Business & Finance
Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition March 25, 2019

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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50 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
in brief

● Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank said they’re in exploratory talks to merge, potentially creating a German banking champion after years of failed cost cuts and management shake-ups. ▷ 23 ● U.S. Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged. In a sign of concern about economic growth, the Fed also lowered its projected interest-rate increases this year to zero and said it would stop reducing its bond holdings in September. ● High-water records were set across Nebraska in this week’s flooding, and authorities have had to rescue at least 175 people. More rain is on the way. ● Boeing revealed that CEO Dennis Muilenburg was paid $23.4m for 2018, a big increase from the previous year. The announcement comes as the company grapples with the aftermath of two 737 Max crashes. ● Bayer shares…

1 min.

▶ Apple to Take a Bite Out of Netflix Apple will unveil a streaming service on March 25 that combines original content with programming from HBO, Starz, and other partners. The offering opens a battlefront with Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix, which says it won’t be part of the platform. ▶ Felix Sater, a former business partner of Donald Trump, appears on March 27 at a congressional hearing probing his role in a Moscow skyscraper plan. ▶ Ukraine holds presidential elections on March 31. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a TV comic who likes to poke fun at the country’s elites, is leading in opinion polls. ▶ Mexico’s central bank unveils its interest-rate decision on March 28. Inflation in the country has slowed, lifting expectations of a rate cut later this year. ▶ Shares in Lyft, the…

2 min.
india vs. fake news

For online trolls, India might be the world’s fattest target. Nearly a billion people are registered to vote in the country’s upcoming elections, the largest in history. Meanwhile, India is one of the fastest-growing markets for social media platforms and messaging apps. The potential for hoaxes, slander, rumors, and sundry other misinformation to influence voters is vast. The country’s efforts to combat that threat, however, risk undermining the very democracy they’re meant to save. The challenge India faces is emblematic. Misinformation is upending politics and worsening tensions across the developing world. It’s even contributed to violence, from the pogroms of Rohingya in Myanmar stoked by Facebook posts to lynchings in India sparked by rumors on WhatsApp. Several vulnerable democracies are also going to the polls this year. India’s approach to the…

9 min.
when lives are on the line

Evil travels freely on the internet. It flickers before us in plain sight. Yet, despite the livestreamed horror of March 15 in Christchurch, New Zealand, enacting social media reforms will take massive efforts in regulation, requiring the cooperation of the tech giants, governments, and consumers. In a perfect world, YouTube’s and Facebook’s algorithms would race through a video as soon as someone tries to upload it. If the machines recognize troubling content or a video that’s already been banned, the images would never reach the public. So what happened in New Zealand? Alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant had an audience of only about 200 people during the 17 minutes he broadcast his attack on the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. Yet, though Facebook Inc. took the video off Tarrant’s page 12 minutes after…

5 min.
levi strauss wants to be bigger than jeans

In 1873, German immigrant Levi Strauss founded an industry when he began outfitting California gold miners with blue jeans. His company evolved by innovating—adding belt loops, for example—and expanding its product line, making clothing for women, kids, and teenagers. By the middle of the last century, Levi’s jeans were an American icon. In the 1980s competition from the likes of Calvin Klein and Gap dethroned Levi Strauss & Co. Fashion shifted away from denim, to khakis in the 1990s and more recently to athleisure’s mix of workout gear and casual clothing, adding to its woes. Now the company synonymous with pants says it’s found a strategy to revive its past glory: tops. Sales of Levi’s tops doubled in the past five years, to more than $1 billion. The category—encompassing button-downs, sweatshirts, and…

4 min.
how a.i. ate the colonel

In Shanghai’s southeastern district of Xujiahui, Colonel Sanders’s smiling visage looms over the restaurant entrance, as it does at thousands of KFC locations around the globe. But step inside, and it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary KFC. Customers line up before a row of touchscreen kiosks, keying in orders while a camera scans their faces to process payment in less than a second. Downstairs, a robot arm whirs to life to prepare an ice cream cone. Diners can choose the joint’s background music via app and listen to a favorite tune while they eat. So far only a few hundred KFC locations have been similarly tricked out. But Yum China Holdings Inc. says 86 percent of transactions are already cashless and about half of orders are placed via mobile…