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Walmart may launch IPO for India’s Flipkart

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As part of the deal, Walmart will initially appoint five directors to Flipkart’s board, two directors will be named by minority shareholders while Bansal will take one board seat, according to the filing.

Walmart said it may, in future, appoint a sixth board member with the approval of the majority of the Flipkart directors.

It also said it could appoint or replace Flipkart’s chief executive and other key executives of group companies in consultation with Bansal and the board.

Walmart or its units could ask Flipkart to issue new ordinary shares of up to $3 billion before the close of the “transactions and on or before the first anniversary of the closing”, it said.

Reuters previously reported that Google-parent Alphabet was in talks to invest about $3 billion for a roughly 15 percent stake in Flipkart.

That deal could be sealed before the close of the Walmart-Flipkart transaction or immediately after, a source told Reuters, declining to be named as the talks are private.

Walmart also said no party would be liable to pay a termination fee if a share issuance or purchase agreement with Flipkart were terminated.

The Economic Times newspaper reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources, that Japan’s SoftBank Group, which owns a roughly 20 percent stake in Flipkart, was rethinking its exit due to tax liabilities and because it saw further value in Flipkart.

SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has said that their investment in Flipkart had grown to almost $4 billion. That growth came just 9 months after SoftBank used its Vision Fund to invest about $2.5 billion in Flipkart.

A spokeswoman for SoftBank in India declined comment.

Former Amazon employees Sachin and Binny Bansal founded Flipkart in 2007 and, just like Amazon, began by selling books.

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China says it will sanction U.S. officials for ‘nasty’ behavior on Taiwan

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A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 6, 2018.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — China will impose sanctions on U.S. officials who displayed “nasty” behavior over the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.

The decision was revealed by the foreign ministry’s spokewoman, Hua Chunying, in response to a reporter’s question on what China would do in response to the U.S. lifting restrictions on its relations with Taiwan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier this month announced that his country will no longer limit contact between its officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. China slammed the decision and vowed to fight back.

China claims Taiwan — a democratic and self-ruled island — as its territory that must one day be reunited with the mainland, and insists that the island has no right to participate in international diplomacy of its own. The Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan.

Experts have warned that Taiwan will remain a contentious issue in the bilateral ties between the U.S. and China. Former Australian Kevin Rudd, a long-time China watcher, told CNBC last week that Pompeo’s move could upend a major foundation underpinning U.S.-China relations.

Rudd was referring to the “one China policy,” the principle in which the U.S. and the international community recognize that there’s only one central Chinese government — under the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

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Electric carmaker Xpeng releases driverless features to rival Tesla

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Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng stands next to the company’s P7 electric sedan as he addresses media at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng Motors has announced a new autonomous driving feature designed to work on highways, as it ramps up its challenge to domestic rivals as well as Tesla.

The feature — called Navigation Guided Pilot or NGP — will allow the company’s flagship P7 sedan to automatically change lanes, speed up or slow down, or overtake cars and enter and exit highways.

It is part of the next generation of Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.0 so-called advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) which the company expects to launch in the first quarter of this year. ADAS refers to a system with some autonomous features but where a driver is still required.

Xpeng is one of China’s electric vehicle start-ups looking to race ahead in the country’s growing market as it battles other upstarts such as Nio and Li Auto, as well as U.S. electric car giant Tesla.

Mass deliveries of Xpeng’s P7 sedan, a direct rival to Tesla’s Model 3, began last June. Xpeng delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020 — more than double from a year ago. 

The NGP is a challenge to Tesla’s autonomous ADAS called Autopilot. One of Autopilot’s features is called Navigate on Autopilot, which has similar functions to Xpeng’s NGP.

China’s electric vehicle companies are looking to add more autonomous features to their cars. Nio has its own system called NIO Pilot.

How Xpeng’s system works

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WhatsApp delays privacy update amid Facebook data sharing ‘confusion’

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Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

WhatsApp has delayed a privacy policy update that caused confusion and backlash among users over fears it could mean broader data sharing with the messaging app’s owner Facebook.

“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” WhatsApp said in a blog post over the weekend.

The updates related specifically to features that allow users to message and interact with businesses on WhatsApp. Last year, Facebook announced that businesses using WhatsApp could store and manage their chats with customers using Facebook’s “secure hosting infrastructure.”

As part of this, a business can see the contents of the message between it and a user and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which could include advertising on Facebook.

WhatsApp was set to start prompting users on Feb. 8 to accept updated terms in order to continue using the app. But Facebook said that it is now pushing the date back for people to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on Feb. 8, Facebook added. People will “gradually” have the chance to review the policy “at their own pace” before the new business options are available on May 15.

The privacy updates caused “confusion,” WhatsApp said. Many users took it to mean that the app would be sharing more data, including messages, with Facebook.

Many users were concerned that the updated privacy policy signaled broader data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook. But that is not the case. Since 2016, WhatsApp has shared certain data with Facebook such as your phone number.

But the contents of messages cannot be viewed by WhatsApp or Facebook. That’s because they are encrypted. That is not changing.

However, users concerned about their privacy looked to rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram. These two apps market themselves as privacy-focused and both reported surging downloads.

On Saturday, Signal suffered an outage due to an influx of users. Signal said it was “adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day” last week and the app came back online on Sunday.

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