Breakingviews

Hollywood’s hopes in China rest on Youku

June 24, 2014

The Chinese website streams 400 mln videos a day, making it Netflix, YouTube and Comcast stuffed into one dumpling. For all that, Youku loses money. Yet the interests of Tinseltown and the Chinese Communist Party may be converging around its business model.

Iraq troubles are unlikely to bring new oil crisis

June 24, 2014

The continued violence looks like a harbinger of a sharp cutback from one of the world’s major oil producers. But the bulk of Iraq’s production is still secure. The Middle East is clearly becoming less stable, but it would take a cascade of problems to create a big price shock.

Alibaba is case study in U.S.-China legal gulf

June 23, 2014

As the Chinese ecommerce giant prepares for its U.S. IPO, a congressional group is flagging the dangers in its ownership structure. Uncertainty in PRC law is to blame. The certainty that American authorities have the right to pursue graft in China is another less obvious risk.

Review: ‘Leftover Women’ may hinder China’s growth

June 20, 2014

Women’s rights have suffered from China’s fixation on social harmony, says Leta Hong Fincher in a new book. She exposes an injustice, but that’s not enough to force change. What might is the threat of a slowing economy.

Supremes ride shotgun with Tesla down open road

June 19, 2014

The top U.S. court unanimously ruled that abstract ideas even if run through a computer can be freely adapted. Elon Musk’s electric carmaker also just opened up its technology. Both decisions spread an important message to the vicious world of patent fighting: share, don’t hoard.

Spexit comes two years late

June 19, 2014

The unthinkable has happened. Spain stayed in the euro but exited the World Cup in the early group stages. The negative correlation with the economy is striking. Like its monarchy, Spain’s national team has modernised less rapidly than its economic policy in recent years.

Tranquil markets may lead emerging nations astray

June 19, 2014

The return of calm to bond markets is not an unalloyed boon for developing economies. With exports to rich nations stalling, many may be tempted to make use of easy-money conditions to inflate bubbles in domestic assets. Any pickup in GDP growth will be illusory.

U.S. home affordability on way to lowest in years

June 18, 2014

With the Fed set to raise rates, house prices rising and incomes not keeping pace, the dream of home ownership – cheaper after the 2008 downturn – is receding again for many. A new Breakingviews calculator shows that by 2017 homebuyers may have to stretch the most in decades.

China veto is wake-up call for world’s dealmakers

June 18, 2014

Beijing’s antitrust enforcer has sunk its first overseas transaction, killing a Maersk-led container-shipping alliance. The national interest in protecting local outfits made this tie-up especially vulnerable. But there’s a real risk China could torpedo other global deals.

Alibaba’s slow unveiling shows good and bad sides

June 17, 2014

The e-commerce giant has revealed more details ahead of its upcoming IPO. The growing importance of commission revenue is positive. But the rapid shift to mobile transactions is squeezing margins. The quartet of non-executive directors is unlikely to win over governance sceptics.