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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Target’s ex-CEO, Markit’s IPO, hashtag shopping, crowdfunded assassinations

By Lauren Davidson

What to watch for today

Alibaba files for an IPO… maybe. The Chinese internet giant’s long-awaited filing to list in the US could come any day. The anticipation is boosting the price of shares in Yahoo, which owns 24% of Alibaba, but there are still a few awkward questions about how the company is run that are worrying investors.

Extra Twitter shares hit the market. The “lockup period” following Twitter’s flotation expired yesterday, meaning that employees and early investors are now allowed to sell their shares, which amount to 87% of the company’s stock. But don’t expect a flood; Twitter’s leaders and one of its biggest investors aren’t planning to sell.

Italy sets sail with a massive privatization plan. Fincantieri, Italy’s state-owned shipbuilder, will apply to list in Milan, aiming to raise €12 billion ($16.65 billion) in the country’s largest privatization program since the 1990s (paywall). It’s part of prime minister Matteo Renzi’s plan to cut public debt. 

Credit Suisse fesses up. The Swiss bank, one of a dozen that US prosecutors are investigating for allegedly helping rich Americans evade taxes, is said to be close to agreeing to plead guilty and pay a $1 billion settlement, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall).

Groupon keeps trying to sell its turnaround story. The online discounts company reports earnings and will try to assure investors that it’s headed toward growth despite a string of recent hiccups and a plunging stock price. Analysts expect profits to drop into the red, despite 23% revenue growth.

While you were sleeping

Target got rid of its boss. A massive data breach in December that led to the theft of 40 million payment card numbers has finally caught up with Gregg Steinhafel, who is no longer chairman, president and CEO of Target despite having done everything right after the breach. He was also blamed for botching the company’s expansion into Canada.

Europe couldn’t shake risks of deflation. The European Commission raised its 2014 growth forecast for the EU and predicted that unemployment will fall—but Brussels also lowered this year’s inflation forecasts from 1% to 0.8%, adding to concerns that the bloc could slip into deflation.

Markit decided to list in the US. The financial information firm, which provides data to banks, exchanges and funds, will aim to raise $2 billion (paywall) when it floats later this spring. That could value Markit a good deal higher than the $5 billion valuation it had when Singapore’s wealth fund Temasek bought a 10% stake last May.

Shopping by hashtag became a thing. Twitter users can now respond with the hashtag #AmazonCart (or #AmazonBasket in the UK) to any tweet bearing an Amazon product link and find that product waiting for them in their shopping cart—although they’ll still need to check out and pay via Amazon.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on the technology that will put basic search out of business. “In the old days, if you wanted to do something—navigate to the restaurant where you’ve got a dinner reservation—you might open a web browser and search for its address. But in the post-search world of context—in which our devices know so much about us that they can guess our intentions—your phone is already displaying a route to that restaurant, as well as traffic conditions, and how long it will take you to get there, the moment you pull your phone out of your pocket.” Read more here

Matters of debate

It’s no big deal if China’s GDP surpasses America’s. Given the population imbalance, the US is still way ahead on a per capita basis.

The world will have its first dollar trillionaire within 25 years. Wealth creation in emerging markets is one of the factors making the rich richer (paywall).

Don’t call your new cryptocurrency “_______coin.” The next big successor to bitcoin will have to have a new kind of name altogether.

If Europe wants to punish Russia, it should look to its own tax havens. The problem is, those European countries quite like having all that Russian cash.

Snapchat’s latest update represents a change in mission. The app’s beauty used to lie in its simplicity. Now it’s trying to do it all.

Advertising is going for your heart. Commercials are increasingly playing to our emotions, both happy and sad.

Surprising discoveries

Tourists are leading poachers to endangered animals. Sharing geotagged photos on social media helps identify exactly where the wild animals can be found.

Your LinkedIn profile can now help you find a date. If you link it up with a new app called, er, LinkedUp.

Cops are using social media to help solve crimes. Not just Twitter and Facebook but Pinterest and YouTube, too.

Killing enemies requires a team effort. A website is offering crowdfunded assassinations.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, non-geotagged holiday snaps, and 140-character crime clues to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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