1.TENCENT– Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent will pay out a $16.4 billion dividend by distributing most of its JD (NASDAQ: JD).com stake, weakening its ties to the e-commerce firm and raising questions about its plans for other holdings.
The move comes as Beijing leads a broad regulatory crackdown on technology firms, taking aim at their overseas growth ambitions and domestic concentration of market power.
Tencent said on Thursday it will transfer HK$127.69 billion ($16.37 billion) worth of its JD.com stake to shareholders, slashing its holding in China’s second-biggest e-commerce company to 2.3% from around 17% now and losing its spot as JD.com’s biggest shareholder to Walmart .
The owner of WeChat, which first invested in JD.com in 2014, said it was the right time for the divestment, given the e-commerce firm had reached a stage where it can self-finance its growth.
2.INTEL: U.S. chip maker Intel apologised in China on Thursday after its letter telling suppliers not to source products or labour from the Xinjiang region triggered a backlash, making it the latest western firm to be tripped up over rights issues in the country.
Intel recently published what it described as an annual letter to suppliers, dated December, that it had been “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region”, following restrictions imposed by “multiple governments”.
The United States has accused China of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang, home to the country’s predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, including forced labour. Beijing has repeatedly denied the claims.
Intel’s letter, on the company’s website and in several languages, sparked criticism in China from state and social media, with calls for a boycott.
In a Chinese-language statement on Thursday on its official WeChat and Weibo accounts, Intel said that its commitment to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with U.S. law, rather than a statement of its position on the issue.
“We apologise for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China,” Intel said.
3.ASTRAZENECA:-A three-dose course of AstraZeneca ‘s COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the rapidly-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, the pharmaceutical company said on Thursday, citing data from an Oxford University lab study.
Findings from the study, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, match those from rivals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna which have also found a third dose of their shots works against Omicron.
The study on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Vaxzevria, showed that after a three-dose course of the vaccine, neutralising levels against Omicron were broadly similar to those against the virus’s Delta variant after two doses.
The London-listed company said researchers at Oxford University who carried out the study were independent from those who worked on the vaccine with AstraZeneca.
“As we better understand Omicron, we believe we will find that T-cell response provides durable protection against severe disease and hospitalisations,” Mene Pangalos, the head of AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceuticals R&D said, referring to a critical component of the immune system that responds to fight infection.
Antibody levels against Omicron after the booster shot were higher than antibodies in people who had been infected with and recovered naturally from COVID-19, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker added.
4.TESLA: Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday he was “almost done” with his stock sales after selling over $15 billion worth for more than one month.
The billionaire had made confusing statements as to whether he might or might not be done with his stated goal of selling 10% of his Tesla shares.
“I sold enough stock to get to around 10% plus the option exercise stuff and I tried to be extremely literal here,” he said in an interview on Tuesday with conservative satirical website Babylon Bee.
But on Wednesday he suggested he might not be done. “This assumes completion of the 10b sale,” he tweeted, referring to his prearranged sales plan related to his options.
“There are still a few tranches left, but almost done,” he tweeted later.
Under the Rule 10b5-1 trading plan set up in September, he has exercised stock options that expire next year and sold a portion of the stocks to pay taxes, according to Tesla filings.
Following a flurry of sales, Musk still has about 1.5 million stock options that expire in August next year.
Tesla shares ended 7.5% higher at $1,008.87, valuing the company at just over $1 trillion.
5.EVERGRANDE :Shares of embattled China Evergrande Group opened up 2.1% on Thursday, after the property developer said its risk management committee is utilising its extensive resources and will “actively engage” with its creditors.
The committee, which includes many senior officials from state-owned companies, was set up earlier this month.