STORY: Tata Motors unveils India's cheapest electric car Price tag: $10,370Tata is the only automaker currently building EVs in India helped by government subsidies and high tariffs on imports[Shailesh Chandra, Tat Motors]"This is a very aspirational EV (electric vehicle), a very feature-loaded, a very technology-loaded car. If I had to just summarize, the value proposition of this car, it is exciting in features, it is very easy to drive, it is economical, and at the same time eco-friendly."India's car market is tiny compared to its populationwith electric models making up just 1% of total car sales in IndiaThe government wants to grow this to 30% by 2030Tata's domestic rival Mahindra & Mahindra plans to launch an electric SUV in January
STORY: As Russia moves closer to annexing parts of Ukraine, Ukrainians are fleeing those Russian-occupied territories, dismissing the results of a five-day vote that showed strong support for joining Russia.So-called referendums - that Kyiv and the West have widely discredited as illegal shams. Ukrainians here, at a reception center for evacuees, said people were forced to tick ballots in the street by roving officials at gunpoint. “No one was interested in your opinion. You simply have to tick the box (in the ballot)."But here in Moscow, preparations for the impending annexation moved swiftly.This stage has been set up in the Red Square with giant video screens, and billboards reading "Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson - Russia!"Those four provinces that stand to be annexed make up about 15% of Ukrainian territory altogether. On Wednesday the Russia-installed administrations of those four provinces formally asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to incorporate them into Russia.Putin could proclaim the annexation in a speech within days, and has warned he would use nuclear weapons to protect any Russian territory from attack.And in a series of calls to rally international support against annexation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to the leaders of countries, including Britain, Canada, Germany and Turkey, to press for more military aid and tougher sanctions on Moscow."Thank you all for your clear and unequivocal support. Thank you all for understanding our position. Ukraine cannot and will not tolerate any attempt by Russia to seize any part of our land."U.S. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Washington would send more financial aid to assist Ukraine. "Today, the United States is announcing an additional 1.1 billion dollar package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine through the Ukraine security assistance initiative."The announcement brings the total U.S. security aid to $16.2 billion.Washington and the EU also said they would impose more economic costs on Moscow."We are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation."Ursula von der Leyen is the EU Commission President. "So we propose sweeping new import bans on Russian products. This will keep Russian products out of the European market and deprive Russia of an additional 7 billion euros in revenues. We're also proposing to extend the list of products that cannot be exported to Russia any more. The aim is here to deprive the Kremlin’s military complex of key technologies."That would add to sanctions already levied against Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine in February, which it calls a 'special military operation'.
STORY: A year ago, a shopping trip for Shanghai resident Wang Jianing would likely have involved standing in queues at the glitzy flagship stores of global luxury brands, in search of the latest season’s handbag. But these days, the office worker is exploring this warehouse and shop space of secondhand luxury goods marketplace ZZER. "My consumption is definitely downgraded this year, but I still like what I like - I can't control my shopping urges. So, I think this kind of platform with second-hand items is great.” ZZER started as an online platform in 2016. The name translates to “only two” - referring to secondhand goods. It began opening brick and mortar stores in Shanghai and Chengdu last year. And is now looking for more shop space in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. China's economic slowdown – fueled by the global health crisis – is proving to be a boon for the company's founder, Zhu Tainiqi. And it’s not only due a surge in interest from belt-tightening shoppers. "On the consignor side, because the economy has slowed down, they will think, 'Why not sell the luxury goods sitting idle at home?'" The 33-year-old former venture capitalist says the number of ZZER's consignors, or people putting up their goods for sale, has soared 40% so far in 2022 over the same period last year. The platform now has 12 million members and expects to sell 5 million luxury pieces this year. For some, like shopper Isabel Shi, the change in consumption habits also comes after months of intense lockdown in Shanghai. "My desire for material goods is reduced. I mean, if you could wear your pyjamas for three months at home..." The trend points to a key change in China's $74-billion luxury goods sector, where the secondhand sub-segment has been slow to take off, versus other markets such as Japan and the U.S. That’s in part due to a preference for newness and fears of being sold fakes. This could prove a challenge for the China-focused strategies of the world's major luxury goods makers, who are already grappling with softening demand. Though Iris Chan, a partner and head of client development at consultancy Digital Luxury Group, believes the luxury resale subsegment is still niche. "Overall, the high-end market in China is still expected to grow, whether that's resale or new luxury, I just say that maybe the middle-class, younger generations are perhaps not buying new luxury as much in this moment of being more measured about their pockets.” ZZER and other top luxury resale platforms such as Feiyu, Ponhu and Plum are all homegrown. Each drew tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funds in 2020 and 2021, with an eye on improving authentication practices. According to consultancy iResearch late last year, China's secondhand luxury market is tipped to grow to $30 billion in 2025, from $8 billion in 2020.