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Chief executives are the new monarchs

BusinessBartlebyChief executives are the new monarchsThe habits and flaws tycoons share with dynastic rulersIN THE EARLY 15th century many of the Portuguese voyages of discovery around Africa and into Asia were financed by Prince Henry of Portugal, whom historians dubbed “Henry the Navigator”. When Christopher Columbus sought finance for his planned...

The many sides to Gautam Adani

BusinessSchumpeterThe many sides to Gautam AdaniCheck governance, as well as his group’s coal-to-clean energy recordONCE UPON a time, long before the hoodie was invented, pioneers of business preferred to call themselves self-made men rather than entrepreneurs. They built hard assets like ports, railways and oil terminals. They cajoled—and canoodled...

Semiconductors pose an unwelcome roadblock for carmakers

BusinessPinned by chipsSemiconductors pose an unwelcome roadblock for carmakersRethinking supply chains for the electric eraTHE SUDDEN unavailability a decade ago of cars in “tuxedo black”, “rugged brown” or “royal red” highlighted the vulnerability of the industry’s global supply chain. The abrupt closure of the only factory making a vital pigment...

Will Nvidia’s huge bet on artificial-intelligence chips pay off?

BusinessVeni, Nvidia, viciWill Nvidia’s huge bet on artificial-intelligence chips pay off?The unassuming chipmaking giant was early to the AI revolution—and remains ahead of rivals“WE’RE ALWAYS 30 days away from going out of business,” is a mantra of Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder of Nvidia, a semiconductor company. That may be a little hyperbolic coming...

Why businesses use so much jargon

BusinessBartlebyWhy businesses use so much jargonThe reasons behind management gobbledygookNO CHILD ASPIRES to a life talking the kind of nonsense that many executives speak. But it seems that, as soon as managers start to climb the corporate ladder, they begin to lose the ability to talk or write clearly. They instead become entangled in a forest of...

China’s techlash gains steam. Again

BusinessMarxism v marketsChina’s techlash gains steam. AgainOnline-education firms will not be the last victimsFIRST IT WAS fintech. Last November China’s Communist rulers abruptly suspended the $37bn initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group, a financial-technology titan, and forced it to modify its asset-light business into something more like a...

Facebook eyes a future beyond social media

BusinessJul 31st 2021 editionFaceworldFacebook eyes a future beyond social mediaAdvertising has made the social network into a trillion-dollar company. Can new ventures take it further?Editor's note (July 28th 2021): This story has been updated since it was first publishedFACEBOOK HAS always had two faces. One is the grimace of a firm that many people,...

As food prices soar, big agriculture is having a field day

BusinessJul 31st 2021 editionMilking itAs food prices soar, big agriculture is having a field dayHow long will it last?TROUBLE IS BREWING in America. The reopening economy’s hunger for goods from China, and for the containers that carry them, has left importers of coffee, of which the average American guzzles two cups a day, struggling to ship the stuff...

Japan Inc wants to become a hydrogen superpower

BusinessJul 24th 2021 editionBurning cleanJapan Inc wants to become a hydrogen superpowerTo succeed, it must focus on unglamorous industrial uses of the gasIN 2016 TOKYO’S then governor, Masuzoe Yoichi, predicted that the Olympics the Japanese capital was to host in 2020 would “leave a hydrogen society as its legacy”, just as the 1964 Tokyo games left...

Raising the curtain on Netflix’s ambitious third act

BusinessComing soonNetflix, season 3The DVDs-by-mail company conquered America’s video-streaming market. What next?AS LOCKDOWNS LOOMED last year, people scrambled to stock up on home-survival essentials: food, medicine and a Netflix subscription. In the first half of 2020 the streaming company registered 25m new members worldwide, twice as many as had...

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