March 30, 2020
Business Scene: Steel and E-Commerce

Business Scene: Steel and E-Commerce

This is Business Scene. I’m Ira Mellman. Chinese industrial giant Jingye Group has
agreed to buy bankrupt British Steel for an undisclosed amount. The official receiver said a rescue deal that
saves thousands of jobs. Jingye added separately that it would invest
$1.5 billion over the next decade to place the business which collapsed in May on a competitive and sustainable
footing. Jingye will purchase British Steel’s sprawling
steelworks at Scunthorpe, northern England, as well as its other UK mills. Some 5,000 people are employed by British
Steel, while another 20,000 jobs have links to its supply chain. Jingye added the pair will together form a
global giant. “This is good news for steelworkers and their
families locally, it’s good news for our steel community and it is generally speaking a very
positive day for everybody. But there’s still a job to do in completing
this deal, so it’s important that Jingye sit down and work things through with the trade
unions and other regulatory matters so that we can move on in a positive way.” Jingye plans to invest £1.2 billion over
the next ten years in upgrading the plants and machinery, improving environmental performance
and boosting energy efficiency. The business will continue to trade as normal
until completion, which is conditional on a regulatory approval. Tens of thousands of young Indians are switching
from buying to renting so they can live life with few strings attached. That’s one of a growing number of Indian millennials,
bucking traditional norms and instead opting to rent everything from furniture to iPhones. Even businesses are renting their office furnishings,
according to budding entrepreneur Vandita Morarka. When Morarka set up her non-profit One Future
Collective in 2017, she rented nearly everything she needed and funnelled the savings from
not having a one-off outlay into paying salaries to her staff of 25 people. “It seemed like the easier and cheaper option
to rent things that I needed and then also change them around as and when our needs shifted. So for example, if we stop needing a laptop
as much we could switch to using a cyber cafe and use that money towards our other programs
and initiatives.” From ride-hailing apps to communal office
spaces, the sharing economy is a global phenomenon that is expected to generate annual revenues
of $335 billion by 2025. The Bangalore-based firm rents out furniture
as well as appliances, gym equipment, iPhones and smart home devices such as Google Home
and Amazon Echo. For many millennials, choosing the rental
option is as much about taking a road less travelled as it is about saving money. For VOA Business Scene, I’m Ira Mellman.

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