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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Softbank, Swiss banking, pork in China, Facebook, the importance of eye contact

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

You too could drive Mao Zedong’s car. A Chinese state-owned auto manufacturer launches a revamped version of the Hongqi, or Red Flag sedan, built for Chairman Mao in 1958, and begins competing with Volkswagen’s Audi to be the government’s official car of choice.

India’s prime minister lands in Thailand. After an Indian border skirmish with China earlier this month, India may appeal to one of Southeast Asia’s largest economies for a closer alliance.

Laos sells its first international bond. The country, which joined the World Trade Organization earlier this year, is issuing it on Thailand’s baht-denominated bond market.

Company earnings and economic data: Canada’s largest lender, Royal Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the country’s fifth-largest bank release earnings. Tate & Lyle and Costco report. The Philippines publishes first quarter GDP and the US is expected to report that the American economy expanded 2.5% in the same period.

While you were sleeping

Softbank moved closer to buying Sprint Nextel. US national security officials cleared the acquisition of national security concerns, leaving Softbank’s rival bidder, Dish Network, which has been bad-mouthing the deal, with few options left to derail it.

Switzerland won’t be tax haven heaven for at least a little while. Switzerland presented a bill to its parliament to temporarily allow domestic banks to give US authorities information helping identify potential American tax evaders.

Nasdaq got slapped on the wrist. The US Securities and Exchange Commission fined it $10 million, the largest penalty ever for an exchange, for botching the start of trading during Facebook’s IPO last year.

China got strategic about pork. Meat processor Shuanghui Group agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods in a deal worth $7.1 billion, including debt. The deal would be the largest Chinese takeover of a US company and could help stabilize prices of one of the most important commodities in China.

Bad Brazil. Latin America’s largest economy underwhelmed again.

Buy a piece of the Empire State Building. Stakeholders settled a dispute, moving the Manhattan landmark closer to an IPO.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why Facebook’s stock price is falling. “Facebook’s stock price is at a six month low, and it’s all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault—just not in the way you think. Let’s start with the usual sell signals: missed targets, bad management, dodgy acquisitions. For Facebook, none of those apply. And as for Facebook’s last quarter, the company managed to hugely expand both its user base and revenue, and especially its all-important revenue from mobile.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Banks aren’t safer just because you make them hold more capital, and they might even be at greater risk.

An economic breakthrough for sub-Saharan Africa isn’t around the corner, but it’s not far off either.

Reinhart and Rogoff are still wrong. High government debt doesn’t hurt economic growth.

Surprising discoveries

You should maintain eye contact for seven to ten seconds (paywall) during a one-on-one conversation and three to five in a group discussion.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have more users in China than in the United States.

Deadly beaver attacks are on the rise. In Belarus, at least.

What shape is your city’s bike-share scheme? We made maps.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Chinese pork bun recipes, and bike-share maps to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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