Huawei’s Chinese mobile rivals look to capitalize on its US woes

Huawei’s Chinese mobile rivals look to capitalize on its US woes
Huawei briefly overtook Samsung as the world’s biggest handset maker in the first half of this year, before shipments fell 23 percent to 51.7 million units in the third quarter. (AFP)
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Updated 23 November 2020

Huawei’s Chinese mobile rivals look to capitalize on its US woes

Huawei’s Chinese mobile rivals look to capitalize on its US woes
  • ‘What we can see now, whether from Xiaomi, Oppo or Vivo, is that they’re raising their forecasts for next year’
  • Huawei still commands 41.2 percent of the market in the third quarter

SHENZHEN, China: Chinese handset rivals of Huawei Technologies including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are making aggressive moves to seize market share from their giant rival, after stepped-up US sanctions hobbled Huawei’s supply chains, industry insiders say.
Last week Huawei said it has sold its budget Honor subrand for an undisclosed figure in a bid to safeguard the latter’s supply chain from US action, which has made it difficult to source essential components.
All the same, Huawei’s Chinese rivals smell blood in the mid-to high-end phone market. In August a Huawei executive said the company will not be able to produce its flagship processors that power its high-end smartphones.
“What we can see now, whether from Xiaomi, Oppo or Vivo, is that they’re raising their forecasts for next year,” said Derek Wang, an executive in charge of production at handset maker Realme, which shares a supply chain with Oppo.
“They believe the sanctions against Huawei will more or less hurt it in the international market, and they may want to take a share of the market from Huawei.”
Founded in 2018, Realme is on course to double its smartphone shipments to 50 million this year, Wang said. It has built a base with low price-offerings in Southeast Asia and India, and is looking to target Europe and China next year with a push into the high-end market, regardless of Huawei’s situation, Wang said.
In August, the US Commerce Department further choked Huawei’s access to US technology essential to its handset business, on the grounds that Huawei poses a security threat — a charge Huawei denies.
Huawei briefly overtook Samsung as the world’s biggest handset maker in the first half of this year, before shipments fell 23 percent to 51.7 million units in the third quarter, according to research firm Canalys.
Huawei still commanded 41.2 percent of the market in the third quarter, followed by Vivo with 18.4 percent, Oppo with 16.8 percent and Xiaomi with 12.6 percent, Canalys said. Apple has a lower share in China with 6.2 percent, but is attracting strong demand for its 5G iPhone 12, Canalys said.
Industry watchers have confirmed a ramping up of orders from vendors. Xiaomi has been most bullish, placing enough orders for up to 100 million phones between the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021, up 50 percent on projections before the August restrictions according to consultancy Isaiah Research. Oppo and Vivo’s production forecasts had also risen by around 8 percent each since August, with orders for up to 90 million and 70 million handsets respectively, Isaiah Research’s data showed.
Conversely, Huawei orders fell 55 percent to up 42 million handsets in that time.
All four companies declined to comment on the numbers.
Five industry sources on the supply chain side confirmed they had a surge in orders from the three companies.
Some analysts believe the firms might be too optimistic about their targets, but Realme’s Wang said stockpiling of components have also been driven by disruption to production caused by COVID-19 lockdowns earlier in the year and because Huawei’s move to boost its inventories impacted rivals’ supply chains.
The rush to secure supplies has reverberated across the electronics chain, said Paul Weedman, a supply chain project manager. “Prices have been rocketing recently,” he said, noting that it has become much harder to souce LCD screens even for tablets.
Analysts said Huawei’s sale of Honor may partly fend off competitors’ intrusion into the budget-end of the market, provided that Honor is able to resume sourcing US technology.
“We still expect clear year-on-year growth from Huawei and Honor’s smartphone rivals in 2021, but likely at a lower ratio than their earliest expectation.” said Flora Tang, an analyst with research firm Counterpoint.


Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official
Updated 01 March 2021

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official
  • Middle East gearing up for transition to electric vehicles: Senior Nissan official
  • Drop in battery prices, improved infrastructure key drivers in move toward EVs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is leading the regional push towards electric vehicle (EV) adoption but battery prices remain a worry for motorists, according to a top Nissan official.

Guillaume Cartier, senior vice president of marketing and sales at the Japanese motor manufacturer said that the speed of introduction would depend on a fall in battery prices to a level that made the cost of an EV equivalent to that of a regular car.

Speaking to Asharq Business, Cartier said that a comprehensive infrastructure for charging EVs was needed before a successful transition could happen.

He noted that there was an intention to switch to EVs and that the region was moving from a mentality of pioneering the adoption of EV technology to a real desire to provide it.

Saudi Arabia has already put itself on the path to adopting EVs and the Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization has approved imported EVs and allowed local agents to start bringing the vehicles into the Kingdom.

Other initiatives taken by the government may contribute to the promotion of EVs.  These include Saudi Electricity Co.’s 2018 agreement with Nissan for the first EV pilot project in the country that included the development of fast-charger EV stations.
 


Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV
Updated 01 March 2021

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

DUBAI: All commercial activities in Oman will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time in the period from March 4 to March 20, as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Oman State TV reported on Monday.


Saudia signs new flight deal to help boost e-commerce

Saudia signs new flight deal to help boost e-commerce
Updated 01 March 2021

Saudia signs new flight deal to help boost e-commerce

Saudia signs new flight deal to help boost e-commerce

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian air freight flag carrier Saudia Cargo is to operate five weekly flights from Hong Kong to Liege in Belgium, with Riyadh as a connection point, in a bid to help boost e-commerce links between Europe and China.

The new flights are as a result of the signing of a cargo agreement with IT and logistics operator Cainiao Network, the logistic arm of Alibaba Group.

Cainiao logistic services cover more than 200 countries, while Alibaba Group is one of the largest e-commerce brands in the world. Its total revenue for the last three months of 2020 was up 37 percent to $34.2 billion.

Saudia Cargo CEO Omar Hariri said: “We are excited for this strategic agreement (with Cainiao) which will enhance logistic services between the two continents through the famous Alibaba’s e-commerce platform and its high traffic of online shoppers.

“This agreement is part of our framework to transform the Kingdom into an open gate for world trade and a bridge connecting East and West by leveraging its strategic location in the center of the world. Other promising partnerships will be coming up in the near future to reinforce logistic operations of Alibaba in both continents,” he added.

William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics, said: “We are happy to launch a collaboration with Saudia Cargo. Both our sellers and customers from China, Saudi Arabia, and Europe will benefit from the new flights that will decrease delivery time for their parcels.

“Expanding our logistics network into new regions will also help us in building efficient global exports networks. This new route will be one of the key elements to create seamless logistics and increase synergy between different regions.”


Egypt offers $820m worth of treasury bonds

Egypt offers $820m worth of treasury bonds
Updated 01 March 2021

Egypt offers $820m worth of treasury bonds

Egypt offers $820m worth of treasury bonds

CAIRO: Egypt is offering treasury bonds worth EGP13 billion ($820 million) in a bid to finance the country’s budget deficit.

The Central Bank of Egypt on Monday announced that the value of the first offering amounted to EGP5 billion for a period of three years. The second offering would be EGP7 billion for a period of seven years and the third around EGP1 billion for a 15-year term.

The Egyptian Ministry of Finance recently announced the possibility of reducing the acceptable quantities of bids for bills and bonds on the public treasury, issued in local currency, until the end of the current fiscal year.

Egypt’s deficit rose to $2.8 billion in the July-September quarter, up from $1.4 billion in the same quarter of 2019, as the North African country felt the economic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Revenues from tourism fell by almost 70 percent last year, while net foreign direct investment was down 31 percent year-on-year to $1.6 billion, Reuters reported in January.

In May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Egypt’s request for emergency financial assistance of $2.772 billion to combat the impact of the pandemic.

“The government of Egypt has responded to the crisis with a comprehensive package aimed at tackling the health emergency and supporting economic activity,” Geoffrey Okamoto, first deputy managing director of the IMF, said at the time.

“As the crisis abates, measures to lower the debt level would need to resume along with continued implementation of structural reforms to increase the role of the private sector to achieve higher and inclusive private sector-led growth and job creation, unlocking Egypt’s growth potential and entrenching resilience,” he added.


Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits

Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits
Updated 01 March 2021

Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits

Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits
  • It comes as passengers seek out more space on planes amid a pandemic that is forcing airlines to re-think the entire flying experience

DUBAI: Emirates passengers can now purchase up to three empty adjoining seats on their economy class flights.
It comes as passengers seek out more space on planes amid a pandemic that is forcing airlines to re-think the entire flying experience
The Dubai carrier said the new scheme will be offered to all economy class customers with a confirmed booking, but there will be no option to pre-book the empty seats.
Customers can only purchase the seats, which cost $55 to $165, upon airport check-in.
Emirates said the move was based on customer feedback, particularly on seeking extra privacy and space while flying economy class.
Customers who are likely to purchase extra seats include couples, parents traveling with in-lap infants, and those who want to be socially distant while travelling amid the pandemic.

Gulf airlines are seeking new ways to encourage passengers to return to flying as the industry grapples with continuing international travel restrictions.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) now expects that the airline industry will remain cash negative throughout 2021.
“With governments having tightening border restrictions, 2021 is shaping up to be a much tougher year than previously expected,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“Our best-case scenario sees airlines burning through $75 billion in cash this year. And it could be as bad as $95 billion.”