Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese automotive giant owned by billionaire Li Shufu, has started building a production and testing center for commercial low-orbit satellites, with plans to launch them by the end of the year. The announcement makes Geely the first known Chinese automaker with designs on space. (Bloomberg)
Talking point: The move follows similar activity from Silicon Valley tycoons looking to launch satellites into an increasingly crowded low-Earth orbit. Elon Musk, the billionaire boss of Tesla and SpaceX, is spearheading Starlink, a project set to launch a constellation of thousands of satellites that could bring internet connectivity to remote parts of the world (and could possibly outnumber the 9,000 stars visible to the naked human eye). Jeff Bezos’s Amazon is also eyeing satellite launches, announcing plans last year to send over 3,000 satellites into orbit. Geely has ambitious plans to dominate the auto industry. Last year, the company spent ¥20 billion on research and development of self-driving cars and flying taxis. Li also became the biggest shareholder of Daimler AG in 2018.