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Business news and updates: Google Play store revenue hit US$11.2 billion in 2019

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for August 30:

Monthly retail data fall first time in six months after Delta outbreak

Monthly retail numbers have highlighted the economic damage caused by the Greater Sydney Delta outbreak, which has put the country’s southeast on lockdown. 

Monthly retail sales volumes declined for the first time in six months in July, according to the latest Central Statistics Office statistics. 

Retail sales fell 1.7 per cent in July, as stronger liquor sales from the sector’s reopening could not compensate for a decline in department store purchases from a peak in June. 

However, overall sales were 5.2 per cent higher than the same month a year ago, when the economy’s first lockup was being unravelled, and 14 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in July 2019, according to the CSO.

The highest monthly gain in sales in July was recorded in bars, where sales increased by 18.6 per cent, while electrical products sales increased by 5.8 per cent. 

Carpets, rugs, games and toys, flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pets and pet food, and jewellery sales all decreased by 19.6 per cent, while department store sales fell by 17.2 per cent.

Australia’s foreign investment rules need a revamp: Senate report

A Senate inquiry has shown that some foreign businesses are making a “mockery” of Australia’s foreign investment rules by failing to follow through on commitments made while seeking regulatory permission for investments. 

The report proposed three modifications to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board structure, including requiring foreign bidders to deliver on promises made in takeover bids. 

The report looked at foreign investment in six companies, including three Tasmanian investments: Van Dairy Limited (VDL), the Musselroe Bay resort, and Bellamy’s, a baby formula producer. 

Coles and Woolworths are betting on robots as Australia shifts to online grocery shopping 

As lockdowns continue across Australia, many households are doing something they may not have considered just 18 months ago: ordering groceries online. Australia’s supermarket duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, have raced to implement new technology and transform labour arrangements to keep up with the e-grocery boom.

Both are investing in “smart” warehousing and distribution systems with various degrees of automation, as well as making extensive use of app-driven gig workers for grocery picking and delivery via platforms such as Uber and Airtasker.

Google Play app store revenue hit US$11.2 bln in 2019, according to a court filing 

According to a court filing, Alphabet’s Google made US$11.2 billion in revenue from its mobile app store in 2019, providing a detailed glimpse into the service’s financial outcomes for the first time.

Gross profit was $ 8.5 billion, and operating profit was around $ 7.0 billion at the same time. At the end of 2019, the Google Play platform’s operating profit margin hit 62 per cent. The figures included sales of apps, in-app purchases, and app store ads. 

Baidu unveils Kunlun II chip and a robocar

Robin Li, the CEO of Baidu, China’s largest search engine, believes artificial intelligence and related fields such as autonomous driving are key to the company’s future success. 

In the face of increased competition and a challenging advertising market, the Beijing-based corporation has concentrated on broadening its business. 

At its annual Baidu World conference in Guangzhou, Baidu presented its second-generation AI processor, its first “robocar,” and a rebranded autonomous taxi app

China punishing cos overworking their employees

China has issued a warning to companies that overwork their employees. China’s highest court issued a detailed denunciation of “996,” the practice of working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week that is claimed to be widespread among the country’s big technology companies, startups, and other private businesses.

“Recently, extreme overtime work in some industries has received widespread attention,” the Supreme People’s Court wrote in its statement, which is issued with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. 

Workers deserve rights for “rest and vacation,” adding that “adhering to the national working hour system is the legal obligation of employers,” the court wrote.

Chinese apps continue to quietly grow in India, again

Many Chinese apps continue to grow exponentially a year after the Indian government swooped on the country’s app eco-system for engaging in activities “prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of India,” including some from companies that were explicitly banned, such as Alibaba, Bytedance, and Xiaomi. 

The majority of these companies have sought to conceal their Chinese roots by renaming their apps and providing little information about who owns them.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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