A company representative revealed to reporters that dozens out of the fifty current employees will soon become owners of new Teslas, but declined to name the specific number.
Sources have already calculated that such generousity will cost the Chinese startup more than RMB30 million (US$4.8 million) in total, with current prices in the Chinese market. The first eight employees received the cars last week. The electric car manufacturer also confirmed the news.
Growing out of Shanda’s Innovation Institute, WiFi Key Master is a mobile app that automatically connects your devices to public Wi-Fi networks when in range. The app claimed more than 500 million users as of the end of September last year, and 230 million monthly active users. It claims to have free access to 120 million Wi-Fi hotspots across China.
“Talent is the key determinant for the success of high-tech companies. Through this move, we want to show how much we value and respect our talent,” said Chen Danian, the startup’s founder (and twin brother of Shanda CEO Chen Tianqiao).
“In recent years, China’s booming Internet companies have given lavish year-end compensation to employees in a bid to keep them motivated, retain their best workers amid tough competition for talent, as well as to display the company’s exuberance,” reports Venture Beat.
“This trend is led by the Chinese IT triumvirate known as the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Baidu’s bonus pool hit a record this year, with one top performer getting a bonus equivalent to 50 months’ salary. One Alibaba employee showed off online, saying his bonus was worth more than 100 months’ pay. Tencent has yet to distribute its year-end bonuses, but it’s rumored that staff at its gaming unit received a 68-month bonus last year.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the new “D” line of Tesla vehicles, explaining that “D” stands for “dual motor”, meaning Tesla’s all-wheel drive vehicle will have a motor at either end of the chassis to increase control.
Moreover, he said the Model S contains the hardware for an “autopilot” feature. The car can park itself in a garage, turn on the air conditioning in advance of a trip and recognize obstacles on the road. He cautioned, however, that “autopilot” was not fully autonomous driving and would not allow a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.
The advanced version, boasting a top speed of 155 mph, also features a long-range radar, image recognition so the vehicle can sense things such as stop signs and pedestrians, and a 360-degree ultrasonic sonar.
Fans speculated the electric car giant was about to launch a self-driving Tesla vehicle. Musk himself had previously said the company is actively working on “self-driving” capabilities. In an interview with CNN, Musk said the next Tesla car, set to launch in 2015, “will probably be 90 per cent capable of autopilot”.
According to one industry analyst, the new features would give Tesla momentum while consumers waited for the launch next year of its third vehicle, the crossover SUV Model X.
“Until the Model X arrives, a vehicle that will substantially amplify Tesla’s appeal and volume potential, these upgrades should keep the Model S at the forefront of advanced personal transportation,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
He added: “If Tesla wants to be seen a true competitor to brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, it needs to offer all-wheel drive.”