Breakingviews

 
The Facebook founder surprised and delighted a Beijing audience by answering questions in Mandarin. His linguistic skills probably won’t make the social network any more welcome in the People’s Republic. But other corporate chiefs could learn from his efforts to friend China.

Amazon’s ambition outruns its cash flow

The online retailer’s 20 pct sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 mln loss was an ugly record. The firm’s voracious need for investment is a problem. CEO Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.

Credit Suisse's future is mid-table drabness

The Swiss group’s investment bank trumped Wall Street in Q3. But it’s no longer a top-tier player in any standalone business line, and questions linger over its ability to maintain strong fixed income returns if rates rise. Muted expectations should apply to other divisions too.

Tesco fails to answer key strategy questions

The UK retailer’s accounting error is larger than originally flagged. Sales are falling faster than feared. News that the chairman is being replaced will help. But Tesco’s new CEO missed a big chance to articulate a turnaround plan – despite some obvious remedies.

Robots may spell "Control-Alt-Delete" for workers

Researchers think automatons could displace half of all existing U.S. jobs. If that happens rapidly, it could push humans into a strife-torn future in which lack of wage income hobbles prosperity even in capable societies. Yet governments can make the transition less stressful.

Amgen boss makes a prime breakup target

Former Morgan Stanley banker Robert Bradway runs the $109 bln biotech being eyed by activist Dan Loeb. Splitting into a cash cow and a growth arm comes up often in the industry but rarely happens. In Amgen’s case, its drug focus and the CEO’s background give the idea a chance.

China's capital defences have sprung a major leak

Strict controls should shield China from flighty foreign capital. In practice, investors have snuck in at least $725 billion of short-term money since 2008. That makes the economy vulnerable to outflows. Central bankers are saddled with preventing a trickle becoming a flood.