Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.03.07]






Germany's Merck logs strong growth in 2021, China is second largest market

German science and technology company Merck reported robust growth in 2021, with China its second largest and one of its fastest-expanding markets.

The life science, healthcare and electronics business conglomerate delivered net sales of 19.7 billion euros ($21.7 billion), up 12.3 percent from the previous year, the company said in its annual earnings release on Thursday.

Pre-adjusted EBITDA, a measurement of profitability, advanced by 17.3 percent to 6.1 billion euros.

Executives said the major drivers were the company's 'Big Three Businesses'. They are the process solutions business of life science, new healthcare products, and the semiconductor solutions business of electronics.

The Asia Pacific contributed around 36 percent to that revenue pie, a region that 'is driven by China to a great extent', said Belen Garijo, chair of the executive board and CEO of Merck.


Syngenta to facilitate sustainable growth of cotton and textile industries in China

Syngenta Group China, one of the four major business units of Syngenta Group - the global seeds, crop protection and nutrition product manufacturer, pledged to work with more global and domestic partners to facilitate the sustainable growth of China's cotton and textile industries in the coming years, said its executives.

The company and its partners such as Solidaridad, a Netherlands-based international NGO, have joined forces to launch a new project to solve the practical issues faced in industrial development, improve the production efficiency of cotton and other crops, improve the income of farmers, protect the ecological environment, and promote rural revitalization.

Jiang Yekui, chief sustainable officer of Syngenta Group China, said the project will take the Hexi Corridor area of Gansu province as the core demonstration area, relying on Syngenta Group China's advanced water and fertilizer integration technology, comprehensive crop protection and crop nutrition solutions in China, effectively explore and summarize the implementation technology and experience model of cotton and rotation crops, and actively promote the concept of sustainable agricultural development and advanced production technology and business model.


Adagene, Sanofi ink $2.5b deal for cancer solutions

China's Adagene Inc, a Nasdaq-listed innovative biopharmaceutical company focusing on discovery and development of antibody-based novel cancer immunotherapy, announced collaboration and inked an exclusive license agreement with Sanofi for $2.5 billion on Wednesday, the company said.

According to the deal, Adagene will authorize its core technology to Sanofi and help it create new medicines. The potential transaction value to be seen through such cooperation between the domestic biopharmaceutical enterprise with its partner hit a record in its field, said industry insiders.

'Original biopharmaceutical developments from China are attracting rising international attention, and new drugs that can truly solve unmet clinical medical needs will always be the pursuit of innovation,' Luo Peizhi, co-founder and CEO of Adagene, said during an exclusive interview with China Daily.

The agreement said Adagene, founded in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in 2012, will be responsible for early-stage research activities to develop versions of Sanofi candidate antibodies, using Adagene's proprietary technology. Sanofi will be responsible for later-stage research and clinical, product development and commercialization activities.


Canon to shift focus, vows more investment in China

Japanese tech giant Canon Inc is doubling down on medical equipment, semiconductors, commercial printing, security surveillance and other emerging segments expected to become an important engine to drive the company's business growth.

Howard Ozawa, president and chief executive officer of Canon China, said the closure of its production lines in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, which mainly produces compact digital cameras or nonreplaceable lens cameras, does not mean Canon will exit the Chinese market. On the contrary, the company will continue to increase its investment in China.

Ozawa said all of the employees of Canon's Zhuhai factory have already signed termination of labor contracts, and the plant is expected to be officially shut down by the end of June.

He said the popularity of smartphones had an impact on the miniature digital camera market, and the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply reduced consumer demand for low-end cameras. Along with the global shortage of semiconductor chips, Canon had to close its factory in Zhuhai.

However, Canon's digital cameras with interchangeable lenses are gaining traction with consumers. 'The shortage of chips will exist in the first half of this year, but the situation is likely to ease in the second half of 2022,' Ozawa said.

Founded in 1990, the Zhuhai plant produced 12.29 million units of lenses, 1.03 million units of digital cameras and 94,000 units of video cameras by the end of 2020, and it had 1,317 employees, the company said.

Canon attaches great importance to the Chinese market and aims for it to become No 1 in terms of sales within the whole group by 2035, Ozawa said, adding the company will continue to expand its presence in the business-to-business or B2B segment and strengthen its cooperation with its Chinese partners.

It will also speed up its localization push and launch tailor-made products and solutions in accordance with the requirements of the Chinese market.


Microsoft bringing new data center online in China

Microsoft Corp is bringing a new data center region online in China, which highlighted the US tech heavyweight's long-term commitment to the market and its dedication to helping both multinationals come to China and Chinese companies go global, a senior executive said.

A data center region is a physical location where companies cluster data centers.

The move means that Microsoft's cloud computing capacity in China, the world's fastest-growing public cloud market, has been boosted twelvefold since 2014.

Joe Bao, president of Microsoft China, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Tuesday that the new data center, located in North China, is the biggest one Microsoft has in the China market so far, which will help the company better ride the next wave of the nation's digital development.

Currently, about 40 percent of Microsoft's China cloud computing business comes from helping multinationals set up such operations in the nation, 40 percent from helping Chinese companies go global and about 20 percent from delivering specific industry expertise within China, Bao said.

He said Microsoft now has hundreds of thousands of developers, partners and customers on its cloud in the China market, and its local cloud business has been outpacing the average industry performance and its internal targets.

'We are seeing on average over 50 percent year-on-year growth in areas like helping multinationals land in China,' Bao added.

Amid the accelerated digital transformation in the world's second largest economy, Microsoft is prioritizing local solutions for automotive, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and low-carbon development, the senior executive said. The company, for instance, is bringing the cloud service Azure Digital Twins to China in hopes of offering local customers the ability to create digital twins of physical objects in the cloud to boost efficiency.

Data from market research company Canalys showed that Microsoft accounted for a 22 percent market share of global cloud infrastructure services spending in the fourth quarter of 2021, making it the second largest cloud services provider, only after Amazon Web Services.


Samsung ups ante in China market

South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is ramping up its localization efforts and looking to capture a bigger slice of China's premium smartphone segment amid mounting competition from Apple Inc and Chinese handset makers.

Industry experts said the tech heavyweight is still facing enormous challenges and pressure in regaining Chinese consumers' confidence and rejuvenating its sluggish sales in the world's largest smartphone market. More efforts should be made to improve its brand image, cooperate with local partners and expand offline and online retail channels.

Some South Korean media outlets said the company has set up a Chinese business innovation team to back its human resource management and marketing, and shore up its mobile and consumer electronics business.

The new team will report directly to Samsung Vice-Chairman and CEO Han Jong-hee, who is head of the newly merged unit for mobile devices and home appliances called the DX Division, the reports said. However, Samsung Electronics declined to confirm the launch of the team.

In addition, Samsung unveiled two new flagship smartphones, Galaxy S22 and S22+, which feature upgraded artificial intelligence-powered cameras, in China on Feb 22, in a bid to reclaim lost sales as competition in the country's phone market intensifies.

Wang Xi, research manager of global market consultancy IDC, said that in the short term Apple Inc and Huawei Technologies Co have gained higher recognition among Chinese consumers in the high-end smartphone market.


Baidu reports revenue increase as company diversifies

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc reported its total revenue rose 9 percent year-on-year to 33.1 billion yuan($5.19 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2021, while the Non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net profit stood 4.1 billion yuan.

The company's total revenue reached 124.5 billion yuan last year, an increase of 16 percent year-on-year, while revenue from its core businesses stood at 95.2 billion yuan, up 21 percent on a yearly basis.

Research and development expenses amounted to 24.9 billion yuan in 2021, up 28 percent year-on-year.


Offshore oil giant achieves breakthrough

Asia's first 300-meter deepwater jacket, designed and built independently by China National Offshore Oil Corp, completed construction on Monday in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, marking a major breakthrough in the jacket design and a milestone in the construction of a super large offshore oil and gas platform in China.

The jacket, named Haiji One, is expected to be installed in late March. It will serve its Lufeng 15-1 oil field platform located in the South China Sea. When put into operation in September, it will further improve the country's energy supply and guarantee China's energy security, said its operator CNOOC, the country's top offshore oil and gas driller.

A jacket serves as the foundation of the offshore oil and gas platform. Used to support the huge body and tonnage of an offshore platform, it is the most widely used offshore oil and gas development equipment globally.

An analyst said the project will also safeguard energy supply throughout the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.


CTCE helps boost links among cities in Angola

A 76-kilometer highway built by China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group (CTCE) crossing the northern mountainous area in Angola was fully connected on Saturday, benefiting some 100,000 people in two cities and boosting the local economy.

The Uige Province infrastructure reconstruction project, completed by CTCE First Engineering Co Ltd, starts at Quitexe and ends at Ambuila, with work done on roadbeds, culverts, bridges and ancillary facilities.

Building the highway started in early 2017, providing jobs to 193 locals, promoting the economic development of Angola's border area, and deepening economic ties between China and Angola, said Duan Shiqi, head of the project from State-owned CTCE.

'The highway is part of the projects in the Belt and Road, which is being continuously expanded around the world with far-reaching influence,' he said, adding the project is a win-win undertaking with mutual benefits for both sides.


Exxon confirms 1.2 million barrels per day capacity for Guyana by 2027

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil confirmed on Wednesday that a major ramp up offshore Guyana will see the company having the capacity to produce as much as 1.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2027.

Clearly our objective is to fill up those boats,Reuters quoted senior vice president Neil Chapman as saying during a call with analysts to discuss the companys annual plans. He declined to comment on when maximum capacity will be reached.

Exxon is operator at the massive 6.6 million acres Stabroek Block with a 45 percent interest. Hess holds 30 percent interest. The co-venturers have found over 10 billion barrels of oil at Stabroek since 2015.

Oil production started in December 2019 at the Liza Phase 1 Development and Phase 2 came online just last month. A third project at Payara is already approved and Exxon is awaiting the greenlight from Guyanese authorities for a fourth at Yellowtail. The company has said a fifth development is being targeted at Urau.

According to the Reuters report, Exxon said on Wednesday it can drill in Guyana around ten new exploration wells in 2022, and another ten next year.


Chevron invests in Carbon Clean CO2 capture technology

Chevron announced it has made a new investment in Carbon Clean. Carbon Cleans technology is designed to reduce the costs and physical footprint required for carbon capture compared with many existing approaches, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Carbon Cleans technology and fully modular construction also aims to reduce site disruption and facilitate faster permitting.

We look forward to partnering with Carbon Clean to help advance Chevrons pursuit of lower carbon solutions,said Chris Powers, Vice President of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) for Chevron New Energies (CNE). Chevron has a long history of supporting innovation. We strive to apply our internal capabilities and longstanding partnership approach toward developing and commercializing breakthrough technologies, including those that enable lower carbon solutions in the marketplace.

Chevron Technology Ventures made an initial investment in Carbon Clean in 2020. In 2021, Chevron launched CNE to accelerate lower carbon business opportunities in CCUS, hydrogen and offsets and emerging energies, as well as support Chevrons ongoing growth in biofuels.

As part of the new investment, Chevron and Carbon Clean are seeking to develop a carbon capture pilot for Carbon Cleans CycloneCC technology on a gas turbine in San Joaquin Valley, California.


TotalEnergies Joins JV to Develop Offshore Wind Farm in California

TotalEnergies has joined Trident Winds Inc. in the Castle Wind LLC joint venture (JV) for the development of a 1 GW offshore wind project off the coast of Morro Bay, off the Central California Coast. The company entered the JV and acquired the shares previously held by EnBW North America.

Castle Wind is poised to participate in the anticipated Bureau of Ocean Energy Management lease sale in late 2022.

'TotalEnergies is pleased to bring our global expertise in deploying efficient, large-scale offshore assets to Castle Wind in California,David Foulon, head of U.S. Offshore Wind at TotalEnergies, said. The work completed by the teams in the last years has laid a solid foundation with the local communities, and we look forward to working with them to bring clean energy to the state. This partnership in Castle Wind is another important step for TotalEnergies to contribute to the U.S. offshore wind industry ramp-up, and fulfill its global ambition of becoming a top five producer of renewable energy worldwide by 2030.'


Honeywell unveils solutions to use hydrogen as fuel

Honeywell has announced a portfolio of solutions and services to help end users harness hydrogen as an alternative fuel in industrial and commercial thermal processes to reduce their carbon footprints.

Honeywells end-to-end offering comes at a time when many organizations around the globe are seeking to enact or tighten programs that decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. Converting to hydrogen-based fuels for process heating can help users meet both industry and self-imposed carbon reduction goals and avoid costly penalties.


Shell Australia and WestWind form strategic partnership

Shell Energy Operations Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell plc (Shell), announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 49% of Australian wind farm developer, WestWind Energy Development Pty Ltd (WestWind), which has a 3 GW project pipeline across Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), and Queensland, Australia.