Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Amazon’s year, Facebook’s quarter, Ukraine’s grim dilemma, condiment wars

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What to watch for today

Amazon’s bumper year. Amazon is set to report record full-year revenues of $73.7 billion, with earnings per share of 77 cents compared to a loss of 9 cents the year before. Amazon investors have been playing the long game, waiting for the e-giant’s R&D spending to pay off. Could that start now?

The damage done by Typhoon Haiyan. The effect of last November’s mega-storm  on the Philippines will probably show up in fourth-quarter GDP figures today. Still, the economy should still be on track to meet the government’s growth target of 6-7% for the year.

Can the US economy keep up its growth spurt? A first estimate for fourth-quarter GDP is expected to show 3.2% growth year-on-year, thanks to strong consumer spending. Some analysts are punting for over 4%, though, following last quarter’s 4.1% annualized increase. 

While you were sleeping

Bernanke issued his farewell taper. The US Federal Reserve reduced its bond-buying stimulus by another $10 billion a month, as expected. But the era of Ben Bernanke, who steps down as Fed chairman on Friday, is far from over

Fiat Chrysler looked to the US. The newly merged carmaker said it plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange (paywall) by October, snubbing its Italian roots, after Fiat directors approved the firm’s restructuring plan. It also has a pretty boring new logo.

Facebook had a great fourth quarter. Net earnings were up eightfold year-on-year, to $2.6 billion. And for the first time, mobile ads accounted for over half the company’s revenues, a good sign given that users are moving to mobile.

South Africa joined the interest rate bandwagon. The central bank raised its main rate from 5% to 5.5% in a bid to stem the depreciation of the rand amid emerging-market turmoil. Like other countries that have recently hiked rates, it’s taking a big gamble that this won’t kill longer-term growth.

Google conceded that it’s not too good at making phones. The search firm is selling Motorola Mobility, the handset business it bought in 2011, to China’s Lenovo, though it will keep key patents.

North Korea went nuclear again. North Korea has restarted a plutonium reactor that was switched off in 2007, according to US and South Korean intelligence. The country has been threatening to expand and advance its nuclear facilities for months.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the markets’ curious indifference to an impending Chinese financial disaster. “The financial media were buzzing yesterday after a BofA/Merrill Lynch report called the Jan. 27 bailout of a 3 billion yuan ($465 million) investment product in danger of going bust a ‘Bear Stearns moment.’ […] If you accept that analogy, the implication is that China’s ‘Lehman moment’ —the equivalent collapse of a much larger bank or investment product—is nigh.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Why we should ditch performance reviews. No one likes them, and they’re not even that effective.

The American dream is dead. Social mobility hasn’t improved in the last 50 years—in fact, income inequality has increased.

The price of higher education isn’t worth it. The cost of college is soaring, but its content is growing weaker.

Estonia has a lot to teach the world. Its tech-savvy government is a leader not only in digitizing citizens’ information, but also in protecting their privacy.

Europe might be better off leaving Ukraine to Russia. Even if a pro-European government takes over in Kiev, it might find the EU’s bailout terms too onerous to handle.

Surprising discoveries

Chinese people don’t say “I love you” to their parents. They’re raised in a culture of tough love, not positive emotions.

Mayonnaise is America’s favorite condiment. Take that, ketchup

How to eat first-class airport lounge meals for a year. And pay nothing for it.

Twitter is monetizing your compulsiveness. Every time you refresh your timeline, it makes money.

It takes 42 gallons of water to produce a slice of pizza. And more than seven times that for a chocolate bar.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, messages of parental love, and ideas for getting free meals  to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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