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Japan Inc wants to become a hydrogen superpower

IN 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 the Shinkansen bullet trains. Later that year Mr Masuzoe resigned over an expenses scandal. But as Tokyo prepares for the pandemic-delayed opening ceremony...

China offers a masterclass in how to humble big tech, right?

ANTITRUST USED to be as American as apple pie. The Boston Tea Party was, in part, a protest against the monopoly of the British East India Company. The word itself stems from the trusts, such as Standard Oil, that lorded it over the American economy in the 19th century. For stretches of the 20th it became America’s charter not just for free enterprise,...

How to lead from afar

WHEN OFFICE workers were sent home in the spring of 2020, managers suddenly faced a new challenge: how to supervise teams that were working remotely. While employees are now gradually heading back to their desks, a much greater share will work from home at least occasionally than before the pandemic. A new book, “Leading at a Distance”, by James Citrin...

LinkedIn faces awkward choices in China

FOREIGN INTERNET firms have a rough time in China. To stop the spread of ideas it deems dangerous, the Communist Party blocked YouTube’s video-sharing site, Facebook’s social network and Twitter’s microblog in 2009. A year later Google abruptly shut its Chinese search engine after a dispute with censors. Chinese who want to access Western social media...

Netflix, season 3

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 giant registered 25m new members globally, twice as many as had signed up in the same period a year earlier. With viewers hunkering down to see out the pandemic on the sofa, “Outbreak”,...

Technology unicorns are growing at a record clip

AILEEN LEE, a venture capitalist who founded an investment firm called Cowboy Ventures, coined the term “unicorn” in 2013 to refer to what was then a rare, mythical species: privately held startups valued at $1bn or more. Any magical attributes aside, today they are commonplace—and becoming ever more so. Consumers, who stand to benefit from an array...

Staffing firms look beyond the pandemic

A YEAR AGO employers were furloughing staff. Now many of them are desperately looking for more. The rapid bounce-back in some bits of the labour market—notwithstanding the risk of a new pandemic flare-up—has been good news for workers angling for a pay rise. It is also a boon for staffing agencies, which match firms with potential hires. Beyond short-term...

China’s “dreamchild” is stealthily winning the battery race

IN AMERICA, IF you want to dominate an industry, you channel your inner Elon Musk and shout about it. But CATL, the Chinese company that makes batteries for some of Mr Musk’s Tesla electric vehicles (EVs), is different. When your columnist first contacted it in 2017, the brush-off was swift. “We want to concentrate on our products only and do not accept...

China Inc’s new inconspicuous expansion

DEEPGLINT, A CHINESE facial-recognition firm, was one of 14 companies slapped with American sanctions on July 9th for alleged links to human-rights abuses in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. It is also a globally recognised leader in its field and has raised money from Sequoia Capital and other big American investment firms. DeepGlint’s founders,...

Andy Jassy is off to a propitious start as boss of Amazon

IT WASN'T a bad start for Andy Jassy, who on July 5th succeeded Jeff Bezos as boss of Amazon. The next day the share price of the digital empire, which Mr Bezos had led since founding it as an online bookshop in 1994, rose by nearly 5%, and its market value jumped above $1.8trn. Mr Jassy’s undoubted managerial virtues probably weren’t the reason. The...

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