Malaysia puts Grab on anti-competition watchlist after Uber stake buy

Grab, a fast growing Southeast Asian ridesharing, food delivery and financial services business, said Monday that Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in it and a seat on its board as part of the deal. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2018
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Malaysia puts Grab on anti-competition watchlist after Uber stake buy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said on Monday that it will monitor ride-hailing firm Grab for possible anti-competitive behavior, after rival Uber Technologies Inc. offloaded its Southeast Asian operations to the Singapore-based firm.
Uber’s deal to take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab in exchange has raised a red flag with Singapore’s competition watchdog, which said on Friday it was investigating a suspected breach of competition law.
Malaysia’s Competition Commission would keep tabs on Grab, especially if the company imposed unfair practices or sudden fare increases, a government minister said.
“We won’t take it lightly. We will monitor this because it is still early days and we don’t know what will happen next,” said Nancy Shukri, whose portfolio oversees the public transport licensing authority.
“We have stressed that if there is any anti-competitive behavior, the Competition Act will come into force. We have spelt this out to them,” Nancy said, referring to a meeting with Grab representatives last Monday.
Uber and Grab announced the deal last Monday, marking the US company’s second retreat from an Asian market. It earlier sold off it’s operations in China.
Nancy said Grab, which is valued at about $6 billion, had offered assurances during their meeting last Monday that there would be no unfair pricing, nor would it increase its fares for now.
The minister said the merger, however, did not change the government’s working relationship with Grab in converting over 67,000 conventional taxi drivers nationwide to e-hailing platforms.
Nearly 14,000 taxi drivers had now either partially or fully migrated to e-hailing platforms, and the government would continue working with Grab to convince more to do the same.
“This is in the interest of the taxi industry, which has been around for a long time. At the same time, Grab needs our support, and we are there to assist them as well,” Nancy said.


Huawei warns US patent curbs would hurt global tech

Updated 27 June 2019
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Huawei warns US patent curbs would hurt global tech

  • US senator’s proposal comes amid mounting American action against Huawei
  • Huawei’s US sales of network gear evaporated after a congressional panel labeled the company a security threat in 2012

SHENZHEN, China: Chinese tech giant Huawei warned Thursday a US senator’s proposal to block the company from pursuing damages in patent courts would be a “catastrophe for global innovation.”
The proposal comes amid mounting US action against Huawei, the biggest maker of switching gear for phone carriers, amid tension over Beijing’s technology ambitions. The company has been devastated by the Trump administration’s decision to impose restrictions on its access to American chips for smartphones and other components and technology.
Disrupting Huawei’s access to US patent courts would threaten the intellectual property system that supports technology development, said Song Liping, the company’s chief legal officer.
The proposal by Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, followed reports Huawei Technologies Ltd. is asking for $1 billion from American phone carrier Verizon for use of the Chinese company’s patents.
“If such a legislative proposal were to be passed, it would be a catastrophe for global innovation. It would have terrible consequences,” Song said at a news conference. He said it would “break the foundation of IP protection.”
American officials accuse Huawei of facilitating Chinese spying, a charge the company denies, and see it as a growing competitive threat to US technology industries.
Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, said this month it has cut its project sales by $30 billion over the next two years due to curbs on access to American chips and other components. He said smartphone sales outside China will fall 40 percent.
Huawei’s US sales of network gear evaporated after a congressional panel labeled the company a security threat in 2012 and told phone carriers to avoid it. But the Chinese company has a patent portfolio it licenses to manufacturers and carriers.
Song gave no confirmation of how much Huawei wants from Verizon or the basis of its claims.
“Intellectual property litigations are matters that should be heard and ruled on by courts. They should not be politicized,” he said.
Huawei, founded in 1986, has China’s biggest corporate research and development budget at $15 billion in 2018. The company is a leader in developing next-generation telecoms technology.
On Wednesday, a US federal court jury in Texas ruled Huawei stole trade secrets from a Silicon Valley company but awarded no damages, saying the Chinese company didn’t benefit.
The jury rejected Huawei’s claims that Cnex Labs Inc. co-founder Yiren Huang stole its technology while he worked at a Huawei subsidiary.
Huawei’s head of intellectual property, Jason Ding, said the company was studying the verdict and deciding what to do next.
Asked about a report by Bloomberg News that some Huawei researchers had published papers with Chinese military personnel over the past decade, Song said the company wasn’t aware of its employees publishing research as private individuals.
“We don’t customize products or do research for the military,” said Song. “We are not aware of employees publishing papers. We don’t have projects of that kind.”