Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.10.18]






Coca-Cola highlights efforts to protect biodiversity at COP 15

Contributing to climate change efforts and biodiversity conservation have been the priority of the ongoing work for global beverage leader the Coca-Cola Co in China, as it has operated more than 50 water stewardship programs in the country, said its top executive in the China unit.

During the recent 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), which was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province, Zhang Jiantao, Coca-Cola Greater China and Mongolia vice-president, shared many examples of their efforts in protecting biodiversity.


Starbucks rolls out more coffee products from Yunnan

Leading global coffeehouse Starbucks has further enhanced its localization efforts by rolling out two more reserve coffee products produced in Yunnan province recently.

The two coffee blends, one from Tianyu and Zuo Farm and one from Hong Feng farm in Yunnan province, have been available at its reserve stores nationwide, the fifth consecutive year to develop high-quality and high-yield coffee from local farms.

Yunnan is China's largest coffee-growing province, accounting for over 90 percent of the total output. The Starbucks Yunnan Star project was launched in 2012 after establishing the first Starbucks China Farmer Support Center in Pu'er, Yunnan province, covering all-around supply chains from planting, processing, roasting to retail.

The company has helped local farmers to plant high-quality and high-yield coffee as part of efforts to improve local incomes and livelihoods.


Medtronic to showcase 60 cutting-edge products at CIIE

United States-based medical technology company Medtronic announced on Friday that it will exhibit more than 60 world-class medical technology innovations at this year's China International Import Expo that will be held in Shanghai in early November.

These exhibits will cover seven areas, namely, heart and blood vessels, innovative surgery, smart medicine, nerve and spine surgery, digestion and liver, kidney health, and critical medicine, and will display global medical technology trends of intelligence, digitalization, and minimal invasiveness, said the company.

Blockbuster exhibits will include an atrial fibrillation ablation system that will make its Asia-Pacific debut, the world's largest drug-eluting heart stent with the largest diameter range currently available worldwide, and the world's first deep brain neurostimulator that can automatically recognize brain disease conditions.


Evonik and Wynca launch joint fumed silica plant in China

Evonik, one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals, said its first fumed silica production facility in China started operation on Thursday, which will fulfill local market's demands for silicones, coatings, adhesive, sealants and many other industrial applications.

With the demands for fumed silica in the Chinese market growing steadily in recent years, Evonik vows to deliver premium services and products to customers in China and Asia, it said.

Located in the Zhenjiang new material industry park in Jiangsu province, the joint venture between Evonik and the Chinese company Wynca will combine Evonik's product technology with Wynca's silicone industry chain, producing high-value fumed silica products.


CREC to accelerate expansion in global markets

China Railway Group Ltd, or CREC, the Beijing-based rail and infrastructure construction project provider, will build a global operational network dominated by regions, priority countries and key projects during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The State-owned group is confident it can harness new growth opportunities presented by many countries' plans to build new railroads and subways, regional shipping lines and service hubs, upgrade their urbanization and modernize their economies for scale and sustainable growth.

The statement said this move will substantially enhance the group's foothold in markets involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, encourage subsidiaries to deepen their localization strategies and create new jobs and commercial opportunities for communities in these countries and regions.


Oppo and Sharp ink cross-license patent agreement

Chinese smartphone vendor Oppo and Japanese company Sharp have reached a global cross-patent license agreement, including patents for communication technologies and covering sales of terminal products of both parties.

The cross-licensing agreement also ends all ongoing litigation between the companies worldwide on issues like patent infringement.

The global patent dispute began in 2020. Both companies agreed to dismiss the case following the signing of the agreement, which demonstrates the value of both companies' patent portfolios.

The move is expected to pave the road for Oppo to further expand its overseas business.

Adler Feng, senior director of intellectual property at Oppo, said: 'Oppo believes deeply in the value of innovation and highly respects intellectual property. We are pleased with the outcome where both companies resolved the global patent disputes in an amicable way. The cross-licensing agreement again recognizes Oppo's IP strength.'


Work begins on world's largest mobile display factory

BOE Technology Group, a leading supplier of display products and solutions, started building what will be the world's largest production site for manufacturing mobile device display modules in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Wednesday.

The production site is expected to improve BOE's manufacturing capacity and core competitiveness in mobile display products and help the city of Qingdao build an important national electronic information industry base, as well as a high-end R&D and manufacturing base, according to the company's website. A total investment of 8.17 billion yuan ($1.27 billion) is expected.

The project is located in the Qingdao West Coast New Area, the ninth State-level economic development zone in China.


Microsoft showcases new Windows 11 features

The US tech giant Microsoft Corp on Tuesday partnered with a string of personal computer makers to showcase the new features of its latest operating system Windows 11 in Beijing, as the Chinese PC market is expected to continue growth amid the new normal of the hybrid workplace.


Tencent aids companies to combat 'SMS bombing'

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is making efforts to help enterprises establish a risk control mechanism to fight against SMS bombing, which refers to using malicious programs or tools to send a large number of short message service verification codes to many mobile numbers in a period of time.

SMS bombing not only harasses innocent users, but also leads to a high number of complaints, which makes SMS channels unavailable and results in economic losses to customers. Therefore, preventive measures should be taken in advance, the company said.

It suggested enterprises use number authentication to replace SMS verification codes on servers in order to avoid risks, and verify login behavior by leveraging graphics verification codes as well as filter out mass requests from SMS bombing software.

According to the company, Tencent security's SMS risk control system can figure out suspicious and malicious users in milliseconds when they log in, provide self-defense consoles for enterprises, limit the frequency of SMS verification codes as well as prevent the occurrence of SMS bombing.



L'Oreal Group to debut more of its brands at CIIE

Five brands owned by L'Oreal Group will debut at the fourth China International Import Expo, which will be held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, according to the company's China CEO Fabrice Megarbane.

The French beauty giant will also showcase Perso, the world's first personalized lipstick at this year's CIIE, Megarbane said during an interview prior to the 33rd meeting of the International Business Leaders' Advisory Council in Shanghai on Friday.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Perso allows consumers to create their own creams, lipsticks and foundations. Perso was first introduced to the Chinese market at last year's CIIE.


Apple CEO announces donation to flooded areas of Shanxi

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Chinese social media platform Weibo the company is making a donation to help affected communities in Shanxi province, which suffered from heavy rainstorms recently.

'As the Shanxi region turns toward recovery, we want to do our part supporting relief efforts and helping with the rebuilding,' Cook said in a post on Sina Weibo, the country's Twitter equivalent.

Baowu Steel

Baowu Steel moving ahead with mixed ownership restructuring

China Baowu Steel Group looks to raise the group's listed companies to 20 from 12 currently by 2025 as it moves ahead with mixed ownership reform, said a senior group executive on Tuesday.

Baowu handpicked and announced 21 projects to take part in mixed ownership reform on Tuesday in Shanghai, which is tasked with helping transform the group into a global steel industry leader and co-creating a high-quality steel ecosystem in years to come.


Google deal helps Honor get closer to normalized global ops

Honor Device Co Ltd is making big progress toward getting its overseas business back on track, as it officially confirmed that it has resumed cooperation with Google and its new smartphone models overseas will carry Google Mobile Services.

Honor, which gained independence from Huawei last November, said in a post on social networking platform Twitter that it has successfully confirmed cooperation with a number of supplier partners in the early stage.

'The Honor 50 series will be equipped with Google Mobile Services, which will provide a more comprehensive application environment and extraordinary mobile experience for our customers,' the company said.

Google Mobile Services include a string of popular apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, Google Maps and Google Play.

The move marks another important step by Honor to recover its overseas business. In November, Honor was sold by Huawei Technologies Co to a Chinese consortium of over 30 agents and dealers to ensure the brand's survival after Huawei faced severe constraints due to the persistent unavailability of technical components needed for its mobile phone business. The US government restricted Huawei's access to crucial US technologies including Google Mobile Services.

Experts said resuming cooperation with Google marked an important step for Honor to recover its overseas smartphone business.

Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola unveils $140m expansion of Zhengzhou factory

Swire Coca-Cola, the fifth largest bottling partner of Coca-Cola by global volume, recently announced the launch of an expansion and reconstruction project for its Zhengzhou factory in Henan province, with a total investment of no less than 900 million yuan ($140 million), which is the largest single investment by Swire Coca-Cola in China so far.

The new factory will have advanced production technology and craftsmanship, and the annual production capacity will reach 1 million metric tons.


AstraZeneca steps up China R&D efforts

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca unveiled its upgraded Global R&D China Center in Shanghai on Monday, marking another milestone in its expansion in the country.

A key pillar in AstraZeneca's global R&D network, the newly upgraded Global R&D China Center will have a hand to play in the company's global drug development, R&D pipeline, R&D strategy development, and full-lifecycle product development and launch, according to the company.

The center will cover areas such as oncology, respiratory conditions, immunology, rare diseases as well as cardiovascular, renal and metabolic disorders.

Besides developing new drugs and further addressing China's unmet medical needs, the center will also participate in and lead global drug discovery efforts, the company said.

Zijin Mining

Zijin on global shopping spree to boost lithium

With the rapid worldwide development of new energy vehicles, demand for lithium has been soaring. Chinese companies, like their global peers, have been scrambling to accumulate bigger reserves of core raw minerals in recent years in order to lower the high cost of NEVs.

Zijin Mining Co, one of China's biggest gold and copper producers, said it would buy Canada's Neo Lithium Corp for 4.94 billion yuan ($737.14 million), as part of its efforts to further expand mining resources abroad.


Apple employee who led #AppleToo organizing effort says she was fired

(CNN Business)An Apple employee who led organizing efforts against harassment and discrimination within the company said she has been fired.

Janneke Parrish, a program manager at Apple and one of the organizers of the #AppleToo movement, was suspended late last week and terminated on Thursday, she told CNN Business in an interview on Friday. Parrish said Apple told her she was fired for deleting files from her work devices before turning them over to the company as part of an internal investigation into leaks to the press.

The move marks the latest escalation of a growing rift between Apple and its employees, who in recent months have broken with the company's historic culture of secrecy to speak out on controversial hiring decisions, alleged pay disparities and remote work policies.

Parrish and a colleague, Cher Scarlett, create #AppleToo in August to help Apple employees 'organize and protect ourselves,' according to the movement's website. They called on coworkers to share stories of issues they faced including racism, sexism and discrimination in order to outline 'changes we expect to see Apple make.'

Parrish told CNN Business Friday they received hundreds of reports in the weeks since then, about incidents that 'range the gamut from sexism and ageism to disclosures of rape and suicide.'

Apple did not comment specifically on Parrish's firing. Scarlett, who remains at the company, declined to comment.


Automotive Volkswagen plans to cut up to 30,000 jobs

The Volkswagen boss warned during an internal meeting of the risk of having to cut up to 30,000 jobs to maintain the competitiveness in the electrical transition, according to press information and a source interviewed by AFP.

Herbert Diess raised his fears for the future of the companyand the question of the costs too high compared to the competitionat a meeting of the supervisory board on September 24, writes the business daily Handelsblatt. Volkswagens restructuring could threaten one in four jobs at the VW brandand a loss of up to 30,000 jobs is possible,the newspaper added, which revealed internal discussions on Wednesday.

Herbert Diess exposed speculation on an extreme scenarioreferring to the introduction of the four-day week in 1994 which at the time” “saved nearly 30,000 jobs, qualifies a union source within of the supervisory board. However, there is a consensusthat if the necessary adjustments are not made in the coming years, this could in the extreme case have consequences on employment, underlined this source.

Another source also questions the confrontational nature of the meeting, while the Handelsblatt evokes a outburstand angerof the members of the supervisory board at the threat of job cuts.


Embraer closes a deal to sell up to 100 planes to NetJets, Warren Buffetts airline

SAO PAULO Embraer announced this Monday (11) that it has signed a new contract with NetJets an American airline controlled by Berkshire Hathaway, an investment company owned by renowned investor Warren Buffett for the sale of up to 100 additional aircraft, totaling more $1.2 billion.

The agreement provides that NetJets will begin receiving the Phenom 300E model of the new order in the second quarter of 2023, for operation in the United States and Europe.

In a press release, the Brazilian manufacturer recalls that the first NetJets purchase agreement, signed in 2010, included 50 firm orders for the Phenom 300 executive jets, plus options for up to 75 additional aircraft.


Saudi Aramco seeks to raise at least $17 billion from gas pipeline

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco is looking to raise at least $17 billion from the sale of a significant minority stake in its gas pipelines, higher than the $12.4 billion raised from its oil pipeline deal, Reuters reported on Monday quoting unnamed sources.

Potential bidders including North American private equity and infrastructure funds, as well as state-backed funds in China and South Korea have been approached by Aramco through its advisers before a formal sale process kicks off in the next few weeks, Reuters said.

The deal size may include $3.5 billion of equity and the remainder will be funded by bank debt, one of the anonymous sources said, while another source said the transaction size could top $20 billion.

The gas deal is about the long-term view of gas utilization and consumption in Saudi Arabia,said one source familiar with the deal, explaining why the gas deal may generate higher proceeds.

According to Reuters, the companies tapped include the ones who took part in the stake sale process for Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.s gas pipelines, which was bought by a consortium of investors including Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Brookfield, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and European gas infrastructure owner and operator SNAM.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, while JPMorgan and Goldman declined to comment. Brookfield and SNAM declined to comment. GIP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aramco, similar to Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC), used a lease and lease-back agreement to sell a 49 percent stake of newly formed Aramco Oil Pipelines Co. to the buyer and rights to 25 years of tariff payments for oil carried on its pipelines.


Samsung 3nm chips expected to arrive in H1 2022

New Delhi, Samsung has announced that it will start producing customersfirst 3nm-based chip designs in the first half of 2022, while its second generation of 3nm is expected in 2023.

Compared with the 5nm process, the 3nm gate-all-around (GAA) node boosts performance by 30 per cent, lowers power consumption 50 per cent and takes up 35 per cent less space, the company claimed in a statement.

Newly added to Samsungs technology roadmap, the 2nm process node with MBCFET is in the early stages of development with mass production in 2025

We will increase our overall production capacity and lead the most advanced technologies while taking silicon scaling a step further and continuing technological innovation by application,Siyoung Choi, President and Head of Foundry Business at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

Choi noted 3nm products will be produced at its fab in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, which is being expanded.

Amid further digitalization prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, our customers and partners will discover the limitless potential of silicon implementation for delivering the right technology at the right time,Choi added.

The current generation of smartphones from Samsung and Apple (manufactured by Samsung, Qualcomm, and TSMC) are powered by SoCs built on the 5nm process.


Glencore to sell its Bolivian zinc assets for $110 million

(Kitco News) - Glencore today announced that it has reached agreement with Santa Cruz Silver Mining for it to acquire the holding companies which own Glencores Bolivian zinc assets, comprising of Sinchi Wayra and Illapa.

Glencore said it will receive an initial amount of USD20 million on the completion date and a further USD90 million to be paid within 4 years or less (depending on certain market standard mandatory and early prepayment provisions) from completion.

At completion, Glencore will enter into a number of net smelter royalty agreements each at 1.5% in respect of the Bolivian mining business with Santa Cruz which provide for continued life of mine payments based on the performance of the relevant mines.

Glencore added it will also retain offtake rights for life of mine in respect of the production from the relevant mines.

Glencores Sinchi Wayra owns the Reserva, Tres Amigos and Colquechaquita mines, the Don Diego concentrator and power plants; whereas Sociedad Minera Illapa owns a 45% contractual joint venture right in the Porco and Bolivar mines.

Glencore is one of the worlds largest global diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 60 commodities. The group's operations comprise around 150 mining and metallurgical sites and oil production assets. Glencore's companies employ around 135,000 people, including contractors.


Bitcoin tops the $60,000 mark

New York (CNN Business)Bitcoin prices continue to skyrocket. The cryptocurrency surpassed $60,000 on Saturday to hit a new high, just a few weeks after it topped $50,000.

Bitcoin (XBT) smashed through the $30,000 and $40,000 levels over a few days in January. Bitcoins in circulation are worth more than $1 trillion.

Bitcoin prices have more than doubled so far this year, up 107% from the December 31 closing price of $28,987.60. Investors are excited that Elon Musk's Tesla (TSLA) said in February it owns $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin on its balance sheet. Tesla also has said it was looking at letting consumers use bitcoin to buy its cars and SUVs.

That sparked speculation that other big companies may soon add bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to their balance sheets, since bitcoin is generating a significantly higher return than bonds and cash. Software firm MicroStrategy (MSTR) has been actively buying bitcoin.

This bitcoin bank's stock has jumped nearly 1,300% in just over a year

This bitcoin bank's stock has jumped nearly 1,300% in just over a year

Top financial firms are helping to validate bitcoin. Payments giants Square (SQ) and PayPal (PYPL) let their users buy and sell it. Credit card processing behemoths Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) are also embracing cryptocurrencies.

BlackRock (BLK) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) have started to dabble in bitcoin, as well.