1. TENCENT: China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd said on Tuesday it would curb minors’ access to its flagship video game, hours after its shares were battered by a state media article that described online games as “spiritual opium.”
Economic Information Daily cited Tencent’s “Honor of Kings” in an article in which it said minors were addicted to online games and called for more curbs on the industry. The outlet is affiliated with China’s biggest state-run news agency, Xinhua.
China’s largest social media and video game firm saw its stock tumble more than 10% in early trade, wiping almost $60 billion from its market capitalisation. The stock was on track to fall the most in a decade before trimming losses after the article vanished from the outlet’s website and WeChat account.
The broadside comes days after the securities regulator and state media sought to soothe investor fear over the pace and breadth of market reform that sparked a selloff in technology and private education. The CSI300 index last week fell more than 5% for its biggest monthly loss since October 2018.
The attack on the video game sector put investors back on edge.
“News once again caused market concerns about industry regulation,” said Everbright Sun Hung Kai analyst Kenny Ng.
“Under this circumstance, it is expected that game stocks and even the overall technology stocks will still face continuous adjustment pressure,” he said, adding focus will shift to whether firms change their policies for minors’ access.
In the article, the newspaper singled out “Honor of Kings” as the most popular online game among students who, it said, played for up to eight hours a day.
“No industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation,” the newspaper said, likening online video games to “electronic drugs”.
Tencent in a statement said it will introduce measures to reduce minors’ access to and time spent on games. It also called for an industry ban on gaming for children under 12 years old.
2. PFIZER:- The European Union has agreed to pay a premium on new orders of COVID-19 vaccines because it is requiring tougher terms to be met, European officials said, as the bloc tries to protect supplies after a rocky start to its vaccination campaign.
The higher price is less than the United States has agreed to pay in its latest order in July.
On Sunday, the Financial Times reported the EU has agreed to pay Pfizer and BioNTech 19.5 euros ($23.1) for each of their COVID-19 shots under a contract signed in May for up to 1.8 billion doses, up from the 15.5 euros per dose under two initial supply contracts for a total of 600 million vaccines.
The price for Moderna shots went up to $25.5 a dose, the newspaper said, referring to a 300 million vaccine deal, up from $22.6 in its initial deal for 160 million jabs.
EU lawmaker Tiziana Beghin, a member of Italy’s 5-star ruling party, said the EU was being been ripped off.
“It’s inexplicable,” she said.
Moderna’s price is still at the lowest end of the $25-$37 range indicated by the company last year, but Pfizer and BioNTech had previously said prices would be lower for bigger volume deals.
Others said there were good reasons to pay more and that circumstances had changed greatly from when initial deals were struck with drugmakers last year.
France’s European affairs minister Clement Beaune told French radio RFI on Monday the likely higher prices were still under negotiation and were the result of stricter clauses on variants, production and deliveries.
One European official familiar with negotiations with vaccine makers said the value of the drugmakers’ shots had risen since evidence had emerged of their efficacy and of the positive impact they had on helping the economy to recover from a pandemic-induced recession.
3. ZOOM:-Zoom Video Communications Inc agreed to pay $85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook , Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice called Zoombombing.
A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon requires approval by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.
Subscribers in the proposed class action would be eligible for 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15.
Zoom agreed to security measures including alerting users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and to provide specialized training to employees on privacy and data handling.
The San Jose-based company denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
In a statement on Sunday, Zoom said: “The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us.”
Saturday’s settlement came after Koh on March 11 let the plaintiffs pursue some contract-based claims.
Though Zoom collected about $1.3 billion in Zoom Meetings subscriptions from class members, the plaintiffs’ lawyers called the $85 million settlement reasonable given the litigation risks. They intend to seek up to $21.25 million for legal fees.
Zoombombing is where outsiders hijack Zoom meetings and display pornography, use racist language or post other disturbing content.
Koh said Zoom was “mostly” immune for Zoombombing under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms from liability over user content.
4. FERRARI:– Ferrari, the sports car maker synonymous with roaring petrol engines, welcomes the shift to electric powertrains and is confident of retaining its lead in the market for high performance cars, its chairman said on Monday.
The European Union last month proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 as part of its measures to combat global warming, posing a challenge to automakers that have made powerful engines a key selling point.
But Ferrari Chairman and acting CEO John Elkann told analysts on Monday the company known for its ‘Prancing Horse’ logo saw the change in technology as an opportunity.
“We see the regulation as welcome,” Elkann said, as Ferrari stuck to its main 2021 targets after reporting second-quarter core profits just ahead of expectations.
“The opportunity set by electrification, electronics and other technologies that are coming available will allow us to make even more distinct and unique products,” he said.
Ferrari has pledged to launch its first all-electric car in 2025.
On Monday, the company reported a tripling in adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) for the second quarter to 386 million euros ($458 million) as shipments recovered from pandemic-hit trading in the same period last year. That was just ahead of analysts’ mean forecast of 373 million euros.
Ferrari increased its industrial free cash flow guidance for this year to around 450 million euros from around 350 million, but left forecasts for net revenues and adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) unchanged.
.5. QUALCOMM –Qualcomm stock dipped 0.5% Monday as Google said it would drop the chipmaker and instead build its own chips to power its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones this fall.
Repeated attempts by Google over the years to grab market share with its Pixel phones haven’t yielded results. But the announcement by the search giant takes a key client away from the maker of Snapdragon chips that power most of Android phones.
Named after the Tensor processing unit Google uses in its data centers, Tensor SoC won’t be a single processor but a system on a chip (SoC).
Google’s decision to take control of manufacturing of the most critical element of a phone shows the search giant’s desire to control costs and the supply chain. According to reports, the new phones will have premium pricing, showing the company’s intent to take on Apple.