Tag: Japan

Canon raises its aim

Japan’s Canon lifted its full year operating profit forecast after reporting strong first-quarter results on the back of earnings from a medical equipment unit it bought from Toshiba last year.

The camera and printer maker forecast profit of $2.43 billion, up from $2.28 billion estimated in January. It reported profit of $2.05 billion in the previous year

The upbeat outlook suggests Canon’s strategy to diversify has begun to reward the company after the $5.8 billion acquisition of the Toshiba unit and the $2.8 billion takeover of Swedish video-surveillance firm Axis AB.

Canon also said the two existing businesses that have long dragged its earnings down – laser printers and cameras – are also showing signs of bottoming out.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka told an earnings briefing that recovery in the Chinese and other emerging economies is pushing up demand for laser printers, while continued popularity of so-called mirrorless cameras is driving camera sales.

For the January-March quarter, Canon said operating profit jumped 88.8 percent

Smutty VR exhibition suffers premature evacuation

maxresdefaultA Japanese VR sex festival had to shut down early after virtual porn fans caused overcrowding fears.

It seems that any thoughts that porn would not be the driving force for VR hardware were dismissed as streams of locals over filled the Adult VR Fest 01 in the Akihabara region of Tokyo.

A Japanese reporter told the world that those who did get to go inside got a bit excited.

VR porn enthusiasts rushed to have a go at some of the latest virtual reality gadgets. It was only a small exhibition, so about 20 got inside while a large crowd jostled for position outside in the queue.

Organisers called the event off saying they needed a bigger venue.

“There were so many that it was almost impossible to keep the situation under control. While waiting for my friends, I couldn’t help but think that if they couldn’t control the mass of people, a riot or something similar could happen,” one person in the crowd told the press.

It all appeared to be men, another hack noticed.

“They don’t like this world, and they know women don’t see them in a good light. They have their own needs that have yet to be fulfilled, but they don’t want to bother anyone with them,” one report noted.


Foxconn presses ahead with Sharp buyout

sharp2Although it seemed the deal was on the rocks, Foxconn has completed its due diligence into Sharp, but is seeking guidance from the loss making electronics maker on its latest quarterly performance.

Foxconn appears close to finalising a takeover of Sharp, estimated to worth nearly $6 billion and marking the largest purchase of a Japanese tech firm by a foreign company.

The deal may not happen this week as both outfits were working hard to reach a satisfactory agreement as soon as practically possible and have not set a signing date.

Investors are edge about the deal’s prospects after a last-minute hitch  over potential liabilities at Sharp and the display maker’s shares slid 9 percent on Wednesday.

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract maker of electronic goods and a major supplier to Apple is waiting for auditors and accountants of Sharp to confirm whether the liabilities it has uncovered in its due diligence through the end of 2015 are correct.

It is also seeking guidance from Sharp’s team about its latest quarterly performance, the person said.

In early February, Sharp said it expected an operating profit of$88 million for the year ending in March.


Foxconn offered $5.3 billion to buy Sharp

sharp2Foxconn wanted to get its foot in the door of the display business and offered $5.3 billion to buy the troubled Japanese outfit Sharp.

According to the Wall Street Journal said that while Sharp would be happy with the deal, Japanese officials are a little wary about it.  It would mean that the Japanese outfit will come under foreign control along with its display technology.

Industry minister Motoo Hayashi said that “Japan’s technology is leading the rest of the world and we would like to help make it even more competitive.”

In fact it has been suggested that banks are currently reviewing a competing offer from Innovation Network, a Japanese-government backed investment fund.

If iPhone 6s fails, many will suffer

Dads Army Frazier - doomedSmartphone sales are falling, even for the fruity cargo cult Apple and it is starting to look like if the next iPhone 6s goes tits up many companies will go under.

Japan Display Chief Executive Mitsuru Homma said Apple is increasing orders ahead of the expected launch of the new iPhone this month.   This is the only good news for the company which has been suffering a lot lately.

Homma said that despite weakness in the Chinese market, Apple was confident that it would sell mire iPhones than ever.

“They’re coming to us with more orders, saying ‘give us more, give us more’. They keep increasing,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook last week reassured shareholders about the strength of the Chinese market for iPhones after a slump in China’s stock market and the devaluation of the yuan rattled investors. However all his figures were before the crash and do not take into account that Chinese buyers might be a lot more careful now about what they spend their money on.

But Cook’s optimism may not be that useful for the likes of Japan Display. The company was formed in a government-backed deal in 2012 from the ailing display units of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi.  Its recovery has been based purely because of strong Apple orders.   If the iPhone 6s tanks, Jobs Mob will have to retrench it could take Japan Display with it.

Apple and Foxconn will survive if the iPhone 6s does not sell well in China, but other companies, which are dependent on Jobs’ Mob will not be so lucky.

Many will be alarmed at rumours that the new iPhone 6s is not going to be a game changer and might actually be worse than the iPhone 6.  Tech news site cnBeta says the battery capacity of the standard-sized new iPhone will be reduced from 1810 milliampere hours to 1715 mAh, and the large-screened model will drop from 2910 to 2750 mAh. That amounts to a power drop of 5.3 per cent for the iPhone 6S and of 5.5 per cent for the larger iPhone 6S Plus or 7 Plus.

The phone is also touted to be heavier as Apple fixes the structural problems which made the iPhone 6 bend.

Solar panels set to become cheaper

Solar farm in Arizona - Wikimedia CommonsIndia is now the fastest growing photovoltaic (PV) market, knocking Britain into fourth place.

That’s according to a Trendforce Energy Trend report, which said that the Chinese PV industry exported 12GW of modules during the first half of this year, of which 6GW went to Japan, the US and India.

International disputes over PV production will not stop both China and Taiwan to create additional manufacturing capacity for modules.

China had been hit by tariff impositions and that’s caused retaliation from the country, which has imposed high tariffs on US and European polysilicon companies.

American and European companies are likely to reduce their capacities because of the import barriers China has placed on them.

Many companies, said Energy Trend, are looking to establish PV production facilities in India as it is such a bouyant market.

The competitive nature of the market is, the analysts warn, likely to cause consolidation and strategic alliances in the short term.

Here’s Trendforce Energy Trend’s map of Chinese module exports.

Chinese PV exports first half of 2015

Smart ID cards show flat growth

French revolutionary playing cardsGovernment investment in ID cards has been slow over the last two years and showed a somewhat flat growth of 2.4 percent in 2014.

According to ABI Research, only 10 million units shipped worldwide, with several governments canning the projects they’d projected.

Russia and Japan put their smart national ID card projects on ice while France decided to can smart driver licences and after being challenged by human rights activists, also decided not to issue a smart national ID card. Brazil also put a similar programme on hold.

ABI senior analyst Phil Sealy said the market for government smart ID cards will rely on renewals with flat growth expected this year and next.

Sealy said that from a vendor perspective, forecasting revenues is getting to be more difficult.

“Politics plays a major role in the overall success or failure of any project, further exacerbated by the majority of projects which are non-mandated and specific to one country which can ultimately be delayed or even cancelled at any given time.”

Sealy said that vendors need to be patient.

Floating solar rafts come to light

Kyocera floating solar raftsJapanese firm Kyocera said that it has finished construction of two floating solar power plants in Japan.

The floating rafts, built at Nishira Pond and Higashihira Pond in the Hyogo preferecture will generate 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) a year. The first wil generate 1.7MW, and the second 1.2MW.

The rafts use a total of 11,256 modules and started operation at the end of March. The electricity the rafts generate will be sold to the local utility.

Kyocera said solar rafts generate more electricity than ground mounted or rooftop systems because the water cools them. They also reduce evaporation from the reervoirs and limit the growth of algae.

The platforms are completely recyclable and use high density polyethelene, as well as being designed to resist natural forces such as typhoons.

Sharp bailout deal agreed

sharp2Japan’s Sharp and its main banks are about to agree on a $1.7 billion rescue and restructuring plan which involves splitting off its ailing smartphone display business.

This will be Sharp’s second major bailout in three years.  Under the deal Sharp’s lenders, Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, will inject a combined $1.7 billion in a debt-for-equity swap.

Sharp has promised to scale back its North American television operations and cut around 5,000 jobs, or 10 percent of its global workforce.

LCD operations will also be split off in the long term but for now will continue to be owned by Sharp.

What had slowed down the talks was the extent of job cuts and restructuring. Sharp had not wanted to split off the LCD division, which accounts for 30 percent of Sharp’s sales.

Analysts have said splitting off the division could pave the way for a deal such as a merger with rival Japan Display which is something that Sharp does not want.

The deal is all rumour and speculation and nothing will be “official” until May – but it seems to be going ahead.  The deal will be finalised later today.

Google splashes out on sea cable

Google is considering buying its own cable across the Pacific Ocean which can connect to its US data centres.

Google already has taken a stake in a similar $300 million cable in 2010, and in this case the Internet search outfit would use the new subsea cable to connect data centers in Oregon and Japan.

Most of Google’s bandwidth is reserved for its private ‘B4’ network, which transmits emails, YouTube videos among other data, the report said. The network carries more traffic than the public-facing one the company uses to transmit search results to the Internet.

The shift gives the companies more control over quality and prioritisation of their traffic before it reaches consumers. The search giant would control its own portion of the new subsea cable.

Part of Google’s problem is that US telcos are uninterested in investing in backbone and are instead lobbying their tame politicans to let them get more money from internet companies like Google.

Google’s answer to this might be to buy its own backbone so that it can stick two fingers at the US comms companies. While this is expensive it is a lot cheaper in the long term as the US comm companies are getting more greedy. Google’s next stage would be to buy an undersea cable connecting to the EU.