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Toyota, partners to start selling electric micro-vans by March 2024

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Toyota, partners to start selling electric micro-vans by March 2024

 Toyota Motor Corp and two allied automakers unveiled a micro-sized electric van targeted at Japan’s delivery industry on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima.

The small electric commercial van will run on a battery electric vehicle (BEV) system that Toyota is jointly developing with minivehicle specialists Daihatsu and Suzuki Motor Corp, the companies said in a joint statement.

The van, which will come in Toyota, Daihatsu and Suzuki-branded versions, is slated to have a range per charge of about 200 km (124 miles) and be released by the end of the current financial year running to March 31, 2024.

Daihatsu, which became a Toyota subsidiary in 2016, will produce the vehicles, the companies said in the statement.

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The van will be classed as a “kei” vehicle, which are low-powered, low-taxed domestic fare.

Micro kei vehicles are hugely popular among businesses and households to deliver agriculture produce, parcels and other goods in urban areas and the countryside in Japan, in part due to their relatively cheap price.

Kei models accounted for 40% of 78.8 million four-wheel vehicles owned in Japan at of the end of February, showed the latest transport ministry data.

Reducing emissions has been a keyissue at this year’s G7 meeting.

The roll-out by Toyota, which owns 4.89% of Suzuki, and its partners also comes as other automakers in Japan are expanding their lineups with electric mini-commercial vans.

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Honda Motor Co Ltd said in December it would start selling a micro-sized commercial electric van with a target cruising range of 200km in spring 2024, as part of its effort to electrify its vehicle lineup.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp in November re-launched its own small commercial van, Minicab-MiEV, which has a shorter cruising range of 133 km.

Mitsubishi will also start producing the van in Indonesia in 2024, it said in February, as it seeks to build out the vehicle’s sales across geographies.

Japanese delivery giant Sagawa Express Co has previously said it planned to start replacing all 7,200 of its commercial mini-vehicles with electric vehicles supplied by China’s Guangxi Automobile Group from last September onwards.
The company declined to comment when asked on Thursday whether it had started the process.

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ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

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ByteDance confirms layoff plan at its Indonesian unit

China’s ByteDance will lay off staff at its Indonesian unit following a deal where it bought a local e-commerce firm and combined it with its TikTok operation, a spokesperson said on Friday.

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, did not say how many employees would be affected. Bloomberg had earlier reported there would be 450 jobs cut.

In January ByteDance completed a deal to buy a majority stake in Tokopedia, an Indonesian e-commerce firm, from the GoTo group.

ByteDance spokesperson Nuraini Razak told Reuters in a statement the company would “make necessary adjustments” as a result of the combination of TikTok and Tokopedia.

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“We identified areas to strengthen our organisation and better align our teams with company goals,” she said, adding the company would “aim to support employees throughout this transition”.

ByteDance had its own e-commerce operation in Indonesia via its TikTok app, but that was banned under an Indonesian rule that social media applications could not operate as an e-commerce platform.

Tokopedia is one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

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Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

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Indonesia minister threatens to shut down X over adult content

Indonesia is prepared to shut down social media platform X if it does not comply with a regulation barring adult content, the country’s communications minister said on Friday. Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, has strict rules that ban the sharing online of content deemed obscene.

Minister Budi Arie Setiadi told Reuters he had sent a warning letter to X related to this matter.

“We will certainly shut its services down,” he said, pointing to Indonesia’s electronic information and transaction (ITE) law that can carry a six-year jail sentence if someone spreads pornographic content.

His comments in an interview come after the social media platform recently updated its policies to permit consensually produced adult content.

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X, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has not responded to Indonesia’s warning letter, Budi said, adding the government would send more letters before deciding on a potential closure.

X, formerly known as Twitter, did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.

Indonesians are big users of social media and X has 24.85 million users in the country, according to data gathering business Statista.

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Japan watchdog recommends action on MUFG units over sharing of client data

Japan watchdog recommends action on MUFG units over sharing of client data

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Japan's securities watchdog recommended on Friday that the banking and securities units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group opens new tab (MUFG) be penalised for what it said was unauthorised sharing of client information. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) made the recommendation to the banking regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which hands out such punishments in Japan. The recommendation, which was widely expected, followed the SESC's investigation into MUFG's banking arm, MUFG Bank, and its two brokerage ventures with Morgan Stanley (MS.N), opens new tab. The investigation found that confidential client information had been shared between MUFG Bank and one of the two securities firms on at least 26 occasions between 2020 and 2023. MUFG Bank also illegally offered preferential lending rates to clients that did business with the group's two securities brokerages, the SESC said. Japan's "firewall" regulations prohibit banks and securities companies in the same group from sharing customer data with one another without the customer's consent. The investigation found no evidence of insider trading, but monitoring and internal controls were lacking, the SESC said. MUFG group companies will make every effort to strengthen control systems in light of the recommendation and will take measures to prevent recurrence, the parent company said in a statement. The two brokerages were established in 2010, two years after MUFG invested in Morgan Stanley at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. MUFG owned around 23% of Morgan Stanley as of March 2024.

Japan’s securities watchdog recommended on Friday that the banking and securities units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group  opens new tab (MUFG) be penalised for what it said was unauthorised sharing of client information.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) made the recommendation to the banking regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which hands out such punishments in Japan.

The recommendation, which was widely expected, followed the SESC’s investigation into MUFG’s banking arm, MUFG Bank, and its two brokerage ventures with Morgan Stanley (MS.N), opens new tab.

The investigation found that confidential client information had been shared between MUFG Bank and one of the two securities firms on at least 26 occasions between 2020 and 2023.

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MUFG Bank also illegally offered preferential lending rates to clients that did business with the group’s two securities brokerages, the SESC said.

Japan’s “firewall” regulations prohibit banks and securities companies in the same group from sharing customer data with one another without the customer’s consent.

The investigation found no evidence of insider trading, but monitoring and internal controls were lacking, the SESC said.

MUFG group companies will make every effort to strengthen control systems in light of the recommendation and will take measures to prevent recurrence, the parent company said in a statement.

The two brokerages were established in 2010, two years after MUFG invested in Morgan Stanley at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. MUFG owned around 23% of Morgan Stanley as of March 2024.

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