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Breakfast Briefing: Tesla Sets up in China as Didi Heads to Cali

 4 min read / 

Ex-Qualcomm Chief Considers Buyout

Paul Jacobs is tapping interest for a leveraged buyout of the chipmaker his father founded. 

Editor’s Remarks: Jacobs, who was previously chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, is the son of the company’s founder and an engineer who boasts dozens of patents. However, his credentials do not change the fact that his proposed buyout of Qualcomm might involve raising as much as $150bn – three times the size of the largest buyout to date. Jacobs lost his chairmanship of Qualcomm amid this year’s attempted $142bn hostile takeover by Broadcom. Jacobs has reportedly managed to secure up to $100bn in lending commitments but will need to raise plenty more if his ambitious plan is to go ahead.

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Tesla Registers in Shanghai

Tesla has registered in Shanghai’s Free-Trade Zone ahead of its China Gigafactory announcement.

Editor’s Remarks: During Tesla’s Q1 earnings update earlier this month, Elon Musk stated that he was to announce the company’s China Gigafactory. Now, it has been reported that Tesla’s Hong Kong subsidiary has set up a company in Shanghai’s Free-Trade Zone, after years of coming up short against China’s protectionist laws on foreign automakers that require them to enter into joint ventures with local companies. Tesla is already China’s number one foreign electric car maker with annual sales of roughly $2bn, despite coming with a hefty 25% import duty.

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Rolls-Royce to Go Electric by 2040

The British motor brand intends to exclusively produce electric vehicles by the year 2040.

Editor’s Remarks: Rolls-Royce is joining the electric revolution and has announced that its existing 12-cylinder petrol engines will be “full electric” by 2040 in order to comply with changing regulations. So far only the UK and France have pledged to ban new petrol cars by 2040, but Rolls-Royce reckons that other markets will soon follow suit. CEO Torsten Müller-Otvos pointed to increased interest in alternative energy in oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Although the brand does not yet offer an electric car, it is looking to release one within a decade.

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Carro Raises $60m Series B

The Singaporean car financing startup closed the funding round to scale up its operations.

Editor’s Remarks: SoftBank Ventures Korea, Insignia Ventures and B Capital Group led the Series B round, which included support from Golden Gate Ventures and Venturra. The $60m raised takes Carro’s total raised capital to $78m. Carro currently focuses on three core markets – Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore – where $250m of vehicle sales took place last year and the majority of its Series B will be spent. The company is hoping to expand its operations to other markets such as Japan, while also continuing to stave off competition from rivals such as BeliMobilGue and iCar Asia.

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Didi Chuxing Tests Driverless Cars

The Chinese ride-hailing app has been given the green light to begin testing in California.

Editor’s Remarks: The approval coincides with Uber’s suspension of its own driverless tests following a deadly crash involving a pedestrian in March. Didi is now one of 53 companies to have a permit for testing autonomous cars in California, underlining the intense competition that has come to characterise the autonomous vehicle space in recent months. Waymo, a Google subsidiary, has racked up over five million miles on public roads so far and is widely seen as the top dog in the industry, while GM-owned Cruise Automation is trailing alongside Tesla.​

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