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Industry Update

Hydrogen-powered car manufacturer Riversimple is hoping to steal a march on competitors ahead of Britain’s promised “green revolution” that would see petrol-powered cars banned within 10 years. While conventional battery-powered electric cars may be a few miles ahead in the zero-emission vehicle race, the company is betting that nascent hydrogen technology will fuel the cars of the future. South Korea’s Hyundai claims to be the current world leader, selling 5,000 units of its Nexo model in 2019, followed by the Toyota Mira. Their sales are dwarfed by those of battery powered cars, of which there now around five million on the world’s roads. Riversimple is only an ambitious upstart compared with the Asian automotive giants, but is currently the only British manufacturer in the sector with its flagship model, the Rasa.Founder Hugo Spowers is keen to take on the industry’s big boys with his self-designed model, whose name derives from the Latin expression “tabula rasa,” which translates as “clean slate.”

Source: UK car maker bets on green revolution (

Apple Inc., the largest of the many tech giants that rely on Chinese factories to make their gadgets, will move some production of its iPads and MacBooks to Vietnam. Key assembly partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., known also as Foxconn, has allocated $270 million in new investments to the Southeast Asian country. Those moves presage a larger and longer-term migration that may have ramifications for the iPhone maker as well as China’s role as workshop to the world. Foxconn founder Terry Gou coined the term “G2” to describe the trend of a unified supply chain splitting into at least two. Company Chairman Young Liu said in August that the likes of India, Southeast Asia and the Americas could each in the future end up with a dedicated manufacturing ecosystem of their own. The trend now looks irreversible as other countries including India and Vietnam are boosting their infrastructure and efforts to lure manufacturers through lower costs and fewer geopolitical worries.


Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) said its board of directors accepted the resignation of chief executive officer Nasser Al-Nasser on Nov. 28, 2020, according to a bourse statement. The resignation, which will be effective March 28, 2021, was submitted for personal reasons. The board also delegated the nomination and remuneration committee to identify a new CEO and submit the list of candidates to the board, while taking STC’s succession plan into consideration. Any new development will be announced in due course, the firm said. STC completed the buyback of its shares allocated to the employees’ stock incentive plan on Nov. 26, 2020, the firm said in a statement to Tadawul.

Source: Saudi Telecom Company announces CEO resignation, share buyback (

TikTok's deadline to finalize a US buyer has been extended for the second time in less than a month. The Trump administration on Wednesday gave the short-form video app's Chinese owner, ByteDance, until December 4 to conclude a proposed takeover deal by Oracle and Walmart, according to a spokesperson for the Treasury department. "The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has granted ByteDance a one-week allow time to review a revised submission that the Committee recently received," the spokesperson said. In an executive order this summer, Trump set November 12 as the hard deadline for ByteDance to divest TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the United States. But as the deadline came and went, confusion reigned over what consequences might be in store for TikTok. Trump's executive order did not say that TikTok would be banned if it missed the deadline; in fact, it outlines no consequences at all.

Source: TikTok owner gets another week to sell its US business - CNN

Amazon is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on bonuses for Christmas staff after sales at the online giant soared during the pandemic. Full-time warehouse workers in the UK and the US will receive £300 or $300, with £150 or $150 for part-time staff. The money, $500m in total, will go to staff working between 1-31 December. The firm, run by Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, praised staff for "serving customers' essential needs" during the pandemic. In a blog post, Dave Clark, senior vice president of Amazon Worldwide Operations, wrote: "I'm grateful to our teams who continue to play a vital role serving their communities. “As we head into the peak of the holiday season, we want to share our appreciation through another special recognition bonus, totaling more than $500 million for our front-line employees."

Source: Amazon spends $500m on bonuses for Christmas staff - BBC News

Tesla Inc. is wrapping up its biggest week in three months as news that Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle maker will enter the S&P 500 Index next month sparked a global buying frenzy throughout the electric vehicle sector. The rally propelled Tesla shares to a new intraday high of $508.61 on Thursday, and made it the best performing stock this week in the Nasdaq-100 Index. The week’s 21% advance marked the company’s strongest performance since Aug. 21, and pushed its market value to $470 billion. Analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said on Friday Tesla’s scheduled Dec. 21 entry into the benchmark could result in $8 billion of additional demand from actively managed U.S. large-cap mutual funds. That would represent about 1.7% of the company’s current market capitalization.


Carmaker Daimler plans to double sales of its luxury Maybach vehicles, buoyed by strong demand in China. Daimler, which also owns Mercedes-Benz, sold a record 12,000 luxury Maybachs last year. They are used widely as limousines in China, the car's most popular market. Prices start at $173,000 (£130,000) for the latest model. However, this can rise to more than $250,000 with the addition of optional extras like silver champagne flutes. Buyers also often go for gadgets such as massaging calf rests and automated rear doors.

Source: Luxury carmaker Maybach has high ambitions for China - BBC News

Apple has agreed to pay millions of dollars to 34 states over its controversial previous practice of deliberately slowing down older iPhones to extend their battery life. The company will pay $113 million to settle an investigation by states including California and Arizona over how Apple wasn't transparent about its iPhone battery problems that led to unexpected device shutdowns. Instead of disclosing the issue to consumers or replacing the batteries, it pushed a software update in December 2016 that impacted the performance of older iPhone models. News of the practice upset Apple (AAPL) consumers, igniting what some called "batterygate." Many believed it was an effort to encourage users to buy new iPhones.

Source: Apple to pay $113 million in 'batterygate' settlement - CNN

Tech incubator AstroLabs has launched a recruiting service, seeking to match the pool of tech professionals it has trained with regional digital companies. With the introduction of AstroLabs Talent, AstroLabs now offers its 4,000-strong Academy alumni recruiting support, thereby enhancing the value of its digital training courses. AstroLabs Talent says it works with clients such as TikTok, cryptocurrency exchange Rain and Dubai-based fintech company Mamo Pay. The recruiting service supports hiring requirements for high-growth companies with a particular focus on e-commerce, tech & development, digital marketing, product management, data & analytics, and new market entry.

Source: Dubai-based tech incubator AstroLabs expands into tech recruiting (

The agreement enables Bank Hapoalim to access banking and innovation opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia through the DIFC platform Israel’s Bank Hapoalim has signed an agreement with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to cooperate across financial service activities. As a global partner of the DIFC, Bank Hapoalim will become part of DIFC worldwide network of banks, financial centres, regulators and companies disrupting the financial and technology sectors.

Source: Israel’s Bank Hapoalim signs agreement with DIFC, AGDM (