Bottom line: Huawei is likely to be found guilty of selling products to Iran in violation of US sanctions, and could be fined up to $2 billion but won’t face additional punishment.
When word first emerged four years ago that telecoms equipment maker ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) was being investigated for selling American equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions, other reports also indicated that crosstown rival Huawei was also being probed over the same matter. Huawei’s name later disappeared from the headlines, though it was never really clear if the company had been cleared of suspicion in the matter. Now it appears the company may still be under investigation, meaning it could potentially be slapped with a fine even bigger than the nearly $1 billion levied on ZTE. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Oppo’s major new cricket sponsorship deal shows its commitment to India, but may have to be renegotiated if and when the company’s fortunes decline in the next 1-2 years following its meteoric rise.
Smartphone high-flyer Oppo is trying to show the world it’s serious about India, with word it will pay 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) for rights to sponsor the nation’s national cricket team. News of the deal comes just three months after China’s top smartphone brand announced plans to build a production facility in the hotly contested India market, which has become a magnet for Chinese brands over the last year.
All that raises the question of whether Oppo is for real, or just another passing fad in China’s constantly changing smartphone landscape. That landscape has seen players like Lenovo (HKEx: 992), Xiaomiand Huawei become dominant players in the world’s largest smartphone market one day, only to rapidly fade the next. It’s obviously still too early to say if Oppo will follow in that trajectory, though my educated guess would be the answer to that question is quite possibly “yes”. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: ZTE’s settlement with the US over illegal sales to Iran will help the company focus on the future, as it advances with plans to move away from low-margin businesses and find more promising new growth areas.
After a year of living in a state akin to suspended animation amid a US probe against it for illegal sales to Iran, telecoms giant ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) is finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, with word that it has finally reached a settlement in the matter. The company previously indicated the settlement would be no small deal, and the nearly $900 million fine it will have to pay proves that’s certainly the case.
But more important is the fact that ZTE has finally settled the case, meaning it can now get on with business without this major distraction hanging over its head. Before the settlement, ZTE had faced the possibility that it might get cut off from its key US suppliers as punishment for illegally selling US-made equipment to Iran in violation of earlier US sanctions against the country related to its nuclear program. Read Full Post…
UPDATE: After publishing this earlier this morning, a source in Barcelona informs me that Oppo is indeed attending and is holding a press event to show off their newest products. Headline and photo caption changed to reflect Oppo’s attendance, but the rest of the original post remains the same.
Bottom line: The absence of Oppo and Vivo from the world’s top telecoms trade show in Spain this week reflects their overwhelming reliance on China sales, while Xiaomi’s absence from the show could be a cash conservation move.
Most eyes from the telecoms world will be focused on Barcelona this week, where an annual show that’s arguably the world’s most important for smartphones is taking place. That seems like a good opportunity to look at who from China’s crowded smartphone arena is attending this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain, even though I’m personally not at the show.
Attending the event is by no means cheap, which is probably why some companies may choose the skip the affair. But the decision to attend or not does provide some insight as to what companies are thinking, since you would expect anyone with truly global aspirations to make an appearance at this showcase for the newest telecoms products. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: ZTE’s move into smart cars and Gome’s into smartphones follow a typical Chinese pattern of herd mentality investing, and are both likely to fare poorly.
A couple of headlines are shining a spotlight on the herd mentality you often see among Chinese companies looking for the next big growth opportunity. One of those has telecoms stalwart ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) buying a small bus maker, parroting a trend among a growing number of firms who see the future in smart vehicles. The other has the increasingly irrelevant electronics retailer Gome (HKEx: 493) rolling into the smartphone business, an area in desperate need of consolidation due to cutthroat competition. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Huawei may have lost its top position in China’s smartphone market in the third quarter, while Xiaomi’s new model with a screen that takes up the entire front surface could bring some buzz back to the company.
A trio of smartphone headlines nicely summarize the rapid changes constantly gripping the space, where today’s superstar can become little more than a footnote in just a year. The latest rising superstar Oppo is leading the headlines, with a new report saying it overtook Huawei to become China’s smartphone leader in the third quarter. Meantime, former market leader Xiaomi is also in headlines as it rolls out a new intriguing model in a bid to regain its former glory. Last but not least is the faded ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063), one of the industry’s oldest players, which is changing smartphone chiefs in its own bid to find new relevance in the tough market. Read Full Post…
The following press releases and news reports about China companies were carried on October 25. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
HNA Group Acquires 25 Pct Equity Interest in Hilton (NYSE: HLT) for $6.5 Bln (Businesswire)
Syngenta Slumps After EU Watchdog Sparks ChemChina Deal Doubts (English article)
JD.com (Nasdaq: JD) Corruption Incident Nets More Than 10 Workers (Chinese article)
Bottom line: Washington’s 2 month extension of a temporary license for ZTE to keep buying from its US suppliers indicates a final ruling is likely by year end in a similar probe against Huawei for illegally selling US products to Iran.
After a tense period earlier this year when it appeared it could lose access to some of its key suppliers, telecoms equipment maker ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) has been given continued access to those suppliers under a new extension of its earlier deal with Washington. The clash stemmed from a Washington ruling that ZTE sold US-manufactured telecoms equipment to Iran in violation of trade restrictions. Washington was set to punish ZTE by cutting it off from its many US suppliers, but later relented after the Chinese company agreed to cooperate with an investigation into the matter. Read Full Post…
The following press releases and news reports about China companies were carried on June 29. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
Yum (NYSE: YUM) China Stake Sale Said Delayed as Suitors Miss Deadline (English article)
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to Invest $350 Mln in China Biotech Hub, First in Asia (English article)
Fosun (HKEx: 656) Plans to List US Insurer Ironshore ‘As Soon As Possible’ (English article)
ZTE (HKEx: 763) Says Temporary License Extended for Import of US Goods (HKEx announcement)
Bottom line: Washington is likely to find Huawei guilty of illegally selling US equipment to Iran, while Germany is likely to scuttle a Midea-Kuka alliance by finding an alternate strategic local investor for Kuka.
Cross-border trade involving sensitive technologies is dominating the headlines as we head into summer, lead by a new development in Washington that looks ominous for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. That news has the US asking Huawei for documents related to previous sanctions against the company, implying new sanctions could be coming over sales to Iran that may have violated US trade rules. The other headline shows opposition continuing to grow in Germany over a proposed purchase of 30 percent of local robotics firm Kuka (Frankfurt: KU2G) by Chinese home appliance giant Midea (Shenzhen: 000333). Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Xiaomi’s Brazilian retrenchment will ultimately become a withdrawal from the country, and reflects a lack of preparation and understanding when it entered the market a year ago.
The bad news keeps coming for sputtering smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is retrenching its Brazilian operation less than a year after entering the market. I have to admit that reports on this latest setback reflect a recent media fascination with any sort of failure for Xiaomi, which was once a media darling with its hip-and-trendy smartphones and slick marketing campaigns. But that said, this particular setback does look a bit more serious than some of the other recent bad news, as it appears to mark a big disappointment in a market where Xiaomi had big hopes. Read Full Post…