Space sharing for a new age of travel
The space-sharing disrupter Airbnb has ruffled as many feathers as it has inspired budget-conscious travellers the world over. By enabling homeowners to rent out living spaces – ranging from a single room to a whole house – the company has provided both a money-making opportunity for owners and a cost-effective accommodation model for cash-strapped tourists.
But the San Francisco-based company has plenty of detractors, with hoteliers complaining about the deleterious effect on their businesses, and city dwellers accusing Airbnb of contributing to the process of gentrification by reducing the availability of long-term rentals. The phenomenon has led to concerns about the adverse effect growing tourist numbers might have on historic cities, with a number of authorities cracking down on commercial activity by introducing new regulations.
The internet of things
Japanese telecoms business SoftBank has made a lightning-quick deal to buy British smartphone chip company ARM Holdings for $32 billion in a bid to become a major player in the ‘internet of things’ technology market.
Rates on hold
The announcement by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to hold US interest rates steady in July came as no surprise to market analysts who had felt that the threat of economic uncertainty and the imminent presidential election would prevent the Federal Reserve from making any hasty decisions to hike the rate in the short term.
In the latest in a series of government initiatives to shake the economy out of its torpor, the Bank of Japan has announced the introduction of negative interest rates. The 0.1% rate is designed to encourage lending amid increasing uncertainly about the global economy and to try to free the country from two decades of deflation.
In theory, this means that rather than earning interest on money left with the Bank of Japan, banks will instead be charged to stash their cash, which creates a disincentive to hoard deposits and encourages banks to lend to businesses and consumers. If banks, in turn, cut deposit rates paid to customers, this may also promote spending and business investment.