Hyderabad: Uber, Ola cab drivers threaten hunger strike
A section of cab drivers attached to Uber and Ola have threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike from Wednesday demanding fulfilment of their pending demands, Telangana Cab Drivers and Owners Association (TCDOA) said on Tuesday. Many of the drivers attached to the taxi-hailing apps are on strike in the city for the past four days demanding the companies not to accept new registrations on their platforms as the existing cab owners are not able to make enough money, the association's president, Shiva Vulkundakar said. "They are using unfair practices. The state government should come to our rescue. They (Ola and Uber) make tall promises to drivers during enrolment time. "The companies had promised that every cab driver would earn handsome money. But in reality the picture is different. We request the state government to allow us to use meters so that we can run our vehicles as taxis," he said.
Narendra Modi's new year sops to cost govt Rs 3,500 cr annually: SBI
Farmers will get 60 days interest waiver on crop loans taken for the Rabi sowing. The government will have to make an additional budgetary provision to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore to pay for the slew of welfare measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the poor, pregnant women and farmers on the eve of the New Year, says a report. "The overall fiscal impact of all these measures announced by the PM on December 31, will be around Rs 3,500 crore per year, which is minimal compared to the social and economic benefits," SBI Research said in a note today. Modi announced a slew of schemes for multiple beneficiaries last Saturday, in a bid to soften the blow of demonetisation drive between November 8 and December 30.
Paytm secures final nod to set up payments bank
The firm will launch its services first in Uttar Pradesh and then expand operations to the Northeast. After a long wait, online mobile wallet major Paytm is finally going to launch its payments bank in February this year. The company will launch its services first in Uttar Pradesh and then expand operations to the Northeast. Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told Business Standard in the first phase the bank would have around 100,000 banking correspondents. “In the first phase we are targeting as many as 200 million warrant, current and savings accounts. While normal banks target savings and current accounts, we will target the warrants as well.” Paytm payments bank was waiting for the final nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the last five months to start the operations. In the last one year Paytm postponed the opening of the payments bank six times. Sharma in a blog on Tuesday announced the launch of the bank. The payments bank would start its operations with Rs 400-crore initial capital and the first branch would be set up in Noida, UP. The first branch in Northeast would be opened in Guwahati. “Exactly three years ago, on January 3rd 2014, we launched our mobile wallet?—?Paytm. Today, Paytm has become the category leader and changed the way India pays. From villages to cities, from corner vegetable stalls to milk booths, small shops to large retailers, everyone embraced the new way to pay by Paytm. Now, we are embarking on a new and even more exciting journey," Sharma wrote in his blog.
I-T dept ropes in experts from Big Four to unearth black money
The income-tax department has roped in forensic experts from three of the Big Four accounting firms to investigate suspected money laundering by politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, people directly aware of the matter said. Experts from EY, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are working with tax officials to examine evidence collected by the department during raids conducted since November 8, when the government declared war on black money by demonetising.Rs 500 and .Rs 1,000 c .. Some of the people raided are suspected to have laundered money through accounting manipulations or brought in money parked overseas through the hawala route, a person involved in the investigations said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The department sought help from external investigators with the expertise to unravel such complex transactions.
GMR, Tata Realty, Hiranandani pulls out of Navi Mumbai airport bid
Three of the four companies shortlisted to build the much-delayed Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai airport have pulled out, citing long-unresolved issues such an incomplete resettlement of families from the area, zero pre-development work and issues with the bid document. The stipulated 42-month time to complete the project is too short, given the conditions, the bidders said.
Post demonetisation, ethical hackers are in high demand by payment apps
Shashank Kumar, a second-year engineering student, has been swamped this winter break. As a freelance white hat hacker, he has been spending most of his vacation scanning payment applications and ecommerce websites for security vulnerabilities. White hat hackers, or ethical hackers, who scope out and report bugs in software are in high demand globally.
Service charge: Don’t eat if you don’t want to pay, says restaurants’ body
The Centre reiterated on Monday that customers dissatisfied with service could choose not to pay the service charge levied by a hotel or restaurant, but the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) cited judicial precedent to support its case for the levying of a service charge. It also issued a statement implying that customers were free not to eat at a restaurant if they did not wish to pay the service charge levied by it.
Expats Living in India Are Among Highest Paid, HSBC Survey Shows
The Wall Street Journal
Expats living in India are the third-highest paid in the world, according to a survey from HSBC. The average salary of foreigners living in India was $145,057, the poll of almost 27,000 expats in 100 countries showed. Highest paid were foreign workers in Switzerland who got an average salary of $188,275, followed by Hong Kong at $169,756. Like Switzerland and Hong Kong, India has a financial hub in Mumbai. The survey showed that India has the highest proportion of expats on international secondment or assignment.
BHIM app is not 'free'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched India's very own e-wallet app. Dubbed BHIM (short for Bharat Interface for Money), the Government of India-backed app is aimed at promoting country's move towards becoming a cashless economy. It's essentially a rebranded version of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) services. During the app's launch, PM Modi said that BHIM will become the world's biggest wonder in times to come. Though the app is listed as free on the Google Play Store, it seems that it's not exactly free. Some users have claimed that downloading BHIM app deducted Rs 1.50 from their mobile balance. Not just that, after downloading the app, users have to go through the tedious procedure involving answering numerous technical questions. Once downloaded, it sends a verification number on the user's smartphone via SMS. As soon as the message is received, Rs 1.50 are deducted from the user's mobile balance. Not just that, numerous users have complained that the app doesn't work as intended. Some users on Google Play Store have complained that even after completing all the necessary steps, transactions failed. BHIM app is claimed to facilitate transactions even when there's no internet connectivity. But it seems it's not exactly serving its purpose. Many of the app users have found it to be 'a typical government app,' with a sub-par user interface. It also hangs quite frequently, worsening the user experience even further. Users say that the app is definitely 'below expectations'. Ever since it was launched, BHIM has become one of the top trending apps on the Google Play Store, with over 3 million downloads so far, as claimed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today. Interestingly, over 40 fake apps with names like ModiBhim, Modi ka Bhim, Bhim 2017, Bhim Cashless and even Bhim Data Saver have already flooded the Google Play Store as well. The app has been developed by National Payments Corporation of India. Around 2MB in size, it allows users to transfer amounts up to a maximum of Rs 20,000 per day. However, there's also a cap of Rs 10,000 for a single transaction.
HDFC, Indiabulls Housing take on SBI, ICICI with cut in home loan rates
Housing Finance Development Corporation (HDFC) and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd have cut retail home rates by 40-45 basis points, after State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, the two largest banks in the country, slashed their rates on Monday. HDFC will offer a rate of 8.65 per cent to women borrowers for home loans up to Rs 75 lakh, and 8.7 per cent for other borrowers. Indiabulls Housing Finance will offer the same rates. Analysts said this decision on the part of the two housing finance companies is a fallout of the huge rate cut by large banks. Banks first reduced their Marginal Cost of Fund-based Lending Rate (MCLR) by 70-90 basis points and later tweaked rates for MCLR-linked loans. Private sector lender ICICI Bank had reduced home loan rates by 45 basis points to 8.65 per cent from 9.1 per cent earlier. It also brought down its one year MCLR by 70 bps to 8.2 per cent from 8.9 per cent. Renu Sud Karnad, Managing Director, HDFC Ltd said "Over the past couple of months, the company has seen a drop in its marginal cost of funds and, as always, HDFC has ensured that the benefit is passed on to its customers."
Nasty Gal IP Proves Greatest Asset, With Boohoo’s $20M Bid
The Manchester e-tailer sees value in the brand as the parsing off of IP assets may become the norm for retail bankruptcies. It’s rough out there. And if there’s any lesson to be learned from Nasty Gal, it may be that brand recognition always has a value. Boohoo.com plc’s $20 million go at Nasty Gal Inc.’s intellectual property was confirmed Wednesday and takes the company far from its height just a handful of years ago, when its valuation swelled to $200 million. Nasty Gal had appeared on an upward trajectory, pulling all the levers when it came to branding — playing up its edgy voice, its founder’s path in building something from nothing, a female-fronted business, the allure of a digital company, former Apple Inc. and J.C.Penney Co. Inc. executive Ron Johnson as an investor and $65 million in funding — but it proved not enough to ward off a bankruptcy. The parsing off of the business places Nasty Gal in a boat similar to that of Los Angeles-based American Apparel LLC, which filed for its second bankruptcy last month and has also attracted a potential buyer of its intellectual property in Gildan Activewear Inc. The breaking out of the IP assets could be an emerging trend in retail bankruptcies, said Michael Malter of the law firm Binder & Malter LLP.
Hong Kong Retail Sales Slide 5.5% in November
Market conditions worsened from the previous month in the run up to Christmas. October sales slid just 2.9 percent. Hong Kong’s retail blues continue. November retail sales slid 5.5 percent, signaling that market conditions worsened from the previous month in the run up to Christmas. October sales slid just 2.9 percent, according to Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. The government body said that retail sales for the first eleven months of the year fell 8.6 percent- that drop outpaces expectations. Early last month, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA) forecast that retail sales should see a decline of about 7 percent this year. “Retail sales saw a somewhat widened year-on-year decrease in November, conceivably dragged by the reduced tourist spending on some big-ticket items in that month. As reported, brands like Ralph Lauren and Prada have shuttered stores here and more closures are expected. However, the industry has been hopeful that the decline is starting to bottom out.
Retailers Brace for a Game-changing Year
Next year will be a game-changer for retailers as they grapple with changing consumer dynamics and shopping patterns.The pace of change in a turbulent-yet-slow-to-innovate retail industry is poised to accelerate. Bankruptcies? Possibly a few. But there’s plenty that retailers have to grapple with amid shifting consumer dynamics and shopping patterns, and all the uncertainties that the new Trump administration brings. And expect a wave of successions with new leaders possibly emerging at J. Crew Group, Kohl’s Corp. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. At Lands’ End, Jerome Griffith became chief executive officer in December, and in February, Jeff Gennette steps up to the ceo post of Macy’s Inc., succeeding Terry J. Lundgren. Retailers will be operating with lower inventories, bringing products to market quicker and turning them quicker, and pop-ups will proliferate, hoping to heighten that sense of newness and change. Offerings will be further shaped by deeper mining of consumer data and the use of artificial intelligence to devise personalized and localized marketing and merchandising, and retailers will work harder to remake selling floors, pumping up activewear, beauty, food and experiences like yoga and cooking classes and makeovers, to offset softer categories.
Calls for Optimism Amid Uncertainty for French Fashion
With an election looming uncertainty casts a shadow over France. Political uncertainty and a still-ailing tourist industry will challenge the French fashion industry in the year to come, but signs of a rebound in global luxury demand are fueling optimism for the famously resilient sector. As France prepares to choose a new president in two rounds of voting in late April and early May, businesses and individuals would normally hold off on spending while they wait for the election’s outcome. Gildas Minvielle, director of the Economic Observatory at the Institut Français de la Mode, said that “2017 is an election year, and this is not typically good for consumption.” While the French fashion sector could benefit from the looser restrictions on labor as well as tax cuts proposed by either candidate, firms could face significant disruptions in the short-term as reforms are expected to produce vehement opposition from labor interests. The French luxury industry was built on the rising wealth of Baby Boomers in the Eighties and Nineties, and then on sales to emerging China — “and there isn’t another China — at least not yet. Much slower growth of 2 to 4 percent per year is here to stay,” he said. A bright spot for French fashion in 2017 could be the “accessible luxury” sector, including brands like Sandro, Maje and Isabel Marant. “These brands have been developing in the white space left by luxury, which has pushed up prices a lot over time,” said Abtan. “They have taken the luxury approach to brand building and a fast-fashion approach to supply chain.”
Mass Hair Gets a Boost From Prestige Skin-care Trends
From exotic ingredients to antipollution claims, mass and professional brands like L'Oréal Paris, Nexxus and Carol's Daughter are launching products inspired by the year's buzzy skin-care trends. Hair care lately is looking a lot more like skin care. Some of the new year’s first launches from mass and professional hair brands are decidedly more deluxe than what the market, often criticized for being oversaturated and too commoditized, typically has to offer. In early 2017, brands such as L’Oréal Paris and Nexxus are set to fancify the drugstore shampoo aisles with a slew of launches inspired by prestige skin-care trends, including treatments, masks and exotic ingredients. Hair and how to care for it, noted NPD global beauty industry analyst Karen Grant, is an area of which consumers are growing more aware. “Hair is doing quite well,” said Grant. “A lot of that is the infusion of dry shampoo really going along with the lifestyle trend of not overdrying and overprocessing the hair, working to be healthy.” Grant noted that “all categories except conditioner are growing in the double-digits,” in the prestige market. Shampoo sales, she noted, were up 17 percent year-over-year in December, mainly driven by the pervasive popularity of dry shampoos and treatments.Hair care is ripe for disruption, noted Grant. And in 2017, on the heels of Unilever’s announcement this month that it would acquire Living Proof, attention towards the sophisticating category will be heightened. “The type of products, the formats the products are coming in — it doesn’t have to be the traditional way,” said Grant. “Categories can be reinvigorated and approached differently.”
Perry Ellis Signs License for Accessories in Mexico
The deal covers neckwear, scarves, hosiery and other items for both the Perry Ellis and John Henry brands. Perry Ellis International has entered into a license agreement with Euroneck SA de CV to design and distribute men’s accessories under the Perry Ellis and John Henry names in Mexico. The deal covers neckties, bow ties, cummerbunds, pocket squares, ascots, winter and summer scarves and hosiery. The collection will be distributed in department and specialty stores as well as through e-commerce beginning with spring merchandise. Euroneck was established in 1940 and currently holds licenses for Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Arrow, Geoffrey Beene, Izod and others for the Mexican market.
Glamour Magazine Editor Pledges to Put Ladies First
"We're a brand that cries foul when there are not enough women represented." Women’s magazines have been a staunch cheerleader for gender equality and female empowerment, but Glamour is hoping to take its advocacy a step further. Late last spring, with the presidential election heating up and Hillary Clinton‘s historic candidacy taking center stage, the staff at Glamour began talking more about gender equality, and noticed a surprising discrepancy. Flipping through copies of the magazine, staffers realized that while Glamour’s masthead was mainly populated by women, the photographers, stylists and creative artists responsible for making the images in the magazine were mostly men. When asked why she believes that — even in fashion — men seem to thrive at the top rungs over women, Leive didn’t have a simple answer. She cited research by sociologists that revealed the different language used to describe the work of male designers versus female designers. The work of male designers is often described as “art or groundbreaking or innovative,” while the work of their female counterparts is “wearable even when it’s not” she said. “A lot of people talk about the glass runway. It starts with designers and goes on to hairstylists and photographers,” the editor said, explaining that if magazines “promote” the work of women, perhaps there will be a change.
Beauty M&A to Stay Hot
Indie brands are expected to grow, skin care might make a comeback and acquisitions are projected to continue in 2017. For the global beauty industry, the year ahead promises the continued rise of indie brands and perpetuation of competitive and reactive acquisition sprees from major players. Barring financial market disturbance, trends for 2017 are expected to simply be an evolution of those from 2016 — where the big players enveloped smaller, growing companies in hopes of benefitting from their expansion and innovation. L’Oréal paying a 6.1 times multiple to buy It Cosmetics for $1.2 billion and Estée Lauder paying a 5.5 times multiple to purchase Too Faced for $1.45 billion are prime examples of corporations’ thirst for burgeoning brands. And while acquisitions are expected to roll in throughout the new year, the focus is expected to diversify away from makeup, highlighted by deals like Unilever’s planned purchase of hair-care brand Living Proof. “The momentum around mass right now, especially in facial — which is its biggest category — is huge,” said Grant. The key is shifting focus away from antiaging and towards overall skin health. “It’s a question of evolving the offering and the messaging,” said Grant. “It’s not so mono-focused [on antiaging]. The consumer is not just looking for one option.” In prestige, this could be the year that Victoria Beckham’s limited-edition color collection for Estée Lauder becomes permanent. On the ingredient front, Korea remains to beauty what Silicon Valley is to the tech world, producing goods with higher concentrations of star ingredients. The beauty retail specialty stores — including Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Bluemercury, Cos Bar and Space NK — will continue to grab market share from mass-market chains and department stores.
Can Urban Streetwear Brands Make a Resurgence?
Even with streetwear references from the Nineties and early Aughts trending at retail, most urban streetwear brands have yet to capitalize on the moment. Before there was streetwear, there was urban streetwear, which consisted of brands that were a direct product of hip-hop culture. Walk into any retailer today, whether it’s a big-box chain or a luxury department store, and there are traces, reinterpretations and sometimes replicas of urban streetwear pieces from brands such as Fubu, Phat Farm, Rocawear, Sean John and others that hit their peak during the late Nineties and early Aughts. While brands including Guess, Nautica and Calvin Klein have capitalized on this Nineties trend with capsule collections targeting a younger consumer — Guess partnered with A$AP Rocky and Nautica tapped 19-year-old rapper Lil Yachty — urban streetwear brands have yet to do the same. So designers and companies are investing in creating brands rather than trying to reestablish old ones because the Milllennial customer is looking for newness and instead of going mass, create multiple small brands under one umbrella.
As Print Ads Decline, Wal-Mart and Amazon Boost TV, Digital Spending
Amazon increased its spending on digital ads this holiday by 224 percent, according to MediaRadar. MediaRadar’s latest analysis of holiday advertising expenditures by top retailers revealed an overall decline in print ads while spending on digital and TV skyrocketed — especially from Amazon. The online giant increased its ad spend on TV this season by 76 percent over last year, noted analysts at the advertising sales intelligence platform who added that the retailer “beat out every other top retailer, including Wal-Mart and Target.” Amazon’s digital ad spending was up 224 percent over last year’s holiday shopping season. This shift is primarily to online shopping. Although online shopping represents about 10 percent of the overall market, analysts and economists are expecting online sales to show double-digit growth this past year. Other notable findings from the report showed that Macy’s had the largest ad spending decline of the top retailers studied. “The company cut investments by a quarter (24%),” the analysts in the report said. “It did boost TV (by 20 percent) and digital (up 34 percent) spend considerably, however.” At Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “the top brick-and-mortar retailer by sales volume, decreased ad spend across print (down 15 percent) and television (down 10 percent) compared to last year,” MediaRadar said, adding that Wal-Mart’s decline in TV spend “was the third-largest behind Sears (down 53 percent) and Nordstrom (down 45 percent).” “Instead, [Wal-Mart] spent considerably on digital advertising, upping its investment by nearly 170 percent,” the analysts said, adding that it was the second-largest increase behind Amazon.
Luxury looks to consolidate, economize in a year of transition
Smaller, Faster, Better? Luxury looks to consolidate, economize in a year of transition. It’s time for luxury to make do and mend — as World War II Britons would say — and rely on its wits and existing resources to survive increasing uncertainty in the months to come. Even as high-end demand begins to show signs of recovery, there are still battles still to be fought and one fundamental problem: Too much stuff, not enough demand. No one knows what Brexit negotiations will mean for Britain or the sort of leaders France and Germany will elect in the coming year. Hong Kong — once a boomtown for luxury brands — is fast becoming a ghost town, while the high-end watch industry continues to struggle. And the threat of terrorism is ever-present. For starters, brands are doubling down, showing men’s and women’s together on the catwalk. It’s cheaper, easier and allows buyers to write their orders earlier in the season. Burberry, Tom Ford, Dsquared and Thom Browne kicked off the trend, with Gucci, Paul Smith, Kenzo and others set to follow in 2017. The Kering brands, meanwhile, are making their stores work harder. “We are present today in the most important cities and locations in the world,” said Kering chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault. “Our priority is to extract more value from them. Burberry is focusing on local consumers rather than fickle tourists, while other brands are putting a greater emphasis on omnichannel and alternative retail formats as they expand into new markets.
Singapore's Economy Expands More Than Economists Estimated
Singapore's Economy Expands More Than Economists Estimated Singapore’s economic growth quickened to the fastest pace in more than three years last quarter as manufacturing and services rebounded.Key Points Gross domestic product rose an annualized 9.1 percent in the three months to December from the previous quarter, when it declined a revised 1.9 percent, the trade ministry said in a statement on Tuesday The median estimate of nine economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 4 percent expansion GDP rose 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with the 0.3 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey The economy expanded 1.8 percent in 2016, the slowest pace since 2009.
Japan Takes On Its Workaholics
The same problems come up again and again in discussions of what Japan needs to do to revive its economy. The first is low white-collar productivity. The second is population aging. The third is gender equality. Now Japan’s government is poised to attack all three problems at once, undertaking an assault on one of the central features of the country’s corporate culture -- long working hours. Japan is legendary for its work ethic. Many more salaried workers in the U.S. are exempt from overtime rules than in Japan. Therefore, Japanese bosses have a bigger incentive than their U.S. counterparts to force their white-collar employees to work off the clock. In any case, surveys find that unpaid overtime is significant. Additionally, much of Japan’s working hour decline comes from a compositional shift from full-time to part-time work -- in other words, underemployment. Full-time workers in Japan still work longer than their U.S. counterparts. The harm from long working hours goes beyond stress, psychiatric issues and health problems. Overwork might also be a factor behind the country’s low productivity. Stanford economist John Pencavel has shown that if people work more than 60 hours a week, their output flatlines or even declines. Putting in long hours might convince your boss that you’re a diligent employee, but after a point it becomes self-defeating. Fortunately, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aware of the problem, and is taking some steps to address it.First, Abe is drawing up new rules to cap overtime hours. These will only be effective if they are enforced, of course. But according to economist and government policy adviser Akiko Kamesaka, the government is preparing to send inspectors to make sure that office lights are off after certain hours. That kind of top-down policy might seem unthinkable to many in the U.S., but it might be the only way to force hidebound, aging Japanese managers to change.
First China-U.K. Freight Train Departs as Xi Seeks to Lift Trade
China initiated a rail-freight service to Britain as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to strengthen trade ties with Europe. The first train departed Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province on Jan. 1 and will cover more than 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) in about 18 days before reaching London, China Railway Corp. said in a statement Monday. The service, carrying garments, bags and suitcases among other items, will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France. London becomes the 15th European city with direct trains from China following the unveiling of Xi’s so-called Belt-and-Road initiative in 2013. The plan put transport links at the center of efforts to create a modern Silk Road and boost commercial ties to markets across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Trump attacks GM over Chevy Cruze production, threatens tax
Trump's warning could be read as an effective ultimatum to move production back to the US. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted U.S. carmaker General Motors Co and threatened to impose a "big border tax" for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze cars in Mexico. "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!" Trump said in a post on Twitter. Shares of GM fell about 1% in premarket trading after Trump's tweet. Representatives for GM could not be reached immediately for comment.
UK ambassador to EU resigns months before Brexit negotiations
Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain's ambassador to the European Union, has resigned just months before Brexit negotiations are due to begin. Before he quit, Rogers was due to lead the UK's negotiations to leave the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, paving the way for the process to commence. Rogers' resignation was described by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as a "body blow" to the Conservative government's plans. It comes weeks after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned Britain that it may only have 18 months to strike an exit deal from the bloc. Barnier said the process would need to be completed by October 2018 to allow for ratification by the 27 remaining member states within the two-year time scale prescribed by EU rules.
Volvo outsold in Sweden for first time since 1962
For the first time in 54 years, the best-selling car in Sweden is not a Volvo. The Volkswagen Golf knocked Volvo's most popular luxury models off the throne in 2016, according to sales figures released by BIL Sweden, the country's automaker association. The last time a foreign car sat atop Sweden's sales list was 1962, when the Volkswagen Beetle zoomed to the top of the ranking. Bertil Molden, managing director of BIL Sweden, was quick to point out that while the Golf was the top-ranked model in 2016, the Volvo brand still dominates. Three of the top five models on the sales ranking were from Volvo, and the brand accounted for around one fifth of all vehicles sold in Sweden last year. Sweden is Volvo's second biggest market after China. Volvo did not respond to a request for comment. Volvo is one of the Sweden's most recognizable brands. A popular saying in the country is that you're grown up when you have "villa, Volvo, vovve," or a house, a Volvo and a dog. The company was sold by Ford to the Chinese carmaker Geely in 2010.
Stocks storm into 2017 as Trump rally resumes
What a difference a year makes. After starting 2016 on a disastrous note, U.S. stocks raced into 2017 as optimism about the election of Donald Trump continues.Wall Street kicked off the new year on Tuesday with the Dow jumping another 150 points. The index is now just about 100 points away from the 20,000 milestone. The inaugural rally of 2017 represents a continuation of the post-election euphoria that invaded financial markets nearly two months ago. The Dow is up nearly 1,600 points since Trump's surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton. After going nearly straight up after the election, the markets paused during the final two weeks of 2016. The Dow seemed to run into a wall as it approached 20,000, though it did end the wild year with a strong 13% gain. Investors remain encouraged by Trump's promises to slash taxes, roll back regulation and unleash a wave of infrastructure spending. Wall Street is betting these stimulus plans will help American businesses and translate to higher stock prices.
Alibaba paid $3.41 billion in taxes, created 30 million jobs
China's e-commerce giant Alibaba paid a total of $3.41 billion in taxes in 2016 and created 30 million jobs, the company said. Alibaba led merchants operating on its platforms, upstream manufacturers and logistics companies to pay at least 200 billion yuan in taxes last year and created more than 30 million jobs, it said.