Tag Archives: China

China auto firms to set up ride-sharing platform
July 14, 2018 6:50 pm|Comments (0)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese firms FAW Group, Dongfeng Automobile and Chongqing Changan Automobile have set up a venture to establish a ride-sharing platform, Changan said on Saturday, creating the kind of service pioneered by Uber.

“The three major car companies have joined forces to enter the field of shared travel, which provides an opportunity to transform traditional car enterprises,” a notice posted by Changan on its Wechat social media account said.

The new venture, called T3 Mobile Travel Services, would introduce partners from other industries to build the service and seek to make use of the development of driverless cars to offer safer and more efficient travel services to customers.

The three firms signed a cooperation agreement in December.

China’s ride sharing market is now dominated by Didi Chuxing, which is valued at $ 50 billion and counts Japan’s SoftBank Group as one of its major investors.

Reporting by David Stanway

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Micron says China ban unfair but won't hurt revenue
July 5, 2018 6:34 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Micron Technology Inc on Thursday played down the likely impact on its business of a temporary Chinese ban on some chip sales but said it would appeal a decision that has added to U.S.-China trade tensions.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. memory chip maker MicronTechnology is pictured at their booth at an industrial fair in Frankfurt, Germany, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo/File Photo

The firm’s estimate that the ban imposed by a Chinese court in a patent infringement lawsuit would weaken quarterly revenue by just 1 percent drove its shares as much as 3.6 percent higher and lifted stocks of other U.S. chipmakers.

Shares in the sector had been shaken on Tuesday by the first reports of the ruling, which added to a growing list of intellectual property disputes between Washington and China in the technology sector.

Micron said the ruling by a Fuzhou Court in a lawsuit filed by rivals United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co temporarily bans it from selling some memory chips and solid state drives in China.

The chipmaker said it would comply with the ruling, but would request the court to reconsider or stay its decision.

“The Fuzhou Court issued this preliminary ruling before allowing Micron an opportunity to present its defense,” said Joel Poppen, Micron’s general counsel.

The lawsuit followed Micron’s complaint in December against Chinese government-backed Fujian and UMC in a California court alleging misappropriation of its trade secrets and other misconduct.

China is trying to build its own semiconductor industry as part of its “Made in China 2025” strategy and as it seeks to lower its reliance on foreign companies, many of them U.S.-based.

The dispute follows a ban on U.S. firms supplying parts to China’s telecom equipment maker ZTE as well as the drawn-out wait for Chinese regulators to approve Qualcomm Inc’s $ 44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors.

“It certainly appears semiconductors could move to the prime time in negotiations between the Trump administration and China,” Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse said. “Near-term this could favor non-US chipmakers vs. US chipmakers.”

Several Chinese government-backed entities have poured billions into research and for buying companies with a trove of chip patents. Micron itself was the target of a failed takeover attempt by China’s Tsinghua Unigroup in 2015.

The Chinese ban on Micron targeted its products sold through retail outlets and represented only a small portion of the chipmaker’s revenue.

Analysts believe the ban is largely symbolic as hurting the U.S. chipmaker would end up creating more pain for local Chinese firms who would have to rely on Korean firms Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, pushing up memory chip prices.

“At the end of the day, the Chinese government is not going to impact its own local companies,” said Kinngai Chan of Summit Insights Group.

Micron said it expects quarterly revenue to be within the previously guided range of $ 8.0 billion to $ 8.4 billion.

Shares of Micron, which fell 5.5 percent on Tuesday after the ban, was up 1.9 percent at $ 52.46 in afternoon trading on Thursday.

Other chipmakers also gained. Qualcomm Inc rose 3.2 percent, Broadcom Inc 2 percent and Intel Corp up 2.6 percent.

Reporting by Sonam Rai and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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China media group CMC raises $1.5 billion from Alibaba, Tencent
July 3, 2018 6:30 am|Comments (0)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese state-backed media group CMC Inc said on Tuesday that it had raised around 10 billion yuan ($ 1.49 billion) in a fund-raising round from investors including rival tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

FILE PHOTO – Li Ruigang, Founding Chairman, China Media Capital (CMC), People’s Republic of China, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

CMC, formerly CMC Holdings which stretches from sports to amusement parks, said the A-round fundraising was led by the two tech firms along with new investors such as property developer China Vanke Co Ltd.

CMC, founded by media magnate Li Ruigang in 2015, added the firm was valued at around 400 billion yuan after the round.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Trump to use U.S. security review panel to curb China tech investments
June 27, 2018 6:20 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will use a strengthened national security review process to thwart Chinese acquisitions of sensitive American technologies, a softer approach than imposing China-specific investment restrictions.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch meeting with Republican members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Treasury Department has recommended that Trump use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose authority would be enhanced by new legislation in Congress, to control investment deals. The legislation expands the scope of transactions reviewed by the interagency panel to address security concerns, Trump said.

The decision marks a victory for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a fierce White House debate over the scope of such curbs.

Mnuchin had favored a more measured and global approach to protecting U.S. technology, using authority approved by Congress, while White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, the administration’s harshest China critic, had argued for China-specific restrictions.

“We are not, on a wholesale basis, discriminating against China as part of a negotiation,” Mnuchin said on CNBC on Wednesday.

The investment restrictions are part of the administration’s efforts to pressure Beijing into making major changes to its trade, technology transfer and industrial subsidy policies after U.S. complaints that China has unfairly acquired American intellectual property through joint venture requirements, unfair licensing and strategic acquisitions of U.S. tech firms.

“I have concluded that such (CFIUS) legislation will provide additional tools to combat the predatory investment practices that threaten our critical technology leadership, national security, and future economic prosperity,” Trump said in a statement that did not specifically name China.

U.S. stocks rose after Trump announced the new approach to U.S. investment restrictions but reversed gains in afternoon trading.

Senior administration officials told reporters on a conference call that sticking with CFIUS, a process companies are familiar with, would ensure strong inward investment into the United States while protecting the “crown jewels” of U.S. intellectual property.

Trump said in his statement that upon final passage of the legislation, known as the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, he will direct his administration “to implement it promptly and enforce it rigorously, with a view toward addressing the concerns regarding state-directed investment in critical technologies.”

If Congress fails to pass the legislation quickly, Trump said, he would direct the administration to implement new restrictions under executive authority that could be applied globally.

The decision to stick with CFIUS was a pragmatic move because the new CFIUS legislation “will put a crimp in China’s efforts to move up the value chain in high tech,” said Scott Kennedy, head of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

But it will likely do little to stop the activation of U.S. tariffs on $ 34 billion worth of Chinese goods, scheduled for July 6, or jump-start trade negotiations between the two economic superpowers, Kennedy said.

And the mixed messages from the administration do not help Trump’s negotiating position, he said.

“It shows the Chinese that the Trump administration is still undependable and can be moved back from the most hardline positions,” Kennedy added.

Mnuchin on CNBC downplayed the dissent within the administration, saying that Trump wants to hear differing views on important issues, but the administration’s economic team typically comes together on major recommendations such as the investment restrictions.

Mnuchin said the new CFIUS legislation, passed 400-2 in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, would broaden the types of transactions that could be reviewed by the panel on national security grounds, including minority stakes, joint ventures and property purchases near U.S. military bases.

“This isn’t a question about being weak or strong, this is about protecting technology. We have the right tools under this legislation to protect technology,” Mnuchin said.

COMMERCE EXPORT CURBS

Trump also said that he has directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to examine U.S. export controls and recommend modifications that may be needed “to defend our national security and technological leadership.”

A Commerce Department spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on the study.

The CFIUS legislation is headed for negotiations between U.S. House and Senate lawmakers in the coming weeks to craft a final version, with guidance from the Treasury.

A sticking point that could emerge is language in the Senate version that would reinstate the ban on Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) from purchasing U.S. components for a year. The Commerce Department ban had effectively shut the Shenzhen-based company down, angering Beijing.

The House version has less stringent language prohibiting the U.S. Department of Defense from purchasing any ZTE communications gear.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Steve Orlofsky

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Qualcomm-NXP deal still waiting for China nod: sources
June 15, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is yet to approve U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) proposed $ 44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O), three people close to the talks said, dismissing an earlier media report that said Beijing had already greenlit the deal.

FILE PHOTO: A sign on the Qualcomm campus is seen in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Chinese clearance would remove a long-running roadblock to the deal that has become entangled with broader trade tensions between the United States and China. The acquisition has already got a nod from eight of the nine required global regulators, with China being the only hold-out.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Friday morning that China had given its go-ahead to the deal, citing people with knowledge of the matter, driving up shares of the U.S. firm in extended trade.

FILE PHOTO: A man works on a tent for NXP Semiconductors in preparation for the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 4, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

But Reuters sources, who are close to the Qualcomm-NXP deal, said they were not aware of any Chinese approval. One of them said planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods expected to be unveiled later in the day could impact the process.

Qualcomm did not have an immediate comment on Friday, while NXP did not respond to a request for comment.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, the regulator which reviews merger deals, did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Qualcomm met with regulators in Beijing last month in a bid to secure a clearance, but sources at the time said an approval would depend on the progress of broader bilateral talks and the U.S. government lifting a crippling supplier ban on telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ)(0763.HK).

Washington and Beijing have struck a deal to help ZTE back into business. However, trade talks remain in the balance with U.S. President Donald Trump expected to unveil “pretty significant” tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday.

Analysts said a Chinese approval would be significant as it would remove the last major barrier to the NXP deal, which is seen as key for Qualcomm to diversify its business and make a push into new areas like smart cars.

Qualcomm initially announced its bid for Dutch semiconductor company NXP in October 2016.

Reporting by Michael Martina and Matthew Miller in BEIJING, Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Nikhil Subba in BENGALURU; Editing by James Dalgleish, Grant McCool and Himani Sarkar

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Tencent chairman pledges to advance China chip industry after ZTE 'wake-up' call: reports
May 27, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings chairman pledged to advance China’s semiconductor industry, saying the blow to ZTE Corp from Washington’s ban on U.S. firms supplying telecommunications company was a “wake-up” call, local media reported.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent Holdings Ltd Chairman and CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference announcing the company’s annual results in Hong Kong, China March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

China’s No.2 telecom equipment maker ZTE was banned in April from buying U.S. technology components for seven years for breaking an agreement reached after it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. American firms are estimated to provide 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.

While the U.S. administration said on Friday it had reached a deal to put ZTE back in business after the company pays a $ 1.3 billion fine and makes management changes, the plan has run into resistance in Congress, indicating ZTE was still far from out of the woods. Also, ZTE is yet to confirm the deal.

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Tencent is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

“The recent ZTE incident made everyone more clearly realize that however advanced one may be in mobile payment, without the mobile, the chips and the operating system, you still cannot compete,” Chinese media reports cited Tecent’s Pony Ma as saying at a forum in Shenzhen on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign of ZTE Corp is pictured at its service centre in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Tencent, which alternates with Alibaba Group to be Asia’s most-valuable listed company, is the largest social media and gaming company in China and operates the popular WeChat app.

Ma said “even though the ZTE situation was in the process of being resolved, we must not lose vigilance at this time and should pay more attention to fundamental scientific research”.

Tencent is looking into ways it could help advance China’s domestic chip industry, which could include leveraging its huge data demand to urge domestic chip suppliers to come up with better solutions, or using its WeChat platform to support application developments based on Chinese chips, Ma said.

“It would probably be better if we could get in to support semiconductor R&D, but that is perhaps admittedly not our strong suit and may need the help of others in the supply chain.”

China has been looking to accelerate plans to develop its semiconductor market to reduce its heavy reliance on imports and has invited overseas investors to invest in the country’s top state-backed chip fund.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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Foxconn's unit targets raising $4.3 billion in biggest China IPO since 2015
May 23, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

TAIPEI/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Foxconn Industrial Internet (601138.SS), a subsidiary of the world’s largest contract manufacturer Foxconn (2317.TW), announced plans to raise up to 27.1 billion yuan ($ 4.26 billion) in what will be mainland China’s biggest IPO in almost three years.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at a Foxconn booth at the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Stringe

The Foxconn unit, which is known as FII and makes electronic devices, cloud service equipment and industrial robots, is offering up to 1.97 billion shares at 13.77 yuan per share in Shanghai, according to a statement it filed to the stock exchange late on Tuesday.

With 10 percent of its enlarged capital offered in the initial public offering (IPO), Shenzhen-based FII would have a valuation of about $ 43 billion at listing. Bookbuilding for the IPO is on May 24.

The listing is widely seen as a step for Terry Gou’s Foxconn, a major Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (2317.TW), to wean itself off heavy reliance on manufacturing smartphones for the California-based iPhone maker and to diversify into new areas.

Foxconn has signaled previously that FII will launch projects in areas including smart manufacturing, industrial internet, cloud computing, and fifth-generation wireless technologies.

The IPO is also a reflection of Beijing’s seriousness in luring tech giants onto mainland exchanges.

At about $ 43 billion, the unit’s valuation would not be far behind parent company Foxconn’s market capitalization of about $ 49 billion.

The IPO’s pricing represents 17 times FII’s historical earnings, well below the valuation cap of 23 times favored by Chinese regulators.

FII plans to sell 30 percent of its public share offering to a group of strategic investors in a rare move for mainland deals.

The strategic investors are not being called cornerstones – investors who accept a lock-up period in return for large allocation, which is a practice common in other Asian markets such as Hong Kong to bolster demand for large deals.

However, the group will function as such, with its investments tied up for between one and three years. In an additional unusual move, 70 percent of institutional investors’ allocated shares will also be locked up for 12 months.

FII’s IPO ranks as the fourth largest in the mainland over the past 10 years, outpaced only by China State Construction Engineering (601668.SS), which raised $ 7.3 billion in 2009; China Railway Construction (601186.SS), which sold shares worth $ 5.7 billion in 2008; and Guotai Junan Securities (601211.SS), which raised $ 4.8 billion in 2015.

Clients of FII include companies such as Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), Cisco (CSCO.O), Dell, Huawei and Lenovo (0992.HK).

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu in Taipei and Julie Zhu and Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Engen Tham and Yiming Shen in Shanghai; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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U.S., China nearing deal to remove U.S. sales ban against ZTE: sources
May 22, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Washington and Beijing are nearing a deal that would remove an existing U.S. order banning American firms from supplying Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp, two people briefed on the talks told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO – Visitors pass in front of the Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Picture

The people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were confidential, also said the deal could include China removing tariffs on imported U.S. agricultural products, as well as buying more American farm goods.

ZTE, hit by a seven-year ban in April which effectively crippled its operations, would gain a major reprieve after the world’s two largest economies stepped back from the brink of a fully blown trade war following talks last week.

The company did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

White House advisors have said publicly that the ban against ZTE is being reexamined, but that the firm would still face “harsh” punishment, including enforced changes of management and at board level.

One person told Reuters there was a “handshake deal” on ZTE between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He during talks in Washington last week that would remove the U.S. Commerce Department’s ban on American companies selling to ZTE in exchange for the purchase of more U.S. agricultural products.

The second person said China may also eliminate tariffs on U.S. agriculture products it assessed in response to U.S. steel duties as a part of the deal, and that ZTE could still be forced to replace its corporate leadership, among other penalties.

Both sources said the deal, while not yet cemented, was likely to be finalised before or during a planned trip by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Beijing next week to help finalize a broader trade agreement to avert a trade war.

The company, publicly traded but whose largest shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise, had been hit with penalties for breaking a 2017 agreement after it was caught illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran and North Korea, in an investigation dating to the Obama administration.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Se Young Lee and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Toshiba eyes cancelling chip unit sale if no China approval by May: media
April 22, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Toshiba Corp has decided it will cancel the planned $ 18.6 billion sale of its memory chip unit if it does not get approval from China’s anti-monopoly regulator by May, the Mainichi newspaper said on Sunday.

The logo of Toshiba Corp is seen behind cherry blossoms at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A consortium led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital last year won a long and highly contentious battle for the unit, which Toshiba put up for sale after billions of dollars in cost overruns at its Westinghouse nuclear unit plunged it into crisis.

But Toshiba was unable to complete the sale by the agreed deadline of March 31 as it was still waiting for approval from China’s antitrust authorities.

Toshiba raised $ 5.4 billion from a share issue to foreign investors late last year and it had now decided it did not need to go through with the sale, the Mainichi newspaper reported. It did not cite any source.

“Toshiba has come to a decision that there is little necessity for the sale as it is no longer in insolvency,” the newspaper reported, adding that Toshiba would consider listing the unit if the sale did not go ahead.

A Toshiba spokesman said the company was still aiming to complete the sale as soon as possible.

In early April, Toshiba Chief Executive Nobuaki Kurumatani said his company would not use the option of cancelling the sale unless there was any “major material change” in circumstances.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel

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Bad humour: China watchdog shuts Toutiao joke app over vulgar content
April 11, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – In China, a platform for risqué jokes is no laughing matter.

FILE PHOTO – The logo of Bytedance’s news feed platform Toutiao is seen as its building in Beijing, China October 21, 2017. Picture taken October 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Toutiao, a hugely popular news and online content portal that is luring investors, was forced to pull its joke sharing “Neihan Duanzi” app, literally meaning “implied jokes”, after a watchdog said it included “vulgar and improper content”.

The move comes amid a broader clamp-down targeting online content from livestreams and blogs to mobile gaming, as the country’s leaders look to tighten their grip over a huge and diverse cultural scene online popular with China’s youth.

China’s State Administration of Radio and Television ordered the app to be taken down permanently in a post on Tuesday for low values that had “caused strong disgust amongst netizens”. It urged Toutiao to regulate similar content on its other sites.

Toutiao, one of the country’s fastest-growing tech start-ups which was valued at around $ 20 billion last year, has been in hot water with regulators lately. Earlier this week, its main mobile app was also removed from a number of Chinese smartphone app stores following reports of increased censorship.

In a public letter titled “Apology and Introspection”, Toutiao founder Zhang Yiming pledged to raise the number of in-house censors – referred to as content auditors – to 10,000 people from 6,000 currently to keep its content wholesome.

“This product walked the wrong path and had content in deviation of socialist core values,” he wrote in the letter posted on his official microblog account on Wednesday.

Reporting by Pei Li and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Michael Perry

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