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Business magnates mixed on 2014 outlook

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- As Taiwan's economy is expected to make a mild rebound this year, business magnates in the high-tech industry expressed optimism; however, heavyweights in non-high-tech sectors said that they were less optimistic.

Most C-suite executives of major Taiwan-based high-tech companies gave bullish forecasts for this year.

HTC (宏達電) Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) told local media that she expects 2014 to be a fruitful year for HTC in light of its partnership in China and the U.S. At the end of 2013, China Mobile targeted sales of 100 million fourth-generation (4G) handsets for this year, a goal expected to help HTC regain market share in China. HTC CEO Peter Chou said that his company will reach a new peak in 2014.

High-tech contract manufacturers are generally optimistic about 2014. Compal Electronics (仁寶電腦) President Ray Chen (陳瑞聰) expressed confidence during his company's year-end party, saying that shipments of Compal-made laptops bucked the downtrend, increasing by 5 percent to 3.9 million units.

Chen added that Compal Electronics will ship out 35 million tablets and smartphones.

Chen said that the total shipments of Compal Electronics will register spectacular growth, with smartphones representing 20 percent.

However, the views of members within non-high-tech sectors are comparatively cautious.

Although Formosa Plastics Group is expected to step up its investments, bringing capital expenditure to a new high over the course of five years, Lee Chih-tsuen (李志村), head of the group, said that he would rather be cautious with regard to 2014.

“I am never as optimistic as many people are,” Lee said.

Before the Lunar New Year, Fubon Group (富邦集團) founder Tsai Wan-tsai (蔡萬才) stressed the importance of risk management while pledging to expand the group's stronghold in ASEAN markets.

2014 GDP Growth Likely to Reach 4 percent: UBS

Taiwan could post 4-percent GDP growth this year thanks to the economic turnaround in the U.S., according to a UBS report.

With the U.S. economy improving, Taiwan's exports will gain momentum this year which will help fuel local GDP growth, the Switzerland-based global financial service company said.

According to the Central News Agency (CNA), UBS also forecast that Taiwan's inflation rate will be moderate, with the annual increase in the local consumer price index (CPI) expected to fall below 1.5 percent.

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