The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

A16 EZ RE T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T.T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9

than they’d behaved in other
areas where they felt that their
national interests are at stake.”
Earlier this month, the Trump
administration said it would re-
strict visas for Chinese nationals
suspected of being involved in
human rights abuses of Uighur
Muslims and other minorities.
China condemned the move,
saying it “violates the basic
norms governing international
relations,” CNN reported.
The absence of top officials
from the China National Space
Administration was noted at the
conference, particularly at a
panel where the heads of the
space agencies from India, Rus-
sia, Japan, Canada, Europe and
the United States gathered Mon-
day. In the conference program,
Yanhua was listed as “invited.”
Asked about the absence of
the Chinese delegation, NASA
Administrator Jim Bridenstine
said, “I know we invited them,
and I was anticipating them
being here.”

er competition with China,
which landed a spacecraft on the
far side of the moon, a historic
first, in January.
“Make no mistake about it:
We’re in a space race today, just
as we were in the 1960s, and the
stakes are even higher,” Pence
said in a speech in March. Chi-
na’s lunar efforts “revealed their
ambition to seize the lunar stra-
tegic high ground and become
the world’s preeminent space-
faring nation.”
Scott Pace, the executive sec-
retary of the National Space
Council, told The Post that U.S.
officials are wary of cooperating
with China in space the way they
do with other nations, including
Russia, which flies NASA’s astro-
nauts to the International Space
“Looking at Chinese behavior
in other shared domains — the
South China Sea, cyberspace —
they’ve given us pause for con-
cern,” he said. “And so looking
out in space, it’s hard to imagine
that they will behave any better

course, that puts [the State De-
partment] in the bind of trying
to administer visas.”
The group also worked with
Russia, the local organizers said,
and Sergei Krikalev, executive
director of piloted spaceflights
at Roscosmos, the Russian space
agency, is attending the confer-
ence. More than 60 Chinese
citizens were also in attendance,
Dumbacher said. Having repre-
sentation from as many coun-
tries as possible is a core value of
the conference and is a way to
showcase how space often tran-
scends geopolitical tensions, ac-
cording to organizers.
But the tension comes as the
United States increasingly sees
space as a war-fighting domain
and is trying to stand up a Space
Force to stem advances by po-
tential adversaries such as Chi-
na and Russia. In a speech earli-
er this year, Vice President
Pence called for NASA to dra-
matically speed up its plan to
return astronauts to the moon,
casting it as part of a great-pow-

na did not forward the first
group of names until late spring,
some six months after the AIAA
local organizing committee had
asked for them. And the last
group of names did not arrive
until just a few weeks ago,
Dumbacher said.
Despite the delays, the orga-
nizers said that a top Chinese
official, Tian Yulong, and a del-
egation of five staff members
were granted visas and planned
to arrive for the conference
Wednesday, according to an
email reviewed by The Post that
was sent to conference organiz-
ers by Chinese officials.
“We work very hard to ensure
the international involvement,
participation and flavor of the
International Astronautical
Congress,” Dumbacher said. The
group “took these requests very
seriously. We took the challenge
very seriously.”
Boles said the delay was
caused when the conference re-
ceived required paperwork “ex-
tremely, extremely late. And, of

Department declined to com-
ment, saying that visa records
are confidential under U.S. law.
But in an interview with The
Washington Post, Vincent Boles,
the co-chair of the local organiz-
ing committee for the confer-
ence, known as the Internation-
al Astronautical Congress, said
organizers had been working
with officials from China for two
years to make sure their officials
would be able to navigate the
various bureaucracies needed to
receive the proper clearances.
Working with the U.S. State
Department, the American In-
stitute of Aeronautics and Astro-
nautics (AIAA), which also
helped organize the conference,
reached out to Chinese officials
very early in the process, asking
them to submit the names of
officials who would want to
attend, said Daniel Dumbacher,
the institute’s executive direc-
Knowing how difficult gain-
ing the visas would be, the group
followed up repeatedly, but Chi-


Diplomatic tensions between
China and the United States
continued to climb Wednesday,
when Chinese officials accused
the United States of having
“weaponized” the visa process
after a top Chinese official was
unable attend a major interna-
tional space conference being
held in Washington.
A spokesperson for the Chi-
nese Foreign Ministry told re-
porters in Beijing that Wu Yan-
hua, the deputy head of the
China National Space Adminis-
tration, was not able to obtain a
visa, and therefore was not able
to attend, according to the Asso-
ciated Press.
A spokesman for the State

Economy & Business


Poll shows Americans

are unhappy at work

A poll released Wednesday
showed just 40 percent of
employed Americans say they’re
in good jobs, compared with
44 percent in mediocre jobs and
16 percent in bad jobs. How
respondents ranked job quality
had a strong correlation with
quality of life: Seventy-nine
percent of workers in good jobs
report a high quality of life vs. a
third of those in bad jobs.
The Gallup survey of 6,
working adults to assess their
current job on 10 dimensions of
job quality, such as benefits, pay
and job security.
Overall, just about half of
workers are satisfied with their
current pay, but this differs
greatly by income.
Eighty-nine percent of those
in the top 10 percent in terms of
income were satisfied with their
pay. That compares with less
than half of that for those with

incomes in the bottom half.
Fewer than two-thirds of
respondents said their pay has
increased in the past five years,
further underscoring how the
country’s record-long economic
expansion has been uneven
across income levels.
Black women were most likely
to say they work in bad jobs, at
31 percent, followed by Hispanic
men. White non-Hispanic men,
followed by white non-Hispanic
women, were least likely to be
disappointed by job quality.
Asian workers, who had higher
levels of income and education
than white Americans, indicated
lower job quality than white
— Bloomberg News


Study: Record number
of women on boards

Women hold more than a
quarter of board seats among the
biggest companies for the first
time, an analysis by executive

recruiter Spencer Stuart found.
A record number of women of
all races and nonwhite men
joined boards at S&P 500
companies in the past year.
Among new directors, 46 percent
were female, and 23 percent
were minorities. Women of color
made up 10 percent of new board
members. Combined, women
and minority men hold
59 percent of new seats, and all
boards have at least one woman,
as of this summer.
This year, a record 432 seats
changed hands, opening up more
spots than ever for new, diverse
Turnover is the biggest
impediment to adding more
women and people of color to
boards. Directors most often
leave because they are at or
approaching a mandatory
retirement age, and only about
15 percent of current board
members will reach that point in
the next three years, Spencer
Stuart found.
— Bloomberg News

Walmart will offer online
holiday deals a few days earlier
this year to minimize the impact

from a shorter selling period
between Thanksgiving and
Christmas, the retailer said
Wednesday. Walmart’s deals on
items such as toys, electronics

and gaming products will begin
Oct. 25. Thanksgiving, which
falls on Nov. 28 this year, is a
week later than last year, leaving
six fewer days to drive sales.
Ford Motor Co. cut its full-
year forecast by $500 million, in
a sign an $11 billion
restructuring by chief executive
Jim Hackett will take more time
before a promised payoff. Higher
warranty costs, elevated
incentive spending in North
America and lower China sales
prompted Ford to slash its
outlook for earnings before
interest and taxes to between
$6.5 billion and $7 billion, down
from an earlier estimate of
$7 billion to $7.5 billion. Even so,
the third quarter wasn’t as dire
as some analysts expected.
Adjusted earnings were 34 cents
a share, more than the average
estimate of 26 cents. Automotive
revenue declined by two
percentage points to
$33.9 billion, falling just short of
the average projection of
$34 billion.
— From news services


A worker hangs up newly dyed fabric to dry in Lahore, Pakistan.
The World Bank last week cut growth projections for South Asia to
5.9 percent for 2019, down 1.1 percentage points since April.

Amid tensions, top Chinese space o∞cial misses D.C. conference over a visa

Deputy barred from
gathering despite 2-year
effort, organizer says


SoftBank has struck a $9.5 bil-
lion deal to take control of We-
Work, capping a tumultuous run
that saw the company pull its
IPO, see its valuation plummet
and usher its unorthodox found-
er out the door with a huge
The Japanese conglomerate
announced Wednesday that it
will provide WeWork with $5 bil-
lion in new financing as well as
accelerate a $1.5 billion commit-
ment. It also will commit as much
as $3 billion to a tender offer for
existing shareholders. The agree-
ment gives SoftBank an 80 per-
cent stake in WeWork but does
not give it a majority of voting
rights. WeWork will be an associ-
ate of SoftBank rather than a
The infusion from its biggest
outside investor comes as the
start-up, which once had a
$47 billion valuation, was on the
brink of running out of money —
as soon as November, by some
estimates. WeWork was forced to
delay its initial public offering in
September after the company’s
prospectus raised questions
about its worth and the leader-
ship of co-founder and then-chief
executive Adam Neumann.
WeWork is now valued around
$7 billion, a drop of more than 85
percent from its peak.
“It is not unusual for the
world’s leading technology dis-
ruptors to experience growth
challenges as the one WeWork
just faced,” Masayoshi Son, chair-
man and chief executive of Soft-
Bank, said in a news release.
“Since the vision remains un-
changed, SoftBank has decided to
double down on the company by
providing a significant capital
infusion and operational sup-
SoftBank has invested more
than $13 billion in the cash-burn-
ing start-up, a move that has
rattled investors. Its shares

slumped 2.5 percent after the
bailout package was announced,
and they are down nearly 30 per-
cent from their July peak.
“This sorry episode is also a
searing indictment of SoftBank’s
valuation and screening method-
ology which needs to shift to-
wards being based on fundamen-
tals rather than blue sky,” Richard
Windsor, founder of Radio Free

Mobile, wrote in a research note
Neumann was ousted as chief
executive last month amid allega-
tions of self-dealing and reports
of erratic and eccentric behavior
that put the company at risk.
Now, Neumann will leave the
company he helped found in
2010, his exit sweetened by
$1.7 billion in cash and credit

from SoftBank. Neumann will
give up his voting rights while
maintaining an unspecified
SoftBank’s chief operating offi-
cer, Marcelo Claure, was appoint-
ed executive chairman of We-
Work’s board of directors. The
board will be expanded, the com-
pany said in a statement.
J.P. Morgan, one of WeWork’s

biggest external shareholders,
had been competing with Soft-
Bank for WeWork’s financial res-
cue. The company met with more
than 100 investors to cobble to-
gether $5 billion in bailout fund-
ing but refused to match Soft-
Bank’s offer for Neumann, ac-
cording to reporting from CNBC.
WeWork, which essentially is a
real estate company that posi-

tions itself as a tech start-up, saw
rapid success with its hip co-
working spaces. Since 2010, it has
expanded to more than 30 coun-
tries and is one of the biggest
private tenants in Manhattan,
London and Washington. It
claims about a third of the flexi-
ble office-space market, accord-
ing to data from real estate firm
CBRE. Yet despite its aggressive
expansion, the company has nev-
er turned a profit.
“This financing provides We-
Work with the capital to fully
realize its objective of being the
partner of choice to our members
and landlords, while at the same
time providing a platform for
growth and capital returns for
shareholders and employees,”
Artie Minson and Sebastian Gun-
ningham, co-chief executives of
WeWork, said in a news release.
“We will have the flexibility to
continue streamlining our assets
and stabilizing the business with-
out sacrificing our global brand
and exceptional products.”
WeWork is planning to lay off
thousands of employees but had
to delay because it couldn’t afford
the severance costs, the Wall
Street Journal reported.
WeWork’s spectacular fall
stands out even in a year defined
by high-profile IPO flops from
some of the most hyped names in
tech. Ride-hailing giants Uber
and Lyft, and exercise bike com-
pany Peloton have all seen their
share prices fall more than
20 percent since going public this
year. Though all have been
praised for their innovation and
growth potential, they continue
to blow through money without a
clear-cut path to profitability.
“Hopefully, this marks the be-
ginning of the end of using IPOs
on hyped-up loss-making uni-
corns as a profit-taking opportu-
nity before the music stops,” Jef-
frey Halley, a senior analyst with
OANDA, wrote in a recent note to

WeWork staves o≠ bankruptcy with $9.5 billion bailout

Agreement gives SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, an 80 percent stake in the office-space company, which would have run out of money in November

WeWork members use its space in Tokyo. The firm once was valued at $47 billion, but delayed its IPO in September after its prospectus
raised questions about its worth. The infusion of cash from SoftBank comes a month after the ouster of chief executive Adam Neumann.

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