☕️ 4-day workweek an overwhelming success according to a 5-year trial in Iceland

AG says it's unclear that PM Mahiaddin has lost the confidence of majority of MPs. Local fintech MoneyMatch raised RM18 mil Series A funding. Former President Trump suing Twitter, Facebook and Google.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

While Jeff Bezos lags behind Richard Branson in the space race, why should he even bother when he has just gone somewhere no one has ever been — setting a record of USD211 bil in net worth after Amazon.com Inc’s shares rose 4.7% on Tuesday following Pentagon’s announcement of the cancellation of a cloud-computing contract with Microsoft Corp. Elon Musk briefly reached USD210 bil in January 2021 but who’s counting?

Indian startups raised a record USD10.46 bil in the first half of 2021, almost eclipsing the amount it raised in the entire of 2020 - USD11.6 bil.

More than USD 1 bil worth of cryptocurrency was spent by consumers globally through their crypto-linked cards in the first six months of the year, according to VISA.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

  1. Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin seems unfazed by UMNO’s announcement to pull out of Perikatan Nasional with Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun said it is unclear whether PM has lost the confidence of the majority of members of Parliament (MPs). Rakyat wise, we clearly don’t have any confidence in Mahiaddin anymore, that’s for sure.

    Did Zahid Hamidi just make a fool out of himself or UMNO? UMNO’s secretary-general, Ahmad Maslan, clarified that UMNO MPs are allowed to use their own discretion when voting for any motions in the next Parliamentary seating. Deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said said the supreme council’s decision to withdraw support for PM was unanimous. Tan Sri Annuar Musa said Zahid gave a half-truth of what transpired at the meeting.

  2. Following the drama above, Pakatan Harapan also asked the PM to step down after losing support from Perikatan’s biggest ally but said it is not the suitable time to hold a general election. So if PM really steps down under the mounting pressure, guess who will technically become the PM?

  3. Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) has shed some light on the tender process for the selection of vendors to design and build the National 5G Network. DNB had announced last week that Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd had been appointed as the vendor with an RM11 bil contract, which is RM700 mil lower than the next closest bid. In addition, DNB revealed the tender process was structured by an independent professional services firm, Ernst & Young Consulting Sdn Bhd (EY Consulting).

    Eight network equipment providers (NEPs) were shortlisted and invited to bid for the tender based on the following evaluated criteria:

    • Proven credentials in rolling out 5G networks;

    • Availability of enhanced security;

    • Established presence in Malaysia;

    • Having locally-based resources for immediate deployment; and

    • Having an effective plan for the transfer of knowledge.

    Only four submitted their bids and Ericsson was selected because it ranked top for technical, commercial and socio-economic criteria.

  4. Local fintech startup, MoneyMatch which provides cross-border remittance services, confirms it will be joining the big boys in the bid for the five digital bank licenses but keeps mums on its partners.

    The confirmation came during the startup’s announcement of the successful closing of its Series A fundraising round totalling RM18.5 mil over two tranches, initially led by Cradle Seed Ventures in 2019 and now has been closed with KAF Investment Bank leading the second tranche earlier this year.

News in brief:

  1. Bank Negara Malaysia has maintained the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 1.75% following the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting yesterday.

  2. CTOS Digital Bhd’s public portion of its initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed by 27.57 times. The group received 51,494 applications seeking 1.26 bil shares for the 44 million shares made available.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. How effective is a 4-day work week? According to trials in Iceland, it was an “overwhelming success”. The trials, in which workers maintain their pay for shorter work hours from 40 hours to a 35 or 36-hour workweek, took place between 2015 and 2019. It was organised by Reykjavik City Council and the national government, involving more than 2,500 workers (1% of Iceland’s working population) and includes various workplaces such as preschools, offices, social service providers and hospitals. 

    The researchers found that “worker wellbeing dramatically increased across various indicators, from perceived stress and burnout, to health and work-life balance”. Most importantly, productivity remained constant or improved for the majority of workplaces, the study found. 

    Visit here for the report.

    Meantime, WFH is killing productivity.

  2. Volkswagen AG and BMW AG agreed to pay fines totalling EUR875 mil by the European Union (EU) for collusion that the regulators said curbed the rollout of an emission-cleaning technology. VW must pay about EUR502 mil whilst BMW is paying EUR373 mil, far below its initial provision of EUR1.4 bil, as it agrees to settle the probe and not challenge it in court. VW is considering appealing by mid-September.  

    This case, which is separate from the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal over software designs to cheat on vehicle emission tests, involves the automakers colluding to set common technical standards to restrict the use of novel technology, AdBlue, an additive used to clean nitrogen oxide from exhaust gases produced by diesel cars. 

  3. Circle Internet Financial Inc, one of the biggest issuers of the USD stablecoin in the cryptocurrency industry, will be going public via a SPAC merger with Atlas Merchant Capital, valuing it at USD4.5 bil. A stablecoin is a currency running on blockchain technology and is pegged 1-to-1 to the underlying currency backing it. It provides a key source of liquidity for the crypto market, which has difficulty getting access to traditional banking systems and is more efficient as transactions are near-instant and run 24/7. 

    Circle’s stablecoin is referred to as USDC, with USD26 bil circulating in the market behind the largest, Tether (USDT), with USD63 bil. Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, commented in April that he is confident USDC will exceed PayPal’s transaction value. PayPal recorded USD936 bil in payment volume in 2020.

    News in Brief:

  4. In Donald Trump’s first press event after leaving office, he announced that he would initiate a slew of lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook and Google and their CEOs, claiming that they have violated his First Amendment rights, which is his freedom of speech. 

  5. LinkDoc, a Chinese medical data group that was slated to go public in the US raising USD211 mil becomes the first Chinese firm to shelve its US IPO after Beijing clampdown on foreign listings. 

  6. Telenor has sold its Myanmar operations to M1 Group, a Lebanese investment firm, for USD105 mil given “further deterioration of the situation and recent developments in Myanmar”. Back in May, Telenor wrote off the value of its Myanmar unit, booking a loss of USD752 mil after seeing its mobile business being severely restricted following the military coup.


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁 (Beta Mode)

  1. How to pick the best watermelon.

  2. A drone filming a burial site of deceased Covid-19 victims in Indonesia.

  3. Apple’s logo with a bite explained.