Jan 07, 2019 06:10 PM

Monday Tech Briefing: China’s Top Electric-Car Maker Plans $4.5 Billion Shanghai IPO

1. Musk Breaks Ground on Tesla China Plant

After four years of planning, Tesla Inc. is finally breaking ground for its $5 billion factory in the world’s biggest auto market.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be in Shanghai to lay the foundation Monday for what would be the electric-vehicle maker’s first car-manufacturing facility outside the U.S. The China plant is the result of years of negotiations with Beijing, and a personal triumph for Musk who faced a disastrous 2018.

Tesla and Musk are facing a car market that probably shrank last year for the first time since the 1990s as uncertainties surrounding the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, signs of weakening domestic demand in China and a stock slump take a toll on consumers. Tesla also faces competition from startups modeled after Musk’s company. (Bloomberg)

2. China’s Top Electric-Car Maker Plans $4.5 Billion Listing

China’s biggest electric-car maker BAIC Group will gain a stock market listing in an asset swap valuing the state-backed manufacturer at 28.8 billion yuan ($4.5 billion), according to a Shanghai stock exchange filing Monday.

A BAIC affiliate is purchasing BJEV, which will become the first state-owned manufacturer of new-energy vehicles to list on a mainland stock exchange, competing for attention from investors with BYD Co. Ltd., a Warren Buffett-backed carmaker that trades both on the mainland and Hong Kong.

Disclosing a valuation publicly for the first time, BJEV is among companies raising funds and expanding to get a head start as China’s government encourages more clean-energy vehicles to hit the roads. (Bloomberg)

3. Chinese Biotech Firm Aims to Beat Foreign Rivals on Price With New Cancer Drug

Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co. Ltd. aims to sell its recently approved cancer drug for far less than its overseas competitors. The company is in talks with local authorities to make its PD-1 inhibitor eligible for reimbursement by government insurance plans, as a low price would require local governments to pay part of the cost.

The medicine is used to treat certain types of melanoma. According to figures from the Global Cancer Observatory, about 3,800 people in China died of melanoma in 2018, and 7,400 new cases were diagnosed.

Junshi Biosciences raised about $394 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering in December. The money-losing biotech startup reported in its prospectus that it earned most of its revenue from providing consulting services, rather than drug sales. (Caixin)

4. China Nuclear Power Trial With Bill Gates-Linked Company Will ‘Not Proceed’

A nuclear energy development program involving the American company TerraPower LLC and China’s state-owned China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) will “not proceed” with plans to jointly build a demonstration traveling wave reactor in China, a TerraPower representative said Friday.

TerraPower was founded in 2008 and has been developing the traveling wave reactor technology for a decade. Bill Gates was a co-founder. TerraPower signed an agreement with CNNC in 2017 for a joint venture to test the technology in a northern Chinese city.

The suspension is seen as the latest casualty of the Trump administration’s hostility toward Beijing over technology and trade. The company has not been able to test the technology in the U.S. because of regulatory restrictions, Gates said last week. (Caixin)

5. Huawei Unveils New Processor Chip for Servers

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has unveiled a new processor chip for servers as the Chinese telecommunications-gear giant pushes ahead with expansion despite growing scrutiny abroad.

The Kunpeng 920, built with the cutting-edge 7-nanometer production process and semiconductor architecture from ARM Holdings, will compete with the dominant x86 server architecture used by U.S. giants Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Huawei said in a statement Monday.

Huawei is showing no signs of tempering its ambitions even after a number of setbacks on the international stage. The company shipped 918,000 server units in 2018, a 25% increase from the year earlier. (Bloomberg)

6. IDC Releases 10 Predictions on China’s Smartphone Market for 2019

Half of all Chinese smartphones will have artificial intelligence functionality by 2020, according to a list of predictions released by International Data Corp. (IDC) late last week.

IDC also predicts 15% of all smartphones on the Chinese market will be equipped with hardware as well as augmented-reality applications that support 3D modeling by the end of 2019. (Caixin)

Compiled by Isabelle Li

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