As the Afghanistan crisis unfolds, Airbnb and others step up to help
Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.
In the unfolding tragedy of the Afghanistan withdrawal—the politics of which I will refrain from addressing here—it’s good to see a handful of companies trying to make things less horrible for some of the affected people.
First up is Airbnb, which has announced that it will organize accommodation for 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world, largely via its Airbnb.org nonprofit. The money will come from the company, CEO Brian Chesky, and donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund—though, as Chesky noted on Twitter, the generosity of Airbnb’s hosts is also crucial.
Chesky also tweeted: “The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up. I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste.”
Airbnb and its associated nonprofit have already helped place 25,000 refugees in temporary accommodation over the past four years, and the NGO also recently stepped in to help those affected by Europe’s deadly summer floods. It and Airbnb’s hosts have also done a lot to support first responders and frontline workers during the pandemic.
Similarly, much as Verizon responded to the recent earthquake in Haiti by waiving calling charges to the country, it has now also done so for those trying to call Afghanistan. Verizon Consumer Group CEO Ronan Dunne: “During this time of need, customers need to stay connected with loved ones in Afghanistan.”
Walmart has also made a gesture, with its foundation committing $1 million to NGOs that aid incoming refugees, and veterans and their families who are also hurting right now. And finally, let’s not forget American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Atlas Air, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines, all of which are providing planes for transporting those who have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
I hope Chesky’s call for a wider corporate response to this humanitarian crisis does not fall on deaf ears. More news below.
Mobile duopolists Google and Apple may soon be banned—in South Korea—from forcing developers to use their payment systems. When developers do this, the operating-system providers typically take a 30% cut. The move was cleared today by a South Korean parliamentary committee, but a final plenary vote has reportedly been delayed until further notice. Fortune
SEC and China
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to place additional reporting obligations on over 250 Chinese companies that trade in U.S. markets—not just those seeking IPOs there. The companies would need to inform American investors about the political and regulatory risks they face. Fortune
The U.S. may have urged COVID-19 vaccine makers to share their technology with others, but the Biden administration has apparently told South Korean officials that the decision is ultimately up to the private sector. South Korean companies are having trouble getting IP-licensing deals out of Pfizer and Moderna. Financial Times
Eyewear retailer Warby Parker has filed for a direct listing, in the process revealing a 53% revenue boost this year. The company could reportedly be valued at $3 billion in the listing. Fortune
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Goldman Sachs, which led Wall Street's return to the office, has now introduced the stringent safety measures that its rivals already introduced, i.e. requiring vaccination and mask usage. Fortune
When it came to supply-chain disruptions, automotive was the worst-hit sector during the pandemic, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey. A slight majority of supply-chain managers in the sector said the disruption they faced had been "very significant". Footwear and apparel was not far behind. CNBC
Tesla and Bitcoin
As Shawn Tully writes, Bitcoin's recent recovery past $50,000 (though it's a little below that mark at the time of writing) means Tesla is "now sitting on a pre-tax cash and paper gains on its Bitcoin investment equivalent to two-thirds of its Q2 profits excluding the sale of regulatory credits." Fortune
A U.S. intelligence assessment regarding the origins of the coronavirus has been delivered with no definitive conclusions, because of China refusing access to the data that might clear up the mystery. Wall Street Journal
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.
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