Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.10.25]






Walmart recalls room spray for 'rare and dangerous' bacteria linked to 2 deaths

Walmart is recalling room spray sold nationwide due to the possible presence of what federal regulators called a 'rare and dangerous' bacteria that is linked to two deaths, including a child.

The retailer sold about 3,900 bottles of Better Homes and Gardens-branded-Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones in six different scents, according to a recall notice posted Friday by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested a sample of the product this week and found it contained the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, a rare but serious disease with about a dozen cases reportedly annually in the U.S.


Amazon to hire 150,000 workers in US for holiday shopping season

Amazon on Monday said it's looking to fill 150,000 seasonal jobs across the US as we head into the holiday shopping season.

Average starting pay for season roles is $18 an hour, with sign-on bonuses up to $3,000, according to Amazon. The seasonal employees will help support full-time workers at fulfillment centers, sorting centers, regional air hubs and delivery stations across the US, Amazon said.

'Our seasonal hiring helps us deliver on our promises to customers while also providing flexibility to our full-time employees during busy periods,' said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon's senior vice president of global customer fulfillment, in a release.

Last year, Amazon said it delivered billions of items during a 'record-breaking holiday season' in 2020. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, marks the generally accepted beginning of holiday shopping, but the sales season has been creeping earlier in recent years.

The seasonal positions are the latest part of Amazon's recent hiring push. In September, the company said it was looking to add 40,000 corporate and tech roles in the US, as well as additional fulfillment and transportation jobs.


Toyota’s Chief Scientist Believes Not Everyone Should Drive A BEV

Many people are passionate about climate change, but not everybody should drive a battery electric vehicle as a means to combat it, Toyota Motor Corp Chief Scientist Gill Pratt said on Thursday at the Reuters Events Automotive Summit.

Pratt's comments, during a discussion on electric vehicles, appeared to amplify remarks made over the past year by Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

Toyoda and other company officials have said that electric vehicles will play a greater role in reducing emissions, but other solutions should be used, Toyota's gasoline-electric hybrid models or hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles.

At Thursday's conference, Pratt said Toyota believes in 'diversity of drivetrains' to give customers different tools to reduce CO2.

'It's not for us to predict which solution is the best or say only this will work,' he said.

Government incentives should be aimed at reducing carbon emissions, not picking which car technology is the best way to achieve those goals, Pratt added, in a reference to proposed bans on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, including hybrids, as a means of achieving carbon neutrality.

Toyota was among major automakers that supported the Trump administration in its attempt to bar California from setting its own zero-emission requirements, but the company dropped that support earlier this year.

Toyota has said it plans to invest $13.5 billion through 2030 on EV batteries, but so far its plans to roll out new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) seem relatively modest compared with those of U.S. automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, which are spending around $30 billion each through 2025 to electrify more of their vehicle lines.

Toyota executives continue to tout the merits of the company's hybrid vehicles, which have been on the market for more than 20 years, and the company has long explored hydrogen fuel-cell technology.


Saudi Aramco aims to achieve net-zero emissions from operations by 2050

Saudi Aramco aims to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2050 while also building hydrocarbon capacity and expanding its maximum sustained production capacity to 13 million barrels per day, Chief Executive Amin Nasser said on Saturday.

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“Saudi Aramco will achieve the ambition of being net zero from our operations by 2050,” Nasser told the Saudi Green Initiative summit, where the Kingdom’s Crown Prince earlier announced the Gulf Arab state would achieve net zero by 2060.

Nasser said investment in gas would allow Aramco to eliminate a lot of the liquid burning in the Kingdom.


Samsung says Q3 profit likely highest in 3 years on rising chip prices

SEOUL (Reuters) -Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Friday its third-quarter operating profit likely rose 28% to the highest in three years, helped by rising memory chip prices and display sales for smartphone makers’ new flagship launches.

The world’s largest memory chip and smartphone maker estimated July-September profit at 15.8 trillion won ($13.3 billion), slightly below a Refinitiv SmartEstimate of 16.1 trillion won. It is highest quarterly result since the third quarter of 2018.

Revenue likely rose about 9% from the same period a year earlier to a record 73 trillion won, Samsung said in a short preliminary earnings release. It is due to announce detailed earnings later this month.

Rising memory chip prices and shipments, plus a jump in profitability at Samsung’s chip contract manufacturing business, likely raised the chip division’s operating profit by about 79% from a year earlier, analysts said. Semiconductors accounted for about half of Samsung’s operating profit in the first half of the year.

Samsung shares rose 1% in morning trade.


bp and Mercedes-Benz trial pioneering digital in-truck fuel ‎payments in UK

bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK have successfully tested the first digital in-truck ‎fuel payment system in the UK, running a successful pilot trial with Wren Kitchens.

The ground-breaking new app-based system, bp In-Truck Pay, makes fuel purchasing ‎and management faster, more efficient and more secure for both truck drivers and ‎fleet managers. The app has been developed for the latest-generation Mercedes-‎Benz Actros, which can be specified with Multimedia Cockpit, Interactive. This ‎incorporates the Truck App Portal, an open platform that can be used by fleet ‎managers to easily assign apps to their vehicles via their Multi-Touch Display.

Automatically relaying purchases, mileage and other data back to base, In-Truck Pay ‎eliminates errors, provides accurate information to managers and removes the need ‎for drivers to enter mileage themselves.

bp In-Truck Pay is designed specifically for fleet operators to help get drivers back ‎on the road faster. It requires just three simple steps – drivers confirm the site, ‎unlock the pump and refuel.

The truck directly logs the fuel transaction – paying for the fuel itself. Drivers don’t ‎need to pay in the shop or to enter data. And there is no need for fuel cards, ‎removing complications from managing lost or damaged cards and the risk of ‎fraudulent card use.‎


QatarEnergy, Shell Sign Agreement for Developing Hydrogen Projects in UK

QatarEnergy announced that it has signed an agreement with Shell to seek joint investments in blue and green hydrogen projects in the UK.

According to this agreement, the two companies will take advantage of integrated and scalable opportunities in the sectors, which can be decarbonized by hydrogen especially in the industrial and transportation sectors.

The two companies will use their expertise in developing large complex energy projects.

On this occasion, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of QatarEnergy said, “This agreement does not only reinforce the long lasting and strategic partnership between QatarEnergy and Shell, but also creates a viable path for innovation and investments in low carbon fuels and technologies across the UK’s energy sector, a key area of investment for QatarEnergy. This agreement also builds on QatarEnergy’s commitment to provide reliable access to cleaner energy globally.”

For his part,  Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell plc, also commented, “I am delighted to deepen an already strong relationship with QatarEnergy. Hydrogen will play an important role in helping society reach net zero and momentum is growing. QatarEnergy’s expertise, in collaboration with Shell’s, will support the UK’s energy transition and help propel this fast-growing sector.”

It should be noted that this is the first agreement signed between QatarEnergy and Shell on hydrogen.


Pfizer says China's release of RA report to help fight the disease

United States-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc supported the launch of China's first rheumatoid arthritis development report, in an effort to promote the country's RA diagnosis and treatment level.

The report is based on the real world data of over 50,000 RA patients from more than 300 hospitals in China. It comprehensively displays the latest epidemiological data, clinical features, disease diagnosis and treatment, discipline resources and construction status, and opportunities and challenges of China's RA. It is hoped that the report can raise China's RA standardized diagnosis and treatment level and long-term management level, and improve the quality of life of patients with rheumatic immune diseases.

According to the report, there are currently around 5 million RA patients in China. The patient population is huge, and situations such as delayed diagnosis and treatment, condition aggravation and complications occur frequently.


ABB to realize 'robots make robots' in Shanghai

SHANGHAI -- Swiss tech giant ABB will realize 'robots make robots' in Shanghai, the company announced at the 2021 International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai held on Friday.

According to Peter Voser, chairman of ABB, with a total investment of $150 million, ABB's new robotics factory in Shanghai will be put into operation in the first quarter of 2022.

The new 67,000-square-meter factory will be one of the most advanced, automated and flexible factories in the robotics industry worldwide, utilizing the latest manufacturing processes -- a cutting-edge center where robots make robots.

Production in the facility will be based on cells of automation, with robots moving from station to station, enabling greater customization and more flexibility than in traditional, linear production systems.

In order to realize 'robots make robots,' ABB's new factory in Shanghai will include an R&D center to accelerate the innovation and development of artificial intelligence.

The factory in Shanghai will better participate in and promote the development of China's high-end manufacturing industry, said Voser.

Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim to debut signature products at CIIE

German biopharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim will hold global and Asian debuts for signature products among other innovative solutions during the fourth China International Import Expo, a move signifying the 'long-term commitment to China', according to a senior company executive.

The first innovative vial for the mixing of swine vaccines in animal health in China will be on display during the fair, making its premier appearance globally.

Besides, the world's first animal health stem cell product, a ready-to-use solution for the treatment of equine lameness, will make its Asian debut at the upcoming CIIE.

A three-time participant to the event, Boehringer Ingelheim's decision reflects its priority and commitment in the Chinese market, said Felix Gutsche, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim China.

Merck unveils first innovation collaboration site open to startups


Science and technology giant Merck opened its Shanghai Innovation Base located in the Pudong New Area last week, marking the establishments of the company's first innovation collaboration site open to startups in China.

The 2,000 square-meter new facility is designed to utilize Merck's global innovation ecosystem in the Zhangjiang Science City to incubate and accelerate novel projects with focus on healthcare, life science and electronics.


Construction of major coal bed methane pipeline completed

The country's longest coal bed methane pipeline has finished construction under the trunk channel of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project on Wednesday, its operator said. It's now one step closer to the operation of the pipeline, according to China United Coalbed Methane Corp.

The major part of the 623-kilometer Shenmu-Anping coal bed methane pipeline, the Shanxi-Hebei section, will be put into operation this year. About 200 million cubic meters of natural gas can be supplied to North China this winter, said China United Coalbed Methane Corp, a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp.

The operation of the pipeline will help ensure the country's gas supply during the upcoming heating season, said Hu Senlin, director of China United Coalbed Methane Corp.


Delta reports first profit since COVID-19

Delta Air Lines, a major Atlanta-based carrier, reported its first quarterly profit since the COVID-19 pandemic for the third quarter of this year. The profit was mainly driven by growing passenger demand and serves as an important milestone in the company's business recovery.

In the third quarter, it achieved adjusted pre-tax revenues of $8.3 billion and adjusted profit of $216 million, according to its latest earnings report released this month.

Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Delta, said the carrier's third-quarter revenues reached two-thirds of the level seen in the same period of 2019, thanks to a top operational performance it delivered through a busy summer.

'While demand continues to improve, the recent rise in fuel prices will pressure our ability to remain profitable for the December quarter. As the recovery progresses, I am confident in our path to sustained profitability,' he said.

Delta said now about 90 percent of its employees have been vaccinated, and the vaccination rate among its staff members is expected to reach 95 percent by the end of November.

Currently, Delta operates four weekly flights that connect China and the United States. Two flights originate in Seattle, travel via Seoul and terminate at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The other two flights originate in Detroit and take the same route to Shanghai.

Sino-Ocean Group

Sino-Ocean makes investment plans for core offices

Sino-Ocean Group plans to cooperate with several global sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors to jointly invest in a core office fund with a total scale of $1.4 billion.

The fund will focus on investment in mature Grade-A office projects in the core business districts of first-tier cities, according to an announcement issued by Sino-Ocean Group.

Sino-Ocean Property and Sino-Ocean Service will respectively serve as project and asset managers to ensure the development and operation quality of the properties under the fund; Sino-Ocean Capital, as general partner, will be responsible for the daily operation and management of the fund. When the fund is built, it will become the largest US dollar fund in the domestic office market.


BP signs long-term deal with Shenzhen Gas

BP signed a gas sales and purchase agreement with Shenzhen Sino-Benny LPG Co Ltd on Wednesday, the first long-term deal with price indexed to international LNG in China's domestic gas market, to support China's growing energy needs.

Under the terms of the agreement, starting from 2023, BP will provide Sino-Benny, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shenzhen Gas Group Co Ltd, with up to 300,000 tons of pipeline gas per year in Shenzhen.


Abbott to debut bevvy of new innovations at CIIE

Chicago-based healthcare company Abbott announced on Tuesday that it will exhibit dozens of innovative healthcare solutions, including more than 10 that will be making their China debut, at the 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10.

Major exhibits will include the world's first Bluetooth-enabled implantable cardioverter defibrillator that is compatible with the 3T MRI environment, the company said during its Tech Day 2021, a warm-up event that offered a preview of CIIE exhibits, in Shanghai.

According to the company, the implantable cardioverter defibrillator will allow patients, physicians and caretakers to be connected through a mobile app and access data from implanted products at any time. The device also allows continuous monitoring that enhances patient safety and helps reduce the need for follow-up visits to the doctor.

Midea Group

Midea Group to build green supply chain, products and services

Chinese home appliances giant Midea Group has announced a green strategy by building a global environmentally-friendly supply chain and developing energy-saving products and services to achieve peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, according to the company.


DEC releases design of 13-MW offshore wind power generator unit

Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC) released a design for its 13-megawatt offshore wind power generator unit at China Wind Power 2021 on Oct 18. China General Certification, also the National Energy Key Laboratory for Wind and Solar Simulation, Testing and Certification, issued a design authentication certificate for the unit.

The offshore generator unit is based on DEC's 10-MW offshore direct driving platform, which operates with mature technology. The company has the complete proprietary intellectual property rights to the unit.


BASF forms alliance with 13 partners to promote sustainable development

Sustainability Covalence, an alliance of 14 founding partners, was launched by BASF in Shanghai on Tuesday, with the aim to promote sustainable growth in areas such as low-carbon development, circular economy and societal engagement across the value chain of key industries.


Vale signs MoU with Jiangsu Shagang

Vale, one of the world's largest iron ore producers based in Brazil, said on Tuesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jiangsu Shagang Group Co Ltd to pursue opportunities to develop steelmaking solutions focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The two sides will develop economic feasibility studies on usage of products with lower carbon footprints in the iron-making process, Vale said.


Bridgestone to accelerate its footprint in China's electric vehicle market

Bridgestone Corp, the Japanese tire and rubber manufacturer, plans to build more partnerships with domestic automakers and supply customized tires for China's fast-growing electric vehicle market during the country's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), said a senior executive.


Huawei signs world's largest energy storage project

Huawei has won the contract for the world's largest energy storage project, the company said on Monday.

Huawei and SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Co Ltd successfully signed the Saudi Red Sea New City energy storage project during the Global Digital Power Summit 2021 in Dubai, according to a statement released on Huawei's official WeChat account.

The two sides will work together to help Saudi Arabia build the global clean energy and green economy center.

Huawei said the energy storage capacity of the project will reach 1,300 MWh, marking the world's largest energy storage and off-grid energy storage project. The Red Sea New City energy storage project is one of the key highlights of the Vision 2030 blueprint by Saudi Arabia, which aims to reduce the country's dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

Situated near the coast of the Red Sea, the city is set to lead a brand-new way of life, aiming to foster new sources of economic growth with the increasing depletion of oil and other resources.


Hospitality company Haichang sells assets to MBK Partners for $1b

Haichang Ocean Park Holdings Ltd announced on Monday that private equity firm MBK Partners has agreed to acquire Haichang assets for 6.53 billion yuan ($1.01 billion), as the hospitality company takes steps to cut its debt.

MBK Partners will acquire four existing ocean theme parks from Haichang, namely, in Wuhan, Hubei province; Chengdu, Sichuan province; Tianjin; and Qingdao, Shandong province, as well as one still under construction in Zhengzhou, Henan province.