Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.11.22]






Oatly opens its first factory in China

Oatly Group AB, the Swedish original and largest oat drink company, opened its first factory in China on Thursday, given the market's increasing demand for healthy and plant-based food, as well as its strategic importance.

Located in Ma'anshan, Anhui province, the new production facility is part of a wider initiative from Oatly to build factories fit for its global market layout. Apart from producing the company's line of oat drinks, the factory will also have a research and development capacity that can make improvements in existing products and lead to other innovative oat-based products.

The facility is one of six around the world, as Oatly expands to further its mission of growing the plant-based category and shifting the food system toward one that's built for planetary and human health.


China's first foreign-owned life insurance firm from JV OK'd

Allianz China Life Insurance Co Ltd has received approval from the Shanghai Regulatory Bureau of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to transfer the 49 percent shareholdings owned by CITIC Trust Co Ltd to Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Co Ltd.

Upon completion, Allianz China Life will become a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Allianz China Holding, and the first wholly foreign-owned life insurance company in China developed from a joint venture.


Shanghai Legoland begins construction

Construction of the Legoland Shanghai in Fengjing town, Jinshan district, southwestern Shanghai started on Wednesday.

The resort, which covers an area of 318,000 square kilometers, is expected to be open to the public in 2024. Its investors include Shanghai Jinshan Urban Construction Investment Group, Danish investment company KIRKBI, which owns the Lego Group, Merlin Entertainments from the United Kingdom, and CMC Inc, a Chinese media and entertainment enterprise.

The resort will feature eight themed zones, including iconic attractions and rides of Legoland resorts around the world. A theme hotel will be constructed as well.


MEBO partners with Safeway to expand China offerings

MEBO Group, a health company with headquarters in both China and the United States, will work closely with US retailer Safeway to introduce more products to the Chinese market, according to the sources with the company.

The products will be introduced through the service trade platform MEBOGO, which was built after the company inked an agreement with the Bay Area Council last year during the China International Import Expo.

At this year's CIIE, which concluded its fourth edition in Shanghai on Nov 10, MEBOGO joined with Safeway, the second largest supermarket in North America, to exhibit its new products.

More than 3,000 varieties of selected goods from the US retailer will be introduced to the Chinese market within the next five years, according to the company.


Hilton to open 400th hotel in China

Hilton Group, the global hospitality giant, will open next month its 400th hotel in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gansu province, showing a strong commitment to its long-term plan to run 1,000 hotels in China's lucrative market by 2025.


The Exxon Mobil Ethylene Project Officially Started Construction in Huizhou, China On November 16th

Construction of the Exxon Mobil Huizhou Ethylene Project with a total investment of approximately US$10 billion was officially launched on November 16.

It is reported that the project will be constructed in two phases, the first phase of the project investment is about 45 billion yuan, plans to build 1.6 million tons / year ethylene cracking unit, the main products include: 1.2 million tons / year metallocene polyethylene, 500,000 tons / year high pressure Polyethylene, 475,000 tons/year impact polypropylene, 480,000 tons/year homopolypropylene.

When the first phase of the project is completed and put into production, the construction of the second phase of the project will be started. After the first phase of the project is put into production, it is expected to realize operating income of 39 billion yuan per year and tax payment of 4 billion yuan per year.


Thai gov't to deepen collaboration with China's Huawei amid pandemic

BANGKOK - The Thai government intends to further deepen its digital cooperation with Chinese technology company Huawei, senior Thai officials said at a cloud event held in Bangkok this week.

During the Powering Digital Thailand 2022 on Nov 17-19, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said digital infrastructure, such as 5G, is crucial to Thailand's economic and social development, especially for the country's post-pandemic economic revival.

Badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism-reliant nation registered an economic contraction of 6.1 percent last year, the worst in more than 20 years. However, the pandemic has significantly accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in Thailand, where Chinese tech companies have competitive advantages.


CNOOC banks on innovation for more green progress

China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's top offshore oil and gas driller, said it has successfully converted a drilling platform into an offshore wind power construction and installation platform for the first time, providing more experience for future offshore wind projects.

The device, namely the Huwei Offshore Wind Power Construction and Installation Platform, has for the first time facilitated its offshore wind turbine installation on Nov 7. This was jointly conducted by the China Oilfield Services Ltd (COSL), a subsidiary of CNOOC, and China Energy Engineering Group Guangdong Power Engineering Co Ltd.

China Southern Power Grid

Power grids to ramp up investment in network, clean energy

China Southern Power Grid, one of the country's two major power grids, vowed to invest 670 billion yuan ($105 billion) recently in grid network construction during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) to ensure power supply stability and boost green power consumption.

The investment will be used on clean energy power transmission, intelligent power distribution systems and smart power consumption, so as to push forward construction of a digital and modern network with new energy as the mainstay, the company said.

The operator's business covers five areas in the country: Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.


JD continues major R&D push

Chinese e-commerce giant JD said it will continue to invest in technology research and development and promote infrastructure construction as part of its broader push to boost the in-depth integration of digital technologies and the real economy.

JD has invested nearly 75 billion yuan ($11.8 billion) in R&D over the past five years, with annual active customer accounts rising to 552.2 million in the 12-month period ending on Sept 30, 2021.

The company reported its net revenues for the third quarter of 2021 reached 218.7 billion yuan ($33.9 billion), an increase of 25.5 percent year-on-year. Income from operations during the period was 2.6 billion yuan, compared to 4.4 billion yuan for the same period last year.


Hisense plans efforts in smart traffic solutions

Chinese home appliance giant Hisense Group plans to buy Siemens' Intelligent Traffic Systems, which provides solutions for effective road traffic management, for nearly $1 billion, people familiar with the matter told China Daily on Wednesday.

The traffic division of Siemens is a world leader in intelligent traffic services and solutions with a history of more than 100 years, while the ITS business, which is affiliated to Siemens Mobility, operates in more than 40 countries and has an annual revenue of 600 million euros ($679.2 million).

The ITS unit mainly offers hardware and software for intelligent traffic control and management, from toll systems to traffic light controls. Media have reported German conglomerate Siemens planned to spin off the ITS business in fiscal year 2021 and sell it by mid-2021.

Hisense is taking the lead in China's intelligent transport industry. The Qingdao, Shandong province-based company has tapped into this segment since 1998 and its innovative integrated solutions for the intelligent transport industry have been applied in 169 cities across the nation. The company declined to comment on the deal.

Apart from the domestic market, Hisense is beefing up efforts to expand its presence in overseas markets. Zhang Sihai, president of Hisense TransTech Co Ltd, said the company is actively participating in the bidding of global intelligent transport projects and has already won bids in some countries.


Winners under hyperinflation, Walmart Q3 net profit $3.105 billion, raises full-year earnings forecast!

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer, released the companys fiscal 2022 third-quarter earnings for the period ending in October, and U.S. stocks rose more than 2 percent before the bell as revenue and earnings per share beat expectations.

But its profits were dragged down by supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages, and the stock turned down more than 2% after the opening bell, also making the overall turn down this year, further widening the gap with the U.S. stock markets double-digit gains for the year. As of yesterdays close, Wal-Mart had also accumulated a gain of nearly 2% this year.

According to the report, Wal-Marts revenue increased 4.3% year-over-year to $140.5 billion in the third quarter, better than the markets estimate of $135.6 billion; adjusted earnings per share EPS increased 8.2% to $1.45, also better than the expected $1.40.

The company also raised its overall earnings estimate for fiscal 2022 for the third consecutive quarter, reflecting confidence in the year-end holiday shopping season in the fourth quarter of this year.

Full-year adjusted EPS is expected to be $6.40 per share, up from previous guidance of $6.20-$6.35. U.S. same-store comparable sales, excluding gasoline and diesel sales, are expected to increase more than 6 percent, compared with previous guidance of 5-6 percent.


Apple announces self-service repair program, will give customers access to parts

Wow. After years of doing everything it can to thwart people from repairing their gadgets themselves, Apple has reversed course and launched a self-service repair program for the first time.

The program, which kicks off 'early next year' in the U.S., will start with iPhone 12 and 13 devices, followed by Mac computers with M1 chips.

In practice, the program will work as follows: First, a customer should review the official repair manual, and then place an order for parts and tools using the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. After the repair is done, customers who return used parts for recycling will receive credit towards their next purchase. Apple says the store will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools.

While this is great news for DIY types, Apple says the program is intended for 'individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices.' Most customers should visit a professional repair provider, the company says.

Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,Jeff Williams, Apples chief operating officer, said in a statement. In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and training, and now were providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.


ONGC, Saudi Aramco sign feedstock & marketing MoU

New Delhi: To explore a strategic alliance on a broad range of energy prospects, oil behemoth Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian state oil producer Saudi Aramco. Under the MoU, the two energy companies will explore long-term supply contracts for the sale and purchase of crude, refined petroleum and petrochemical products to create secure and competitive energy sources for the Indian market, said ONGC in an official statement.

Both the parties also aim to utilise their affiliates in this strategic alliance, namely Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) and ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd (OMPL) of ONGC and Aramco Trading Company (ATC) of Saudi Aramco. The two companies will also explore low carbon energy demand and supply as part of this strategic alliance, said the statement.

The MoU was signed by ONGC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Subhash Kumar and Saudi Aramco Senior Vice President of Downstream Mohammed Yahya Al Qahtani on November 18, said ONGC. The signing ceremony took place at the Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2021.

Speaking on the occasion, the ONGC CMD said, This MoU further strengthens our bilateral energy relationship, which is one of the cornerstones of the solid historical ties between India and Saudi Arabia. This collaboration will bolster both companiescapabilities, leveraging our respective in-house competencies while creating value for all stakeholders and offering a framework for expanding cooperation in other energy-related areas.


Samsung to announce new chip plant site in US this week

Samsung Electronics is set to announce the site for its new semiconductor manufacturing plant in the United States this week, according to industry sources, Sunday. The company is expected to unveil details of its $17 billion investment project when Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, currently visiting the U.S., returns home around Nov. 23 or 24.

According to the global tech giant, Vice Chairman Lee had meetings with high-ranking White House officials in Washington D.C., Nov. 19 (local time), to discuss the concurrent semiconductor-related supply chain issue, and the federal government's incentives for chip companies.

In particular, there has been extensive discussions on Samsung's role in solving the chip supply issue, the source said. The vice chairman also appeared to have decided to build a foundry chip factory in the U.S. and elaborated on this to the officials.

Samsung has been reportedly considering the cities of Taylor and Austin, both located in the U.S. state of Texas for the site of its new factory, but the industry view is that Taylor has emerged as the strongest candidate as the city has offered a pack of incentives to the company.

With regard to this, a source from the U.S. Congress, who had a discussion with the vice chairman, said, 'The company looks to officially announce the location this week.'

Lee also met with key lawmakers working on enacting the CHIPS for America Act, which offers an investment tax credit on equipment and facility costs. The act comes at a time when the U.S. government is trying to attract more investment into the semiconductor business and encourage firms to produce chips on its soil.

If Samsung confirms the establishment of a foundry plant, the U.S. will be able to greatly expand its semiconductor production infrastructure. Though the country is top in terms of semiconductor design, it lags behind Asian countries with regard to manufacturing.

After having meetings with officials in the capital, Lee visited the west of the U.S. for talks with executives from global IT firms to discuss ways to cooperate in future strategic projects. He had already held meetings with the top management of Moderna and Verizon, Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.

On Nov. 20, Lee met with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella while in Washington to discuss cooperation in next-generation technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, and the metaverse, as well as semiconductors and mobile devices, and the expansion of the software ecosystem.


Alphabet is putting its prototype robots to work cleaning up around Googles offices

Dozens of looters rush California Nordstrom store

A former Virginia officer who was fired for donating to Kyle Rittenhouse's defense fund

What does Googles parent company Alphabet want with robots? Well, it would like them to clean up around the office, for a start.

Dozens of looters rush California Nordstrom store

A former Virginia officer who was fired for donating to Kyle Rittenhouse's defense fund

What does Googles parent company Alphabet want with robots? Well, it would like them to clean up around the office, for a start.

The company announced today that its Everyday Robots Project a team within its experimental X labs dedicated to creating a general-purpose learning robot” — has moved some of its prototype machines out of the lab and into Googles Bay Area campuses to carry out some light custodial tasks.

We are now operating a fleet of more than 100 robot prototypes that are autonomously performing a range of useful tasks around our offices,said Everyday Robots chief robot officer Hans Peter Brøndmo in a blog post. The same robot that sorts trash can now be equipped with a squeegee to wipe tables and use the same gripper that grasps cups can learn to open doors.

These robots in question are essentially arms on wheels, with a multipurpose gripper on the end of a flexible arm attached to a central tower. Theres a headon top of the tower with cameras and sensors for machine vision and what looks like a spinning lidar unit on the side, presumably for navigation.


Trafigura warns of power outages in Europe this winter

'We haven't got enough gas at the moment quite frankly, we're not storing for the winter period,' says Jeremy Weir, CEO of Trafigura, one of the world's biggest energy traders.

Europe is at risk of power outages this winter due to insufficient gas reserves and over the long term, oil could rise above $100 a barrel, the chief executive of commodity trading giant Trafigura said on Tuesday, November 16.

Demand for oil, coal, and natural gas as well as metals such as cobalt, nickel, and copper have soared as the global economy reopens from COVID-19 restrictions, triggering price spikes that threaten the nascent recovery.


Microsoft Cortana can no longer work with Amazon Alexa

As early as August 2017, Microsoft and Amazon announced that Amazons Alexa voice assistant began to provide Cortana skills, allowing owners of Echo devices to access information that can only be obtained through Microsofts own voice assistant service. Subsequently, Microsoft repeatedly delayed the arrival of the integration, and finally released a public preview in August 2018.


L'Oreal apologizes over Nov 11 promotion snafu

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal Group offered compensation and issued apologies to customers following a sales dispute related to a Nov 11 promotion, highlighting the intricate dynamics between brands and livestreaming hosts in China's ultra-competitive retail landscape, industry experts said.

L'Oreal Paris, a mass market skincare brand under the French company, stirred a public outcry after two influential Chinese livestreamers fell foul of the company, citing a promise of 'deepest discounts' which did not materialize.

On Friday, the company said it will offer a 200 yuan ($31.32) coupon to customers who spent 999 yuan or more on one of its facial masks in the brand's flagship online store during the presale of its Double 11 festival on Tmall, the business-to-customer site where most major brands have set up a presence. The coupons are valid through June 20, 2022.

Li Jiaqi, known as China's lipstick king for his feat of selling 15,000 lipsticks in just five minutes through livestreaming sessions, said L'Oreal Paris had advertised that customers stand to secure the steepest discount for a facial mask if they tuned in to Li's livestreaming sessions during a pre-sale for the Nov 11 campaign, China's largest shopping spree.

Consumers later found out they were able to buy the same product at nearly half the price by snatching vouchers during L'Oreal Paris' own livestreaming sessions.

Angry buyers took to microblogging service Weibo to complain, making the topic trend on the site's search ranking. Both Li and Viya, another heavyweight livestreaming saleswoman, decided to pause cooperation with the brand until the matter is properly settled.

L'Oreal Paris apologized, attributing it to an overly complex discount mechanism. It said it is working with authorities on an exhaustive investigation into the dispute, and will provide a fair and appropriate solution to consumers as soon as possible.


CATL and ZF Group join forces for an optimal aftermarket service

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd and ZF Group, a tech company supplying systems for passenger cars, signed on Friday a strategic partnership to push forward cooperation in aftermarket services, including service network, battery-related training and connectivity.

Under the agreement, CATL will provide ZF with battery training know-how, which will be combined with ZF's high-voltage training so as to enhance the competitiveness of its training programs and other aftersales services. The two parties also agreed to jointly establish and enhance standards.


Alibaba's profit report sends shares tumbling

Shares of Alibaba tumbled more than 10 percent in Friday morning trading in Hong Kong, after the e-commerce giant reported lower-than-expected profits and turned down its growth forecast.

For the quarter ended Sept 30, the company posted 11.2 yuan ($1.75) in earnings per share on an adjusted basis, missing analysts' estimate of 12.36 yuan polled by Bloomberg.

Revenue also recorded the mildest surge of 29 percent, to 200.7 billion yuan.

Alibaba expected revenue for the year ending in March 2022 to rise 20 percent to 23 percent, down from a 29.5 percent forecast in May and the slowest rate since its initial public offering in 2014.


Foxconn tops Hurun Top 100 rankings

Electronic components manufacturer Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, has topped the 2021 Hurun Largest Foreign and HK/Macao/Taiwan Companies in the Chinese mainland list, which was released by the Shanghai-based institute on Thursday.

Unveiled to the public for the first time, the list includes 100 companies, ranked by their sales and number of employees in the Chinese mainland. German automaker Volkswagen took second place followed by its US counterpart General Motors.

US consumer electronics giant Apple was ranked fourth on the list.