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Dow Investigated Wall Street Journal Bribery Allegations Dow Investigated Wall Street Journal Bribery Allegations

March 18, 2013 - Dow Jones & Co announced it had not found any signs of impropriety in its operations in China, following a report by the Wall Street Journal that a whistle blower accused some employees at the Journal of bribing officials in China for information.

The Justice Department in the U.S. had requested that the Dow investigate the incident, as part of a probe into the phone hacking scandal of 2011 in Britain at News Corp., its parent company.

As of yet it is unclear whether the DOJ was satisfied with the findings by Dow or will continue to look at the allegations themselves. A DOJ spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

On Sunday, the WSJ reported online that an informant who was not identified had told representatives from the DOJ that employees at the Journal had given Chinese officials gifts in exchange for important information.

News Corp. said it was unaware of the informant’s name and to the DOJ some of its officials suspected it had been a Chinese government official upset with the reporting by the Journal about the leadership of China.

Regulators in both the UK and U.S. are investigating News Corp over allegations that British tabloid News of the World, which is now closed, bribed officials and hacked phones. Legal analysts said that News Corp could be investigated for possibly violating the U.S. Corrupt Practices Act.

On Sunday, News Corp said in a prepared statement that with regard to the matters in the UK, the company had delivered on its commitment to uncover all wrongdoing. It also said it felt confident about what had been done by the company to put the business back on the right path, which included compliance programs, ethics requirements and sweeping changes on global internal controls.

Volkswagen targets increase of 60% in Vehicle Production in China Volkswagen targets increase of 60% in Vehicle Production in China

March 14, 2013 - The largest automaker in Europe, Volkswagen AG, announced plans to up its production in China by 60% prior to 2018. Last year, the German automaker’s earnings in China increased by nearly half.

The supervisory board approved a new plant for China that will build up to 300,000 new vehicles annually. The plant is scheduled to start operation in 2016, said CEO Martin Winterkorn. China capacity will increase to over 4 million vehicles annually in 2018 as the company adds seven more factories for building vehicles in China.

VW is putting its faith in growth for both the U.S. and China, along with increases in its luxury car Audi brand to help offset lower demand in recession hit Europe. The VW CEO said that the company was experiencing headwinds in the global market from competition, particularly at home.

The CEO said the potential for China was enormous, but even that market slowed to single digit growth from double digit and will remain that way for the near future.

VW was down by close to 4% in Thursday trading, the lowest price for intraday trading since November 23 of last year. This year the stock is off by over 6.7%.

Volkswagen has a goal of overtaking General Motors and Toyota to become the biggest worldwide carmaker before the end of 2018. Last year its two ventures in auto making in China accounted for more than 2.61 million autos, which was over 28% of the total vehicles the company sold across the globe for 2012.

VW also owns Porsche, Seat and Skoda brands and will construct a minimum of 10 plants that will include 7 in China, raising its number of factories in China to 19.

New York Times Hacked by Chinese New York Times Hacked by Chinese

January 31, 2013 - Chinese hackers have launched repeated cyber attacks on the New York Times website since the newspaper upset the government in Beijing by publishing an article online that exposed a senior politician’s wealth.

On Thursday, the paper released a report that detailed the way hackers attacked the site. The paper said the hackers used tactics that the Chinese military had used in the past and broke into its site to steal passwords to the emails of several of the paper’s senior reporters and other people who work for the paper.

The New York Times said the different attacks first began around the same time the paper published an October story that detailed the alleged $2.7 billion wealth that the family of Wen Jaibao, the outgoing Premier of China had accumulated.

At that time, China was angry at the story, which was threatening the reputation of the soon to be ex-premier’s clean image. The paper was blocked by the Chinese government and the government threatened the paper with unspecified consequences.

The New York Times said the hacking by China was discovered by a computer security business called Mandiant. The company alerted the paper about the cyber attacks only a day after the article about Jiabao had been published.

The paper is still not aware of how the network was broken into by the hackers, but it believes an email to employees was used that contained a malicious link or attachments. Soon after that, says the paper, the hackers were able to steal the passwords from every employee at the Times.

At that point, the hackers used the passwords to gain access to many of the personal computers of employees with the alleged goal of finding the sources for the article that had been published about Jaibao. The primary target, said Times’ officials was David Barboza, the Times bureau chief in Shanghai who was the author of the original articles.

 

Lenovo announces record Profits for Quarter beating Forecasts Lenovo announces record Profits for Quarter beating Forecasts

January 30, 2013 - Lenovo Group Ltd., the Chinese computer maker, is headed towards becoming the top personal computer maker in the world and reported a profit for the quarter that was 33% higher than last year during the same period. Lenovo gained much more market share in the personal computer market and made big inroads in the business of smartphones.

The maker of the ThinkPad, also the No. 2 smartphone vendor in China, on Wednesday said its net profits for their third quarter of October through December had increased to $204.91 million. The profit figure beat estimates of $178 million of analysts. Lenovo has gained PC market share in a rapid way after making acquisitions over the last couple of years. The couple now just trails Hewlett-Packard in PC shipments by a slim margin according to a research group in the industry.

As the demand for PC’s slows, Lenovo has diversified into mobile phones to tap into the huge demand for tablets and smartphones, particularly in China, the biggest market in the world for mobile phones as well as personal computers.

Lenovo will face new challenges from companies such as Asustek and Acer as they begin to roll out PC and tablets that are cheaper and aggressively market them to specific targets such as in China, which traditionally has been a stronghold for Lenovo.

Revenue for Lenovo grew by 12% overall during the third quarter to $9.4 billion, with most of that coming from PC sales. Only about one tenth of its revenue stream is from its digital home and mobile internet business, which consists of smartphone sales mainly in China that experienced a jump of more than 77% to over $998 million during the quarter.

Lenovo shares increased during 2012 by 36%, which outpaced the Hang Seng stock market in Asia, which increased overall by just 23%.

Islands Dispute Escalates as China and Japan Fighter Jets Arrive Islands Dispute Escalates as China and Japan Fighter Jets Arrive

January 20, 2013 - At first, the airspace overlooking the East China Sea was tranquil. Last week a civilian surveillance plane was sent by the Chinese government to fly close to the islands at the center of an escalating feud between Japan and China. Tokyo responded by ordering F-15 fighters to fly over the area to investigation what they called meddling by the Chinese. China in turn responded to Japan’s response with its own fighter jets.

That was just the first time since the dispute erupted last year over the uninhabited islands that both the Japanese and Chinese had supersonic military fighters simultaneously in the air. It significantly increased the risk that a mistake could be made leading to an armed conflict during a time when the two countries, despite mutual interests economically, are experiencing a heightened period of nationalism that brings back to mind their rivalry that has been longstanding.

The new prime minister for Japan Shinzo Abe has had his invitation to Washington delayed and announced he was embarking on a Southeast Asia tour intended to cut into the influence of China in the area.

Abe said on Friday he had to cut his Asia trip short to return to Japan to help deal with the ongoing hostage crisis in the Sahara. Hillary Clinton the Secretary of the State for the U.S. said that Abe would meet in February with the President.

What is behind the dispute between China and Japan is the changing economic and military dynamic in Asia. In Japan, many experts speak of a country preparing for a decline, but Abe stressed how he does not agree that there will be a decline.

On the other side, China is full of confidence revealing it believes the 21st century is China’s and the islands are just the starting point.

Apple iPhone 5 Debuts in China with Two Million Units Sold Apple iPhone 5 Debuts in China with Two Million Units Sold

December 18, 2012 - In its first three days of sales in China, the iPhone 5 sold 2 million units. Apple has tried to counter some speculation that their new smartphone had a lukewarm reception in the market in China by revealing how many handsets it sold in just the first three days it debuted.

On Friday, the day the iPhone debuted, reports were that the Apple Stores had been relatively quiet, in contrast to the iPhone 4S debut, which nearly led to rioting in January. Apple sent out a statement reassuring its investors that announced the new iPhone 5 broke a previous sales record for China.

Tim Cook the CEO of Apple said in the statement that customer response towards the iPhone 5 had been great in China, setting sales records with the best first three days ever in the country. Cook added that the market in China is hugely important for the company and it is great to see that customers cannot wait to purchase our products.

The disclosure by Apple, that has been looked at by some as a defensive move, came following remarks by analysts that said they did not think the iPhone 5 would be as successful in China as other previous devices by Apple had been. Analysts said part of that was due to increased local competition.

During August, a report showed that Apple’s market share in the smartphone market in China had fallen 50% over a one year period to about 10%, while the market overall in China grew at a rapid pace.

UBS has slashed its target price for Cupertino, California based Apple to $700 from $780 because of lower expectations of sales in China. One report said that Apple had lowered its shipments of iPhones to China for the third quarter to 3.3 million, which was down from its first quarter shipments of 5.7 million.

However, next year, Apple should redouble its efforts in China through a new deal with carrier China Mobile, the largest network operator in China, which has subscribers in the range of 700 million.

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