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Breakfast Briefing: South African Farmers, Amazon Deal & Grail IPO

ANC to Seize White Land

South Africa’s ruling ANC voted in favour of seizing white-owned farmland without compensation.

Editor’s Remarks: The motion was tabled by Julius Malema, head of South Africa’s Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters, and was passed with 241 votes against 83. New president Cyril Ramaphosa has made land expropriation a key policy since replacing Jacob Zuma last month, and his party largely supported the motion. 72% of South African farmland is owned by the white population, which is itself made up of both Afrikaners and British expatriates. In recent years, there has been a tremendous spike in attacks on white farmers by armed gangs, which have left scores dead.

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Hong Kong’s Tesla Tax Benefit

Hong Kong is introducing a benefit that will lower prices and boost demand for electric vehicles.

Editor’s Remarks: The new benefit will enable car owners to trade in an eligible combustion engine vehicle and receive a tax waiver of up to $32,000 on the registration of a new electric vehicle. The benefit will also be stackable with the island’s existing tax waiver for electric vehicles of up to $12,000. Hong Kong has recently stepped up efforts to tackle congestion on its roads while also addressing the rising demand for green vehicles. The latest concessions will be available until March 31st 2021.

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Amazon to Buy Ring for $1bn

Amazon is venturing into the home security market by agreeing to purchase Ring for $1bn.

Editor’s Remarks: Ring, the maker of smart home security cameras and doorbells, is set to be acquired by the e-commerce giant as it ramps up its Alexa-powered offerings. The deal, worth a reported $1bn, will enable Amazon to capitalise on the dominance of its Echo smart devices by expanding into home security and offering a string of Alexa-integrated devices. The acquisition will be one of Amazon’s biggest, dwarfed only by its $13.7bn takeover of Whole Foods last year and the $1.2bn paid for Zappos, the online shoe company.

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Zhou Hongyi’s Net Worth Soars

The Chinese tech founder saw his wealth soar after he relocated to Shanghai from New York.

Editor’s Remarks: Zhou, the founder of cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360 Technology, has become China’s 12th richest person virtually overnight. After delisting his company from the NYSE in 2016, he relocated to Shanghai where he converted 360 into a shell company in November last year. Since the move, his shareholding has appreciated by around 550%, taking his previously less than $2bn net worth to just under $14bn. Zhou has said that the main motive for the move was his desire to closely align himself with China’s national interests and help to tighten its “cybersecurity sovereignty”.

Read more on Chinese Tech:

Grail Plans Hong Kong IPO

The cancer detection company is planning to list in Hong Kong.

Editor’s Remarks: Grail, which has received funding from both Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is contemplating a Hong Kong listing later this year that will pull in as much as $500m. The move would make Grail one of the first companies to benefit from Hong Kong’s recent efforts to reel in the world’s top biotechnology startups. In March last year, Grail announced that it had closed its Series B financing with more than $900m committed; just two months later it merged with Cirina, another biotech firm. The company is developing a so-called “pan-cancer” test that can diagnose the disease before people are even showing symptoms.

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