The Great Unbundling: Google, Uber, HBO as the “disrupters”

  • 23 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Google sign

Google and Uber are the latest tech companies to disrupt how services are provided. "Unbundling" describes how mobile technologies and social media are affecting the products offered by traditional businesses.

Google as a mobile phone company

Google's "Project Fi" is offering mobile phone services on its Nexus phones. It launches the web search engine into the mobile phone industry with a competitively priced offering: $20 per month for phone and texts and another $10 for data services.

Significantly, customers only pay for the data that they use, so it breaks apart the bundled mobile packages offered by traditional providers like Sprint and T-Mobile.

Google is using their infrastructure and targeting just their core customers, so it's not a big venture but a notable one as it "disrupts" the standard offerings with an unbundled package. Usage-based pricing has the potential to disrupt the industry.

Uber as a shopping service

Similarly, the co-founder of Uber is taking on e-commerce giants, Amazon and eBay, with the Operator app.

Read full article The Great Unbundling: Google, Uber, HBO as the “disrupters”

Malaysian trade minister rules out single currency for Asean

  • 20 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Panel at 2015 World Economic Forum, Linda Yueh talking to Mustapa Mohamed
The 2015 World Economic Forum in Jakarta is putting the spotlight on South East Asia's largest economies

The Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, told the BBC that the single market that the 10 nations of South East Asia (Asean) are forming by the end of the year will not include a single currency in their deliberations.

Mr Mohamed told me at the World Economic Forum in Jakarta that a single monetary policy was out of the question in the near future, as we discussed lessons from the European experience that could apply to the Asean Economic Community (AEC) that is due to launch at the end of year.

Read full article Malaysian trade minister rules out single currency for Asean

Britain’s foreign policy calculations

  • 17 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Chinese currency, the Yuan, or RMB
London wants to be the leading offshore trader of China's currency

At the London Metal Exchange - owned by China since it was bought by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange three years ago - the shouts of traders haven't been replaced by the silent hum of trading computers.

The other thing that hasn't changed is the importance of the financial sector to the British economy. Preserving the City's position has been a priority for the government - so China unsurprisingly looms large in British foreign policy.

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Is it a choice between higher pay or a job?

  • 15 April 2015
  • From the section Business
protesters in the US
Workers are staging protests about low pay in over 200 US cities

Raising the minimum wage to $15 (£10) per hour has become a rallying cry for fast food and other US workers who are protesting low pay by walking off the job in over 200 cities.

This won't be reassuring, but economists are split as to whether raising the minimum wage will be at the cost of jobs.

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The end of an era for China

  • 15 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Chinese shoppers

Probably the least surprising thing about China's GDP growth rate for the first three months of the year is that it slowed to 7%. After all, that's the target for the year.

What's more surprising are the drivers: consumption more than investment, services outpacing manufacturing, and domestic demand rather than exports. Taking today's figures and the data for March together with the full year picture for 2014 shows that China's growth drivers are changing.

Read full article The end of an era for China

What’s driving global growth?

  • 14 April 2015
  • From the section Business
A worker welds at a construction site in China

The latest IMF forecast for the world economy sees growth picking up this year and next. Global GDP is expected to expand by 3.5% this year and 3.8% in 2016.

The US is powering ahead, with 3.1% growth forecast in both 2015 and 2016. The UK is also expected to grow well at 2.7% this year, but slow to 2.3% next year. The euro area is recovering but slowing, as is expected to expand by about 1.5%.

Read full article What’s driving global growth?

Biggest deal yet

  • 8 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Shell petrol pumps

A whopper of a deal comes along just a day after yesterday's FedEx-TNT merger. Shell's $70bn cash and stock bid for BG Group would make it not only the biggest deal in the oil and gas sector in a decade but would also rival last year's Comcast-Time Warner Cable mega deal in size. It is the biggest merger and acquisition (M&A) deal this year and the 14th biggest ever.

The merged company would become the biggest oil company by production - though ExxonMobil is larger by market cap - and cement Shell's dominance in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Read full article Biggest deal yet

The year of mega deals?

  • 7 April 2015
  • From the section Business
A TNT lorry

After only the first quarter, this year is shaping up to beat last year's frenzied deal-making.

Years of low interest rates and cheap borrowing costs, record high stock markets, and a recovery that is finally picking up steam combined to mark 2014 as the busiest year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) since the recession.

Read full article The year of mega deals?

Why Amazon wants the Internet of Things to deliver

  • 2 April 2015
  • From the section Business
Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on a visit to India in November 2014

Amazon is known for wanting to provide everything that you buy and its latest foray aims to do just that.

Amazon Dash are buttons that you stick on household items. And with a click, you can re-order your dishwashing detergent from the e-retailer and it will arrive on your doorstep along with your other purchases.

Read full article Why Amazon wants the Internet of Things to deliver

Jay-Z, Empire, and the new music business

  • 31 March 2015
  • From the section Business
Jay-Z in concert
Jay-Z has garnered some 15 artists as co-owners of Tidal

It's life imitating art. The popular US TV show, Empire, is based on a music mogul whose record label offers artists a rare share in the business.

It's thought to be based on the life of rapper Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, who has launched a music streaming business where artists ranging from Madonna to Coldplay are equity partners.

Read full article Jay-Z, Empire, and the new music business