Monday, November 5, 2012

LTW - NK Bro in SK?, Dokdo vs. Google Maps, Hyundai Sales

1. National
1) Kim Jong-un’s brother in South Korea?
Rumors are floating that Kim Jong-nam, 41, the first son of late Kim Jong-il and half brother of current N.K. leader Kim Jong-un, has recently sought asylum in South Korea while residing in a third country and that South Korean authorities have safely secured him. South Korean government played down the rumors, but a lawmaker from the ruling party said that an official from National Intelligence Service said “It is difficult to comment on that” when the lawmaker asked the spy agency if they knew anything about Kim Jong-nam’s whereabouts. Just by coincidence, Kim Jong-nam’s eldest son living in Europe described his uncle Kim Jong-un as a dictator on a recent Finnish television talk show.
As the eldest, Kim Jong-nam was expected to take power from his father, but that dream went away when Kim Jong-nam was caught by Japanese immigration in 2001 when he tried to enter Japan under false passport to visit Disney Land in Tokyo. Kim Jong-il probably thought running a nation isn’t a Mickey Mouse game. 

2) Google got caught between Korea and Japan?
While its CEO Eric Schmidt tried to be friendly with Koreans, even learning “Gangnam Style” horse dancing from Psy last month, Google has angered many Koreans by deleting the Korean address for the Dokdo islets (Takeshima by Japanese) from its map service, under pressure from Japan. Google has refused to reconsider the change despite the protest from Korean government. Google claims it is trying to be neutral, but Koreans think it not neutral at all to delete Korean address for Dokdo and to identify it by the old nautical name “Liancourt Rocks” as the islets are officially administered by Korea. 
It seems the feared aftershock of President Lee Myunghbak’s surprise visit to Dokdo in August is taking place. Dokdo became well known to other nations after his visit, and many might think Dokdo is in dispute, much like Kashmir. Lee’s next move is to hold a press conference to tell everyone in the world in 110db that his Rolex watch for wedding in 1970 belongs to him, not to someone else. 

2. Economy
1) Apple gets slammed by U.K. court, again.  
A U.K. court ordered Apple to repost a message on its website saying “Samsung did not copy its patented designs.”  The court said the Apple included “incorrect” and “untrue” information in a message that was to acknowledge the original court ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab did not infringe on the design of the iPad.  On Oct. 25, Apple did post a message on its U.K. homepage acknowledging the court ruling, but quoted a judge who said the Galaxy Tab’s design was “not cool enough” to be mistaken for an iPad. 
Samsung’s relationship with Apple is quite weird. Samsung sells 8 billion dollars worth smart phone components like semi conductors and LCD screens to Apple each year, but its Galaxy models have to compete against iPhone or iPad made of its own components. Samsung sales division’s worst enemy is itself. 

3. Auto Industry
1) Hyundai to develop 3.0L Turbo engine.  
Hyundai announced its plan to develop a 3.0L Lambda turbo gasoline engine at its 12th annual International Powertrain. Hyundai said it plans to use the turbo engine for Grandeur (Azera) and Genesis for better fuel efficiency and horse power by 10%. Kim Haejin, the newly appointed head of Powertrain R&D, said “Demand for eco-friendly, high ?efficiency engines and transmissions is rising so we plan to speed up development of cutting-edge powertrain technologies.” Hyundai currently has turbo version for 1.0L Kappa, 1.4L Gamma, and 2.0L Theta. 
Hyundai seems to be determined to make turbo as its key strategy as WIA, Hyundai’s sister company, has just decided to get into turbo charger business. WIA’s entry can turn turbo charger market currently crowded with BorgWarner, Honeywell and Mitsubishi, into an arena for UFC fighters.

2) Hyundai’s sales in China spikes  
Beijing Hyundai set new sales record in September, thanks to unexpected gains from the recent Senkaku/Diayou island dispute between China and Japan that sparked boycotts against Japanese products. Hyundai sold 84,188 units in China in September. With the 43,639 units its sister Kia sold in China, the total sales for both reached record 127,827 units, up 9.5% from the previous peak of 116,763pcs in the same month in last year. Toyota China saw its Sep sales drop 48.9% on year to 44,100 and Honda China also suffered 40.5% decline on year to 33,931 in Sep. Ranking 3rd in sales last year with combined sales of 1.17 million units, trailing VW with 2.19 million and GM with 1.2 million, Hyundai-Kia sold 930K units as of September this year.
While it was all good news from China, it was not so from North America because of Hyundai-Kia problem with U.S. EPA over fuel consumption rating. Though the discrepancy was due to the misunderstanding of test conditions, according to Hyundai, Hyundai-Kia management made a full apology and will reimburse average $88 for 900,000 consumers who bought Hyundai-Kia models in question. A 0.0009% owner of Hyundai stocks, my wife thought Hyundai was making a right move by being proactive, and decided to hold her stocks.


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