6752.T - Panasonic Corporation

Tokyo - Tokyo Delayed Price. Currency in JPY
1,036.50
-24.00 (-2.26%)
At close: 3:15PM JST
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Previous Close1,060.50
Open1,058.50
Bid1,036.00 x 0
Ask1,037.50 x 0
Day's Range1,036.50 - 1,059.00
52 Week Range787.70 - 1,114.00
Volume7186900
Avg. Volume6,922,615
Market Cap2.4T
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.44
PE Ratio (TTM)8.91
EPS (TTM)116.31
Earnings DateFeb. 3, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield30.00 (2.84%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-09-27
1y Target Est1,450.90
  • Business Wire

    Panasonic Develops Tempered Vacuum Insulated Glass to Increase Variations in Vacuum Insulated Glass with Its Proprietary Technology

    Panasonic has developed tempered vacuum insulated glass and another vacuum insulated glass with the industry’s first transparent pillars.

  • How Much Would You Pay to Work Less?
    Bloomberg

    How Much Would You Pay to Work Less?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Companies from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Monsanto Co. have gotten serious about making work more flexible. Thanks to apps and gadgets, you can easily tap away from a living-room couch, the bleachers at your son’s soccer game or huddled over a coconut on your Christmas vacation. There’s a hidden cost to all this for women, though – and it isn’t just the prospect of being available around the clock.A recent working paper from the International Monetary Fund measured how much salary Japanese employees would be willing to forgo to enjoy a healthier work-life balance. It found that earners making 3 million yen ($27,600) a year would give up nearly half of their income to avoid putting in 45 hours or more of overtime per month. That outcome was roughly consistent with higher-wage workers, too.The most obvious takeaway would be that companies should do everything they can to keep hours reasonable. It doesn’t take an MBA to see that lower salaries would improve the bottom line, with the added upside of happier and possibly more productive workers. There’s an important caveat, however: Women are much more eager than men to give up money for time. That mostly comes down to deeper feelings of guilt, according to the paper, not just for child-rearing but also general household responsibilities such as cooking and caring for aging parents.While this conclusion isn’t revolutionary, the policy implications are stark. For every woman who is willing to accept less money for more flexibility, there’s someone out there inclined to put in that 14-hour day at a desk. This suggests that companies eager to give women more choice by offering a four-day week or shorter hours, may wind up inadvertently deepening gender pay gaps. The better way to protect work-life balance, then, is to make sure all employees – male, female, young, old, parents and the childless – are spending fewer, more productive hours on the clock. There’s ample research to show that working more doesn’t necessarily produce better results. In fact, productivity drops off when employees work more than 50 hours a week, according to a Stanford University study. Whether you work 70 hours or 56 hours, output is roughly the same.Despite Japan’s reputation for burning the midnight oil, Americans work even more: 1,786 hours per year compared with 1,680, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Germany works the fewest at 1,363. Yet Germany is the most productive of the three, as measured by gross domestic product per hour, followed by Japan, then the U.S.The good news is that employers are starting to respond. In August, Microsoft Corp. tested out a four-day work week in its Japan locations. Productivity rose 40% from a year earlier. One local-government office in downtown Tokyo resorted to shutting off the lights at 7 p.m. to force people to go home. And in Europe, financial industry groups are pressing the London Stock Exchange to cut its trading day by 90 minutes.All this awareness is a good thing; employers and policymakers just need to recognize the pitfalls. The most troubling element of the IMF paper may have been women’s willingness to make less in a country where the pay gap is already so wide. The median income for Japanese men is 24.5% higher than for men and women. That compares with an average of 13.5% in the OECD and 18.2% in the U.S. Flexible working can mean a lot of things: telecommuting, shorter work weeks, or even the ability to set a fluid schedule, so long as you hit a certain number of hours. These options benefit men and women alike. I can’t think of a single parent who doesn’t appreciate the ability to stay on top of emails while sitting in the waiting room at the pediatrician.But what if all that multitasking only adds hours and stress? At a previous job, when my son was a baby, I was able to leave the office early to put him to bed. Yet I recall many nights spent staring into the white halo of my iPhone, crafting emails with one finger, and nursing him in the crook of my spare arm. I probably would have been willing to give up a fair chunk of salary to guiltlessly complete that work in the morning – and could have finished it quicker, to boot. Many women are wary of flexible schedules for this precise reason: They know they’ll end up working for free. Even companies with the best intentions will have difficulty accounting for an evolving definition of what constitutes time spent on the job.That’s why flexible HR policies are meaningless if culture doesn’t evolve more quickly. Japanese employees get some of the most generous family-leave packages in the world, yet few fathers take advantage of them, as my colleague Anjani Trivedi has noted. People there are literally working themselves to death with 100-hour weeks.Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic Corp. and business-management guru, said you should think of your career as a “three-day chore” — that is, approach simple tasks with the sincerity of a lifelong occupation. It’s about time we bring as much commitment to protecting our well-being. To contact the author of this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Rachel Rosenthal is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. Previously, she was a markets reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business Wire

    Panasonic and KOSÉ Set to Commence Verification Test for Personalized Proposals Utilizing Snow Beauty Mirror

    Panasonic and KOSÉ will commence a verification test using Panasonic’s Snow Beauty Mirror that can analyze skin profile for personalized proposals.

  • Panasonic's Continuous Sustainable Seafood Efforts in Its Corporate Cafeterias Win "Japan Sustainable Seafood Award" Champion
    Business Wire

    Panasonic's Continuous Sustainable Seafood Efforts in Its Corporate Cafeterias Win "Japan Sustainable Seafood Award" Champion

    On November 7, 2019, Panasonic's efforts to transform consumer behavior and contribute to the achievement of SDGs by promoting sustainable seafood in its corporate cafeterias won the Initiative Award Champion at the inaugural "Japan Sustainable Seafood Award" during the Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium 2019.

  • Panasonic to sell its chip unit to Taiwan's Nuvoton for $250 million
    Reuters

    Panasonic to sell its chip unit to Taiwan's Nuvoton for $250 million

    Panasonic Corp said it would sell its loss-making semiconductor unit to Taiwan's Nuvoton Technology Corp for $250 million as the Japanese electronics giant struggles to lift its profit amid a lack of growth drivers. The sale is part of Panasonic's plans to cut fixed costs by 100 billion yen ($920 million) by the year ending in March 2022 by consolidating production sites and overhauling loss-making businesses. Panasonic has already divested most of its chip business as it lost to more nimble Korean and Taiwanese rivals, and has shut down or shifted its manufacturing facilities to its joint venture (JV) with Israel's Tower Semiconductor .

  • Panasonic Begins Offering API for Facial Recognition Utilizing Deep Learning Technology
    Business Wire

    Panasonic Begins Offering API for Facial Recognition Utilizing Deep Learning Technology

    No initial fee, cloud-based service incorporates into smartphone apps, websites, and access management systems

  • At CIIE 2019 Panasonic Showcases Solutions to Help Bring to Life China's "Healthy China 2030" Vision
    Business Wire

    At CIIE 2019 Panasonic Showcases Solutions to Help Bring to Life China's "Healthy China 2030" Vision

    Panasonic Corporation took part in the 2nd China International Import Expo 2019, which was held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10. Under the theme, "Limitless Care for Healthy Living," Panasonic showcased health and welfare products and solutions that reflect its unique health values.

  • Tesla Reaches Preliminary Battery-Supply Deal With CATL
    Bloomberg

    Tesla Reaches Preliminary Battery-Supply Deal With CATL

    (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. has reached a preliminary agreement to start using CATL as a battery supplier for cars made in China from as early as next year, and the companies are in talks to expand the relationship globally, according to people familiar with the matter.Following months of negotiations, the companies clinched a non-binding deal after Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk traveled to Shanghai in late August and met with CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun for about 40 minutes, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations. Though a final agreement is expected to be signed by mid 2020, there is no guarantee that will happen, the people said.The batteries would go into Model 3 cars produced at Tesla’s factory near Shanghai, which is slated to begin operating this year. But the companies still need to iron out details such as how many batteries Tesla will purchase, and separate discussions are underway on a potential global supply contract, the people said. Tesla will use batteries from Panasonic Corp. and LG Chem Ltd. in China in the meantime, one of the people said.Securing enough domestic batteries -- the costliest part of an electric vehicle -- is crucial to Musk’s efforts to expand in the world’s biggest car market. Chinese supply would allow Palo Alto, California-based Tesla to rely less on imports, reducing any impact from tariffs that have fluctuated amid the U.S.-China trade war. It’s also likely to please Beijing, which has prioritized the building of a world-leading electric-vehicle ecosystem.CATL rose as much as 7.4% to 78.88 yuan in Shenzhen trading on Wednesday and the stock headed for its highest close since mid-September. Tesla was little changed Tuesday.Representatives for Tesla didn’t respond to requests for comment. LG Chem and CATL declined to comment, while Panasonic wasn’t immediately available to comment.For CATL, whose full name is Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., a final agreement would bolster its profile as one of the world’s emerging battery-making powerhouses. The company, based in the southern province of Fujian, already supplies domestic EV startups including NIO Inc., as well as global carmakers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG.Tesla has been building the Shanghai plant, its first outside the U.S., for the past nine months, with mass production targeted to start at year-end. The company is also building facilities to eventually make batteries, but in the meantime, it’s agreed to purchase them from LG Chem. The South Korean battery maker won’t have exclusive rights to be Tesla’s battery supplier, people familiar with the arrangement said in August.Should Tesla agree to a global agreement, CATL would become its second such battery partner after Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“It’s a competitive blow to Panasonic as Tesla was relying on the Japanese battery producer only. But it’s a boon for CATL and LG Chem.”\--Kevin Kim, automobiles analystTesla is likely to try having several strong suppliers, giving it negotiating power as they’ll compete and drive down battery prices, said Kevin Kim, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. Having several partners also helps Tesla diversify risks such as faulty batteries resulting in fires.NIO Jumps 37% After Pact With Intel on Driverless Car TechnologyBatteries make up the bulk of an electric vehicle’s cost, meaning long-term supply deals with top carmakers can easily reach billions of dollars. The price of a China-built Tesla Model 3 will start at about $50,000, cheaper than foes including NIO’s best-selling ES6.(Updates with comment from analyst in 10th paragraph)\--With assistance from Kyunghee Park, Kae Inoue, Dana Hull and Gabrielle Coppola.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Haze Fan in Beijing at hfan40@bloomberg.net;Chunying Zhang in Shanghai at czhang714@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, ;Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Ville Heiskanen, Will DaviesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Panasonic and Institute of Microchemical Technology Co., Ltd. Jointly Develop Mass Production Technology for Microfluidic Devices by Glass Molding, a First in the Industry*1
    Business Wire

    Panasonic and Institute of Microchemical Technology Co., Ltd. Jointly Develop Mass Production Technology for Microfluidic Devices by Glass Molding, a First in the Industry*1

    Panasonic Corporation (Panasonic) and Institute of Microchemical Technology Co., Ltd. (IMT) jointly developed a technology for mass production of microfluidic devices*2 using a glass molding. Compared to the conventional glass etching method, this technology realizes low cost (about 1/10) and highly accurate (about 10 times) mass production.

  • Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

    Edited Transcript of 6752.T earnings conference call or presentation 31-Oct-19 10:59am GMT

    Q2 2020 Panasonic Corp Earnings Presentation

  • Japan's Panasonic profit drops 12% on trade war, higher costs
    Reuters

    Japan's Panasonic profit drops 12% on trade war, higher costs

    Panasonic Corp on Thursday reported a 12% drop in its second-quarter operating profit as the Japanese firm was hurt by the Sino-U.S. trade war and higher development costs related to its automotive business in Europe. A year earlier, Panasonic, the exclusive battery cell supplier for new electric vehicles (EVs) made by Tesla Inc , had earned 95.2 billion yen. The company maintained its profit forecast for the year through March at 300 billion yen, compared with an average estimate of 293.94 billion yen from 19 analysts.

  • World’s Most Valuable AI Startup Scrambles to Survive Trump’s Blacklist
    Bloomberg

    World’s Most Valuable AI Startup Scrambles to Survive Trump’s Blacklist

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The co-founder of China’s SenseTime Group Ltd. was visiting New York to encourage more collaboration with the U.S. on artificial intelligence when he heard the news: The Trump administration had blacklisted his company. So much for more cooperation.Xu Bing, the 29-year-old co-founder, knew SenseTime was at risk given rising tensions between China and the U.S., but the timing took him by surprise. He was spending a few days showing off his latest products and meeting other AI researchers earlier this month when the Commerce Dept. put his company and seven others on its “Entity List,” prohibiting American companies from providing crucial supplies like semiconductors. His phone flooded with calls and emails from worried employees and investors.SenseTime is emblematic of the clash between the world’s two biggest economies. China is seeking to evolve economically by moving beyond manufacturing into the technology vanguard, with the explicit goal of dominating key fields like AI. Donald Trump’s administration is increasingly adamant about containing China’s rise, arguing that companies like Huawei Technologies Co. steal intellectual property and threaten national security, while startups like SenseTime and Megvii Technology Ltd. are complicit in human rights violations in the country’s Xinjiang region.The company’s founders are a bit stunned at getting caught in the crossfire. They are mostly academics who decided to commercialize their technology five years ago, drawing attention from both U.S. and China governments because of the applications for surveillance. Now, they plan a shift away from hardware, which requires American chips, to focus on software for facial recognition and other applications. The founders think they can survive the existential threat.“Long-term, the fundamentals of business are still most important,” says Xu, “so that’s what we will focus on.”SenseTime, whose $7.5 billion valuation is the highest for an AI startup in the world, is trying to reassure investors, employees and customers. The company said in a statement that it is “deeply disappointed” at the blacklisting decision and will seek relief. It emphasized it complies with all laws in local jurisdictions.“These are real risks for tech companies in China,” says Crawford Del Prete, president of the market research firm IDC.SenseTime has been preparing for the worst. The company raised about $2.5 billion last year from investors including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte., according to a person familiar with the matter. That forestalls the need for an initial public offering any time soon. China surveillance giant Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. warned last week that it may lose customers in overseas markets because it was part of the U.S. blacklisting.Megvii, another AI startup that was blacklisted this month, is pressing ahead with its IPO plans, effectively testing whether investors will take on the risks of a blacklisting. (Megvii also says it’s done nothing wrong and plans to fight the U.S. ban.)For SenseTime, the biggest challenge of the Trump move is that it will lose access to U.S. semiconductors, particularly from Nvidia Corp. The chips are incorporated into AI cameras and other hardware SenseTime sells to corporations and government agencies. Without them, SenseTime will be able to market software that customers or resellers can then install on their own cameras or servers -- but not the hardware itself. That will likely cut into growth, given that hardware accounts for about half its revenue. Software sales tend to be higher margin.Sales are likely to triple this year to about $900 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Even though growth is expected to flag, revenue may still double annually for the next three years, the people said.“We’re very much prepared for the long game,” says Xu Li, chief executive officer of SenseTime and another co-founder.All this is a far cry from the company’s debut in 2014. Xu Li was a PhD student in computer science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong when he hit it off with a few other AI academics and they founded SenseTime.It didn’t go smoothly. Xu spent most of his time recruiting scholars rather than calling on customers. Skeptical salespeople fled. Finally, a venture investor warned Xu he needed a business plan.“You recruit PhDs and publish papers. You’re not making a company, you’re making a university,” Xu recalls the backer telling him.After nine months without any sales, Xu stumbled on an opportunity. Peer-to-peer lending was taking off in China, but fraud was so common that companies were desperate for help. SenseTime devised a system to conduct face scans with motion -- turn your head, wink, stick out your tongue -- to prove users were real people. The first client paid 20 million yuan ($2.8 million). Soon, companies were lining up for its services.Next, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. asked for support in creating customized photo albums for users. Then Bytedance Inc., the parent of viral short-video app TikTok, tapped SenseTime to build filters that beautify streamers by slimming faces and toning complexions in real time as they sing and dance.Business really took off with security-camera technology. China’s public security bureau owns about 30 million surveillance cameras, but only about 1% are so-called smart cameras that can analyze what they’re recording. It costs $500 to $3,000 to upgrade a device, depending on how many functions one wants — to identify faces, traffic, a fire or an explosion. Providing software to upgrade government cameras accounts for about 35% of SenseTime’s revenue, according to people familiar.The rest of the company’s revenue comes from commercial clients like property developers, shopping malls and mobile phone providers, the people said. There were about 176 million video surveillance cameras monitoring China’s streets, buildings and public spaces in 2016, compared with 50 million in the U.S., according to IHS Markit.The company emphasizes it doesn’t do business directly with government agencies. But the public security bureau can buy its software and products via third party providers. Its software is compatible with cameras made by Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Panasonic Corp.Competition is tough. Some clients test SenseTime’s image recognition alongside Megvii’s software. China’s video surveillance equipment market, excluding home gear, is projected to grow annually by 14% to $20.1 billion in 2023, according to IDC.“The application of AI has developed very fast,” says Francis Leung, the former chairman of CVC Greater China who invested personally in SenseTime. “It’s beyond my expectations.”SenseTime is developing similar camera technology for health care, education, logistics and driverless cars. And it’s exploring other markets, which come with attendant complications.In Hong Kong, where SenseTime has its headquarters, the precariousness of the present moment is evident. Protesters have rattled the city for months, provoking the local government by calling for more autonomy from China. The co-founders are predominantly from the mainland, but many are permanent residents of Hong Kong.Xu, the CEO, has been pushing the company to develop its own AI chips and expand into Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea. The idea is that even if it loses access to U.S. chips, China will over time develop equivalents via local champions like Huawei, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or SenseTime itself.He concedes Trump’s blacklisting has rattled some customers and employees. But the process of building a business is similar to academic research -- long and slow.“Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Xu. “We will continue thriving.”\--With assistance from Candy Cheng.To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Panasonic to Team up with IBM Japan in Improving Semiconductor Manufacturing Processes
    Business Wire

    Panasonic to Team up with IBM Japan in Improving Semiconductor Manufacturing Processes

    Co-development of new high-value-added system to reduce engineering costs, stabilize product quality, and improve factory productivity

  • ‘They Don’t Need Us Anymore’: Auto Workers Fear Electric Unrest
    Bloomberg

    ‘They Don’t Need Us Anymore’: Auto Workers Fear Electric Unrest

    (Bloomberg) -- The milkman went missing thanks to the rise of refrigerators. Switchboard operators were done in by the dawn of direct dialing. And in the car industry, auto workers are deathly afraid the engine assembler will give way to battery builders.Dread over the prospect that plug-in cars -- which have fewer parts and require less labor to build -- will doom auto jobs helped spark the first United Auto Workers strike against General Motors Co. in over a decade. Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which are rolling their own battery-powered models to market in the coming years, could face a similar fate if they’re unable to quell the UAW’s concerns that widespread adoption of EVs endangers the employment of 35,000 union members.“There’s a potential for our jobs to be gone -- they don’t need us anymore,” said Tim Walbolt, president of the UAW local representing workers at a Fiat Chrysler transmission components plant near Toledo, Ohio. “It scares us.”For all the buzz generated by Tesla Inc., the EV era is still in its infancy, with zero-emission autos having reached just 2% of global production. GM has extended the UAW an offer to get in on the ground floor, pitching a new battery plant staffed by dues-paying union members in an Ohio town jarred by job loss. But the overture came with a catch: GM wants to pay the workers less, and the facility is unlikely to need as many staff as an engine or transmission factory would.A recent study of electric-vehicle production in Europe by consultant AlixPartners found that it took 40% fewer hours to assemble an electric motor and battery than a traditional internal-combustion engine and transmission.“It’s a bad news story from a labor perspective,” said Mark Wakefield, the head of AlixPartners’s automotive practice. “You would just fundamentally need less people.”Perversely, GM also arguably has uncertainty on its side at the bargaining table. It’s going to want concessions to cushion itself against the risk that consumer adoption of electric autos remains slow. The carmaker isn’t fully utilizing the factory that builds the Chevrolet Bolt EV north of Detroit, and tepid demand for the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt put the future of the factory that assembles it in nearby Hamtramck in doubt.Collision CourseThe collision with carmakers over electrification is one the UAW saw coming.“Electric, to me, is where the real risk is to our membership,” Jennifer Kelly, the union’s research director, said during a collective-bargaining conference in Detroit earlier this year.It’s almost certain to carry over from the UAW’s talks with GM to negotiations with Detroit’s other automakers. Ford has estimated electric cars will require 30% fewer hours of labor per vehicle and 50% less factory floor space.“Rationalization of the powertrain portfolio is certainly a huge opportunity for all of us as we start this transition,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s automotive president, told investors on an earnings call in April.Even Fiat Chrysler, a laggard with regard to electrification, has stoked fear at union halls linked to internal-combustion components plants, where rumors are flying that the company plans to outsource work to lower-paying suppliers.“We cannot help but feel like the left behind stepchildren of the UAW,” Mike Booth, the president of the union’s local in Marysville, Michigan, wrote in a letter to the labor group’s Chrysler council last month. He and other UAW leaders fear that German mega-supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which took over operation of a Chrysler axle plant in 2008, will take work away from the automaker’s machining facility near Toledo and a transmission and castings complex in Kokomo, Indiana.A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman categorically denied that another company is seeking to take work from the Toledo or Kokomo operations and called them critical to the automaker’s business. ZF will continue to work with the UAW in Marysville, and an arrangement in which Fiat Chrysler licenses technology from the supplier in Kokomo may be creating some confusion, a spokesman said. He declined to comment on Toledo.‘Shrinking Bubble’In August, GM shut down a transmission plant outside Detroit, affecting more than 260 workers as part of a larger restructuring. That may foreshadow other closures as EV production ramps up. The supply chain is where the job risk is greatest, especially for workers employed making engines, transmissions and sub-components that aren’t needed in EVs.Consultant IHS Markit predicts the introduction of new gas-powered engine families will drop to zero in 2022, from nearly 70 in 2011, as automakers shift spending to electric propulsion. The market for a whole range of parts used in internal combustion vehicles -- such as axles, mufflers, fuel tanks and transmissions -- will shrink in a range from 6% to 20% by 2025, according to a study by Deloitte Consulting.“The value chain is shifting and companies and their unions are going to have to figure out how to change themselves or risk becoming part of a shrinking bubble,” said Neal Ganguli, head of the auto supply base group at Deloitte’s U.S. automotive practice.That’s a problem because engines and transmissions currently account for just under half of automaker manufacturing capacity, Credit Suisse auto analyst Dan Levy estimated in a Sept. 23 note to investors. As a result, automakers may face labor, social and political challenges as they transition to EVs, he wrote.‘Rough Time’GM’s EV factory in Lake Orion, Michigan, offers a window into what the UAW is worried about.While the plant is unionized, the automaker staffs it in part with lower-wage employees under a special contract. What’s more, 64% of the fully electric Bolt model’s content is made in Korea, including the battery.One of the biggest suppliers is Seoul-based LG Chem Ltd., which makes cells in South Korea and assembles packs for GM and Fiat Chrysler at a non-union plant in western Michigan with a starting wage for technicians of $16 an hour.That’s close to what Ford pays its entry-level temporary workers, but far below the $28 to $30 an hour for legacy UAW employees. Temp workers at Ford’s engine and transmission plants also can move up into legacy wage brackets, which isn’t the case at LG’s facility.“The move to electric could weaken the union further,” Joshua Murray, a labor expert and assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University. “Certainly, the UAW is going to have to try to organize the battery plants, but I think they’ll have a rough time.”Imported BatteriesNo major automaker entirely outsources engines, in no small part thanks to displacement and horsepower being the source of marketing buzz and bragging rights for decades. EVs are a different story -- even Tesla relies heavily on Japan’s Panasonic Corp. in the making of its battery packs.Batteries -- the single most expensive part of an electric vehicle -- are almost exclusively manufactured overseas and mostly by companies relatively new to the automotive powertrain, such as China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and South Korea’s SK Innovation Co.SK Innovation broke ground earlier this year on a new battery factory outside of Atlanta, which will employ some 2,000 non-union workers. And CEO Jun Kim thinks carmakers will have a tough time replicating what his company does.“There is a difference between the DNA of automakers and battery makers such as us,” Kim said in a March interview. “There are only a handful of battery suppliers that are capable of delivering high-quality products while guaranteeing cost competitiveness.”\--With assistance from David Welch.To contact the reporters on this story: Chester Dawson in Southfield at cdawson54@bloomberg.net;Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan at knaughton3@bloomberg.net;Gabrielle Coppola in New York at gcoppola@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • India Is Planning a Huge China-Style Facial Recognition Program
    Bloomberg

    India Is Planning a Huge China-Style Facial Recognition Program

    (Bloomberg) -- India is planning to set up one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems, potentially a lucrative opportunity for surveillance companies and a nightmare for privacy advocates who fear it will lead to a Chinese-style Orwellian state.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will open bids next month to build a system to centralize facial recognition data captured through surveillance cameras across India. It would link up with databases containing records for everything from passports to fingerprints to help India’s depleted police force identify criminals, missing persons and dead bodies.The government says the move is designed to help one of the world’s most understaffed police forces, which has one officer for every 724 citizens -- well below global norms. It also could be a boon for companies: TechSci Research estimates India’s facial recognition market will grow sixfold by 2024 to $4.3 billion, nearly on par with China.But the project is also ringing alarm bells in a nation with no data privacy laws and a government that just shut down the internet for the last seven weeks in the key state of Kashmir to prevent unrest. While India is still far from implementing a system that matches China’s ability to use technology to control the population, the lack of proper safeguards opens the door for abuses.“We’re the only functional democracy which will set up such as system without any data protection or privacy laws,” said Apar Gupta, a Delhi-based lawyer and executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, a non-profit group whose members successfully lobbied the government in 2015 to ensure net neutrality and reject platforms like Facebook Inc.’s Free Basics. “It’s like a gold rush for companies seeking large unprotected databases.”Black MarketA draft data protection bill presented to the government last year still hasn’t been approved by the cabinet or introduced into parliament. The country has already had problems implementing Aadhaar, one of the world’s biggest biometric databases linking everything from bank accounts to income tax filings, which been plagued by reports of data leaks and the growth of a black market for personal information.So far, not much is known about which companies might bid on the facial-recognition system. Minutes of a meeting with potential bidders, obtained by the Internet Freedom Foundation through a right to information request, showed unidentified companies sought clarifications on integrating facial recognition data with state databases and whether it should be able to identify people with plastic surgery.Vasudha Gupta, a spokeswoman for the Home Ministry, didn’t respond to an email seeking comments about the system.For some in the police force, the system will be an essential tool to fight crime if implemented properly. India has seen more than 100 terrorist attacks in the last three decades, including one on luxury hotels and a train station in Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008.‘Powerful Tool’Nilabh Kishore, who headed a unit fighting organized crime in the state of Punjab until last year, had success against gangsters after he set up a system linking data from police stations across the state.“A system that can identify criminals is invaluable -- facial recognition is a powerful tool,” said Kishore, who is now deputy inspector general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. “But human intentions are also very important. You can make the best of technology, but if human intentions are wrong it can be a tool for misuse.”That’s particularly a worry for vulnerable minority groups that have long faced discrimination in India. Lower castes and tribals account for about a quarter of the population but constitute 34% of India’s prisoners, according to the National Dalit Movement for Justice.In January, the Delhi High Court said it was “unacceptable“ that facial recognition had not helped trace any of the 5,000 children missing from the city in three years. Earlier this month, photos and phone numbers from a Madurai city police facial recognition database in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were leaked online.Surveillance ThreatThe threat of foreign spying is also persistent. Last month a federal government think tank criticized the local administration in Delhi for hiring the Indian arm of Chinese firm Hikvision to set up 150,000 CCTVs, saying the move could spur illegal hacking and data leaks to the Chinese government.Foreign surveillance companies operating in India include CP Plus, Dahua, Panasonic Corp., Bosch Security Systems, Honeywell International Inc., and D-Link India Ltd. Many Indian companies won’t be able to bid on the facial-recognition system because the current tender requires them to meet standards established by the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology, according to Atul Rai, chief executive officer of Staqu Technologies, an Indian startup.Rai, whose company has developed facial recognition for eight local police forces, said India doesn’t have the same quality cameras as China -- making it harder to meet the goal of being able to identify any person with an integrated system. He also said it would be more difficult to implement a national network in India because state governments are responsible for law and order under its constitution.“But if this one happens in line with the government’s plan, it should be a China-like system,” Rai said. “Any powerful country wants to be like China when it comes to using technology to monitor people -- even western countries.”\--With assistance from Santosh Kumar.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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