Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.02.28]





China Unicom

China Unicom: Comprehensively undertake the national 'East and West' project, with more than 880 existing data centers

On 25 February, it was reported that the National Development Commission, the Central Networking Office, the Ministry of Industry and Informatization and the National Energy Agency had recently issued a joint circular agreeing to launch the construction of a national numeracy hub nodes in eight locations, including Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, and had planned a cluster of 10 national data centres, with the East-Westproject officially fully launched. According to the National Finance Committee's website, China has established a new strategy, took full responsibility for the national East and Westproject, and developed an Action Plan for the Construction of a New Digital Information Infrastructure and an Action Plan for the Integrated Development of the Arithmetic Network.

China has more than 880 existing data centres, with a total size of more than 300,000, with over a million servers, mainly located in the areas of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Long Triangle, Pearl Triangle, Luschen, Kawasaki and Mon Gui.


Tencent unveils plan for carbon neutrality by 2030

Internet giant Tencent Holdings announced on Thursday its plan to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations and supply chain by no later than 2030.

The company also pledged to use green power for 100 percent of all electricity consumed by the end of the decade in a report published along with its goals.

'It is Tencent's responsibility as a global technology leader to help the world achieve carbon neutrality, and it's also an essential part of our vision to use 'tech for good',' Pony Ma, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent, said in a press release.

'Not only do we believe this is the right thing to do for society, but we are eager to play our part as the global community progresses towards a carbon neutral and more sustainable future.'

To reach its net zero goal, Tencent will work to improve resource efficiency, increase the proportion of renewable energy it uses, and adopt carbon offsets.

It said it is also looking to help consumers, businesses and society to go green by fostering open innovation and knowledge sharing, leveraging the reach and influence of its platforms and products.

Led by its mission to use 'tech for good,' Tencent established its Sustainable Social Value Organization in 2021 to explore high-quality and sustainable pathways to net zero, share social value, and improve social well-being.

Tencent's total emissions were equivalent to some 5.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, the report said.


Baidu launches commercial robotaxi pilot services in Shanxi

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc received approval for the commercial operation of its autonomous car service in Yangquan, North China's Shanxi province on Friday, and the company's Apollo Go, also known as Luobo Kuaipao is authorized to provide paid robotaxi services in the city starting Sunday.

Yangquan is the third city across the nation launching commercial autonomous driving vehicle services, after Beijing and Chongqing.

The service provided by Baidu's Apollo Go includes over 30 pickup and drop-off points in government departments, residential areas and high-tech industrial parks at the initial stage, Baidu said. The service is available every day of the week from 9 am to 5 pm.

Baidu Apollo has rolled out robotaxi ride-hailing services in eight cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Changsha, Cangzhou and Yangquan, and began commercial operation of autonomous car services in Beijing in November.

As autonomous driving technology continues to mature, the autonomous driving industry is poised to consolidate in the coming years. According to market consultancy IHS Markit, the size of the autonomous car service market will exceed 1.3 trillion yuan ($203.5 billion), with the top-ranked service provider accounting for 40 percent of the market share.


Europe has next to no gas left Gazprom

UGS facilities in Europe were 95.3% empty as of February 17, Russias state energy giant and major gas exporter Gazprom said on Saturday, citing data from Gas Infrastructure Europe.

This means that Europe now has only 4.7% of its gas reserves left for the remainder of the winter season.

The volume of active gas in storage facilities is 21% or 8.3 billion m3 less compared to the same time last year.

In total, 44.8 billion m3 have already been withdrawn from Europes UGS this winter.

According to Gazprom, gas reserves in UGS in Ukraine are also at a minimum, having dropped to 10.6 billion m3, which is 45% less than last year.

Also, earlier this week, authorities in Germany, which has one of the largest UGS capacities in Europe, reported a plunge in storage volumes to historically low levels compared to previous years.

The EU, however, this week claimed that its supplies were sufficient to last several more weeks in the event that Russia stops its gas flow to the bloc amid tensions over Ukraine.

Russian gas supplies to European countries had already started to fall in mid-2021, and the decline accelerated at the beginning of 2022.

According to the Commission, until recently, the EU satisfied almost a quarter (24%) of its energy needs with gas, 90% of which was imported.

Some 40% of its imports came from Gazprom.


BP starts up Herschel Expansion in Gulf of Mexico

BP has started up the Herschel Expansion project in the Gulf of Mexico.

Herschel is the first of four major projects scheduled to be delivered globally in 2022. Phase 1 of the Herschel Expansion project comprises development of a new subsea production system and the first of up to three wells tied to the Na Kika platform. At its peak, this first well is expected to increase platform annual gross production by an estimated 10 600 boe/d.

The BP-operated well, drilled to a depth of approximately 19 000 ft, is located southeast of the Na Kika platform, approximately 140 miles off the coast of New Orleans. The project provides infrastructure for future well tie-in opportunities. BP and Shell each hold a 50% working interest in the Herschel development.

Starlee Sykes, BP senior vice president Gulf of Mexico and Canada said: BP continues to grow its position in the Gulf of Mexico by bringing online high-quality projects. Like other recent start-ups in the Gulf of Mexico, with Herschel we are tying into existing infrastructure to produce some of the most efficient barrels in the world. Focusing our hydrocarbons business on the highest quality resources such as these sits at the heart of BPs strategy. Doing so safely, ahead of schedule and under budget is testament to the caliber of the team.

Ewan Drummond, BP senior vice president, projects, production and operations said: Herschel is a great example of the type of fast-payback, high-return tie-back opportunities we continue to deliver as we focus and high-grade our hydrocarbons portfolio. I would like to thank the team for their commitment in the safe and early execution of this project.

Chevron Corp

Chevron targets 5 U.S. well sites in project to curb emissions

Chevron Corp. is looking to show it can lower methane emissions at five oil well sites in Texas and Colorado as part of an industry push into “responsibly sourced” gas.

The energy giant is seeking independent certification at the sites from environmental assessment firm Project Canary, which will review and analyze information on emissions and other environmental aspects at the wells, which produce both oil and associated gas. Chevron will also deploy Project Canary’s monitoring devices at some locations, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

Energy companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., EQT Corp. and Southwestern Energy Co. have rushed to demonstrate they can produce gas with low resulting emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributor.




TotalEnergies makes light oil discovery offshore Namibia

TotalEnergies has said it has made a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect, located in block 2913B in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia.

The Venus 1-X well encountered approximately 84 m of net oil pay in a good quality Lower Cretaceous reservoir.

“This discovery offshore Namibia and the very promising initial results prove the potential of this play in the Orange Basin, on which TotalEnergies owns an important position both in Namibia and South Africa” said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President Exploration at TotalEnergies. “A comprehensive coring and logging program has been completed. This will enable the preparation of appraisal operations designed to assess the commerciality of this discovery.”

Block 2913B covers approximately 8215 km² in deep offshore Namibia. TotalEnergies is the operator with a 40% working interest, alongside QatarEnergy (30%), Impact Oil and Gas (20%) and NAMCOR (10%).

Saudi Aramco

Aramco Closes $15.5 Billion BlackRock-Led Gas Pipeline Deal

Saudi Aramco closed a deal to sell a stake in its natural-gas pipelines for $15.5 billion and entered into a pact with BlackRock Inc. to explore low carbon energy projects.

An investor group, led by BlackRock, acquired a 49% stake in Aramco Gas Pipelines Co. in a lease and leaseback deal in December, according to a statement. The consortium also comprised Keppel Infrastructure Trust, and Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Hassana Investment Co.

BlackRock’s investment comes even as Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink puts pressure on firms to boost environmental, social and governance, or ESG, standards. Gas is a cleaner fuel than crude oil but still contributes to heating the plant.

“Getting to a net zero world will not happen overnight,” Fink said in the statement. “It requires us to shift the energy mix in incremental steps to achieve a green energy future. Bold, forward-thinking incumbents like Aramco have the technical expertise and capital to play a crucial role in this transformation.”

The 20-year arrangement “represents further progress in Aramco’s portfolio optimization program and highlights the strong investment opportunities presented by Aramco’s significant infrastructure assets,” according to the statement.

BlackRock Co-Leads $15.5 Billion Aramco Gas Pipelines Deal

The deal is part of Saudi Arabia’s drive to sell assets and use the money to fund new industries from artificial intelligence to electric vehicles, while also increasing output of both oil and gas. In a similarly-structured transaction in April, Aramco sold a $12.4 billion stake related to its oil pipelines to investors including Washington-based EIG.


Chrome Lite Data Saver Mode on Android is being phased out by Google

By Sakshi BharariFriday February 25, 2022

Chrome Lite will be accessible till the 29th of March.

Google is deprecating a feature of Chrome for Android that has helped customers save money on mobile data for years. With the release of Chrome version M100 in late March, Chrome’s ‘Lite mode’ will be deprecated.

When Google first debuted Lite mode on Android in 2014, it was branded as Data Saver. Many smartphone users back then were on tiered data plans, which meant they could be charged more if they went over their monthly data allowance. Because mobile speeds were limited in some areas, Lite mode compressed websites to make them load faster.

Google added the ability to completely block photos in 2015 to save even more space. However, Google no longer sees a compelling reason to keep the choice available. Unlimited internet plans are once again the norm, and Google believes that Chrome’s default settings have continued to reduce data usage.

“We’ve seen a fall in the cost of mobile data in many places in recent years,” the business noted on a help website this week. “We’ve shipped many enhancements to Chrome to further limit data usage and improve Web page loading.” “Although Lite mode is being phased out, we are dedicated to ensuring that Chrome can deliver a fast mobile webpage loading experience.”

The stable channel for Chrome for Android version M100 will be published on March 29, therefore Lite mode will be available till then.


Intel Appoints Christoph Schell as its New Executive VP & Chief Commercial Officer

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 18, 2022 – Intel Corporation today announced that Christoph Schell has been appointed executive vice president and chief commercial officer to lead the Sales, Marketing and Communications Group (SMG), starting March 14. Schell will succeed Michelle Johnston Holthaus, who will take on a new role as general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group (CCG).

“Christoph has an exceptional track record of driving innovative and disruptive go-to-market strategies around the globe. He brings expertise in understanding business segments, verticals and the solutions and services customers want,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO. “We are harnessing our core strengths as an advantage to grow in our traditional markets and accelerate our entry into new ones. I’m confident Christoph is the right leader to take on this critical role and guide the talented SMG organization to achieve our growing ambitions.”  

Schell joins Intel from HP Inc., where he was most recently chief commercial officer. With his go-to-market team, he led customer and partner success, category management and customer support globally. During his 25 years with the company, Schell held various senior management roles across the globe, including president of 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing. Prior to rejoining HP in 2014, Schell served as executive vice president of Growth Markets for Philips, where he led the lighting business across Asia Pacific, Japan, Africa, Russia, India, Central Asia and the Middle East. He started his career in his family’s distribution and industrial solutions company and worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble.


NVIDIA may have been hit with a cyberattack

In a world fraught with cybercrime, no country or organization is safe. That includes NVIDIA, which has reportedly been hit by a network intrusion that's taken some of its systems offline.

According to a report by The Telegraph, NVIDIA has suffered multiple days' worth of outages as the result of a cyberattack that's negatively affected both the company's developer tools as well as its email systems.

'We are investigating an incident. We don't have any additional information to share at this time,' said an NVIDIA spokesperson.

The Telegraph report says that an insider defined NVIDIA's internal systems as 'completely compromised' by the network intrusion, though it remains unclear what the full extent of the alleged attack was. At present, there aren't details on whether data's been pilfered.


Apple Reduces Free Trial Period For Apple Music Subscribers From Three To One Month

Apple Music free trial period has been reduced from three months to one month. Previously, no other music streaming platform was offering three months of the free trial, including Spotify. However, now Apple seems to have matched the industry standard. The official website for Apple Music now says that subscribers will get one month of free access to the music streaming service. Beyond the free trial of one month, the Apple Music streaming plan will renew at the price of Rs. 99 per month.

New Apple Music subscribers can still get six months of Apple Music service for free, but with an eligible audio device from the company. For this, customers need to make sure that their iPhone or iPad is running on the latest version of iOS or iPadOS. Thereafter, users will be able to activate their Apple Music trial after their pair their audio device to their iPhone or iPad. Apple also mentions that customers will have three months after they have purchased an eligible audio device to avail the offer.


Apple Discontinues Support for Sanctioned Russian Banks On App Store

ApplePay – Apple’s digital wallet service – is no longer providing support to Russian banks following sanctions from the United States and its western allies. Applications from Promsvyabank – a state-backed Russian bank – have also been removed from the App Store.

Apple’s removal of Russian financial services was reported by Russian news outlet RBC on Thursday. Three of Promsvyabank’s applications have vanished from the Apple store: mobile banking, PBS investments, and PBS business. Meanwhile, the Google Play Store has also deleted the banking app, but not the latter two.

On Wednesday, Russia announced “special military operations” in Ukraine, and began attacking the nation’s military infrastructure shortly afterward. A slew of Western nations condemned the move as an “invasion” and breach of international law, including the United States.

Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced American sanctions on four of Russia’s largest banks, in order to “limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen to be part of the global economy.”

Though the apps have been removed from Apple’s online store, their functionality will continue for customers that have already downloaded them.

In an email to corporate clients, PSB said that it was attempting to get the PSB Business app re-installed on Apple’s store. Those without the application were encouraged to use the “PSB Internet Bank” on their website.

Nevertheless, with the new sanctions, Promsvyabank’s access to the US financial system is completely cut off.


Meta is down $500 billion since changing its name from Facebook

In context: Mark Zuckerberg has really gone all-in on the metaverse. So convinced is the CEO that virtual, shared worlds are the future of tech, he changed Facebook’s corporate name to Meta last year. But what has happened since that rebranding? The company has seen $500 billion wiped off its market value.

New York Mag reports that Meta’s half-a-trillion-dollar decline since the rebranding has resulted in a drop from its lofty position as the sixth-largest company in the world by market capitalization to 11th position, replaced by the likes of Nvidia and Tencent.

A lot of Meta’s problems don’t stem from the new name but are a result of Apple’s privacy changes introduced in iOS 14 that allow users to opt out of targeted ads and prevent apps from tracking cross-app behavior. Meta said the change would put a $10 billion dent in its ad revenue this year—an announcement that wiped $232 billion off its market cap in a single day.


Russia partially restricts Facebook access, accusing it of censoring some state-run media

Russia’s media regulator said Friday it would move to “partially restrict access” to Facebook after it said the platform had limited official accounts of four Russian media outlets, according to a statement translated from Russian to English.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, claimed Facebook had “restricted the official accounts” of four Russian media outlets that are state-owned or state-affiliated: Zvezda TV channel, RIA Novosti news agency, and

Roskomnadzor said Facebook’s actions violated federal law and that its owner, Meta, ignored a request from the agency to remove the restrictions.

The agency added that it “has recorded 23 cases of such censorship of Russian media and internet resources by Facebook” since October 2020.

Roskomnadzor said its actions followed an agreement by the Prosecutor General’s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to recognize the social network Facebook as involved in the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.”

It was not immediately clear what the restrictions would entail. A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Meta VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said that Russian authorities had ordered the company on Thursday to stop fact-checking and labelling content on Facebook posted by the state-owned media outlets. When Meta refused, Russia announced the restrictions of its service.

Clegg said Meta hopes for Russian people to continue to be able “to make their voices heard, share what’s happening, and organize through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.”