Vietnamese Billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong-Backed VinFast Ships First Batch Of Electric SUVs To U.S.


VinFast—an electric carmaker backed by Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong—is shipping its first batch of electric sports utility vehicles to the U.S., challenging billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla in his home market.

The 999 VF 8 SUVs were loaded to the Silver Queen—a Panamanian charter ship—in Vietnam’s northern port city of Haiphong on Friday and expected to arrive in California by mid-December, in time for delivery to U.S. customers by year end, VinFast said in a statement. The EVs are part of the 65,000 global orders that the company aims to deliver to customers around the world, with shipments to Canada and Europe expected to arrive in early 2023, it added.

“The export of the first VF 8s is a significant event for VinFast and VinGroup and a proud historical milestone for the Vietnamese automotive industry,” Nguyen Viet Quang, vice chairman and CEO of Vingroup, said. “It affirms that Vietnam has successfully produced high quality electric vehicles that are ready to compete in the international market.”

VinFast has been working on producing EVs to compete in the global market in recent years, beefing up its management by recruiting senior executives from major car manufacturers such as Tesla, BMW, Porsche, Toyota and Nissan. The company has set up branches across the U.S., Canada, and Europe in preparation for the global launch of its smart electric cars.

Besides car manufacturing, VinFast’s controlling shareholder Vuong has interests in real estate, retail, consumer electronics and healthcare through VinGroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate by market value. He is the country’s richest person with a net worth of $4.3 billion, according to the Forbes real-time ranking of billionaires.



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‘#R.I.P Twitter’ Trends As Musk’s Ultimatum To Staff Reportedly Triggers Exodus And Offices Close—Here’s What You Need To Know


Topline

Confusion reigns at Twitter as the company closed its offices and hundreds of employees opted to leave rather than sign on to Elon Musk’s demand they work longer hours, the latest in a series of chaotic developments as concerns grow that the billionaire’s leadership is putting the social media platform’s future at risk.

Key Facts

Hundreds of Twitter’s remaining employees reportedly resigned rather than agree to Musk’s “extremely hardcore” ultimatum to work long hours at high intensity, which had a deadline of 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The social media company abruptly told employees its offices would be closed until Monday, though it did not give a reason why.

The scale of the departure has reportedly sparked confusion over who should still be allowed access and the Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer said the closure is a stalling tactic to solve the issue and assuage the fears of Musk and his team, who are “terrified employees are going to sabotage the company.”

The exodus means multiple systems vital to ensuring the platform stays working now have just one or two—or, in some cases, zero—engineers servicing them, the Washington Post reported and the Verge said multiple critical teams “have now either completely or near-completely resigned,” both citing unnamed people familiar with the situation.

The latest Twitter turmoil sparked fears among users the platform could soon go dark, with many sending out goodbye tweets and “Goodbye Twitter” and “RIPTwitter” trending on the site.

Musk, ever the troll, was seemingly unperturbed by the situation, posting memes joking about the platform’s death and saying he is “not super worried” by the departures as “the best people are staying.”

What To Watch For

Though Musk says he is not concerned about the scale of the departures, there are signs that they are higher than expected. Before Thursday’s deadline, Twitter reportedly walked back its earlier demands that workers abandon working remotely. Previously, the firm asked workers it had fired to return as management belatedly realized their work or expertise was needed. Workers told the Washington Post and the Verge it is likely the platform will start to break soon, with those needed to repair problems absent or overwhelmed.

What We Don’t Know

It’s unclear exactly how many employees remain at Twitter. The company had more than 7,000 employees when Musk took over, a headcount he said was financially unsustainable. The billionaire fired senior leadership and Twitter’s entire board during the early stages of his leadership and laid off around half of the workforce. Musk has since fired staffers who disagree with him, sometimes publicly. Estimates of the number of remaining employees vary, though figures generally sit within the range of 2,000 to 2,500 people. Precise figures could be hard to attain in light of reports that most of the human resources team has left as well.

Tangent

Musk, without evidence, tweeted “record numbers of users” were logging in “to see if Twitter is dead” on Thursday. “Ironically making it more alive than ever.”

Forbes Valuation

$191.4 billion. That’s the estimated net worth of Elon Musk, according to Forbes’ real-time tracker. Musk, known for cofounding and leading electric car maker Tesla, rocket producer SpaceX and tunneling firm Boring Company, is the richest person on the planet. He purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October.

Further Reading

Elon Musk Gives Twitter Staff 2 Days To Decide If They Want To Stay (Forbes)

Hundreds of employees say no to being part of Elon Musk’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter (Verge)





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Difficult times ahead for Twitter, survival at stake as key staff quits, says Musk- Technology News, Firstpost


Elon Musk believes with key staff leaving the platform owing to the massive changes that are being made to the corporate culture at Twitter, the future of Twitter may be at stake, so much so that they may have to file for bankruptcy within a year.

Elon Musk warned Twitter employees Thursday to brace for “difficult times ahead” that might end with the collapse of the social media platform if they can’t find new ways of making money.

Workers who survived last week’s mass layoffs are facing harsher work conditions and growing uncertainty about their ability to keep Twitter running safely as it continues to lose high-level leaders responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and complying with regulations.

That includes Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of trust and safety — a previously little-known executive who became the public face of Twitter’s content moderation after Musk took over and who had been praised by Musk for defending Twitter’s ongoing efforts to fight harmful misinformation and hate speech. An executive confirmed Roth’s resignation to coworkers on an internal messaging board seen by The Associated Press.

The developments were part of another whirlwind day in Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform. It began with an email to employees from Musk on Wednesday night ordering workers to stop working from home and show up in the office Thursday morning. He called his first “all-hands” meeting Thursday afternoon. Before that, many were relying on the billionaire Tesla CEO’s public tweets for clues about Twitter’s future.

“Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message,” wrote Musk, before he described a dire economic climate for businesses like Twitter that rely almost entirely on advertising to make money.

“Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn,” Musk said. “We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”

At the staff meeting, Musk said some “exceptional” employees could seek an exemption from his return-to-office order but that others who didn’t like it could quit, according to an employee at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity out of a concern for job security.

The employee also said Musk appeared to downplay employee concerns about how a pared-back Twitter workforce was handling its obligations to maintain privacy and data security standards, saying as CEO of Tesla he knew how that worked.

Musk’s memo and staff meeting echoed a livestreamed conversation trying to assuage major advertisers Wednesday, his most expansive public comments about Twitter’s direction since he closed a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform late last month and dismissed its top executives. A number of well-known brands have paused advertising on Twitter.

Musk told employees the “priority over the past 10 days” was to develop and launch Twitter’s new subscription service for $7.99 a month that includes a blue check mark next to the name of paid members — the mark was previously only for verified accounts. Musk’s project has had a rocky rollout with an onslaught of newly bought fake accounts this week impersonating high-profile figures such as basketball star LeBron James and the drug company Eli Lilly to post false information or offensive jokes.

In a second email to employees, Musk said the “absolute top priority” over the coming days is to suspend “bots/trolls/spam” exploiting the verified accounts. But Twitter now employs far fewer people to help him do that.

An executive last week said Twitter was cutting roughly 50% of its workforce, which numbered 7,500 earlier this year.

Musk told employees in the email that “remote work is no longer allowed” and the road ahead is “arduous and will require intense work to succeed,” and that they will need to be in the office at least 40 hours per week.

Twitter’s ongoing exodus includes the company’s chief privacy officer, Damien Kieran, and chief information security officer Lea Kissner, who tweeted Thursday that “I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter.”

Roth’s resignation is a “huge loss” for Twitter’s reliability and integrity, said his former coworker and friend Emily Horne.

“He’s worked incredibly hard under very challenging circumstances, including being personally targeted by some of the most vicious trolls who were active on the platform,” said Horne, who oversaw global policy communications at Twitter until 2018. “He stayed through all of that because he believed so deeply in the work his team was doing to promote a public conversation and improve the health of that conversation.”

Cybersecurity expert Alex Stamos, a former Facebook security chief, tweeted Thursday that there is a “serious risk of a breach with drastically reduced staff” that could also put Twitter at odds with a 2011 order from the Federal Trade Commission that required it to address serious data security lapses.

“Twitter made huge strides towards a more rational internal security model and backsliding will put them in trouble with the FTC” and other regulators in the U.S. and Europe, Stamos said.

The FTC said in a statement Thursday that it is “tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” said the agency’s statement. “Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.”

The FTC would not say whether it was investigating Twitter for potential violations. If it were, it is empowered to demand documents and depose employees.

In an email to employees seen by the AP, Musk said “Twitter will do whatever it takes to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the FTC consent decree.”

“Anything you read to the contrary is absolutely false. The same goes for any other government regulatory matters where Twitter operates,” Musk wrote.

Twitter paid a $150 million penalty in May for violating the 2011 consent order and its updated version established new procedures requiring the company to implement an enhanced privacy protection program as well as beefing up info security.

Those new procedures include an exhaustive list of disclosures Twitter must make to the FTC when introducing new products and services — particularly when they affect personal data collected on users.

Musk is fundamentally overhauling the platform’s offerings and it’s not known if he is telling the FTC about it. Twitter, which gutted its communications department, didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Musk has a history of tangling with regulators. “I do not respect the SEC,” Musk declared in a 2018 tweet.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently examined for possible tardiness his disclosures to the agency of his purchases of Twitter stock to amass a major stake. In 2018, Musk and Tesla each agreed to pay $20 million in fines over Musk’s allegedly misleading tweets saying he’d secured the funding to take the electric car maker private for $420 a share. Musk has fought the SEC in court over compliance with the agreement.

The consequences for not meeting FTC’s requirements can be severe — such as when Facebook had to pay $5 billion for privacy violations.

“If Twitter so much as sneezes, it has to do a privacy review beforehand,” tweeted Riana Pfefferkorn, a Stanford University researcher who said she previously provided Twitter outside legal counsel. “There are periodic outside audits, and the FTC can monitor compliance.”





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