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Breakfast Briefing: Apple’s Record Quarter, Chinese Cars & David Cameron

Alibaba and Foxconn Invest in Carmaker

The two companies invested $350m into Xiaopeng Motors, a Chinese car startup.

Editor’s Remarks: Xiaopeng, which aims to be China’s answer to Tesla, completed its Series A funding in December and counted both e-commerce titan Alibaba and semiconductor maker Foxconn among its most recent backers. Alibaba has so far made a series of investments into the car industry, which its founder Jack Ma believes will be hugely lucrative as vehicles become more integrated with other technologies. Foxconn, meanwhile, teamed up with VC firm IDG Capital back in October to raise a $1.5bn fund to be deployed in car tech startups such as Xiaopeng.

Read more on Carmakers:

Apple to Break Profit Record

The iPhone maker is set to break its own record for the most profitable quarter ever.

Editor’s Remarks: Apple’s performance over Q4 2017 was boosted by the strong sales of the iPhone X, leading analysts to speculate that it will beat its previous record quarter in 2015, which saw the company net a huge $18bn. Back in November, Apple executives fuelled this speculation by announcing that the iPhone X would lead to the “biggest quarter ever”. Other tech stocks such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet will also release their final quarter earnings this week and are widely expected to report very positive results, further fuelling the current equity bull market.

Read more on Apple:

Coincheck Barely Dents Market

After $500m of XEM tokens were stolen, the market has barely reacted.

Editor’s Remarks: Although the mainstream media has linked bitcoin’s sideways trading to the recent Coincheck hack, in reality the market has not reacted negatively to the incident. Bitcoin’s weak price movement appears to be the result of a more fundamental shift away from the original cryptocurrency and towards so-called altcoins, which often promise greater returns in an increasingly saturated market. Indeed, many altcoins have recovered substantially from their fall two weeks ago, whereas bitcoin is still dabbling in the $11,000 region. Meanwhile, Japan’s cryptocurrency stocks have continued to rally in spite of the Coincheck scandal.

Read more on Cryptocurrencies:

David Cameron’s Fund in Trouble

As UK-China tensions rise, Cameron’s China-focused fund is caught in the middle.

Editor’s Remarks: The former UK prime minister has been busy wooing potential investors in both China and the UK but has so far failed to make any public announcements regarding who his backers are, which has fuelled rumours that his endeavours have been unsuccessful. Theresa May is set to visit China this week, at a time when tensions between the countries are high due to disputes over China’s overseas investment policies. Meanwhile, Cameron has spoken to major banks such as Standard Chartered and HSBC but so far neither has committed any cash to the project, which is backed by Westminster.

Read more on China:

Stanford Regains Top MBA Status

The US university was ranked the world’s number one MBA course by the Financial Times.

Editor’s Remarks: While many leading venture capitalists credit Silicon Valley’s success to its proximity to Stanford University, the opposite is just as true. This year, the FT has ranked the university the best in the world for its MBA programme, which sees it regain the top spot from France’s INSEAD. Compared to many of its peers, Stanford has a particularly small intake with just 418 students in its 2017 class, compared to 941 at Harvard, for instance. Yet, Stanford receives some 8,000 applications each year, meaning that its acceptance rate is just 5% compared to a more generous 11% at Harvard.

Read more on Silicon Valley:

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