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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition 2/12/2018

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

13 min
pssst—   want some crypto?

Late one Monday morning last December, Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev, co-chief executive officers of online stock brokerage Robinhood, called an emergency meeting in the company’s cramped Palo Alto office. Behind them on a flatscreen TV an image of the Greek sun god, Helios, appeared over a hot pink background with the words “DON’T SLEEP” in giant, yellow type. On the bottom, right-hand corner of the image was a date: Jan. 31. The meeting was short but to the point. Bhatt and Tenev told the 150 employees—some watching via video from Robinhood’s Orlando office—that the company was in danger of missing out on Bitcoin, which, as they saw it, was the biggest thing to happen to the financial-services industry in decades. Workers would have to drop what they were doing and…

4 min
don’t use this ai tailor … yet

Original Stitch has all the trappings of an e-commerce success story. It’s a San Francisco startup with an artificial intelligence angle, $5 million in funding from A-list investors, and a factory partner in the Japanese Alps. The pitch is simple: Original Stitch uses computer-vision software to review photos of your most beloved dress shirts uploaded to the company website, then delivers perfectly tailored copies. We tried it—the only problem was that it didn’t work. When the first shirt arrived too tight around the chest and too long in the sleeves, we figured an editor’s sloppy photography was to blame, but the problems persisted with a second attempt. A third shirt, ordered under a different name to make sure we wouldn’t get special treatment, could barely be buttoned up. The sleeves felt…

4 min
singapore is the new hong kong

When more than 80 of China’s wealth managers gathered recently at the Shangri-La on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa, the chatter during tea breaks kept returning to one theme: Hong Kong is starting to be eclipsed by Singapore as the favorite destination for the wealth of China’s rich. At stake for banks in both cities is a huge pile of money. China’s high-net-worth individuals control an estimated $5.8 trillion—almost half of it already offshore, according to consulting firm Capgemini SE. For some, the city-state of Singapore is preferable because it’s at a safer distance from any potential scrutiny from authorities in Beijing, according to interviews with several wealth managers. Multiple private banking sources in Singapore, who wouldn’t comment on the record because of the sensitivity of the subject, report seeing increased…

5 min
banks win big in trump’s washington

This is “a time to reflect on the need for strong guardrails ... not a time for taking those apart” In early February, with the Treasury secretary testifying about wild gyrations in the stock market and the Federal Reserve leveling unprecedented penalties against Wells Fargo & Co., it may have felt like 2008 again, with the financial system under siege. In reality, banks are booming, at least in Washington. As the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis approaches, many of the restrictions put in place to rein in Wall Street risk-taking are quietly being unwound. The Senate is considering legislation that would remove dozens of major banks from stepped-up oversight. The bill has broad Republican support and has been endorsed by 11 Democrats. In recent months a handful of the federal agencies…

8 min
bitcoin’s candidate for congress

Over the past year, Bitcoin’s meteoric rise—and recent plunge—has captivated the financial world. The political world? Not so much. Washington remains stubbornly ignorant of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. But that may soon change. A roster of prominent crypto investors has piled in to support a first-time Democratic congressional candidate, Brian Forde, who’s looking to unseat the incumbent Republican in a pivotal Orange County, Calif., race that could determine which party controls the House of Representatives after November’s midterm elections. Forde’s appeal isn’t hard to discern. Before running for Congress, the 37-year-old coder was director of digital currency at MIT’s Media Lab and a technology adviser in Barack Obama’s White House. Forde says his tech and business background is a good match for California’s 45th District, an historically GOP area currently represented…

4 min
welcome to the market, newbies

Was it the computers or the humans? The blame game is on for the wild stock market rout of Monday, Feb. 5, when the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,175 points before climbing part of the way back the following day. Some likely suspects: hyperspeed algorithmic trading and a Wall Street stew of complex products that bet on volatility. Another: a record amount of money that has poured into stock funds recently from individuals. Maybe their late arrival—years into a bull market—finally pushed stocks up too high. There was already selling the Friday before, when a strong jobs report stoked fear that a hotter economy could spur the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. Higher borrowing costs, the thinking went, would crimp profit margins at companies and sap consumer spending…