Breakingviews

Baidu shows health is a huge flashpoint in China

May 3, 2016

A dying student accused the search giant of promoting false medical information. The ensuing probe has cut $5 bln from Baidu’s market value: a big move but not an overreaction. Health scandals are highly sensitive and authorities pay close attention to outbursts of online anger.

Who cares who invented bitcoin?

May 2, 2016

The whole point of the cryptocurrency and related technology is that they now live a life of their own. That makes Australian Craig Wright’s claim to be bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto a curiosity at best. There is, however, a caveat related to the originator’s personal stash.

Finance wakes up to fintech’s systemic dangers

April 19, 2016

The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane and Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan are among 53 financial leaders backing the launch of a new forum to debate financial technology. The abuse of data is a concern. But a bigger risk is how fast and obscurely money can move.

Corporate America could price bigotry beyond reach

April 12, 2016

Opposition to anti-LGBT state laws is growing: PayPal nixed a new North Carolina office; Apple, Google and Facebook won’t invest more in the state. Rocker Bryan Adams refuses to play in Mississippi. With resistance now financial as well as moral, bias makes zero economic sense.

Sharp take-under oddly denotes Japanese success

By Rob Cox
March 30, 2016

Foxconn has clinched control of the ailing Japanese display maker for a reduced $3.5 bln. Fixing Sharp will be a tough task for the Taiwanese giant led by Terry Gou. But this historic, if somewhat ugly and complicated deal, is Exhibit A that Japan Inc is capable of reform.

Starboard pushes wrong button on Yahoo

March 24, 2016

The activist hit the nuclear option of trying to replace all the internet company’s directors. Starboard’s right that performance under CEO Marissa Mayer has been poor. But failure to secure control of the board could hobble its attempt to force a sale of Yahoo’s core business.

U.S. tech sanctions more risky than bank crackdown

March 9, 2016

America has used its dominance of international finance to force foreign lenders to cut ties with enemy states. New restrictions on Chinese telecom firm ZTE extend the principle to technology. But that could have much bigger ramifications for U.S. firms.

Cox: Time has come for Zynga to sell the farmville

By Rob Cox
March 3, 2016

Liquidating the $2 bln company and returning the proceeds to shareholders is probably the best option at this point. Unfortunately, the once high-flying videogame maker is entirely rigged by founder Mark Pincus. Zynga is a prime example of the problem with super-voting powers.

China’s web curbs pose real threat to foreign tech

March 3, 2016

Draconian new rules stop foreign outfits putting text, videos, maps or games online. Precise limits remain unclear and China doesn’t always enforce such sweeping bans. Still, the regulations could make life hard for Apple, Disney and others - and boost their homegrown rivals.

Sharp and Foxconn: the secret CEO text messages

February 26, 2016

The $4.4 bln rescue of the ailing Japanese group is on hold after its Taiwanese buyer said it could not sign the deal - even after Sharp announced the transaction. Foxconn boss Terry Gou is due to meet counterpart Kozo Takahashi. Breakingviews imagines their exchange.