[Tech Briefs] Tesla’s growth may slow; Ma becomes Alibaba’s top shareholder

Produced by Sohu Technology

Editor: Zhang Lezhou

Today is Thursday, January 25th. Let’s take a look at the major events in the tech world from last night and this morning. Please pay attention to today’s tech morning news.

Important tech news today:

1. Indian entertainment company Zee sues Sony, striving to restart a $10 billion merger deal

2. Airbus’ first aircraft full-lifecycle service center starts operation in Chengdu, Sichuan, China

3. Toyota CEO believes electric vehicles can only hold up to 30% of the market share

4. China’s first quantum network experiment without interference was successful

5. Apple launches the new VR system: Vision Pro 1.0.1 update

【Latest from the Giants】

Indian entertainment company Zee sues Sony, striving to restart a $10 billion merger deal

Indian entertainment company Zee Entertainment stated on Wednesday that it has urged Sony to resume their $10 billion merger and has filed a lawsuit against the Japanese tech giant concerning the terminated deal. Earlier this week, Sony announced the cancellation of the merger with Zee’s Indian subsidiary. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the breakdown was due to Sony’s refusal to retain Zee’s CEO Punit Goenka post-merger. Zee holds significant media influence in India, owning multiple TV channels, a film studio, and a streaming service. Zee claims that Sony is seeking $90 million as breakup fee for the failed merger, alleging that “ZEEL (Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited) is accused of violating the terms of the ‘merger cooperation agreement’ and has initiated arbitration and is seeking interim relief against ZEEL.” (IT Home)

ASML lithography machine orders surged in Q4 2023, with the Chinese market as the largest contributor

The global semiconductor industry is experiencing a strong recovery, with lithography giant ASML Holding NV reporting a 250% surge in orders in the fourth quarter, soaring from €2.6 billion in Q3 to €9.19 billion (RMB 71.59 billion), surpassing analysts’ average forecast of €3.6 billion and setting a historic record, driven by increased demand for its most advanced equipment. ASML reported a 30% net sales growth in 2023, reaching €27.6 billion. China accounted for 29% of its lithography system sales, up from 14% the previous year. Looking ahead, Wennink stated that 2023 was the company’s best year in history, but 2024 will not see another 30% growth. ASML had previously predicted that growth for this year would remain flat, with 2025 expected to be a harvest year. (IT Home)

Airbus’ first aircraft full-lifecycle service center starts operation in Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Airbus’ aircraft full-lifecycle service center announced its commencement of operations today, offering solutions for aircraft full-lifecycle management, located in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. As its first one-stop service center, the Airbus aircraft full-lifecycle service center caters to various aircraft models, covering services from aircraft parking, storage, maintenance, upgrades, modifications, disassembly, recycling, to post-disassembly second-hand aircraft material distribution. The service center has obtained relevant certifications from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, with a future planned total area of 717,000 square meters and the capacity to accommodate 125 aircraft. From its launch to 2025, the center will gradually expand operations, directly employing 150 staff. (IT Home)

Ford recalls nearly 1.9 million vehicles in the US due to A-pillar trim detachment risk

On January 24th, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that Ford is recalling 1.891 million 2011-2019 Explorer vehicles as the exterior trim on the A-pillar may detach, posing a road hazard and increasing the risk of collisions. (Jiemian)

Spotify to update its European app, allowing iPhone users to subscribe within the app

On January 24th, Spotify announced it will update its app in Europe to allow iPhone users to subscribe and purchase audiobooks within the app. In most regions, Apple’s App Store rules prohibit companies like Spotify from directly charging users within the app. (Jiemian)

ASML: Several lithography machines will not receive export licenses to China in 2024, affecting sales by 10-15%

Dutch lithography machine manufacturer ASML released its financial report for Q4 2023 and the full year, with a total net sales of €27.6 billion, a 30% year-on-year growth. China accounted for 29% of its lithography system sales, up from 14% the previous year. ASML’s CFO, Roger Dassen, stated that China’s performance in 2023 was very strong, but most of the delivered equipment was based on orders from 2022 or even earlier. He expects that after the latest export control regulations issued by the Netherlands and the US take effect, the impact on China’s market sales in 2024 will be between 10% to 15%. (Global Network)

Apple Reportedly Plans to Charge for Downloads Outside of the App Store in Europe

On January 24, it was reported that Apple is planning to introduce new fees and restrictions for downloading third-party software outside its app store in Europe, in response to a new European law. The company’s plan is only applicable in Europe. (The Wall Street Journal)

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines May Consider Alternatives to Boeing Aircraft

According to US media reports on January 23, both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines expressed disappointment with the quality of Boeing aircraft and are considering alternatives for future aircraft purchases. (Interface)

Tesla Shares Fall 5% After Hours: Q4 Earnings Miss Expectations, Warns of Slower Growth This Year

Last year, Tesla experienced its first annual profit decline since 2017, with a significant 40% drop in fourth-quarter profits. Revenue and earnings per share were below expectations, and the company warned of slower growth in production, deliveries, and shipments this year. Additionally, Tesla did not announce delivery targets for the year, causing its stock price to drop by 5% after hours. Tesla mentioned it is focusing on researching its next generation of models, which CEO Elon Musk stated would be “low-cost” and are expected to begin production in late 2025. (Wall Street Insight)

[Technology Figures]

Airbus EVP: Regards Sichuan as a Long-term Partner, Hopes to Strengthen Cooperation on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production

According to a release from Sichuan, on January 24, Huang Qiang, the Deputy Secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee and Governor of Sichuan, met Airbus Executive Vice President Mun in Chengdu. Mun appreciated the professional and efficient support from Sichuan Province and Chengdu city for the Airbus Aircraft Lifecycle Service Center project. He expressed that Airbus views Sichuan as a long-term partner and looks forward to deepening cooperation on sustainable aviation fuel production and general aviation services, aiming to make Sichuan a significant industrial and service cooperation base for Airbus. (Interface)

Jack Ma Overtakes SoftBank as Alibaba’s Largest Shareholder

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Jack Ma increased his Alibaba shareholding by approximately $50 million, raising his stake to over 4.3%. In recent years, SoftBank has been steadily reducing its Alibaba shares through forward contract transactions, decreasing its share from about 7% in December 2022 to 2% in March of last year, and further dropping to less than 0.5% by May. Consequently, Jack Ma has now become Alibaba’s largest shareholder, taking the position from SoftBank. Furthermore, Joseph Tsai, through his family investment platform Blue Pool Capital, purchased $150 million of Alibaba shares in the fourth quarter of 2023, making Tsai the second largest shareholder after Ma. (Netease)

COMAC’s Zhang Yujin: C919 Production Capacity Expected to Gradually Expand, Plans to Invest Tens of Billions in Expansion Over the Next Three to Five Years

On January 24, Zhang Yujin, a Shanghai People’s Congress delegate and Deputy General Manager of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), revealed at the Shanghai Two Sessions that the C919 production capacity is expected to continue expanding steadily this year, aiming for fast and high-quality production. Additionally, there are plans to invest tens of billions over the next three to five years to increase production capacity. (The Paper)

Toyota CEO Believes Electric Vehicles Will Max Out at 30% Market Share

Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, has long been resistant to electric vehicles, recently stating that electric vehicles could only reach a maximum of 30% market share. The remainder would be occupied by hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and combustion engine vehicles. He pointed out that with 1 billion people globally lacking access to electricity, high-cost electric vehicles do not solve the problem. Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to this view, calling it “unbelievable.” (ZOL)

[Policy News]

China’s First Crosstalk-Free Quantum Network Experiment Achieved Success

Recently, a team led by Professor Duan Luming from Tsinghua University’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences has achieved the world’s first crosstalk-free quantum network node, marking a significant breakthrough for future quantum communication and large-scale quantum computing.

The research team used dual-type quantum bits encoded with the same ions to prepare “communication qubits” that can be entangled with photons and “storage qubits” for information storage. Additionally, they achieved microsecond-level coherent conversion between the two types of quantum bits through laser technology. (ZOL)

China Develops Advanced Aviation Engines Represented by “Yulong”

China has developed a series of advanced medium and small aviation engines represented by “Yulong”, AES100, AEF100, and AEP100. On this basis, it has innovatively developed hybrid electric power systems and successfully conducted research on hydrogen fuel turbine engines, reducing carbon emissions. (Xinhua News Agency)

Hedge Fund Qube Places $1 Billion Short Bet on German Stocks, Including Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank

As global demand for German goods slows, Qube Research & Technologies Ltd. has accumulated over $1 billion in short positions on German companies. Regulatory filing data shows that the hedge fund increased its short positions on companies like Volkswagen, including revealing a $131.8 million short position on Deutsche Bank. This is the largest disclosed short position in German stocks. (Sina Finance)

European Commission Approves Joint Venture Between Mercedes-Benz and BMW

On January 24, the European Commission announced that, under the EU Merger Regulation, it has approved the establishment of a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz (China) Investment Co., Ltd. and Brilliance BMW Automobile Co., Ltd. The transaction mainly involves the market for public charging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles in China. The European Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns given its limited impact on the European Economic Area. The transaction was reviewed under the simplified merger review procedure.
On November 30th of last year, Mercedes-Benz (China) Investment Co., Ltd. and Huachen BMW Automobile Co., Ltd. announced the signing of a cooperation agreement. The two parties will establish a joint venture company in China with a 50:50 ratio to operate a supercharging network in the Chinese market, aiming to meet the increasing demand of Chinese customers for luxury charging services (Jiemian).

Qatar Energy Company: Red Sea Situation May Affect LNG Deliveries

On January 24th, Qatar Energy Company stated that its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production is ongoing, but the situation in the Red Sea may impact the timing of some deliveries as the company may opt for alternative routes (Jiemian).

[Product Update]

Apple Launches New VR System: Vision Pro 1.0.1 Update

Recently, Apple rolled out the visionOS 1.0.1 update for Vision Pro, a minor version upgrade mainly focused on bug fixes. It is known that Vision Pro comes with visionOS 1.0 pre-installed, allowing users to directly update to version 1.0.1 upon receiving the device.

Vision Pro is a new spatial computing operating system based on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, sharing core modules with macOS and iOS at the architectural level, including iOS and spatial frameworks, a multi-app 3D engine, audio engine, dedicated rendering subsystems, and real-time subsystems. Notably, among these modules is a real-time subsystem used for handling interactive visual effects.

Unlike other AR/VR operating systems, visionOS truly revolutionizes how users interact with Vision Pro. Users can navigate applications by simply looking, tapping lightly, or using voice commands. Furthermore, Apple plans to release visionOS 2.0 at WWDC in June this year, introducing more features and gameplay (Zhongguancun Online).

Porsche’s Electric Flagship Taycan to Receive Mid-term Update, Doubling Battery Charging Speed

Porsche’s brand-new electric model Taycan is set to undergo a mid-term update, which can be considered as a generational leap. Reportedly, the Porsche team subjected the Taycan sedan, Cross Turismo, and Sport Turismo models to rigorous testing exceeding 3.6 million kilometers globally, ranging from scorching Death Valley to the icy landscapes of the Finnish Arctic.

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