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Under the watchful gaze of Samsung Electronics security personnel, health and safety staffer Ko Jee-hun stood outside his semiconductor plant, handing out leaflets touting the benefits of joining a trade union.
For almost 50 years the firm avoided unionisation of its employees -- sometimes adopting ferocious tactics according to critics -- while rising to become the world's largest smartphone and semiconductor manufacturer.
It is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates, known as "chaebol", that dominate the world's 11th-largest economy.
But last week local authority officials in Suwon, where the chipmaker is headquartered, certified the National Samsung Electronics Union.
It is affiliated to the powerful Federation of Korean Trade Unions umbrella group (FKTU), and analysts say the move could spell trouble down the line for the firm. Ko is the union's deputy general secretary. "What's at stake here is more than wages," he said as he mounted a recruitment drive this week. "We demand communication and to have our voices heard. Because we are not just components."
The leaflets he handed out showed a series of cartoon characters complaining about issues from holidays and lunch breaks to forced early retirement and unexplained bonus reductions. "The real union has arrived," it proclaimed, with a link and QR codes for employees to sign up.
The security guards would not let him stand directly outside the factory gate in Hwaseong, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Seoul, forcing him to take up a position at the next intersection -- but almost all passers-by took a copy.
"The fight has just only begun," Ko said. Ahead of its formal establishment the union registered 400 expressions of interest from Samsung Electronics employees, the FKTU says.
The new group has set itself a goal of signing up 10,000 members – almost 10 percent of the workforce -- which analysts say could see it demand a right to collective bargaining.
Samsung's founder Lee Byung-chul, who died in 1987, was adamantly opposed to unions, saying he would never allow them "until I have dirt over my eyes".
Internal documents from 2012 obtained by a South Korean MP instructed managers to control "problematic personnel" seeking to establish unions.
"To avoid claims of unfair labour practices, dismiss key organisers before the launch of a union," it read, among other recommendations.
But organisers have seized the opportunity presented by the left-leaning government of President Moon Jae-in -- a former rights lawyer who represented trade unions -- and controversy around the bribery trial of the company's vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, the founder's grandson.
It also faces challenges from the US-China trade war and export restrictions imposed by Tokyo on key supplies as part of a dispute with Seoul over wartime forced labour. "The level of repression is much weaker now than before," said the union's Ko. "I think the company is being cautious over possible repercussions." Samsung Electronics declined to comment to AFP.
Samsung's share price soared in 2016-7 and a staffer who asked to be identified only as Kim welcomed the union's establishment personally, hoping for higher year-end bonuses and other benefits.
But the global chip market has since seen a prolonged downturn and Kim also feared the union's possible impact when even small production delays "could result in a significant loss of market share".
"Waging a collective strike could be fatal," he added.
Samsung Electronics' no-union policy was "anachronistic", but it could now end up following "in the footsteps of Hyundai Motor embroiled in strikes every year", the Korea Times warned in an editorial.
Higher labour costs could also impact its business model, which is based on large-scale, long term investments, said Sejong University business professor Kim Dae-jong.
"With the labour union, it could find it much harder to carry out large investments with finances diverted to pay for increased wages," he said.
Three unions were set up at Samsung last year, but none of them had the backing of a bigger federation and fizzled after attracting only a handful of members.
Samsung needed to move with the times and acknowledge that standards had changed since its founder's time, said Chun Soon-ok, a labour campaigner and former MP whose brother burned himself to death in 1970 in protest at brutal working conditions in the textile industry. Unions also needed to move on from previous militancy, Chun added.
In the past, unions and management "saw each other as competitors to knock down in a boxing ring", she said. "But the 21st century requires them to dance together in partnership."
Research from Canalys has indicated signs of a growth in mobile device sales in the third quarter of the year. This increase is seen after two years of a decline in shipments. Global smartphone shipments have increased by 1% in Q3 2019.
Samsung shipped the greatest number of smartphones, at 78.9 million devices, a rise of 11 per cent, compared to the corresponding period the year prior.
Huawei recovered from a weak second quarter and was second with 66.8 million units, up 29%, to gain 19% of the market. In its home market alone, Huawei shipped 41.5 million smartphones to reach a record market share of 42%, an annual growth of 66%.
While most of its growth was attributed to its performance in China, it also saw growth in overseas markets with volumes increasing 3.8 million over the quarter to 25.3 million due to a rise in demand during the pause in procurement in Q2.
By contrast, and mainly by weak performance of the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max in the lead up to its September launch event, Apple shipped 43.5 million units, an annual decline of 7%, leading to 12.3% of the market. This is an improvement on Q1 and Q2, which saw double digit declines.
Vincent Thielke, Canalys research analyst said that while the iPhone 11 launched to strong reviews, the lack of 5G in any of Apple’s products will hurt it in early 2020.
“It will miss out on heavy operator investment in 5G marketing and promotions, and the wide expectation for Apple to launch a 5G iPhone in September 2020 may convince some customers to delay purchasing, to ensure their device is future-proof,” Thielke said.
Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) today announced that it has shipped 200 million smartphones to date in 2019, 64 days earlier than the same shipment milestone last year.
Huawei’s relentless focus on cutting-edge technology and innovative ID design, with its complete commitment to consumers worldwide, has reinforced their trust and commitment as more consumers continue to support Huawei.
2019 saw the launch of a number of stand-out devices including the multi award-winning Huawei P30 Series, widely considered to be the best camera phone currently available, as well as an all-round category leader.
Amongst a slew of awards and accolades, the European Image and Sound Association (EISA), a group comprising 55 of the world’s most respected consumer electronics magazines, named the Huawei’s P30 Pro “EISA Best Smartphone 2019-2020”, making it the second year in a row that Huawei has claimed this category prize.
More recently, the Huawei Mate 30 Series launched to great critical acclaim. Featuring the flagship Kirin 990 5G SoC, DxOMark winning quad camera system with breakthrough SuperSensing Cine Camera and futuristic Halo ring design, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro has been called “a genuine, unapologetic flagship phone” by Android Authority while GSMArena stated that “it has some of the best cameras ever found on a smartphone”, once again cementing Huawei’s reputation as an industry leader.
In celebration of the milestone, Huawei announced the Commemorative Edition of Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G. The limited version will come with 8GB RAM + 512GB Storage and will be available in Forest Green and Orange with vegan leather. It will be available for order on Huawei Vmall starting from 1st November 2019 at 10:08 am China time in the Chinese market.
Huawei unveiled its ground-breaking HUAWEI Mate 30 Series at an exclusive launch event in Munich. Setting new standards in every area from aesthetic design through to hardware engineering and software innovation, the HUAWEI Mate 30 Series is the world’s first second generation 5G smartphone and the pinnacle of mobile technological development.
Huawei will step up its presence in the global market for computer hardware, a top company official said, as the Chinese telecom giant weathers a US assault on its 5G network and smartphone business.
Deputy chairman Ken Hu said the strategy is based on expectations that “incredible computing power” is going to be needed as the world turns to complicated and resource-hogging future technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.
“We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. We need to beef up our computing power, explore new architectures, and develop processors that meet people's needs across all scenarios,” Hu said at a tech conference in Shanghai.
Huawei is already the world leader in telecom networking equipment, the number two smartphone producer, and is expected to dominate in ultra-fast future 5G networks. But it has been swept into the trade war between China and the United States, with its future prospects now in doubt owing to a US campaign to isolate the company. A push into the market for computer architecture and software could add a new front in Huawei's battle with the Trump administration.
Hu cited independent estimates saying the market will be worth more than $2 trillion by 2023, adding that Huawei would invest an additional $1.5 billion toward that effort. He gave no timeframe or figures on current investment.
“We will continue to invest,” he said. “Starting with the most difficult challenge ahead of us - making breakthroughs in architecture - to developing processors, we're going to help expand the industry and build out the ecosystem.”
Huawei has announced the latest edition to its growing flagship HUAWEI P30 series with the launch of the HUAWEI P30 Pro Limited Edition Pearl White in the UAE.
Inspired by the flowing movement and clear essence of the clouds that reflect across salt flats, this new color is one of the most stunning additions to the HUAWEI P30 Pro’s color spectrum.
Huawei’s latest feature-packed device boasts an solid 128GB storage space and comes in a Special Edition Gift Box with a distinguished black ribbon that contains the Glamorous HUAWEI P30 Pro case embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Along with this stunning new color, users can enjoy the HUAWEI P30 Pro’s award winning features and powerful hardware.
This includes the world’s first Leica Quad Camera setup for stunning photos and videos in any situation, Kirin 980 chipset for powerful and efficient performance and a massive 4200 mAh battery with the 40W Huawei Supercharge that charges back up to 70% of the battery in 30 minutes only.
Additional features include: GPU Turbo 3.0 for gaming enthusiasts; wireless reverse charging; massive 6.47 inch display with in-screen fingerprint and HUAWEI Acoustic Display Technology that helps to create a better viewing experience by minimizing the bezels.
The HUAWEI P30 Pro Limited Edition Pearl White in Special Gift Box with Glamorous Case embellished with crystals from Swarovski will reach the Huawei experience and e-commerce stores on August 8th at a price of AED 2,599 in limited quantities.
Packing the unique Pearl White color and the HUAWEI P30 Pro’s premium features, it is the perfect gift this Eid season to capture every unforgettable moment
In view recent roll-out of 5G network technology by UAE telecom operators, Huawei will launch its highly anticipated 5G smartphone - HUAWEI Mate 20 X (5G) in the UAE this July. Supporting a wide range of patented 5G technologies, the device is expected to represent high-speed connectivity and powerful performance. HUAWEI Mate 20 X (5G) - Huawei’s first commercial 5G-enabled smartphone will usher UAE users in a new era of smart mobile technologies in July.
Large-scale 5G rollout began in 2018 with the GCC countries currently in the 1st wave of 5G rollout. Huawei started developing its own 5G technology as early as 2009 and has since invested significant resources into developing 5G across its device, network and chipset offerings. In 2017 and 2018, Huawei invested almost US$1.4 billion into 5G product development. As of June 2019, Huawei has won 46 commercial 5G contracts globally.
Vodafone’s network was down across Europe on Thursday with thousands of customers unable to use the internet or make phone calls.
Issues began at around 14:42 BST according to network monitor Down detector. Customers all over the UK reported issues and so did customers in Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal.
Many customers took to Twitter to express their frustration on the matter.
Vodafone then acknowledged the outage and tweeted, “We are currently investigating a potential outage to our fixed and mobile services. We thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved.”
The company has around 19.5 million UK customers and around 444 million globally.
Initially, it looked more like an isolated issue with customers in some UK cities thought to have been among those affected; however, Economics Correspondent Paul Cogan at Virgin Media TV noticed that Down Detector showed more maps with even more outages.
He stated, “Vodafone’s problems don’t seem to be restricted to just Europe. Down Detector outage maps show problems in India, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.”
The global disruption was then confirmed when Vodafone Ghana tweeted, “Vodafone Ghana wishes to apologize for the intermittent network challenges experienced by some of our mobile customers. Resolving it remains our topmost priority. We shall keep you updated. Thanks for your patience.”
Vodafone then apologized for the inconvenience and said the services were back to normal. “This issue has now been fully resolved and normal service has been restored to customers. We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
The network outage comes a month after Vodafone set its launch date for its new 5G network in seven UK cities.
The company last experienced an outage in October 2018.
ZTE Corporation announced that ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is compliant with the mandatory requirements of entering European markets after obtaining the 5G CE certificate. In addition to the 5G CE certification, ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G has also got the technical approval of Emirati operators du and Etisalat.
The US manufacturer of superchips that powers our smartphones has seen its shares plummet following an antitrust ruling.