Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.06.21]





Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco in $12.4 bn oil pipeline deal with EIG-led group

Energy giant Saudi Aramco said it has struck a 12.4-billion-dollar deal to sell a minority stake in a newly formed oil pipeline business to a consortium led by US-based EIG Global Energy Partners.

The deal underscores how Aramco -- the kingdom's cash cow -- seeks to monetise its once-untouchable assets to generate revenue for the Saudi government as it accelerates efforts to diversify the oil-reliant economy.


Tencent-backed Waterdrop registers over 35% rise in Q1 growth

Chinese insurance technology company Waterdrop Inc reported a 35.1 percent year-on-year increase in net operating revenue in the first quarter of this year, continuing to see strong growth in the number of paying insurance consumers.

Unaudited results show the Tencent-backed company's first-quarter net operating revenue reached 883.4 million yuan ($136.9 million), primarily driven by the growth of insurance brokerage income and technical service income. Excluding the impact from the cessation of mutual aid business in March 2021, the adjusted net operating revenue rose by 43.2 percent year-over-year.

NYSE-listed Waterdrop primarily generates brokerage income from selling insurance policies underwritten by insurance carriers. First-year premiums generated through its Waterdrop Insurance Marketplace jumped 42.7 percent year-on-year to 4.47 billion yuan in the first quarter.

The number of insurance customers and FYP per customer both grew rapidly. Waterdrop's cumulative paying insurance customers reached 21.9 million as of the end of March, while the FYP per customer increased to 1,165 yuan, up 32.1 percent year-on-year.


With new phones, 'Honor' is restored, market foothold firm

Company carved out of Huawei first to use Qualcomm's 778G 5G chips

Honor Device Co Ltd, the Chinese phone maker that became independent from Huawei late last year, said its supply chain has fully recovered and the company is steadily regaining market share.

The comments came after the company unveiled its new smartphone 50 series powered by the US chip giant Qualcomm's chips on Wednesday night.

Zhao Ming, CEO of Honor, said though the company obtained the chip information 45 days later than its competitors, Honor managed to be the first in the industry to launch smartphones powered by Qualcomm's 778G 5G chips.

The company has so far reestablished links with over 30 strategic partners, and inked more than 1,000 supply agreements, he said.


CNOOC unit off Hainan to start output this month

Deep Sea No 1, a 100,000-metric-ton deep-water semi-submersible oil production and storage facility, will start production by the end of this month, China National Offshore Oil Corp said on Thursday.

The energy station, located in the waters off Hainan province, was developed and built by CNOOC and is expected to provide 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year to Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


SOHO China sold to Blackstone

Pan Shiyi, chairman of SOHO China, sold SOHO China to Blackstone at a price of HK$23.66 billion ($3.05 billion), approximately 54.93 percent of the issued share capital of the company, The Paper reported on Wednesday according to an announcement by SOHO China.

On behalf of Blackstone, the financial adviser Goldman Sachs acquired an aggregate of about 2,856,142,000 shares at the price of HK$5.00 per share that represented a premium of about 31.6 percent to the last closing price of HK$3.80. The company's stocks have resumed trading at 9 am on Thursday.

Upon completion of the offer, the undertaking shareholders and parties will collectively retain an approximately 9 percent interest in the company.

SOHO China said Blackstone intends to maintain the existing principal businesses and management of the group, and, where appropriate, leverage the group's resources to expand in China.

Following completion of the offer, Blackstone intends to undertake a detailed strategic review on the group for the purpose of formulating business plans and strategies for the future business development of SOHO China and determining what steps should be appropriate or desirable in order to optimize and rationalize the business activities and assets portfolio of the group.


Coach eyeing increased market presence in China

Coach IP Holdings LLC, the New York-headquartered fashion brand, will expand its market presence in China's cities at third-tier or lower and deploy more resources in online sales platforms during the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, its newly appointed global head said.


Shanghai Disney celebrates fifth birthday

Shanghai Disney Resort hosted a two-day ceremony starting Tuesday to celebrate its fifth anniversary, as the theme park expanded 'faster than any Disney theme park' under entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney Co.


Xiaomi seeking autonomous driving engineers

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi plans to hire 20 engineers for autonomous driving, to work in Beijing's Haidian district, according to posts on its official website.

The new hires mark an important move after the company formally announced plans to make electric vehicles in March.

Xiaomi, one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, planned to invest $10 billion over the next 10 years, with a first-phase investment of 10 billion yuan. Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun revealed that the company will launch its first electric vehicle equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving in three years.

China Eastern

China Eastern moves to improve medical response ability

China Eastern Airlines inked a strategic cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Volunteer Physician League (SVPL) on Tuesday in Shanghai.

The deal entails exploring collaboration opportunities in cabin medical aid, in-flight medical voluntary team development and maintenance, and in-flight medical emergency service communications, according to the Shanghai-based airline.


General Motorselectric vehicle plan just got even more expensive

General Motors announced that it would increase its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025. The new figure represents a 30 percent increase over the amount the automaker said it would spend last November, and a 75 percent increase from its initial investment prior to the pandemic.


Huawei invests $60m in Angola technological centers

LUANDA -- Huawei on Wednesday announced that it had invested $60 million in the construction of two technological training centers in Angola.

Chu Xiaoxin, representative of Huawei in Angola, made the announcement after an audience with Angolan President Joao Lourenco.

Chu said that the centers with capacity to accommodate 2,000 young people will help discover talent in the telecommunications and information technology sector of Angola.

The project, he said, is included in the digital economy development program in the country.

The meeting with the president is aimed at updating him on the execution of the projects and the company's contribution in the southern African country, said Chu.

Zeiss Group&Vivo

Zeiss, Vivo team up to exploit mobile imaging tech

Zeiss Group, a German manufacturer of optical electronics and optical products like top-end eyeglass lenses, binoculars and camera lenses, is looking to exploit the rising potential of mobile imaging technology in the China market.

Maximilian Foerst, president and managing director of Zeiss China, the local subsidiary of the German parent, said the company's deepened cooperation with Chinese smartphone maker Vivo will strengthen its efforts to harness the power of the mobile imaging technology.

In China, smartphone manufacturers are stepping up cooperation with professional camera and optical component makers to meet the growing appetite for high-quality mobile cameras among consumers worldwide.



Wanda Light Asset gears up for HK IPO

Wanda Light Asset Commercial Management Co has started preparations with banks for a Hong Kong initial public offering, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.

Citic Securities Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co are working with the company to prepare for the first-time share sale, which could happen as soon as this year, sources told Bloomberg.


Unilever Is Buying Paulas Choice

Unilever has signed a deal to acquire skin care brand Paula’s Choice for around $2 billion, according to industry sources.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Unilever declined to comment on the price tag. WWD had previously reported in April that the brand was exploring M&A options, and that the business is expected to do more than $300 million in net sales for 2021.