Geely Finds Success Online with Limited-Edition Model
In a promotional event held Monday, Chinese automaker Geely put 1,000 limited-edition GC9 sedans up for sale on three of the country’s leading e-commerce platforms – JD, Tmall and the online arm of electronics retailer Suning. The vehicles sold out in less than two hours, to the surprise of analysts who had foreseen GC9 sales rising to only about 1,000 units per month following an increase in production capacity later in the year. The GC9 is significant in that it is among the first Geely models to incorporate technology and design features acquired from Volvo, which Geely bought from Ford back in 2010. Starting next year, Geely and Volvo are scheduled to begin producing cars with a shared platform.
SAIC, Alibaba Invest in “Internet of Vehicles”
Late last week, SAIC announced that it would collaborate with Alibaba Group to develop Internet-connected cars. According to the terms of an agreement signed between the companies, the two will contribute equally to a 1 billion yuan fund aimed at building such vehicles and related technologies. According to local media reports, the duo could launch their first Internet-linked car as early as next year.
Uni-President H2 Results: Drink Sales Tumble, Noodle Revenues Stable
Group beverage sales were down 14% year-on-year to 5.9 billion yuan during the second half of 2014 for processed food giant Uni-President China, according to company financial results. Specifically, revenue from ready-to-drink teas and juices dropped 24% and 4.5% respectively. Meanwhile, instant noodle sales were down 0.7% during the June-December period to 4 billion yuan. Such results compare with the 3.93 billion yuan pulled in by Uni-President’s noodle division during the prior six-month period. Overall group revenues totaled 22.48 billion yuan last year, down from 23.3 billion yuan in 2013.
Network Costs Weigh on China Telecom
China Telecom posted 72.8 billion yuan in net profits during the fourth quarter of 2014, up 4% from the same period a year earlier. Net profits were down 31% to 1.5 billion yuan. Average revenue per user was down 3.5% year-on-year to 52.7 yuan during the October-December period, results which came as the carrier recorded a near-zero net mobile subscriber gain for 2014. Surging network operating expenses were a particular source of drag, rising 40.5% year-on-year and 37.1% quarter-on-quarter to 22.738 billion yuan during the three-month period.
Steel Exports Down 24% in Feb; Stocks, Output Edge Higher
Finished steel exports from China plunged 24% month-on-month to 7.8 million tons in February following the end of a controversial export rebate on boron-alloyed products. The Chinese New Year holiday was also a factor behind the sharp drop in shipments, the first of its kind in six months. Meanwhile, figures from the China Iron & Steel Association showed daily crude steel output rising 8% in late-February to an average of 1.8 million tons. Finished steel stockpiles at CISA-member mills were also up 4% to 17.7 million tons as of February 28.
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