Mark Zuckerberg mixes business with pleasure as he drops in on wedding party thrown by Asia’s richest man

Planet Business: Willy’s Chocolate Experience turns bitter, Apple’s stalled electric car project and Kellogg’s boss offers budgetary advice

Image of the week: Zuck on tour

Mark Zuckerberg’s “Asia tour” has been a busy one, with stops in Japan, South Korea and India on his itinerary this week as he talked shop with government and tech industry figures in the region. But it wasn’t all meetings about artificial intelligence. The Meta chief executive has been mixing business with pleasure.

In Japan, before catching up with Meta developers in Tokyo to discuss the company’s Quest virtual reality headsets and Llama, its would-be ChatGPT competitor, he went skiing with his family. Then, after a few “key partner meetings” in South Korea, it was on to the city of Jamnagar, Gujarat, in western India to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani, the youngest son of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man.

This is not just your standard pre-wedding. Having booked Beyoncé for the Lake Como wedding of his daughter, Mukesh Ambani is pulling out all the stops again this time, with Rihanna and illusionist David Blaine doing the entertainment honours at an opulent three-day shindig for the super-rich. It’s all taking place in a 3,000-acre garden set in the grounds of an oil refinery, with Bill Gates, Ivanka Trump and a raft of Bollywood stars also expected to be in attendance.

So, on balance, more fun than a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.


In numbers: Not so grrreat


Rise in cereal prices in the US over the last four years, according to federal statistics, making it perhaps not the best of times for Kellogg chief executive Gary Pilnick to say families struggling financially could try having “cereal for dinner”.


Average price rises at Kellogg in its most recent fiscal year, making Pilnick’s suggestion that cereal is “much more affordable” and “tends to be a great destination when consumers are under pressure” even more unhelpful than it would have been.

$5 million

Pilnick’s annual remuneration, according to a September 2023 filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, includes a base salary of $1 million (€924,000) and more than $4 million in incentives. A true let-them-eat-flakes moment.

Getting to know: House of Illuminati

“Indulge in a chocolate fantasy like never before,” wrote House of Illuminati, the organisers of Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, on a website inviting customers to spend £35 (€41) per ticket to visit a place “where chocolate dreams become reality”. Ticket holders, they suggested, would “embark on a journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn”.

Alas, the reality was less wondrous, enchanting and dream-like than the advertising implied, with the “experience” essentially boiling down to a handful of jelly beans, an actor with a “gibberish” script and a sparse array of rainbow-hued props in a forlorn warehouse. Police were called. Children cried. Furious crowds demanded their money back.

So, any word from the House of Illuminati? It said it was “truly sorry” for the “very stressful and frustrating day”, promised full refunds and threw in that it had been “let down in many areas” at the last minute. On the plus side, none of the kids were turned into a blueberry.

The list: Apple’s electric car U-turn

Apple has cancelled work on its electric car a decade after it first began exploring the idea of putting its technology on wheels, Reuters reported this week, with the tech giant making no comment for now. Here is a potted history of its stalled car journey.

1. Early rumours: Known internally as Project Titan, Apple’s efforts to develop a car are said to have begun in 2014 when chief executive Tim Cook got behind the wheel of the venture.

2. Prototype phase: Documents confirmed the existence of the project a year later but Apple was said to be undecided about whether to manufacture a self-driving car, an electric vehicle or a combination of the two.

3. Original target: In 2015, the company was thought to be aiming to introduce “some sort of car product” around 2020. But 2020 came and went with the project still apparently in first gear.

4. Pushed-out date: Next it was suggested that the proposed car might make its debut as soon as 2024 or 2025. By this point, the design had also shifted from a steering-wheel-free autonomous vehicle with a lounge-style cabin to a more conventional set of wheels with advanced driver-assistance features.

5. Going nowhere: Reported talks between Apple and car manufacturers such as Nissan, Mercedes and BMW haven’t gone very far, making it increasingly doubtful that all the annoying people you know will ever get to drive round in iCars.

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