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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition September 30, 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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Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

7 min
big in japan

The September sun was starting to set over Tokyo—prime surfing hours at the beaches in nearby Shonan—when Kanoa Igarashi, Japan’s most famous wave rider, dragged himself and his entourage into the Harajuku showroom of Quiksilver Inc., one of his sponsors. It had been a whirlwind 48-hour promotional blitz. He’d flown 5,000 miles from Surf Ranch, the mechanical wave pool that Kelly Slater built in Southern California’s inland valley, where Igarashi had spent nine hours getting filmed carving one perfect, machine-made tube after another, then having his blood tested for lactic acid levels. After touching down in Tokyo at 5 a.m., he climbed into a black SUV headed toward the Prince Park Tower Hotel, where, by 11 a.m., he’d already done a half-dozen interviews with Japanese media. Then there was a photo shoot…

5 min
the future of bond managers

Investors are fleeing actively managed stock funds in favor of index funds. Active bond funds may be next. Academics have understood for decades that stockpickers are unlikely to beat their benchmark indexes after fees, but investors’ reaction was delayed. They kept handing equity managers money. From 1993 to 2007, actively managed stock mutual funds boasted net inflows every year except one, according to Morningstar Inc.’s earliest available numbers. There were three notable reasons why investors stuck with stockpickers as long as they did. First, the best-known index funds merely tracked the broad market—so investors who wanted exposure to specific styles of stockpicking, such as focusing on hard-luck “value” companies or smaller firms, were drawn to active funds. Second, the mutual fund industry persuaded many investors that stock-pickers would better protect their money…

4 min
europe’s anti-immigrant leaders have a secret

Satwinder Singh caused quite a stir when he arrived in Sarud, a sleepy Hungarian village, four years ago. He was among a handful of guest workers who’d been brought over from India to work at a dairy farm that was struggling to stay afloat because of a labor shortage. The locals weren’t welcoming. Speaking on a recent morning, he described being pelted with eggs by some townsfolk. Others called him a terrorist. Some of Sarud’s residents took their concerns straight to their mayor. “Someone came to me saying the Indians will inject poison into the milk and contaminate the whole country,” recalls Istvan Tilcsik. “Then people saw they just came to work and never had run-ins with the law. Things have settled down now.” Hungary’s prime minister would probably prefer that Singh…

3 min
not simply brexit

In May 2015, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron collapsed into the back seat of his armored car with his wife, Samantha, and wept with relief. He’d just pulled off a political miracle, defying the odds to win an outright majority for his Conservative Party in the general election. It was, he told his team, “the sweetest victory” of his career. The taste of that triumph turned to dust a year later when British voters rejected his impassioned appeal to remain within the European Union and chose to leave in the Brexit referendum. It’s this catastrophic defeat, which promptly ended his career, that’s defined Cameron’s premiership. The charge most often leveled against him is that he gambled with Britain’s future to resolve an internal party split over Europe and lost. In his autobiography,…

4 min
china’s go-slow stimulus

Donald Trump has called the leaders of the Federal Reserve “boneheads” for not doing enough to juice U.S. economic growth—even though the Fed has already cut interest rates twice this year. Meantime, the European Central Bank says it’s ready to buy as much debt as it takes to reflate the euro area. That leaves China as the only one of the world’s big three economies that isn’t slamming its foot on the growth pedal. It’s an extraordinary policy turnaround. In past cycles, any hint that the Communist Party’s lofty growth forecasts were under threat led to all-in stimulus. This time around, even with the Chinese economy headed for the slowest expansion in almost three decades—and with more space to cut interest rates than its global counterparts have—President Xi Jinping is doubling…

5 min
a flyin’shame

To celebrate raising $460 million in new capital, finance startup Klarna Bank AB invited 600 staffers from its Stockholm headquarters to Berlin for a party in September. But instead of heading to the airport for the 90-minute hop to the German capital, the programmers, managers, and salespeople showed up at Stockholm’s Central Station for a 15-hour schlep by train and bus. The company, which offers online payment services, bars virtually all employee air travel within Europe and discourages longer-distance flights. “It’s our aim to become carbon neutral,” says Robert Bueninck, chief of Klarna’s business in Germany, who frequently rides the rails on business trips to Brussels, London, and elsewhere. “We know what’s happening to our planet.” Like Klarna, companies across Europe are reconsidering travel policies, and individuals are asking whether jetting…