|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Chinese brands took their largest ever slice of the $10-billion Indian smartphone market in late 2016, accounting for more than one in every two phones sold - a growing market share that ate into sales from top-selling Samsung Electronics.
Samsung, the single most popular smartphone brand in India, commanded a roughly 30 percent market share just over a year ago. That slipped to 21 percent in November, according to tech research firm Counterpoint, the last month for which data is available.
Meanwhile - thanks to low cost, improved technology and an advertising blitz - Chinese brands like Oppo, Lenovo, OnePlus, Gionee and Xiaomi took a combined share of over 50 percent, compared to just 19 percent a year ago.
"Chinese brands are offering quality that is at par with Samsung, at a better price," said Manish Khatri, who owns two multi-brand smartphone outlets in Mumbai. "Of every 10 phones I sell, almost six to seven are now Chinese brands."
Celebrity endorsements from Bollywood actors like Hrithik Roshan and Ranveer Singh, along with huge sponsorship campaigns by brands such as Oppo and Gionee of the wildly popular Indian Premier League cricket franchise have helped improve perception of Chinese brands - once derided for their low quality.
"In a country like India, there are two religions - one is Bollywood and the second is cricket," said Arvind R Vohra, Gionee's India head, noting that both avenues have helped popularize its brand.
Chinese brand executives said innovative product features such as powerful selfie cameras with flash, quicker charging and longer-lasting batteries have also helped them thrive in India, one of the world's biggest and fastest growing smartphone markets.
In the large and ultra-competitive $120 to $440 mid-market smartphone segment, Chinese vendors have more than doubled their market share to 68 percent, while Samsung has lost 14 percentage points since November 2015, according to Counterpoint.
"Being a global company is Samsung's biggest curse," says Neil Shah of Counterpoint, adding Samsung cannot compete on price like their Chinese rivals, who are focused more on low-cost markets like China, India and Indonesia.
Shah said Chinese vendors' access to low-cost components and their expertise in designing metal casing for cheap phones has let brands like Oppo, OnePlus and Lenovo offer better quality products than Samsung, which uses plastic for its cheapest models.
Adding to Samsung's woes last year was the arrival of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's new telecom venture Jio, with heavily subsidised handsets to get customers on its 4G network.
Dyaneshwar Sarde, a 33-year-old Indian farmer who earlier used a Samsung device, said he wanted to buy a 4G smartphone to use Reliance Jio.
India's home-grown brands such as Micromax, Lava and Karbonn are feeling the heat even more, according to Counterpoint, with their total market share having dropped to less than 20 percent from over 40 percent last year.
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Clara Ferreira-Marques and Randy Fabi)...
Crude prices could plunge as low as $10 per barrel within a decade as a result of five energy “tsunamis,” according to Thierry Lepercq, innovation chief for French energy company Engie.
In an interview with Bloomberg in December, he said falling costs of solar power and battery storage, increasing sales of electric vehicles, increasingly “smart” buildings and cheap hydrogen will all weigh on crude.
“Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” said Lepercq.
After a decade of acquisitions, the former French gas monopoly Engie has become the world’s largest non-state power producer.
It is now investing in renewables while selling coal-fired plants and exploration assets. By 2018 the company plans to spend $1.57 billion on technologies including grid-scale battery storage, hydrogen output, “mini-grids” that serve small clusters of homes, and smart buildings that link up the heating, lighting and IT systems to save energy and cut costs.
Lepercq said the cost of solar power would probably drop below $10 per megawatt-hour before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places, turning it into the cheapest source of electricity. With the falling costs of battery storage, solar will become even more competitive which means electric vehicles could challenge traditional passenger vehicles.
“As carmakers offer more electrical vehicles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers, charging stations being progressively deployed and more cities banning gasoline and diesel cars, a shift will gradually take place,” said Lepercq.
Data from the International Energy Agency shows the number of battery and plug-in vehicles around the world has surged to one million cars.
According to Lepercq, in less than 10 years hydrogen which can turn solar power into transportable fuel may be as cheap as LNG.
“Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve. Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable-energy system, but technological bricks already exist.”
Engie has recently conducted a “very deep modeling” of the French Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. The results showed the region with five million inhabitants could run entirely on renewables by 2030 for as much as 20 percent less cost than the current energy system. Solar, wind, biogas, large-scale battery storage and hydrogen would be essential elements.
“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” said Lepercq.
Sales surged for global automakers in China in 2016 as consumers rushed to buy cars to make the most of a tax incentive, with Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) seeing a particularly brisk pace of business ahead of Ford (F.N) and Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T).
Toyota has traditionally led Honda in China - the world's largest auto market - but last year Honda sped past with a year-on-year sales growth of 24 percent to 1.25 million vehicles, helped by a steady stream of fresh models particularly in the hot sport-utility vehicle segment.
Toyota reported an 8.2 percent rise in 2016 sales. The automaker expects to sell at least 1.2 million vehicles this year, roughly flat with 2016.
Ford reported a growth in China sales of 11.9 percent to 1.24 million vehicles in 2016, not including sales of its premium Lincoln brand, according to a Reuters calculation.
All three companies, however, continued to lag sales by Nissan (7201.T) in China. Nissan's sales grew 8.4 percent to 1.35 million vehicles in the country last year.
Earlier this week, General Motors Co (GM.N) and its joint venture partners reported sales of 3.87 million vehicles in China for 2016, up 7.1 percent, cementing the country's position as the U.S. automaker's top market for a fifth consecutive year.
Demand for cars in the Asian country got a shot in the arm last year from China's move to cut taxes on small-engine cars.
Japan defends Toyota after Trump broadside over Mexican plant
Verizon executive says company unsure about Yahoo deal
The tax incentive, which halved the purchase tax on cars with engines of 1.6 liters or smaller to 5 percent, is now being rolled back. The tax will rise to 7.5 percent this year before returning to 10 percent in 2018 - a move analysts say will prevent a steep drop in sales growth.
(Reporting by Jake Spring; Additional reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu and Beijing monitoring team; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
China plans massive investment in clean and renewable energy up to 2020 to help the battle for clear skies, aiming for a significant reduction in pollutants released into the air.
The investment could amount to 2.5 trillion yuan ($360 billion), according to the energy development plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).
The country has set an annual target of clean and renewable energy consumption that is equivalent of 580 million metric tons of coal, the National Energy Administration said on Thursday.
Renewables investments surge to help clear the air
It will help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 1.4 billion tons, sulfur dioxide by 10 million tons, nitric oxide by 4.3 million tons and dust by 5.8 million tons. Coal burning is a main cause of smog in northern regions.
Installed renewable power capacity covering wind, solar, hydro and nuclear power will account for 50 percent of new electricity generation capacity by 2020, the NEA said.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst with Asia utilities and infrastructure research at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the country's investment in clean energy will help reduce the major pollutants contributing to the smog.
"As the amount of generation from clean energy sources rises, that from coal-fired generation will gradually come down, together with its pollutants," said Jacobelli.
"China's push for clean energy since the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) has indeed worked in reducing emissions from the power sector and the nation has achieved some success as the contribution from clean power sources such as wind and solar has sharply increased."
It will create more than 13 million jobs in the sector, said the administration.
The focus on renewable energy also reflects China's continued focus on curbing the use of fossil fuels, which have driven the country's economic growth over the past 10 years.
"However, replacing traditional sources of energy with renewables takes a long time," said Li Li, energy research director at ICIS China.
China, the world's largest coal consumer and producer, will continuously reduce the share of coal in its overall energy mix.
Coal consumption will be reduced to 58 percent during the 13th Five-Year Plan, and the proportion of non-fossil fuel consumption will exceed 15 percent.
US President-elect Donald Trump says Toyota Motor should pay heavy taxes if it goes ahead with its plan to build a factory in Mexico.
Trump released a message on Twitter on Thursday. It reads "Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US. NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax."
Toyota announced in April 2015 that it would build a Corolla plant in Mexico in 2019 as part of its realignment of North American production.
Trump is calling for a review of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he says is for protecting US employment.
He also warns that he will impose 35-percent tariffs on products made overseas by US companies.
Trump has previously criticized General Motors and Ford Motor for their manufacturing plans in Mexico.
Everyone agrees that Mongolian economy will get worse in 2017. The country is now facing many challenges including soaring budget deficit and stopped foreign investment. However the situation can be changed, if authorities make the right decisions on following projects.
MONGOLIA WILL CREATE NEW LEGAL ENVIRONMENT FOR FOREIGN BANKS
Unofficial talks about opening local branches of foreign banks have spread since July, 2016 as new Government has begun to form. Sooner some MPs said that the Government should create a new legal environment for foreign banks allowing investment activities only.
Cabinet discussed the issue on Dec 21st, 2016 and obliged Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance to develop a draft law on amendments to the Banking Law.
Foreign bank branches in Mongolia are required only to grant loans, invest, make domestic and foreign payments, provide loan guarantees, sell and purchase bonds, while not being allowed to provide saving accounts. This will lower interest rate and create real competition in the banking sector.
WILL GATSUURT DEPOSIT START ITS OPERATION?
Gatsuurt gold deposit is one of the halted projects of the country. Gatsuurt deposit proven reserves are at 50 tons of gold and profitable effect reserves are calculated to be 25 tons, which fully complies to requirements for Strategic Deposit.
Mining license holder Centerra Gold LLC have got Gatsuurt Deposit Reserve Report approved in 2013 and Feasibility Study in 2014 by the Mineral Resources Council and the site is ready for the mining.
However previous Government has tried to start the mining operations of the deposit, but faced with civil protests as Gatsuurt deposit locates in Noyon Mountain that stores in itself the tombs of Mongol nobles and other cultural findings dating back to the Hun Empire period. While the graves and findings of ancient Huns are located just at 5.8 km South West of the exploration site.
Protesters took Centerra Gold LLC to the court and the Capital City Court made a decision on protester`s side.
Newly formed Government led by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat claimed to start Gatsuurt project, but the dates are still uncertain. Current authorities are implementing a "Gold" program in order to maintain foreign exchange reserves and started following policy to raise gold delivery.
OPERATION OF THE NEW ULAANBAATAR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO COMMENCE
The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, locates 52 km south from the city center, will be commissioned this year. In May 2008, a ¥49 billion (US$385 million) 40-year soft loan agreement at 0.2% interest was signed between the Government of Mongolia and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to build a new international airport.
During the construction process, additional cost of ¥5.9 billion were required. The Government of Mongolia requested additional loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency.
33.5 km roads from Ulaanbaatar city to new airport has started to be constructed with Chinese soft loan, planning to finish within the second quarter of 2016. However the road project has been falling behind the schedule.
The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, a construction with the biggest foundation in Mongolia is designed with the capacity of up to 3 million passengers per year and have capacity to receive 1500 passengers per hour.
The airport is able to launch 6 planes from its passenger boarding bridges and 13 planes from its field. 5 planes with up to 300 passengers are able to take off at once.
MONGOLIA FACES $580 MILLION BOND REPAYMENT
The Development Bank of Mongolia faces a $580 million repayment on Mar, 2017. However, the country is not able to meet the debt obligation. The state-owned Development Bank of Mongolia, which finances social development and commercial projects, and grants subsidised mortgage credits, has raised a $580 million bond from Singapore Stock Exchange on Mar 4, 2012 with an annual 5.75 percent interest rate that is due in Mar 21, 2017.
Government is seeking ways to delay the payment or more cost-effective and long-term loans.
Although the country has started negotiations with Internationl Monetary Fund, projects and the amount of loan are still unclear.
$580 million bond financed Khutul cement plant, Amgalan power plant, Tavantolgoi-Gashuun Sukhait railway, Geology Central Laboratory, 33.4 km railway from Tumurtei deposit to Khandgai, extension of III and IV power stations, expansion of mining capacity of Baganuur coal deposit, development of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, apartments for 1152 households near Yarmag bridge, Sainshand industrial complex and projects for small and medium enterprises.
TAVAN TOLGOI DEAL TO BE CONTINUED
Tavan Tolgoi, which contains 7.4 billion ton of coking and thermal coal deposits deal to be continued.
Mining and Heavy Industry Ministry officials received delegations from China Shenhua Energy Company Limited on Dec, 2016. During the meeting, China Shenhua proposed to commence Tavantolgoi`s power station, railway construction and mining projects at the same time.
Previously, China Shenhua has expressed incentives to invest in Tavantolgoi coal deposit. The company has won the bid, announced by the previous government, establishing a consortium agreement jointly with the Energy Resource LLC and Japanese Sumitomo Corporation.
Prime Minister J.Erdenebat obliged working group to move the project as soon as possible. However, consortium agreement, winner of the bid might have new competitor due to domestic entities having expressed interest in investing Tavan Tolgoi jointly.
Government refers to the following conditions on Tavan Tolgoi deposit:
Mongolia will own 51% while China Shenhua will own 49% of a company to build a railway from Tavan Tolgoi mine site to Gashuunsukhait
Investment and cooperation agreement period shall be 22 years, consistent with the operating license period
The operations to be 51% owned by Mongolian company
Target market of the project shall be China and the third country
Subcontractors shall be Mongolian entities and the contract term shall be not less than 5 years.
CONSTRUCTION OF ERDENET TO OVOOT RAILWAY TO START
The Presidents of China, Russia and Mongolia have signed off on a Trilateral Program for the development of an Economic Corridor between the three countries. This program includes the establishment of a new Northern Rail Corridor connecting China with Russia through Mongolia. The Northern Rail Corridor is a continuous railway stretching from Tianjin Port on China’s east coast through Beijing, Erlian, Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet to Ovoot, Arts Suuri to Kyzyl, connecting to the Trans Siberian Railway at Kuragino.
Aspire Mining LTD developed the first stage of feasibility study of the project. Also, environmental study of the project has been completed.
Northern Railways LLC, 90% owned by Aspire and 10% by the Noble Group will build a 547 kilometre section of the Northern Rail Corridor from Erdenet to Aspire’ s Ovoot Coking Coal Project.
The establishment of this Northern Rail Corridor confirms that the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway has developed from being a rail connection to a large coking coal project, to now being part of an important new trade infrastructure route. It is also the Company’s understanding that Aspire is the only listed public company with a significant interest in this new rail corridor.
The Ovoot project development is dependent on the construction of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway. Ovoot Coking Coal Project (Ovoot) is the second largest coking coal project by its reserves in Mongolia.
The railway construction is planned to finish by 2019.
8th PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
The president is elected for a four-year term by the people, using the two-round system. 8th Presidential elections to be held in Mongolia in June 2017.
As Presidential Election is to be organized this year, the bill on Presidential Elections was submitted just a few days ago.
The previous parliament approved Law on Elections, which regulated all elections including Parliamentary, Presidential and Citizen’s Representative Meetings of provinces, soums and districts. However General Elections Commission put a request to organize elections under separate independent laws, as it was difficult to organize the previous parliamentary elections, adhering one combined law.
The Commission proposed to follow main contents, criteria and regulations of the 2013 Presidential Election law and to change organizational matters.
Currently, former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag announced to stand for presidential election and former MP R.Amarjargal is on the list from the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Mongolian People`s Party has not announced yet their presidential candidate.
Despite the fiasco with its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phone, Samsung Electronics is forecasting a 50% surge in profits for the fourth quarter.
The earnings estimate is higher than analysts' predicted and would mark its highest quarterly profit since 2013.
In October, the world's largest smartphone maker had to scrap the Note 7 after batteries caught fire and even replacement devices went up in smoke.
The strong results are due to Samsung's semiconductor and display businesses.
The South Korean tech giant said it expected to post 9.2tn won ($7.8bn, £6.2bn) in operating profit for the months from September to December.
Demand for memory chip and displays is expected to remain high throughout 2017, giving investors a bright outlook for the next year.
Note 7 profit hit
In an earlier profit forecast for the fourth quarter, Samsung had said it expected the Note 7 recall would mean a $2.1bn hit to their profits.
The company first issued a recall for the Galaxy Note 7 in September following complaints about exploding batteries.
After replacement devices deemed safe were also found to overheat and catch fire, the company scrapped the phone entirely.
Samsung said that it will "very soon" share details of its inquiry into the cause of the Note 7 problems.
The company will disclose a detailed earnings release for the quarter in late January which will give more insights into the performance of its individual businesses.
Apple has withdrawn the New York Times from its China App Store, following a request from Chinese authorities.
The paper said the move was aimed at preventing readers in China "from accessing independent news coverage".
Apple said they had been informed the app violated Chinese regulations but did not say what rules had been broken.
Western media have long been facing difficulties making their content available in China with many outlets frequently or permanently blocked.
According to the New York Times, Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the App Store in China on 23 December.
The paper cited an Apple spokesperson as saying the firm had been "informed that the app is in violation of local regulations" which meant it had to be taken down.
"When this situation changes, the app store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China," the spokesman
The paper's website has been blocked in China since 2012 after it published a number of reports on the private wealth of members of the political elite and their families.
The New York Times attributes the request to pull the app to new regulations officially designed to curb activities "such as endangering national security, disrupting social order and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others".
"The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country, coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world," the paper's spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.
Users who have their accounts registered on an App Store other than the Chinese one can still download the apps.
Apps from some other international media outlets can still be accessed, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, BBC News, the Financial Times, ABC News, CNN, and Reuters.
In the case of the BBC, the Chinese-language website is blocked while the English version occasionally has some human rights or political stories blocked on both the website and the app.
A number of other Western websites like Google, YouTube and Facebook are also blocked in China.
The trial of Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the centre of an influence-peddling scandal involving South Korea's president, has got under way.
Ms Choi, a close friend of President Park Geun-hye, is charged with abuse of power and attempted fraud.
Separately, the Constitutional Court began considering President Park's impeachment over the scandal.
That trial, where the court must ratify or overturn a parliamentary impeachment vote, began despite Ms Park's absence.
Proceedings opened on Tuesday but were curtailed because Ms Park did not attend. On Thursday the court went ahead anyway.
Her lawyer has previously said Ms Park will not be in court "unless there are special circumstances", Yonhap news agency reported.
Both cases centre on allegations President Park gave Ms Choi unauthorised access to government decisions and allowed her to exploit their close relationship to solicit money from corporations for foundations from which she benefitted.
Both women have apologised but deny committing criminal offences.
The scandal has rocked South Korea, sparking several huge demonstrations.
While the impeachment process continues, Ms Park remains formally president but with most of her powers handed to the prime minister, a role that normally has little executive authority.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye listens to a reporter's question during a meeting with reporters at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House and released by Yonhap on 1 January
Separately, Yonhap news agency reports that South Korea has sent a formal extradition request to Denmark for the daughter of Ms Choi, several days after saying they were working on it.
Chung Yoo-ra, a former national equestrian rider, was arrested in Denmark on Sunday and later appeared in court accused of overstaying her visa.
Part of the investigation into Ms Choi's activities relates to a gift horse from South Korean conglomerate Samsung to Ms Choi, allegedly for Ms Chung's training.
The prestigious Ewha Women's University in Seoul is also accused of giving Ms Chung a place - she has since left - because of her mother's connections.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says he will keep a close eye on President-elect Donald Trump's policies. Earlier on Tuesday, US automaker Ford announced it is canceling plans to build a plant in Mexico.
The move comes as Trump ramps up criticism of companies he claims have moved US jobs overseas. Ford says it will instead expand a domestic plant, creating 700 jobs.
Ghosn said in an interview with CNBC that the US market is very important for most global automakers.
He said all automakers will be monitoring what measures the new administration takes.
Ghosn said any changes to production in the US will depend on Trump's actions.
Many Japanese auto and parts makers have moved manufacturing to Mexico to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Under NAFTA, tariffs aren't imposed on automobiles exported from Mexico to the US. But companies are growing increasingly concerned that this may change under Trump.