May, 2020

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 21, 2020

‘Our survival is at stake now,’ Chinese Telecom giant Huawei crumbles after US ban on Semiconductor exports

Original Source TFIPost by Amit Agrahari 19 May 2020 in Opinions

Huawei, China, Trump, USA, Xi Jinping

Huawei, the largest Chinese technology giant with annual revenue of more than 120 billion dollars, has said that its “survival” is at stake after USA’s semiconductor (chip) export restrictions on the company. “We will now work hard to figure out how to survive,” said Guo Ping, rotating chairman, at Huawei’s annual analyst conference. “Survival is the keyword for us now.”

Earlier, on Friday, the US released new guidelines regarding the export of semiconductors, the most essential part of any consumer electronics and technology equipments. As per new guidelines, any foreign company which seeks to export semiconductors based on secret American design has to apply for a license to US Department of Commerce, which the department is most likely to deny.

The US Commerce Secretary explicitly said that the Department will “narrowly and strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors”. Given the fact that semiconductors are the most essential device for any consumer electronics or telecommunication device; this ban would result in the collapse of Huawei.

“This new rule will impact the expansion, maintenance, and continuous operations of networks worth hundreds of billions of dollars that we have rolled out in more than 170 countries,” Huawei said in a statement.

In May last year, the US put a ban on American technology export to Huawei by its companies, but many countries in East Asia like Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea manufacture consumer electronics essentials using American technology. Therefore, it was easy for Huawei to game the US export ban and import these products from other East Asian countries, but with new rules in place, even these countries will not be able to supply equipments to the Chinese giant.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a Taiwanese company that manufactures semiconductors based on secretive American design, announced that the company would not take any new order from Huawei.

Huawei is the second-largest customer- accounting for 14 percent of total orders- to the Taiwanese company which manufactures semiconductors for all top consumer electronics of the world including Apple. Therefore, the ban is bound to hurt TSMC’s business but they would have to follow American rules, as they use secretive American technology to design chips.

Semiconductor, popularly known as the chip, is very essential in manufacturing any modern electronic equipment ranging from Smartphones to Refrigerators, and with the ban on access to it; Huawei would head nowhere in the global technology race.

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 18, 2020

Job losses, pay cuts, force Cambodians into bad debts

Job losses, pay cuts, force Cambodians into bad debts

VOA Khmer reported on Debts Disaster Cambodia

Sangeetha Amarthalingam
Original Reference: Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 14 May 2020 | 22:04 ICT

The unrelenting negative economic effect of Covid-19 on businesses and banks’ stringent procedures have put Cambodians in a bind over term loans

In the mid-1970s, when the city crashed and burned in a warped socialist uprising led by Communist Party of Kampuchea leader Pol Pot, untold fear gripped the people.

Today, although less menacing, the fear is surreal as Covid-19 does a number on the economy.

It has resulted in thousands of documented job displacements in the garment sector, and wage cuts among white collar workers in Cambodia, although this has yet to be quantified.

The situation is graver because garment workers, as past studies show, stimulate the economy in the informal sector which is made up of street food vendors, hairdressers and transport providers.

A rough estimate shows that each wage earner in the garment sector supports five to six persons in the informal sector via local economic stimulation.

The government estimates that the temporary loss of some 150,000 jobs in the garment sector would indirectly affect some one million people in the informal sector.

David Van, senior associate of Platform Impact, a public-private partnership, said: “The government’s so-called Covid-19 stimulus plan is [also] not leading anywhere as small- and medium-sized enterprises are finding difficulty securing loans.

“If they close shop permanently, then there would be fewer jobs in the future. The picture is very grim.”

As if that was not bad enough, nearly 90,000 Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand who flooded back home amid the crisis will likely raise the unemployment rate in the Kingdom.

All these could veritably point to an expected growth in indebtedness among Cambodians. Up to 2018, the Credit Bureau of Cambodia recorded $20.9 billion in overall outstanding loan balances, representing 3.3 million active borrowers from 157 financial institutions.

Besides, an updated May report by NGOs Licadho and Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) on the debt crisis faced by the lower strata of the society revealed that more than 2.6 million Cambodian borrowers held more than $10 billion in microfinance debt by the end of 2019.

The report “Driven Out – One village’s experience with microfinance institutions (MFIs) and cross-border migration” said the amount constituted an average loan size of $3,804.

This is supposedly the highest figure in the world, and an increase on an “already troubling” average of $3,370 as of December 31, 2018.

“This debt, the majority of which is collateralised by land titles, continues to pose a significant threat to land tenure security for indebted families and has led to other serious and systematic human rights abuses across the country, including debt-driven migration,” Licadho and STT said.

Based on the report, the situation had already seemed compounding before Covid-19. But the pandemic has sent the Cambodian economy into a tailspin.

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 14, 2020

National Emergency Law of Cambodia during Covid-19

Reuters, HRW, New Mandala, UNHCR, Amnesty,