Instagram back up
Instagram is back up after a partial outage of several hours, the photo-sharing social network platform said in a tweet, but its parent Facebook Inc’s app still seemed to be down for some users across the globe at press time yesterday. Certain users around the world were facing trouble in accessing widely used Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook apps earlier on Wednesday, in one of the longest outages faced by the company in the recent past. A Facebook spokesman confirmed the partial outage, but did not provide an update.
Output growth slows to 5.3%
The nation’s industrial output slowed during the first two months of the year as unemployment rose, official data showed yesterday, while some indicators showed a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy stabilizing. Output growth at Chinese factories and workshops for the first two months slowed to 5.3 percent year-on-year, from 5.7 percent in December last year, a multiyear low and falling short of forecasts. The normally steady unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent last month, from 4.9 percent in December, with the National Bureau of Statistics saying it had expected worse numbers.
VW cancels Traton IPO
Volkswagen AG’s (VW) plans to cancel a stock sale of its Traton SE trucks division, in what could have been the largest initial public offering in Europe this year, have cast a pall on the region’s already shaky market for the sales. The automaker decided to park the sale after a difficult start to this year for the global automotive industry. Chief financial officer Frank Witter on Wednesday said that the company would wait for a “better market environment.”
Naspers eye fintech deals
Naspers Ltd wants to spend about US$1 billion in India this year as it scours the globe for investments that can replicate its blockbuster bet on China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), a person familiar with the matter said. Africa’s largest company by market value is in talks to inject about US$200 million into business loan provider Capital Float and payments security firm Wimbo as a first step, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. A Naspers representative declined to comment.
Network to sell 25% in IPO
Middle Eastern payment processor Network International plans to sell a 25 percent stake in an initial public offering in London. Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic own a combined 49 percent stake in Network International, while Dubai’s biggest bank Emirates NBD PJSC holds the remaining 51 percent. The company could be valued at about US$3 billion in the offering, people familiar with the matter said in November last year.
Lufthansa profit slips 8%
Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline group, yesterday said that capacity bumping up against limits at overcrowded airports would hem in growth this year as it reported that its bottom line fell last year. Net profit at the Frankfurt-based group amounted to 2.2 billion euros (US$2.5 billion), down 8 percent year-on-year. Executives said they had cut back their targets for capacity growth, or increasing the number of seats available, as infrastructure bottlenecks at airports and air traffic control make adding new flights a challenge.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a