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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition May 4, 2020

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

2 min
table for one

At a mere 9 inches across, the Lily table looks like it might be missing an extra section or two. But welcome to the world of drink tables. Popularized in the 1920s, when people began entertaining at home more often, these small surfaces are just big enough for one cocktail—maybe two. Prized for its portability, the drink table has made a comeback in recent years as interest in decorating has grown and home sizes have shrunk. “There’s a high demand for small-space solutions, particularly for flexible items that make a big impact visually and functionally,” says Jeff Hannoosh, vice president for design at West Elm. The company introduced its bestselling Martini table in 2009 and has since added almost a dozen other styles. Even those with plenty of room are embracing the…

5 min
trump and merkel: a study in polar opposites

Donald Trump and Angela Merkel were never destined to hit it off, but with the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, the depth of their differences—in style and substance—has never been more apparent. The pandemic has amplified the two leaders’ most fundamental traits: for Trump, a proclivity to bask in the limelight and a loose relationship with the facts; for Merkel, the frankness and clarity of a scientist who takes comfort in data. So far, the German chancellor’s approach has been the clear winner. Merkel’s popularity at home has soared after she consistently delivered sober messages about the toll the virus would take on Germans’ lives. President Trump has taken a near-opposite approach. In the early days of the outbreak, he insisted his administration had it “under control,” and for weeks he continued…

4 min
red states will need bailouts, too

On April 27, President Trump took to Twitter to escalate the spat over the next coronavirus stimulus, questioning whether the federal government should rescue “poorly run” states led by Democrats. His tweet echoed the comments of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who suggested during a radio interview that states with large pension obligations under union contracts could pursue bankruptcy instead of federal aid. The Kentucky Republican’s office gave his comments a twist in a press release with a section titled “On Stopping Blue State Bailouts.” It’s true that many of the states that are ground zero for the Covid-19 pandemic—New York and New Jersey, as well as California and Illinois—are solidly Democratic. But the fiscal challenges that states now face aren’t limited to the blue ones and go well beyond pension…

5 min
the crown prince’s plans go awry

The courtyard around the Grand Mosque in Mecca should be teeming with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims marking the start of Ramadan. Instead, it’s deserted: The coronavirus pandemic has hit the city where the Prophet Muhammad was born. Saudi Arabia’s response to Covid-19 was to lock down quickly, winning praise from many Saudis. The economic impact of the pandemic, though, couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time. This was supposed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s year. For 2020 the plan was for Saudi Arabia to exhibit some of the first fruits of its great modernization project—from a record number of Muslim faithful visiting holy sites to new industries that showed the society had become more open and could one day thrive without oil. Then, in November, the 34-year-old…

5 min
when anime becomes a refuge for patriotism

Like many Chinese teenagers, Shan Bingxin turns to Bilibili to alleviate his pandemic ennui. For about three hours a day, the 15-year-old scours the online entertainment hub for anime clips, gaming tutorials, and news. But increasingly, the site that began as a forum for gaming- and animation-obsessed geeks is emerging as an unlikely hotbed for current affairs—with an ever more nationalistic bent. Alongside typical posts about Grand Theft Auto or the Japanese manga series Naruto are clips generated by government-sanctioned influencers and hawkish news outlets. Shan recently watched a livestream showing Wuhan rapidly erecting temporary hospitals for virus patients, which filled him with pride in his country. Another clip showing U.S. President Trump calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” infuriated him. Beijing is using popular culture to appeal to young people by plastering…

12 min
go big

The economic crisis created by Covid-19 is unlike any other in modern American history. Thousands are dead, and the economic fallout has been devastating. More people lost their jobs over four weeks in March and April than did so during the entire 2008-09 financial crisis. In fact, since mid-March, all of the employment gains since the last crisis ended have been lost. Of the 156 million people the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measured as working full time then, more than 26 million—about 16.7%—were no longer receiving a paycheck as of April 23. If you add in gig workers and those who were unable to file unemployment claims because state offices were too overwhelmed, the tally was more than 20%. At this pace, we will eclipse the peak of unemployment…