Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.04.25]






Omicron-specific Sinopharm COVID vaccine candidates cleared for clinical trial

BEIJING (Reuters) – Two COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by units of China National Biotec Group (CNBG) to target the Omicron variant were approved for clinical trials as boosters in Hong Kong, the Sinopharm subsidiary said on Saturday.

Scientists worldwide are racing to study upgraded injections against Omicron, as data indicated that antibodies elicited by vaccines based on older strains show weaker activity to neutralise the highly transmissible variant.

The two candidates, both containing inactivated or “killed” Omicron virus and similar to the two Sinopharm vaccines in use in China, will be tested in adults who have already received two or three vaccine doses, CNBG said in a statement.

It did not specify which vaccine products the trial participants would have received before taking the experimental booster, or how many subjects would be recruited.


Roche Pharma China partners with Teva Pharmaceuticals to improve lymphoma treatments

Roche Pharma China and Teva Pharmaceuticals enter into an innovative and strategic partnership on Monday. [Photo provided to]

Roche Pharmaceuticals China announced on Monday that it has entered into an innovative collaboration agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals, a leading Israeli pharmaceutical company, to combine respective strengths and resources to further expand the availability of the original drug Treanda in China.

Through this collaboration, Roche Pharma China will further enrich the hematology portfolio, expand the panorama of lymphoma treatment and continue to work together to promote the standardization of lymphoma treatment in China.

The drug by Teva was approved in China in 2018, and is the first original product marketed by Teva for the treatment of inert B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The two companies said that the collaboration will provide a foundation for a combined medication of the drug and two by Roche to create better survival benefits for Chinese lymphoma patients.

Experts said that hematologic tumor patients are often at risk of relapse or even multiple relapses. The five-year survival rate of lymphoma patients in China is 39 percent, compared with about 70 percent in developed countries.

'Roche is exploring a business model that focuses on the therapeutic areas of disease while working with partners to address the pain points of the overall treatment journey of patients,' said Vivian Bian, CEO of Roche Pharma China.

'We'll continue to identify innovative products and collaboration models in China that are complementary to our pipeline and work with all parties to provide more innovative and effective solutions for Chinese patients, together contributing to achieve the blueprint of Healthy China 2030,' she said.


Terran Biosciences announces licensing deal with Sanofi for two late-stage CNS

NEW YORK, April 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Terran Biosciences, Inc. ('Terran'), a biotech platform company dedicated to the development of transformational therapeutics for neurological and psychiatric diseases, has entered into an agreement with Sanofi S.A. ('Sanofi') for worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize two late-stage CNS pipeline assets.

These therapeutics generated 4 Investigational New Drug (IND) applications and over 104 clinical studies involving more than 15,000 subjects across a number of CNS indications.

Terran plans to quickly advance the development of these assets for neurological and psychiatric indications, which include several novel applications where there is a large unmet medical need. This transaction represents the key next stage in the development of these promising assets.

The deal included an upfront payment as well as typical success-based milestones and royalties. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

'We are grateful to the Sanofi team for entrusting us to continue the development of these late-stage therapeutics, which we believe have the potential to transform the paradigm in neuropsychiatry,' stated Dr. Sam Clark, Terran's Founder and CEO.


PetroChina: ogci Kunlun Climate Investment Fund officially launched

According to China Petroleum network, on April 22, the launch ceremony of Kunlun equity investment fund, an oil and gas industry climate initiative organization, was held. Ogci Kunlun climate investment fund is jointly funded and established by CNPC, ogci Climate Investment Fund, Hainan Free Trade Zone open development equity investment fund and CNPC climate Venture Capital Co., Ltd. It will focus on four major greenhouse gas emission reduction fields: carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUs), methane monitoring and emission reduction, carbon dioxide emission reduction and transportation.


China's first offshore large-scale super heavy oil thermal recovery oilfield put into operation

CNOOC announced yesterday that China's first offshore super heavy oil thermal recovery oilfield, CNOOC LvDa 5-2 North oilfield, was put into operation. The successful application of the 'heavy oil thermal recovery' development model will help the development of hundreds of millions of heavy oil resources in Bohai Bay basin.


BP's Joint Venture Invests In New Zealand Solar Industry

Lightsource bp, a half-owned joint venture of BP, said on Thursday it would invest in New Zealand's solar industry with Contact Energy, one of New Zealand's largest utilities.

Solar power accounted for less than 1% of New Zealand's electricity generation last year, but could grow several times over the next few years. Other renewables, such as hydro, wind and geothermal, accounted for 82 per cent of New Zealand's electricity supply last year, a share below the historical average due to increased coal use due to drought.

Contact and Lightsource said on Thursday they will collaborate on multiple solar power projects in New Zealand that will provide 380 gigawatt hours of electricity a year by 2026, about 1 percent of current New Zealand's electricity generation, enough to power 50,000 households provide electricity.


Dow Q1 sales rise 28%

Dow’s Q1 sales rose 28% year on year and operating earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) jumped nearly 56% - despite higher energy costs, said the company.

Dow saw sales growth in all operating segments, businesses and regions. The operating EBIT margin for the three months ended 31 March 2022 expanded to 15.9%, from 13.1% in Q1 2021.

Sequentially, net sales were up 6% from Q4 2021, driven by gains in Performance Materials & Coatings and Packaging & Specialty Plastics. Q1 volume increased 3% year on year, with gains in all operating segments and in the US & Canada and Latin America.

Sequentially, volume was up 5%, reflecting strong demand for silicon's and polyethylene (PE) applications. However, Dow’s equity earnings fell year on year, primarily due to planned maintenance activity at its Sadara petrochemicals joint venture in Saudi Arabia.

Sequentially, equity earnings fell because of lower PE and mono ethylene glycol (MEG) margins in Asia Pacific.

At the same time, Dow is advancing its strategy to decarbonise and grow underlying earnings by more than USD3bn in the transition to a more sustainable world.


Exxon Sees Carbon Capture Market at $4 Trillion by 2050

Exxon Mobil Corp. estimates there will be a $4 trillion market by 2050 for capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground, the company said in a presentation on Tuesday.

That is about 60% of the $6.5 trillion market the U.S. largest crude producer estimates for oil and gas by then.

Carbon capture is an important emissions reduction technology, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It involves the capture of CO2 from fuel combustion or industrial processes, transporting it via ship or pipeline, to be stored underground in geological formations or used as a resource to create products.

Large oil companies have been investing to make carbon capture and storage (CCS) a relevant business as international bodies such as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) point the technology as key to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Exxon is under public pressure to reduce its total emissions as its energy transition strategy does not include renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. It has recently hired Dan Ammann, who led the Cruise self-driving unit of General Motors Co. until December, to lead its Low Carbon business starting on May 1.

U.S. oil producer Occidental Petroleum, developing the world's largest project to extract CO2 from the air, has previously estimated CCS could become a $3-5 trillion global industry. The technology could generate as much in earnings and cash flow for Occidental than oil and gas today, CEO Vicki Hollub said at a conference in March.

Saudi Aramco

NESR seals $300m Saudi Aramco fracturing contract

National Energy Services Reunited Corporation (NESR), a global industry-leader in provision of integrated energy services in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, has announced that the company has been awarded one of the major contracts for integrated rig-less stimulation and testing services (Conventional Fracturing) across Saudi Arabia.

These contracts, worth approximately $300 million are for a total period of three years with an option for a further extension of two years, said a statement from NESR.

It will cover fracturing, testing, wireline, coiled tubing, slickline services and all associated chemistry, logistics and site services to conduct these operations, it added.

NESR CEO and Chairman Sherif Foda said: 'We were the first national service providers in the region to successfully execute multiple integrated stimulation projects across the region and we are extremely proud to have been selected among a short list of service providers for this flagship fracturing award.'

NESR, he stated, aims to deliver innovative processes and technologies to take this project to the next level 'as our client leads the way in technology adoption and efficiency.'

'In addition, we look forward to working closely with Saudi Aramco, in line with its net-zero and sustainability goals, to minimise the carbon footprint of these operations, introduce breakthrough Zero Liquid Discharge technologies to recycle the produced water, and to provide minerals and freshwater not only to the operations but to the community around us,' noted Foda.

'It is always a pleasure to work closely with Saudi Aramco not only as the world's most reliable energy provider but also as a world class technology incubator and adopter of disruptive innovations,' he added.


Egypt signs agreement with UAE’s AMEA Power for 390,000 tons of green ammonia

Egypt has signed an agreement with AMEA Power of the United Arab Emirates to produce up to 390,000 ton of green ammonia a year in Ain Sokhna, the cabinet said on Wednesday.

Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone also signed an agreement worth $3 billion to produce up to 350,000 tons of green energy for fueling ships in Ain Sokhna with a consortium that includes EDF Renewables and the Egyptian sovereign wealth fund, the cabinet statement added.


Twitter under shareholder pressure to seek deal with Musk, sources say

Twitter Inc is coming under increasing pressure from its shareholders to negotiate with Elon Musk even though the world's richest person has called his $43 billion bid for the social media platform his best and final offer, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

While the views of Twitter shareholders vary over what a fair price for a deal would be, many reached out to the company after Musk outlined his acquisition financing plan on Thursday and urged it not to let the opportunity for a deal slip away, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Twitter's board is expected to find that Musk's all-cash $54.20 per share offer for the company is too low by the time it reports quarterly earnings on Thursday. Nonetheless, some shareholders who agree with that stance still want Twitter to seek a better offer from Musk, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at $270 billion, the sources told Reuters.


Foxconn’s key iPhone plant operating in China region hit by COVID-19 lockdown

Foxconn Technology Group’s plant in central China, its biggest assembler of iPhones for Apple Inc., continues to operate amid a government COVID-19 lockdown of the area, in line with authorities concession to allow key employees to carry on working.

Officials locked down the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone that hosts Foxconn’s iPhone City campus on Thursday for an indefinite period, according to a government notice viewed by Bloomberg News.


Microsoft plans to drop SMB1 binaries from Windows 11

Microsoft has taken another step toward the final eradication of the venerable SMB1 protocol with plans to disable it by default in all editions of Windows 11.

As is the company's wont, Dev Channel Windows Insiders will first have the protocol not installed for all editions. This will then be the default for the next major release of Windows 11, expected later this year. In-place upgrades, where SMB1 was already in use, aren't affected and administrators that really need it can deliberately pop it back on.

So 2022 will be the year when there will be no fresh installs of Windows 11 that has the aged protocol installed by default.

China Unicom

China Unicom net profit rises 20% in Q1

BEIJING - China Unicom, one of the country's leading telecom giants, reported a 20-percent surge in net profit in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022.

Net profit attributable to the parent company reached 2.03 billion yuan ($314.26 million), it said in a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Business revenues rose 8.2 percent to 89.02 billion yuan in the reporting period, it said.

The company's 5G users reached 171 million amid its efforts to push digital transformation, it said.


IMS Groups places large bet on the fast-growing metaverse field

IMS Group, a Chinese data-driven media marketing company, will increase its research and development investment in basic technologies, including big data and blockchains, to empower content creators, and is betting big on the fast-growing metaverse field.

The company reported its revenue amounted to 4.51 billion yuan ($699.5 million) in 2021, up 47.4 percent from the previous year, while its net revenue rose 19.9 percent on a yearly basis to 350 million yuan.

Its expenditures on R&D came in at 130 million yuan in 2021, an increase of 73.3 percent on a yearly basis.


Huawei's consumer business group officially enters commercial field

SHENZHEN -- Huawei announced Wednesday that its Consumer Business Group has officially entered the commercial field in an 'all-around way.'

The business group, which develops smart devices, will cover the two fields of consumer products and commercial products in the future, focusing on serving mass consumers, as well as government and corporate customers, said Richard Yu, executive director of Huawei.

'In the future, Huawei will bring the boutique experience from consumer products to the commercial field,' Yu said in a new-product release meeting held online.

Huawei also said it will enrich its commercial notebooks, desktops, tablets and other product categories, as well as providing commercial office solutions for government and six major industries, including education, medical care, manufacturing, transportation, finance and energy.


JD takes measure to help alleviate delivery stress in Shanghai

Chinese e-commerce giant JD said on Tuesday that, since April 1, it has relocated 3,246 couriers and sorters nationwide to alleviate delivery pressure and ensure the supply of daily necessities in Shanghai following a COVID-related citywide lockdown.

These employees have received vaccine booster shots and will be dedicated to sorting and last-mile delivery jobs as soon as arriving in Shanghai, the company said.

In addition, about 10 metric tons of medicines and other medical supplies have been transported from Beijing to Shanghai by chartered flights and all-cargo aircraft. More than 50 railway containers and over 200 trucks loaded with people's livelihood supplies have left Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu and are planned to arrive in Shanghai.

JD's data showed that the number of orders fulfilled in Shanghai increased by 67 percent on Friday compared with the previous day, accounting for 43 percent of the normal average. The company expected that with more and more delivery forces joining in, the number will reach 80 percent of the normal average this week.

From April 9 to 16, JD has provided nearly 4,000 tons of rice, flour, cooking oil, milk, and meat to more than 1.4 million families in Shanghai. Additionally, over 100 JD autonomous vehicles were sent to Shanghai to facilitate the last-mile delivery of customer orders and personal protective equipment to makeshift hospitals, lockdown communities and delivery stations.

Ant Group

Ant Group partners with 2C2P in cross-border payment network

The financial technology firm Ant Group said on Monday it has formed a strategic partnership with Singapore-based payments platform 2C2P, as the latest addition to a global cross-border payment network that it is eyeing to construct.

The partnership will see Ant, the operator of Alipay, become 2C2P's majority shareholder, though the acquisition amount wasn't disclosed.

With a strong presence across key Asian markets like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, 2C2P offers payment acceptance, issuing, payout, as well as other value-added solutions to merchants.

With the deal, the Singaporean firm's network of merchants will be plugged into Alipay+, Ant's cross-border payments platform that has some 250 payment options worldwide.

Ant said Alipay+ has served more than 1 billion users in Asia, through Kakao Pay and NaverPay in South Korea, AlipayHK, Touch 'n Go eWallet in Malaysia, GCash in the Philippines and Dana in Indonesia.

It also has 1 million offline merchants across Europe and Asia. Online, it has connected payments providers to customers on platforms like Google and TikTok.


HP signs deal with China Mobile, Intel, MediaTek as it eyes expanding 5G market share

The US personal computer giant HP Inc has inked a strategic partnership with China Mobile, Intel and chip company MediaTek, and released the first batch of its 5G notebooks in China, as the companies work together to popularize 5G-powered devices that can help boost work productivity.

HP said at a news conference that it will deepen cooperation with China Mobile in 5G PCs and in the future, the two sides will work together to promote a 5G terminal ecology and bring a more diversified new mobile internet experience.

So far, China has built the world's largest 5G mobile network, with the fast wireless mobile technology triggering a wave of innovation in all walks of life. In 2021, China's integrated mobile office platform market reached 12.5 billion yuan ($1.93 billion), with a year-on-year increase of 28.6 percent, data from the market research company iResearch show.


Vivo unveils second self-designed chip

Chinese smartphone vendor Vivo has unveiled its second self-designed chip as part of its broader push to beef up its research and development capabilities.

Known as V1+, the new chipset is designed to boost professional imaging and display performance of smartphones. The first model equipped with the new chip will be the X80 series, scheduled to be released next week.


Tesla to see Shanghai plant deliver 'record output per week' after lockdown lifted

Tesla Inc is looking to produce 1.5 million vehicles and over 50 percent growth over 2021 numbers, as the Shanghai factory has resumed production 'at fairly high levels' following a month-long COVID-related closure.

Admitting the automaker has lost 'a lot of important days' for build volume out of Shanghai, CEO Elon Musk predicted Q2 production to be roughly on par with the first three months.

'Giga Shanghai is coming back with a vengeance,' he told analysts during a call on Wednesday following the release of its first quarter earnings. 'I think we will see record output per week from Giga Shanghai this quarter, albeit missing a couple of weeks.'

He added production has also begun to resume among Tesla's suppliers, and predicted a substantially higher output for Q3 and Q4.

'So, it seems likely that we'll be able to produce over 1.5 million cars this year--that's my best guess,' he added.

He also said the automaker's new plants in Berlin and Austin are likely to see faster ramps because of experience from Shanghai and simplification of the production process for the Model Y.

Tesla reported 310,048 vehicle deliveries for the first quarter. It reported $18.76 billion in revenue and $3.22 earnings per share in the quarter, beating market expectations.