Shares in online grocer Ocado have surged by nearly 50% after it struck a deal with US retail giant Kroger. Ocado’s technology will be used in the US exclusively by Kroger, which is one of the world’s biggest grocery chains with annual sales of $122bn (£90bn). Under the terms […]
In Silicon Valley, Chinese ‘accelerators’ aim to bring startups home
NEW YORK/ SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Beijing’s unslakeable thirst for the latest technology has spurred a proliferation of “accelerators” in Silicon Valley that aim to identify promising startups and bring them to China. The surge in the number of China-focused accelerators – which support, mentor and invest in early-stage startups – is part of a larger wave of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley. At least 11 such programs have been created in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013, according to the tech-sector data firm Crunchbase.
Some work directly with Chinese governments, which provide funding. Reuters interviews with the incubators showed that many were focused on bringing U.S. startups to China. For U.S. government officials wary of China’s growing high-tech clout, the accelerator boom reaffirms fears that U.S. technological know-how is being transferred to China through investments, joint ventures or licensing agreements.
China does not want to see escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tension
BEIJING (Reuters) – China does not want to see escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions, its commerce ministry said on Thursday, expressing hope that the two sides could minimize conflict during talks being held in the United States.
China hopes the U.S. will take action as soon as possible on the case of Chinese technology company ZTE and resolve it in a fair manner, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a regular briefing. U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help ZTE Corp “get back into business, fast” after a U.S. ban crippled it, offering a job-saving concession to Beijing ahead of this week’s talks.
Toyota, Hyundai, Ford lead 9.6 percent European car sales gain
PARIS (Reuters) – European car sales rose 9.6 percent in April, led by Toyota (7203.T), Hyundai (005380.KS) and Ford (F.N), and boosted by an increase in the number of business days, according to industry data published on Thursday. Registrations in EU and European Free Trade Area countries advanced to 1.349 million cars last month from 1.231 million a year earlier, Brussels-based industry association ACEA said.
Thanks to the timing of this year’s Easter holiday, European showrooms were open for business on more days last month than in April 2017, helping the year-on-year progression. Toyota and Hyundai posted sales increases of 20.3 and 15.3 percent respectively, while Ford’s registrations were up 14 percent and Volkswagen Group’s (VOWG_p.DE) up 13.1 percent.
Asia oil thirst tab $1 trillion a year as crude rises to $80
SINGAPORE/MUMBAI/MANILA (Reuters) – Oil prices are poised to break through $80 per barrel and Asia’s demand is at a record, pushing the cost of the region’s thirst for crude to $1 trillion this year, about twice what it was during the market lull of 2015/2016. Oil prices have gained 20 percent since January to just shy of $80 per barrel LCOc1, a level not seen since 2014. [O/R]
With the U.S. dollar .DXY – in which virtually all oil is traded – also growing stronger, concerns are rising that economies will take a hit, especially in import-reliant Asia. Surging costs could have an inflationary effect that will hurt both consumers and companies.
“Asia is most vulnerable to an oil price spike,” Canadian investment bank RBC Capital Markets warned in a note this month, after oil prices hit their highest since November 2014.
Asia-Pacific consumes more than 35 percent of the 100 million barrels of oil the world uses each day, according to industry data, with the region’s global share steadily rising. Asia is also the world’s smallest oil producing region, accounting for less than 10 percent of output.
WeChat’s owner Tencent sees profits soar by more than 60%
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings has posted a record quarterly profit for the three months to March, sending its shares up more than 5% on Thursday. The firm, which owns the popular messaging app WeChat, posted a 61% year-on-year jump in profit, to 23.29bn yuan ($3.7bn; £2.73bn).
Tencent’s online games, like the hugely popular Honour of Kings, boosted revenues by 26%. WeChat, which is a bit like WhatsApp, is now China’s biggest social network.