Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ.

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Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJThe era of perpetual growth for companies in Apple Inc.’s supply chainmay be over. The electronics giant’sfalling sales are reverberating acrossAsia, with iPhone component makers reporting weak earnings and issuingcautious forecasts amid a broader downturn in the smartphone business, theWSJ’s Eva Dou reports. Among the big suppliers, iPhone assembler FoxconnTechnology Group reported a 9.2% drop in first-quarter net profit and anotherassembler, Taiwan-based Pegatron Corp., showed a 35.1% plunge in profit.Others, including screen providers and sensor makers, also are reportingsteep declines. The bigger concern is the future: market research firm IDCsays global smartphone sales will grow only 5.7% this year, far below recentnorms. Supply chains will contract to meet the smaller market growth, cuttinginto the movement of goods from components to the distribution of finishedproducts.AppleInc.’s weak smartphone sales are starting to squeezeretailers andsuppliers.Best BuyCo.reported a hit to holiday sales as consumerspurchased fewer mobile phonesand accessories, reports the WSJ’s DrewFitzgerald. The components makers that produce chips and other parts for theiPhone alsowarn their revenues will decline sharply as a result of softdemandfor high-end smartphones, writes the WSJ’s Eva Dou.Victims includeTaiwan Semiconductor ManufacturingCo., which relies onApple for 20% of its sales and says first-quarter revenue will drop up to 10.8%from last year. Camera module manufacturerLargan PrecisionCo.andCatcher TechnologyCo., which makes smartphone casings, also predictweak results.Suppliers hope to get a boost later this year when Apple releases its latestiPhone.But the turbulence exposes how quickly shifts in consumer demandcan work their way through a global supply chain.What do we know now in fall2016 about demand for smartphones?
"China Is Generating Most If Not All Of Apple’sRevenue And Operating Income GrowthFeb. 1, 2016 1:55 PM ETDisclosure:(Author)I am/we are long AAPLSummaryChina has significantly increased its operating margins and contribution toApple over the past two years.The country has generated more revenue and operating income dollars thanthe rest of Apple for four quarters.Kantar has Apple's Urban China smartphone market share increasing from21.5% a year ago to 27.1% in the December 2015 quarter.Strategy Analytics has it increasing from 10.9% to 13.1%.The trend is more important than the numbers.As all Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors know, China is a very importantmarket for the company. Apple generated $18.4 billion in revenue in GreaterChina, 24% of its total revenue (27% of its operating income) and an increaseof 14% year over year. Without China's revenue, the rest of the companywould have reported a 1.6% decrease year over year versus a 1.7%increase."SourceAppleApple(NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO TimCook is heading to China to meetwith top government officials.Thereis much to discuss. iPhone sales aresoftening. To add insult to injury, Applejust lost a trademark to the iPhone in
China. Xintong Tiandi is now free to use its "IPHONE" trademark for leatherproducts.Apple will battle the case to the Chinese Supreme People's Court at a timewhen iPhone sales are down by 13% and Chinese sales are down by 26%.The government appears to be cracking down on Apple. They shut downservices for iBooks and iTunes last quarter, requiring that any content shownin China gets stored on servers located in the country. Carl Icahn andIcahnEnterprises(NASDAQ:IEP) sold out of the stock explicitly due to concerns withtheir business in China.Apple's newest Chinese headache? Tsinghua may be gearing up for a biddingwar against Apple forImagination Technologies. Apple currently owns 8% ofthe British chip designer and wants to own the rest. Apple (AAPL) hasunderperformed the S&P 500 (SPY) by over 10% since we last discussed ithere:Is Apple Rotting?The Chromebook category is fast gaining traction in schools in the United States.CreditGabriellaDemczuk forThe New York TimesChromebooks Reported Gaining on Apple - and Microsoft -in Classrooms (August 2015)As school districts across the country increasingly invest in technology for their students, the volume ofpersonal computers in the classroom is surging.And it is Chromebook – notebook computers that run on Google’s Chrome operating system – an upstartin a sector dominated by Apple and Microsoft, that is largely responsible for the growth trend in schools,according to a new report from IDC, a market research firm.Last year, the market for desktop, laptop, tablets and two-in-one computers shipped to kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools and institutions of higher education in the United States amounted to $7billion, according to estimates from IDC.In all, the company said, about 13.2 million systems were shipped in 2014 – about 33 percent more thanthe year before.With its line-up of iPads, MacBooks and other higher-priced products, Apple reaped the greatest revenuein the sector last year, accounting for nearly half of the total dollars spent on personal computers ineducation, the report said.
In terms of the sheer numbers of devices sold, however, Microsoft remained in the lead. In 2014, about4.9 million Windows devices, including notebooks and desktops, shipped to schools, giving Microsoft aroughly 38 percent market share in unit sales, IDC said.Apple, meanwhile, shipped about 4.2 million devices for schools, including desktops, notebook computersand tablets, accounting for about 32 percent of the education market, according to the report.But the Chromebook category is fast gaining traction in the United States.Last year, about 3.9 million Chromebooks were shipped in the education sector, an increase in unit salesof more than 310 percent compared with the previous year, IDC said. By contrast, iPad unit sales foreducation fell last year to 2.7 million devices, compared to 2.9 million in 2013, according to IDC data.“Even if Microsoft is No. 1 in volume and Apple is No. 1 in revenue, from the growth perspective, nobodycan beat Chromebook,” said Rajani Singh, a senior research analyst at IDC who tracks the personalcomputer market and is the author of the report.Opinion: Apple's Smartphone Future (March 2016)SummaryFor the first time ever Apple sold fewer iPhones y/y in Q414. It also lostmarket share to the tune of 3%.I do not think this is related to Apple's upgrade cycle. The high endsmartphone segment is saturated, and Apple controls almost all of it.And while I do not think the rumored iPhone SE will do much to solvethis problem, its trade-in program coupled with selling used iPhones toIndia will.According toGartner, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold 71.5 million smartphonesin Q415 vs. 74.8 million smartphones in Q414.
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