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Business news and updates: Daily roundup (July 22, 2021)

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 July 22:

South Australia offers business support during lockdown

About 50,000 small to medium businesses in South Australia will have access to emergency payments from the state government to help cover losses during this week’s state-wide COVID-19 lockdown.

The government’s $100 million packages will pay $3000 to businesses forced to close, including gyms, hairdressers, nail salons, restaurants, cafes and hotels and $1000 to sole traders.

The money can be used to help cover ongoing operating costs such as rent, power bills, supplier and raw material costs and other fees.

The SA government will also expand income assistance state-wide to people who lose work during the lockdown after the federal government announced payments of up to $600 a week to people in the Adelaide hotspot zone.

Why click and collect could save small businesses during COVID-19

More financial support is needed to help small businesses offer click and collect, and delivery services to help them survive lockdowns, according to a leading e-commerce coach.

Kelly Slessor, who has worked with big players like Westfield and Woolworths and more than 1000 small businesses, said owners are hurting due to a lack of online presence.

She added that many delivery companies charge such high premiums that it doesn’t work for small businesses, who need a cash injection to tap into local networks.

Telstra looks to buy Digicel in the Pacific with government help

Telstra confirmed that it was in talks to buy the Pacific arm of Digicel with financial support from the Australian government, in a move largely seen to counter China’s influence in the region.

In a letter to the Australian Securities Exchange this week, Telstra said discussions with Digicel were “incomplete”, and there was “no certainty that a deal will go ahead”.

Extended lockdowns could lead to ‘W’- shaped recovery

With around half of Australia’s population and economy now subject to hard lockdowns, the country’s ‘V’- shaped economic recovery could quickly become ”W’- shaped if persistent Covid-19 outbreaks aren’t brought under control. 

Already Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Group economists expect GDP to contract by 0.7 per cent in the September quarter alongside a likely lift in the unemployment rate in July 2021. 

With lockdowns extending in Sydney and Victoria alongside mobility curbs in South Australia, it’ll be interesting to observe whether businesses see the latest outbreaks as being transitory – preferring to retain workers by cutting hours rather than jobs.

Nearly 600 IPOs rolled out globally in the second quarter, while SPAC activity cooled, says EY

Nearly 600 IPOs rolled out globally in the second quarter, dominated by traditional listings while SPAC activity cooled, says EY.

597 IPOs came online in the second quarter of 2021, the busiest quarter for that market in 20 years, says EY.

There were 59 SPAC IPOs during the period, a slowdown from 299 during the first quarter. SPAC activity is poised to pick up again in the third half of 2021.

Jeff Bezos is now an astronaut 

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com and the world’s richest man, and three other civilians completed Blue Origin’s space flight, rocketing 62 miles (100 km) above Earth after launching from Mr Bezos’ West Texas ranch.

“Technically speaking, once you pass that 62-mile mark, you will be in space and therefore have travelled in space, which is the definition of an astronaut,” former astronaut Janet Kavandi, now executive vice president of Sierra Space, a unit of Sierra Nevada, said in an interview with Bloomberg

Billionaire Richard Branson soared to 53.5 miles above the Earth aboard a space plane, after it was carried to high altitude by another aircraft.

Twitter tests a TweetDeck revamp it hopes to make a subscription product

Twitter announced that it would begin testing a new set of features for TweetDeck, the company’s often-ignored social media dashboard aimed at Twitter’s power users, which Twitter may soon turn into a new subscription service.

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman said the US economy will see a ‘massive’ economic boom

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman said the US economy would see a ”massive” economic boom in the fall despite the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

He said trillions of dollars in stimulus, pent-up savings, and the rise in vaccinations would lead to a “massive, massive economic boom.”

Ackman also said higher inflation is likely to be a new normal for the economy.

Biden to meet next month with the private sector on cyber issues 

President Joe Biden and his national security team plan to meet next month in August with business executives about cybersecurity, an official said.

The Aug. 25 meeting comes as the White House is scrambling to help companies protect against ransomware attacks from Russia-based criminal syndicates. The administration also confronts an aggressive cybersecurity threat from the Chinese government.

A National Security Council spokesperson disclosed the meeting but did not identify the business leaders who would be participating. 

The meeting will focus on “how we can work together to improve the nation’s cybersecurity collectively.”

Netflix to include mobile games for subscribers

Netflix has confirmed that it will include video games as part of subscription packages at no extra cost.

In a letter to investors, it said it was in the early stages of expanding into games, and those for mobile would be added to the platform first.

“The time is right to learn more about how our members value games,” it said.

The California-based company said it expects to sign up 3.5 million new customers in the three months to the end of September – less than the 5.86 million analysts had estimated.

Ford, Argo AI to deploy autonomous vehicles on Lyft network

Ford Motor Co. and a self-driving vehicle company it partly owns will join the Lyft ride-hailing service to offer autonomous rides on the Lyft network.

The service using Ford vehicles and a driving system developed by Pittsburgh-based Argo AI will begin in Miami later this year and start in Austin, Texas, in 2022. 

It will begin with human backup drivers and go fully autonomous at an unspecified date. 

The cars will gather data to lay the groundwork to deploy 1,000 robotaxis on the Lyft network in multiple markets during the next five years, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

India’s Wipro to invest $1 billion in cloud business

As enterprises worldwide move to digital and invest more in cloud and cybersecurity, Indian software majors are now ramping up their cloud portfolios. 

The latest is Wipro, which has unveiled a plan to invest $1 billion in cloud technologies over three years.

The Bangalore-headquartered company has now launched Wipro FullStride Cloud Services, a platform that brings together its cloud-related capabilities and offerings to provide comprehensive cloud transformation services to its clients.

The Bangalore-headquartered company has now launched Wipro Full Stride Cloud Services, a platform that brings together its cloud-related capabilities and offerings to provide comprehensive cloud transformation services to its clients.

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