Joblessness fell last month
The labor market last month strengthened more than expected as the economy began to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. The number of people on payrolls rose 97,000, and vacancies increased 13 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. The jobless rate in the first quarter fell unexpectedly to 4.8 percent as employment surged 84,000, the first gain since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The jobs outlook has improved significantly in the past few months, with the government announcing plans to fully reopen the economy by June 21 and then extending wage support for furloughed workers until the end of September.
Alibaba invests in Vietnam
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) and partners are investing US$400 million in Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group Corp’s retail arm, a deal that would expand the e-commerce giant’s online groceries business in Southeast Asia. Alibaba and Baring Private Equity Asia are leading a consortium that would take a 5.5 percent stake in The CrownX, which holds Masan’s interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce, while the conglomerate would own 80.2 percent of the firm following the investment, a statement said yesterday. The deal implies a pre-investment valuation of US$6.9 billion for The CrownX, it showed.
Siemens buys Supplyframe
German industrial giant Siemens AG on Monday announced the US$700 million acquisition of US firm Supplyframe, a digital platform that specializes in connecting companies along the electronics supply chain. The deal, expected to close later this year, comes as industrial firms are scrambling to cope with global semiconductor shortages spurred by increased demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic. The acquisition would combine Siemens’ offerings with Supplyframe’s marketplace intelligence to “help customers to reduce costs, increase agility and make highly informed decisions,” Siemens said in a statement.
Tesla to help crash probe
Tesla Inc has pledged to work with Chinese authorities in the investigation of a crash involving one of its electric vehicles in which a policeman died. The California-based company said that it made a report to a government agency about the accident, which took place in the eastern city of Taizhou. One traffic policeman died after being injured in the accident, while a second officer injured in the crash is no longer in danger, the statement said. Another crash is still under investigation in China after a Tesla rear-ended a truck in Shaoguan in Guangdong Province on May 7, killing the driver of the vehicle, a Global Times report said. The cause of that accident is not yet clear.
Danone names new CEO
French food and beverages giant Danone SA on Monday said that it had named a new CEO to replace Emmanuel Faber, who was ousted by the board in March over complaints that his focus on social responsibility was holding back the firm’s profitability. His replacement, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who currently heads the Swiss chocolate group Barry Callebaut AG, has spent the bulk of his career at the food and consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, heading up its food division from 2011 to 2015. He would assume the position in September, Danone said.
SUPPLY CHAIN RESHUFFLE: The chipmaker was ‘cautious’ in not making commitments too early in building production in the US, citing ‘geopolitical factors,’ Nikkei Asia said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is considering building an advanced IC packaging plant in the US following a massive investment to set up a wafer fab in Arizona, Nikkei Asia reported. TSMC was considering the plant in response to “Washington’s desire to bring more of the tech supply chain onto home turf,” the report said. TSMC increasingly faces the need to expand in the US, which accounts for about 62 percent of its total sales, Nikkei Asia said, citing three sources who declined to be named. The potential US plant would be equipped with the latest 3D stacking technologies to arrange chips
As much as the US pines for the good old days of global semiconductor supremacy, Japan feels its loss of glory even more. Once a dominant name in electronic components, the nation has been overtaken by Taiwan, South Korea, and, more recently, China. Yet Tokyo might have a viable plan to revitalize its domestic sector. “Unlike the purely domestic, independent way it was done in the past, I think we need to cooperate with overseas counterparts,” Akira Amari, a former economy minister and senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told Bloomberg News’ Isabel Reynolds and Emi Nobuhiro this week. That is
Apple Inc has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric vehicle (EV) division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, people familiar with the situation said. The tech giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as CEO of Canoo Inc, a developer of self-driving EVs. Before cofounding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years. Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a
MARKET BOOST: Elon Musk said Tesla would resume bitcoin transactions once there is ‘reasonable’ clean energy usage by miners and denied selling a big part of his holdings Bitcoin yesterday hit a two-week peak just shy of US$40,000, after another weekend reacting to tweets from Tesla Inc chief executive Elon Musk, who fended off criticism over his market influence and said Tesla sold bitcoin, but might resume transactions using it. Bitcoin has gyrated to Musk’s views for months since Tesla announced a US$1.5 billion bitcoin purchase in February and said it would take the cryptocurrency in payment. He later said the electric vehicle maker would not accept bitcoin due to concerns over how mining the currency requires high energy use and contributes to climate change. “When there’s confirmation of reasonable