Your commercial news round-up: World Cup, AI chips, Wilko, law firm operations in China

updated on 24 August 2023

Reading time: three minutes

As the 2023 World Cup came to a close on Sunday, with Spain beating England 1-0 in the final, we take another look at the commercial impact of the tournament, as well as tech giant Nvidia’s AI chip, the latest in Wilko’s administration, and the cited reasons law firms are closing offices in China.

  • The 2023 World Cup generated close to $900 million in revenue, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has revealed. This is the second-highest income from any global sporting event, with the men’s World Cup in Qatar coming out on top. However, there’s still a stark difference between the prize money offered for these two tournaments – the men have a prize pool of $680 million, while the women’s prize pool is just $170 million.

    Meanwhile, prior to the tournament, there were issues securing media rights deals until just a few weeks before games kicked off, with Ebru Köksal, chair of the Women in Football network, describing some of the bids as “unacceptable”. However, once again the stats demonstrate the huge growth in the sport as the global broadcast audience was around two billion and more than 1.7 million tickets were purchased by fans. In the UK, the final between England and Spain hit a peak audience of 12 million viewers, making it the second most-watched event for broadcasters this year. Plus, when comparing to 2019’s tournament, there was a 75% increase in online streaming. Köksal added: “Stats from this World Cup, with all the alleged disadvantages of the time zones, proved once again that the growth of women’s football is exponential and unstoppable.”
  • World leader in AI computing Nvidia says demand for its AI chips has soared, with revenue reaching more than £10.6 billion for the three months to the end of June. According to the Guardian, Nvidia’s AI chips are powering nearly all the world’s major AI apps, including ChatGPT. The tech giant has also predicted that sales will increase even more in the current quarter and has revealed plans to buy back $25 billion of its stock. The company’s stock market value hit $1 trillion this year, making it the fifth publicly listed US company to feature in the ‘Trillion dollar club’ alongside the likes of Apple and Microsoft. Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s chief executive, said: "Companies worldwide are transitioning from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI.”
  • Popular hardware store Wilko has collapsed, putting 12,500 jobs and 400 stores at risk. PwC, which was appointed to find a buyer, said that discussions will continue “with those interested in buying parts of the business” but “it’s clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole group”, meaning redundancies and store closures are likely. There’s no doubt that Wilko will have faced fierce competition from the likes of B&M, The Range, Poundland and Home Bargains, all of which have been linked with a potential acquisition of former Wilko assets.
  • US firm Latham & Watkins has announced it’ll be closing its Shanghai office after 20 years in the financial centre, citing a slowing economy and tougher business conditions for western businesses operating in China. Its mainland China services will now be run from a “consolidated hub” in Beijing. This follows Dentons’ decision to sever ties with Dacheng as a result of new rules and requirements relating to data privacy, cyber security, capital control and governance, according to the Financial Times. A person close to Dentons said there was “no way around” the restrictions, making it impossible to guarantee to clients that their “secret is safe”. Ropes & Gray International LLP has also moved some of its China-based resources to Hong Kong.

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