Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.07.19]






Jury awards $125M to woman with Down syndrome in Walmart discrimination case

A jury ruled Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired a longtime employee who claimed she was wrongfully terminated.

As a result, the jury awarded $125 million to Marlo Spaeth, who has Down syndrome. According to the Herald Times Reporter, the compensation will be capped at $300,000 because of federal regulation.

The jury awarded Spaeth $150,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000,000 in punitive damages after deliberating for three hours following the four-day trial.


Sinopec starts building onshore wind power project

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, the world's largest refiner by volume, also known as Sinopec Group, started construction of the company's first onshore wind power project, the Dali distributed wind generation project, on Tuesday.

The 20 MW project is in Northwest China's Shaanxi province and contains eight wind generating units. It will be put into operation by the end of October, with an annual on-grid power capacity reaching 42.86 million kilowatt-hours. That is equivalent to a carbon dioxide emission reduction of 39,600 tons each year and reduction of 13,200 tons of standard coal each year, the company said.

Compared with traditional onshore wind projects, those that are distributed can be near households and are more efficient and flexible, it said.



Biogen and InnoCare announce license and collaboration agreement

US-based Biogen Inc and Hong Kong-listed Chinese mainland biopharma startup InnoCare Pharma Ltd announced on Monday that they have entered into a license and collaboration agreement for orelabrutinib, a drug candidate currently in a multi-country, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial for the potential treatment of multiple sclerosis, a rare disease of the nervous system characterized by loss of feeling and control of movement and speech.



Tencent's Sogou acquisition given approval

The State Administration for Market Regulation has unconditionally approved Chinese internet giant Tencent's acquisition of the country's second-largest search engine Sogou Inc, according to an announcement from the administration on Tuesday.



Takeda eyeing healthy business in China

Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd is planning to further accelerate digital innovation practices for disease treatment and healthcare services, betting big on China's booming pharmaceutical sector, said a company executive.

The company, which aims to make China its second-largest market by 2030, is committed to long-term investments in China and will continue to increase spending on research and development as well as operations in China, said Sean Shan, president of Takeda China.

Looking ahead, Shan said the company will further tap into the China market with focus on digital upgrading, transformation and innovation-driven development.



Suppliers buoy A220 output outlook

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it would continuously increase the production rate of the A220 aircraft, a model to which Chinese manufacturers contribute the biggest chunk of work compared with other Airbus plane models.

The A220, a small single-aisle aircraft for the 100- to 150-seat short-haul market segment, is a complement to the A320 family of aircraft. It is also the only Airbus model to have seen a stable production rate since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Stated differently, other Airbus models' production rates declined in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Currently, Airbus manufactures five A220 aircraft a month. Next year, the monthly production rate is expected to reach six, and in about five years from now, the figure is foreseen reaching 14.

Chinese firms supply one-third of the airframe work of the A220, which has 15 suppliers in China. Five of them supply materials and parts. The other 10 suppliers are involved in assembly work, Airbus said.


GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare to train 12,000 doctors in counties, rural areas

General Electric Healthcare Co, a major US supplier in the high-end medical devices market, said it plans to help provide training to about 12,000 doctors who work for primary hospitals in counties and rural areas in China to further raise their medical capabilities.

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of US conglomerate General Electric, said with the health channel of, it will provide a group of services in more than 10 provinces nationwide for the next year, beginning this month.

The multinational healthcare provider said it will work with various organizations in China to launch more than 100 online and offline doctor training sessions, and training in professional skills and equipment use that will cover various disciplines, such as radiology, anesthesia, ultrasound and cardiovascular intervention.



Huawei's AR technology boosting use in gaming, networking and education

In a brand-new technology-driven tour of the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province, visitors are enjoying an immersive fantasy experience prior to entering the attraction.

Using Huawei Technologies Co's augmented-reality-powered mapping app Hetu, visitors are able to see the detailed contents of the Dunhuang art murals outside the caves through their smartphones.

The Huawei Hetu platform fuses Dunhuang's study findings, high-resolution images of the site's murals and virtual, three-dimensional models with the real Mogao Grottoes. It not only re-created the real tour of the scenic spot, but also developed a new way to digitally experience the grottoes.

When people visit the site, they not only have the experience of seeing the real grottoes, but they can appreciate the exquisite artwork more clearly and in greater detail, Huawei said.


Volkswagen AG

VW remains confident despite sales dip due to chip shortages

Chip shortages are taking their toll on Volkswagen AG's production in China, but a senior executive expects sales in the country this year to exceed those in pandemic-hit 2020 as semiconductor supplies will turn for the better from the third quarter and customer demand for its vehicles remain robust.

The group, which owns brands including Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda, sold 1.85 million vehicles in China in the first half of the year. As the most popular international carmaker, Volkswagen's sales accounted for roughly 18 percent of the Chinese market.

However, its sales from January to June went up 16.2 percent year-on-year, much lower than the average growth rate of 27 percent, mainly because of chip shortages that are sweeping across the global auto industry, said Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Woellenstein.

He said the carmaker had a pretty strong start with a 61.5 percent sales rise in the first quarter, but the situation turned for the worse from April to June, as it started to feel the full impact of the chip crisis.


FAW Group

China's FAW Group reports robust vehicle exports in H1

CHANGCHUN -- China's leading automaker FAW Group Co Ltd exported 10,500 complete vehicles in the first half of this year (H1), up 130 percent year-on-year, said the company on Thursday.

The export volume of the company registered a yearly increase of 175 percent during the period, reaching $240 million.

Among the exported products, the Hongqi-branded vehicles are favored by overseas markets. So far, FAW's high-end automobiles represented by Hongqi have been exported to countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

FAW is expected to export a total of 23,500 vehicles this year, with an export value of $500 million, up 102 percent year-on-year, said Yu Bin, deputy manager of China FAW Group Import and Export Co Ltd.



Modec in talks with Toyo for FPSO joint venture

Japans Modec and Toyo Engineering Corporation (Toyo) have initiated talks to assess the business alliance related to floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels.

The parties have also agreed to undertake a feasibility study regarding the business alliance for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) services for the FPSO vessels.

Additionally, the firms are considering launching a joint venture company by the end of this year, subject to the positive results of the discussion and the feasibility study.

The proposed alliance is expected to improve engineering and project management capabilities while optimising human resources and organisational structure.

By leveraging the capacities of Modec and Toyo, the potential venture would help in addressing multiple large-scale projects.

In addition to developing new technologies for the next-generation FPSO vessels, the alliance will explore new technology and product opportunities in growth markets.

Moreover, the firms anticipate the business alliance to have a more cost-competitive offering to secure projects.

It is also expected to enhance EPCI business profitability through efficient cost estimate/reduction initiatives.



Shell plans to build carbon capture storage facility in Canada

Royal Dutch Shell is planning to build a large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its Scotford Complex near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

The Scotford Complex is located adjacent to the companys 100%-owned refinery and chemicals plant.

Expected to be developed in phases, the proposed Polaris CCS project forms part of Shells efforts to decarbonise its operations and the wider industry.



DSME wins $635m contract to build platform for Qatars Al-Shaheen field

South Koreas Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has secured a contract to deliver a fixed offshore production platform for Al-Shaheen field offshore Qatar.

The $635m (KRW725.3bn) contract has been awarded by North Oil Company (NOC), a joint venture between TotalEnergies and Qatar Petroleum.

The new fixed platform, which will comprise topsides, jacket, and an interconnection bridge with other facilities, is expected to boost crude oil production in the Al-Shaheen field.

DSME plans to complete construction on the platform by the second half of 2023.



Xiaomi's Lei Jun tops Forbes China Best CEO list

Lei Jun, CEO of smartphone maker Xiaomi, topped the annual ranking of China's best CEOs published by Forbes on Thursday. Hu Yangzhong of Hikivison, the world's largest surveillance products maker, and Wang Chuanfu from EV company BYD ranked second and third, respectively.



China launches Didi cybersecurity probe

The Cyberspace Administration of China, along with other six government authorities, began an on-site cybersecurity inspection of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing on Friday, according to a statement issued on the official website of the CAC.

The on-site probe also involves regulators including the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Transport, the State Taxation Administration, and the State Administration of Market Regulation.



Suning founder steps down after stake sale's billionaire founder Zhang Jindong has resigned as chairman during a leadership shuffle which put an end to his reign of the debt-ridden e-commerce retailing conglomerate, as its new and more diversified shareholder structure is expected to embark on a brighter future for the company.

Shares of reacted on the Shenzhen bourse by jumping 1.3 percent to finish on Tuesday at 6.25 yuan (96 cents), having hit a session peak of 6.44 yuan. received a $1.36 billion acquisition plan from State-owned investors and Alibaba Group last week in an effort to restore its liquidity. agreed to sell a 16.96 percent stake in its listed firm to a fund, namely Jiangsu Xinxin Retail Innovation Fund II, a consortium with some State-owned investors, Alibaba Group and other corporate investors including Huatai Securities, Xiaomi, Haier, Midea and TCL.

Alibaba, which held 19.99 percent share of previously, has become the largest shareholder following the transfer of shares. No shareholder though will have a controlling stake.