By Reuters | Updated: 10 November 2020
Chip maker NVIDIA on Monday announced that Hyundai Motor will use the NVIDIA DRIVE in-vehicle information and entertainment system for all its Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis models from 2022.
NVIDIA said the luxury vehicle division of Hyundai, Genesis, already uses NVIDIA DRIVE for its GV80 and G80 models.
NVIDIA declined to say how many vehicles NVIDIA DRIVE would be installed in, but said it is a large number and pointed to the fact that in 2019 Hyundai Motor Group shipped over 7 million vehicles.
Hyundai Motor is the flagship company of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors is its sister company.
NVIDIA DRIVE includes hardware and software components and uses artificial intelligence to improve the user’s experience. The software can be “perpetually” updated, giving vehicles the latest AI cockpit features, said NVIDIA.
NVIDIA said it has also been working with Mercedes-Benz, Audi AG and Honda Motor on in-car entertainment and information systems.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
Chinese Chipmaker SMIC Added by Trump Administration to Defence Blacklist
By Reuters | Updated: 4 December 2020
The Trump administration on Thursday added China’s top chipmaker, SMIC, and oil giant CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, a move likely to escalate tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The Department of Defense designated a total of four additional companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, also including China Construction Technology and China International Engineering Consulting.
The move, first reported by Reuters on Sunday, brings the total number of companies blacklisted to 35. While the list did not initially trigger any penalties, a recent executive order issued by Republican President Donald Trump will prevent US investors from buying securities of the blacklisted firms starting late next year.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington referred Reuters to prior remarks made by its Foreign Ministry spokesperson that “China firmly opposes the politicisation of the relevant Chinese companies.”
China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
SMIC said in a stock market statement that it was assessing the impact of its addition to the list and said investors should be aware of the investment risks. SMIC shares declined by over 2 percent on Friday before trading in the company’s Hong Kong shares was suspended, while CNOOC slipped 0.7 percent in early morning trade.
Shares of CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC had fallen by nearly 14 percent following the Sunday report.
SMIC, which relies heavily on equipment from US suppliers, was already in Washington’s crosshairs. In September, the US Commerce Department informed some firms they needed to obtain a license before supplying goods and services to SMIC after concluding there was an “unacceptable risk” that equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.
The expanded blacklist is seen as part of a bid to cement Trump’s tough-on-China legacy and to box Biden, the Democratic president-elect who takes office on January 20, into hardline positions on Beijing amid bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress.
The measure is also part of a broader effort by Washington to target what it sees as Beijing’s efforts to enlist corporations to harness emerging civilian technologies for military purposes.
The list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” was mandated by a 1999 law requiring the Pentagon to compile a catalog of companies “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army, but the DOD only complied it in 2020. Giants like Hikvision, China Telecom and China Mobile were added earlier this year.
In November, the White House published an executive order, first reported by Reuters, that sought to give teeth to the list by prohibiting US investors from buying securities of the blacklisted companies from November 2021.
Top US asset managers Vanguard Group and BlackRock each own about 1 percent of shares of CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC, and together own roughly 4 percent of outstanding shares of SMIC, disclosures show.
Congress and the Trump administration have sought increasingly to curb the US market access of Chinese companies that do not comply with rules faced by American rivals, even if that means antagonising Wall Street.
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a law to kick Chinese companies off US stock exchanges if they do not fully comply with the country’s auditing rules, giving Trump one more tool to threaten Beijing with before leaving office.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
Trump to Add Chinese Chipmaker SMIC to Defense Blacklist: Sources
By Reuters | Updated: 30 November 2020
The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources, curbing their access to US investors and escalating tensions with Beijing weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Reuters reported earlier this month that the Department of Defense (DOD) was planning to designate four more Chinese companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, bringing the number of Chinese companies affected to 35. A recent executive order issued by President Donald Trump would prevent US investors from buying securities of the listed firms starting late next year.
It was not immediately clear when the new tranche, would be published in the Federal Register. But the list comprises China Construction Technology and China International Engineering Consulting, in addition to Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) and China National Offshore Oil (CNOOC), according to the document and three sources.
SMIC said it continued “to engage constructively and openly with the US government” and that its products and services were solely for civilian and commercial use. “The Company has no relationship with the Chinese military and does not manufacture for any military end-users or end-uses.”
The DOD, the Chinese embassy in Washington and CNOOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
SMIC, which relies heavily on equipment from US suppliers, was already in Washington’s crosshairs. In September, the US Commerce Department informed some firms that they need to obtain a license before supplying goods and services to SMIC after concluding there was an “unacceptable risk” that equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
Foxconn Said to Shift Some Apple Production to Vietnam to Minimise China Risk
By Reuters | Updated: 26 November 2020
Foxconn is moving some iPad and MacBook assembly to Vietnam from China at the request of Apple Inc, said a person with knowledge of the plan, as the US firm diversifies production to minimise the impact of a Sino-US trade war.
The development comes as the outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump encourages US firms to shift production out of China. During Trump’s tenure, the United States has targeted made-in-China electronics for higher import tariffs, and restricted supplies of components produced using US technology to Chinese firms it deems a national security risk.
Taiwanese manufacturers, wary of being caught up in the tit-for-tat trade war, have moved or are considering moving some production from China to countries such as Vietnam, Mexico and India.
Foxconn is building assembly lines for Apple’s iPad tablet and MacBook laptop at its plant in Vietnam’s northeastern Bac Giang province, to come online in the first half of 2021, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was private.
The lines will also take some production from China, the person said, without elaborating how much production will shift.
“The move was requested by Apple,” the person said. “It wants to diversify production following the trade war.”
Foxconn said in statement: “As a matter of company policy, and for reasons of commercial sensitivity, we do not comment on any aspect of our work for any customer or their products”.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan’s Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry, on Tuesday announced a $270 million (roughly Rs. 1,200 crores) investment to set up a new subsidiary called FuKang Technology – a move the person said was aimed at supporting the Vietnam expansion.
The contract manufacturer also plans to make television sets at the Vietnam plant for clients including Japan’s Sony, with the start of such production slated for late 2020 to early 2021, the person said. Sony declined to comment.
The factory will also make other electronic products such as computer keyboards, the person said.
Shifting iPad production to Vietnam will mark the first time Foxconn has assembled the device outside of China.
The firm already plans to spend up to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,400 crores) expanding an iPhone assembly plant in India as “strongly requested” by Apple to diversify production beyond China, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in July.
Foxconn and peers such as Pegatron are also considering building plants in Mexico, people with knowledge of the matter said, as Washington promotes near-shoring production.
Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way in August told investors the Sino-US trade war had split the world into two, saying his firm aimed to provide “two sets of supply chains”.
Other iPad assemblers include Taiwan’s Compal Electronics and China’s BYD Electronic International.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
Dell Rides Booming Demands for Remote-Working Tools to Beat Quarterly Sales Estimates `
By Reuters | Updated: 25 November 2020
Dell forecast current-quarter sales above market expectations as a pandemic-driven shift to remote work and learning powered demand for its desktops and notebooks, helping it post a surprise rise in third-quarter revenue.
The company said, on an earnings call with analysts on Tuesday, that it expects fourth-quarter revenue to rise 3 percent to 4 percent sequentially, implying a range between $24.18 billion (roughly Rs. 1,78,800 crores) and $24.42 billion (roughly Rs. 1,80,600 crores), compared with analysts’ average expectation of $23.09 billion (roughly Rs. 1,70,800 crores).
The PC maker’s shares were last up marginally in volatile after-market trading, as adjusted earnings matched Wall Street expectations of $2.03 (roughly Rs. 150) per share.
Consumers and businesses are spending on notebooks at a rate Dell has not seen in over a decade, according to an earnings presentation, helping its client solutions group rake in a record $12.29 billion (roughly Rs. 90,900 crores) in revenue, up about 8 percent from a year earlier.
Global shipments in the traditional PC market, which includes desktops, notebooks, and workstations, jumped 14.6 percent year-over-year to 81.3 million units in the third quarter of 2020, according to data from IDC.
While the health crisis lifted demand for Dell’s remote workstation products, the company’s data centre business remained under pressure, with revenue from the unit falling about 4 percent to $8.02 billion (roughly Rs. 59,300 crores) in the quarter.
Sales at VMware rose about 8 percent to $2.89 billion (roughly Rs. 21,400 crores). Dell plans to spin off its 81 percent stake in the software unit to help reduce debt.
Total revenue rose nearly 3 percent to $23.48 billion (roughly Rs. 1,73,650 crores) in the three months ended October 30, while analysts had estimated a drop of 4.4 percent to $21.85 billion (roughly Rs. 1,61,600 crores), according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net income attributable to the company rose to $832 million (roughly Rs. 6,150 crores), from $499 million (roughly Rs. 3,700 crores) a year earlier.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
AMD to Buy Xilinx in All-Stock Deal Valued at $35 Billion
By Associated Press | Updated: 27 October 2020
AMD is buying Xilinx for $35 billion (roughly Rs. 2,57,900 crores) in an all-stock deal that will combine the two Silicon Valley chip makers.
The deal announced Tuesday puts AMD in a place it wants to be; competing more fiercely with Intel.
Xilinx stockholders will receive 1.7234 shares of AMD stock for each Xilinx share they hold, or approximately $143 (roughly Rs. 10,500) per share of Xilinx stock.
AMD stockholders will own about 74 percent of the combined company, with Xilinx stockholders owning approximately 26 percent.
The transaction will give AMD a strong portfolio of high performance processor technologies, combining CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs and deep software expertise to enable leadership computing platforms for cloud, edge and end devices.
“Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our data center business and enable us to pursue a broader customer base across more markets,” Xilinx CEO Victor Peng said in a prepared statement.
AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su will lead the combined company as CEO. Peng will join AMD as president, responsible for the Xilinx business and strategic growth initiatives. At least two Xilinx directors will join the AMD’s board once the transaction is complete.
The deal is expected to close by the end of next year. It still needs approval from shareholders of both companies.
Shares of Xilinx fell nearly 2 percent before the market open on Tuesday, while AMD’s stock rose slightly.
Intel to Sell NAND Flash Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion
By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 20 October 2020
The world’s second-largest chipmaker, South Korea’s SK Hynix, on Tuesday announced a $9 billion (roughly Rs. 66,000 crores) deal to buy Intel’s flash memory chip operation as it seeks to bolster its position against rival behemoth Samsung Electronics.
SK Hynix is already the world number two maker of DRAM chips, used in computers and servers, and the second-largest chipmaker overall.
But it has lagged in the market for flash memory, or NAND chips, which are used in everyday devices such as smartphones and USB storage drives, as well as industrial and medical equipment.
In a regulatory filing, SK Hynix said it will acquire Intel’s “entire NAND business division excluding the Optane division” for KRW 10.3 trillion (roughly Rs. 66,300 crores), with Intel’s factory in Dalian, China, included in the deal.
SK Hynix ranked fourth by global NAND sales in the second quarter this year, according to market researcher Trendforce. Intel was sixth.
Their combination will see SK Hynix leapfrog Japan’s Kioxia and Western Digital of the United States into second place with a market share of more than 23 percent, the Trendforce numbers showed.
The NAND and DRAM markets are both dominated by Samsung Electronics, and global chip demand has boosted profits for the two South Korean firms in recent years.
The pair compete to supply chips to American giants such as Apple, Dell and HP, as well as Chinese companies.
The Intel acquisition would strengthen the NAND operations of SK Hynix, which have “not been as strong as its other businesses”, said Ahn Ki-hyun, vice-president of the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association.
“With the deal, the company has firmly cemented its second-largest position in the global semiconductor industry,” he added.
“In the long run, the deal paves a way for it to become more competitive against Samsung.”
The founding company of SK Hynix was originally part of the Hyundai group, one of the family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebol that dominate business in the world’s 12th-largest economy.
In 2012, a multi-billion-dollar merger saw it become part of the SK Group, the third-largest of the chaebols, headed by Chey Tae-won, who is currently married to the daughter of late South Korean president Roh Tae-woo.
SK Hynix has grown to become a major company in its own right and is the second most valuable company listed on Seoul’s KOSPI stock market with a market capitalisation of KRW 62 trillion (roughly Rs. 3,99,220 crores), behind only Samsung Electronics.
But SK Hynix shares were down more than two percent on the announcement in morning trade.
Its CEO Seok-Hee Lee said in a statement that the Intel acquisition will enable the firm to “proactively respond to various needs from customers and optimise our business structure”, and make its NAND flash market position “comparable with what we achieved in DRAM”.
The statement cited Intel CEO Bob Swan saying the deal allows the US firm to focus on “differentiated technology where we can play a bigger role in the success of our customers”.
The acquisition will be paid for in cash, funded through existing reserves and borrowing, SK Hynix said.
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