China’s Huawei announces small increase in new 5G customer base

Huawei said it expects revenue to exceed $100 billion this year. Above, a security guard at the entrance to Huawei’s global HQ in Shenzhen, China. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2018
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China’s Huawei announces small increase in new 5G customer base

  • Huawei has shipped more than 10,000 base stations for the fifth generation of mobile communications
  • Huawei has been communicating with governments around the world regarding the independence of its operation

HONG KONG: Huawei Technologies said it has secured more than 25 commercial contracts for 5G, slightly above the 22 the Chinese technology giant had announced in November.

Huawei has shipped more than 10,000 base stations for the fifth generation of mobile communications, its rotating chairman Ken Hu told reporters at the company’s campus in Dongguan in southern China.

The company did not give any details on customers. The briefing comes a couple of weeks after Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou — also the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei — was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.

She is awaiting possible extradition to the United States in a case that has roiled global markets.

This has added to the woes of the Chinese firm, which has already been virtually locked out of the US market and has been prohibited by Australia and New Zealand from building 5G networks on concerns its gear could facilitate Chinese spying.

 

The company has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it, a point it reiterated at the briefing.

Huawei has been communicating with governments around the world regarding the independence of its operation, it said.

Last week, sources said that Huawei planned to spend $2 billion to address British authorities’ securities concerns. Britain has been one of Huawei’s biggest international markets.

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about $92 billion last year. Unlike other big Chinese technology firms, it derives half of its revenue from overseas.

Huawei said it expected revenue to exceed $100 billion this year, a 8.7 percent rise from last year.

FASTFACTS

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about $92 billion last year.


Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors. (Reuters)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

  • More than 20,000 people are employed in the company
  • The company had to stop more than 50% of their aircraft due to insufficient funds

MUMBAI: India's Jet Airways was fighting multiple crises Wednesday after grounding six planes, leaving it with only a third of its fleet flying, while pilots have threatened to walk out and a major shareholder is reportedly looking to offload its huge stake.

The problems at India's number-two carrier come as other airlines struggle to turn a profit despite the sector rapidly expanding in the country over recent years.

Jet, which employs more than 20,000 people, is gasping under debts of more than $1 billion and has now been forced to ground a total of 78 of its 119 aircraft after failing to pay lenders and aircraft lessors.

In a statement late Tuesday announcing its latest grounding, the firm it said it was "actively engaging" with lenders to secure fresh liquidity and wanted to "minimise disruption".

But with hundreds of customers left stranded, Jet's social media accounts have been flooded with often suddenly stranded passengers demanding information, new flight tickets and refunds.

"@jetairways We book our flights in advance so that we save on travel cost and you are sending cancellation (message) now?", read one irate tweet on Wednesday.

"I have sent a DM (direct message) regarding my ticket details. Please respond!", said Sachin Deshpande, according to his Twitter profile a design engineer.

Another, Ankit Maloo, wrote: "Received an email for all together cancellation of flight days before departure without any prior intimation or communication over phone!"

The firm is also facing pressure from its many pilots who have not been paid on time, with unions threatening they will walk off the job if salaries do not arrive soon.

"Pilots will stop flying jet planes from 1st April 2019 if the company does not disburse due salaries and take concrete decisions," a spokesperson for the National Aviator's Guild, a pilots union, told AFP.

India's aviation regulator on Tuesday warned Jet Airways to ensure that staffers facing stress are not forced to operate flights.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates has offered to sell its 24 percent stake in Jet to State Bank of India (SBI).

A collapse would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pragmatic pro-business reputation ahead of elections starting on April 11.

India's passenger numbers have rocketed six-fold over the past decade with its middle-class taking advantage of better connectivity and cheaper flights.

The country's aviation sector is projected to become the world's third-largest by 2025.

But like other carries, Mumbai-based Jet has been badly hit by fluctuating global crude prices, a weak rupee and fierce competition from budget rivals.

Alarm bells for Jet first rang in August when it failed to report its quarterly earnings or pay its staff, including pilots, on time. It then later reported a loss of $85 million.

In February, it secured a $1.19 billion bailout from lenders including SBI to bridge a funding gap, but the crisis has since deepened.

"Jet Airways is rapidly reaching a point of no return and running out of assets to keep itself afloat," Devesh Agarwal, editor of the Bangalore Aviation website, told AFP.

"The only solution is equity expansion by diluting its stakes but Jet is just trying to cut losses and running out of options," Agarwal said.

Shares in Jet Airways were down more than five percent on Wednesday.