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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition 1/29/2018

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

4 min
love is in the air—and on the shelves

As startup ideas go, a brick-and-mortar bookstore selling only romance novels doesn’t sound particularly promising. Amazon.com Inc., after all, dominates retail book sales, romance fans tend to prefer reading on electronic devices, and the genre isn’t the kind of highbrow fare featured at most of America’s remaining independent booksellers. Yet two years ago, sisters Bea and Leah Koch opened The Ripped Bodice in a peppermint-pink storefront in Culver City, Calif., piling the shelves with titles such as Bliss, Sweet Revenge, and Camelot Burning. “We get a lot of customers who say, ‘I’m not a romance reader,’ then they wander around the store and say, ‘Oh, I’ve read that book! And that book!’ ” says Bea, 28, a graduate of Yale and New York University, where she wrote her master’s thesis…

2 min
more assaults on obamacare

The year ahead looks to be dangerous for health-care security in the U.S., as the Trump administration continues to sabotage the law Congress couldn’t repeal. New proposals would let many more healthy Americans drop their Obamacare coverage—raising costs for the unhealthy and risks for everyone, sick or well. First, the administration intends to expand and deregulate association health plans. Under current law, such plans, sold to trade and professional associations, must cover “essential health benefits” such as hospitalization, maternity care, and prescription drugs. Trump wants to increase enrollment in these plans and end the restriction on benefits. This would let insurers create cheap, weak-coverage plans and market them to people who expect no big health-care expenses. Second, the administration wants the duration of unregulated short-term policies to grow from three months…

4 min
putting a grade on climate risk

Hurricane Maria was devastating for the residents of Puerto Rico. It hurt debt investors, too. Some of the island’s bonds plunged more than 40 percent after the storm flooded the island, knocked out its electric power, and clobbered its economy. Now bond rating agencies such as Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings are looking at whether they should be including more disaster forecasting in calculating the grades they give to government debt and to companies in industries ranging from insurance to construction. The agencies have looked at these risks for years and issued reports on them, but in recent months they’ve been working to integrate this research more into individual ratings. In November, Moody’s warned coastal cities and states to address their climate risks or face possible downgrades. A month…

4 min
slot machines for millennials

It’s one of the big dilemmas facing the $70 billion U.S. casino industry—how to get people in their 20s and 30s to play slot machines as much as their parents or grandparents. Generations raised on video games and smartphones don’t have the same interest in plopping themselves in front of screens when they’re out on the town. In Las Vegas, the percentage of visitors actually gambling is down, while the share going to nightclubs and other attractions is up. The total number of slot machines in Sin City is off 23 percent from its 2001 peak—the machines make up the majority of gambling revenue in the U.S. That’s why Eric Meyerhofer, an electrical engineer who previously ran a company that made ticket printers for slot machines, co-founded Gamblit Gaming, which builds…

9 min
what america pays for free speech

The Women’s March in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 20, might have been the 8,701st protest in the U.S. since Donald Trump’s inauguration a year ago. Or maybe there were more. Even the Crowd Counting Consortium, run by two university professors, with lots of volunteer help, can’t track all the rallies and marches since Trump took office. But they do know that between anti-Trump protests, rallies by white nationalist groups, and counterprotests against both, Americans have been exercising their First Amendment rights at a frenetic pace. Amid the commotion and disruption, the price of free speech has gone up. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech in public spaces: It’s a civic right with civic costs. The Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that the government can’t impose fees on speakers based on the…

1 min
breville oracle touch

THE CHARACTERISTICS In its native Australia, Breville is synonymous with toasters. But since expanding to the U.S. in 2002, the company has been quietly unsettling a wide field of established brands with durable, high-performance induction burners and food processors. Its latest coup is in the automatic espresso market: The Oracle Touch uses an intuitive touchscreen to prepare—and re-create on command—your favorite espresso drink. An integrated conical burr grinder removes guesswork, and a steam wand, powered by a dedicated boiler, textures milk to your taste without requiring a doctorate in coffee science. THE COMPETITION Although it looks like an industrial-grade machine, the $2,500 Oracle Touch is meant to help java fiends make cafe-quality drinks at home. Jura Inc.’s $5,500 Giga W3 offers 31 espresso drinks, compared with the Oracle Touch’s five, but Breville’s precise…