The daily business briefing: October 4, 2018

China fines X-Men star Fan Bingbing $70 million for tax evasion, Toyota and SoftBank partner on self-driving car services, and more

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing
(Image credit: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

1. China fines X-Men star Fan Bingbing $70 million for tax evasion

Chinese tax authorities have fined X-Men star Fan Bingbing about $70 million for tax evasion, according to an announcement published Wednesday by China's official Xinhua News Agency. Companies Fan represents will pay another $60 million in taxes and penalties. The report said that as long as the penalties are paid Fan will not face criminal investigation. Fan has starred in dozens of movies and TV series in China. She is best known internationally as Blink in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past. Fan disappeared from public view over the summer as the Chinese government cracked down on high salaries for actors. In her first post since June 2, Fan promised to pay the penalties and apologized for letting down "the fans who love me."

The Associated Press

2. Toyota and SoftBank team up on self-driving cars

Toyota and SoftBank announced Thursday that they would join forces to develop self-driving car services including on-demand transportation, hospital shuttles, and food deliveries. "SoftBank alone and automakers alone can't do everything," said Junichi Miyakawa, chief technology officer at SoftBank Corp. and incoming CEO of the new company. "We want to work to help people with limited access to transportation." The announcement was the latest in a series of deals on sharing costs that have been made by automakers, ride-hailing companies, and big technology firms. SoftBank also is an investor in General Motors' Cruise self-driving unit, which just struck a partnership deal with Honda.

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Reuters The Associated Press

3. Honda invests $2.8 billion in self-driving car partnership with GM

Honda has committed to investing $2.8 billion in a partnership with General Motors to develop and build autonomous vehicles. Honda will take a 5.7 percent stake in GM's Cruise Holdings subsidiary, paying $750 million initially and the rest over 12 years. GM said Honda's investment puts Cruise's valuation at $14.6 billion. Softbank's Vision Fund recently invested $2.25 billion in the GM unit. GM shares jumped by as much as 7 percent in premarket trading but closed up by just 2 percent. Honda shares in the U.S. closed down by 3.6 percent.


4. Dow hits 15th record high of 2018, but futures point to lower open

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday gained 0.2 percent to close at a record high as investors reacted to encouraging economic data. It was the blue-chip index's 15th record close this year. The S&P 500 gained less than 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 0.3 percent. Stocks got a boost from a report showing that private-sector employment rose by more than expected in September, after early support from a report that Italy was trimming its budget deficit target, which could help defuse a potential clash with the European Union. European and Asian shares fell on Thursday as yields on U.S. Treasury bonds jumped to multi-year highs as U.S. central bank officials expressed confidence that the U.S. economy would continue expanding. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 also fell, pointing to a lower open for U.S. stocks.

MarketWatch The Associated Press

5. Netflix to develop Chronicles of Narnia shows, films

Netflix has purchased the rights to the entire Chronicles of Narnia book series — for an undisclosed but certainly hefty price. The streaming service now reportedly plans to produce multiple movies and TV shows set in the fantasy world created by C.S. Lewis. This is the first time one studio has maintained ownership over all seven Lewis books. The move comes as streaming services and cable networks search for their own Game of Thrones, with Netflix having previously ordered the fantasy series The Witcher and Amazon working on The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings, among other projects.


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