Electronics

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

May 24, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean court approved arrest warrants on Saturday for two executives at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd over their alleged roles in a suspected accounting fraud at the biotech arm of Samsung Group.

The Seoul Central District Court said in a statement it had granted warrants to arrest the executives due to concerns over possible destruction of evidence.

However, the court rejected the prosecution’s request for a warrant to arrest the chief executive of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd.

Two Samsung Electronics officials were also arrested on suspicion of destroying evidence earlier this month.

South Korea’s financial watchdog in November accused the biotech arm of Samsung Group of breaking accounting rules ahead of its 2016 listing, sparking a criminal investigation.

Both Samsung Electronics and Samsung BioLogics were not immediately available for comment.

The widening probe comes at an awkward time for Samsung Group, South Korea’s top family-run conglomerate, as de facto head and heir Jay Y.Lee awaits a Supreme Court ruling on bribery charges and political pressure builds for greater transparency in its governance.

Samsung BioLogics had been touted as a new growth engine for Samsung Group amid a slowdown in the global smartphone market. Samsung Electronics is the second-biggest shareholder of BioLogics with a 31.5 percent stake.

Samsung Electronics had no comment on the case earlier, except that it was cooperating with prosecutors.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Stephen Coates and Elane Hardcastle)

Source: OANN

Workers are seen near the booth of Huawei Technologies Co under construction at the venue of China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang
Workers are seen near the booth of Huawei Technologies Co under construction at the venue of China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China May 22, 2019. Picture taken May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 24, 2019

By Sijia Jiang and Josh Horwitz

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Huawei, hit by crippling U.S. sanctions, could see shipments decline by as much as a quarter this year and faces the possibility that its smartphones will disappear from international markets, analysts said.

Smartphone shipments at Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by volume, could tumble between 4% and 24% in 2019 if the ban stays put, according to Fubon Research and Strategy Analytics.

Several experts said they expect Huawei’s shipments to slide over the next six months but declined to give a hard estimate due to uncertainties surrounding the ban.

The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying U.S. goods last week amid its escalating trade spat with China.

The ban applies to goods and services with 25% or more of U.S.-originated technology or materials, and may, therefore, affect non-American firms.

Tech companies including Google and SoftBank Group-owned chip designer ARM have said they will cease supplies and updates to Huawei.

“Huawei may be wiped out of the Western European smartphone market next year if it loses access to Google,” said Linda Sui, director of wireless smartphone strategies at Strategy Analytics.

She predicts Huawei handset shipments will decline another 23% next year but believes the company could survive on the sheer size of the China market.

Fubon Research, which previously forecast Huawei would ship 258 million smartphones in 2019, now expects the company to ship just 200 million in a worst-case scenario.

Huawei commands nearly 30% of the global market according to industry tracker IDC, and shipped 208 million phones last year, including half to markets outside China. The company counts Europe as the most important market for its premium smartphones.

WHO WINS?

Huawei has said it has been developing the technology it needs to be self-sufficient for years.

But experts are not buying the company’s claim.

They said key components and intellectual property needed in Huawei’s devices are not available outside the United States.

Huawei would potentially need to lay off thousands of people and “disappear as a global player for some time,” said Stewart Randall, who tracks the chip industry at Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink.

Potential buyers of Huawei’s phones are likely to switch to high-end devices from Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc, and also buy mid-end phones from domestic rivals OPPO and Vivo, analysts said.

“It leaves an amount of share in its wake that can get picked up by competitors, particularly Samsung given its strength in regions like Europe,” said Bryan Ma, who researches the global smartphone market at IDC.

Huawei handsets are already drawing fewer clicks from online shoppers since the United States blacklisted the company, according to PriceSpy, a product comparison site that attracts an average of 14 million visitors per month.

“Over the last four days, Huawei handsets have slumped in popularity – receiving almost half as many clicks as they did last week in the UK and 26% less on the global stage,” PriceSpy said.

The export ban on Huawei could also delay China’s 5G rollout, Jefferies analyst Edison Lee said. Huawei has said it signed 5G contracts with 40 clients around the world.

(Reporting by Sijia Jiang in HONG KONG and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; editing by Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

Xiaomi logos are displayed during a news conference in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Xiaomi logos are seen during a news conference in Hong Kong, China June 23, 2018.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip

May 24, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp confirmed on Friday that it had dismissed the head of its Africa division for violating a Chinese law pertaining to indecent public behavior.

According to an internal letter dated May 23 and widely circulated online, the company dismissed vice president Wang Lingming for violating Article 44 of China’s public safety law.

Xiaomi confirmed the veracity of the letter, which also says Wang was detained for 5 days by public security bodies, but the Chinese company declined to comment further.

Reuters could not immediately reach Wang for a comment.

Article 44 of China’s public safety law states: “Whoever commits an obscenity against another person or deliberately exposes his body in a public place shall be detained for a period of no less than five days and less than ten days”.

Xiaomi appointed Wang as head of its newly created Africa unit in January. It later launched a partnership with e-commerce platform Jumia to distribute its phones in Africa, where it faces steep competition from Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, and Shenzhen Transsion Holdings.

Xiaomi is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor, according to research firm IDC, and has been expanding abroad aggressively as China’s smartphone market contracts.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Steam is emitted from factories at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki
FILE PHOTO: Steam is emitted from factories at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

May 24, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s factory output likely picked up in April, reversing the decline seen in the previous month, a Reuters’ poll found on Friday, although the U.S.-China trade war is expected to prevent a more meaningful recovery in months ahead.

Industrial production was forecast to rise 0.2% in April from the previous month after a 0.6% fall in March, the poll of 16 economists showed.

The expected small gains in the data were supported by firms’ front-loading some production ahead of Japan’s 10-day holiday from late April to early May to celebrate the accession of the new emperor, analysts said.

But falls in demand for IT-related products such as electronics parts and devices weighed on the factory output, they also said.

“Firms may cut their production or draw down an inventory in May, so it requires to examine manufacturers’ production forecasts to see the trend,” said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“Also we expect an adverse impact from an escalating U.S.-China trade war will appear in the data.”

The most recent trade data showed Japan’s exports contracted for the fifth month in April due to a slump in shipments of chip-making equipment to China.

The trade ministry will publish April factory output and manufacturers’ production forecasts for May and June at 8:50 a.m. May 31, Japan time (2350 GMT May 30).

Retail sales data, also due 8:50 a.m. May 31, will likely show sales grew 0.8% in April from a year earlier, helped by a recovery in auto sales, from a 1.0% gain in March, the poll showed.

The poll also showed Tokyo’s core consumer prices (CPI) index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, was expected to have risen 1.2% in May from a year earlier, compared with a 1.3% increase in April.

A slowdown in electricity and gas price rises capped gains in the index, while an increase in package tour fee and accommodation expenses due to the nation’s long holiday helped Tokyo’s core CPI, analysts said.

The jobless rate likely improved to 2.4% in April from 2.5%in March, and the jobs-to-applicants ratio was seen steady at 1.63.

Tokyo’s core CPI and jobs data will be released at 8:30 a.m. on May 31 (2330 GMT on May 30).

The economy in the first quarter grew unexpectedly accelerated but the surprise expansion was mostly caused by imports declining faster than exports, showing both external and domestic demand were weak.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

Steam is emitted from factories at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki
FILE PHOTO: Steam is emitted from factories at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

May 24, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s factory output likely picked up in April, reversing the decline seen in the previous month, a Reuters’ poll found on Friday, although the U.S.-China trade war is expected to prevent a more meaningful recovery in months ahead.

Industrial production was forecast to rise 0.2% in April from the previous month after a 0.6% fall in March, the poll of 16 economists showed.

The expected small gains in the data were supported by firms’ front-loading some production ahead of Japan’s 10-day holiday from late April to early May to celebrate the accession of the new emperor, analysts said.

But falls in demand for IT-related products such as electronics parts and devices weighed on the factory output, they also said.

“Firms may cut their production or draw down an inventory in May, so it requires to examine manufacturers’ production forecasts to see the trend,” said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“Also we expect an adverse impact from an escalating U.S.-China trade war will appear in the data.”

The most recent trade data showed Japan’s exports contracted for the fifth month in April due to a slump in shipments of chip-making equipment to China.

The trade ministry will publish April factory output and manufacturers’ production forecasts for May and June at 8:50 a.m. May 31, Japan time (2350 GMT May 30).

Retail sales data, also due 8:50 a.m. May 31, will likely show sales grew 0.8% in April from a year earlier, helped by a recovery in auto sales, from a 1.0% gain in March, the poll showed.

The poll also showed Tokyo’s core consumer prices (CPI) index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, was expected to have risen 1.2% in May from a year earlier, compared with a 1.3% increase in April.

A slowdown in electricity and gas price rises capped gains in the index, while an increase in package tour fee and accommodation expenses due to the nation’s long holiday helped Tokyo’s core CPI, analysts said.

The jobless rate likely improved to 2.4% in April from 2.5%in March, and the jobs-to-applicants ratio was seen steady at 1.63.

Tokyo’s core CPI and jobs data will be released at 8:30 a.m. on May 31 (2330 GMT on May 30).

The economy in the first quarter grew unexpectedly accelerated but the surprise expansion was mostly caused by imports declining faster than exports, showing both external and domestic demand were weak.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured at a wind park in Bac Lieu province
FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured at a wind park in Bac Lieu province, Vietnam, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Khanh Vu and Henning Gloystein

HANOI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Vietnam has become a hot spot for energy investors eying a spend of up to $150 billion over the coming decade to meet surging power demand, with coal set to dominate despite signs of a government effort to go green.

With a population nudging 100 million and annual GDP growth around 7%, Vietnam has forecast power generation will need to rise from about 47,000 megawatts (MW) currently to 60,000 MW by 2020 and 129,500 MW by 2030.

(GRAPHIC: Vietnam power generation capacity – https://tmsnrt.rs/2X1Vzar)

To meet these targets the country will need to add more than neighbor Thailand’s total installed capacity by 2025 and its electricity sector will likely be bigger than Britain’s by the mid-2020s.

“Vietnam is a big growth story for the coal industry. Coal demand will be extremely strong,” said Pat Markey, Managing Director of Sierra Vista Resources, a Singapore-based commodity advisory.

Once largely reliant on hydropower, the production hub for global companies such as Samsung Electronics has turned to cheap but polluting coal to boost electricity generation.

Vietnam’s coal use in the five years to 2017 grew 75 percent, faster than any other country in the world, according to a research paper by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center on Vietnam.

The country’s current Power Development Plan (PDP 7) puts coal front and center to meet new demand.

While generation is set to double, PDP 7 forecast coal-fired generation would grow rapidly to 2030, with its share of the energy market rising from 33 percent to 56 percent.

But a change of emphasis that began in 2016 with a revised version of PDP 7 has started to embrace cheaper renewable energy, and analysts expect PDP 8, due later this year, to further adjust policy.

“One of Vietnam’s priorities is to develop renewable energy sources to gradually reduce its reliance on traditional sources of electricity to protect the environment,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website earlier this month.

(GRAPHIC: Vietnam’s changing power generation mix – https://tmsnrt.rs/2VOCz1K)

RENEWABLE WINDOW

Facing a rapid rise in pollution, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has started to offer incentives for renewables, which so far only play a marginal role in Vietnam’s energy sector.

According to a draft law planned for June, state-owned utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN), which distributes all of the country’s power, will pay solar projects between 6.67 and 10.87 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

“There is very strong interest in solar due to the high level of feed-in-tariffs,” said Dieter Billen of consultancy Roland Berger.

One of the first developers into Vietnam’s solar sector has been Gulf Energy from neighboring Thailand, which this year has entered several long-term projects that will benefit from feed-in-tariffs.

Billen said there was also “growing interest in wind power thanks to attractive feed-in tariffs” of 8.5 cents per kWh for onshore and 9.8 cents per kWh for offshore facilities.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in June will hold meetings in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, as it looks to drive growth in a new market.

Should government policy continue to support renewables and wind and solar become cheaper and better, Roland Berger’s Billen said renewables could even challenge coal as Vietnam’s biggest electricity source by 2030.

(GRAPHIC: Vietnam oil & coal imports – https://tmsnrt.rs/2LvIQeF)

COAL STILL KING

But whatever the long-term plans under PDP 8, Vietnam still needs quick fixes to meet demand.

“Vietnam is a country in the midst of massive economic growth, so they will need to expand their power capacity as fast as possible at manageable costs,” said Sierra Vista’s Markey, who sees projects already in the pipeline adding an extra 2.7 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity by 2020 to the 15 GW of coal-fired power already in place.

Power consumption hit a record 36,000 MW this month, close to the maximum available capacity, according to government data, while the government this week asked consumers not to set air-conditioners too low to help avoid blackouts.

The World Bank has said Vietnam needs to invest up to $150 billion by 2030, almost twice the $80 billion already spent on its power sector since 2010.

While Vietnam may struggle to finance the energy growth it needs and corruption remains a problem, businesses are anxious to enter the market.

Germany’s Siemens, one of the world’s biggest makers of gas-fired power turbines, in April signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government that outlines future collaboration.

Gregor Frank, Siemens’ Vice President for Large Gas Packages and Solution Businesses in Asia/Pacific, said the company was in “early development and financing of equity or debt” for large power projects.

In one of the country’s most recent large energy deals, a consortium around Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in April approved a $2-billion loan for a coal-fired power plant in Vietnam.

Sabyasachi Mishra, head of mineral sales at commodities trader Tata International expects Vietnam’s annual coal imports to grow from 20 million to 30 million tonnes “in the next one year or so”, particularly with domestic reserves in decline.

In the first four months of this year, Vietnam’s coal imports more than doubled from a year earlier to 13.34 million tonnes, according to Vietnam customs data.

Markey said imports are forecast to peak at 80 million to 110 million tonnes between 2030 and 2040, against current demand of 63 million tonnes.

Such a surge would make Vietnam one of the last boom markets for what many otherwise see as a sunset industry.

(GRAPHIC: Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 – https://tmsnrt.rs/2LvOX2v)

(Reporting by Khanh Vu in HANOI and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; additional reporting by James Pearson in Hanoi and Mai Nguyen and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Richard Pullin)

Source: OANN

Company logo is seen on a Best Buy store in Westminster
A company logo is seen on a Best Buy store in Westminster, Colorado January 16, 2014. Best Buy Co shares tumbled about 30 percent on Thursday after the world’s largest consumer electronics chain reported disappointing holiday sales and warned of a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating margins. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS LOGO)

May 23, 2019

(Reuters) – Best Buy Co Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly same-store sales on Thursday, as the consumer electronics retailer sold more wearables and tablets and signed up more people to its subscription-based tech support services.

Best Buy’s overall same-store sales rose 1.1% in the first quarter ended May 4. Analysts on average had expected a 0.9% increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue rose to $9.14 billion from $9.11 billion, in line with analysts’ estimates.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Arun Koyyur)

Source: OANN

Sony Corp's new President and CEO Yoshida attends a news conference on their business plan at the company's headquarters in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Sony Corp’s new President and Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Yoshida attends a news conference on their business plan at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

May 22, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp sees the smartphone business as indispensable to its brand portfolio, bucking calls from some investors that the Japanese electronics firm should scrap the money-losing business, its CEO said.

Sony’s consumer electronics hardware business “has centered on entertainment since our foundation, not daily necessities like refrigerators and washing machines,” Kenichiro Yoshida told a group of journalists on Wednesday.

“We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” he said. “And younger generations no longer watch TV. Their first touch point is smartphone,” he said.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Anshuman Daga)

Source: OANN

Sony Corp's new President and CEO Yoshida attends a news conference on their business plan at the company's headquarters in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Sony Corp’s new President and Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Yoshida attends a news conference on their business plan at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

May 22, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp sees the smartphone business as indispensable to its brand portfolio, bucking calls from some investors that the Japanese electronics firm should scrap the money-losing business, its CEO said.

Sony’s consumer electronics hardware business “has centered on entertainment since our foundation, not daily necessities like refrigerators and washing machines,” Kenichiro Yoshida told a group of journalists on Wednesday.

“We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” he said. “And younger generations no longer watch TV. Their first touch point is smartphone,” he said.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Anshuman Daga)

Source: OANN

File photo of the Tata Steel plant in Scunthorpe
FILE PHOTO: The British Steel plant is seen in Scunthorpe northern England, in this October 15, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files

May 21, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Maytaal Angel

LONDON (Reuters) – British Steel, the country’s second largest steel producer, is on the brink of collapse unless the government agrees to provide an emergency 30 million pound ($38 million) loan by later on Tuesday, two sources close to the situation said.

Owned by investment firm Greybull Capital, British Steel employs around 5,000 people, mostly in Scunthorpe, in the north of England, while 20,000 more depend on its supply chain.

Greybull, which specialises in trying to turn around distressed businesses, paid former owners Tata Steel a nominal one pound in 2016 for the loss-making company which they renamed British Steel.

British Steel had asked the government for a 75 million pound loan but has since reduced its demand to 30 million pounds after Greybull agreed to put up more money, according one of the sources, who is close to the negotiations.

Greybull was also the owner of Monarch, an airline that went bust https://www.reuters.com/article/us-monarch-airlines-licence/monarch-airlines-goes-bust-spoiling-holiday-plans-for-many-britons-idUSKCN1C70FQ in October 2017.

If the British Steel loan is not approved by Tuesday afternoon, administrators EY could be appointed as early as Wednesday, the source said.

British Steel and Greybull both declined to comment.

“There have been ongoing discussions with the company and I am sure the House (of Commons) will understand that we cannot comment at this stage,” Andrew Stephenson, a junior business minister, told lawmakers in parliament.

“I can however assure the House that, subject to strict legal bounds, the government will leave no stone unturned in its support for the industry.” Stephenson said the government had been in contact with former British Steel owners Tata Steel.

STEEL INDUSTRY SUFFERS

The second source said British Steel lost the backing of one of its four big lenders earlier on Tuesday, while some of the others had already exited.

“The (company’s) cash was not big enough to sustain even one bank pulling the plug,” he said.

The possible collapse of British Steel comes after Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata Steel ditched a plan earlier this month to merge their European steel assets to create the EU’s second largest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal.

The collapsed merger leaves the wider EU steel sector fragmented and vulnerable to economic downturns. It also calls into question the fate of Britain’s largest steelworks in Port Talbot, Wales, owned by Tata Steel.

British steel firms pay some of the highest green taxes and energy costs in the world, and are also saddled with high labour and logistics costs, as well as uncertainties surrounding Britain’s planned exit from the European Union.

After making a profit in 2017, British Steel cut around 400 jobs last year, blaming factors such as the weak pound.

Earlier this month, it appeared to have secured the backing of lenders and shareholders to continue operating after the uncertainty around Brexit hammered its order book, with customers recoiling from the possible threat of tariffs.

The company also secured a government loan of around 120 million pounds ($154 million) at the start of the month to enable it to comply with the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) rules.

POLITICAL PRESSURE

“The collapse of British Steel would be devastating for thousands of jobs in Scunthorpe, as well as in the wider supply chain,” opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter.

“The government must act to secure the long term future of the steelworks – protecting people’s livelihoods and the community.”

The second source said the British government was reluctant to hand over more cash, because Greybull could end up with the funds if the business fails.

“Greybull could walk out with millions because they secured all their loans against the assets. At the holding level, Greybull are the only creditor. The government wants Greybull out before putting money into the business,” he said.

“Its going to be difficult to survive this afternoon,” he added.

The UK government has a chequered history with Greybull, after the collapse of Monarch in 2017 forced it to repatriate more than 100,000 stranded tourists at a cost of about 60 million pounds.

The Mayfair-based firm also provided backing for the buyout of British high street electronics chain Comet before its collapse in 2012.

Unions demanded the government give British Steel the loan.

“They must now put their money where their mouth is,” said Ross Murdoch, national officer for the GMB union for steelworkers.

“GMB calls on the Government and Greybull to redouble efforts to save this proud steelworks and the highly skilled jobs,” Murdoch said.

Earlier this month, British Steel won approval from a French court to buy the Ascoval steel mill in northern France, pledging to invest 47.5 million euros in mill and guarantee the jobs of the 270 workers employed at the site.

Ascoval is a joint venture between Vallourec and Ascometal.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Maytaal Angel. Additional reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Keith Weir and David Evans)

Source: OANN


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