Contract with one of China’s most renowned publishing houses Zhonghua Book Company
Publishing Technology plc, the AIM quoted leading provider of world-class software and services to the global publishing industry, is pleased to announce that its joint venture, Publishing Technology China, has signed an agreement with the Zhonghua Book Company, one of the most prestigious trade and academic publishing houses in China.
Using its pub2web platform, Publishing Technology will build a digital publishing platform and management system for the Zhonghua Book Company to house its complete collection of classic Chinese works. The platform will be heavily customised to carry ancient Chinese text, which is displayed and read vertically, and has long been viewed as a significant challenge in this specialist area since digital publishing has become a necessity.
Founded in 1912, the Zhonghua Book Company publishes titles in the humanities sectors, specialising in ancient Chinese texts. As part of a Government-backed project, the partnership will see its collection of ancient Chinese works from the past 3000 years, including supplementary notes and information provided by subject-matter experts, made available to institutions around the world.
The pub2web platform, a custom hosting solution, is the result of a multi-million dollar research and development program and has been built using a powerful combination of industry standard architecture and semantic web technologies to showcase and connect publishers’ content, regardless of format or type. Among the leading global organisations that use pub2web are the UN and the OECD.
This partnership is the latest high profile name in the Chinese publishing industry to implement Publishing Technology’s global content solutions and is further testament to the strong demand internationally and, in particular, in China for Publishing Technology’s software. The Group’s China joint venture was established in 2011 and is currently running 22 live contracts, for both pub2web and advance;turnover at the joint venture reached £2m in the first half of the financial year.
Publishing Technology’s other clients in China include leading domestic publishers such as China Law Press and China Publishing Group, the country’s largest publisher and owner of CNPIEC (China National Publications Import and Export Corporation), which controls the majority of content moving in and out of China.
Notably, at the 2013 Beijing International Book Fair, Publishing Technology, in partnership with CNPIEC, announced the launch of the CNP eReading platform. This innovative website is designed to give international academic publishers access to this growing market, enabling them to reach new audiences and open up new revenue potential by showcasing their journals and ebooks to over 10,000 of CNPIEC’s public and academic member libraries and millions of new users. Following its launch last year, Publishing Technology China was awarded the International Book Industry Technology Supplier Award as a celebration of its success at this year’s London Book Fair in April.
Publishing Technology CEO, Michael Cairns, and the President of Zhonghua Book Company, Jun Xu, will sign the contract together in a special signing ceremony on the opening day of the 2014 Beijing International Book Fair.
As part of his trip to China Michael will visit the growing number of clients Publishing Technology is working with as well as other key publishers.
Publishing Technology represents seven of the top ten global publishing groups and current clients include over 400 trade and scholarly publishers, including HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Elsevier, Springer, Sage, Oxford University Press, BMJ Group, Brill, United Nations, American Institute of Physics, American Society for Microbiology, BioOne and Bloomsbury Publishing.
Michael Cairns, CEO of Publishing Technology plc, commented:
“This is a landmark contract for Publishing Technology in China. Zhonghua Book Company is one of the most prestigious trade and academic publishing houses in the country and is a strong endorsement of the software products we have invested millions in developing. The company is great addition to our roster of blue-chip clients, both in China and internationally. Our China joint venture is one of the most exciting areas of our business and a flagship for our international expansion, which we expect to accelerate over the next few years and contribute strongly to future revenues and profitability.”
Jun Xu, President of Zhonghua Book Company, commented:
“Publishing Technology is an excellent partner for our business to build the digital publishing platform and management system, which is essential for any modern publishing business and that we need to capitalise on the strong growth in demand for online books and content. The company has built up an excellent understanding of the Chinese publishing market and has the world-class software and high-quality support and service skills to deliver not only a highly sophisticated platform but one that is completely tailored to our specific needs.”
Warren Buffett’s $10 billion mistake: Precision Castparts
By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) – Warren Buffett makes mistakes too.
The 90-year-old billionaire on Saturday admitted he “paid too much” when his Berkshire Hathaway Inc spent $32.1 billion in 2016 to buy aircraft and industrial parts maker Precision Castparts Corp, its largest acquisition.
Berkshire wrote off $9.8 billion of Precision’s value last August, as the coronavirus pandemic sapped demand for air travel and the Portland, Oregon-based unit’s products.
In his annual letter to investors, Buffett said he bought “a fine company – the best in its business,” and Berkshire was “lucky” to have Precision Chief Executive Mark Donegan still in charge.
But Buffett said he was “simply too optimistic about PCC’s normalized profit potential.”
Precision shed more than 13,400 jobs, or 40% of its workforce, in 2020, and only recently has begun to improve margins, Berkshire said.
“I was wrong … in judging the average amount of future earnings and, consequently, wrong in my calculation of the proper price to pay for the business,” Buffett wrote. “PCC is far from my first error of that sort. But it’s a big one.”
Two years ago, Buffett admitted he “overpaid” for Kraft Foods when Berkshire and private equity firm 3G Capital merged it in 2015 with their H.J. Heinz Co to form Kraft Heinz Co.
And in his 2008 annual letter, Buffett called his 1993 purchase of Dexter Shoe his “worst deal” ever, saying he had bought a “worthless business” and compounded his error by using Berkshire stock rather than cash to fund the acquisition.
“I’ll make more mistakes in the future – you can bet on that,” he wrote.
Tom Russo, a longtime Berkshire investor, welcomed Buffett’s candor.
“I admire Warren for taking personal responsibility for Precision Castparts,” he said. “Few managers are willing to admit their responsibility rather than pass on blame.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.
Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.
The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.
Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.
Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.
Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.
“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)
UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.
Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.
“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.
“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”
Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.
He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.
“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.
Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.
“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of Stateâ€™s (Dowden’s) assertion that the governmentâ€™s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.
It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.
The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.
Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)
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