Faraday Future investor Evergrande Health now says the troubled startup is trying to back out of deal

Evergrande Health, the investor that bailed out besieged electric vehicle startup Faraday Future in a deal worth $2 billion this summer, is now accusing it of attempting to break an agreement it made with previous backer Season Smart. In June, Evergrande Health announced that would it take over the financial commitment made by Season Smart last […]

Evergrande Health, the investor that bailed out besieged electric vehicle startup Faraday Future in a deal worth $2 billion this summer, is now accusing it of attempting to break an agreement it made with previous backer Season Smart. In June, Evergrande Health announced that would it take over the financial commitment made by Season Smart last November that saved Faraday Future from running out of cash. Now Evergrande Health says Faraday Future Jia Yueting has started arbitration in Hong Kong in an attempt to renege on its agreement with Season Smart.

Evergrande Health agreed in June to buy Season Smart’s 45% stake in Faraday Future for $860 million, an increase over the $800 million Season Smart originally paid, and then complete the deal with additional installments of $600 million in both 2019 and 2020.

But in a new filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange first reported by Reuters, Evergrande Health says it was informed in July by Faraday Future that the $800 million it received from Season Smart had already been spent, and that Smart King, the joint venture set up between Faraday Future and Season Smart, had been asked to provide another $700 million. As a result, Season Smart had entered into a supplemental agreement to advance $700 million.

Evergrande Health now accuses Faraday Future of “manipulating Smart King” by using its majority seats on Smart King’s board of directors to begin arbitration in Hong Kong claiming that Season Smart hasn’t fulfilled its payment conditions. Evergrande Health says Faraday Future is using this as a pretext to deprive Season Smart of its shareholder rights to approve Faraday Future’s future financing plans and terminate its agreements with Season Smart.

As a result, Season Smart has “engaged a team of international lawyers and will take all necessary actions” to protect its rights, as well as Evergrande Health’s interests.

Despite its deals with Season Smart and Evergrande Health, The Verge reports that Faraday Future’s financial woes have continued, with some of its company’s vendors and suppliers claiming that they have not been paid in weeks, and that Faraday is also contemplating layoffs. The Verge’s sources say at least three companies have filed liens with the California Secretary of State over payments owed by Faraday Future.

Meanwhile the company is facing a host of other legal and financial issues. These include a legal battle with its former CFO, Stefan Krause, who Faraday Future claims stole intellectual property (Krause has accused Faraday Future of defamation). Jia is also under fire over debts incurred by LeEco, the failed tech conglomerate he founded. The Chinese government froze his assets in 2017 and, in an unusual move, publicly ordered him to repay LeEco’s investors.

TechCrunch has contacted Faraday Future for comment.

Kuo: Apple Car back on track, coming within 5-7 years

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the iPhone maker is positioning itself to introduce an automobile in three to five years.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the iPhone maker is positioning itself to introduce an automobile in three to five years. If true, this would represent an about-face for the company. In recent years, most have assumed Apple was no longer planning on building a so-called “iCar,” but instead was focused on improving its CarPlay technology. The reputable analyst’s comments were first published by MacRumors.... Read the rest of this post here


"Kuo: Apple Car back on track, coming within 5-7 years" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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China’s Didi beefs up its newly-independent car services business with an acquisition

A week after spinning out its driver services business and giving it $1 billion in investment capital, Didi Chuxing has added to it through an acquisition. Xiaoju Automobile Solutions (XAS), which the Didi spinout is called, announced today it has bought Hiservice, a three-year-old company that provides after-service care for car owners using a digital platform. […]

A week after spinning out its driver services business and giving it $1 billion in investment capital, Didi Chuxing has added to it through an acquisition.

Xiaoju Automobile Solutions (XAS), which the Didi spinout is called, announced today it has bought Hiservice, a three-year-old company that provides after-service care for car owners using a digital platform.

The deal was undisclosed, but XAS said that Hiservice will be combined with its maintenance and repair division to form a new unit that’s focused on car-owner services such as maintenance, parts and components. That’ll be called Xiaoju Auto Care (小桔养车) for those of you who are keeping up with the names of these Didi subsidiaries.

That auto care business will be jointly run by Yinbo Yi, who had run Didi’s auto care business, and Hiservice founder Cheng Qian, Didi confirmed. The new business claims 28 physical maintenance centers across seven cities in Asia.

Didi’s move to create XAS, which removes an asset-heavy business from the core Didi books, is seen by many as a sign that the company plans to go public soon. Unsurprisingly, Didi isn’t commenting on that at this point. The company was last valued at $56 billion when it raised a $4 billion round late last year — it has since added a $500 million strategic investment from travel company Booking Holdings.

While it is organizing its China-based business, Didi has also spent this year expanding into new markets. It has launched in Mexico, Australia and Taiwan while it acquired Uber rival 99 in Brazil. It is also edging close to launching a taxi-booking service in Japan via a joint venture with SoftBank.

Amazon launches an Alexa Auto SDK to bring its voice assistant to more cars

Amazon this morning announced the launch of a toolkit for developers that will allow them to integrate Alexa into cars’ infotainment systems. The “Alexa Auto SDK” is available now on GitHub, and includes all the core Alexa functions like streaming media, smart home controls, weather reports, and support for Alexa’s tens of thousands of third-party […]

Amazon this morning announced the launch of a toolkit for developers that will allow them to integrate Alexa into cars’ infotainment systems. The “Alexa Auto SDK” is available now on GitHub, and includes all the core Alexa functions like streaming media, smart home controls, weather reports, and support for Alexa’s tens of thousands of third-party skills. It will also add new features just for auto users, like navigation and search, Amazon says.

The source code and function libraries will be in C++ and Java, allowing the vehicles to process audio inputs and triggers, then connect with the Alexa service, and handle the Alexa interactions.

In addition, Amazon is offering a variety of sample apps, build scripts, and documentation supporting Android and QNX operating systems on ARM and x86 processor architectures.

The SDK will allow for streaming media from Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Audible, for the time being, and will allow customers to place calls by saying the contact’s name or phone number. These will be launched over the native calling service in the vehicle.

Plus, it can tap into a native turn-by-turn navigation system, when customers specify an address or point of interest, or if they cancel the navigation.

A local search feature lets customers search for restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, hotels, and other business, and navigate to the location.

This is not the first time Alexa has come to cars, by any means. Amazon has been working with car makers like Ford, BMW, SEAT, Lexus and Toyota, who have been integrating the voice assistant into select vehicles. Alexa is also available in older cars through a variety of add-on devices, like those from AnkerMuse (Speak Music)Garmin, and Logitech, for example.

With this SDK, Amazon is opening the voice assistant to other developers building for auto, who don’t yet have a relationship with Amazon.