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Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loom -

Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loomBig Tech is bracing for a tumultuous week marked by quarterly results likely to show resilience despite the pandemic, and fresh attacks from lawmakers ahead of the November 3 election.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 01:14:52 -0400

The Latest: India's cases keep downturn with 50K infections -

The Latest: India's cases keep downturn with 50K infectionsIndia’s daily coronavirus cases have dropped to nearly 50,000, maintaining a downturn over the last few weeks. The Health Ministry says 50,129 new cases have taken the overall tally to nearly 7.9 million on Sunday. The ministry also said India’s active coronavirus cases were below 700,000 across the country and almost 7.1 million people had recovered from COVID-19.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 01:08:29 -0400

Lee Kun-hee: 'Hermit king' of the Samsung empire -

Lee Kun-hee: 'Hermit king' of the Samsung empireSouth Korea's richest and most powerful industrialist, Lee Kun-hee, turned Samsung Electronics into one of the world's biggest tech companies but lived a reclusive existence.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:54:03 -0400

China Reconsiders Its Global Strategy for the Yuan -

China Reconsiders Its Global Strategy for the Yuan(Bloomberg) -- China is reconsidering its strategy for the internationalization of the yuan and planning for more policy support after completing a comprehensive review recently, according to a senior central bank official.“As everybody knows in the past, the internationalization of the RMB (yuan) sticks to the market principles,” Zhu Jun, director general of the People’s Bank of China’s international division, said at the Bund Summit in Shanghai on Saturday. “The role of the authorities was mainly focused on removing the policy obstacles for the free use of the currency. At this moment, we think there are some kinds of complications in the domestic and overseas situations.”Zhu said the government can be more proactive with policy support to facilitate the role of the markets. For instance, the central bank can improve bilateral currency swap agreements to better promote trade and investments, and try to coordinate various means of yuan cross-border settlements and payments infrastructure.The yuan rallied to the strongest in more than two years earlier this week, aided by dollar weakness and China’s economic recovery from the virus pandemic. The prospects of a victory by Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. election are also supporting the currency. Trump’s trade war with China last year sent the currency to its lowest since 2008.The authorities will remove existing obstacles for the yuan’s internationalization, with a steady liberalization of the capital account, increasing the yuan exchange-rate flexibility and improving liquidity in the bond market, Zhu said.While China over the years has made some progress -- promoting offshore yuan trading, winning official reserve-currency status from the International Monetary Fund and introducing commodity contracts priced in yuan -- the yuan, also called the renminbi, is a small player on the global stage, with 2% market share.From Fixing to Signaling, How China Manages the Yuan: QuickTakeAnd while a steady opening of China’s financial markets to overseas investors has lured some inflows, foreign ownership of mainland stocks and bonds is still relatively minor. China’s capital account, a term for the flow of funds across borders, remains subject to significant regulations on the transfer of the yuan.Separately, central bank governor Yi Gang said on Saturday the reform of the yuan exchange-rate formation mechanism and the internationalization of the currency should be jointly promoted with the financial opening.“The yuan internationalization should be market-oriented,” he said. “The regulator’s main job is to reduce restrictions on the cross-border use of the currency, and let it take its own course.”The increasing spillover of Chinese-American tensions into the financial sphere has ignited a fresh push by China to promote the global use of the yuan. Some government officials including Fang Xinghai, the vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, have urged an acceleration of the yuan’s globalization in recent months.(Adds more details in lead and recent government officials’ comments in last paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:34:41 -0400

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee dies at 78 -

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee dies at 78Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who transformed the South Korean firm into a global tech titan, died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the company said.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:32:24 -0400

Samsung Group titan Lee Kun-hee dies aged 78 -

Samsung Group titan Lee Kun-hee dies aged 78Mr Lee helped to grow his father's small trading business into a global industrial powerhouse.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:32:01 -0400

Libya Oil Output Set for 1 Million Barrels Daily as Ports Reopen -

Libya Oil Output Set for 1 Million Barrels Daily as Ports Reopen(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s crude production will rise above 1 million barrels a day in the next four weeks after the nation reopened the last of its oil ports, according to the state energy firm.The National Oil Corp. said on Friday it lifted force majeure -- a clause in contracts allowing deliveries to be suspended -- at the eastern ports of Es Sider, Libya’s biggest export terminal, and Ras Lanuf. It’s safe to restart operations after months of shutdowns because foreign fighters involved in the country’s long-running civil war have left the areas, the company said in a statement.The Al Nafoura and Amal fields, which feed Ras Lanuf and have a combined capacity of around 90,000 barrels a day, have already restarted, people familiar with the matter said.The rapid resumption of Libya’s oil production following a truce has put added pressure on crude prices, just as a resurgence of the coronavirus saps demand for energy. Brent crude dropped 1.6% to $41.77 a barrel on Friday, extending its decline in 2020 to 37%.Warring parties in Libya signed a permanent ceasefire agreement on Friday, which should bolster the NOC’s efforts to increase oil output. Representatives of the United Nations-recognized government in Tripoli and eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar -- whose forces blockaded most oil fields and ports in January -- struck a deal after talks in Geneva. The rival sides are set to meet next month in Tunisia to appoint a unity government that will prepare elections.Libya’s daily production was less than 100,000 barrels before Haftar lifted his blockade in September. It was 560,000 this week and will reach 800,000 within a fortnight, the NOC said. The company won’t be able to pump at last year’s levels of around 1.2 million barrels a day due to damaged infrastructure and budget constraints, it said.If Libya’s daily output does rise to 1 million barrels as quickly as the NOC says, it will make the task of OPEC+, which is trying to curb crude supplies and bolster prices, even harder. The alliance of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russia meets next month to decide on policy.The group is weighing whether to delay a plan to ease production cuts in January. Even its worst-case analysis of the market didn’t anticipate such high output from Libya -- an OPEC member that’s exempt from the curbs because of its strife -- until late 2021.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:30:00 -0400

Coronavirus updates: Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff tests positive; Maine city getting mailbox mask dispensers -

Coronavirus updates: Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff tests positive; Maine city getting mailbox mask dispensersA long-predicted surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths has begun in the United States, but Americans aren't changing their behaviors. Latest COVID news.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:02:44 -0400

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive for coronavirus -

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive for coronavirusVice President Mike Pence's chief of staff and his senior political adviser have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 00:02:13 -0400

Lee Kun-hee, Korean Icon Who Transformed Samsung, Dies at 78 -

Lee Kun-hee, Korean Icon Who Transformed Samsung, Dies at 78(Bloomberg) -- Lee Kun-hee, who transformed Samsung Electronics Co. from a copycat South Korean appliance maker into the world’s biggest producer of smartphones, televisions and memory chips, has died. He was 78.Lee passed away on Sunday with his family by his side, the company said in a statement, without mentioning the cause of death. His family will hold a private funeral. He had surgery in 2014 after a heart attack and was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s.Lee, who told employees to “change everything except your wife and children” during his drive to foster innovation and challenge rivals such as Sony Corp., was South Korea’s richest person. He had an estimated net worth of $20.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Samsung, the biggest of South Korea’s family-run industrial groups, known as chaebol, has been led by his only son since the heart attack.“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business,” the company said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”The reins are now set to pass to his only son Jay Y. Lee, who’s been the conglomerate’s de facto leader since his father’s hospitalization in 2014. Lee is expected to eventually inherit a $300 billion company that’s riding a Covid-era boom in online activity. Samsung, the maker of the Galaxy line of smartphones, also supplies semiconductors for Google’s data centers and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. It’s the world’s most advanced maker of displays for TVs, computers and mobile devices.The younger Lee is currently grappling with two simultaneous legal disputes with South Korean prosecutors over allegations of bribery and corruption, which he’s repeatedly denied.Read more: At Samsung, a Death Watch and a $7 Billion Estate Tax BillLee Kun-hee’s heirs now face an estate tax of roughly $10 billion, and paying it may complicate the family’s control of the Samsung conglomerate -- his beneficiaries would likely have to sell some assets to cover the tax — diluting their stake in Samsung. South Korea’s levy of 50% on estates of more than 3 billion won ($2.6 million) is the second-highest among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after Japan.The Samsung empire includes 62 companies. Although the late Lee owned large chunks of some of the businesses — including 4.2% of Samsung Electronics — they’re not big enough to afford control of the conglomerate. The family depends on informal ties to executives who run related companies, and a lot of that soft power may dissipate with Lee’s death.Global PowerhouseIt was Lee Kun-Hee who built the company into the electronics powerhouse of today, becoming synonymous with the rise of South Korea on a global economic stage.Named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2005, Lee began overhauling Samsung Electronics after he saw the company’s products gathering dust in a Los Angeles electronics store, according to “The Lee Kun Hee Story,” a 2010 biography by Lee Kyung-sik. The Suwon, South Korea-based company had become known for cheap, low-quality electronics gear and was in the “second phase of cancer,” sending out 6,000 people to fix products made by 30,000 employees, Lee said in 1993, according to the biography.Why Samsung’s Billionaire Scion Faces Two More Trials: QuickTakeThe company’s makeover started in 1993 when Lee gathered top executives in Germany and laid out a plan, known as the Frankfurt Declaration, to transform Samsung from a second-tier television maker into an industry leader. The company’s new mission: create high-quality products, even if it meant lower sales.Samsung Electronics became the world’s top maker of computer memory chips in 1992, the same year it became the first to develop 64-megabyte DRAM chips, according to the company.Samsung’s OriginsLee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in Daegu about 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Seoul, and was raised in the nearby rural district of Uiryeong, according to the company.In 1938, his father Lee Byung-chull opened a four-story grocery store in Daegu that would later become Samsung Group.As a teenager, Lee Kun-Hee liked movies and cars and kept to himself. He took up wrestling and played rugby in high school to fight loneliness. He graduated with a degree in economics from Waseda University in Tokyo and also studied business administration in the U.S. at George Washington University in Washington.In 1971, Lee Byung-chull chose his youngest son to be his successor, and in 1974, the company moved into semiconductors when it acquired a 50% stake in unprofitable Hankook Semiconductor. The business turned profitable in 1988, helped by dynamic random-access memory chips it produced.After the Frankfurt Declaration, Lee required employees to arrive at work at 7 a.m. instead of their usual 8:30 a.m. start, so they could “soak up reform in their slumber,” according to the biography.In 1995, he assembled 2,000 workers to watch him make a bonfire out of 150,000 mobile phones, fax machines and other company products that didn’t meet his quality standards.Lee’s cultural change eventually produced results. Samsung Electronics surpassed Tokyo-based Sony to become the top seller of flat-screen TVs in 2006, the same year its market value exceeded $100 billion.In 2010, Samsung introduced the Galaxy-branded smartphone running Alphabet Inc.’s Android software, which helped it pass Apple as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in 2011 in terms of units sold. By introducing the Galaxy Note in 2011, Samsung created a new product niche known as the phablet, a smartphone-tablet hybrid.Political ControversySamsung became the biggest seller of all mobile phones in 2012, unseating Nokia Oyj, which had been the industry leader for more than a decade. Its success in smartphones then boosted profits at its component businesses, including memory chips, display and processors.Lee’s career was also notable for its setbacks and controversies. An expansion into the car business was unsuccessful. Samsung Motor Inc. rolled out its first automobiles in 1998 and failed to attract buyers. The unit was placed into receivership and Renault SA purchased a majority stake in 2000.Lee was mired in political scandals in the late 1990s after being convicted of paying bribes to former president Roh Tae-woo in 1996. He was pardoned by President Kim Young-sam a year later.In 2009, Lee was found guilty of tax evasion and breach of duty for causing losses at Samsung SDS Co., an information technology services provider, because he knew the company illegally sold bonds with warrants to his son at artificially low prices. He was fined 110 billion won and received a suspended three-year jail sentence.Presidential PardonFour months after the 2009 ruling, South Korea’s then-President Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee, a member of the International Olympic Committee, so he could help the country’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.Lee, who resigned from the board of Samsung Electronics in 2008 amid the controversies, returned as chairman in March 2010, telling employees the business was “facing a real crisis.”“In 10 years, the majority of products that represent Samsung may no longer exist,” he said in a statement announcing his return. “We must have a new start. There is no time to hesitate.”Two months later, Samsung Group said it would invest 23 trillion won to expand in areas such as health care and solar batteries by 2020.Lee’s son, Jay Y. Lee, became vice chairman of Samsung Electronics in December 2012 and his daughter, Lee Boo-jin, is president of Hotel Shilla Co., a Samsung affiliate, raising concerns that the founding family would maintain its grip on the conglomerate at the expense of minority shareholders. That issue lies at the heart of the two legal disputes the younger Lee is now embroiled in.In August 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the retrial of Jay Y. Lee over bribery charges that voided an earlier decision to suspend Lee’s 2.5-year prison sentence. A special prosecutor had indicted the Samsung heir on charges of bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye in return for government backing for a merger that helped cement his control over Samsung while his father was hospitalized.In 1967, Lee Kun-hee married Hong Ra-hee. In addition to children Jay Y. and Boo-jin, he had a daughter, Lee Seo-hyun. Another daughter, Lee Yoon-hyung, died in 2005 at age 26.(Updates with details on inheritance tax from the seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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