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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—New iPhones, Syria progress, Koch’s buy, cheating skyscrapers

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Apple unveils two iPhones. The cheaper version, which could help Apple win customers in emerging markets like China, will have a plastic case and come in a variety of colors. The higher priced-model will be an improvement on the iPhone 5, and is expected to have a faster processor and a fingerprint sensor.

More evidence of China’s recovery. Factory output is expected to have increased 9.9% in August, matching the pace of growth seen in the first couple of months of 2013. Fixed-asset investment data too should be robust, thanks to heavy government spending in the summer.

South Africa to face deficit pressure. The current-account gap for the second quarter is expected to have widened to 6.1% of GDP from the 5.8% in the previous period. The widening deficit will increase pressure on the South African, which has lost over 15% of its value this year.

Frankfurt International Motor Show opens. The spotlight in the annual automotive extravaganza will be on hybrids and concept vehicles and SUVs (paywall).

While you were sleeping

Glimmer of a political settlement over Syrian chemical weapons. Syria’s government welcomed a Russian suggestion that it put its chemical weapons under international control. The US too appeared open to the suggestion. Barack Obama is to deliver a nationally-televised speech on Syria today.

Carl Icahn hoisted a white flag over Dell. The billionaire investor said he is ending his bid to block the proposed buyout of the PC maker by a group led by founder Michael Dell. He will however vote against the proposal in a shareholder vote on Thursday.

Koch Industries moved into electronics with a $7.2 billion buy. The holding company controlled by the billionaire Koch brothers will buy Molex, a fiber-optics supplier for companies like Apple.

Credit Suisse pledged to make profits, just smaller ones. In a sign of the banking industry’s newfound humility, CEO Brady Dougan said the bank could avoid losses in future by targeting returns on equity of around 15% (paywall), instead of the pre-crisis targets of 20-30%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on why India might have to open up its e-commerce market if it wants easier US visas. “When Barack Obama welcomes Manmohan Singh to the White House on Sept. 27, the Indian prime minister will voice his concerns over the US immigration bill. In its present form, the bill makes it much more difficult for Indian tech companies to get the visas they need to bring workers into the United States. Obama will listen. But if Singh wants his way, India might also try ceding some ground. It explicitly prohibits foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce, though it’s opening up the market to foreign companies operating brick-and-mortar stores.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Political compulsions could derail Abenomics. Powerful interest groups could stymie Shinzo Abe’s ability to introduce consumption-tax hikes.

The US needs to let its banks get shaken up. Regulations that shield banks from activist investors must be relaxed (paywall) for the banks’ own good.

Nonprofits can’t attract talent any more. Bright, socially-minded people are going into “social enterprises” instead.

Dispelling the myth of the left-handed genius. A study shows that lefties earn 6% less than righties due to differences in cognitive skills, education, and occupational choices.

Surprising discoveries

44 of the world’s 72 tallest buildings are cheating. Architects are adding “vanity height” that serves no purpose just to cross the “supertall” threshold.

Revenge of the geeks. A report shows that classic cars and rare stamps and coins are better luxury investment bets than art, wine, and jewelry.

A forgotten Van Gogh painting rediscovered. The work, entitled “Sunset at Montmajour,” was considered a fake, stored in an attic and then held in a private collection.

A hot soft drink! Coca Cola is hoping to cash in on Japan’s warm beverage market with its hot ginger ale.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, classic cars, and long-lost paintings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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