Technology Roundup – Apple seen partnering in electric vehicles with Tesla, Volkswagen or Nio; Apple warns of potential game app bans in China

Published on: December 23, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Apple seen partnering in electric vehicles with Tesla, Volkswagen or Nio

More electrifying stuff out of the EV sector as Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives tips this morning that the firm believes Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will ultimately announce an electric vehicle strategic partnership in 2021 that lays the groundwork to enter the burgeoning EV space.

Ives notes that Apple has been working in Cupertino for years around the autonomous vision and believes a potential strategic partnership with an established EV player such as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) or Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) would be a “golden partnership” for the next decade tapping into the EV opportunity.

“We believe based on our investor conversations over the last few days that many on the Street would rather see Apple partner on the EV path, than start building its own vehicles/factories given the margin and financial model implications down the road, coupled with the strategic product risk around such a gargantuan endeavor. This speaks to our view that the chances of a strategic partnerships with the likes of a Tesla, VW, or other auto manufacturers in China (e.g., Nio, Xpeng) are in the 70%+ range over the next few years and could lay the groundwork for a dual path (start building its own line of EV autos post 2025) over the next decade if this EV/autonomous venture is successful with consumers. This is similar to our view of what Chinese tech stalwart Baidu ultimately embarks on in the form of a strategic EV partnerships/collaboration in China as opposed to launching its own auto product line right out of the gates. In a nutshell, this would only expand the massive TAM for Apple over time to go aggressively after the EV market, however as we have seen in decades of following Apple many products/strategic ideas happen in the labs of Cupertino that ultimately never leave the confines of Apple Park.”

Wedbush has an Outperform rating on Apple with a price target of $160. Tesla is rated at Neutral and tagged with a 12-momnth price target of $715 and bull case PT of $1,000.

Compare Apple, Volkswagen and Tesla side by side.

Yesterday, Elon Musk said he once reached out to Apple about a potential takeover, but Tim Cook wouldn’t take the meeting.

Apple warns of potential game app bans in China amid regulatory crackdown – WSJ

According to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently warned Chinese app developers that thousands of video games will be removed from the App Store due to the government’s regulatory crackdown.

Apple said developers of premium games and those featuring in-app purchases would have until the end of the year to provide proof of government license or the app would be removed.

App research firm Sensor Tower says at least 94,000 games have been removed from China’s App Store this year versus the 25,000 pulled games in 2019.

Apple tells the WSJ that its App Stores are subject to local regulations, which can include requests for removal.

Earlier this month, the Cyberspace Administration of China banned 105 apps from app stores saying the content violated at least one of three cyber security laws.

Related: In the fiscal Q4 report in October, Apple reported a 29% Y/Y sales decline in Greater China, which the company attributed to the delayed launch for the iPhone 12 lineup.

Apple shares are relatively flat pre-market at $131.93 after closing yesterday up 2.9% as the Street digested the company’s reported self-driving vehicle plans.

AT&T, CWA agree to extend two Mobility contracts

AT&T Mobility and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have reached agreements on one-year extensions of two Mobility contracts.

The extended Mobility Orange contract covers over 14k AT&T Mobility employees in 36 states. It goes into effect on Feb. 13, 2021 and expires on Feb. 11, 2022.

The extended Mobility Southeast/Black contract covers nearly 10k AT&T Mobility employees in CWA District. It goes into effect on Feb. 12, 2022 and expires on Feb. 10, 2023.

Until the extended contracts take effect, employees are continuing to work under their current contracts.

(T +0.56) premarket.

Palantir inks two year contract for U.K. health services work

Palantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR) signed a new two-year contract worth $31.5M with the U.K. National Health Service, which includes NHS England and NHS Improvement, where Palantir Foundry will provide the NHS with a software platform for the secure, reliable and timely processing of data while protecting the privacy of patients.

The NHS will continue to use Palantir Foundry as part of its COVID-19 response, including the planning and operational roll-out of the U.K.’s vaccine program.

Shares +0.46% PM

John Rhodes writes on Seeking Alpha that PLTR is a rare company that gets stronger in chaos.

Alibaba (BABA) stock down 6% this quarter as Ant Group continues to woo regulators after failed IPO

A month after Chinese regulators halted the fintech’s record-breaking IPO plans, Ant Group (NYSE:BABA) is lowering borrowing limits for young borrowers using its virtual credit card product. The company tells Reuters the move was meant to promote more “rational” spending limits among users.

Chinese regulators have been cracking down on the financial industry on concerns that young and low-income borrowers could end up taking on too much debt.

Former Alibaba chairman Jack Ma holds the controlling stake in Ant Group. Alibaba has a 32.65% piece and no controlling interest in the company, though that amount would have increased if the IPO had happened.

In other news related to Alibaba’s stakes, the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club plans to delist from China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations OTC market after the pandemic accelerated four years of revenue losses.

The soccer club, which included the region’s top players and was backed by billionaire Hui Kai Yan, says it will focus on adjusting its strategy to focus on the core business. Alibaba holds a 38% stake in the club.

Alibaba shares are down a slight 0.2% to $255.32 pre-market. Shares are down 6.3% in the quarter, largely due to Ant Group’s struggles.

On Monday, news broke that Jack Ma had offered parts of Ant Group to the Chinese government in a failed attempt to appease regulators ahead of the IPO.