Things in the business world to look forward to in 2021

Let’s be honest — 2020 was a tough year that most of us will not easily forget. Since we are all truly exhausted from the impact of the never-ending negative news, let’s focus on the positive events that await us in 2021.

Dubai Expo

The first World Expo took place in London nearly 170 years ago during the industrialisation period. The topic: ‘Industry of all Nations’ suggests that the central idea of it was to celebrate the advancements in industrial technology, design and education. Since then, every five years the expo moves to a different city.

The Dubai Expo was scheduled to start on 20th October 2020 and then was moved one year later. Looking at the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, we can expect the pavilions to be full of futuristics exhibits emphasizing the modern, digital and interconnected world. Each country selects one sub-theme from the following list: Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. Although the final selections haven’t been completed yet, we can already look forward to the combination of South Korea + mobility; Switzerland + opportunity and New Zealand + sustainability.

The preparations led up to 270 000 new jobs in the region and $40 billion financial injection into the economy. This bill might get balanced by the profits from visitors as Dubai is expecting a skyrocketing 100 million annual visits, more than thirty per cent rise from previous years. To be fair, is there any other city in the world that better fulfils the ‘Creating the future’ motto than Dubai? We wish the Dubai Expo 2021 all the best.

Model of the German pavilion at the Expo [1]

US and EU bilateral cooperation

In recent years, many clashes over trade, international relations and technology decelerated the cooperation between the European Union and its western ally. This may, however, change after the November election. The President-elect Joe Biden is expected to start presidency in January 2021. Politics aside, it is expected that under Biden’s administration, the collaboration will strengthen. The push for this is mainly initiated by the EU side after the high-representatives of the European Commission drafted a proposal for a new trans-Atlantic agenda.

‘When the transatlantic partnership is strong, the EU and the US are both stronger. It is time to reconnect with a new agenda for transatlantic and global cooperation for the world.’

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, 2nd December 2020

The agenda proposes cooperation in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and primarily calls for equal distribution of the vaccine on the global scale amid the vaccine nationalism. Other points in the document include the green agenda, starting with net-zero emissions policy by 2050, working on conflict resolutions, promoting human rights and fighting the rise of authoritarian regimes. Lastly, the agenda highlights the importance of fair taxation of Big Tech’s companies and the establishment of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

Biden visits the European Council as a Vice-president between 2008 and 2016 [2]

Unemployment

The pandemic targeted the people from the lower class more than the others. This makes a rational sense since the upper-class was able to integrate into the Zoom’s workplace rather quickly. The world’s richest performed extremely well during the crisis, as the billionaires net worth rose by more than a quarter (28%) from April to June. Despite different governments proposed different stimulus packages, the lower-income groups have still suffered. Having trouble to pay bills was a difficulty of 46% of the American lower class, and 35% of them used a food-bank service. Food banks report up to twice as much demand compared to the last year.

Unemployment rate in the US was the highest in more than 70 years [3]

The US was hit hard by the unemployment rates, due to its lenient lay-of policies. On the contrary, in the EU countries, the rate didn’t spike extensively. One reason may be the German Kurzarbeit policy in which the government subsidizes a fixed percentage of workers salaries. This approach was later adopted by other European governments.

The German unemployment model did not take a major hit [4]

2021 is good news especially to the working class since their jobs were jeopardized the most. According to the Goldman Sachs report, the unemployment in the US will fall to 5.3% next year, and other countries would follow this pattern, after a mass vaccination campaign in the spring and re-opening of the economy.

New companies on the market

This year was rich in terms of the new companies added to the market. Those included Palantir (200% up since its initial offering), Airbnb (18% up since its recent initial offering) and Lemonade (70% up since its initial offering).

Tesla — the true winner of the market in 2020. Their stock value rose more than 650% in the last 12 months and that made Tesla more valuable than Volkswagen, GM, BMW, Honda, Ford, Fiat and Hyundai combined! [5]

We can expect:

Instacart, an American grocery-delivery company, surged over the course of the last 12 months. This year Instacart managed to raise $100 million in June, $225 million in July and $200 million in October, and by doing so expanded massively. Currently, they cover 80% of US households and 70% of Canadian. The estimates for Instacart’s valuation vary in between $17–$30 billion.

Bumble is the main competitor to Tinder, yet the dating mechanism is different, in which the app allows only women to make the first move. Bumble goes beyond just dating as it offers social and professional networking. According to Bloomberg, the initial public offering of Bumble may happen in the spring of 2021 and its market capitalisation would be somewhere between $6 and $8 billion.

Coursera is a major player in the MOOCs (Massive Open Online courses) industry. The courses are usually created by one of the 200 partnerings universities, or by a well-establish company in that field such as Google or IBM. Online learning boomed during the pandemic, so it’s not a coincidence for Coursera to consider going public. The report suggests that Coursera’s value would be approximately $5 billion.

These are the most interesting ones, but many more are expected to arrive as well, without a definite timeline, including Robinhood, Deliveroo, Petco or GitLab

See you in 2021!

Image sources:

[1] https://www.l-a-v-a.net/projects/german-pavilion-expo-2020/

[2] https://www.dw.com/en/biden-trump-eu-relationship/a-55432062

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54029361

[4] https://take-profit.org/en/statistics/unemployment-rate/germany/

[5] https://biographics.org/elon-musk-biography-investor-engineer-inventor/

[6] Business vector created by pch.vector — www.freepik.com

Computer Science student at University College London. I am interested in fintech, geopolitics and emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia.

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