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Technology Bulletin

    • Daimler, Linde to Simplify Hydrogen Refueling Proc...
    • Dec 15, 2020
    • Linde and Daimler Truck AG have signed an agreement to jointly develop the next generation of liquid-hydrogen refueling technology for fuel-cell-powered trucks.... View More
      Linde and Daimler Truck AG have signed an agreement to jointly develop the next generation of liquid-hydrogen refueling technology for fuel-cell-powered trucks. (HT Auto) Fahad's key takeaways:  The first refueling of a prototype vehicle will happen at a pilot station in Germany in 2023. This approach will focus on a new process for handling liquid hydrogen (“subcooled” liquid hydrogen, “sLH2 technology”) which permits higher storage density, greater range and faster refueling among others. To avoid the "boil-off effects" and "return gas", higher-than-ambient pressure levels and special temperature control will be employed. This new fueling process will be implemented in the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, which marked its world premiere in September 2020.
    • Britishvolt Investing $3.6 BN to Build UK Battery ...
    • Dec 15, 2020
    • Britishvolt has selected Blyth in the UK to build a $3.6-billion battery gigaplant. It is one of the biggest industrial investments in North East England after ... View More
      Britishvolt has selected Blyth in the UK to build a $3.6-billion battery gigaplant. It is one of the biggest industrial investments in North East England after Nissan in 1984. (Britishvolt) Soumen's key takeaways:  The UK is planning to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2030. This gigaplant will add momentum to the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) not only in the UK but also Europe. European countries are adopting EVs at a faster pace than China. This will create a huge demand for battery packs and related parts. Therefore, major international players like Tesla are building gigafactories in Europe. Moreover, it will create more job opportunities for skilled and unskilled people in the supply chain. This plant will be operational from 2023 and produce over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries from 2027.
    • Hyundai to Buy Boston Dynamics From Softbank
    • Dec 15, 2020
    • Hyundai Motor group and its chairman, Euisun Chung, have offered $880 million for 80% stake in the robot maker. The newly appointed chairman wants robotics to a... View More
      Hyundai Motor group and its chairman, Euisun Chung, have offered $880 million for 80% stake in the robot maker. The newly appointed chairman wants robotics to account for 20% of the group’s future business, followed by car making and urban air mobility. (Reuters) Aman's key takeaways:  Hyundai is a latecomer in the AV business, and the acquisition will help it quicken the learning curve and gain propriety technology for AVs. Automakers are facing increasing threat from Tesla which is using robotics-driven manufacturing to its fullest extent. Last year, Ford partnered with robot maker Agility Robotics to design its AV fleet of delivery vans.
    • Transsion Keeps Surging: Revenue and Profit Grow b...
    • Nov 9, 2020
    • Chinese handset maker Transsion (688036:SH), which is focused on the African and other emerging markets, announced its third-quarter financial results in 2020. ... View More
      Chinese handset maker Transsion (688036:SH), which is focused on the African and other emerging markets, announced its third-quarter financial results in 2020. Growing by 48.15% year-over-year, the company's revenue reached CNY 25 billion, while the net profit during the first three quarters also increased by 50% year-over-year, amounting to CNY 1.95 billion. Compared to last quarter's around 30% y-o-y growth, Transsion's third-quarter carried its revenue boost further to an impressive around 50% level. (Equal Ocean, Oct 29) Flora Tang's key takeaways:  COVID lockdowns have actually driven demand for smartphones on the continent and Transsion is one of the top beneficiaries of this trend.  Beyond hardware, Transsion is also a leading regional provider for video and music streaming, IM, browser and mobile payments. 
    • Vodafone UK Replacing Huawei Kit With Open RAN
    • Nov 9, 2020
    • Vodafone UK revealed plans to deploy open RAN in 2,600 network sites by 2027, in a major commitment to using the technology to replace a large chunk of Huawei&r... View More
      Vodafone UK revealed plans to deploy open RAN in 2,600 network sites by 2027, in a major commitment to using the technology to replace a large chunk of Huawei’s equipment, which it has been ordered to strip out by the government. (Mobile World Live, November 2) Gareth Owen's key takeaways:  Other UK MNOs have downplayed open RAN, but Vodafone is one of the most vocal advocates of the technology.  Although the operator has decided to limit deployments to the most rural area, it is still a significant commitment to open RAN if it ultimately deploys to all 2,600 sites.  No news on vendors but with Vodafone keen to avoid established vendors, US vRAN software company Mavenir must fancy its chances, while Qualcomm and maybe Xylinx are strong candidates on the chip side.
    • NPCI Imposes Cap On Share Of UPI Transactions
    • Nov 9, 2020
    • In a statement on Thursday, NPCI said that third party applications providing payments services via UPI can process a maximum of 30% of the transaction volumes ... View More
      In a statement on Thursday, NPCI said that third party applications providing payments services via UPI can process a maximum of 30% of the transaction volumes starting Jan. 1, 2021. The 30% cap will be calculated on the basis of the total volume of transactions processed in UPI during the preceding three months on a rolling basis. (Bloomberg Quint, November 5) Arushi Chawla's key takeaways:  The of intention of setting market share upper limits is to protect consumers by setting up a more robust UPI ecosystem.  WhatsApp Pay stands to benefit over the short term as it plays catchup to incumbents Google Pay and PhonePe, which are estimated to control 80% of the market.
    • Apple Faces Shortages of Vital iPhone 12 Chips Man...
    • Nov 9, 2020
    • Apple is grappling with a shortage of vital chips that manage power consumption in iPhones and other devices, people with knowledge of the matter said, complica... View More
      Apple is grappling with a shortage of vital chips that manage power consumption in iPhones and other devices, people with knowledge of the matter said, complicating its ability to meet holiday demand for the latest version of its marquee gadget. (Bloomberg, November 5) Brady Wang's key takeaways:  Not surprising as 5G device power management chip requirements are much higher, especially as the number of cameras increases.  For example, S20 5G vs S10 4G PMIC requirements are 12 vs 6.  Combine this with stockpiling on uncertainty and shortages are bound to happen. 
    • AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and More Form Alliance for...
    • Oct 19, 2020
    • 5G networks may be in the early days, but a new group made up of some of the biggest names in wireless and tech have joined to form ATIS’s "Next G Al... View More
      5G networks may be in the early days, but a new group made up of some of the biggest names in wireless and tech have joined to form ATIS’s "Next G Alliance" aimed at leading in 6G and beyond…The goal of the alliance is North American 6G market leadership, spanning the full range from R&D, manufacturing, standardization and market-readiness. (Fierce Wireless, October 13) Ankit Malhotra's key takeaways:  Beginning stages for 6G and this is in-line with decades long timelines for next-gen tech development.  To be sure, nationalistic goals – especially in light of China’s 5G leadership – will be a driver for R&D and public policy initiatives. 
    • Wisconsin Blames Foxconn, Says $3 Billion Factory ...
    • Oct 19, 2020
    • The state of Wisconsin was supposed to provide Foxconn with $3 billion in subsidies over the next few years to support the construction of a massive LCD display... View More
      The state of Wisconsin was supposed to provide Foxconn with $3 billion in subsidies over the next few years to support the construction of a massive LCD display factory in the state. In a Monday letter, the state informed Foxconn that the company wouldn't get the first installment of the $3 billion because Foxconn wasn't holding up its end of the deal. Under Foxconn's 2017 agreement with the state, Foxconn would be eligible for the first round of subsidies if it hired at least 520 full-time employees to work on the LCD panel factory by the end of 2019. Foxconn claimed that it had cleared this bar by hiring 550 employees in the state. But Wisconsin found that Foxconn had only 281 employees who counted toward the requirement. (ARS Technica, October 13) Jeff Fieldhack's key takeaways:  We reported last summer the Foxconn plant was only one small admin building and behind schedule.  What this highlights is that tech manufacturing – despite the promise of billions in subsidies – remains extremely difficult to pull off in the US, even for industry leaders.  
    • Chinese Groups Go From Fish to Chips in New ‘Great...
    • Oct 19, 2020
    • Chinese companies are rushing into the country’s semiconductor sector, spurred by a multibillion-dollar government plan to boost the industry to counter g... View More
      Chinese companies are rushing into the country’s semiconductor sector, spurred by a multibillion-dollar government plan to boost the industry to counter growing technological pressure from the US…More than 13,000 Chinese enterprises registered as semiconductor companies in the first nine months of this year…The numbers are double the monthly average of last year, with registrations jumping more than 30 per cent in September alone. Many companies entering the industry have no experience in semiconductors, coming from sectors such as auto parts or seafood.  (FT, October 13) Tarun Pathak's key takeaways:  Some of this does look like “a blind rush into chips” and there is acknowledgement of issues around this.  However, the scale of this initiative implies China Inc. is in this for the long term, and that makes strategic sense especially given recent history.

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