Business stories worth noting this week, as I see it – Jason Maywald:
- SMH – What it takes to pay off a mortgage on a typical Sydney home
Sydney’s housing crisis has reached an alarming new threshold with a key measure revealing it now takes more than two average full-time wages to affordably service a loan for a typical city home.The Housing Industry Association’s housing affordability index, which measures the capacity of households to service mortgages, shows Sydneysiders must fork out $4,729 per month, or nearly $57,000 a year, to service a standard mortgage on an averaged-priced home in the city.
- The Australian – Chinese online retail giant JD.com seeks Australian AI experts
China’s second-biggest online retailer, JD.com, is planning to recruit at least 100 Australian data scientists to supercharge its rollout of artificial intelligence technologies across its multi-billion-dollar empire.Paul Yan, who oversees JD’s digital advertising and marketing business, said JD.com was in talks with a number of Australian universities to develop a range of AI technologies.
- The Australian again – Virtual assistants go to war as tech giants get serious
Apple and Amazon.com are bolstering the teams that run their Siri and Alexa virtual assistants, part of a string of recent moves by technology giants to step up competition in an area seen by many as the future of computing.Amazon is adding hundreds of engineers to the Alexa program and giving it hiring preference over other divisions, sources say. It also has put Tom Taylor, a veteran Amazon executive known for building up high-growth divisions, in charge after the former Alexa chief retired.
- Courier-Mail – Housing boom bolsters Harvey
HARVEY Norman has handed down a record profit with the Australian housing boom, stronger results in its international store fleet and property revaluations underpinning the bottom line.Net profit at the furniture and electrical goods retailer jumped 29 per cent to $448.98 million for the year to June, it reported this morning.
- NYTimes.com – The Cost of Hurricane Harvey: Only one recent storm comes close
It’s far too early for a definitive estimate of the economic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Floodwaters still swamp large swaths of the Houston area and beyond, into far eastern Texas and Louisiana.But three independent estimates from people who specialize in disaster and risk management show that the storm is likely to be the most expensive or second-most expensive natural disaster in the United States since 1980, the earliest year such comparable data was kept by the National Centers for Environmental Information. On Friday, estimates for Harvey from these groups ranged from $70 billion to $108 billion.
Jason Maywald is a highly experienced legal and transactional advisor in the insurance and medical assistance sectors.