China’s ZTE slams US ban on sales, says company’s survival at risk

ZTE said it regards compliance as the cornerstone of its strategy, adding it invested $50 million in export control compliance projects in 2017 and plans to invest more this year. (Reuters)
Updated 20 April 2018
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China’s ZTE slams US ban on sales, says company’s survival at risk

  • ZTE said it regards compliance as the cornerstone of its strategy, adding it invested $50 million in export control compliance projects in 2017 and plans to invest more this year
  • ZTE said it will not give up efforts to solve problems through communication

HONG KONG: China’s ZTE Corp. said on Friday that a US ban on the sale of parts and software to the company was unfair and threatens its survival, and vowed to safeguard its interests through all legal means.
The US this week imposed a ban on sales by American companies to ZTE for seven years, saying the Chinese company had broken a settlement agreement with repeated false statements — a move that threatens to cut off its supply chain.
“It is unacceptable that BIS insists on unfairly imposing the most severe penalty on ZTE even before the completion of investigation of facts,” ZTE said in its first response since the ban was announced, referring to the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
“The Denial Order will not only severely impact the survival and development of ZTE, but will also cause damages to all partners of ZTE including a large number of US companies,” ZTE said in a statement.
ZTE said it regards compliance as the cornerstone of its strategy, adding it invested $50 million in export control compliance projects in 2017 and plans to invest more this year.
A senior US Commerce Department official told Reuters earlier this week that it is unlikely to lift the ban.
“We’re going to have to see how this unfolds. But there is no provision currently for that to occur,” the official said, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The Commerce Department has an appeals process for companies to try to get off the list, but it is unclear whether that would be available to ZTE because the case had been previously subject to a settlement, according to people familiar with the matter.
Even so, ZTE would have little recourse in the near term because appeals would have to be approved by the Bureau of Industry and Security, the same agency that issued the ban.
Companies must submit appeals to a committee that would issue a ruling within 30 days, according to the agency’s website.
ZTE said it will not give up efforts to solve problems through communication, and it is determined to take judicial measures to protect the legal rights and interests of the company.
The ban has ratcheted up tensions between China and the United States at a time when they have already threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs, fanning worries of a full-blown trade war that.
In China, there has been a patriotic backlash with an outpouring of support for ZTE on social media and most domestic newspapers have chosen to put the lion’s share of the blame for ZTE’s troubles on the country’s heavy reliance on foreign semiconductors.
Meanwhile, the US government is considering using an emergency law to restrict Chinese investments in sensitive US technologies, a senior Treasury official said on Thursday.
Trade in ZTE shares has been suspended since Tuesday. As of Monday’s close, they were worth some $19 billion.


Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

Updated 4 min 16 sec ago
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Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

  • Rolls-Royce hopes to manufacture a prototype version of its electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle within the next 18 months
  • Rolls-Royce is also researching an all-electric product but that is not as advanced as the EVTOL offering
FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom: British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed plans this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, dubbed the “flying taxi,” which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.
The London-listed aerospace giant, which is based in Derby in central England, showed off the plans at the Farnborough Airshow for the first time, as other players also rush into the market segment.
Rolls said it hoped to manufacture a prototype version of its electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle within the next 18 months, and could potentially take to the skies in the early 2020s.
The Rolls-Royce EVTOL plane will seat four or five people, with a flying range of 500 miles (805 kilometers) and a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
“In this market, you will see something like this flying within three to five years, and we will demonstrate the system in two years,” said Rob Watson, head of Rolls-Royce’s electrical team.
“At the end of next year we will be flight ready,” he said at the group’s Farnborough chalet.
The hybrid vehicle, which has so far cost single-digit millions of pounds to develop, will use a traditional gas turbine engine with an electrical system wrapped around it.
Rolls-Royce is also researching an all-electric product but that is not as advanced as the EVTOL offering.
“There is an emerging market for all-electric planes but we believe that you need a level of requirement that an all-electric system cannot really provide today,” Watson said.
“So, all-electric is the way to hop around within a city, but if you want to travel 200 or 300 miles, if you want to run London to Paris, then you are going to want to run something that will give you that range.
“So we think you will see hybrid propulsion systems starting to make this market.”
Rolls is not alone in the hybrid “flying taxi” marketplace.
Other companies researching the sector include US taxi-hailing company Uber, the Google-backed Kitty Hawk project, Lilium Aviation in Germany, Safran in France, and Honeywell in the United States.
The aerospace sector’s push into electric propulsion has drawn comparisons with the automotive industry, where electric cars are gaining ground in terms of popularity and performance.
“Think of it like the car industry. Historically everybody had an internal combustion engine. over time you add more electric capability to it and then you start to see electric cars,” added Watson.
“In the same way, we are introducing a hybrid propulsion system into this market because we think it gives you that range and capability.”
David Stewart, aviation and aerospace adviser and partner at Oliver Wyman, said that the aerospace sector was facing pressure to become more environmentally friendly.
“I think that electrical propulsion is a potential disruptor to the way things are powered,” said Stewart, who will speak at Farnborough on Tuesday.
“We are quite a long way for electrical power to be a replacement for kerosene, but never say never.”
He cautioned that Rolls-Royce’s flying taxi concept was in reality a development platform to test the new technology.
The real market opportunity will likely be a scaled-up version of 10-15 seats that can serve a wider variety of applications, according to Stewart.
Watson added: “Over time you’ve got more electrical capability for bigger and bigger aircraft — and that’s really what we are thinking about today.
“We are learning today about the technology that we will need tomorrow.”