It's cold outside, and inside Amber is lapping up the attention she's receiving from her American set of grandparents, while also reaping the benefits of her birthday loot - six DVD's, courtesy of Barnes & Noble - yes, it's our annual winter visit to the USA. We'll be back to T'aiwan (Taiwan) 台湾 just before Valentine's Day, but in the meantime I'm making use of my father's (slow) Internet connection to keep up on things going on across the Pacific (as well as to delete annoying comments from Russian spammers). Like this Yomiuri Shimbun 読売新聞/Daily Yomiuri article, for example:
TAIPEI BACKS DRAM TIE-UP / 'JAPAN-TAIWAN ALLIANCE' SEEN BENEFICIAL FOR TAIWANESE CHIPMAKERS (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/T110130002297.htm)
"T'AIPEI (Taihoku) 台北 - T'aiwan government authorities have thrown their support behind plans to form a 'Japan-Taiwan alliance' in semiconductor development and production as a way to help rebuild Taiwanese chip manufacturers in financial difficulty, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. A senior Taiwanese official, in an exclusive interview with the Yomiuri on Saturday, said Taiwan authorities were in favor of moves by Japan's leading manufacturer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), Elpida Memory, Inc. エルピーダメモリ株式会社, to merge and consolidate management functions with its Taiwan counterparts. Elpida has been in consultations with Taiwan's two major DRAM makers, Powerchip Technology Corp. 力晶半導体 and ProMOS Technologies Inc., to discuss the feasibility of integrating management and establishing a holding company. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the the high-ranking official of T'aiwan's Industrial Development Bureau of the Economic Affairs Ministry 経済部 said the ministry had asked Elpida to transfer technology to T'aiwanese chipmakers in exchange for Elpida's planned listing on T'aiwan's stock market. Regarding the management integration prospects of the Japanese and T'aiwanese firms, the official said, '[The T'aiwanese authorities] have no intention of rejecting the idea [of Elpida's merger with T'aiwanese chip manufacturers] as long as it can benefit T'aiwanese makers.' Powerchip Technology acknowledged the same day that merger talks were in progress with Elpida, adding, 'There's a possibility of the negotiations leading to a full-fledged collaboration [between Powerchip and Elpida].' Powerchip ranks sixth in DRAM global market share. Elpida, established in 1999 through a merger of the DRAM arms of Hitachi Ltd. 株式会社日立製作所 and NEC Corp. 日本電気株式会社, and later joined by that of Mitsubishi Electric Corp. 三菱電機株式会社, had a 19.4 percent global market share as of the end of 2009, the world's third-largest. The T'aiwan authorities' support for the envisioned Japan-T'aiwan chip industry alliance is thought to be rooted in the belief that T'aiwanese DRAM makers cannot survive on their own against the backdrop of plunging DRAM prices...The ongoing negotiations between Elpida and the two T'aiwanese firms are expected to enter a crucial phase before March, when Elpida plans to list on the T'aiwan stock market. Over the next month or so, Elpida and the T'aiwanese companies are expected to engage in intense wheeling and dealing, with each keen to secure advantageous merger conditions. While the T'aiwan authorities have high hopes that the Japanese and T'aiwanese firms will strike a merger deal at the earliest possible time, the Japanese and T'aiwanese DRAM manufacturers are quoted as saying unresolved disparities exist in the respective firms' business strategies. As the three companies also want to keep a portion of their respective corporate characteristics intact after a merger, the negotiations are expected to focus on how to narrow gaps in their business strategies...There is no telling what moves Elpida and the T'aiwanese firms might take from here on, with Elpida scrutinizing measures Powerchip and ProMOS would take to cut their debts, an issue cited by Elpida as a prerequisite to any management integration agreement."
Apparently, the push for greater Japanese-T'aiwanese cooperation in chipmaking operations comes from worries by the T'aiwanese government that the local companies are slowly losing the DRAM battle to Samsung. It's certainly a more realistic fear than any imagined Korean conspiracies in taekwondo. But this is all so far away, and I'm on vacation, so now it's time to watch a little late night American TV before going off to bed.