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Amsterdam Clamps Down on Airbnb

 1 min read / 

Amsterdam city councillors have reduced the limit on the number of nights apartments can be rented out on holiday rental platforms such as Airbnb.

The limit will be decreased to 30 nights a year and is expected to take force in 2019.

At present, Airbnb hosts can rent out their apartments for 60 days a year. They have to register with the council and can have no more than four people staying at the property.

Amsterdammers have long claimed that many apartments are permanently rented out to tourists, with many hosts regularly infringing on the council’s stipulations, something Airbnb refutes.

Why This Matters

Despite its best efforts, Airbnb has failed to assuage city council fears. Back in 2016, Airbnb agreed to take responsibility for ensuring hosts complied with the cap. It has also planned to introduce a tool allowing neighbours to report on anti-social behaviour.

In cities with limited housing stock, like Paris or Barcelona, Airbnb faces tighter restrictions as councils attempt to stop entire areas becoming completely devoted to short-term rentals. In destinations experiencing a boom in construction, such as Australia, authorities are more relaxed over the prospect of short-term rentals.

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Companies

Whatsapp Launches New Venture Aimed at Businesses

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whatsapp business

Whatsapp has launched a new app targeted at businesses, called the Whatsapp Business App, which they claim will enable companies to “communicate more efficiently” with present and potential customers.

This forms part of Whatsapp’s wider strategy to branch out into the corporate world. It plans to use the app to generate new revenue by charging businesses for using the extra communication tools that will enable them to better connect with their customers.

Although the app is set for worldwide release, at present it will only be available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and US. It includes a feature which indicates a business is authentic with a green tick badge next to their name.

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Companies

Amex: Troubled Credit Card Company Reports $1.2bn Net Loss

 2 min read / 

Amex annual report

On Thursday, American Express, or Amex, reported a net loss of $1,197m in the fourth quarter, the first net loss the company has experienced for 26 years.

Although the company stated that revenue from interest expenses was up 10% to $8.8bn, Amex said recent reforms to the US tax code meant the company incurred extra costs, including a repatriation cost on its foreign assets as well as a devaluation of its deferred tax assets. It estimates total costs amounted to $2.6m.

For the full year, net income was $2.7bn compared with $5.4bn the company earned in 2017. However, even with the estimated $2.6m the company claims it incurred from the recent tax charge, net earnings were still $5.3bn, $100m lower compared to last year.

In New York, American Express shares (AXP) took a near 1% tumble at the beginning of trade with shares finishing the day on $99.90.  JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs anticipate greater earnings for 2018.

“Overall, we believe the Tax Act will be a positive development for both the U.S. economy and American Express” said CEO and chairman Kenneth Chenault. Chenault also said he will be leaving Amex in “very strong hands” when his successor, Steve Squeri takes over next month.

American Express has suffered from an ever-reducing share in the credit card market and ended its 14-year relationship with American warehouse chain Costco who in 2016 made an agreement with the market leader, Visa.

Keep reading |  2 min read

Companies

Tencent Extends Facebook Lead

Tencent Facebook

Tencent has shot past Facebook to become the world’s most valuable social network.

Editor’s Remarks: Although Tencent briefly overtook Facebook in terms of market cap in November, the recent selloff of Facebook shares prompted the Chinese tech titan to regain the lead. Facebook investors responded negatively to news that Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to highlight family and friend-based content on the newsfeed would reduce the amount of time people spent on the site. Shares in Facebook have fallen 5% since that announcement, enabling Tencent to gain a $19bn lead over the US company. Tencent’s growth has been spurred on by its diversification away from its flagship messaging app, WeChat, and into video games.

Read more on Technology:

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