The Economist

Technology unicorns are growing at a record clip

The venture-capital boom is a risk for investors—and a gift for everyone elseAILEEN 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…

Japan Inc wants to become a hydrogen superpower

To succeed, it must focus on unglamorous industrial uses of the gasIN 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…

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…

LinkedIn faces awkward choices in China

To operate in the communist country, Microsoft’s professional social network has to appease censors. So do its usersFOREIGN 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…

Raising the curtain on Netflix’s ambitious third act

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…

Staffing firms look beyond the pandemic

Matching workers to employers has become a hot business againA 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…

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, who…

Which airlines will soar after the pandemic?

THE PANDEMIC, with its lockdowns and travel bans, has clobbered the world’s airlines. Revenues per passenger-kilometre, the industry’s common measure of performance, plummeted by 66% in 2020, compared with 2019. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body, expects them to remain 57% below pre-pandemic levels this year. Although the world’s listed airlines have…

The “mother-frackers” of shale now resemble OPEC

AN HOUR AFTER dawn Scott Sheffield is at the window of his 2,300-acre (930-hectare) Forked Lightning ranch in New Mexico, contemplating a day’s fishing. The estate, formerly owned by Jane Fonda, has four miles of river running through it. It’s muddy at the moment, he says, but on a good day a fly fisherman can…