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Facebook’s rumoured name-change reflects ambition—and weakness

WORTH NEARLY $1TRN, Facebook is the world’s sixth-most-valuable company. Its revenues have grown by 56% in the past year, and its share price by more than a quarter. Nearly 3bn people use its products every month. Why would such a glittering success change its name, as the Verge, a news site, reports it plans to within days? The likely official reason...

Samsung Electronics wants to dominate cutting-edge chipmaking

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS (SE) is a behemoth. The South Korean tech company is the crown jewel of the mighty Samsung chaebol, as the country’s conglomerates are known. It makes more smartphones than any other company in the world, as well as home-entertainment systems and appliances. It dominates the manufacturing of memory chips, which are used to store...

Huawei should dissolve, disperse and seed China’s high-tech future

HUAWEI, A CHINESE firm emblematic of the breakdown in Sino-American relations, makes for a perfect business-school case study. Less than two years ago the company, based in the southern boom town of Shenzhen, had not only surpassed Nokia and Ericsson, its Nordic rivals, to become the world’s leading supplier of telecoms infrastructure. It had also overtaken...

All manner of industries are piling into the hydrogen rush

“WE ARE BUILDING the energy company of the future…like Tesla did,” declares Seifi Ghasemi, chairman of Air Products. Comparing yourself to the electric-car darling may seem Napoleonic for a purveyor of industrial gases. But Mr Ghasemi, who has thought about one gas in particular, hydrogen, for 30 years, insists the comparison is apt. He is not alone....

Zhongwang, a Chinese aluminium giant, may withstand American pressure

LIU ZHONGTIAN has been called Asia’s “aluminium king”. His firm, Zhongwang Group, is one of the world’s largest makers of aluminium products. At one point he was the richest man in China’s north-eastern rust belt, where the company is based. In America, Mr Liu has a different reputation. Firms controlled by the 57-year-old were convicted in late August...

The meaning of mission statements

“WE ARE A community company committed to maximum global impact. Our mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness.” The opening lines of WeWork’s prospectus for its planned initial public offering in 2019 seem to confirm the worst about mission statements. People sit in a room earnestly discussing the differences between their purpose, their vision...

Why does Tata Group want Air India back?

J.R.D. TATA recalled it as his saddest day. In 1978 the illustrious Indian industrialist opened the newspaper to discover that the government had fired him as chairman of Air India, the airline he founded in 1932 and managed even after its nationalisation in 1953. He called his secretary to ask if the story of his sacking was true. She replied that...

Femtech firms are at last enjoying an investment boom

A HORMONE CALLED relaxin helps loosen up pregnant women’s hips. Without it, the pain of delivery would be unbearable. Its job done, however, relaxin lingers in female bodies for up to a year, when softer ligaments make new mothers more prone to injury, as Jessica Ennis-Hill, an Olympic champion heptathlete, discovered in training after giving birth...

How to run better meetings

MEETINGS ABSORB more time and drain morale more consistently than any other corporate activity. Before the pandemic managers were spending an average of 23 hours a week in meetings. Since then the barriers to calling people together have come down. Now that calendars are routinely shared, an empty diary slot attracts invitations like picnics do wasps....

How Adobe became Silicon Valley’s quiet reinventor

BY SILICON VALLEY standards, Adobe is a dull company. Nudging 40 it is middle-aged. It does not make headlines with mega-mergers or have a swashbuckling chief executive. “I feel very comfortable not being out there pounding my chest,” confesses its boss, Shantanu Narayen, in a rare interview. All the while, Adobe has quietly managed to adapt to the...

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