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Most Kiwis believe banks overcharge fees

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:14

According to a new survey in New Zealand, a majority of people in the country believe that they are being over-charged by their bank for fees and other charges. The survey by Consumer New Zealand revealed that around 82 per cent of people in New Zealand think that high profits made by the banks indicates that the banks are over charging its customers.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chet win pointed out that the survey included 1020 people aged over 18 years old and showed widespread similar negative perceptions about the banks in the country among the residents.

Chet win said, "Sixty per cent of bank customers are paying regular account fees. But just 34 per cent were very satisfied their bank's fees were reasonable, the lowest score for any satisfaction measure in our survey. While banks have put a lot of effort into marketing new technology, our survey found old-fashioned branch banking still has a place for the modern consumer."

The survey also showed that the customers banking with local banks are more likely to be satisfied with the banking experience. A total of 83 per cent of TSB Bank customers and 65 per cent of The Co-operative Bank's customers said that they believe that their bank's fees were reasonable. Around 45 per cent of the customers of Kiwi bank said that they were very satisfied with the fees being charged.

Region: New ZealandBusiness: Banking SectorBusiness

Del launches US$20bn investment-grade bond on Tuesday

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:12

Global computing giant, Dell has announced the launch of a US$20bn investment-grade bond on Tuesday.

The company is believed to be on a strong position with a massive order book and the funds raised are likely to be used to finance acquisition of data storage company EMC. Experts have said that investors are indicating that they are willing to accept corporate bond offerings. There is a hunger for new issuance in the markets as investors are aiming to invest cash in ventures, according to analysts.

The company received investor orders worth more than US$87 billion that allowed the company to increase the size of the deal from $16 billion and also reduce the interest rates. The healthy reception gave boost to one of the largest corporate bonds ever brought to market. The company's $20 billion of bonds will help Dell back its takeover of EMC Corp in this year's second-biggest corporate offering.

Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, showed that the notes traded above their issue price after being sold Tuesday. The $2 billion of 8.35 percent percent 30-year bonds, will pay 5.75 percentage points more than similar-maturity Treasuries while a proposed $4.5 billion of 6.02 percent 10-year notes will yield 4.25 percentage points above government debt, according to a person closer to the matter. The bondswere first marketed at 4.75 percentage points.

Companies: DellBusiness: Technology Sector

Suzuki shares fall after concerns over possible economy testingfault

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:11

The shares of Japanese auto major, Suzuki fell significantly after some reports in the country indicated that the company might have found a problem with its fuel economy testing.

A media report said that the company has detected a problem with its testing method and Chairman Osamu Suzuki is scheduled to submit a report to the Japan's transport ministry today. Suzuki has not offered any comment on the matter but said that it will offer a media briefing today.

The report comes a month after Mitsubishi admitted that it had falsified fuel economy data for its vehicles. Following the scandal at Mitsubishi, the Japan's transport ministry had ordered all the automakers in the country to submit a report on their compliance with government testing methods. The minister had asked the companies to submit the compliance reports by Wednesday.

Mitsubishi had made a public admission that it has found evidence that its employees manipulated emissions test data. The fraudulent tests involved 157,000 of the company'sbrand light passenger cars and 468,000 vehicles produced for Nissan. Before that admission, Volkswagen had admitted to cheating emissions tests in the US. Authorities and it was found that the German car maker was installing cheating software in its diesel vehicles to pass tests fraudulently.

Companies: SuzukiBusiness: BusinessAuto Sector

Albuquerque City Council delays solar power decision by two weeks

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:07

The Albuquerque City Council has announced its decision to delay a decision on a proposal to ensure that the New Mexico's largest city gets around a quarter of its electricity from solar sources by the year 2025, by two weeks.

The city council is being urged to join a host of cities in the US and Canada as well as in Europe in pledging that they will get more of their electricity from renewable resources. The movement to set goals for generating more renewable electricity has already spread across the US as well as other countries.

The city council voted on Monday to defer the decision by another two weeks on a resolution that requires the city to source at least 25 percent of the electricity used by city facilities from solar by 2025. Some councillors in the largest city in the state are concerned that the proposal would lock the city into achieving a goal before determining how the effort will impact the city's finances.

The proposal is in line with the city's ranking for overall solar installations as well as the state location that ensures that it gets 300-plus days of sunshine. The threat of fires, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather due to climate change has also moved the opinion in favour of renewable energy.

Councilor Pat Davis said, "With the cost of solar coming down every day, we don't know what the best strategy for us is. But the city owns a lot of acreage of rooftops and we own a lot of open space. Usually acquiring the real estate is the biggest hurdle to getting into this game so it looks like we're going to be ahead when it comes to that."

Region: MexicoBusiness: Energy Sector

Corvexreveals 9.9 percent of Pandora Media

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:05

Corvex Management LP, which is led by Keith Meister, has announced that it holds a 9.9 percent of Pandora Media Inc.

The hedge fund has asked the internet music streaming company to work towards selling the company and not follow and expensive and uncertain business plan. The company said that it had met with Pandora's management and had also withdrawn a plan to replace some of its board members. It urged the management of Pandora to hire an investment banker and expose strategic options including the sale of business.

Corvex said, "We believe there is likely to be significant strategic interest in the company at a substantial premium to the company's recent stock price." The company also said that large internet companies, handset makers and media companies might be interested in acquiring the popular internet music streaming service.Corvex owns around 22.7 million shares in the company, which makes it the largest shareholder in the company.

Pandora has responded by saying that it holding discussions with shareholders and is committed to achieving long-term value for them. The shares of Pandora have fallen more than 25 percent in 2016 and are trading more than 45 percent down compared to the previous year.

Business: Technology SectorRegion: New YorkPeople: Keith Meister

Safety concerns continue to impact ride sharing services

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:02

Safety concerns for passengers and even drivers continue to be a major cause of concern for the ride sharing industry around the world.

Companies like Uber and Lyft have benefitted greatly with the exponential growth in the industry, which did not exist just a decade earlier. The companies argue that their technology, driver background checks, and two-way rating systems ensure the safety of the users of the apps. However, many express concerns over these factors and the insurance coverage.

Around 30 U. S. jurisdictions have passed new ride-hailing regulatory legislations aiming to make the ride sharing industry safer for everyone. Safety is the key cause of concern for the rise haring industry as well as its competitor, the taxi and limousine services around the world. More than eight in ten people said in a new survey that safety was the key factor when using either a taxi or a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft.

Industry experts say that safety issue are over emphasised for the industry. They argue that there is no evidence to state that ride hailing services are more dangerous than traditional taxis.

Business: BusinessAuto SectorCompanies: UberLyftRegion: United States

Tim Cook visits China to boost business

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:00

Tim Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple, is on a visit to China in order to boost company's business in the large Asian market and also form new relationships with partners, developers and others.

Cook posted a picture of himself and DidiChuxing's President Jean Lui catching a cab. The picture showcases a new partnership for Apple with China's largest ride-hailing firm after Apple announced that it will invest $1 billion in the Chinese company. Some say that the partnership will not be limited to Apple providing software and services but may exceed to the future for jointly developing self-driving cars and other projects.

Experts say that China has not been an easy market for Apple as it faces a number of regulatory challenges and its revenue from the country has fallen 11 per cent. However, Apple cannot afford to ignore the important Chinese market, which is the second largest market for the company in the world. Many believe that the visit by the new head will allow Apple to fix its relationship with the government and customers and create new partnerships to attract developers to the platform.

Companies: AppleRegion: ChinaBusiness: Technology SectorPeople: Tim Cook

Anti Counterfeiting Coalition suspends Alibaba

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 03:57

The International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition, which is a leading anti-counterfeit group, has suspended the membership of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The Chinese online trading giant was suspected just a month after it was allowed to join the group over concerns about conflicts of interest involving the coalition's president and complaints from some of the members of the group.

The nonprofit global organization, which is is aimed at fighting counterfeit products and piracy, had created a new membership category in April allowing the Chinese internet giant to join the group. The Chinese firm is aiming to change its image of being a portal for cheap brand knockoffs. However, some members were critical of the company joining the group and they said that the company is not taking adequate steps to stop counterfeit products from its online marketplace.

The group admitted that the conflicts of interest involving President Bob Barchiesi were not reported to the directors because of "weakness in our corporate governance procedures." A letter from the IACC board said that it is putting the new membership classification on hold to allow more discussion and consideration.

Under the new category, two others including Wish.com and The RealReal were also suspended by the group.

Business: BusinessCompanies: AlibabaRegion: China

Warren Buffett backs consortium bidding for Yahoo assets

New Zealand News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 03:55

Berkshire Hathaway chairman and billionaire investor Warren Buffett might be planning to back consortium bidding for Yahoo's Internet assets.

The consortium also includes Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans' founder and owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, according to people closer to the matter. The entry of Buffett in the bidding process was reported earlier but representative for Yahoo, representatives for Berkshire Hathaway and Gilbert 's Rock did not offer any comment on the matter.

The consortium is among the several others looking to acquire the internet assets of the company, which is struggling to compete in the market. Some reports suggested that American telecom giant,Verizon is believed to be the front-runner in the auction process, which is already in its second stage.

Yahoo, which was once a leader on the internet, is currently headed by CEO Marissa Mayer. The company is struggling to manage its finances and there is significant struggle against the turnaround plan of Mayer, which led to the auction due to increased pressure from shareholders. Even as the company connects almost a 1 billion online, it is facing stiff competition from the likes of Google, Facebook and others for digital advertising.

After the reports of Buffett joining the bidding, the shares of Yahoorecorded an increase of 1.4 per cent to $37 per share in after-hours trading.Berkshire Hathaway's B class shares recorded a fall of 1 per cent to $141.50.

Business: Telecom SectorCompanies: YahooPeople: Warren Buffett

Netflix demonstrates technology to navigate menus by thought

UAE News - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 10:24

Widely-popular streaming service Netflix's MindFlix hack claims to have the ability to navigate menus by thought. While it may not necessarily be reading a user's thoughts, it appears to work in that way to control the Netflix interface.

The innovative project was the result of work during the company's HackDay. Its developers demonstrated how a piece of head-worn technology can be used to scroll through menus and highlight various shows or programs available within the streaming platform.

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