselves with Taiwan’s GDP growing at 2%. If Taiwan’s government is still sitting on its hands and if 马英九 is still fighting with his own party’s members, there will be more companies like HTC and Acer going down the drain. Jobs will be lost and confidence on the ruling party will be undercut too.

Maybe 马英九  should throw the government’s weight to help these tow companies. Just a thought.

 

Acer and HTC: 台湾的缩影 September 28, 2013

Posted by hslu in China, Computer, Economics, Global Affair, iPhone, Taiwan.
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531期的天下雜誌 (2013-9-8) 问:台灣科技品牌为何屡屡落敗?

The magazine was talking about Taiwan’s two tech companies:  宏碁 Acer and  宏達電 HTC

I own an Acer laptop since 2011 and liked it a lot. It’s cheap and performs as well as comparable products from Dell and HP. Although I have used Apple iPhone3 and have recently switched to Samsung’s Galaxy S4, I heard that HTC’s phones are equally good. 

That being said, these two companies’ stocks can only be described as 惨不忍睹。

See for yourself:

宏碁/Acer 5-year chart

 

My first answer is: 台湾的顶尖人才都跑到中国大陆去了。台湾的教授也跑到中国大陆去了。Pay there is better。Period。台湾, in a way, 被别人从上面和中间掏空了。The majority of businesses staying put in Taiwan are service oriented: restaurants, massage shops, travel related companies, night markets and taxis.

My second answer is: 爸爸(国民党)和妈妈(民进党)天天吵架,家里的小孩(台湾的人民和公司)这么能长的好呢?Both parties are fighting hard to strengthening their own party. They are not working for the people. They are working for their party instead.

My third answer is:台湾的教育失败。See for yourself:

wpid-20130826_011152.jpg

wpid-20130826_011313.jpg

My fourth answer is: 台湾’s problems are structural in nature. Taiwan has been very good at putting things together for other companies. It may have slacked behind on fundamental researches which are very critical in the highly competitive technology space. The central government has been throwing money in the area of social welfare to please the voters for years. By doing so, it didn’t do what it supposed to do: helps Taiwan’s businesses compete with other companies in the world which enjoy total support from their respective governments.

Taiwan’s current leader,马英九, has over the past six years been fighting for the survivor of his political life. He lacks the vision to help companies such as Acer and THC and is powerless under the constant attack from the opposition party. He hasn’t shown any leadership quality and is mired in a dismal approval rating of low teens.

My fifth answer is:The CEO of both companies probably have squandered their respective company’s good fortune, became lazy at the top and didn’t adapt to the changing landscape. Once they starts to play catching up, their technological advantages were gone. We call this: 创业维艰守成不易。

If something is not done fast, both companies, along with hundreds of jobs, will by gone soon.

 

Democracy Taiwan Style August 2, 2013

Posted by hslu in China, Politics, Taiwan.
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August 2, 2013 – Taiwan’s Legislature body. 蓝绿民代爆冲突 扭打拉扯压人泼水样样来

 

Source: http://tw.people.com.cn/n/2013/0802/c14657-22425074.html

It happened all the time though. I first knew of it in the late 1980’s from my American colleague. Talk about an embarrassment!

Source: http://www.huaxia.com/thpl/jwgc/2011/03/2349342.html

April 7, 1988. Same legislature body. Different characters.

November 17, 2007

Source:http://www.chinareviewnews.com/doc/1004/9/3/7/100493718.html?coluid=7&kindid=0&docid=100493718

April 11, 2010

Source: http://www.huaxia.com/thpl/jwgc/2011/03/2349342.html

Apparently it hasn’t changed much in 25 years.

One thing is clear: no one seems to have a way to stop this from happening. I am not sure whether anyone went to jail for fighting though. Maybe someone should.

Do we call the “Democracy Taiwan style” a progress in the making or is it Democracy under siege in Taiwan! 

馬英九, the apologist-in-chief July 25, 2013

Posted by hslu in Taiwan.
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馬英九, the apologist-in-chief

Taiwan’s president, 馬英九 who moonlights as 國民黨’s’ party chief, has another job: Taiwan’s apologist-in-chief. Apologizing on behalf of the government for something he didn’t do has become one of the job descriptions of Taiwan’s president.

Well, he did it again about two weeks ago. This time a soldier by the name of 洪仲丘was dead because his sergeant(s) harassed the poor guy for days. They refused to stop even though 洪仲丘was totally stressed out under extremely heat.

Well, what usually took place was this: when a person in his cabinet or a branch of his government did something wrong, 馬英九would first make a statement on national TV condemning the terrible activity. Next, he’d make a deep bow and maintain the posture for a few seconds to show his sincerity and seriousness. He’d then apologize to the citizens of Taiwan for his lack of leadership and take full responsibility for what went wrong under his watch indicating that the buck stops at his lap. He’d then say something about personally looking into the matter according to the law and vow to get to the bottom of the matter soon; in Chinese parlance: 盡快給大家一個交待。

This kind of routine performance repeats itself again and again like a broken record to the detriment of his image and the presidency. Every time when I read this on the Internet or heard it from someone else, I couldn’t help but cringe and really feel sorry for him. Unfortunately, once he started the practice a few years back, he has no other choice but to continue the performance so that the opposition will get off from his back. I am not sure whether this has something to do with the oriental culture or he got the tips from Japanese CEOs or politicians.

 

What should have been done was this: if something went wrong with his administration, the superior(s) of the guilty person(s) should take full responsibility because馬英九can’t be and should not be expected to know everything that goes on in his administration. He simply can’t and this is common sense! President’s spokesman can follow up with a statement to the effect that the president has appointed his key deputy looking into this matter. At the same press conference, the deputy should brief the press and bring them up-to-date of what has happened so far and tell them that he’ll keep them informed when new information is available.

In other words, people who work for 馬英九should do everything they can to shield the president from the press and from the opposition party. Instead, whenever something bad happened, his people pushed him to the front of the TV cameras and make him the scapegoat to the delight of the opposition party. What these people did degrades the presidency, damages 馬英九’s image and destroys 馬英九’s approval ratings.

What a bunch of fools! I really feel sorry for 馬英九!

馬英九, why don’t you give it a try? It might actually work!

唉!要不然這種總統不當也罷!

Unification of China and Taiwan May 3, 2011

Posted by hslu in China, Global Affair, Military, Politics, Taiwan.
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To resolve the issue of unifying China and Taiwan once and for all, the Chinese government has to deal with Democratic Progressive Party 民主進步黨 (DPP) “ming2 zhu3 jin4 bu4 dang3” directly because that’s where the major opposition is.

Before any face-to-face negotiation between China and DPP begin, DPP has to win the upcoming presidential election in January 2012 so that the party can negotiate in the position of power.

Based on its recent primary presidential debates, 民主進步黨 or 民進黨 has effectively walked out of the shadow of its previous president, 陳水扁 “chen2 shui3 bian3,” who, along with his family members and his subordinates, has embezzled billions of dollars while in the office. They have been found guilty and some of them, 陳水扁 included, are currently serving jail sentences.

陳水扁 has tried as much as he could to change the small island country into an independent Taiwan when he was in the office from 2000 to 2008. His effort was mostly in vain because Taiwan could not and can not shake off the military threat from China if Taiwan try to break away.

The current chairwoman of 民進黨 , 蔡英文 “cai4 ying1 ewen2”, has managed to get rid of the image of a corrupt party and has waged a series of successful elections in the last couple of years.

馬英九 “ma3 ying1 jiu3”; the current president of Taiwan, as expected has moved to the center judging by his recent actions. He of course was trying to attract voters in the middle. He came out recently denouncing a major petrochemical project in order to please the environmentalists despite the strategical importance of this mega project to the future of Taiwan. Although he has significantly improved the relationship between China and Taiwan with the enactment of ECFA and direct links between two sides in transportation/tourism, mail and business, his lack of leadership and managing skills are putting his presidency in serious jeopardy.

After a series of debates, 蔡英文 has been nominated (based on polls) as 民進黨’s presidential candidate, the first female presidential candidate of Taiwan.

Now, let the fight between 馬英九 and 蔡英文 begin without 馬英九 playing the America card and without China’s influences. The way I see it is that the election is 馬英九‘s to lose and 馬英九‘s second term is by no means guaranteed.

If 馬英九 loses, he will be the last 外省人 “wai4 shen3 ren2” president in Taiwan. If he is re-elected, he will not be able to face the unification issue because he is easily intimidated and lack leadership and guts to make any significant progress in this thorny issue. He will be called all names on the book by 本省人and he will be too sacred to touch this issue with a 10-foot pole.

If DPP‘s 蔡英文 comes out on top, the real negotiation between China and Taiwan (reads 本省人) on unification can begin even if it doesn’t happen during 蔡英文‘s first term.

I am hopeful that some form of unified China will come true because DPP and, by extension, 本省人 have recognized that they have to face this issue squarely.

The military threat on Taiwan from China is like the magical headband on Monkey King 孫悟空‘s “sun1 wu3 kong1” head. All China has to do is to casually remind Taiwan of its predicament and Taiwan has to give up any intention of becoming a separated nation.

In 西遊記 “xi1 you2 ji4” or Journey to the West, Monkey King 孫悟空 was a powerful monkey who swore to protect his master 唐三藏 “tang2 san1 zang4.” As powerful as 孫悟空 was, all 唐三藏 had to do is to read a special chant and  the band would tighten and cause unbearable pain to 孫悟空 ‘s head. And it would bring 孫悟空 into obedience without exception.

Since Taiwan can not escape this headband, Taiwan might as well deal with it because China’s military threat will not go away with or without America’s interference. With Obama ceding the world leadership position and with America in no position to start a new war against China, 馬英九 may not be able to play his American card as effective as before.

I will watch this election with special interests.

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