Huawei sells budget mobile phone arm Honor
Huawei is selling its budget mobile phone brand Honor to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, the company has announced.
Citing “tremendous pressure” in its commercial business owing to supply issues, it is offloading Honor’s assets in full, and will not retain any shares or management positions.
The phone brand, which launched in 2013 and now sells over 70 million units per year, was seen as Huawei’s foothold in the lucrative low-to-mid-end mobile phone market, attracting sales among younger demographics and, more importantly, in developing markets.
In a statement, the Chinese tech giant said: “Huawei highly appreciates the continued dedication, attention, and support given by Honor's consumers, channel sellers, suppliers, partners, and employees.
“We hope this new Honor company will embark on a new road of honor with its shareholders, partners, and employees. We look forward to seeing Honor continue to create value for consumers and build a new intelligent world for young people.”
International Data Corporation recently reported that Huawei’s overall phone sales had dipped below Samsung’s, largely owing to the latter’s success with budget handsets. Those figures suggested Samsung had knocked Huawei from the top spot for the quarter. The data showed a dramatic fall in Huawei’s sales (see graph).
Huawei’s statement in full
Huawei's consumer business has been under tremendous pressure as of late. This has been due to a persistent unavailability of technical elements needed for our mobile phone business. Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. has thus decided to sell all of its Honor business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co., Ltd. This sale will help Honor's channel sellers and suppliers make it through this difficult time.
Once the sale is complete, Huawei will not hold any shares or be involved in any business management or decision-making activities in the new Honor company.
This move has been made by Honor's industry chain to ensure its own survival. Over 30 agents and dealers of the Honor brand first proposed this acquisition.
Since its creation in 2013, the Honor brand has focused on the youth market by offering phones in the low- to mid-end price range. During these past seven years, Honor has developed into a smartphone brand that ships over 70 million units annually.
Huawei highly appreciates the continued dedication, attention, and support given by Honor's consumers, channel sellers, suppliers, partners, and employees.
We hope this new Honor company will embark on a new road of honor with its shareholders, partners, and employees. We look forward to seeing Honor continue to create value for consumers and build a new intelligent world for young people.
Tech Corporations Fight for Alternative ESG Filings
In 2021, almost a third of global equity inflow went into ESG funds, according to the Bank of America. In April alone, ESG assets hit US$1.4tn, growing at 3x the rate of non-ESG funds. And although it seems like solar panel and electric car firms should take the cake for sustainable investment, it’s actually the world’s largest tech firms that command the market.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the most commonly held S&P 500 stocks in actively managed sustainable equity funds include Microsoft, Alphabet, and Apple. So it struck many as odd that in a June 11th letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Alphabet requested that ESG information not be disclosed in annual 10k filings.
Who Signed The Letter?
Only some of the most influential tech giants in the world...
To be fair, these companies aren’t against ESG and sustainable business. ‘Collectively, we purchase more than 21 gigawatts of clean energy and many of us are members of the UN Race to Zero and America is All In campaigns’, the joint letter to the SEC stated. ‘Each company has an individual goal to procure 100% renewable energy’.
Then Why Protest?
According to the tech companies, filing ESG information might open them up to legal risks. After all, sustainability reporting relies on estimates and assumptions that involve uncertainty—and governance issues such as fair labour are much harder to track than annual financial data. ‘It is important not to subject companies to undue liability’, the companies wrote.
Instead of reporting ESG data in their annual 10k filings, Alphabet et. al suggest that the SEC should allow for new climate-related reporting outside of the current annual or quarterly schedules. By adjusting the reporting frequency and timing, they argue, companies can provide a better and more accurate measure of how they’re doing with ESG.
Who Opposes Alternative ESG Reporting?
For the most part, asset managers aren’t thrilled. Pimco, Invesco, and other major asset funds want ESG information disclosed—the standard way. As of right now, the SEC still intends to make ESG 10k filings mandatory. ‘[Alphabet] positions itself as a sustainability leader’, said Josh Zinner, CEO of the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility. Added Molly Betounray, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Clean Yield Asset Management: ‘While it’s great to see corporate ESG leaders advocating for climate disclosure standards, we disagree with their assertion that these disclosures should fall outside current standard SEC filings’.
What’s the Verdict?
Maybe Alphabet, Amazon, and Intel are honestly trying to frame ESG reporting in a new light. As Patrick Flynn, Vice President for Sustainability at Salesforce said: ‘[ESG disclosure] is a new process for companies to go through, and they’ll need to establish new procedures. Allowing for some sort of safe harbour from liability…[allows] companies to push in willingly and not just do the bare minimum’.
In their letter to the SEC, these companies chose to recommend several concrete actions:
- Use a principles-based framework, akin to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
- Base GHG emissions on global standards, such as the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol
- Leverage existing SEC frameworks to reduce the reporting burden
- Adjust the timing and frequency of ESG reporting
In short: before we mandate ESG reporting, the SEC should at least think twice about how to design it.