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Foxconn unveils prototypes as it tries to become an electric car manufacturer.

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ImageFoxconn unveiled its electric Model E, a luxury sedan, in Taipei, Taiwan on Monday.  The company partners with start-ups, including Fisker and Lordstown Motors, to help develop and mass-produce their vehicles.
Credit…Ritchie B Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics giant that assembles Apple’s iPhones, showed Monday the first physical fruits of its efforts to become a major player in electric vehicles: a luxury sedan, a sport-utility vehicle and a bus.

The unveiling of the prototypes in Taiwan’s capital Taipei came just a year after Foxconn executives declared their great ambitions in battery-powered vehicles, an area in which the company had limited experience.

Foxconn has since started working on hardware elements and software that automakers can use in developing electric cars. It has also signed agreements with start-ups such as Fisker and Lordstown Motors to help develop and mass-produce their vehicles.

The prototypes that Foxconn presented Monday, which the company has dubbed the Models C, E and T, are templates that customers can refer to when designing their vehicles. Foxconn partnered with Taiwanese automaker Yulon Motor to develop the prototypes, and Yulon will be the first customer to bring the two companies’ efforts to market.

Foxconn chairman Young Liu expressed confidence that a company best known for assembling smartphones and laptops has a role in the automotive industry.

“Our biggest challenge is that we don’t know how to make cars,” said Mr. Liu Monday to reporters.

But he said legacy automakers faced an even bigger challenge: They lack expertise in software and computer chips, both of which are important as cars get more digital smarts. That makes Foxconn’s background in consumer electronics an advantage, said Mr. Liu.

He added that the fact that Foxconn had named its electric bus the same name as what may be the most famous car ever made, the Ford Model T, should not be construed as a partnership with the American automaker.

Credit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Goldman Sachs has received approval to take full ownership of a joint venture in China, allowing the Wall Street firm to expand its operations in the country as Beijing has taken steps to open up its financial sector.

The green light from the China Securities Regulatory Commission for Goldman Sachs to buy out Beijing Gao Hua Securities, its local partner, comes as Beijing tries to fulfill a promise it made in 2017 to let foreign investment banks take full ownership of their Chinese operations.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our Chinese business after a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a memo on Sunday, adding that the approval would enable the investment bank to “position our business for the long haul.” long-term growth and success in this market.”

Goldman Sachs reached a deal in December to buy from its Chinese partner a remaining 49 percent stake in Goldman Sachs Gao Hua. The price was not disclosed. The company will be renamed Goldman Sachs China Securities Company.

Chinese authorities have courted global investment banks and promised financial reforms, even as they cracked down on the operations and fundraising activities of some of China’s best-known companies.

This summer, not long after regulators barred private tutoring companies from making a profit and wiped billions of dollars from the stock market overnight, Beijing approved a request from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, to fund mutual funds in China. to sell. The move was seen as an attempt to calm investors’ nerves and demonstrate that China was still open for business.

Goldman has a Long history in China as one of the first foreign investment banks to open offices in the country in 1994. It partnered with Beijing Gao Hua Securities in 2004 and started offering investment banking services such as helping domestic companies raise money in financial markets.

Credit…Jason Henry for The New York Times

Roblox started in 2004 with the assumption that most of its users were minors, so it has security measures in place to protect children from online harassment and predators. It has long been wildly popular with children, especially those between 9 and 12 years old.

This month, Roblox said that for the first time, more than half of its users were over the age of 13. As users get older, Roblox tries to maintain a safe environment, writes Kellen Browning for The New York Times. Her efforts provide both a roadmap and a warning to other internet companies trying to do the opposite: appeal to a younger audience.

It recently announced new tools aimed at attracting older players to the platform, such as more lifelike avatars; the ability for developers to restrict some games to players aged 13 and over, or possibly those aged 17 and over; and a voice chat feature available to individuals who are at least 13 years old. To verify their age, users can upload a government-issued ID along with a selfie.

But mixing older users with Roblox’s traditional crowd poses safety risks, such as the possibility of young children being exposed to predators or recruited by extremist groups. The company has tried to address such misconduct, and Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki said he acknowledged integrating different ages into its platform was “challenging.” But he said that building an online world that is safe and open to everyone is part of his vision of the so-called metaverse, an idea that people can share a vast online universe together.

Earlier this month, Roblox updated its community standards to ban depictions of romance or discussion of political parties. It also explicitly banned terrorist or extremist groups from recruiting or raising funds on the site — an issue that has plagued social media companies like Twitter for years.

Baszucki said integrating older users while maintaining the platform’s standards of courtesy and good behavior was a “huge responsibility”. But he was optimistic the company would be successful, he said, because Roblox had a history of children behaving better than the adults on other social platforms.

Titania Jordan, the chief parent officer of Bark, a tech company that uses artificial intelligence to monitor children’s devices, said that while bad behavior could sometimes slip through the cracks at Roblox, the company was still “commendable” in its approach to children’s safety, especially when compared to sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Despite Roblox’s best efforts, explicit material slips through the cracks. And the fact that it’s still criticized could be another lesson for companies like Facebook. READ THE ARTICLE →

Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

When Instagram reached a billion users in 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it “an amazing success.” The photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook, was widely hailed as a hit with young people and celebrated as a growth engine for the social network.

But Instagram privately lamented the loss of teenage users to other social media platforms as an “existential threat,” according to a 2018 marketing presentation.

Last year, the issue had become more urgent, according to internal Instagram documents obtained by The New York Times. “If we lose the teenage feet in the US, we lose the pipeline,” read a strategy memo from last October, outlining a marketing plan for this year.

In light of that threat, Instagram left little to chance, report Sheera Frenkel, Ryan Mac and Mike Isaac for The New York Times.

  • As of 2018, according to planning documents and people directly involved in the process, it has earmarked almost its entire global annual marketing budget — slated to be $390 million this year — for targeting teens, largely through digital advertising.

  • It’s highly unusual to only focus on a small age group like this, marketers said, although the ultimate spend went beyond teens to include their parents and young adults.

The documents, which have not been previously reported, reveal the company’s fears and anxiety as it struggled behind the scenes to retain, engage and attract young users. Even when Instagram was heralded as one of Facebook’s crown jewels, it turned to extraordinary spending measures to grab teens’ attention.

“In any media industry, the newest, coolest thing is becoming the most popular with younger generations,” said Brooke Duffy, an associate professor at Cornell University who studies media, culture, and technology. That puts incumbents on the defensive, she said, adding, “We’re in a cultural moment where people just seem to be getting tired of Instagram’s ambitious, performative culture.”

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