Technology Bulletin

    • Ford-VW to Produce 8 Million Commercial Vehicles
    • Jun 16, 2020
    • The No. 2 U.S. automaker will also make a new electric vehicle for Europe by 2023, built on Volkswagen's Modular Electric Drive toolkit (Autonews) Vin... View More
      The No. 2 U.S. automaker will also make a new electric vehicle for Europe by 2023, built on Volkswagen's Modular Electric Drive toolkit (Autonews) Vinay's key takeaways:  Ford Motor and Volkswagen plan to share production of commercial vehicles as part an alliance announced in January 2019. Production of these vehicles is expected to begin next year and continue through the life cycles of the products. Models include a city van designed and built by Volkswagen; a 1-ton cargo van engineered by Ford; and a Volkswagen medium-sized pickup on the Ford Ranger platform. Given the current global economic situation, the alliance is urgently looking to drive billions of dollars in cost savings in development costs, as well as provide for broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles.
    • Verizon Launches 5G Home in Detroit
    • Jun 16, 2020
    • Verizon said it’s now offering its fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G Home Internet to customers in parts of Detroit, making it the sixth city to get the serv... View More
      Verizon said it’s now offering its fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G Home Internet to customers in parts of Detroit, making it the sixth city to get the service…The Detroit service costs $50 a month for Verizon customers and $70 per month for non-Verizon customers. The operator is sweetening the deal with an offer of various content options at no cost when customers sign up, including Disney+ and YouTube TV…To entice people even more, Verizon is offering customers who sign up for 5G Home Internet a free Stream TV device, which gets them access to a library of OTT channels, apps and entertainment, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. (Fierce Wireless, June 10)  Maurice Klaehne's key takeaways: This is a big push from Verizon to offer a complete package of very well priced services to customers, which can raise the company’s ARPU, reduce churn, and extend CLV. It also puts Verizon in more direct competition with cable providers such as Charter or Dish as these cable providers have also been steadily gaining subs through their wireless offerings.
    • New Ranking of Nation’s Top Employers’ Responses t...
    • Jun 16, 2020
    • The new Forbes Corporate Responders ranking assesses how well the 100 largest employers among U.S. public companies responded to the public health crisis&hellip... View More
      The new Forbes Corporate Responders ranking assesses how well the 100 largest employers among U.S. public companies responded to the public health crisis…analyzing companies’ policies from mid-March through May 7 across 22 categories, from relaxed attendance policies to community relief funds, on a rising scale of 1 to 5. The numbers were then averaged into an overall composite score. Verizon came out on top with a score of 3.87. (Forbes (The Forbes Corporate Responders), June 13  Jeff Fieldhack's key takeaways: Hats off to Verizon which provides for its employees (among other things):  'Danger pay’ for those with added risk of exposure in their jobs;  Peace of mind, vowing no layoffs during this period;  Other opportunities, reassigning store employees to other at-home positions; and One of the most expansive sick leave policies of big employers.  Another interesting thing to note – work from home has been highly effective, so I think we can expect Verizon and other companies to be more lenient and take advantage of WFH programs in the future.   
    • Huawei Tops Samsung to Lead Global Smartphone Mark...
    • Jun 16, 2020
    • For the first time, Huawei surpassed Samsung to lead in global smartphone market share in April. Huawei’s 21% overall share in April was driven by strong ... View More
      For the first time, Huawei surpassed Samsung to lead in global smartphone market share in April. Huawei’s 21% overall share in April was driven by strong performance in China, which was well into pandemic recovery compared to the rest of the world. Unfortunately for Samsung, it does not have strong presence there, and its over-exposure to India resulted in a YoY 29% drop in April.  Tom Kang’s key takeaways:  A confluence of factors has resulted in Huawei coming out on top in April, but as the pandemic eases and markets normalize – especially in India – this is likely to change.  Current trade tensions and bans for Huawei considered, we believe Samsung will re-take the number one spot in the global smartphone market.  (Counterpoint Research Market Pulse, June 1)
    • Facebook, PayPal Invest in Indonesia’s Ride-Hailin...
    • Jun 9, 2020
    • Facebook has invested in Indonesian ride-hailing and food delivery company, Gojek... “This investment will support Facebook and Gojek’s shared goal ... View More
      Facebook has invested in Indonesian ride-hailing and food delivery company, Gojek... “This investment will support Facebook and Gojek’s shared goal of empowering businesses and driving financial inclusion across the archipelago,” Matt Idema, WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, said in the blog post.  “WhatsApp helps small businesses communicate with customers and make sales, and together with Gojek, we believe we can bring millions of people into Indonesia’s growing digital economy,” Idema said. (CNBC, June 2) Tarun Pathak's key takeaways: Clearly an important investment in a strategic market for both companies and underscores FB’s e-commerce ambitions.  Many businesses already rely on WhatApp, and a Gojek partnership would strengthen customer relationships further.  This boosts Gojek’s super app ambitions, and could help it scale regionally.  PayPal partnership brings additional options for Gojek, while the payments company can leverage on Gojek’s reach to scale in Indonesia.   
    • Bharti Airtel Clarifies Stand on Amazon’s Reported...
    • Jun 9, 2020
    • Reuters on Thursday reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Amazon was in talks with Airtel [to buy a $2b stake]...Through a note released to Nat... View More
      Reuters on Thursday reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Amazon was in talks with Airtel [to buy a $2b stake]...Through a note released to National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the telecom operator said that “no such proposal in consideration” at this stage and it is just “speculative reporting” that came out “despite appropriate timely clarifications” by both companies. (NDTV, June 5) Ankit Malhotra's key takeaways: This continues the trend of misreporting around FANG interest in India’s telcos.  There would be limited strategic advantage for an OTT player to partner with a telco, although some benefit could be assumed in terms of potential marketing tie-ups. Amazon already has a content partnership with Airtel, with all post-paid users getting a free Amazon Prime subscription.
    • RBI Sets up Rs 500 Crore Fund to Push E-Pay
    • Jun 9, 2020
    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has created a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) with a Rs 250-crore investment to subsidise setting up of card and... View More
      The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has created a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) with a Rs 250-crore investment to subsidise setting up of card and e-payment infrastructure in small towns and Northeast India. The RBI stated that the fund is aimed at encouraging acquirers to deploy point-of-sale (PoS) infrastructure, both physical and digital, in tier-3 to tier 6 centres and northeastern states.   Parv Sharma’s key takeaways:  I remain sceptical whether this moves the needle for these regions. There are so many adoption hurdles as we move away from the more developed and better connected metros.  To name a few – high cost of capital for POS-based solutions ($66m is a drop in the bucket, considering); low debit card usage, sparse and undependable telecoms infra, high merchant acquisition costs and lack of incentive for merchants to accept card payments. ​(Times of India, June 6) Ritesh Bendre’s key takeaways:  A key ‘problem’ with implementing a P2P payments solution is the transparency, as merchants have to pay GST and other taxes. This would remove the ability to offer cash discounts, which has always been an important sales tool.  For bigger ticket items, transaction fees also become an issue, and we see many sales reverting to cash even in more developed regions. 
    • Amazon in Talks to Buy Self-Driving Startup Zoox?
    • Jun 2, 2020
    • A successful deal could give new life to a once-high-profile startup that has seen its fortunes dim as it struggled to raise money. (Marketwatch.com) Vi... View More
      A successful deal could give new life to a once-high-profile startup that has seen its fortunes dim as it struggled to raise money. (Marketwatch.com) Vinay's key takeaways:  Amazon is expected to target Zoox as a way to jump into the self-driving vehicle world. There are, however, other interested parties making offers for the autonomous technology start-up. Zoox’s business model is based on building robotaxis and delivery vehicles, using cutting edge autonomous driving tech and electric powertrains. Acquiring Zoox will enable Amazon to expand its autonomous logistics capabilities.  Amazon earlier invested in electric vehicle maker Rivian, committing $440 million in funding and buying 100,000 of its delivery vehicles.  But Zoox would be Amazon's first serious move into self-driving vehicle technology
    • Renault to Cut Jobs and Increase Regional Focus to...
    • Jun 2, 2020
    • This adverse economic environment has shown the limits of our business model, which was betting on unprecedented market growth in emerging markets and therefore... View More
      This adverse economic environment has shown the limits of our business model, which was betting on unprecedented market growth in emerging markets and therefore on record sales.  (CNN) Aman's key takeaways:  Renault will cut 14,600 jobs as a part of a strategy to reduce costs by $2.2 billion over the next three years. Under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, Renault pursued an aggressive (and expensive) expansion strategy with a diverse and complex vehicle line up.  The company is in an alliance with Mitsubishi and Nissan. As a part of the new strategy, the Renault brand will pull out of China, and each partner will lead in specific regions: Nissan – in North America, Middle East and key markets in Asia, Renault in Europe and South America, and Mitsubishi in southeast Asia and Oceania.  It is hoped the new brand focus will avoid cannibalization of sales, and develop a leaner structure, allowing the alliance to recover from the current crisis. 
    • Volkswagen to Invest US$2.2b in Chinese Electric V...
    • Jun 2, 2020
    • China’s overall auto sales in the second half of this year will be level with same period last year. Volkswagen China’s full-year sales will be lo... View More
      China’s overall auto sales in the second half of this year will be level with same period last year. Volkswagen China’s full-year sales will be lower than last year due to the sales loss in the first months. (Reuters) Vinay's key takeaways:  The JAG investment is the first time the VW Group is taking a strategic role in a state-owned company and comes at a time when competitors General Motors, Toyota and Tesla are expanding their EV sales in China.  Through these investments and taking management control, Volkswagen is surely aiming to develop more EV models and infrastructure in the world's largest automotive market.  China as a nation too, appears to be sustaining its global leadership in electric vehicles, through conducive policies that attract foreign investments.

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