Ford profit plummets 90%
Ford Motor Co on Thursday reported that its fourth-quarter net income fell 90 percent from a year earlier, leading company officials to say the automaker’s costs are too high and to pledge more belt-tightening this year. CEO Jim Farley said Ford should have done better last year, and it left US$2 billion in profits on the table that were within its control. He said Ford would correct that with improved urgency and execution this year. Chief financial officer John Lawler said about US$1 billion of the US$2 billion in lost profits was due to lower production and lost sales, the other US$1 billion was in operational costs. He attributed about 60 percent of the production problem to the chip shortage, with the rest coming from parts suppliers that had trouble ramping up factories. For this year, Lawler sees US sales rising to about 15 million vehicles, which he said should help increase Ford’s sales.
ALI listing on NASDAQ
A Japanese maker of flying motorbikes was expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ as early as yesterday, making it the fifth Japanese firm to join the tech-heavy bourse, people familiar with the matter said. Tokyo-based ALI Technologies Inc was going public through a merger with the blank-check firm Pono Capital Corp. Under terms of the deal, ALI Technologies is become a fully owned unit of its US arm, Aerwins Technologies, the people said, asking not to be named because the information was not yet public. Its market cap is expected to be at least US$600 million, in line with its target last year, despite a market selloff. A company representative said that a special purpose acquisition company listing is in progress, but details have yet to be decided.
Amazon profit disappoints
Amazon.com Inc on Thursday posted worse-than-expected fourth-quarter profits, but its revenue beat expectations, boosted by sales in its cloud-computing unit AWS, which is also seeing a slowdown in growth. Amazon said it earned US$300 million, or US$0.03 per share, in the October-December quarter. Industry analysts were expecting the company to earn US$0.17 a share, according to FactSet. The e-commerce giant said its bottom line was dented by a US$2.3 billion write-down of the value of its stock investment in electric-vehicle start-up Rivian Automotive. Amazon’s fourth-quarter profits represent a significant drop from the US$14.3 billion it posted during the same period in 2021, when the company had a nearly US$12 billion gain from its investment in Rivian. Amazon said its overall revenue rose 9 percent to US$149.2 billion, higher than the US$145.7 billion analysts were expecting. It said it expects revenue of between US$121 billion and US$126 billion this quarter. Analysts forecast US$125 billion.
China job openings surge
Chinese hotels and restaurants are seeking employees amid a demand recovery in the services sector after the end of Beijing’s zero-COVID protocols, with a survey by a leading recruiter showing a surge in job openings in the hospitality industry. During the first six days of work after the Lunar New Year holiday, job openings in the hotel and catering sectors surged 40 percent from the same period a year earlier, a survey published yesterday by recruiting firm Zhaopin (智聯招聘) showed. Passenger vehicle and freight truck drivers and airplane and train crews are also badly needed, with job openings jumping by 85.2 percent over the same period, due to busy transport and logistics sectors.
STEADY: Prices are to rebound following inventory rebuilding demand, TrendForce said, with Samsung Electronics Co further trimming capacity as it slashes DDR4 lines The contract prices of DRAM chips are to rise by as much as 18 percent sequentially this quarter — the first price upticks in about eight quarters — driven mainly by inventory rebuilding demand for DRAM chips used in mobile devices and PCs, TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) projected yesterday. The price rebound is led by a quarterly increase of mobile DRAM chips, which are to climb between 13 percent and 18 percent quarter-on-quarter this quarter, which has not been seen since the fourth quarter of 2021, the Taipei-based market researcher predicted. Likewise, the price of mainstream PC DDR4 DRAM is expected to bounce
CHINA NOT A FRIEND: ‘Newsflash: Democracy is good for your businesses,’ US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said as she gave a speech at a national defense forum US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Saturday urged lawmakers, Silicon Valley and US allies to stop China from getting semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies key to national security. Speaking at an annual national defense forum in Simi Valley, California, Raimondo called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed that “China is not our friend.” The world’s top two economies are locked in a fierce commercial and geopolitical rivalry, in which her department plays a leading role. In October, Raimondo unveiled a series of restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China, including those used in the development of artificial intelligence
SOLID FOUNDATION: Given its decades of expertise in megatronics, manufacturing and robotics, Japan has the wherewithal to create its own AI, Jensen Huang said Nvidia Corp plans to help build an artificial intelligence (AI) tech-related ecosystem in Japan to meet demand in a country eager to gain an edge in this emerging technology. The US company will seek to partner with Japanese research organizations, companies and start-ups to build factories for AI, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said yesterday during opening remarks in a meeting with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura. The company is to set up an AI research laboratory, and invest in local start-ups and educate the public on using AI, Huang said. Huang earlier this week met with Japanese Prime
A Hong Kong court postponed a court hearing on troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group’s (恆大集團) winding-up petition scheduled for yesterday until Jan. 29. Evergrande is trying to win support from its creditors for a plan to restructure more than US$300 billion in debt to stave off liquidation. The company’s lawyer told the court it was requesting an adjournment to “refine” its new debt restructuring plan. The Hong Kong High Court has postponed the hearing over Evergrande’s potential liquidation several times. Judge Linda Chan (陳靜芬) had said in October that yesterday’s hearing would be the last before a decision is handed down. Chan