Moody's Analytics, a global credit rating agency, predicts that due to the epidemic, the US's gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter will approach an unprecedented low. The US is experiencing its worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
However, when many Americans lost their jobs and cut wages, one became richer and set a new record of wealth. He is the CEO of Bezos, the world's largest e-commerce platform Amazon.
According to the "Bloomberg Billionaires Index", on July 1, local time, Amazon CEO Bezos' total personal assets exceeded 171.6 billion US dollars. This figure is more than US$50 billion more than the total annual GDP of 2019 in Iceland, Luxembourg and Cyprus, and Bezos ranks first in the global rich list.
"Business Headline" moderator: Amazon's stocks have soared all the way, each share exceeded the $3,000 mark, making Amazon's market valuation reached 1.5 trillion US dollars.
According to Bloomberg News, Bezos' wealth growth is particularly evident this year. Since the outbreak of the New Coronary Pneumonia epidemic, consumers have become increasingly dependent on the online shopping service provided by the Amazon platform. Since the beginning of the year, Amazon’s valuation has risen by about 32%, and Bezos’ personal assets have also increased by $24 billion.
Amazon deliveryman: I have to run 130 a day, which is a bit crazy!
In order to encourage employees to stick to their posts, from March, Amazon began to pay an additional two dollars per hour for "epidemic subsidies" for employees and couriers in logistics centers. Due to insufficient manpower, it also recruited 100,000 temporary workers from the society.
By mid-May, the manpower problem was resolved, and Amazon announced that it would cancel the "epidemic subsidy" of two dollars per hour, as well as the "indefinite leave policy" promulgated for the epidemic.
Fox News Network anchor: This means that even if you are infected with the new crown, you still have to go back to work after the 14-day isolation period of sick leave ends.
According to the CBS report, in March this year, a confirmed case occurred in an Amazon logistics center in New York, but Amazon neither shut down the center nor adopted new anti-epidemic measures, putting the health of thousands of employees at risk. Subsequently, Amazon also fired employees who organized protests.
In May 2020, Tim Bray, Amazon's vice president and senior engineer, resigned angrily because of dissatisfaction with the company's practices of treating employees.
Under pressure from many parties, on June 29, Amazon said it would give out a one-time bonus to employees who stayed in the logistics center and express post in June. Full-time employees are $500 per person and part-time employees are $250 per person.
In fact, this is not the first time Amazon has been criticized by the outside world for its harsh treatment of blue-collar workers in logistics centers.
"Two Pizza Principles" is regarded as the secret of Bezos' success. Under the "two pizza principle", Bezos requested that no more than 10 people be allowed in each meeting.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Amazon executives recalling that someone had suggested Bezos to strengthen communication with employees. Bezo immediately stood up and said loudly: "No, the effect of mutual communication is very bad." Under the idea, the trade unions in the American logistics industry have become the eyes of Bezos.
Amazon CEO Bezos: Amazon does not need a union to act as an intermediary between the company and employees, but ultimately it is up to the employees to decide whether or not to have a union.
Enterprise policy analyst Ke Weikes: If a union is hired, the union will ask for a reduction in packing speed, which will undoubtedly force Amazon to hire a large number of workers, which will inevitably increase Amazon's costs.
According to CNBC reports, Amazon has long been known in Silicon Valley for its long overtime hours, high work intensity, no working lunch, and requiring workers to pay parking fees.
On June 29, a guillotine emerged outside Bezos' residence in Washington, DC. It was later confirmed that this was an anti-racism protester placed in front of Bezos, with the slogan "Support poor communities, not rich people".
Unlike some other rich people in the global rich list, Bezos is not very keen on philanthropy. According to data published by the US "Wall Street Journal", between 2009 and August 2018, Bezos donated only 135 million US dollars for charitable activities, and the proportion of donations was less than 1% of its assets. In comparison, Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who ranked second in the global rich list, donated $31.1 billion over the same period, with a donation rate as high as 37%. However, "Business Insider" magazine believes that Bezos may be through a new investment method to promote social change.
According to statistics, in less than 20 years, Bezos has madly acquired 76 companies.
Reporter: Why did you buy the "Washington Post"?
Amazon CEO Bezos: Buying the "Washington Post" was not my original intention. I have known Donald Graham (former chairman of the "Washington Post") for many years. Earlier this year, Donald contacted me through an intermediary and asked me if I was interested in buying the Washington Post. I was surprised at the time. I didn’t even think I was a qualified buyer. I knew nothing about the field of journalism. But Donald believes that the news industry is undergoing unexpected changes, and a takeover that understands the network and technology may be of great help.
After the acquisition, Bezos redesigned the website and mobile application for the Washington Post, and developed a software called Arc, which brought more powerful data analysis and marketing functions.
In the Kalorama district of Washington DC, the capital of the United States, there is a Bezos mansion with a total residential area of about 27,000 square feet, which is the largest private house in downtown Washington. Not far away is the home of the Obamas and Ivanka Trump.
In 2018, when Bezos bought the mansion for $23 million, the Guardian commented that in the city where Trump occupied the White House and owned the Trump Tower, with the arrival of Bezos, all There will be an inevitable battle between the world’s most powerful and the world’s richest two. Sure enough, at the end of the year, Trump sent trouble to Bezos.
US President Trump: The US Postal Service is a joke. It loses money for online companies such as Amazon and loses money once it sends a package.
Trump said he asked the US Postal Service to increase the shipping cost of commercial packages by at least 4-5 times, and to avoid making the US Postal Service a "courier brother" for e-commerce companies such as Amazon. But in fact, Amazon is precisely the gold owner that feeds the US Postal Service.
In 2018, about 70% of Amazon's parcel delivery business was completed by USPS, which is one of the few profitable businesses of the USPS. According to the 2017 USPS earnings report, overall revenue decreased by US$1.8 billion year-on-year, but package and delivery revenue increased by US$2.1 billion year-on-year.
In April 2020, affected by the epidemic, the United States Postal Service was in a difficult business situation. The cash flow on the book will be exhausted by the end of September. It requested financial assistance from the Trump administration, but was severely rejected.
US President Trump: I do not dare to offend Amazon companies for whatever reason the US Postal is for. In short, the US Postal does not raise prices, and I will not approve any appropriation.
Forcing the U.S. Postal Service to fail to raise prices, Trump then proposed to increase antitrust investigations against technology companies such as Amazon.
In July last year, the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee asked Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook to submit relevant information for investigation. This week, the Judiciary Committee has confirmed that it will summon the CEOs of four technology giants to attend the antitrust hearing on July 27.
According to the "Capitol Hill News", at least three of the questioning members of this hearing (Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan) are members of the House of Representatives who support Trump. At that time, Bezos, who will appear publicly in Congress for the first time, is bound to face sharp questions.
However, this antitrust investigation has also received strong support from a tech tycoon, Musk, the CEO of the American space exploration technology company Space X.
On June 5, Musk tweeted: "It's time to split Amazon. Monopoly is evil."
The technological media THE VERGE believes that in recent years, the commercial layout of Musk and Bezos has been highly overlapping. Like Musk, Bezos also has a space dream. He is a hardcore fan of science fiction "Star Trek". In 2016, he also played a role in the movie "Star Trek 3" without compensation, fulfilling his wish for many years.
Amazon CEO Bezos: I got a character with lines, I only have one line with two words-"Speak normally".
In 2000, Bezos founded Blue Origin, and two years later, Musk founded Space X. Since then, the duo have been inspiring competition in terms of the lease of launch platforms, recyclable spacecraft, lunar vehicles, and communication satellites.
In June of this year, Amazon acquired ZOOX, a star company in the field of autonomous driving, at a "super value" of $1.2 billion. Later, Musk joked on Twitter @Bezos: "You are a "plagiarism dog." The reason is that in 2019, four employees of Musk's Tesla company went to ZOOX, and also took away a lot of trade secrets including the WARP logistics software platform system. Now that ZOOX is acquired by Amazon, it will undoubtedly challenge Tesla's driverless technology.
Bezos, whose wealth soared during the epidemic, became the target of the government, peers and the public for a while. However, in the eyes of American consumer news and business channels, money and power in American politics are often combined, causing serious social injustice. There are few giants split by the US government, and the tentacles of these monopoly giants are invading all aspects of people's lives. People in the industry generally believe that as the 2020 presidential election enters the countdown, it is even more difficult to split the huge Amazon. The battle between power and money will continue.
(Editor Wu Mengxuan)