HONG KONG: Huawei Technologies is in talks with Digital China Group and other suitors to sell parts of its Honor smartphone unit in a deal that could fetch up to 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said.
Embattled Huawei is resetting its priorities due to US sanctions and will focus on its higher-end Huawei phones rather than the Honor brand aimed at young people and the budget conscious, they said. The assets to be sold have yet to be finalized but could include Honor’s brand, research and development capabilities and related supply chain management business, two of the people said.
The deal may be an all-cash sale and could end up smaller, worth somewhere between 15 billion yuan and 25 billion yuan.
Digital China, the main distributor for Honor phones, has emerged as the frontrunner but other possible buyers include Chinese electronics maker TCL and rival smartphone maker Xiaomi, the people said, declining to be identified as the talks were confidential.
Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment vendor and No.2 smartphone maker, declined to comment as did TCL. Digital China and Xiaomi did not respond to requests for comment.
The Honor brand was established by Huawei in 2013 but the business mostly operates independently from its parent.
Kuo Ming-chi, an analyst at TF International Securities, has said that any sale by Huawei of the Honor smartphone business would be a win-win situation for the Honor brand, its suppliers and China’s electronics industry.
“If Honor is independent from Huawei, its purchase of components will no longer be subject to the US ban on Huawei. This will help Honor’s smartphone business and the suppliers,” he wrote in a research note last week.
The US government last year moved to prevent most US companies from conducting business with Huawei, saying the tech giant was ultimately answerable to the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied being a national security risk.
In May, Washington announced new rules aimed at constricting Huawei’s ability to procure crucial chips that it designs for 5G networking gear and smartphones.
The Honor brand, which sells its phones online through its own sites and via third-party retailers, competes with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo in the market for lower-end phones in China. Its phones are also sold in Southeast Asia and Europe.
Honor brand smartphones accounted for 14.6 million, or 26 percent of the 55.8 million smartphones Huawei shipped in the second quarter of this year, according to estimates from research firm Canalys.
But margins for lower-end phones can be razor thin, and Honor booked less than 5 billion yuan in net profit on revenue of about 70-80 billion yuan last year.
LONDON: Saudi geologists are collaborating with international colleagues to undertake a vast survey of the Kingdom’s mineral reserves, estimated to be worth $1.3 trillion.
The Regional Geological Survey Program (RGP) aims to conduct a series of surveys over the next six years that are set to provide new opportunities for international mining investors.
The plan has a budget of SR2 billion and is being driven by the Saudi Geological Survey which will survey an area of about 600,000 square kilometers across the geological formation known as the Arabian Shield.
“With the assistance of global experts, and our growing expertise, we can unlock the country’s mineral potential and train local and international geologists,” said RGP Director Wadee Kashghari. “This will be supported by the advantage of the country’s unique geological landscape with limited presence of vegetation cover.”
The survey represents a key component of the mining strategy that forms part of Saudi Vision 2030. It will be conducted in collaboration with technical experts and contractual partners from different countries such as Finland, China, the UK and South Africa.
Some 500 technical staff are working on the program alongside international partners.
The project also aims to help progress junior geological scientists through in-depth training.
The Arabian Shield is the name given to the Precambrian rocks in the western part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Huawei, Honor, Smartphone
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