In today’s top stories, WANdisco’s CEO and CFO have both stepped down after a fraud investigation. Elsewhere, Tesla has logged a 36% jump in deliveries in the first quarter of 2023, likely driven by price cuts in China, while Beijing has opened a probe into chipmaker Micron Technology over purported cybersecurity risks. TikTok parent ByteDance saw revenue climb 30% year-over-year in 2022, but now faces the thorny dilemma of whether to divest itself of its star asset. Lastly, MSCI has announced that it’s to tighten its ESG methodology, a move that could see hundreds of ETFs downgraded.
China price cuts lift Tesla deliveries
EV maker Tesla [TSLA] reported that deliveries grew 36% in the first quarter of 2023 to 422,875 units, up from 310,000 a year ago, while also producing 440,808 vehicles in the January to March period. “Price cuts implemented paid dividends and China we believe was a core source of strength,” tweeted Wedbush analyst Dan Ives over the weekend. Deliveries at Chinese EV maker Li Auto [LI] grew 66% in the same period, to 20,823 units.
China probes US chipmaker
Beijing has ratcheted up its tech battle with Washington by opening a probe into chipmaker Micron Technology [MU]. The Cyberspace Administration of China issued a statement last Friday announcing it was reviewing the Idaho-based company to “safeguard key information infrastructure supply chain security” and “prevent cyberspace security risks due to problematic products”. Wang Lifu, an analyst at Shanghai-based semiconductor research firm ICwise, told the South China Morning Post that it’s “sending a warning signal” to chipmakers in Japan and South Korea.
TikTok makes up 12% of ByteDance’s revenue
ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, saw revenue climb 30% year-over-year in 2022 to above $80bn, bettering a number of China’s major internet companies, and matching that of Tencent [0700.HK]. The Information claims TikTok accounted for 12% of the company’s revenue last year. The sales boom generated by the short-form video app leaves ByteDance in a quandary: spin it out and take a revenue hit, or risk it being banned in the US.
Beleaguered WANdisco’s CEO and CFO step down
Both WANdisco’s [WAND.L] CEO and CFO have stepped down after a fraud investigation concluded that 2022 revenue had been overstated by $15m and sales bookings had been falsely inflated by $115m. The Sheffield-based software company has stated the pair’s departure isn’t connected to the findings of the investigation, but because its future and long-term growth and success is better placed under “new leadership”. WANdisco’s shares were suspended last month. In the US, ecommerce firm Boxed [BOXD] has filed for bankruptcy.
ESG funds face increased scrutiny
MSCI announced last week that it’s to tighten its environment, social and governance (ESG) methodology, a move that could see hundreds of ETFs downgraded. Increased scrutiny could lead to outflows from ESG products, as well as a slowdown in the release of new ones. “If stricter ratings drop a product to a much lower rating, it may not be appealing to institutional clients,” Andrea Murray, head of business development at Blackwater Search and Advisory, told the Financial Times.