6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Global public company profits passed a milestone. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Listed companies are at their most profitable on record after a bumper year of earnings growth across global equity markets, bolstering confidence that the recent surge in stock markets is backed by a broad global economic recovery and the ability of companies to generate returns

Nissan launched it first self-driving car. Company management said:

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and DeNA Co., Ltd. today unveiled the Easy Ride brand for the new robo-vehicle mobility service that the two companies are developing jointly. The companies also announced plans for a field test with public participation.

The public field test will take place in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan from March 5, 2018, to March 18, 2018.

Nissan and DeNA started collaborating to develop a new mobility service that uses autonomous driving technology in January 2017. The two companies aim to combine the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, through technological assets in autonomous driving, vehicle electrification and connected cars, with DeNA’s experience in developing and operating driverless mobility services using its expertise in the internet and artificial intelligence.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will move into Australia. According to The New York Times, the retail industry in the nation faces the same severe problems as the world’s largest e-commerce company tries to disrupt its markets.

Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube will increase its efforts to take down offensive videos. Its CEO wrote:

We will continue the significant growth of our teams into next year, with the goal of bringing the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate our policies to over 10,000 in 2018.
At the same time, we are expanding the network of academics, industry groups and subject matter experts who we can learn from and support to help us better understand emerging issues.

General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) new autonomous car lets riders order food. According to Bloomberg:

General Motors Co. is about to enable drivers to buy coffee, find gas or parking and make restaurant reservations with just a touch of the dashboard.

The automaker will roll out the new feature on millions of existing 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles starting Tuesday. Called Marketplace, the system links drivers to vendors including Starbucks Corp., Dunkin’ Donuts Inc. and Priceline.com to place take-away orders or make reservations with taps of their touchscreens

China is working to corner the market in a key component of self-driving cars. According to CNBC:

China is outpacing the U.S. and other countries in a global race to secure supplies of an all-important element for electric cars.

China has emerged as the leading market player for electric and hybrid cars, accounting for approximately half of global sales. And with the world’s second-largest economy keen to develop the industry within its own borders, Beijing is looking to import a lot more lithium.