15 Businesses That Are BOOMING due to Coronavirus

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: What businesses are profiting from the corona outbreak? Which industries are making money from the global pandemic? How to make money during the coronavirus pandemic? How to make money from covid19? How to survive as a business on lockdown? How to prepared for a global recession? Why are some businesses thriving from the pandemic? Why are some businesses making money from the global outbreak? Why are companies getting money from the government? What is coronavirus? How is coronavirus affecting the economy?

8 LUXURY SUVs that will make you feel like a boss in 2020 – 2021

Source: Millie Jackson

SUVs are a commanding force across the automotive landscape. This is especially true of luxury SUVs, which account for over 60% of luxury vehicle sales. These vehicles offer a blend of performance, comfortable and spacious interiors, robust towing capability, along with cutting-edge technology. And what's Special with the luxury SUVs in 2020 , join us in this video. 8. 2020 GENIS GV80 Genesis might be fashionably late to the luxury SUV scene, but it wants to make up for lost time with a model that stands out in a seriously crowded segment. Genesis calls its latest design language “Athletic Elegance” . From its two-tier headlights and taillights to front grille, the GV80 has quite a few design traits that make it unique. The rest of the SUV's body is enhanced with hot-stamped, high-strength steel, while lightweight aluminum is the material of choice for the doors, hood, and tailgate. 7. 2021 CADILLAC ESCALADE Since 1999. Cadillac quickly established itself as the leader of full-size SUV luxury. Meet the completely redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade. It's as bold as ever from the outside. Up front, the SUV receives Cadillac's new signature vertical lighting element featuring sleek, horizontal headlamps. The vertical taillights contain a unique light signature along with three-dimensional layers and finishes with more detailed etching. 6. . 2020 AUDI RSQ8 Audi has taken the RS stick to its otherwise decent Q8 SUV and turned it into a monster – a twin-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8-powered chimera. Externally, the hot Q8 features all the usual RS trimmings including a new front bumper, a racier rear diffuser, oval tailpipes, 22-inch wheels, and a roof-edge spoiler which Audi says produces real downforce at high speeds. 5. 2020 RANGE ROVER SVAutobiography The Range Rover SVAutobiography is an ultra-luxurious version of the already incredibly posh Range Rover. Take the Range Rover SVAutobiography’s interior, almost every surface comes with plush leather upholstery, brushed metal trim or a varnished wood finish. 4. 2020 MERCEDES MAYBACH GLS 600 The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 was unveiled in China and completely blew spectator away with its ultra-luxurious interior. Don't know how else to describe the Maybach GLS's appearance other than majestic. The standard GLS is already a handsome SUV but the Maybach's distinctive grille, 21-inch wheels, and three-pointed star hood ornament add a touch of old-school class. 3. 2020 LAMBORGHINI URUS One of the world’s fastest SUVs, but cannot remove it from this list. The Lamborghini Urus is what happens when the maker of the planet’s most outlandish supercars turns its hand to a large five-door family car with proper ground clearance and off-road ability and very luxury. The 2020 Urus is powered by a twin-turbo V-8 that makes a stout 641 horsepower, burbles deeply when idling, and absolutely howls under full throttle. 2. 2020 BENTLEY BENTAYGA Bentley wants to keep the Bentayga fresh and competitive as it fights new rivals by applying a mid-cycle refresh likely slated to debut in 2020. Once you've entered a realm of luxury above the best that Mercedes-Benz and BMW can offer, it seems that presence takes priority over beauty. So, although the Bentley's unusual circular headlights, giant diamond-mesh grille, and rather bloated proportions don't combine for something that is especially ravishing.

Revamped loan scheme will make ‘big difference’ says Royal Bank of Scotland

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 3rd April 2020) London, Uk – –

A revamped loan fund for ailing firms hit by the coronavirus lockdown will have an immediate impact, RBS has said.

RBS chairman Sir Howard Davies admitted there had been problems but expects to see a “sharp increase” in lending to small firms in the next few days.

On Thursday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak overhauled the scheme amid claims banks were taking advantage of the crisis.

The government has pledged to guarantee £330bn of loans but only £145m has been lent so far.

Small firms say they have struggled with onerous eligibility criteria for the government-backed loans, which are being issued by High Street banks and other lenders.

They have also complained of facing interest rates of up to 30% and being asked to make unreasonable personal guarantees.

It comes as the UK is facing recession as large parts of the economy are shut down.

On Friday, the influential Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey showed Britain's dominant services industry suffered its biggest slump in March since 1996, sinking from a reading of 53.2 to 34.5.

Any figure below 50 marks contraction.

Mr Sunak said that under changes to the Coronavirus Business Interuption Loan Scheme (CBILS):

  • Applications will not be limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, extending the number who benefit. However, the Treasury has not capped the interest rates banks can charge.
  • Banks will be banned from asking company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000
  • Larger firms with a turnover of up to £500m will also be eligible for more help – with state-backed loans of up to £25m available to firms with revenues of between £45m-500m.

Sir Howard, who used to chair the Financial Services Authority (now known as the Financial Conduct Authority), told the BBC's Today programme that the process of checking borrowers' eligibility had been “difficult”.

He also said RBS had struggled with the demand after inquiries about the loans jumped “by 45 times” in a week.

“I think we have to accept that the scale of this process and the speed with which it's been put in place has caused challenges for everybody,” he said.

“But we've had good discussions with the Treasury and small firms, and I think the changes announced overnight will make a quite a big difference.”

On Wednesday, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said it would “completely unacceptable” if any banks were unfairly refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.

He also referenced the financial crisis – when taxpayers bailed out a number of the UK's largest banks – suggesting lenders should now repay the favour.

However, Sir Howard told the BBC that comparing the current crisis to 2008 was “rewriting history”.

“In the last crisis the problem was that the banks didn't have the money to lend, there was a credit crunch.

“We're not in that position at all. The banks have got the money to lend, we have a large amount of capital, we are not constrained in the volumes we can lend.”

On Thursday, Mr Sunak said the government was making “great progress” on supporting businesses to help manage their cashflows but needed to take “further action” by extending the scheme.

Analysis: By Simon Jack

There has been widespread concern, acknowledged by the government, that some of the emergency measures to provide financial assistance to businesses are not working.

Too few firms felt able or willing to take on loans that carried an 80% government guarantee to the lender but not the borrower. The Treasury has announced new rules, meaning business owners asking to borrow less than £250,000 will no longer have to offer up personal guarantees.

Perhaps most importantly, the requirement for companies to have first tried to get a normal commercial loan elsewhere will be dropped.

However, they are still loans. Companies wishing to take them out will be 100% liable for the debt and the government has not capped the interest rate banks can charge even though banks are able to borrow at close to 0%.

The loans may now be available to more businesses but what's not clear is whether firms want them.

‘Big step forward'

Labour welcomed the measures but accused the government of being “behind the curve” when implementing support measures.

“There remain huge gaps in support for employees and self-employed that must be addressed immediately if people are to avoid facing serious hardship in this crisis,” said shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

The head of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, described the changes as a “big step forward” although she said more detail was needed.

“Each week brings unprecedented levels of economic support and it's encouraging to see the government stepping in where urgent help is needed.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, told the BBC's Today programme: “It's a very necessary and timely intervention by the chancellor, because clearly, businesses were being promised interest-free, fee-free, government support by the banks.

“Time and time again, the FSB has heard from our members and other small businesses who've approached banks seeking these emergency loans that they were being offered anything but.”

Stephen Jones, the chief executive of UK Finance which represents the banks, also welcomed the changes.

Speaking to the Today programme, he said: “It was clear that those viable businesses, who were required to be offered under the terms of the scheme commercial lending under commercial terms, felt aggrieved that they were not given access to the scheme and therefore the change gives the scheme to all businesses who are capable of repaying debt after this crisis is over.

“This change is extremely welcome and it means that banks will not be forced to make very unenviable assessments in terms of who cannot or can access the scheme in terms of viable businesses out there.”

UK government to cover the losses of bus companies in England over the next three months

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 4th April 2020) London, Uk – –

The government will cover the losses of bus companies in England over the next three months to ensure that services can still run.

The UK's bus industry says passenger numbers have “fallen off a cliff” since the government advised people against all non-essential travel.

That caused bus firms to cut services.

But a new £167m fund will ensure that bus companies can cover their costs on essential services so that key workers, such as NHS staff, can get to work.

Similar agreements are already in place in Scotland and Wales. The deal in Wales includes free bus travel for NHS workers.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of support measures from local and central government have been dedicated to the UK's bus industry to ensure that companies can survive through the coronavirus crisis and keep a reduced bus network moving.

The latest figures from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents bus and coach companies in Britain, showed that passenger numbers were down by 75%, although the numbers from bus operators suggest numbers are even lower.

Empty buses

With people advised to stay at home, many buses around the UK are being driven around with no passengers on them at all.

CPT boss Graham Vidler said the funding would “plug the gap” between the costs of running essential routes and the income received by companies. He said that would allow “critical journeys to continue”.

Government support is conditional on bus companies operating about half of their routes.

Operators have also pledged not to let buses carry more than 50% of their maximum capacity to ensure that social distancing is possible on board.

Stagecoach said on Friday that its local regional bus companies were currently seeing sales at about 15% of “normal levels”.

Martin Griffiths, the chief executive of Stagecoach, said that in a “very challenging period”, the new funding would mean “key workers can still get to and from work, and that communities can still access other services”, such as shopping for food or picking up medicines.

Stagecoach added that its Megabus inter-city bus service in England and Wales would be suspended by Sunday 5 April.

Transport groups Go-Ahead and FirstGroup also said they had seen huge falls in bus use, with passenger numbers and revenues down by about 90%.

Go-Ahead boss David Brown said the government funding package was “crucial” to ensure the company could provide essential services.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapp, emphasised that people should “stay at home if possible”. However, he described buses as a “lifeline for people who need to travel for work or to buy food”.

“It's absolutely vital we do all we can to keep the sector running,” he said.

Bus companies aim to temporarily lay off around half their staff who will then receive income under the government's coronavirus job retention scheme.

Before the coronavirus outbreak the government had earmarked funding to reopen bus routes which had been cut in recent years. Some of that money is now being spent on keeping existing routes running.

Any losses incurred by bus companies since the government advised people against all but essential travel should be covered under the rescue package.

By Tom Burridge

UK to freeze loan and credit card payments for three months – FCA

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 2nd April 2020) London, Uk – –

The Financial Conduct Authority says those needing help under the stop-gap measures should not see their credit scores affected.

Consumers left in financial difficulty by the coronavirus crisis should be offered a three-month freeze on credit card and loan repayments under emergency plans by the City watchdog.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also said those affected who have overdrafts should see them charged at zero interest for three months.

Customers should not see their credit ratings affected if they have to use any of the temporary measures, the watchdog said.

The plans add to measures already announced by the government to support mortgage holders, renters, temporarily-laid off workers and the self-employed during the crisis – which has brought large parts of the economy to a standstill.

The FCA said they would provide a “short-term, temporary stop-gap” offering help for customers “who until now have been financially stable”.

It added that the guidance would not prevent lenders from offering more generous assistance – as some already were.

Christopher Woolard, the FCA's interim chief executive, said: “Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented financial shock with far-reaching consequences for consumers in every corner of the UK.

“If confirmed, this package of measures we are proposing today will help provide affected consumers with the temporary financial support they need to help them weather the storm during this challenging time.”

Vim Maru, retail director at Lloyds Banking Group – which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland – said: “We welcome today's guidance from the FCA and we continue to work closely with them through this unprecedented time.

“Since the start of the pandemic we have helped thousands of customers using the temporary support measures already introduced.”

Martin Lewis, founder of consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com, said the FCA move marked an unprecedented intervention from regulators and would end a “banking lottery” about what help customers could expect from lenders.

“Payment holidays mean exactly what they say – you don't pay, but you can still be charged interest,” Mr Lewis added.

“And with interest rates often high, especially on cards, that can mean storing up trouble for future.

“Those struggling for cashflow may have no choice, but if you don't need to do it, don't.”

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

WeWork founder Adam Neumann threatens to sue Softbank after scrapped rescue deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 2nd Apr, 2020) London, Uk – –

Adam Neumann had been lined up to sell $970m of his own shares to Japanese investor

WeWork’s founder and former chief executive, Adam Neumann, has threatened to sue SoftBank, the office space company’s biggest investor, after it pulled out of deal to buy $3bn (£2.4bn) of WeWork shares – including almost $1bn from Neumann himself.

SoftBank, which is run by the Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, announced on Thursday that it was terminating a $3bn share tender rescue deal hammered out last October to save WeWork from collapse.

SoftBank said it had “no choice” but to scrap the rescue deal because WeWork had failed to meet several conditions. It also cited concerns about “multiple, new, and significant pending criminal and civil investigations”.

The Japanese conglomerate said it remained “fully committed to the success of WeWork” but “several of those conditions were not met, leaving SoftBank no choice but to terminate the tender offer”.Advertisement

The deal would have mostly benefited Neumann, who was lined up to sell $970m worth of shares even as thousands of WeWork employees were laid off with very little compensation.

“Adam Neumann, his family, and certain large institutional stockholders, such as Benchmark Capital, were the parties who stood to benefit most from the tender offer,” SoftBank said. “Together, Mr Neumann’s and Benchmark’s equity constitute more than half of the stock tendered in the offering. In contrast, current WeWork employees tendered less than 10% of the total.”

A special committee of WeWork’s board said it was disappointed that SoftBank had pulled out of the deal and it was considering “all of its legal options, including litigation”.

The deal was hastily arranged in October 2019 as part of SoftBank’s rescue of the office-space provider after its planned flotation on the stock market was scrapped. WeWork had repeatedly cut the price of the IPO as investors balked at its initial valuation of up to $65bn. Neumann could have made a potential $14.3bn paper fortune if the company had floated at the top end of estimates.

Softbank’s decision to pull out of the share deal means it will also no longer be obliged to provide WeWork with $1.1bn in debt financing, leaving the office space provider facing a cash crunch as many of its tenants across the world pull out because of the Covid-19 crisis and government-imposed lockdown conditions.

WeWork signs long-term leases with commercial landlords then rents that space to freelancers and small businesses, which have been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus crisis global economic shutdown. The company has warned its bondholders that it does not expect to hit its 2020 financial targets.

WeWork has grown to become the single biggest office tenant in Manhattan, and the second-largest in London after the government. It has expanded from offices to student halls-style communal living blocks, private schools and luxury gyms and boot camps.

The president of the Boston Federal Reserve bank, Eric Rosengren, warned in September that the business model of co-working companies such as WeWork could make the next recession worse by sparking a run on commercial property.

WeWork has signed long-term rental commitments worth $47bn with US landlords alone. If WeWork were to go bust its landlords would struggle to collect the promised lease payments they are owed. That could leave them unable to pay their bank loans, and in turn leave banks facing losses.

At a company party in 2018 Neumann told his staff that WeWork’s mission was to “to elevate the world’s consciousness” and that “there are 150 million orphans in the world. We want to solve this problem and give them a new family: the WeWork family.”

Neumann’s bravura did not go down so well with Wall Street investors when WeWork published its flotation prospectus in August 2019. It warned potential investors: “Adam’s voting control will limit the ability of other stockholders to influence corporate activities and, as a result, we may take actions that stockholders other than Adam do not view as beneficial.”

The prospectus demanded that each of “Adam’s” shares should carry 20 times the votes of ordinary shares, and that his wife should have a say in selecting his successor should he die.

He has also had to fend off damaging allegations about his conduct, including the revelation that he smoked cannabis on a private jet. The company said it would sell the $60m Gulfstream plane, which Neumann had used to attend tequila-fuelled parties with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Will Smith’s son Jaden.

Hundreds of loans have been made under UK coronavirus scheme – Treasury

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 1st April 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Hundreds of loans have been made under an emergency scheme launched last month to help small and medium-sized companies get access to bank credit during the coronavirus crisis, a spokesman for Britain’s finance ministry said.

“There are hundreds of these loans that have gone out,” the Treasury spokesman told reporters when asked about reports of companies struggling to use the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. “Cash has very much gone out the door.”

By William Schomberg

Some of UK’s Banks bow to pressure and axe shareholder payments

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 1st April 2020) London, Uk – –

Some of the UK's biggest banks have agreed to scrap dividend payments and hold onto the cash, which may be needed during the coronavirus crisis.

The Bank of England welcomed the decision to suspend the payments to shareholders and urged the banks not to pay bonuses to senior staff either.

The banks, which include NatWest, Santander and Barclays, were due to pay out billions to shareholders.

But in recent days they have come under pressure to hold onto the money.

‘A sensible step'

The deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sam Woods, wrote to some banking bosses asking them to suspend dividend payments. He asked them to confirm their decision by Tuesday evening.

In a statement, the Prudential Regulation Authority, which is part of the Bank of England, said: “Although the decisions taken today will result in shareholders not receiving dividends, they are a sensible precautionary step given the unique role that banks need to play in supporting the wider economy through a period of economic disruption.”

Between them, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered were expected to pay a total of £15.6bn to shareholders, according to analysis from investment firm AJ Bell.

But they will now retain those funds and not pay out any money to shareholders until at least the end of the year, which the Bank of England said “should help the banks support the economy through 2020”.

Many economists are predicting that the UK, in common with other large economies, will enter a recession this year, with output set to plummet.

Last week, a closely-watched early indicator of economic activity fell to its lowest ever reading. That led economists at Capital Economics to predict a 15% contraction in the UK's economy during the second quarter of the year.

‘Prudent' move

Stephen Jones, chief executive for UK finance, the trade body for banks and finance companies, told the Today programme that banks were considering scrapping dividends before the Bank of England mandated it.

“It's very prudent for banks to be retaining capital rather than distributing it in the current environment,” he said.

Losses will increase on existing loans, he said, meaning lenders need a bigger buffer to protect deposits and keep the bank running.

“It's important that the banks are given as much firepower as they can to support the economy,” he added.

However, the Bank said it did not expect the cash to be needed, noting that the banks had more than enough money in reserve to deal with both a global recession and a shock in the financial markets.

Banks were criticised during the financial crisis 12 years ago when they paid dividends months before needing the biggest bailouts in history.

Since then, banks have been forced to hold more capital to prevent the need for more public money to be spent on them, although not all banks have fully recovered. The government still owns 62% of Royal Bank of Scotland, for example.

Barclays' investors will be the first to be affected by the halting of dividends. Its shareholders had been due to share a payment of more than £1bn on Friday.

Barclays chairman Nigel Higgins said suspending the payment was a “difficult decision”.

“The bank has a strong capital base, but we think it is right and prudent, for the many businesses and people that we support, to take these steps now, and ensure that Barclays is well placed to continue doing what we can to help through this crisis,” he added.

UK consumers are protected up to £85,000 per bank under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. In other words, if a bank collapses, savers will get any money in these accounts up to £85,000 paid back in compensation.

Joint accounts have a protection level of £170,000.

Analysis: Faisal Islam

This is a significant move from the commercial banks.

They decided not to pay shareholders several billion pounds worth of dividends after receiving a firmly-worded letter from the Bank of England, which wants the banks to hold on to the money to support lending in the economy. And, with some of the payments due to be made in just days, the impact will be felt almost immediately by some shareholders.

The Bank of England's watchdog, the Prudential Regulation Authority, also made clear that it does not expect any of the UK commercial banks to pay cash bonuses either, although that is yet to be agreed.

The logic here is to preserve cash for where it is needed, but the regulator has also been making the point that this crisis is a moment of potential redemption for the sector. The banks have the opportunity to distance themselves from the financial crisis, which they created, to become the economic saviours of the coronavirus crisis. But that depends on them preserving cashflow, overdrafts and funding lines to businesses that will become viable again once the pandemic passes.

For example, the chancellor's freelance worker scheme will result in substantial cash sums being deposited in bank accounts, but not until June, and much depends on banks keeping workers financially afloat until then.

The cancellation of dividends also piles on the pressure for other sectors that have received money for furloughing workers – or even more direct government backing – to also consider scrapping their dividend payouts.

“These are difficult decisions, not least in terms of the immediate impact they will have on shareholders,” said Barclays chairman Nigel Higgins.

“The bank has a strong capital base, but we think it is right and prudent, for the many businesses and people that we support, to take these steps now, and ensure that Barclays is well placed to continue doing what we can to help through this crisis.”

Zoom demand for video-conferencing tech soars as employees work from home

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 31st Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Estimated net worth of founder has increased by more than $4bn since coronavirus crisis started

From nursery school sing-alongs to FTSE 100 boardrooms and even UK cabinet meetings hosted by the poorly prime minister, a socially distanced world is reconvening in cyberspace with the help of Silicon Valley video conferencing app Zoom.

As governments across the world have placed their citizens on lockdown, downloads of video conferencing apps have soared to record highs and the companies behind them have seen their share prices rise while the rest of the global stock market tanks.

Zoom, which allows users to talk to up to 99 other people simultaneously, has emerged at the top of the pile with the app often leading the download charts in Apple’s app store. The company does not provide daily download figures, but app tracking firm Apptopia said Zoom was downloaded 2.13m times around the world on 23 March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK– up from 56,000 a day two months earlier.

The app has been used to host virtual classrooms, church services and even blind dates and stag dos. It offers a free version for calls of less than 40 minutes. But it is the world of big business, for which Zoom was intended, that brings in most of the revenue. Corporate licences for big companies cost £15.99 per month per host (and require a minimum of 50 hosts). The company reported an 85% increase in revenue to $166.6m (£132m) in the three months to the end of October, the latest quarterly figures available.

Zoom’s recent surge in popularity has not gone unnoticed by investors. Zoom Video Communication’s share price has soared from under $70 a share in January, before the coronavirus struck western countries, to $150 on Monday. That gives the company a market value of $42bn – more than eight times the market capitalisation of British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group, for example.

Some investors got so excited, they accidentally invested in the wrong Zoom. Shares in Zoom Technologies soared by more than 1,500% as investors rushed to buy shares in what they thought was the video app company – but was actually a defunct Chinese wireless communications company.

The US Securities and Exchange regulator intervened to suspend trading in Zoom Technologies. Investors may have been confused by Zoom Technologies’ use of the stock market ticker ZOOM, while Zoom Video Communication has the ticker ZM.

The boom in Zoom Video Communication’s share price has turned its founder and chief executive Eric Yuan into one of the world’s richest people. Yuan, who owns 20% of the company’s shares, has seen his estimated net worth increase by more than $4bn since the Covid-19 crisis started, to $7.9bn.

According to the Bloomberg billionaires index, he is currently the 182nd richest person on earth, ahead of legendary investor George Soros, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

Despite the huge increase in his paper fortune Yuan, who created Zoom with the aim of “making everyone happy”, said he is trying not to get distracted by checking the stock market.

“It’s good that I am 50 now. If you had asked me this question when I was 25, I would tell you, ‘yes, we are very excited about the stock price’,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press, conducted over Zoom.

“But, now, seriously, I can tell you the truth, it don’t matter. So the stock is up, it’s good for our investors. If it’s down, we keep working hard. I really do not focus on the stock price.”Advertisement

Yuan first came up with his idea for video-conferencing while at university in China in the 1990s, when he would travel by train for 10 hours to see his then-girlfriend, now his wife. “I detested those rides,” he told Thrive Global, “I used to imagine other ways I could visit my girlfriend without travelling — those daydreams eventually became the basis for Zoom.”

Yuan set his heart on moving to the US after watching a video of a Bill Gates speech about the transformational power of the internet. He said he knew the internet would be “the wave of the future” and he wanted to be in the “red hot” centre of it in Silicon Valley.

Initially his visa application was rejected, but “I continued to apply again and again over the course of two years and finally received my visa on the ninth try”, he said.

After more than a decade working on video-conferencing technology at Cisco Webex, Yuan became frustrated and decided to strike out on his own. “I firmly believed I could develop a platform that would make customers happy,” he said. “So in June of 2011, I decided it was time to make the video communications solution I imagined during my college train trips a reality.” More than 40 Cisco engineers followed him to Zoom.

Yuan said Zoom was not designed with home schooling or kids’ birthday parties in mind, but is delighted that his app can bring young people some joy in the lockdown. “Kids are pretty smart, they always figure out new use cases,” he said. “There are some very cool consumer use cases.”

While the Covid-19 pandemic has made him and his investors very rich, like everyone else, Yuan cannot wait for the crisis to be over. But he hopes that bosses will learn that employees can work just as well from home as they can in the office.

“I hope this crisis can be over very, very soon, but one thing I know for sure is that companies will learn this is the way to work,” he said. “I am pretty sure almost every company will be thinking about it and [will] say, ‘hey, maybe working from home makes sense’, and maybe let every employee work from home, maybe once a week. Previously, a lot of businesses didn’t even want to try.”

By Rupert Neate

British Airways temporarily suspending all flights to and from Gatwick Airport amid pandemic

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 31st Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The company's boss warned earlier in March that the airline was in a battle for survival and would have to cut jobs.

British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from Gatwick Airport amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has said it will continue to carry out essential functions such as maintenance, towing and cleaning in order to be ready to start up again effectively.

British Airways added in a statement: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.

“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”

Gatwick Airport in West Sussex is Britain's second busiest airport.

Just 33 flights were due to take off or land from there on Tuesday, according to aviation data provider FlightStats.

Gatwick's runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm from Wednesday.

The airport will also close one of its two terminals.British Airways pilots to take 50% pay cut in April and May

The measures will be in place for a minimum of one month.

British Airways' boss warned earlier in March that the airline was in a battle for survival and would have to cut jobs and park planes.

The carrier continues to operate some flights from its main hub at Heathrow.

Parent company IAG said flying capacity would be down 75% in April and May.Coronavirus: EasyJet founder in threat to oust board

Low-cost airline easyJet said on Monday that it had grounded its entire fleet.

Airports are responding to the decision by airlines to suspend the majority of their flights due to plummeting demand.

Countries around the world are introducing travel restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

London City Airport closed its runway to all commercial and private flights last week.

Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4.30pm and 9.30pm.

The British Airways move comes as the prime minister is facing pressure to get more personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers.

It has been claimed some nurses have been treating coronavirus patients without any protection at all.

The prime minister will chair a meeting of his cabinet by videolink on Tuesday as he continues to self-isolate in Downing Street after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

By Tom Gillespie

EasyJet grounds entire fleet of planes due to virus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of planes and said it cannot give a date for when they will restart.

The budget airline said it had made the move due to the “unprecedented travel restrictions” imposed by governments globally due to the virus pandemic.

It had already cancelled most flights but had been running rescue flights to repatriate Britons stranded abroad.

The move came as regional airline Loganair said airlines were unlikely to survive without a government bailout.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on airlines, Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles told the BBC's Tom Burridge.

He said that any airline saying it could survive without government help “would probably be lying”.

‘Challenging time'

EasyJet said its cabin crew would be furloughed, with staff paid 80% of their wage from 1 April through the government's job retention scheme.

The budget airline's boss Johan Lundgren said he was “working tirelessly” to make sure the airline was “well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus”.

“I am extremely proud of the way in which people across EasyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time,” he added.

EasyJet's headquarters are at London Luton Airport and it has 331 planes. In normal times, it serves 159 airports and 1,051 routes.

Mr Lundgren said the airline had operated its last rescue flight on Sunday 29 March, but would continue to offer further rescue flights “as requested”.

The vast bulk of flights to and from the UK have been grounded due to travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of coronavirus, with many airlines expected to seek government help to survive.

Virgin Atlantic has already indicated that it will seek a bailout and other airlines are expected to follow suit.

The government has said it will only step in to help struggling airlines “as a last resort” on a case-by-case basis.

But industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned of an “apocalypse” in the aviation sector as it urged governments around the world to help.

Loganair's Mr Hinkles warned that the connectivity of remote Scottish islands and rural communities across the UK “cannot be maintained without air services”, arguing that government support for his airline was “essential”.

Loganair operates routes to the UK's most remote airports such as Barra in the Outer Hebrides, where 19-seater planes land on the beach.

It is still running a higher proportion of its flights than other airlines because some travel to the most remote parts of the UK is still considered essential.

The airline is still ferrying people, mail and essential goods, such as pharmaceutical products, out to about 15 island airports.

Some of the most remote routes are subsidised by the Scottish government.

‘We have to fly'

Nevertheless, the Scottish carrier has had to ground half of its fleet and dramatically slash its flying schedule. This has put its entire operation in jeopardy.

“We can't just shut down”, Mr Hinkles said. “Morally, we have to fly.”

‘In the national interest'

Every airline is now negotiating with leasers, hoping that they will be granted more flexibility over payments.

Aside from the immediate problem of keeping the operation going, which Mr Hinkles believes is “in the national interest”, the longer-term problem is how quickly airlines like his can recover from the crisis – whenever travel restrictions are lifted.

He says that predictions within the industry about when airlines will fully recover are bleak.

“When a hairdresser is allowed to reopen, there will be a queue of people who need a hair cut,” he says. “That won't be the case with aviation.”

All airlines have called for additional support measures from the government to weather the storm.

The industry group Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association have asked the government to cover air traffic control charges and payments to the Civil Aviation Authority until the end of this year.

Airlines also want a six-month suspension of the Air Passenger Duty tax, which brings in £3bn every year to the Treasury.

The boss of Loganair said the impact of the pandemic on aviation had been “fast and severe” and that continued support would be needed once the height of the crisis has passed.

In the case of his regional airline, he warned that it would be “easier to support the infrastructure which is there, rather than to try and build that infrastructure” in the future.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said that the aviation sector is “important to the UK economy”.

They added: “We are willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors.”

Retailers seeing overwhelming demand in trade due to coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many retailers are seeing trade collapse, but others are overwhelmed by demand.

“We're as busy as at Christmas time,” says the owner of an online coffee business, “we're selling double.”

An outdoor games supplier is in the same position: “We've sold out of table tennis tables – they're the new loo roll.”

While families are stuck at home, they’re keen to find ways of keeping their minds and bodies active, well-fed and refreshed, as their purchasing choices reveal.

So, what's booming?

1. Bicycles and exercise gear

Whether for exercise or for a safer means of travel, bicycle sales are speeding up.

“People are thinking, I want to have independence,” says Will Butler-Adams, chief executive of the folding bike company, Brompton.

“I think sales in the UK across the industry are probably up around 15%.”

Meanwhile, the London Cycle Workshop is twice as busy as normal, servicing older bikes for customers trying to avoid public transport or “just looking for something to do”.

Retailer Halfords is also reporting a rise in sales of exercise bikes, saying: “People who are not able to get out still want to exercise indoors.”

Toby Clark, from Mintel market research, says his teams are seeing reports of “really high sales of home exercise equipment, as people try to compensate for the fact that they now can't get to the gym”.

John Lewis backs that up. The department store has seen a “significant uplift” in home gym equipment and other fitness products.

2. Outdoor and indoor games

Games supplier Andy Beresford says his entire stock of outdoor table tennis tables is sold and a delivery due this week is pre-sold.

“I've sold 124 tables in the last week, he says, “In the same week last year, I sold just 15.”

Orders took off when the government said schools would have to close.

Andy, whose business Home Leisure Direct is based just outside Bristol, has sold an “awful lot” of pool tables as well.

His pool table stock has halved from 500 to 250.

3. Home and garden items

Phil Jones of JustSeed in Wrexham, which sells a wide range of plant seeds, says he had to stop taking orders after a rush for staples including carrots, lettuce, beans and tomatoes.

“It's just the sheer volume,” he says, “We're catching up with a massive surge.”

Two of the biggest seed companies, Marshalls and Suttons, have stopped answering the phone.

For some buyers, there is a worry about fresh vegetables running short, but Phil says many are just looking for an activity.

“They've been meaning to do the veg patch for years and it's something educational to do with the kids,” he adds.

Another specialist retailer, Franchi Seeds, has taken down its website temporarily, saying “people are panic buying”.

Indoors, more people are taking up sewing and knitting as a way to beat the boredom of confinement.

London-based department store Liberty says sales of sewing accessories are currently up 380% on last year, while purchases of their craft kits have risen 228%.

4. Reading matter

Another pursuit that’s popular with people who have time on their hands right now is settling down with a good book. And perhaps surprisingly, fictional accounts of epidemics are in great demand.

At number two in Amazon UK’s chart of most sold books of the week is The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz. Although it was written in 1981, it describes a virus called Wuhan-400, in what appears to be an uncanny prediction of the coronavirus.

Another novel that is selling well is The Plague by French author Albert Camus. UK publisher Penguin says its sales in the last week of February were 150% up on last year and it is reprinting the book. Its sales have also risen sharply in France and Italy.

5. Electrical goods

As supermarket bosses have been telling us, there is collectively £1bn more worth of food in our houses than before the stockpiling rush started.

But where does it all go? You have to have somewhere to store it.

As a result, freezers and fridges have zoomed up the list of products people are searching for on online marketplaces.

There is a rush for laptops as well, also for office equipment, because many are finding that slouching on the sofa is not the best way to work.

Dixons Carphone said it had seen very good sales of equipment for home working (laptops, printers), for home entertainment (TVs, gaming consoles) and for home living (fridges, freezers, kitchen appliances), with same-store sales up 23%.

6. Coffee

Rave Coffee, selling exotic coffees from an industrial unit in Cirencester, is having to take on more staff to cope because demand has doubled.

“We have 11 members of staff and need another five,” says Vikki Hodge, who runs the business.

“People were buying our coffee for their office supply, now they are getting it at home,” Vikki explains.

“Where I had one office ordering, I might get 10 people ordering from their living room.”

Small firms ‘struggling'

But even the businesses doing well in the crisis remain in danger.

Andy from Home Leisure Direct says he has stopped taking orders for table tennis tables after factories closed in France, Spain and Italy.

“I think we'll go into lockdown before the end of the week,” he says, “I'll mothball the business.”

Andy has 40 staff, many of whom will have no work to do, so he is planning to apply for government funding to help with the wages.

Vikki from Rave Coffee is acutely aware that the businesses surrounding her on her industrial park in Cirencester are having to shut down.

“I can see the worry on their faces. They are small businesses struggling,” she says.

She believes keeping going is not just about providing more jobs. It's about providing funding for the firms which need help.

“We will pay our VAT and PAYE on time,” Vikki adds, “It goes in the pot to help them.”

By Simon Gompertz and Robert Plummer

15 Businesses that are FAILING because of the Coronavirus

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: Why are businesses failing in times of pandemic? How is coronavirus affecting the business world? How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses? Are businesses failing because of the coronavirus? Why is the economy failing in 2020? Why is coronavirus affecting worlds economy? Why is coronavirus closing businesses? How has the Corona Virus affected you businesses in the world? Why do we need to stay inside considering coronavirus? Why do we need to be quarantined? Will the world go back to normal after coronavirus pandemic? Will the economy recover after the coronavirus pandemic?

How Automakers Are Working With Music Composers To Replace The Sound Of Engines In Cars

Source: BI


The increase in electric vehicles and hybrids on roads has also increased the risk of collision with pedestrians and cyclists. Since we have become used to the sound of engines alerting us to a car's presence, the silence of electric cars has caused safety concerns. To mitigate this risk the U.S. and Europe have passed a new regulation that requires EV's to emit a sound while driving under 18.6 mph or 30 kph to replace the sound of an engine. Automakers like BMW, Volkswagen, and Nissan are working with music composers to design sounds for their EVs. A composer from Man Made Music group guides us through their process of designing the sound for the Nissan LEAF.

The 15 BEST Countries to INVEST in Real Estate Right Now | 2020

Source: Alux

This Alux.com video we'll try to answer the following questions: What are The Best Countries to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? What are the top Countries to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? Where to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? Where should I invest in real estate to get good returns? Is It a Good Time to Invest in Real Estate 2020? Is it smart to invest in real estate right now? Where should I invest in property 2020? What is the best city to buy rental property? Where is the best real estate market in the world right now? What is the best country to buy rental property? Where in the world should i get into real estate 2020? How much money do you need to start investing in real estate? Where to buy a house? How to make money from real estate? Where to invest in a house? Where are the most profitable investments in Real Estate Right Now? What is the best country to invest in real estate? What is the best city to buy a house in 2020? What is the best country to buy a house in 2020? Where should I invest in real estate to get good returns? What is the most cheap city to invest in real estate? What is the most cheap country to invest in real estate? What is the most expensive city to buy a house in?

How Casper Became A $1 Billion Mattress Start-Up

Source: CNBC

Today, Casper is a billion-dollar mattress company leading the charge of online retailers disrupting an industry previously dominated by companies selling mattresses out of large warehouses. Casper's sales keep growing year-to-year and the company is even rumored to be getting ready to launch an IPO.

Gatwick London’s second-biggest airport to close north terminal as flights dwindle

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 27th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

London's second-biggest airport is to close its north terminal from the end of the month, Sky News learns.

London's second-busiest airport is to close one of its two terminals after a slump in flights triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Gatwick Airport has decided to temporarily shut its north terminal – used by carriers including easyJet – from the end of the month.

The decision, which is expected to be announced later on Friday, stops short of a full closure of Gatwick, although that option is understood to be being kept on the table as repatriation flights come to an end.

London City Airport has already announced its closure for several weeks, while Heathrow and Stansted, as well as numerous regional airports, have seen catastrophic falls in passenger volumes since the coronavirus outbreak.

Airport operators are in talks with the government about a rescue package as their revenues crash to their lowest-ever levels.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, wrote to aviation bosses this week to tell them that a “bespoke” support package might be available to individual companies once private sources of capital have been exhausted.

Gatwick is majority-owned by VINCI, the largest private airport operator in the world.

It serves 46m passengers each year, flying to 230 destinations in more than 70 countries.

Last week, Gatwick announced that Stewart Wingate, its chief executive, and his executive team would take a 20% salary cut and waive any bonus for the current financial year.

It also said it was axing 200 staff employed on temporary fixed-term contracts and contractors.

Further cost-cutting measures are expected in the coming weeks.

“Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers,” Mr Wingate said last week.

A Gatwick spokesman declined to comment.

By Mark Kleinman

UK Government urged people not to move house to limit the spread of coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 27th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.

Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.

Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.

Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.

The government said that while there “is no need to pull out of transactions”, “we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times”.

If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals.

But if the house is occupied “we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move”.

Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicted housing transactions would drop by up to 60% over the next three months.

Meanwhile, it said a “rapidly increasing” proportion of sales were falling through, as would-be buyers “reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times”.

Geoff Grant, aged 60 and his wife Tanya, aged 52, from Dorset had been hoping to move house on 9 April.

However, Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa and the couple face having to pay rent to two landlords if their removal firm changes its mind about helping them move.

Mr Grant says there is already an overlap on the leases – the agreement for the new rental property begins on 1 April while the existing one ends on 9 April.

“If the move is delayed we'll have to negotiate with two landlords,” he says.

As it stands, the removal company the couple is using said at the beginning of the week it will still do the job. And while Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa on business, luckily his 20 year-old daughter is home from university to help lug boxes – at a six foot distance from the removers of course.

Rival website Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been “significant”.

“The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters' protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents,” it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at estate agent Savills UK, told the BBC the practical problems of buying and selling properties at the moment would have “a real impact on transaction levels”.

“There are real difficulties around viewings, getting mortgage valuations done, [and] the conveyancing progress.”

“Whenever we've had a fall in transactions, we've also had a fall in prices – I think 5-10% in a period of low transactional activity.

“We would stand by our five-year forecast of 15% growth over the medium-term. That's because we have low interest rates, low levels of price growth in the run-up to this and a pretty swift response from the government to protect jobs and earnings.”

In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers' Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.

“Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed,” said UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.

“Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful.

“To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.”

Analysis: Simon Gompertz

Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction most people will ever make. No one wants to get it wrong.

Across the UK buyers are thinking again about whether they should take the plunge and whether they are paying too much.

Potential sellers are wondering if it is worth putting a house on the market.

So activity has already plummeted. One analysis suggests the number of properties being put up for sale has dropped by two thirds comparing this week to last week and is set to drop further.

Now the government is telling us to put off thoughts of moving until the crisis is over.

Moves can go ahead, with safeguards on human contact, but only if they are unavoidable or to unoccupied properties.

The result may not be a total standstill, but most likely a huge fall in completed sales.

Chancellor to reveal new COVID-19 Cash handouts for self-employed

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 26th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The monthly cap is likely to be lower than the £2,500 announced for staff employees last Friday.

A coronavirus bail-out for the self-employed is being unveiled by the chancellor after pressure from MPs, but handouts could go to only one in three of the five million who work for themselves.

Rishi Sunak will announce an emergency package at Boris Johnson's daily Downing Street news conference, promising help for groups such as builders, taxi drivers, hairdressers and childminders.

But while he will promise to match the 80% of earnings he promised staff employees last Friday, the monthly cap is likely to be lower than the £2,500 in that coronavirus scheme because many self-employed pay less tax.

And it is likely only about 1.7 million, a third of the UK's self-employed, will qualify, with those who have separate earnings as company employees and those on Universal Credit – already promised help – excluded. Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

MPs have been warned that the aid package for the self-employed is highly complicated. And Treasury officials worked through the night in a race against time to complete preparations for its Downing Street launch.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Sunak – poised to unveil his second massive state bailout for workers in less than a week – told MPs: “We will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business.”

And at Prime Minister's Questions, under pressure from MPs of all parties, Mr Johnson admitted: “I cannot, in all candour, promise that we will be able to get through this crisis without any kind of hardship at all.”

Later, at his latest Downing Street news conference, the prime minister revealed: “You'll be hearing more from Rishi Sunak, the chancellor tomorrow, about what we're doing to help the self-employed.”

He added: “I think people do understand the complexity of their working arrangements has made it harder to come up with the right tailored programme and that is coming forward tomorrow.”Coronavirus: The infection numbers in real time

At PMQs, Mr Johnson promised MPs: “We will do whatever we can to support the self-employed, just as we are putting our arms around every single employed person in this country.”

Pressed by the SNP leader Ian Blackford, Mr Johnson promised “parity of support” for the self-employed, matching the handouts announced by the Chancellor last week for those in salaried employment.

“There are particular difficulties with those who are not on PAYE schemes,” Mr Johnson said. “We are bringing forward a package to ensure that everybody gets the support that they need.”

Attacking the delay, Jeremy Corbyn challenged the PM: “The self-employed are having to choose whether they go to work or stay at home and face losing their entire livelihood, relying instead on an overstretched welfare system, which could pay as little as £94 per week.

“One self-employed person said that they need to pay for baby food, rent, council tax and insurance for the car they use for work, being ‘faced with a decision to feed your family and pay your bills, or stay at home and not get paid'.

“Why has it taken the prime minister so long to guarantee income for all self-employed workers? There are millions of them – our economy has changed.”

Later, in his final Commons speech as Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell told MPs: “If people claim fraudulently while still working, they will rightly be prosecuted.

“But right now millions of cabbies, childminders, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators and actors have all lost work or closed down their businesses.

“As have builders, designated as the self-employed under the construction industry scheme and they have no income. They need a solution, now.”

And in the final minutes before the Commons adjourned for Easter, Labour and SNP MPs protested angrily over the Chancellor preparing to unveil his package when Parliament is no longer sitting.

But the Commons Leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told MPs: “I have been informed that it is a complicated package that is not in fact ready for announcement today. Had it been ready today, it would have been brought forward today.

“The Government are keen to get on with this announcement, which will provide support and comfort to a large number of the self-employed.

“There is no discourtesy to the House. It is being worked on as quickly as possible, but it is not yet ready. The plans have not been completed.

“What has been announced, and what was announced by the Prime Minister at his press conference, is that the plans will be announced tomorrow and they will be completed in time for tomorrow's press conference.”

By Jon Craig: Chief political correspondent

UK turns to Dyson for 10,000 ventilators to fight coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 26th Mar 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain made an emergency order of 10,000 ventilators designed at breakneck speed by bagless vacuum cleaner company Dyson, the first fruits of an industry-wide call to arms to prepare for the looming peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ahead of an expected surge of cases that could overwhelm Britain’s publicly funded health service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an urgent appeal to manufacturers 10 days ago to build ventilators to help keep patients alive.

Billionaire founder James Dyson said he had drawn on the company’s expertise in air movement, motors, power systems, manufacturing and supply chain to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent, that could be deployed in this time of “grave international crisis”.

“The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time,” Dyson said on Wednesday evening in an email to staff seen by Reuters.

“The race is now on to get it into production.”

Dyson will have to secure approval from the British medical regulator for the device and its manufacturing process. If it receives the green light, production could start early next month.

The company revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market with its bagless cyclonic device in the 1990s and has since gone on to build air purifiers, hand dryers and fans from its base in south west England and manufacturing plants in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Separately, British engineer Babcock (BAB.L) said it had joined forces with a leading medical equipment company to design a ventilator, while carmakers and aerospace groups are waiting for the government to sign off on an alternative design.

The companies, including some of the biggest names in Formula 1 racing and aerospace such as McLaren and Airbus (AIR.PA), are racing to boost production after the government said it did not have enough ventilators in its armoury.

VENTILATOR RUSH

Britain currently has about 8,000 ventilators with another 8,000 on order to come into the health system in a week or so.

By 0900 GMT on Wednesday some 9,529 people had tested positive for the virus in the United Kingdom while 463 patients had died.

Britain is working to acquire more testing kits to help establish whether people have previously been infected with coronavirus, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone has the virus as they are experiencing symptoms.

Many staff within the National Health Service (NHS) have not been tested, a major concern for health workers and a cause of mounting criticism of the government’s response.

Chris Whitty, the government’s top medical adviser, said testing was vitally important but a global shortage of the materials needed was causing a supply bottleneck.

“Every country is wanting this new test, for a disease that wasn’t actually being tested for anywhere three months ago,” England’s chief medical officer told a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday.Slideshow (2 Images)

Britain has bought 3.5 million antibody testing kits – largely used to determine if someone has already had the virus – and is currently making sure they work before distributing them.

They will first be used to test health workers.

By Paul Sandle, Kate Holton