Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Crimea’s referendum, Chinese IPOs, Dubai’s refinancing, Steve Jobs the opera

March 16, 2014
March 16, 2014

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Crimea looks to join Russia. Sergei Aksyonov, the pro-Moscow unofficial leader of Crimea, will apply to join Russia after Crimea passed a referendum to secede from Ukraine. But the US and Europe have not recognized the referendum as legal, and could impose sanctions on Russia.

A more volatile yuan. The People’s Bank of China loosens its control over the yuan, doubling the currency’s trading range against the dollar, as part of the central bank’s pledge to open up the country’s economy. It’s the first time in almost two years that the government has widened the yuan’s trading range.

Fewer cars in Paris. Vehicle and motorcycle drivers will now be allowed to drive only on alternate days, after air pollution in Paris exceeded safe levels for five consecutive days. Public transport was free over the weekend to encourage Parisians to ditch their cars.

Over the weekend

Crimea’s pro-Russia referendum passed. Pro-Moscow supporters celebrated in the streets after exit polls suggested that 93% of Crimean voters backed a referendum to leave the Ukraine and join Russia. The result is unsurprising, as ethnic Russians comprise 58.5% of Crimea’s population, and the referendum offered no option for voters who wanted the constitution to remain unchanged.

Chinese tech companies chose US flotations… Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, filed papers to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Soon after, Alibaba, the Chinese internet giant, said it would hold its highly-anticipated IPO—which could raise as much as $15 billion—in New York.

… while Jimmy Choo picked a London IPO. Labelux, the Swiss business that bought Jimmy Choo for £525 million ($873 million) in 2011, is looking to float a small stake of the luxury shoe company on the London Stock Exchange. The deal could value Jimmy Choo at £1 billion (paywall), and funds raised would fuel the firm’s expansion in Asia.

The search for Malaysia’s missing jet widened. Officials have expanded the search zone for missing flight Malaysia Airlines 370 to 11 countries spanning thousands of miles, “as well as deep and remote oceans,” and have reached out to 25 countries for help in the search, following reports that the plane could have traveled for several hours after flying off radar.

Dubai bagged a refinancing deal. Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates’ central bank agreed to roll over $20 billion of Dubai’s debt for five years, on a fixed interest of 1%, down from 4% on the original loan from 2009. The liabilities include $10 of bonds owed to the central bank and a further $10 billion to Abu Dhabi’s government.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on the first “app store” for hardware. “The most successful technologies are those aimed at what Steve Jobs called “things people want to do.” That is, they answer a human need that has remained constant throughout history, rather than cater a particular “market.” I’m convinced that Mighty Cast’s NEX band—or something like it—is one of these technologies, the sort that has the potential to grow well beyond its original purpose.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Africa needs drones more than roads. They can carry goods to market faster and deliver medication to remote villages more efficiently.

Anonymous apps aren’t ethical. Some investors think their peers should think twice before backing potentially harmful apps such as Whisper and Secret.

Social mobility is a matter of nature, not nurture. An analysis of surnames suggests that social status is inherited like a biological trait.

Children’s book should feature more people of color. Last year, 93 out of 3,200 kids’ books published were about black people (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Algorithmic matchmaking predates OKCupid by 3,500 years. It can be traced back to an early form of Hinduism in 1500 BCE.

You can’t buy Tesla’s electric cars in five US states. You can look at the cars in showrooms, but then you’d have to go home and purchase online.

Ukrainian Paralympians are protesting Russia’s actions. In an act of silent protest, Ukrainian athletes are covering their medals with their hands.

The definitive guide to selfies. From the tellfie to the wealfie, we’re all guilty of self-snapping.

There’s an opera about Steve Jobs’ life. The French opera is based on Shakespeare’s Henry V but set in 20th century Silicon Valley.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, black market Teslas, and dating algorithms to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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