Who’s the real tech giant; AI takes life science a big step forward

Original link: https://www.latepost.com/news/dj_detail?id=1251

Who is the real tech giant

Financial Street, Lujiazui or Wall Street always want to find some leading indicators to guide investment. But in fact many times the stock price itself is the most leading indicator.

This week, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), and Meta (Facebook), the five major technology companies in Silicon Valley, released their second quarterly reports this year. Four are good and one is bad, just like the performance of their stock prices during the year, the five major technologies have changed into the four.

Left behind is Meta, which has entered the Metaverse. In addition to the first quarterly revenue decline, management also expects third-quarter revenue to decline by up to 10%, and many teams will be downsized. Profits fell for three consecutive quarters, and ad unit prices fell 14%. Meta has not experienced such a prolonged downturn since Q4 2012. CEO Zuckerberg said:

We appear to have entered an economic recession that will have broad implications for the digital advertising business. And it’s hard to predict how deep or how long the cycle will be, but it appears to be worse than a quarter ago… Our plan is to steadily slow headcount growth over the next year. A lot of teams will be downsized so we can focus on other areas in-house…I hope we can get more done with less.

Meta threats come from Apple and TikTok. The former precisely hits Meta’s ability to deliver ads precisely. The latter, in the words of Zuckerberg’s third-quarter conference call last year, “is one of the most effective competitors we’ve ever faced.” User engagement affects the price and effectiveness of advertisements on social platforms. For Meta or Snap, any service that takes up users’ time and attention is a major threat.

Zuckerberg invests in the metaverse and young people, betting on new products (Reels), but it’s not a business that sees immediate results. He hopes to make big changes to Instagram and Facebook over the next year, leaning further into video, making Reels a more central part of the experience, and serving 18- to 29-year-olds best.

Google’s advertising business has also suffered somewhat, mainly from the macroeconomic recession. However, Google search and other advertising revenue still achieved a 14% year-on-year increase to $40.7 billion, driven by a resurgent European and American travel industry and retail advertisers anxious to clear their inventory.

Analyst Ben Thompson said, “Google’s core search product is not only resilient in the face of a macroeconomic slowdown, but it continues to look like a big winner from the structural changes in the digital advertising market caused by Apple’s advertising privacy policy.”

Search YouTube, which has more branded ads, saw revenue rise just 5% to $7.3 billion as advertisers cut spending. Google’s “side business”, cloud computing helped a little this time, with quarterly revenue exceeding $6 billion for the first time (but growth slowed to 36%). CEO Sundar Pichai said:

We see continued demand growth across the globe, including Target in North America, H&M Group in Europe, Banco BV in Latin America and BioPharma in Asia… We continue to see strong momentum and a huge market opportunity.

Of course, Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) benefited the most from the growth in demand for cloud computing, with revenue rising 33% to $19.7 billion. The latter’s revenue rose 28% to $25 billion.

In addition to growth driven by consistent technology and market leadership, Microsoft also specifically cited companies cutting back, consolidating suppliers, and doing more with less during downturns, partially offsetting Microsoft’s presence in the PC companion market. The impact of falling income. Nadella said the public cloud “really acts as a hedge against inflation.”

Amazon AWS’ second-quarter profit reached $5.72 billion, up 36%, but rising costs for infrastructure, human resources, and utilities dampened profitability, and AWS’s profit margin fell to 29% (30.9% in the prior quarter).

As a retail company with $121.2 billion in e-commerce revenue in a quarter, Amazon has not encountered the serious inventory excess problem of Walmart and Target. This may have something to do with the fact that more than half of its retail sales come from third-party sellers—the latter take on and digest inventory themselves, and Amazon earns a service fee from it.

Apple’s second-quarter profit fell 10%, but the iPhone company beat expectations if you factor in the complexity of this year’s situation. They have brought losses from supply chain issues to less than $4 billion (previously expected to be between $4 billion and $8 billion), and a record number of users have switched from Android to iPhone. Jefferies analyst Kyle McNealy said in the report:

The number of users switching from Android to iPhone increased by double digits year-on-year… We think this increase is mainly due to Huawei fans who have held on for so long and finally bought the iPhone. Given that Huawei has never sold products in the US, some of those users may also be from Samsung. (Gong Fangyi)

AI takes life sciences a big step forward

  • On July 28, the artificial intelligence company DeepMind announced that it used artificial intelligence AlphaFold to predict the three-dimensional structure of 214 million proteins in 1 million species on the earth, covering almost all known proteins on the earth, and everyone can download the data in batches for free.
  • DeepMind, which developed the artificial intelligence AlphaGo that beat the world champion Go, is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
  • Proteins are the basic organic substances that make up cells and are called “the building blocks of life”. What a protein does is determined by its three-dimensional structure. If scientists can grasp this information, they can influence control or modify its function in various ways to achieve their goals.
  • For example, in pharmaceuticals, according to the statistics of Nature reviews, 80% of new drugs on the market are combined with a certain protein (target) in the human body.
  • Or the elimination of bacterial resistance. Bacteria resist the action of antibiotics by expressing certain proteins.
  • Limited by biological properties, it has been difficult for humans to accurately predict the three-dimensional structure of proteins in a short period of time. In the past 50 years, scientists have tried various methods, such as X-ray, nuclear magnetic resonance and cryo-electron microscopy. At the fastest it will take a few months, and at the slower it may take more than a decade. It is difficult to efficiently find protein targets, which is one of the reasons for the long development cycle and large investment of modern drugs.
  • In December 2020, DeepMind developed the artificial intelligence AlphaFold to help humans solve the problem of protein structure prediction. It only takes a few hours or tens of minutes to predict its folded three-dimensional structure based on a string of biological information of the protein. Sex is comparable to the results of years of experiments by scientists. The process of finding a protein’s three-dimensional structure (predicting the outcome) is now reduced to seconds, thanks to DeepMind’s open data. “It’s as easy as a Google search,” says DeepMind CEO Hassabis.
  • Almost all scientists interviewed by the media believe that AlphaFold has revolutionized life science research. According to DeepMind, more than 500,000 researchers in more than 190 countries around the world have accessed AlphaFold’s datasets and applied them to real-world research: accelerating the development of new drugs for diseases affecting 1 billion people; developing enzymes that degrade single-use plastics; Study the immune systems of rapidly declining honeybees, increase their chances of survival, and more.
  • According to the European Institute of Bioinformatics, of the 214 million protein structures predicted by DeepMind, 35% were highly accurate, and another 45% could be applied to further research. DeepMind will add new protein structure data as new organisms are discovered, Hassabis said. They will also work with Isomorphic Labs, a pharmaceutical company owned by Google’s parent company, to redesign the drug discovery process based on artificial intelligence.
  • There are still many problems in the field of protein folding, such as how to predict protein structure more accurately, and how proteins interact with each other. Just as mathematics is the perfect description language for physics, AI may be the technology that unlocks the dynamic, complex science of life, DeepMind said. AlphaFold is an important proof. (He Qianming)

Pfizer Announces Progress on Omicron Variant Vaccine Development

On July 28, Pfizer announced financial data showing that its revenue in the second quarter was US$27.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 46%. During the conference call, company executives highlighted research and development progress in infectious diseases, metabolic diseases and oncology, including vaccines for Covid-19 variants.

Currently, Pfizer and BioNTech have developed monovalent vaccines against Omicron BA.1 variants, Omicron BA.4/5 variants, and bivalent vaccines against Omicron BA.4/5.

  • Experimental data in mice show that monovalent and bivalent vaccines of Omicron BA.4/5 act as boosters to significantly increase the neutralization capacity of animals against all Omicron variants.
  • At present, Pfizer has initiated Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to test the efficacy of the bivalent new crown vaccine against wild-type and Omicron BA.2 variants.

Pfizer has submitted applications for authorization of the Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, and plans to submit an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application for the BA.4/5 bivalent vaccine candidate in the United States and prepare to start vaccination this fall.

  • The Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine is a combination of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine and a vaccine candidate targeting the Omicron BA.1 spike protein for use in people 12 years of age and older.
  • Previously, the results of clinical data published by Pfizer showed that the Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine 30μg booster produced a higher immune response to Omicron BA.1, and was well tolerated and safe.

The company announced the start of evaluation of its next-generation mRNA vaccine, BNT162b5, with pivotal clinical data due this fall. The quadrivalent influenza vaccine modRNA is in Phase 2 clinical trials.

  • Preliminary data showed that the vaccine elicited stronger T-cell responses and higher seroconversion rates in volunteers over the age of 65. Pfizer plans to conduct a Phase 3 clinical trial to further evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine. (Intern Zeng Xing)

Apple’s supply chain problem basically solved

Apple’s 200 core suppliers are located in different parts of the world, and the pressure to ensure supply is no less than that of any familiar manufacturing company.

  • iPhone revenue in the second quarter was $40.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 2.8%, but actual shipments declined. According to Apple’s financial report analysis, Jefferies shipped about 44.6 million units in the second quarter, down 1% year-on-year and down 17% quarter-on-quarter. However, compared with the 8.7% decline in global mobile phone shipments in the same period, it is still better than expected.
  • As much as possible to ensure the production of the iPhone, the Mac and iPad have become the price, and the Mac is the most severely dragged down by the supply chain.
  • Mac revenue in the second quarter was $7.4 billion, down 10% year over year. Shanghai Quanta is the only supplier of MacBook Pro. The epidemic in the second quarter increased the delivery time by three to five weeks, and the delivery time for some configurations was more than one month.
  • In Apple’s supply chain composition, mainland China mainly provides precision components and material supply modules, Taiwanese suppliers mainly undertake foundry modules, and foreign manufacturers Qualcomm, Intel, Skyworks, etc. are responsible for the supply of core module chips.

Apple mentioned in its earnings report that the supply chain problems in June have basically eased, and its performance can continue to rise. Jefferies expects Apple’s sales in the next quarter to be 86 billion to 89 billion US dollars. With the mass production of the iPhone 14 in August, the stock prices of Chinese-related supply chain companies have risen, and the bonuses of employees of Foxconn’s iDPBG business group in Henan have also risen by 1,000 yuan. (intern Xue Yujie)

The total box office of this summer is 4.5 billion yuan, and the number of moviegoers in July has basically recovered to the level of the same period last year.

According to the data of Maoyan Professional Edition, the total box office of this year’s summer program has exceeded 4.5 billion. At present, the box office, the number of screenings and the number of moviegoers have basically recovered to the level of the same period last year.

  • Data shows that in July, the total number of operating theaters in the country fluctuated around 10,000, with an operating rate of nearly 80%, and theater attendance has basically recovered to the level of the same period last year.
  • At present, the top three at the box office are “Life Events”, “Jurassic World 3” and “Detective War”, with a total of 7 films that have exceeded 100 million at the box office.
  • The total box office of “Lonely Walk on the Moon” on its first day of release exceeded 200 million yuan. According to Maoyan Professional Edition, the film had a total of 215,000 screenings on its first day of release, setting a new record for the first-day screenings of domestic films in the Chinese film market.

There are a total of 67 films in the summer program this year, and the number of films is insufficient. According to the “Economic Daily”, since 2014 on record, except for 2014 and 2020, the number of films released in the summer vacation has exceeded 100 each year.

The summer box office in 2020 is 3.616 billion yuan, and in 2021 it is 7.381 billion yuan. Analysts said that judging from the current trend, as many new films are set to be released one after another, this year’s box office is likely to surpass the same period last year and become the strongest summer file since 2020.

Recently, a number of film companies have disclosed semi-annual report performance forecasts, many of which are pre-losing, but they are optimistic about the second half of the year. Wanda Films said that the resumption rate of the company’s cinemas exceeds 90%, and the operating performance of the theaters is expected to gradually improve in the second half of the year. Enlight Media predicts that the market is expected to rebound significantly in the second half of the year. (Intern Zeng Xing)


Ding Wenwu, president of the National Chip Fund, was investigated.

According to Caixin.com, Ding Wenwu, president of the National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Co., Ltd., was recently investigated by relevant departments and is still in a state of being out of touch with the outside world. Ding Wenwu used to be the director of the Electronic Information Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. He has been the president since the establishment of the Big Fund in 2014.

BYD recalls more than 50,000 Tang DM electric vehicles with faulty power battery pack trays.

BYD Auto Industry Co., Ltd. has decided to recall some Tang DM electric vehicles produced from April 5, 2021 to April 18, 2022, starting from July 29, 2022, totaling 52,928 units. The reason for the recall is that some vehicle power battery pack trays have the risk of water ingress, which may cause arcing of the high-voltage system, posing a safety hazard.

In the first half of the year, the actual use of foreign capital increased by 17.4% year-on-year, and US investment in China increased by more than 20%.

According to the data disclosed on the website of the Ministry of Commerce on July 29, the actual use of foreign capital in the country in the first half of the year was 723.31 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 17.4%. In terms of source, actual investment in China from South Korea, the United States and Germany increased by 37.2%, 26.1% and 13.9% respectively (including investment data through free ports).

In the second quarter, China’s mobile phone shipments only grew by Honor and Apple year-on-year.

According to the latest data from Canalys, in the second quarter of 2022, China’s smartphone market shipped 67.4 million units, down 10% year-on-year. Among them, vivo ranked first with 13.2 million shipments, followed by Honor, OPPO (including OnePlus), Xiaomi and Apple. The market was weak in the second quarter, with only Honor and Apple achieving year-on-year growth.

The epidemic situation in Sichuan is in the developing stage.

  • On July 28, 60 new cases were confirmed in the mainland, 21 in Gansu and 16 in Sichuan; 390 new asymptomatic infections were reported in the mainland, including 121 in Guangxi, 112 in Gansu and 93 in Shandong.
  • Gansu added “21+112”, and social screening found 2 cases.
  • Guangxi added “10+121”, and since July 28, Beihai City has added four new high-risk areas.
  • Sichuan has added “16+29”, and the epidemic is in a developing period.
  • The cases spread to five cities, Guangyuan, Suining, Chengdu, Neijiang and Meishan.
  • Shandong added “5+93”, all in Heze City.

The Shanghai Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau issued fines to three banks, with a maximum fine of 13.1 million yuan.

On July 28, Shanghai Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau issued fines to the Shanghai branches of three banks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Tianjin and China Construction Bank, with a maximum fine of 13.1 million yuan. Two of them were related to illegal real estate loans, and one was related to information security and employee management violations.

Intel posted a net loss of $454 million in the second quarter and issued pessimistic guidance.

On July 29, Intel released its second-quarter earnings report. Quarterly revenue was $15.3 billion, down 22% year over year. Net loss was $454 million, down 109% year over year. Intel cut its full-year revenue and profit forecasts as consumer demand for personal computers cools.

L’Oréal achieved double-digit sales growth in all markets worldwide.

L’Oreal Group’s financial report shows that the company’s sales in the first half of this year were 18.36 billion euros, a year-on-year increase of 13.5%, and all global markets achieved double-digit growth. Among them, sales in China in the second quarter increased by 34.2% year-on-year, all business divisions occupied more market shares, and the market share of high-end cosmetics division reached a record high. L’Oréal is confident in achieving both sales and profit growth throughout the year.

Ernst & Young’s annual revenue was $45.4 billion, a record high.

Ernst & Young CEO Carmine Di Sibio expects the company’s global revenue to hit a record $45.4 billion this year. The growth was driven by a surge in client demand for professional services. The company is planning to spin off its audit and consulting businesses. It is reported that the other big four accounting firms Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have all increased their revenue over the same period.

Vale’s second-quarter revenue fell by more than a quarter.

Vale issued a financial report saying that due to the continued decline in iron ore prices and rising costs, its second-quarter earnings were less than expected. The company’s net profit was US$10.6 billion, down 19% year-on-year. Revenue was US$21.97 billion, a year-on-year decrease of more than a quarter. The company also lowered its full-year production forecast.

Sony Group lowered its full-year operating profit forecast to RMB 56.2 billion.

Sony’s sales from April to June were 116.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 54.7%, and its operating profit increased by more than 20% year-on-year. By business, Sony’s music business, film and television business and financial services business achieved operating profit growth, while gaming and network services business, entertainment and technology business, and imaging and sensing solutions business saw profits decline. Sony Group lowered its full-year operating profit forecast to 56.2 billion yuan, lower than previously expected.

PUMA’s second-quarter revenue topped 2 billion euros for the first time.

PUMA’s sales in the second quarter increased by 18.4% year-on-year to 2.002 billion euros (about 13.8 billion yuan). PUMA’s chief executive said it was the first time its quarterly revenue exceeded 2 billion euros and demand remained high despite some uncertainty in the global market. In the first half of 2022, PUMA signed Manchester City to win the Premier League and will become the supplier of the official match ball for Serie A.

Scammers impersonate Musk to illegally obtain $2 million in cryptocurrency this year.

Cryptocurrency and NFT fraud is rampant in the U.S. In less than a year, 244 investors have been reported to have been defrauded of a cumulative $42.7 million by cryptocurrency apps that claim to be trusted investment platforms. The U.S. turned to scrutiny of Apple and Google in an effort to crack down on cryptocurrency fraud, asking the companies to detail their app stores’ review and monitoring processes for cryptocurrency apps.

In the first half of the year, Gucci’s parent company Kering Group’s revenue rose 23% year-on-year.

Gucci’s parent company’s revenue in the first half of the year was 9.93 billion euros (about 68.3 billion yuan), a year-on-year increase of 23%, and operating profit rose by more than 20%. Affected by the epidemic in some cities in China, the Asia-Pacific region fell by 15% year-on-year in the second quarter, but other markets grew strongly, with sales in Europe and Japan increasing by more than 90% and 40% respectively. In the first half of this year, LVMH’s revenue also increased by more than 20%, and the economic recession did not affect luxury consumption.

Prada’s net profit in the first half of the year increased by more than 20%.

Prada’s net profit in the first half of the year was 1.9 billion euros (about 13 billion yuan), a year-on-year increase of 22.5%, and the gross profit margin increased to 77.7%. Prada brand retail sales increased by more than 20% compared with the first half of 2021, and more than 40% compared with 2019 before the epidemic.

Text | Gong Fangyi Intern Zeng Xing Intern Xue Yujie He Ganming

Editor | Gong Fangyi

The title picture comes from the movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”

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