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In Brief

In Brief

Google says CFO planning retirement
SAN FRANCISCO, California
Google said on Tuesday that George Reyes, the company's longtime chief financial officer, plans to retire. He will be one of only a few of the Internet search giant's top executives to have left since its founding in 1998.
Reyes, 53, joined Google more than five years ago and guided the company through its unusual 2004 initial public offering of stock, in which shares were priced through an auction, and through its fast-paced growth. The company said it hoped to have a new chief financial officer by the end of the year.
People close to the company said that Reyes was contemplating a number of personal and professional pursuits outside of Google, but he is not believed to be looking for a job.
LDK Solar contract
Taipei
LDK Solar Co., a Chinese maker of materials used to produce solar cells, won a contract worth about US$495 million from Taiwan's Neo Solar Power Corp., gaining a second order with a Taiwanese company in less than two weeks.
LDK Solar will deliver wafers used to make solar cells as part of the agreement through the end of 2009, according to a PR Newswire statement yesterday. Neo Solar is an affiliate of Hsinchu-based Powerchip Semiconductor Corp., the island's biggest computer-memory chipmaker.
The Xinyu City, China-based company and its owners raised US$469.4 million in June in what was the largest U.S. initial public offering by a Chinese business in 2-1/2 years.
Taiwan-China trade up
TAIPEI
Indirect trade between Taiwan and China in the six months to June rose 13.3 percent from the same period a year earlier to US$46.49 billion, the Board of Foreign Trade said yesterday.
The figure accounted for 21.4 percent of Taiwan's total external trade during the six-month period, compared with 20.1 percent in the year-ago period, it said, citing statistics compiled by the island's and Hong Kong customs.
Taiwan registered a trade surplus with China of US$20.21 billion for the period, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, it said.
Exports to China rose 12.8 percent year-on-year to US$33.35 billion, and imports from there were up 14.7 percent at US$13.14 billion.
U.S. confidence falls
NEW YORK, New York
U.S. consumer sentiment took its sharpest plunge in nearly two years during August while home prices swooned in the second quarter, according to reports that show a heavy toll from the housing crisis.
As Wall Street was gripped by a credit squeeze, the Conference Board's index of confidence dropped nearly 7 points to 105.0, its lowest reading in a year.
For a country that relies on consumers for two-thirds of its spending, the figures suggested economic growth will remain subdued for the foreseeable future.
"My guess is we're heading for a consumer-led recession beginning in a few quarters," said Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Co. "The consumption boom is over."
Amazing eyes casino
TAIpei
Amazing Holdings Plc, a development company helmed by Nevada gambling tycoon Larry Woolf, said it will start building a US$50 million five-star resort in January as part of a plan to win Taiwan's first casino license.
"We expect to complete the purchase of the last of 102 pieces of land very soon," Ashley Hines, executive director of Isle of Man-based Amazing, said in an interview yesterday in Taipei. "Construction of the hotel will begin in January, which could be converted to a casino if we get a gaming license." The hotel is expected to be completed by the end of 2009, he said.
The land deal will complete an eight-year process to purchase property on the Penghu islands for a 27-acre, 1,000-room hotel and casino. The company expects the Taiwan government to legalize casino gaming within six months, Hines said.