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Breakfast Briefing: A Space Race, Hyundai’s EVs & SoftBank’s IPO

Elon Wants a New Space Race

Elon Musk has said that he wants a new space race to commence.  

Editor’s Remarks: Fresh from the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket – the largest in 45 years – the Tesla and SpaceX chief said that he wants there to be another space race. Tuesday’s vindication of the Falcon Heavy’s potential could open up new opportunities for private space companies to launch heavy communications satellites. This, Musk hopes, will result in a new age for space travel; one that is more competitive and less dominated by government-backed initiatives. For Musk, the next challenge is to develop an even bigger rocket for interplanetary travel, which is currently dubbed the BFR.

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Hyundai’s Indian EV Plan

The Korean carmaker is going to introduce an electric vehicle (EV) to the Indian market.

Editor’s Remarks: The move will make Hyundai the first global automaker to launch an EV in India and also puts the Korean company ahead of local competitor, Maruti Suzuki, which plans to debut its own EV in 2020. India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has stated that he wants all new cars sold in his country to be EVs by 2030 – an ambitious move by all accounts. The Indian car market is enormous and each year some 3 million fossil fuel vehicles are sold, meaning that the scope for EV sales there is huge – something that has not gone unnoticed by carmakers.

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SoftBank Plans Phone IPO

Masayoshi Son wants to list SoftBank’s mobile unit within 12 months.

Editor’s Remarks: SoftBank’s CEO announced that he wants launch the IPO of his telecom business so that he can divert his attention towards investing in startups. The listing would effectively split SoftBank into an investing arm and telecom wing, and provide “greater clarity” to investors, according to a company statement. Over the last year, SoftBank has ramped up its investments in tech-focused startups, including its recent position in Uber, as the result of its $100bn Vision Fund. However, these activities have weighed heavily on SoftBank’s share price, which now, according to Son, does not reflect the value of its assets.

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Goldman Analyst Slams Cryptos

Steve Strongin said, in a recent report, that most cryptocurrencies will fall to zero.

Editor’s Remarks: Strongin, the head of Goldman Sachs’ investment research team, believes that most digital currencies have no future and will be replaced by a small number of future coins. The comments come after the crypto world recovers from a sell-off that has seen around $500bn wiped off the entire market. Strongin pointed to problems that blockchain technology is yet to surmount, such as slow transaction times and maintenance fees, as particular challenges that might hamstring today’s cryptocurrencies. He coded that blockchain itself is likely to play a big role in the future of finance once these issues are ironed out.

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UK Tensions Escalate Further

The spat between backbench Brexiteers and the government shows no signs of improving.

Editor’s Remarks: Businesses have criticised the government for its muddled stance on what sort of post-Brexit relationship it will seek with the EU, following weeks of tension within the Conservative party. Following remarks by leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg that accused the civil service of producing reports that deliberately shone a negative light on Brexit, chancellor Philip Hammond has defended the Treasury. A speech given by Stephen Hammond urged Parliament to come together to solve the Brexit issue and put aside ideological differences. The Labour party, however, is faring no better as leader Jeremy Corbyn fails to cement his own view on Brexit.

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