In today’s top stories, SoftBank sold $7.2bn of its shares in Alibaba, causing the latter’s share price to fall 3% in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Elsewhere, clothing brand Uniqlo’s owner has raised its profit forecast for fiscal year 2023, with profits and net sales up 48% and 27%, respectively. Elon Musk has begun to chase his goal of turning Twitter into a “super app”, while Apple has tripled its iPhone production in India. Lastly, Didi has unveiled the Neuron, a driverless concept car, which the company claims is “fully self-reliant and controllable”.
Uniqlo raises profit forecast
Uniqlo’s owner Fast Retailing Co [9983.T] has raised its profit forecast for fiscal year 2023 to 360bn yuan (¥), up from the previous forecast of ¥350bn, as profits rose 48% during the second quarter (Q2). Net sales rose 27% to ¥751bn, versus the ¥687bn analysts had forecast, according to Bloomberg. A lifting of Covid restrictions in China, and adjusting to life with Covid in Japan, are both thought to have contributed to increased consumer spend during the quarter.
Musk charts new course for Twitter
Elon Musk has started pushing Twitter into finance, launching the opportunity to trade stocks on eToro on Thursday, as part of his goal of turning the platform into a “super app”. Twitter users will be able to view market charts as well as trade via new features. The news coincides with NPR becoming the first US news outlet to quit Twitter after the editorially independent non-profit was designated “state-affiliated media”.
Apple shifts away from China
Apple [AAPL] has tripled its iPhone production to $7bn in India, where it now sources nearly 7% of its phones, in a continued bid to reduce its reliance on China. Cirrus Logic [CRUS] stock fell almost 12% Wednesday afternoon after Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published a report saying the haptic touch supplier’s technology would not be expanded in future iPhone models.
Alibaba shares down 3% on SoftBank sell-off
SoftBank [9984.T] has sold $7.2bn of its shares in Alibaba [BABA], causing the latter’s share price to fall 3% in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Having held a 25% stake worth more than $100bn in the Chinese ecommerce platform three years ago, SoftBank’s share is down to just 3.8%. The sale of SoftBank Ventures Asia, a Korean-based VC arm, to Taizo Son, the brother of SoftBank’s owner, has drawn criticism of its governance.
Didi levels up autonomous driving ambitions
The Neuron, a driverless concept car, was unveiled by Didi [DIDIY] on Thursday in its first major move since becoming a target of Beijing’s anti-technology crackdown in 2020. Didi claims to have achieved Level 4 driving autonomy, making it “fully self-reliant and controllable”, according to chief technology officer Zhang Bo. The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed beefed-up tailpipe emissions rules in an effort to accelerate the transition to EVs.