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China’s New Policies to Support Domestic Chip-Making

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that, as a result of  the heavy U.S. pounding on China’s chip supply chains, China just announced major policies to support the Chinese integrated circuit Industry. The Chinese State Council released its comprehensive policies for the chip industry and the development of the software industry. These include strategic policies on financial and tax support, investment support, research and development support, and import/export support, as well as talent pooling support. This new strategic policy document is a natural extension of the No. 18 document in 2000, and the No. 4 document in 2011. The new policy document focuses on core technologies with tangible plans, like a 10-year tax free incentive for chip-making processes below 28 nano-meters. The new policies also recognize the need for more government subsidies.

Source: Sina, August 7, 2020

Global Times: Trump’s “Black Hand” on WeChat Now Worries Apple

Global Times recently reported that the U.S. presidential order to ban TikTok and WeChat in 45 days has triggered U.S. domestic concerns on damages it can cause to U.S. product sales in the Chinese market. For example, Bloomberg had a report expressing the worry that the Trump ban on all transactions related to WeChat may disallow Apple from offering WeChat in its AppStore. As most people know, WeChat has penetrated very deeply into the day-to-day life of the Chinese population. It is the top app that over one billion people use widely for shopping, payments, and other daily activities in commerce and gaming. Without being able to download WeChat from its AppStore, Chinese consumers may not want to buy an iPhone any more. The Chinese market takes 20 percent of the iPhone’s total sales. Losing WeChat can be a big obstacle for Apple to sell iPhones. Additionally, Trump’s order may cause retaliation from the Chinese government on the sides of manufacturing capacity and raw material supply (like rare earth metals). Huawei cellphones may turn out to benefit from this new ban.

Source: Global Times, August 8, 2020

Tencent’s Stock Tumbled after Trump Banned WeChat

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that, as soon as U.S. President Trump officially signed the executive order to ban WeChat (in 45 days), the stock price of WeChat’s owner, Tencent, instantly suffered a free fall of 10 percent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE). The loss of market value was the equivalent of HK$500 billion (around US$64.5 billion). In the meantime, the bad news also brought down SMIC (China’s largest chip maker) by over ten percent, Alibaba by six percent, and Xiaomi by five percent. These were all happening with the background of Mike Pompeo’s repetitive mention of the so-called Clean 5G Network plan on August 5. This is part of the U.S. effort to remove Chinese-made “untrusted” apps from the U.S. digital networks. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its strong opposition to these unfair political moves designed solely to sustain the U.S. monopoly in the high-tech industry. The new U.S. executive orders are directly against market rules and are a threat to the safety of the global supply chain.

Source: Sina, August 7, 2020

Huawei Faces Kirin Chip Reserve Shortage Due to U.S. Sanctions

On August 7, at the “2020 China Info 100 Summit,” Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, admitted that, due to U.S. sanctions, Huawei will not be able to produce new powerful chips. Huawei’s flagship mobile phone Mate40 will be released next month. The Kirin 9000 chip will be the last high-end Kirin chip and Huawei will stop its production after September 15. Chinese media said in May of this year that the key chips that Huawei has stocked could last for two years. However, on August 7, Yu said that, because of the sanctions, the inventory of chips will be insufficient to meet the demand. The sales of Huawei mobile phones this year is therefore expected to be lower than last year. Yu also acknowledged that the upcoming Mate40 will not be accepted in the west because it cannot connect to the Google series of services. That is because of Google’s withdrawal of Huawei’s Android license last year.

In addition, the US, the U.K., and Australia announced sanctions this year; Huawei is prohibited from participating in the 5G networks in their countries. New Zealand also rejected a wireless communications company’s decision to use Huawei equipment. Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japan will follow the U.S. to extend the exclusion of products from Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturers including Huawei and ZTE.

Source: Epoch Times, August 7, 2020

Samsung Closed Its Last PC Factory in China

Voice of America (VOA) Chinese Edition recently reported that, on August 1, Samsung announced  that it is closing its last personal computer manufacturing factory in China – Samsung Electronics Suzhou Computer. Over 800 employees may see their contracts end. The Suzhou factory was established in 2002. It is Samsung’s only laptop manufacturing factory in the world. Last year, Samsung closed its last cellphone manufacturing factory in China and moved to Vietnam. That closure had a major economic impact locally. Now Samsung has only two factories left in China. One makes LCD displays and the other makes DRAM memory chips. Experts pointed out that, in the past two years, with the trade war, the coronavirus pandemic, and the worsening U.S.-China relations, the global supply chain is rapidly moving out of China and moving to countries such as Vietnam, India and Mexico. The trend is especially clear for companies from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Europe. At the same time, China’s low labor cost advantage has been weakening as well.

Source: VOA Chinese, August 1, 2020

Three Major Portuguese Telecom Operators Refuse to Use Huawei 5G

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that all three Portuguese telecommunications operators, NOS, Altice and Vodafone, announced they will not use Huawei’s 5G technology in their 5G networks. This is the fourth European country, after Britain, France, and Italy, to refuse to use Huawei 5G. The three companies explained that the reason for their choice was purely technical. The decision was made despite an estimated total financial loss of 1.1 billion Euros and a no-risk conclusion of a government risk assessment. In the meantime, Huawei has lost its primary chip supplier TSMC, due to the U.S. ban based on the use of U.S. technology. It appears Huawei is slowly losing the entire European market. The latest data showed that the European company Ericsson has signed 99 contracts for 5G deployments. This achievement surpassed Huawei, making Ericsson the world’s number one 5G supplier.

Source: Tencent News, July 31, 2020

China’s Chip Maker Saw Its Stock Price Fall; Lost 24 Percent in First Week

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that China’s top semiconductor manufacturer SMIC had its IPO in Shanghai on July 16. One week later, the stock price dropped by 24 percent. SMIC’s stock in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange fell 33 percent at the same time. With the United States imposing sanctions on Huawei, SMIC is Huawei’s only hope for its critical chip supply. However, SMIC’s technology is three generations behind the market leader – Taiwan’s TSMC, which was Huawei’s primary chip manufacturer. SMIC, headquartered in Shanghai, voluntarily withdrew from the U.S. stock market in June 2019. Between 2005 and 2010, SMIC was accused of stealing TSMC’s intellectual property and settled the lawsuit by paying TSMC nearly US$400 million and surrendered eight percent of its company’s stock to TSMC.

Source: Sina, July 25, 2020

Apple’s Second Largest Supplier Plans Move to India

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) recently reported that Pegatron, Apple’s number two manufacturing supplier, is setting up a new factory in India. Pegatron has been looking for a proper location for at least its partial iPhone manufacturing capabilities. Now the company has reportedly registered a branch in India. Another place of interest for Pegatron was Northern Vietnam. Among the three Apple iPhone manufacturers (the other two are Foxconn and Wistron), Pegatron is the only one that does not manufacture in India. Half of Pegatron’s business depends on orders from Apple. The new Pegatron branch was registered in Chennai in eastern India. However, the actual factory location is still being discussed with multiple Indian provincial governments. Once settled, Pegatron will move its equipment. The Indian government has been pushing its “Made in India” strategy for a while now. Back in June, the Indian government announced a US$6.6 billion plan to attract top cellphone manufacturers to invest in India. The goal is to reach a US$190 billion cellphone manufacturing capacity by 2025. India’s current smartphone industrial output is only US$24 billion.

Source: NetEase, July 18, 2020