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A Swedish vehicle tester, whose technology identified discrepancies which kick-started the Volkswagen AG diesel engine scandal, is beginning to see US president Donald Trump as a plump cash cow.

While it’s generally not a good thing for the country or the planet as a whole when the American president isn’t pro-environment, any decision by the new head of state to repeal fuel-consumption regulations means that automakers can begin selling highly inefficient models for much longer than was previously anticipated. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in emissions testing technologies, as there will be a more polluting vehicle fleet over the next 10 years than anticipated.

Testing_the_Tesla_at_Argonne_National_Laboratory

flickr/argonne

Trump has vowed to reinstate a review of vehicle emissions and fuel economy, spending another year scrutinising rules that require companies to cut gasoline consumption, and bring MPG up to more than 50 miles to the gallon by 2025. This is intended to undermine the Obama administration’s assertions that the standards and their deadline are both effective and affordable. If this emphasis on fuel efficiency were to carry on, it would be great news for the EV sector, but not so much for efficient part manufacturers such as Borla.

While announcing his intentions to a crowd of factory workers in Michigan, president Trump sent a message to the CEOs of major automakers including General Motors, Chrysler, Fiat and Ford that they needed to give a trade-off by creating more American jobs and manufacturing plants. He blamed Obama’s efforts to preserve fuel economy standards on supposed colossal damage to the US auto industry.

Inspection company Opus provides emission testing in the States, including remote-sensing services, measuring large numbers of privately owned vehicles as they drive over public roads. In late 2014, roughly a year before Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal made the news, Opus and a group of scientists carried out work which discovered readings for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles with two-litre diesel engines were significantly lighter than they were supposed to be.

As one of the biggest companies of its kind in the United States, Opus sees the nation as one of its most integral markets. The business has a market share in more than 40% of the government-contracted emission-testing industry there, and handles nearly 25million separate inspections every year. One of the Swedish firm’s biggest competitors is Japan’s Horiba Ltd., which produces testing equipment that was instrumental in blowing the lid off the Volkswagen scandal.

Donald Trump’s aforementioned pledge means that demand in America will at least stay the same, rather than decline, which would have been a risk for these testing firms if Obama’s efficiency standards had gone ahead. While it’s unclear exactly what Trump has in store for the auto industry, it’s more or less certain that emission testing isn’t the biggest of his concerns. Ostensibly, the president is much more concerned with improving the market position of the American auto industry, and loosening environmental requirements. This is guaranteed to lead to higher pollution and emissions in the country, and eventually demand for pollution-reduction programs.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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What Is Cryptocurrency And Why Is It So Volatile?

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Cryptocurrency has recently made headlines, exploding into the spotlight with the same relentless intensity that characterises its value and demand.

However, as they become more mainstream, they may become confusing. It’s money, but there’s no bank looking after it or controlling it; it’s an asset, but it’s not backed up by anything tangible.

Here is a brief overview of cryptocurrency and a quick look at why it is so volatile.

What is it?

In a nutshell, it is the digital equivalent of money. It is designed to function in almost the same way: users have wallets in which they can keep money, which is used to symbolize value in the economy and can be exchanged for goods or services with others.

Cryptocurrency, like much money in today’s traditional banking system, does not exist tangibly; instead, it is recorded as figures in a database that signify how much of a particular cryptocurrency a certain person has.

However, in contrast to today’s banking system, is decentralised. Rather, it is recorded in the blockchain, which is distributed throughout the network and records transactions in a transparent and verifiable manner that belongs to no one individual or organization in particular.

The first of them was bitcoin, which was developed in 2009 by an unknown individual known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, a slew of new cryptocurrencies has sprouted up. These include ethereum and dogecoin. It is interesting to look into the background of these, and ask yourself who created Dogecoin?

Why are there so many?

A cryptocurrency can hypothetically be created by anyone; at their foundation, they are just software, therefore anyone can create one. There is no authoritative body that decides what is and isn’t a cryptocurrency.

As a result, dozens of new cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, have emerged. Some of them have grown into consistent performers, leading to predictions that they could turn bitcoin on its head and become the most valuable cryptocurrency.

Some of these altcoins aim to provide innovative answers to problems that exist with large players like bitcoin, such as making transactions easier or more efficient. Others, such as Dogecoin, which originated as a joke, are developed solely as alternatives.

They sometimes move in sync, with the entire cryptocurrency market fluctuating in response to certain pieces of news. However, traders occasionally switch between currencies, as when the price of dogecoin soared thanks to the support of figures such as Elon Musk.

What makes cryptocurrency so volatile?

Unlike traditional financial assets like stocks and commodities, cryptocurrencies are not valued in terms of what they can be used for; in theory, they are a bet on a company’s future profits or the usefulness of a given material, but cryptocurrencies are primarily a bet on how interested people are in them.

Cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional fiat currencies, do not have a central bank entrusted with employing monetary policy to keep their value from fluctuating too much.

As a result, the value of cryptocurrencies varies dramatically, frequently and without warning, and without always being linked to evident world events.

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Marketing Practices That Could Remain After The Pandemic

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The global pandemic has changed businesses in many ways, and marketing, in particular, has seen a lot of developments over the last year. Businesses have had to adapt to digital practices quickly, which has changed the way they promote their activities. It has also changed consumer behavior, meaning tactics need to change to reach them in new and innovative ways.

While businesses are beginning to revert to some sort of normality, there are some practices that will continue even after the pandemic is over. Discover some of the marketing practices that could be here to stay.

A greater focus on retaining existing customers

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s shopping behaviors. It’s no secret that brand loyalty has been in decline over the years, largely due to consumers’ preference for convenience – especially in the digital age. But the pandemic has made this even more apparent, with many consumers switching brands as a result of supply chain issues and more. For businesses, putting your energy into retaining your existing customers could yield better results than trying to win over existing customers. 

The resurgence of the QR code

Just over a year ago, people might have turned their nose up at the idea of using a QR code in a marketing campaign. Did people know what they were? What did they achieve? Well, thanks to the pandemic, QR codes have had something of a resurgence. Exploring QR code APIs can help you work out how they can be used in your marketing campaigns effectively to bring the best results for your business. QR codes are capable of generating some great data, helping you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Localized marketing

The pandemic has shifted a lot of people away from busy cities and urban areas, and into more rural neighborhoods. This has meant that businesses are having to change their marketing tactics to provide a more personalized, local feel that better aligns with changing behaviors. People are choosing to shop locally and choose local-based businesses, and you’ll need to think carefully about how you can form better engagement with those audiences to help spread the word about your business.

Bigger budgets for social media advertising

With people spending more time at home, they are more active online watching box sets, shopping, gaming and more. This means they might be less likely to see more traditional advertising such as billboards and subway signs. Social media advertising can help you reach those audiences, providing a great ROI compared to other forms of advertising. Ensuring social media is a firm part of your marketing strategy can help you reach your audiences where they are, and even save money compared to your spend on more traditional advertising. 
Change is nothing new for the marketing world. The pandemic has seen some major developments, and as we enter the ‘new normal,’ it will be interesting to see what comes next. Staying up to date on current marketing trends can keep your business relevant, and help secure the best results for your business – no matter what’s happening in the rest of the world.

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Subsale Market an Attractive Prospect for Investors in Malaysia

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Investors were responsible for 81.1 per cent of residential property purchases in the Klang Valley area last year.

Many of these investors were putting their money into subsale properties, and according to Joe Jock Thor from MyProperty MD, the market for subsale residential properties has experienced steady growth in the past few years, but it has seen a real upswing in recent months due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put the focus squarely on the secondary real estate market as real estate owners move to maintain their financial liquidity by lowering prices. This means investors are free to swoop in and pick up assets at a fraction of the cost, increasing their potential value once they go back on the market.

Another key factor in the spike is the Real Property Gains Tax exemption, which has prompted some investors to turn their assets into cash and, by doing so, make a healthy profit.

In fact, subsale properties were so popular that listings increased by more than twenty percent between 2019 and 2021, although this will only go a small way to making up for 2020’s economic downturn and the resulting fall of 47.2 percent in the number of residential property sales in the Klang Valley.

If you would like to know more about the subsale market in Malaysia, you can find a lot of good information about subsale real estate, and how to buy it, by checking out this infographic on the Malaysian real estate market:


Infographic designed by: PropertyGuru Largest Property Portal in Malaysia
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