Politics Share your voice An an anti-Amazon HQ2 rally outside New York City Hall. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET Some powerful New Yorkers are trying to get Amazon to bring back HQ2.The New York Times reported Thursday that an open letter will be published in the Times on Friday that asks Amazon to reconsider its decision to walk away from its plan to build a 25,000-employee campus in Long Island City, Queens. The company pulled the plug on the project, dubbed HQ2, following vocal and persistent opposition to the plan after it was announced three months ago.The letter was signed by the CEOs of Mastercard, Warby Parker, Goldman Sachs, Tishman Speyer and Jetblue, among others. The presidents of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and state AFL-CIO, which were expecting thousands of construction jobs to come from the project, also signed, as did US Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Carolyn Maloney.”We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming,” the letter stated. “Opinions are strong in New York — sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also had several conversations with Amazon, including CEO Jeff Bezos, about bringing back the project, the Times said.The letter and Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes efforts are part of the latest fallout since Amazon abandoned HQ2 in New York. The opposition has celebrated the exit as a victory for grassroots campaigns and a stand against lavish government incentives for new development plans. Amazon was slated to get about $3 billion in tax breaks for building the project. Supporters, who weren’t as vocal during the run-up to Amazon leaving, expressed shock and consternation about Amazon’s decision and worried that New York would appear unfriendly to new businesses.While the business community was broadly seen as in favor of the project, the letter shows how both the camps supporting and opposing HQ2 included unions and Democratic US congress members. Unlike Jeffries and Maloney, US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke against the HQ2 plan. Amazon declined to comment for this story, but the Times said Thursday that “Amazon executives gave no sense that it would reconsider.”The company is moving forward with the other half of the HQ2 project, which will be located in Arlington, Virginia. The company also faces public opposition to that project, too, though it appears to be smaller. Post a comment Amazon 0 Tags
OYO RoomsReutersHoteliers across India are planning to take the legal route to force bookings aggregator Oyo to abandon alleged predatory behaviour. Hundreds of budget hotels in major metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata have joined hands to take the move forward, the Economic Times reported.The grouse of the hoteliers is that Oyo is suppressing prices, changing contract terms and threatening to delay payments. The Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai is in the forefront of forming a nationwide lobby of hoteliers.Oyo, a unicorn startup flush with money, raised $1 billion in September, taking its valuation to $5 billion.”Rooms that we used to sell for Rs 2,000-2,500 are now being sold for Rs 800-900. Because of funding they are able to sell rooms at much lower rates. The minimum guarantee fee is also not coming, so we are not left with a choice,” Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai president Ashraf Ali told the daily.Oyo, India’s most valued startup built by Ritesh Agarwal, disrupted the hotel booking process entirely, offering customers a wide variety of rooms at dirt cheap rates.Backed by Japan’s Softbank and flush with funds, Oyo is already the biggest hotel chain in India. The company is also expanding aggressively into foreign markets like China and Japan.The Gurgaon-based company now manages as many as 180,000 rooms in China, compared with about 150,000 rooms in India and the rest of south Asia combined.Oyo Hotels & Homes, which is India’s second most valuable startup after Paytm, opened up great vistas of opportunities for travellers around the country but the innovative business practice is eating into the profits of hotel owners and threatening to unravel their commercial existence. OYO Rooms founder Ritesh AgarwalHotels owners in various cities say that they are left with meagre little after Oyo levies around 23-30 percent of the heavily discounted prices. Of late, the online platform has been arm-twisting them into accepting terms that are not viable anymore, the owners say.Oyo denied the charges, adding that it is focused on offering fair pricing to customers while hotel owners get an opportunity to scale their business using the platform.