Dara Khosrowshahi named new Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Uber

With Uber facing a real mash up between brand image, finances and ethics, its former CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down following differences in his style of management as well as bungling ethics and management policies. Dara Khosrowshahi, 48, has joined Uber as it’s new Chief Executive Officer, and is the sole force driving Expedia from ground zero to the Galaxy.

Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia for 12 years, which is based in Bellevue, Washington & Khosrowshahi himself has spent his tech career as part of the Seattle’s technology arena instead of that of the famed Silicon Valley. Since both regions are powerhouses in the tech industry, there’s also an obvious rivalry existing between them.

But first of all, let’s all see who Dara Khosrowshahi is and where he comes from? =)

Dara Khosrowshahi as a young boy

Dara Khosrowshahi was born on May 28, 1969, in Tehran, Iran to a prominent family that established the Alborz Investment Company, a diversified conglomerate dealing in pharmaceuticals, food, distribution, trading, packaging and services. Iranian Canadian billionaire Hassan Khosrowshahi is his relative. Dara’s family emigrated to the United States in 1978, prior to the Islamic Revolution of Iran which saw most of his family’s assets get illegally seized by the new Iranian government. He eventually settled with his family in Tarrytown, New York and graduated from the Hackley School at the age of 18 with a high school diploma. In 1991, he graduated with a B.A in electrical engineering from Brown University.

Dara Khosrowshahi recalls how he and his family had to emigrate: “Our family escaped Iran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution in 1978, when I was 9. We moved in with my uncle in Tarrytown. For the grown-ups, it was a difficult transition. The kids were able to party together, so it was fun.”

He also recalled about his father going back to Iran to care for his grandfather and returning back after a long time: “My father had to go back to Iran to take care of his father when I was 13 and was detained for six years before returning. My mom was raising three kids without a dad.”

Dara Khosrowshahi on extreme right, visiting London with his cousins in 1973

Dara Khosrowshahi began working as an Analyst at Allen & Company, an Investment bank and he left that in 1998 to work for one of his former clients Barry Diller, first at USA Networks and then at IAC as it’s Chief Financial Officer. It was in 2001 that IAC Travel acquired Expedia & in August 2005, Khosrowshahi was promoted as the CEO of Expedia. It was during his tenure that Expedia grew and expanded presence in more than 60 countries around the globe, Hotels.com, Hotwire online booking brands, and the travel community sites of TripAdvisor Media Network. In 2015, Expedia awarded him USD$ 90 million in stock options as a part of a long term employment agreement, where he stated that he would stay until 2020. Dara Khosrowshahi has had quite an impressive and respectable tenure at Expedia, growing revenues from USD$ 2.1 billion in 2005 to USD$ 8.7 billion in 2016, turning Expedia in one of the biggest online travel agencies in the U.S.A and owning sites like hotels.com, Orbitz, Trivago, HomeAway, Travelocity as well as other sites for vacation rentals, car rentals as well as other travel & vacation related sites as well.

The Economist revealed that during Khosrowshahi’s tenure, the gross value of Expedia’s hotel and travel booking related services multiplied more than 5 times and the pre tax earnings multiplied as well. In 2016, He was one of the highest paid CEO’s in the U.S.A, and is a board member from BET.com, Hotels.com, New York Times Company, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and other companies as well. He has been praised by the New York Times company for his competitive tech based mindset and for his comprehensive digital & international experience coupled with his financial expertise. He has also been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s anti immigrant policies and rhetoric.

Dara Khosrowshahi & his wife, Sydney Shapiro-Khosrowshahi in Las Vegas

He married Sydney Shapiro in 2012, in Las Vegas and is father to four children with her. In his words: “My wife and I got married on 12/12/12 in Las Vegas, and she was wearing a Slayer T-shirt. That tells you what kind of woman I’m lucky enough to be with. We have four kids.”

In June 2013, Ernst & Young recognized Dara Khosrowshahi as a Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year award recipient. He is among the U.S State Department’s List of Prominent Iranian Americans.

Dressed as Superhero Flash at an Expedia party, in 2014

Given the controversies, unethical practices and problems Uber is currently mired in, We are hopeful that Dara Khosrowshahi will turn the company around =)

All the best Dara!

 

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My view on Renault-Nissan and Dongfeng partnering to build electric cars for China (Via TechCrunch)

I’ve never liked China that much, regardless of situation.

Written by Darrell Etherington:

Another major automaker is setting up a dedicated joint venture to build EVs for the growing demand in China, joining Ford and Volkswagen: This time, it’s Nissan-Renault, which will work with China’s Dongfeng Motor, an automaker it partnered with last year to open its first factory in China.

Automakers from outside China basically need a local dancing partner in order to make and sell vehicles in the country, without incurring huge import taxes that would basically render their operations unsustainable. Previously, automakers were limited to setting up two joint ventures with Chinese partners to produce cars in-country, but Beijing has allowed the creation of a third joint venture – provided it’s dedicated entirely to EVs.

Renault-Nissan’s new partnership with Dongfeng is called eGT New Energy Automotive Company, and it’ll be split between Nissan with 25 percent ownership, Renault with another 25, and Dongfeng with the remaining 50, according to Reuters. The first vehicle from the JV will be a new electric vehicle based on one of Renault-Nissan’s subcompact crossover SUV platform designs.

Automakers are racing to build out their EV construction and sales capacity in China thanks to strong incentives put in place by the Chinese government for the market. China is also enforcing strict quotas on overall vehicle sales, requiring that a full 8 percent of any automaker sales in the country be either pure electric or plug-in hybrid by 2018, with incremental increases in that percentage every year after that.

This could end up helping with electrification abroad, too, since it’ll help automakers reconfigure their operations to focus on developing EV tech and electric-specific vehicle designs.

My View:

Electric specific sounds futuristic, but let us reflect on the old days, especially the days of our schooling when we were told about CFC’s and their deadly effects on the Ozone layer as well as the carbon footprints from fossil fuels. Carbon footprints will be everywhere, whether we drive a car with fossil fuel, whether we use an LED TV or whether we drive a hybrid Toyota Prius.

Carbon footprints from fossil fuels contain carbon that is beneficial for the earth’s atmosphere and for the ozone layer as well. Carbon footprints from modern devices produce carbon that is not beneficial at all, and in fact can harm the atmosphere in serious ways. Of course, the world is advancing but these advances will render humans unemployed, hungry, desperate and destitute. Should we advance in technology? Let’s keep the new machines as simply drawing board concepts!

People’s Republic of China however, is in need of electric vehicles, given the fact that the level of pollution in the country is way out of bounds and way beyond normal levels. Another problem is that, the Chinese have recently discovered their new found wealth and that will cause a lot of problems. From ugly women rebranding their looks to women remaining single and independent, the mindset of the Chinese is clearly cloudy, murky and damaged. With the Communist Party of China remaining holed up in power, it is likely that China will turn into the world’s largest dump.

Via TechCrunch: Aston Martin’s vehicle lineup will be 100% hybrid by the mid 2020s

Written by Darrell Etherington:

Another automaker is vowing to turn its entire lineup a little more green: Aston Martin told the Financial Times that it’ll offer vehicles exclusively with hybrid and electric cars by the middle of next decade.

It’s not as audacious a goal as it might’ve seemed even just a few years ago; Volvo has committed to selling only hybrid or electric cars by 2019, and Britain and France have both outlined plans to ban the sale of non-electric or hybrid vehicles by 2040.

Aston Martin’s announcement is significant because it’s a high-end luxury performance car maker, however, whose target demographic is precisely motoring enthusiasts. Aston Martin had previously announced plans to launch its first fully electric car, the Rapid-e, by 2019.

Don’t expect news of automakers intending to focus solely on hybrids and electrics to stop anytime soon; the writing is on the wall, now it’s just a question of in what order the dominoes fall.

My View:

Hybrid cars are certainly the future, but I am still quite skeptical about whether Hybrid cars will be easy to repair or not given the fact that advancements in technology are not keeping up with the intellectual, educational and human development of many nations worldwide. Secondly, with many in the United Kingdom reliant on welfare, welfare dependent households are most likely to produce blue collar kids who may not be able to easily fix hybrid cars if they decide to become mechanics. Though the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C) Economies are becoming advanced, technical, educational, academic and intellectual gaps persist and that too in larger margins.

Hybrid vehicles have a dangerous carbon footprint and traditional fossil fuel based cars were much better. Reason being, the carbon footprint they produce is beneficial for the atmosphere and for the ozone layer. Sadly, liberal politicians are just looking for ways to gain political foothold and embezzle cash at the lives of the common people.

It would be wise for Aston Martin not to go completely hybrid, regardless of circumstances.

 

Read original article: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/29/aston-martins-vehicle-lineup-will-be-100-hybrid-by-the-mid-2020s/?ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29

Why is the Australian Economy heading for a recession

For most of the time, we all thought that Australia is going to be the new economic frontier. However, such is not so as the Australian economy is showing worrisome signs that it is going to face a tailspin which will put it in the direction of both a recession and an economic meltdown. The dependence on services and the removal of manufacturing, coupled with the massive outsourcing which the U.S.A once did in the mid 2000’s is now putting Australia in a precarious position, on which the Australians are in denial and are somewhat defiant that such is not so. Despite the fact that manufacturing has still maintained presence in New South Wales, The shutdowns of the Toyota, Ford and Holden automotive plants as well as Mitsubishi’s plant shutdown in 2008 has hurt the Australian economy far more than anyone can imagine. Also, relying on imports from Thailand, China, India, U.S.A and other nations is definitely going to strain Australia’s finances and also cause political instability in Australia.

The theories and concepts of business process outsourcing and engineering in the U.S.A have been quashed, with thanks to Donald Trump’s protectionist and nationalist policies that have not only rebounded and restored American manufacturing but have also taken suit in Europe as well as Africa and certain Asian nations. India is benefiting from a strong manufacturing base for both domestic and international consumption which has made its economic base stronger. Despite China having billions in its treasury, excessive mining has damaged its landscape and rivers, where carcinogenic metals have leaked into river waters thus producing polluted fish, sinkholes, cancers in villagers and cancers in agricultural produce. Moreover, with dozens of Chinese export goods like vegetables, meat, rice and other things banned and blacklisted by most O.E.C.D nations, China is officially in deep trouble.

When it comes to Thailand, they have benefited from a previously strong base and are benefiting from a rising auto industry that earns billions and even trillions! Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota were given entries but on the basis of joint ventures, with shared research and development and controlled industrial expansion which will now give Thailand an even improved base for starting its own companies in automotive industry (Vehicles, Parts, Equipment) as well as shipbuilding and other manufacturing sectors, and that too with less pollution. Being environmentally and economically responsible, Thailand has invested in all sectors of the economy, from education and healthcare to tourism. With the Australian Dollar falling, its time for Australia to realize its mistake and fix its struggling economy.

The following graphs will help indicate Australia’s so called economic miracle and how it is tumbling down

Capture 1

Number of quarters the aforementioned economies endured without a recession since 1991

Capture 3

Australia’s commodity exports (Mineral and Fuel) as well as prices of Iron Ore and Coal per metric ton

Capture 4

The Australian Net Disposable Income has risen

Capture 5

So did the wage rates til some time but the hourly pay has fallen, and is further decreasing to concerning extent

Capture 6

Taking housing prices as a multiple of Annual Income, Australia has the most expensive housing market in the Anglosphere, the Southern Hemisphere and in the world as well as O.E.C.D nations

Capture 7

Whats even more concerning is that the Australian household debt levels are rising each passing day, and are not stopping! They are continuously rising which indicate Australia will default on its debt in the future

Capture 8

Australia is now relying on exporting services to save the balance of payments, which is certainly not possible. For that, Australia must restore manufacturing and export manufactured goods.

The problem lies in the policies of the Australian Government. The ambigious statuses of Rio Tinto mining corporation and BHP Billiton should raise alarms. They label themselves as multinationals, but with 2 headquarters (i.e. Melbourne and London for both) they both should be paying taxes in Australia and the United Kingdom but sadly, they just evaded Australian taxes whilst earning millions and billions off commodity exploration, mining, refining and export of minerals and even petroleum. Even if they are paying taxes in Australia, how come the British economy is ahead of the Australian economy? even after Brexit?

In 1991, Australia emerged from a recession, unemployment peaking at 11.1% and price of Iron Ore languishing at USD$15 per metric ton. John Howard, the leader of the consecutive party becomes Prime Minister in 1996 and decides to privatize state companies and reduce government spending resulting in strong export growth, stable Australian Dollar, good value of earnings coming from exports of both minerals and goods and manufacturing sector receiving good strength and investment. In the year 2001, Billiton plc of the United Kingdom agreed to merge with BHP of Australia, resulting in merger of two of the world’s largest iron ore producers. Two years later, China’s economy grows at an annual rate of 10 percent, giving a golden opportunity for BHP Billiton to earn billions from the export and sale of Iron Ore to China and Chinese businesses & Corporations, thereby making Australia a commodity strongman. 4 years later, in 2007, Kevin Rudd, a former Mandarin speaking diplomat who spent his formative years in poverty apologized to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for the way they were treated and promised closer relations with People’s Republic of China, which then give Australian businesses and corporations, leverages for outsourcing business processes to China and other nations in Asia.

However, a year later, the Global Financial Crisis appears, risking thousands of jobs and businesses, sending commodity prices spiraling downwards and BHP Billiton deciding not to acquire Rio Tinto thus ending BHP Billiton’s 18 month pursuit. Commodity prices rebounded in the year 2009, with Chevron approving the USD$ 37 billion Gorgon offshore natural gas project resulting in the Australian Dollar achieving parity with the U.S Dollar. In 2011, Iron Ore was priced at USD$190 per metric ton, and mining workers earning more than AUD$ 175,000 annually just for digging, excavating, running drills and transporting the ore. Laid off workers from the manufacturing sector eventually found work as miners in Australia’s booming mining sector. The strong value of the Australian Dollar at that time did not place much emphasis on investing in manufacturing, rather mining giants were enjoying billion dollar earnings from export of Iron Ore, Gold and other commodities to China and other industrial powerhouses of that time. However, in 2012, this scene took an unprecedented U-Turn when Fortescue Metals Group announced cost cuts, lay offs, roll over of company funded barbecues as well as reduction in mining operations which spell the end of the mining boom and the start of the devaluation of the Australian Dollar.

2013 was a worrisome year as Holden’s parent company General Motors announced the ceasing of production in Australia within a few years. Conservative Politician Tony Abbott became Prime Minister while Governor of the Australian Central Bank Glenn Stevens warned against relying too much on mining again and called for restoring manufacturing, citing reasons such as an unprecedented massive economic downturn and default. in 2015, the price of Iron Ore fell down to USD$ 37 per metric ton, which then plummets salaries in mining, leading to Liberal politician Malcolm Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott, with Turnbull promising to diversify the Australian economy. in 2016, economic indicators show Australia entering deflation and Malcolm Turnbull surviving the 2016 elections by a narrow margin, leaving his Government in a fragile position.

Apart from that, with Uber threatening to take over the Australian taxi sector, various municipalities planned on giving AUD$ 125,000 per taxi driver as golden handshake term deposits but that was overturned with massive protests from municipal taxi drivers and economists as well as the general public alike, who argued that not only will this further raise debt levels but also leave thousands unemployed. Furthermore, Uber’s cost mechanisms were revealed to be shady and Uber has been banned in many countries across the globe.

Australia is now earning from Higher education, seeing an influx of many foreign students, Tourism; generating millions from Chinese and other western tourists as well as high end defense and biotech manufacturing; which is facing challenges from high wages and low competitiveness. Furthermore, with the Chinese economy falling into recession, Australia looks more likely to fall into recession, political instability becoming visible and the housing bubble is also more likely to blow, sending housing prices even lower than that of the U.S.A, Canada and Hong Kong.

With Holden now taken over by PSA of France and more likely to be produced outside of Australia, coupled with the shutdown of Ford Australia’s and Toyota’s manufacturing plants in the state of Victoria, the Australian is officially in trouble. Though Aircraft parts are being manufactured in South Australia, the Australian economy is in trouble and now it needs to reorganize itself and bring manufacturing back or else, it will go down as among the worst affected economies ever.

Via TechCrunch: Microsoft calls for establishment of a digital Geneva Convention

As the public grows more concerned with state-sponsored hacking, Microsoft is calling on tech companies to form a so-called “Digital Geneva Convention” by promising to protect users from nation-state attacks and vowing to never mount offensive cyber attacks. Microsoft is also pushing governments around the world to establish norms for engagement in digital warfare.

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith announced the initiative today at the RSA Conference. “We suddenly find ourselves living in a world where nothing seems off limits to nation-state attacks,” Smith wrote in a blog post accompanying the announcement. “Conflicts between nations are no longer confined to the ground, sea and air, as cyberspace has become a potential new and global battleground.”

Smith pointed to the 2014 Sony hack, attributed to North Korea, and the 2016 election hacks, attributed to Russia, as examples of attacks that occurred without any meaningful international norms. He nodded to the 2015 agreement between the United States and China that banned the cyber-theft of corporate intellectual property, but said that international governments need to do more to establish rules of engagement online.

Smith said the U.S.-China agreement should serve as a model for the U.S. as it responds to Russian hacking, calling it an opportunity for President Trump to “sit across the table” from Russian President Vladimir Putin and address the hacks.

“Just as the United States and China overcame mutual challenges and made important progress in 2015 to ban intellectual property cyber-theft, the United States and Russia can hammer out a future agreement to ban the nation-state hacking of all the civilian aspects of our economic and political infrastructures,” Smith said.

Smith said the technology industry needs a treaty similar to the Geneva Convention to protect civilians from harm as governments begin to fight their wars online. This process has been underway in the United Nations and the U.S. government, but it’s unclear how U.S. efforts will progress under the new presidential administration.

If government’s don’t take action, Smith said, companies need to make sure they are protecting users. Although he framed the rise of nation state attacks as an opportunity for a U.S. president to create norms, Smith didn’t mention Trump by name and condemned the kind of nationalism that was a driving force during his campaign.

“In age of nationalism, we need to be a trusted and neutral digital Switzerland,” Smith told the RSA audience. “We need to make clear that there are certain principles for which we stand. We will assist and protect customers everywhere — that is what we do. We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere, regardless of what government asks us to do so.”

Smith said the industry has the opportunity to come together and push for digital attack norms, as the industry united in support of Apple during its encryption case and and in support of immigration under Trump’s recent executive order. Smith said the stories of immigrant founders and employees in Silicon Valley should serve as inspiration for designing rules for digital engagement. “As we think about addressing nation state attacks, that is a powerful force that should inspire us and upon which we can build,” Smith said of immigration.

“The tech sector plays a unique role as the internet’s first responders, and we therefore should commit ourselves to collective action that will make the internet a safer place,” Smith wrote. “Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention recognized that the protection of civilians required the active involvement of the Red Cross, protection against nation-state cyberattacks requires the active assistance of technology companies.”

Enter a caption

FEATURED IMAGE: JASON REDMOND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Original link: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/14/microsoft-calls-for-establishment-of-a-digital-geneva-convention/?ncid=rss

Via TechCrunch: Food startup Deliveroo raises $275M as Uber eats into its European market

moped-1

Deliveroo, a popular on-demand restaurant food delivery startup in Europe, has raised another $275 million in funding, a Series E investment that we have heard from sources values the company at around $1 billion. This latest round is led by new investor, Bridgepoint, previous investors DST Global and General Catalyst, and also had participation from existing investor Greenoaks Capital.

Deliveroo says the investment will go into growing its service in both new and existing markets, where it’s now live in 84 cities. It’s also going to keep investing in its new initiatives. These include a new B2B remote kitchen service, RooBox, which gives restaurants access to delivery-only kitchens in key locations. Other new services have included an expansion into alcohol delivery.

Deliveroo, who is not confirming its valuation, has now raised $475 million to date.

This latest funding comes at a time when the startup is facing a lot of heat from others who are also targeting the higher, foodie end of the prepared food market (typical Deliveroo restaurants include artisanal pizza and burger joints, trendy Middle Eastern delis, and hipster donut bakeries).

Rivals include Uber, which has stormed into Europe with Uber Eats; as well as others like Delivery Hero and Just Eat, and now, it seems, Amazon too (whose own food delivery project in Europe is currently codenamed “Hot Wheels”).

The intense competition in the market has led to a distinctly sink-or-swim climate, with other hopefuls like Take It Easy closing down last week after failing to raise money.

Sky News reported news of Deliveroo’s round earlier today, and we have confirmed the details with Deliveroo directly.

“After seeing strong growth in the markets we launched in November, our new focus is to drive further innovation in food delivery,” founder and CEO Will Shu said in a statement. “In particular, I’m excited about exploring completely new ways to solve the hardest problems restaurants face when offering delivery. RooBox is the first illustration of this approach, and innovations like these are at the heart of our mission. We’re proud and honoured to have the support of Bridgepoint, DST Global and General Catalyst in this endeavour.”

We had been hearing about Deliveroo’s attempts to raise this round for months now, and it came with several other interesting details.

For one, this round has been taking some time to close –nine months, by one person’s estimate — as the size and terms have fluctuated. We also understand from multiple sources that the company had hired Morgan Stanley either to help arrange financing for this deal, or potentially to find a buyer for the company. Among those that were approached as potential buyers or partners: Uber, Delivery Hero, Amazon, Just Eat and Takeaway.com. Those talks have not come to anything at this point.

Deliveroo, however, has been growing. It says that since its last round of funding ($100 million in November 2015), it has grown 400 percent and “reached profitability in a number of its established markets,” which would include London. It has also added 29 new cities and 9,000 new restaurant partners to its footprint in the last eight months.

And if we’re in a sink-or-swim climate at the moment, for now competitors are just happy to see Deliveroo seal the deal, since rising tides will help lift all (remaining) boats. “It’s good news that they managed to finally close,” another food delivery founder told me. “I think everyone was nervous it would be one of Europe’s largest failures… It would have effected the whole industry.”

Notably, Uber opted to partner up and sell off its operation in China to arch rival Didi Chuxing after it proved too costly to compete against it. Whether that might be a precedent for other geographies and categories beyond basic transport remains to be seen.

For now, there has been a lot of competition between Deliveroo and Uber Eats in markets like London, not just to secure restaurants for delivery and to find loyal customers, but to pick up drivers to complete orders.

Anecdotally, drivers who we have interviewed who have made the leap to Uber from Deliveroo tell us the pay is better — meaning Uber’s competing by sacrificing margin to gain market share.

Confusingly (or serendipitously?), the green-lettered black delivery boxes for Uber Eats and Deliveroo look nearly identical.

Deliveroo says that since its Series D, it has added 6,500 new riders to its network.

Via Techcrunch: Amazon launches Prime Air, its own dedicated cargo planes to speed delivery

amazon_one

A Boein 767 of Prime Air in the hangar of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

 

Drone delivery or self-driving trucks may not be here any time soon for Amazon.com.

But the e-commerce juggernaut plans to launch its first ever branded cargo plane, the Amazon One, at Seattle’s SeaFair Air Show on Friday.

The plane is a a Boeing 767-300 operated by Atlas Air, an existing provider of air cargo services for Amazon.com.

In a press statement ahead of the event, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, Dave Clarke, outlined plans for a more expansive “air transportation network.” The company will lease 40 planes in total from Atlas Air and another partner, ATSG, for its Prime Air cargo operations in the next two years, he revealed.

The move is part of a broad effort to speed delivery for ever-demanding customers.

A time lapse video of the plane being painted is up for Amazon superfans who want to catch a glimpse before it flies in the airshow in Seattle.

On the ground, Amazon.com has also launched initiatives aimed at making delivery times as fast as possible for its Prime and other customers.

Among other things, these efforts include the addition of 4,000 trailers to its fleet of delivery trucks; the launch of Flex, a mobile app to let vetted freelance drivers start using their own vehicles to make Amazon.com deliveries; and the use of robotics and other technology to speed packing and sorting at its facilities.

Via 9TO5 Mac: Kanye West says Apple/Tidal ‘beef’ hurting the music industry, calls for meeting with Tim Cook

Over the past year, Kanye West has become known for his bizarre Twitter tirades. Earlier this year, the rapper publicly asked Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and other tech kings to invest “$1 billion into Kanye West ideas.” This afternoon, Kanye hopped on Twitter to criticize an apparent “beef” between Apple Music and Tidal.

West criticized the relationship between the two companies, saying that it is ultimately hurting the music game. In order to solve the problem, Kanye says that he would like to have a meeting with Apple executives Tim Cook, Jimmy Iovine, and Larry Jackson, as well as Jay Z, Drake, and Scooter Braun.

The rapper says that Apple needs to “give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve,” alluding to Steve Jobs. Presumably, West is referring to the rumored acquisition talks between Tidal and Apple. He seems to be on the side of wanting Apple to purchasing the Jay Z-owned company. “We all gon be dead in 100 years, let the kids have the music,” West tweeted.

Earlier this week, a report emerged detailing Apple’s tough negotiations with TV networks that were ultimately the reason the company was never able to launch its oft-rumored web TV service. If West’s tweets are to be believed, it sounds like Apple is once again being hard to negotiate with in its quest to buy Tidal. While a report emerged earlier this summer claiming that Apple was in talks to buy Tidal, nothing else has been said since then.

Perhaps contributing to this “beef” between Tidal and Apple, Kanye West exclusively released his album The Life of Pablo on Jay Z’s service earlier this year, proclaiming that it would “never” come to Apple Music. A report detailed Apple’s efforts the exclusive rightsto the album, but the company ultimately failed because West wanted to work with his friend, Jay Z. The Life of Pablo ultimately did come to Apple Music, however.

You can see all of the tweets in Kanye’s latest Twitter tirade below. As the rapper concluded in a previous rant, everyone needs to “shut up and enjoy the greatness.”

Kanye 1Kanye 2

 

Via Tech Crunch: Indonesia will be Asia’s next biggest e-commerce market

Indonesia, Jakarta, View of city during sunset

 

Indonesia presents much opportunity for e-commerce among other emerging Asian economies, with current projections putting this archipelago nation’s e-market at $130 billion by 2020 (coming third behind China and India). With an estimated annual growth rate of 50 percent and strong mobile-first initiatives, retailers have a unique opportunity in Indonesia to focus on developing truly mobile platforms to help facilitate e-market growth, particularly in the consumer packaged goods (CPGs) sector (Thanks to a strong local industrial base, local made goods will outpace imported goods in both production and sales).

Indonesia’s current e-commerce market is similar to China’s online marketplace beginnings, with a large pool of entrepreneurial sellers providing goods purchased based largely on social media recommendations. Similarly, e-commerce in Indonesia also mimics the early U.S. e-market, which was flooded with customers wary to trust online payments and retailers. Indonesia is truly unique in that it has the potential to create a hybrid of the widest opportunities from America and China’s e-commerce economies, propelling the Indonesian online marketplace onto the global stage.

Mobile-first Indonesia

Indonesia has established itself as one of Asia’s foremost mobile-first nations, with a StatCounter report estimating that in 2015, more than 70 percent of Indonesia’s internet traffic originated from mobile devices.

Further evidence that Indonesians have embraced mobile-first initiatives comes from social media, with Indonesians having the highest mobile Facebook usage rate worldwide, with 63 million users in 2015. Further projections put Indonesians’ future Facebook access via mobile being almost 99 percent by 2018, showing a true dominance over desktop platforms. The mobile-first path that Indonesia has taken also allows retailers to focus on creating truly mobile functionality, presenting unique opportunities to dominate in the retail space.

Indonesian e-commerce startups and funding

E-commerce startups founded in Indonesia or targeting it as an untapped market are growing exponentially, something reflected in increased interest in startup fundraising within the archipelago nation.

aCommerce, an end-to-end e-commerce service provider, closed a Series A venture capital round of $10.7 million, while raising another $10 million in funding ahead of a planned Series B raise later in 2016; this action is being led by MDI Ventures, a VC-initiative launched by Indonesian telecom giant Telkom Indonesia.

Indonesia’s e-commerce market is on track to be one of the largest in Asia.

Jakarta-based grocery delivery app HappyFresh raised an impressive $12 million Series A round in 2015, with investors led by Vertex Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures. HijUp, another Indonesian e-commerce startup, closed a second seven-figure seed funding round from investors, including Fenox Venture Capital and 500 Startups.

However, the behemoth of all Indonesian deals so far comes in the form of Tokopedia, an online marketplace that raised an impressive $100 million round led by Softbank and Sequioa Capital. Mid- and later-stage investors should definitely keep an eye on Indonesian startups, which are clearly having very little trouble finding early-stage interest and investment.

Why specifically Indonesia?

Prospering with multiple entrants

Indonesia’s retail market currently consists of CPGs being sold in retail spaces known as “fragmented trade,” which is primarily made up of independent small business owners. E-commerce is currently growing at a rate twice as fast as fragmented trade, forcing many of these independents to turn to the e-commerce model. This in turn creates a sea of individual sellers eager to satisfy e-consumer demand, alongside mass retailers targeting this same demographic.

Unlike other Asian nations, Indonesians currently do not solely rely on mass retailers to guide their purchasing decisions, allowing for these individual sellers to maintain market share. This in turn allows the e-market segment to be open to any competitor determined enough to form a market impact, something uncommon in other mobile-first nations.

Procuring specialized goods to rural areas

Many Indonesian cities are currently woefully underdeveloped, because of a lack of strong government and infrastructure to support retail construction. However, e-commerce’s rise in popularity exploits this challenge by allowing consumers to purchase CPGs previously unavailable in their specific locales.

With lots of potential growth in rural and semi-rural areas, e-commerce specifically allows Indonesian consumers to source hard-to-find goods, as opposed to other nations, where rural areas would not have as high use of internet-capable mobile devices. In fact, popular Indonesian online site BliBli has more than one-third of its 2.5 million customers living in rural areas, providing goods ordered almost exclusively off mobile platforms to a population whose sole form of internet access comes via smartphone. This procurement of specialized CPGs to rural areas makes Indonesia a uniquely perfect place for online marketplace growth.

Providing truly mobile-first platforms

Indonesia’s e-market also allows for retailers and participants in the fragmented trade space to focus on developing truly mobile-first platforms. This specifically targets the mobile user as the captured demographic, instead of simply re-tooling a desktop platform to a mobile one.

This truly mobile-first scenario also allows sellers to use smartphones to their advantage, gathering hyper-personalized data to target individual Indonesian consumers as opposed to just specific demographics or groups among Indonesia’s more than 250 million population.

Mobile-first also allows for the easier entry of participants into the Indonesian e-commerce scene, with startups having the flexibility to choose what CPGs they sell, and even who they want as a consumer, through market penetration via mobile apps.

Profitability through social media

With other mobile-first nations being split between different social media sites (China:Weibo/QZone/Tencent QQ; India: Facebook/Google+/Twitter; Philippines: Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook), Indonesia is unique because of its widespread use of a singular social media platform: Facebook (with more than 92 percent of Indonesians having a Facebook account).

Indonesian consumers are very wary of online payments, much like Americans were in the early online marketplace days.

With so much of Indonesians’ current purchasing power being shaped through social media recommendations, focusing on developing integration with Facebook’s platforms offers companies a unique space to potentially profit through direct CPG sales, advertising or even partnerships. Tying Facebook into popular sites such as online forums like Kaskus and Tokobagus, or even online stores like Sukamart, could lead to the inclusion of high-quality videos, product comparisons and optimized images, alongside other mobile-first features, to encourage e-market growth.

Potential with online payments

Indonesian consumers are very wary of online payments, much like Americans were in the U.S.’ early online marketplace days, particularly when compared to other mobile-first populations. Many e-commerce transactions are currently paid through either direct bank transfer or bayar di tampat (cash-on-delivery), which is greatly limiting e-commerce growth through lost transactions.

With Indonesian spend growing nearly 10 percent annually, bayar di tampat will soon be unsustainable. Creating a trusted solution to utilize online payments could lead to huge growth, with retailers both large and small being able to streamline their business flows for optimum efficiency.

Procuring a modernized logistics/delivery platform

Indonesia currently also presents a unique opportunity for e-commerce growth because of the country’s weak infrastructure and poor logistics system. This provides a huge growth area for the e-market, with sellers able to vertically integrate their delivery systems with their ordering ones.

In the age of companies developing in-house solutions instead of relying on outsourcing, the untapped logistics market also gives rise to the growth in Indonesian e-commerce. Companies have the ability to develop proprietary, or even simply more efficient, delivery systems as another form of competition in the online marketplace, with supply strength being a key component in e-commerce.

Conclusion

Often underestimated as a driving economic force among its more well-known Asian brethren, Indonesia presents a variety of unique opportunities in becoming one of the largest e-commerce spaces.

With so many mobile internet users, combined with weak internal infrastructure, companies and individual sellers alike have the potential to grow the e-commerce market to heights unseen. Additionally, a growing middle class with disposable income will only help spread e-commerce growth, alongside a rising influx of both individual sellers and corporations vying to compete in the e-market.

Indonesia’s e-commerce market is on track to be one of the largest in Asia, utilizing mobile-first platforms to provide all Indonesians with convenient access to consumer packaged goods.

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Automotive sector of Pakistan: Suzuki Kizashi’s failure exposes high taxes and loopholes.

This here is the Suzuki Kizashi, which left the American market in 2012 due to lack of substitute engines and unable to compete with others. Well, that was one.

But in Pakistan where motor vehicle duties are at a whopping 350 percent, and the lease is hardly recovered. Tell me one thing, how can a man with an average salary of 15K running a house on rent unable to fulfill utilities with a housewife and 3 kids buy this? when the elite class are running their unlawful money on imported Audi’s and BMW’s does this car have a chance among them? how can the common Pakistani man buy this car when it costs PKR 5 million? (For that, a 2 bedroom squat hut/apartment can come).

Answer is, no one in Pakistan can buy this car.

The Government of Pakistan did NOT decrease duties on automobiles, both local and imported. Motorcycles, buses, tractors and trucks have also faced the brunt of high taxes. Imports put a country in miserable deficits, the incumbent government of Mr. Nawaz Sharif has made it even worse, sadly :(.

“50 lakh ki Suzuki ki gaari? Bakwaas!” is the cry whenever someone hears the price of Suzuki Kizashi in Pakistan (PKR 5 million). Suzuki’s 800CC car Mehran, once touted as the relief for the common man now costs PKR 900,000 and the condition, worse than scrap metal! The sky high taxes and duties makes the materials for cars expensive (Body frames, headlights, taillights, tires, bumpers, seats, electricals etc.). I don’t know where to get reliable information because the ones that can easy buy automobiles here are either the filthy rich elite whose income is solely on black money because Honest hard working people can only buy decent hatchbacks and/or second hand models.

Secondly, Pak Suzuki Motor Company Ltd. was fined around 250 Million Yen in 2001 when its model Baleno had hazardous and at times deadly handling issues. Once the car goes above 80 Kms/Hr (Kilometers per hour) on either a road or highway, the braking system was so awful that even a light press causes the brake cables to burst, hence either overturning the sedan or causing it to go off track and possibly even crash. Also, following the ouster of Pervez Musharraf in 2008 several manufacturing flaws were detected in Suzuki Liana.

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Radiator pipe 1

Images above are not in order. the second image exposed a rusted pipe installed in Suzuki Liana while it was manufactured and the first image shows it getting fixed at a local mechanic’s shop. Also, there have been incidents where in Suzuki Mehran there have been manufacturing faults. THe intake pipe of CNG system was in the external socket while internal socket had the external pipe. Despite shifting the cars to Euro II engines ( a stupid compliance standard I must say), the sales have not been promising (except for the Suzuki Swift due to its attractive design and good systems), Mehran and Liana have become questionable cars and the quality of Suzuki Mehran has become worth less than scrap metal.