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  • Bloomberg

    Grab What You Can in India’s Bad-Loan Melee

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Snatch-and-grab is the new hallmark of Indian finance. As a banker friend in Mumbai put it to me only half-jokingly, a unit of "grabbed" cash collateral in hand is worth more than two units of hypothetical receivables. Yet this is no laughing matter. Not only is opportunistic behavior going to worsen India’s $200 billion-plus bad loan crisis, but now that everyone from the government’s sleuths to the courts are joining the melee, the ensuing chaos will limit the recovery for lenders and threaten depositors. Rajnish Kumar, chairman of State Bank of India, sat down for a chat with me at the Bloomberg Equality Summit in Mumbai this week. He had highlighted the problem last month by blaming what he called the selfishness of one bank for a default by Altico Capital India Ltd., a nonbank lender to property builders. When asked why his HDFC Bank Ltd. had choked Altico by helping itself to the money the shadow financier had raised elsewhere and parked with him, Aditya Puri, the managing director of India’s most valuable lender, replied: “What is out-of- turn? It is my security and I will exercise it.”Now the regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, will decide whether Kumar’s unhappiness is a case of sour grapes or if Puri did indeed cross a line. For State Bank of India, Altico is just one of the several instances where the taxpayer-funded bank has been at the receiving end.SBI didn’t drag tycoon Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd. to an in-court bankruptcy process, hoping instead that Ambani would be able to sell assets to his brother Mukesh, India’s richest man, out of court. Ericsson AB, an operational creditor, pursued the opposite strategy and got itself a very decent court-enforced settlement by invoking the younger Ambani’s personal guarantee. More recently, SBI’s Kumar received a fresh blow when India’s enforcement directorate, tasked to fight economic crime, attached the assets of insolvent Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. on suspicion of money laundering by its previous management. Both the new owner, who won control of Bhushan during bankruptcy, and Kumar, who’s waiting for his check, are impatient. Yet, thanks to the enforcement directorate, the $2.8 billion sale has now been put on hold by an adjudicating authority.ArcelorMittal, too, has also been waiting endlessly to conclude a near-$6 billion purchase of Essar Steel India Ltd., the most keenly watched Indian bankruptcy. There, Kumar and other creditors are facing a legalized version of snatch-and-grab: An appellate authority has held that rights of financial creditors like SBI are no superior to those of unsecured operational creditors.Finance 101 is being turned upside down in India. Take securitization. It got a bad rep during the 2008 subprime crisis, but the reality is that for India’s cash-starved shadow banks to survive, they must package more of their small-ticket loans into securities and sell them on to people like Kumar, who have a more stable source of funding: deposits. How hard is this? A court order is blocking the troubled Dewan Housing Finance Corp., which is seeking a restructuring of its $12 billion liabilities to Kumar and other creditors, from putting cash collected from homeowners into accounts from which holders of its mortgage-backed securities are paid. Six of these bonds were downgraded this week by Moody’s Corp. affiliate ICRA — three of them defaulted. These notes were supposed to perform for investors even if Dewan went bankrupt. Securitization will not lead to a safer financial system in India if this basic tenet is flouted. Small savers may not understand the nuances of high finance, but they’re the ones who feel the pain when a cooperative bank goes up in flames and the regulator puts limits on cash withdrawals. That’s what happened recently after a $1 billion fraud at Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. The Reserve Bank is playing with fire. Imagine the consequences if, say, housing societies decide to move money out of smaller institutions and into too-big-to-fail SBI or HDFC Bank. Bailing out even small parts of a large deposit-taking industry will become a headache for Indian taxpayers. A capital-constrained economy like India can’t afford a jungle raj in finance. Only a set of clear rules can end the cash grab by powerful intermediaries and state authorities. Once powerless depositors join in the free-for-all, it will be too late.To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at amukherjee@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • PR Newswire

    Ericsson and KDDI to Deploy 5G Network

    - Ericsson to supply KDDI with radio access network gear for 5G spectrum bands - First commercial 5G services expected in March 2020  - The two companies have been collaborating on 5G since November 2015 ...

  • Huawei Billionaire Dangles 5G Secrets to Create a U.S. Foe
    Bloomberg

    Huawei Billionaire Dangles 5G Secrets to Create a U.S. Foe

    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei is ready to license his fifth-generation networking technology only to one other company -- and he wants that potential arch-rival to be American.The army officer-turned-billionaire reiterated an offer Thursday to license out Huawei’s full portfolio of 5G wireless technology -- which would include chip designs, hardware and source code -- to a single, exclusive licensee. That should be a U.S. company because Europe is home to close competitors like Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB and doesn’t need help to compete, he added.Huawei, accused by Donald Trump’s administration of aiding Beijing in spying while spearheading China’s tech-superpower ambitions, is trying to claw back business and shore up trust in its products. Ren reaffirmed an earlier estimate that U.S. sanctions could depress the company’s sales by $10 billion annually. His lieutenants have lately echoed his 5G licensing proposal to reassure foreign customers Huawei’s gear is free of security loopholes. But a willing buyer has yet to emerge.“We would like to offer an exclusive license to one company from the West so that it’s able to achieve economies of scale to support a business,” Ren said in a live-streamed discussion with visiting foreign academics. “With this one company, I think it should be a U.S. company.”Read more: China’s Huawei Woos Tech World With $1.5 Billion and 5G SecretsCritics charge that intellectual property theft from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Solutions Inc. helped Huawei vault into the upper echelons of telecommunications providers, while Ren and his executives credit years of investment and research. The wireless giant is now accelerating spending on artificial intelligence chips and mobile software. It’s mobilizing its employees to source or develop alternatives to American circuitry and software to keep its edge in smartphones and next-generation 5G wireless technology.Huawei is on track to produce 600,000 base stations this year and 1.5 million of those the next. The company can make it happen without American components but it would prefer buying from U.S. suppliers, Ren said.The billionaire has gone from recluse to media maven in the span of months as he fights to save the $100-billion company he founded. The 74-year-old billionaire has taken the lead in Huawei’s defense after the arrest of eldest daughter and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as part of a broader probe into the company. He’s since become a central figure in a U.S.-Chinese conflict that’s potentially the most important episode to shape world affairs since the collapse of the Soviet Union.“As time goes by, trust levels will increase,” he said during a discussion with Stanford lecturer Jerry Kaplan and fellow academic Peter Cochrane. “If we’re talking about a tech decoupling or separate governance, I don’t think it’s possible.”Read more: Billionaire Huawei Founder Defiant in Face of Existential ThreatTo contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Vietnam Prefers Its Mobile Networks to Be Free of Huawei

    (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam is intent on being the first Asean nation to provide a 5G network -- without China’s tech powerhouse Huawei Technologies Inc.Viettel Group, Vietnam’s largest mobile carrier owned by the Defense Ministry, will deploy Ericsson AB’s equipment in Hanoi and Nokia Oyj’s technology in Ho Chi Minh City, said Viettel Chief Executive Officer Le Dang Dung. It will use 5G chipsets from Qualcomm Inc. and another U.S. company. The carrier, which uses Ericsson and Nokia for its 4G network, is also developing its own equipment, he added.“We are not going to work with Huawei right now,” Dung said in an interview at the company’s Hanoi headquarters. “It’s a bit sensitive with Huawei now. There were reports that it’s not safe to use Huawei. So Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones. So we choose Nokia and Ericsson from Europe.”Vietnam’s smaller carriers appear to be shying away from Huawei, as well. MobiFone Corp. is using Samsung Electronics Co. equipment while Vietnam Telecom Services Company, or Vinaphone, entered into a partnership with Nokia to deploy its 5G network, according to local media.“I think Huawei is having difficulties in Vietnam right now, since other companies don’t use them as well,” said Dung, whose carrier has about 60 million customers in the nation of about 96 million people.The Shenzhen-based company counters such concerns by pointing out that governments and customers in 170 countries use its equipment, which poses no greater cybersecurity threat than communications technology from any other vendor. Huawei expects the U.S. restrictions will lower consumer devices revenue by about $10 billion.“If we have favorable information regarding Huawei in the future, we will consider using their network equipment again,” Dung said. The Southeast Asian country is quietly siding with the Trump administration, which has barred Huawei from buying U.S. technology over national-security concerns. Vietnam’s decision to shun Huawei appears to make it an outlier in Southeast Asia, where other countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia are open to deploying Huawei’s technology.Dung insisted Viettel’s decision not to use Huawei for its 5G networks was a technological one and not tied to geopolitical considerations.“We decided not to use Huawei, not because of the U.S.’s ban on Huawei -- we just made our own decision,” he said. “Many other countries, including the U.S., have found evidence that showed using Huawei is not safe for the security of the national network. So we need to be more cautious.”Still, Vietnam’s government has in the past cast suspicions over technology from neighboring China.Government officials vowed to review the use of Chinese technology in 2016 after cyber attacks on the nation’s two major airports in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi that they blamed on a hacker group from China.Years of territorial disputes between the two Communist countries have eroded trust in China among Vietnamese. A Pew opinion poll released in 2017 found just 10% of Vietnamese view China favorably.Maritime TensionThe Southeast Asian nation is already involved in a tense standoff with Beijing over the presence of a Chinese surveying ship along with Coast Guard escorts in oil-producing waters off Vietnam’s coast. In mid-2014, China dragged an exploration oil rig into contested waters off Vietnam, leading to deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam.“Vietnam can’t trust China,” said Le Hong Hiep, a fellow at the Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. “They can’t risk their critical infrastructure just because they offer something cheaper than other companies.”Excluding Huawei could limit Viettel’s pricing and technology options, said Nikhil Batra, a senior telecom research analyst at IDC.“Huawei is deeply entrenched in this stuff,” Batra said. The Chinese company is more technologically advanced in 5G networks in some areas than its competitors, he said. “But they have to face all these headwinds in terms of security.”As mobile networks become more entwined with a country’s economic and national security, governments are taking a closer look at what technology is deployed.“Governments treat telecommunications just like utilities and water pipes -- as national infrastructure assets,” Batra said. “Everything is dependent on networks.”Vietnam has another reason to avoid Huawei technology: its desire to increase security and economic ties with the U.S., said Carl Thayer, emeritus professor with The University of New South Wales in Australia. Deploying the Huawei 5G infrastructure could make the U.S. reluctant to share some intelligence with Vietnam, he added.“The U.S. is putting pressure on every country not to get involved with Huawei,” Thayer said.(Updates with U.S. restrictions impact on Huawei in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: John Boudreau in Hanoi at jboudreau3@bloomberg.net;Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at uyen1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard, Sam NagarajanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Croatian Tech Firm That Makes Uber Calls Private Weighs U.S. IPO
    Bloomberg

    Croatian Tech Firm That Makes Uber Calls Private Weighs U.S. IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- Infobip, a Croatian technology company that counts Uber Technologies Inc. and Burger King among its clients, is weighing an initial public offering in New York as it makes plans to expand in the U.S.A public listing “is something that we are discussing at the moment," Silvio Kutic, co-founder and chief executive officer of Infobip, said in a phone interview. “We are constantly thinking, checking, when to go in this direction and maybe in the next few months, half a year, a year, there shall be a decision."The company provides corporations with technology to send notifications to customers through different channels, such as WhatsApp or text message. In March, the company said Uber is using its technology to mask contact details when drivers and riders communicate. The company’s customers also include Vodafone Group Plc, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Zendesk Inc.Founded in 2006, Infobip has some 1,750 employees who helped generated about 435 million euros ($485 million) in revenue in 2018, according to Kutic. Employees own 10% of the shares, with the rest shared among the company’s three founders.“We had about 30% annual revenue growth in the last two years and this year we are even accelerating," Kutic said. Demand for alerts from SMS phone messages are “still growing like crazy globally."The sector is highly fragmented. Infobip has strong domestic rivals in countries such as China and Brazil, but the largest is U.S.-focused Twilio Inc.Infobip is planning to take on San Francisco-based Twilio in its home market, where it sees most scope for growth. The company bolstered its presence in recent months in the U.S. by opening an office in New York, it’s second in the country, and after acquiring assets from Ericsson AB.“We are now preparing for our big push,” Kutic said. "Today, about 35% of our revenue comes from U.S.-based customers, but these are the digital native companies from Silicon Valley, who operate with us internationally."The U.S. is also where Kutic, who owns the majority of the shares together with two other partners, would someday like to see his company trading."For IT companies, there is much more liquidity and better exposure" on U.S. exchanges, he said. "It would be the crown on our works."To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Madrid at rorihuela@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Huawei Gets Only Partial Reprieve From Tough Trump Sanctions
    Bloomberg

    Huawei Gets Only Partial Reprieve From Tough Trump Sanctions

    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd got a much needed reprieve from some of the trade sanctions leveled against it by the U.S. when President Donald Trump said over the weekend he would ease restrictions on the Chinese tech giant.In a sign of market bullishness, shares of Huawei suppliers rallied around the globe Monday, with Taiwan’s Largan Precision surging 10% in Taipei and Taiyo Yuden rising 15% at the close in Tokyo. NeoPhotonics Corp., which gets half of its sales from Huawei according to Bloomberg supply chain data, soared as much as 21% in New York, it’s biggest intraday gain in almost a year. Micron Technology Inc. was also up. Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB, Huawei’s major 5G gear rivals, opened lower in Europe.But constraints on Huawei’s business abound and some analysts said the optimism is overdone -- with many still trying to figure out what form the relief will take. Huawei remains squarely on the U.S. Commerce Department’s "entity list" usually reserved for rogue regimes and their associated companies. U.S. lawmakers from both parties have also reiterated pleas to not to let up on Huawei. On Sunday, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Trump didn’t offer a "general amnesty" to the world’s second largest smartphone maker and telecom gear titan."There were few concrete details about when Huawei can be removed from the entity list," said Jeff Pu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at GF Securities. "But investors are showing optimism without waiting for a final outcome."Pu said that Huawei would be waiting to see which U.S. companies will resume shipping and whether companies like Google and Qorvo Inc. are among them. Both Google’s Android OS and Qorvo’s radio frequency chips are key to Huawei’s smartphone business.The Trump administration hasn’t said whether it will remove Huawei from the blacklist, or indicated any specific time frame for considering such a move. Trump said U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei "where there’s no great national security problem with it.” He didn’t define what he considers a national security threat or specify which companies can apply for shipment licenses.Brock Silvers, managing director at China-based fund Kaiyuan Capital, said that despite claims that only a subset of exports to Huawei will be allowed, the ramifications are significant. "This weekend’s agreement can only weaken U.S. claims regarding Huawei’s inherent security risk," he said."It’s tough to argue that Huawei’s Android handsets are a security threat," Raymond James analysts Chris Caso and Melissa Fairbanks wrote in a note on Monday. "We therefore think there’s a chance that handset components will again be permitted."Nicole Peng, an analyst with research firm Canalys, said it would be "a big win" for Huawei if Google could get a temporary license and continue its business with the company."In the meantime, for the American suppliers whose business is heavily exposed to Huawei, and a ban would benefit other non-American competitors, getting a license should also be relatively easy," Peng added.Huawei has not been able to source key components such as radio frequency chips from Qorvo and Skyworks or the latest Android operating system from Google since the Commerce Department in May blacklisted Huawei and scores of its affiliates around the globe from doing business with U.S. companies.Given such sourcing restraints, Huawei said it was preparing for a drop in international smartphone shipments of up to 60 million units this year, partially because the Trump ban would cut off Huawei’s access to an array of Google’s services from Play Store to YouTube and Gmail on Huawei handsets.One employee of an Asian supplier to Huawei, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private, said that statements from Trump and Kudlow could be just part of negotiations, and that Huawei suppliers would need to wait for more details. American companies are certainly keen to resume business with their key Chinese customers as they could suffer from being replaced by foreign competitors, that person added.Even before Trump’s Osaka announcement, a number of American suppliers including Micron and Intel Corp. had already resumed selling certain products to Huawei after concluding there are legal ways to bypass the ban.The chipmakers are taking advantage of certain exceptions to the U.S. export restrictions. If less than 25% of the technology in a chip originates in the U.S., for example, then it may not be covered by the ban, under current rules.Some in China are painting Trump’s reversal as a victory for Huawei."Trump allowing continuous supplies to Huawei is actually a forced concession, not a friendly conciliation with China," said Zhu Min, former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund who now serves as director of Tsinghua University’s National Institute of Financial Research.Zhu’s comment came after a tweet by Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin, who has a track record of accurately forecasting retaliatory moves from China during the trade talks."The laws of the economics are stronger than the will of U.S. government," Hu tweeted. "U.S. tariffs can disrupt global supply chains, but cannot reshape them."(Updates shares in second paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected spelling of Taiyo Yuden in second paragraph.)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.net;Debby Wu in Taipei at dwu278@bloomberg.net;Yinan Zhao in Beijing at yzhao300@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Colum Murphy, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    European Tech Stocks Reach One-Year High on U.S.-China Truce

    (Bloomberg) -- European technology stocks reached the highest level since June 2018 after the U.S. and China signaled a truce in the trade dispute, and the U.S. said it would permit some companies to do business with blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co.Chipmakers in Europe have taken a hit since the U.S. blacklisted China's Huawei and scores of its affiliates around the world in May. That decision also exacerbated trade tensions between the U.S. and China, hurting chipmakers since China is a key end market for their components. Two silicon wafer companies, the U.K.’s IQE Plc and Germany’s Siltronic AG, both warned last month about the impact of the ban, and the broader effect of the trade war on the semiconductor sector.The Stoxx 600 Technology sub-index rose as much as 2.5%, the most intraday since April 24, with semiconductor firms leading the charge. AMS AG, STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies AG all surged, as did chip equipment makers like ASML Holding NV and ASM International NV.Conversely, telecoms equipment groups Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB have benefited from the blacklisting of Huawei as it removed a key competitor for contracts to build the next generation of 5G mobile networks. Those two were among the worst performers in a mostly green tech sector on Monday morning.Here’s what analysts are saying:CowenCurtailing restrictions on Huawei “could temporarily improve sentiment” on the semiconductor capital equipment group. Although most of these companies, such as ASML and Applied Materials Inc., don’t sell directly to Huawei, they’ve been affected by recent semiconductor supply chain disruptions, the analysts said.Morgan Stanley“A resumption in trade talks is a step in the right direction, although it will not cure the fundamental problem of weaker demand and excess inventory that continues to plague semis. A resolution on trade could provide an important catalyst to help demand, but as of right now it feels like status quo.”Oddo“The readacross is positive for the smartphone market and the semiconductor market as the U.S. and China converge toward a deal. The halt on additional tariffs should also bring some stability to the semiconductor market.”Liberum“These moves are positive for the entire tech industry, especially semiconductor suppliers. The semiconductor down cycle is currently at its trough” with a new up cycle expected to start from the second half of the year, the analysts said.“The removal of sanctions on Huawei and the holding off of additional tariffs is likely to strengthen the recovery in coming months.’’New Street“First of all, it is worth noting this is not a full lift; tensions will remain. Second, it means China will accelerate the development of alternative supply chains and ecosystems. It means investments will probably accelerate, to the benefit of the semicap equipment industry.’’“On the 5G front, it means things will get back into motion. Huawei will likely lose some market share in Europe, where operators will continue to buy from Huawei but reduce exposure to the vendor, while European players will likely lose ground in China in similar magnitude.’’Baader Helvea“The positive element certainly is Trump’s softened stance on Huawei, which has not been expected ahead of the meeting. This may raise hopes that a technology war can be averted. However, the Huawei issue will probably be part of any trade deal and may only be addressed at a later stage when other stumbling stones have been resolved.’’(Adds analyst comments.)To contact the reporters on this story: Sam Unsted in London at sunsted@bloomberg.net;Kasper Viita in London at kviita1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at bmellor@bloomberg.net, Monica Houston-WaeschFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Huawei-U.S. Clash Mars China's Biggest Mobile Forum
    Bloomberg

    Huawei-U.S. Clash Mars China's Biggest Mobile Forum

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.The U.S. blacklisting of Huawei Technologies Co. and other top Chinese tech companies is making it trickier for some mobile industry professionals to get down to business.The June 26-28 Mobile World Congress Shanghai, China’s largest forum for the mobile industry, is scheduled to start amid almost daily salvos from the Trump administration aimed at Huawei and other technology companies in the world’s largest mobile phone market.The Trump administration’s blacklisting of Huawei has dominated global industry discussions in past months, as it threatens to upend supply chains and disrupt the global roll out of fifth-generation technology -- an infrastructure spending spree worth hundreds of billions of dollars. U.S.-Chinese tensions are escalating just as carriers around the world such as China Mobile Ltd. and China Telecom Corp. -- set as keynote speakers at MWC Shanghai -- choose equipment vendors for the 5G networks expected to support technologies from remote surgery to automated factories and driverless cars.“It’s quite a sensitive moment,’’ said William Chou, managing partner of Deloitte Private in Beijing, and a scheduled speaker at the conference’s key Global Device Summit session. He said it’s unlikely Huawei and ZTE will want to show off all their latest devices at MWC Shanghai given how the perception that they are ahead of global rivals has fueled tension.The focus will instead be on 5G applications and how the vastness of China’s market is likely to drive development, Chou said.“We really need to understand the market, putting aside the political agenda,” said Chou. “Business is still business, and particularly in this telco area -- telcos and device manufacturers -- they all need to work together.”The Shanghai event is modeled after a bigger annual industry show in Barcelona. This year’s gathering in Spain was also squarely focused on Huawei and China, a nod to the country’s rising global importance and to how the Washington-Beijing dispute is creasing the business environment.“The danger for international companies, especially American companies, is that they are ceding these opportunities to influence the marketplace to non-American companies, which can have knock-on consequences that could be far greater than some had anticipated,’’ said Jake Saunders, a vice president at ABI Research, and a scheduled speaker and moderator at the conference.A two-hour flight away in Osaka, Huawei is also likely to be on the agenda for a meeting between the presidents of China and the U.S. at the G-20 summit.Last week, President Donald Trump said he had a “very good telephone conversation” with President Xi Jinping and said talks will resume before the two meet at the June 28-29 summit. It’s not clear if Huawei was part of their call, but it’s an issue Trump himself has said could be on the table.Trump last year reversed a similar ban on Huawei rival ZTE at Xi’s request. Getting that kind of result now would be significant for Xi because the company is exponentially more important than ZTE, said Samm Sacks, cybersecurity policy and China digital economy fellow at New America.People familiar with the matter on Tuesday said China is considering adding U.S.-based delivery firm FedEx Corp. to its list of so-called unreliable entities. FedEx drew the ire of Chinese officials after Huawei said that documents it asked to be shipped from Japan to China were instead diverted to the U.S. without authorization.What Bloomberg Intelligence says:“China’s early, widespread 5G deployment would entitle it to the spoils of first-mover advantage, including an edge in setting global standards. An aggressive infrastructure and network build-out will be required for a swift rollout, fueling demand for telecom site resources and equipment.”--Denise Wong, BI Infrastructure analyst--Click here for the researchHuawei itself will be out in force at the Shanghai show, based on the lineup at the MWC website this week. Deputy Chairman Ken Hu is scheduled to deliver a keynote and the speaker’s list includes 17 names from the company, including Chaobin Yang, president of Huawei’s 5G product line; Kevin Ho, president of handsets, and Hua Liang, chairman of the Huawei board.As delegates and speakers head to Shanghai, Huawei is said to be preparing for smartphone shipments outside China to drop by between 40 million and 60 million this year. That outlook highlights the uncertainty gripping the company, a Chinese national champion accused by the U.S. of aiding Beijing in espionage -- something Huawei has repeatedly denied.Still, the Shanghai show is on track as planned to draw more than 60,000 attendees from over 110 countries and territories along with about 550 companies, GSMA, the industry group that produces the event, said in an email.Stockholm-based Ericsson AB, a key 5G equipment supplier, is scheduled to field 11 speakers at the event, including Chief Executive Officer Borje Ekholm and Chief Technology Officer Erik Ekudden. Nokia Oyj, another top gear manufacturer, has eight speakers listed on the program website.(Updates with possibility FedEx would be added to China’s list of unreliable entities in 11th paragraph. The date of the show was corrected in a previous version of this story.)To contact the reporter on this story: Dave McCombs in Tokyo at dmccombs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sam Nagarajan at samnagarajan@bloomberg.net, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Huawei’s Troubles Are a Big Opportunity for Ericsson and Nokia
    Bloomberg

    Huawei’s Troubles Are a Big Opportunity for Ericsson and Nokia

    (Bloomberg) -- Over the past two decades, China’s Huawei Technologies Co. has come to dominate the global telecom equipment market, winning contracts with a mix of sophisticated technology and attractive prices. Its rise squeezed Europe’s Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB, which responded by cutting jobs and making acquisitions. Now, with Huawei at the center of a U.S.-China trade war, the tide is turning.Nokia and Ericsson—fierce rivals themselves—have recently wrested notable long-term deals from Huawei to build 5G wireless networks, to enable everything from autonomous cars to robot surgery. Analysts say more could come their way as Huawei grapples with a U.S. export ban and restrictions from other governments concerned that its equipment could enable Chinese espionage.“Huawei will, for the foreseeable future, face a broader cloud of suspicion,” said John Butler, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in New York. “Nokia and Ericsson are well positioned to benefit.”In May, the European companies both won 5G contracts from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Japanese telecom unit, replacing Huawei and Chinese peer ZTE Corp. Ericsson signed a similar pact in March with Denmark’s biggest phone company, TDC A/S, which had worked with Huawei since 2013 to modernize and manage its network.Other carriers, expecting government curbs on Huawei, have started removing its equipment from sensitive parts of their systems. BT Group Plc is taking Huawei out of its network core, and Vodafone Group Plc has suspended core equipment purchases from Huawei for its European networks. Deutsche Telekom AG, which has Huawei throughout its 4G system, is re-evaluating its purchasing strategy.Nokia and Ericsson are Europe’s final survivors of a merciless winnowing of more than a half-dozen telecom equipment providersAs dozens of phone companies—including those in Canada, Germany and France—plan to choose 5G suppliers in the coming months, Cisco Systems Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are also vying for deals. But the key beneficiaries of Huawei’s difficulties are likely to be the two Europeans, which compete directly with the Chinese company in supplying radio-access network equipment.Since last year, the Trump administration has pushed allies to bar Huawei from 5G, citing risks about state spying—allegations the company has denied. The move in May to block Huawei’s access to U.S. suppliers escalated the campaign. The company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, now predicts the U.S. sanctions will cut its revenue by $30 billion over the coming two years.Outside the U.S., security concerns have led Australia, Japan and Taiwan to bar Huawei from 5G systems. The Chinese company also risks losing meaningful work in Europe and emerging markets where countries could follow with their own limits, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.Publicly, executives from Nokia and Ericsson have been careful not to come off as critical of Huawei. Both manufacture in China and sell gear to Chinese phone carriers, and Nokia has a big research and development presence there. Nokia says it has already been forced to shift some of its supply chain away from China to reduce the impact of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.QuicktakeHow Huawei Became a Target for GovernmentsInstead of piling on Huawei, the European carriers have trumpeted their 5G successes, each using slightly different metrics. Ericsson claims it has the most publicly announced 5G contracts—21—while Nokia says it has raked in more commercial 5G deals than any other vendor (42). Huawei says it has signed 46 5G contracts. A spokesman for Huawei declined to comment further about its position relative to rivals.Ericsson is “first with 5G,” after building high-speed networks for companies such as AT&T Inc., Swisscom AG in Switzerland and Australia’s Telstra Corp., said Chief Technology Officer Erik Ekudden. “You see that in some markets that we are attracting more customers.”Nokia is winning 5G deals “quite handsomely,” Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri told Bloomberg TV on June 10.While Suri said more carriers are likely to swap out Huawei gear in countries that have announced restrictions, the situation is less clear in Europe. “We don’t know yet the impact of specific operator plans,” he said in an interview. “We also don’t know where this geopolitical thing will end up.”Nokia and Ericsson are Europe’s final survivors of a merciless winnowing of more than a half-dozen telecom equipment providers. Bloated costs, a cyclical marketplace, cash-strapped customers, and the relentless rise of Huawei—aided by access to generous Chinese state financing—helped push the likes of Canada’s Nortel Networks Corp. and Germany’s Siemens AG out of the industry.Nokia paid some $2 billion in 2013 to buy Siemens out of a joint venture established to compete against Ericsson and Huawei. Then in 2015, it spent another almost $18 billion acquiring Alcatel-Lucent to broaden its product offering after pushing through more than 25,000 job cuts in the preceding three years. Still, Huawei’s share of the $33 billion of sales in the global mobile infrastructure market surged to 31% in 2018 from 13% in 2010, IHS Markit data show.Huawei, despite its troubles, remains a potent rival. Many phone companies in Europe deem its base stations, switches and routers technologically superior. Fully excluding Huawei and ZTE from 5G would raise radio-access network costs for European phone companies by 40%, or 55 billion euros ($62 billion), the GSMA industry group predicts in an unpublished report seen by Bloomberg. Nokia and Ericsson would have to almost double production to absorb Huawei and ZTE’s business in Europe and could struggle to meet demand, the GSMA report says.Quicktake5G and EspionageBengt Nordstrom, CEO of telecom consultancy Northstream AB, says the situation is perilous for everyone in the industry, as vendors’ budgets could be hit if Huawei faces greater restrictions. “Many component suppliers are already in a tough situation,” Nordstrom said. “They need to spend a lot of money on research, and that means they need access to the entire global market.”For carriers, swapping vendors isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. It takes about two years to plan and implement such a technology shift and install the new equipment, Nordstrom said.Both Nokia and Ericsson are working to make it easier for carriers to switch. Nokia has developed what it calls a “thin layer” of its 4G technology to connect to a new 5G system, allowing a carrier to avoid a wholesale swap of another supplier’s equipment. Ericsson also has a solution to allow a carrier to swap out only a portion of existing infrastructure, and says it can make some areas work side-by-side with Ericsson’s 5G gear.Nokia and Ericsson can agree on one thing: Claims of Huawei’s technological superiority are overblown. They note that they’re involved in the latest networks in the U.S., where carriers are rolling out 5G faster than the Europeans.“We compete quite favorably with Huawei,” Suri said, “with or without the current security concerns.”(Updates to add Nokia and Ericsson production estimate in sixth-last paragraph. An earlier version of the story corrected the ninth paragraph to reflect that Telstra Corp. is an Australian company.)\--With assistance from Caroline Hyde, Kati Pohjanpalo and Angelina Rascouet.To contact the authors of this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.netNiclas Rolander in Stockholm at nrolander@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, David RocksFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Huawei Warns Trump's Ban Might Wipe Out $30 Billion of Sales Growth
    Bloomberg

    Huawei Warns Trump's Ban Might Wipe Out $30 Billion of Sales Growth

    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei expects U.S. sanctions to curtail its revenue by about $30 billion over the coming two years, wiping out the networking giant’s growth by withholding critical American technology.Sales at China’s largest technology company will likely remain stagnant at about $100 billion in 2019 and 2020, the billionaire said during a panel discussion, quantifying for the first time the hit from a plethora of Trump administration restrictions. Huawei however will aim to maintain its research and development budget and refrain from layoffs or major asset sales. The sale of a majority slice in Huawei Marine -- announced in June -- was a business decision that was unrelated to America’s campaign against the company, the 74-year-old chief executive officer added.Ren said Monday he was surprised at the extent to which Washington has attacked his corporation. Huawei is said to be preparing for a fall of as much as 60% in overseas smartphone shipments, as Google cuts it off from Android updates and apps from Gmail to Maps. The founder has conceded that Trump administration curbs will cut into a two-year lead it’s painstakingly built over rivals like Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj.“We didn’t expect the U.S. would so resolutely attack Huawei. We didn’t expect the U.S. would hit our supply chain in such a wide way -- not only blocking the component supplies, but also our participation in international organizations,” Ren told the panel in a broadcast from Huawei’s home city of Shenzhen. “That will make our revenue for this and next year around $100 billion.”Ren has struck a defiant tone in the face of U.S. sanctions that threaten his company’s very survival. At the heart of Trump’s campaign is suspicion that Huawei aids Beijing in espionage while spearheading China’s ambitions to become a technology superpower. It’s been accused for years of stealing intellectual property in lawsuits filed by American companies from Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola to T-Mobile US Inc. Critics say such theft helped Huawei vault into the upper echelons of technology -- but Ren has laughed off that premise.The U.S. on May 17 blacklisted Huawei and cut it off from the U.S. software and components it needs to make its products. The ban hamstrings the world’s largest provider of networking gear and No. 2 smartphone vendor just as it was preparing to vault to the forefront of global technology. It’s rocking chipmakers from America to Europe as the global supply chain comes under threat. The ban could also disrupt the rollout of 5G wireless globally, undermining a standard that’s touted as the foundation of everything from autonomous cars to robot surgery.But Huawei has also said it will ramp up its own chip supply and find alternatives to keep its edge in smartphones and 5G. His company today generates more sales than internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. combined. In 2018, Huawei overtook Apple in smartphone sales, a triumph that burnished Ren’s tech credentials.“We didn’t expect the damage to be this serious. We did make some preparations, like the damaged plane I talked about. We only protected the engine and fuel tanks, but failed to protect other parts,” he told author-investor George Gilder and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, who both agreed the U.S. was making a mistake in singling Huawei out.Ren, who survived Mao Zedong’s great famine to found Huawei in 1987 with 21,000 yuan, has said Huawei will do whatever it takes to survive. He has gone from recluse to media maven in the span of months as he fights to save the $100 billion company he founded. He emerged from virtual seclusion after the arrest of eldest daughter and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as part of a broader probe of Huawei.Ren has since become a central figure in a U.S.-Chinese conflict that’s potentially the most important episode to shape world affairs since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Ren said in January, when the world’s biggest economies battle for dominion, nothing in their way will survive. His company is a “sesame seed” between twin great powers, he has said.The CEO has had much to deal with of late. His company finds itself under fire, besieged by a U.S. effort to get key allies to ban its networking equipment. The U.S. assault helped crystallize fears about Huawei’s growing clout in areas from wireless infrastructure and semiconductors to consumer gadgets.Then came the blacklist. Huawei appears to have anticipated this possibility since at least mid-2018, when similar sanctions threatened ZTE Corp. Huawei’s said to have stockpiled enough chips and other vital components to keep its business running at least three months. Ren on Monday said Huawei doesn’t implant backdoors in its products and that it remained willing to sign a “no-backdoor agreement” with the world if necessary.“We will be reborn by 2021,” Ren said.(Updates with more of Ren’s comments from the second paragraph.)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Malaysia’s Mahathir Backs Huawei in Rare Public Rebuke of U.S.
    Bloomberg

    Malaysia’s Mahathir Backs Huawei in Rare Public Rebuke of U.S.

    The Southeast Asian country will use Huawei’s gear “as much as possible” as they offer “tremendous advance over American technology,” Mahathir, 93, said at a forum in Tokyo on Thursday. The U.S. has blacklisted Huawei, saying its equipment poses a security threat and could facilitate spying by the China’s government. Mahathir’s public comments add to signs U.S. efforts to win allies against Huawei are flopping in some countries that are prioritizing development of 5G wireless networks, a specialty of China’s biggest technology company.

  • Bloomberg

    What If the Trade War Is Really Deflationary?

    From the U.S. perspective, such tariffs might appear inflationary, as the levies are added to the costs of imports and passed on to their ultimate users. A 25% jump in the cost of all $575 billion in goods imported from China, even without markups and follow-on increases from competing U.S. producers, would add about 1% to consumer prices. In reality, however, import tariffs and the whole trade war are more likely to be deflationary as governments, businesses and consumers here and abroad take offsetting actions and the conflict takes its toll on global economic growth.

  • Trump Linking Huawei Sanctions With Trade Defies Security Claims
    Bloomberg

    Trump Linking Huawei Sanctions With Trade Defies Security Claims

    Days after trade talks with Beijing hit an impasse, the U.S. put the Shenzhen-based maker of telecommunications gear on a blacklist over concerns it could serve Chinese intelligence. Trump could reverse that move, at least in part, by letting Huawei resume buying advanced chips and easing an expected import ban by allowing the company’s equipment in parts of the U.S. network.

  • Trump's Huawei Attack Finally Gives Rivals a Chance
    Bloomberg

    Trump's Huawei Attack Finally Gives Rivals a Chance

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Next-generation 5G networks are about a lot more than your mobile phone. They’ll help run factories, offices, farms, hospitals, airports and more: the much vaunted “internet of things.”

  • Trump Hands Huawei a Stick to Beat the U.S. With
    Bloomberg

    Trump Hands Huawei a Stick to Beat the U.S. With

    The message to U.S. companies seeking to buy products from the telecom-equipment vendor is unambiguous: Don’t even think about it. The message to Huawei, meanwhile, is: Don’t push us. The development shouldn’t be a great surprise.

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