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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition June 29, 2020

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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.
in brief

Coronavirus infections in Florida rose to another high, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott said contagion was accelerating at “an unacceptable rate,” though he doesn’t want to reimpose an economic lockdown. Globally, cases have passed 9m and deaths have topped 478,000. UBS predicted that up to a third of its employees might now work remotely on a permanent basis. The Swiss banking giant, which employs almost 70,000, had 80% of its worldwide staff at home at the height of the pandemic. The guitar Kurt Cobain played at Nirvana’s historic MTV Unplugged concert in 1993 sold for a record $6 million at an auction in Beverly Hills. The buyer of the 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar was Peter Freedman, founder of Rode Microphones. Wirecard is imploding after revealing that €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) has gone missing. Markus…

3 min.
what the next u.s. economic stimulus should look like

So far, the U.S. economic policy response to the coronavirus crisis has been impressive. Nobody could accuse Congress and the Federal Reserve of being timid about supporting output and employment. Even so, their work is just getting started. The recovery is under way, but it follows an extraordinarily deep decline. If all goes well from here—a big if—it will take months and maybe years to get back on track. Meanwhile, several of the emergency budget measures included in the recent Cares Act and other pandemic legislation will soon expire. The economy needs a new round of fiscal support. In designing the next package, Congress would be wise to lean heavily on the plan advanced recently by Jason Furman, Timothy Geithner, Glenn Hubbard, and Melissa Kearney—distinguished economists and former policymakers from both parties.…

1 min.
steering through tumultuous times

China reports second-quarter GDP figures on July 15. The economy has begun to mend as the coronavirus retreats, but infections have flared up again in Beijing. The Reserve Bank of Australia unveils its interest rate decision on July 7. Borrowing costs stand at 0.25%; the bank has said it will likely maintain current levels for years. Daimler holds its annual general meeting on July 8. Investors at the virtual gathering will grill management on last year’s multiple profit warnings and the outlook for 2020. A June 30 deadline looms for negotiators from London and Brussels to decide whether to prolong the post-Brexit transition period by one or two years. Ralph Hamers packs up his bags at Dutch lender ING at the end of June and moves to Zurich, where he’s due to take over…

10 min.
the bubble that never pops

Don’t tell President Trump, but China is winning. The U.S. has thousands of new Covid-19 cases a day. China’s reported daily case count is down to double digits. The U.S. is braced for an historic 6% contraction in gross domestic product. China’s rapid rebound means it’s poised for another year of growth—and a speedier catch-up in the race to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy. America’s international standing has seldom been lower. From the corridors of the World Health Organization to the protest-ridden streets of Hong Kong, China’s global clout increases. For many, China’s world-beating rebound must come as a surprise. To read the history of China analysis in the last 30 years is to be bombarded with predictions of imminent demise. Sure, the skeptics conceded, double-digit growth looked impressive.…

5 min.
germany’s fintech dreams, interrupted

The question everyone in the German business world is asking these days is as simple as it is perplexing: How, exactly, do you misplace more than $2 billion? That’s the mystery surrounding Wirecard AG. The darling of the financial community was founded two decades ago as a processor of payments for porn and gambling websites, but it morphed into a developer of software for online transactions with a roster of A-list customers such as FedEx, Ikea, and Singapore Airlines. On June 18, Wirecard said auditors couldn’t locate €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion)—about four-fifths of its net cash—that was supposed to be held at a pair of banks in Asia. That spurred a sharp drop in the company’s already battered share price (it’s now down more than 90% from its 2018 peak)…

6 min.
in asia, brands have a race problem, too

Almost 90 years ago, consumer-products maker Hawley & Hazel decided to piggyback on the popularity of vaudeville singers like Al Jolson, a White man who won fame in Jim Crow America performing in blackface. The Shanghai-based company named its new toothpaste brand Darkie and emblazoned its packaging with a blackfaced man sporting a top hat and a toothy grin. Even before the recent Black Lives Matter protests around the globe, maintaining that kind of racial trope would have been considered a marketing bridge too far in much of the world. Not so in Asia. The English name on the toothpaste’s packaging was changed in the late 1980s after Colgate-Palmolive Co. bought 50% of the brand, but the product kept its racially charged name in Chinese. It’s still called Hei Ren Yagao—“Black…