Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Playstation 4, iron ore, Germans bullish, fruit tattoos

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What to watch for today

The Playstation 4? Rumors abound that Sony will announce the successor to its 77-million selling Playstation 3 video game console. The 3 is seven years old; a new model would face much more competition, from Microsoft’s X-Box and Nintendo Wii as well as games for smartphones and tablets.

Bad numbers from BHP Billiton as its boss steps down. The Australian firm is expected to report reduced profits today due to declining coal and iron prices and a strong Aussie dollar. Marius Kloppers has said he will resign, one of more than 20 mining CEOs to quit or retire in the last two years.

Monetary policy moments. We’ll see minutes from the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve, along with price level stats from the US and Germany.

While you were sleeping

German investors are weirdly bullish. A survey of institutional investors reported the most positive outlook in three years, helping to boost European markets and allay fears of crisis. This just after GDP shrank.

Are we approaching “peak hack”? In the past 48 hours, the Twitter feeds of two major corporations have been hacked, computers were hacked at Facebook and then Apple, and a cyber-security company traced hackers to a Chinese military installation.

Dell really is worth as little as its founder thinks. Facing a plan to take the company private and reorganize it, Dell reported a 31% drop in earnings and 11% drop in revenue. This news undermines some shareholders’ arguments that the buyout offer, led by founder Michael Dell, is too small.

Obama offered a plan to avoid spending cuts. More fiscal brinksmanship in the US, as automatic spending cuts of $110 million go into effect absent action on March 1. You can start paying attention on the 28th.

Shoppers didn’t show up in Brazil. The country’s latest retail figures showed a 0.5% decline in December, despite hopes of an expansion. That suggests the central bank will hesitate to raise rates.

A new low in European auto sales. Europeans only registered 918,280 new cars last year.

GOOG beat $800. Cue our “is it the new Apple?” story. (Umm, no, said some of our readers.)

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how not to launch a Google for China. “On [Kai-fu Lee, the former head of Google China and current venture capitalist]’s Sina Weibo microblog, which has 30 million followers, he wondered, among other things, why taxpayer money was being invested in developing a search engine and why the Communist Party had appointed its head. “If back in the day America’s Democratic Party had appointed [Olympic swimmer] Michael Phelps to be the CEO of Google, could Google have beaten Yahoo and become the leading search engine?” wrote Lee, according to Fei Chang Dao, a blog that monitors free-speech issues in China.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Will Twitter file for a secret IPO? It might help the company avoid the disappointment of Facebook or Groupon, but it could backfire too.

Can the US economy survive the sequester? It would be better not to know.

China’s new leader needs to get a grip on North Korea. We’ve had crazy neighbors before, too. It’s tough.

Surprising discoveries

US corporate profits in Bermuda are more than 1000% of the country’s GDP. That’s surprising, right?

You can tattoo fruit. Yes, they’ve already put an Apple logo on an apple.

Big Brother really is watching. A woman caught her fiancé cheating thanks to Russia’s local equivalent of Google Maps.  

It took jewel thieves just 5 minutes to steal $50 million. Now that’s productivity!

Alligators in your backyard. Climate change has the big lizards heading north from their traditional habitats.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tattooed fruit or Playstation 4 consoles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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