US-China tariff hikes, Uber’s IPO, toxically masculine makeup

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

The US hits China with a new round of tariffs. A threat made earlier this week by president Donald Trump to more than double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could become a reality if trade negotiators don’t make headway. Trump cited broken promises on Beijing’s part, which China denies.

Uber goes public. The year’s most-anticipated IPO is projected to be the biggest on the US market since 2014, with a valuation target between $80 billion and $90 billion, despite a failure to turn a profit and a brand identity that’s hit some significant roadblocks. Its share prices have been set for $45, at the low end of its expected range.

Japan and Russia talk territory. The hotly contested Northern Territories or Southern Kurils, depending whether you hail from Japan or Russia, will be the topic of the latest sit-down in Moscow. Once the dispute has finally been resolved, the two nations could formally conclude their World War II hostilities.

South Africa reports election results President Cyril Ramaphosa will find out on Saturday whether his African National Congress party (paywall) has secured a large enough victory to enact his agenda. Polls show that he’s all but guaranteed a parliamentary win, but his margins will matter.

While you were sleeping

Chevron abandoned a massive drilling purchase. The oil company was on track to buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp before it walked away, ceding victory to its much smaller competitor, Occidental Petroleum, which triumphed with a $38 billion bid backed by Warren Buffett.

Softbank announced a new Vision Fund. The Japanese tech giant will unleash a second $100 billion on the startup sector. CEO Masayoshi Son said the new fund will be backed solely by Softbank before it takes on outside investors.

Jeff Bezos unveiled a lunar lander. The Amazon CEO’s space company, Blue Origin, announced its intention to send an unmanned mission to the moon via its new Blue Moon lander, which can carry seven tons of cargo.

The US charged a Chinese hacker with a 2015 attack that compromised the data of millions. A federal grand jury in Indianapolis indicted Fujie Wang and others in a hacking campaign against US businesses, including insurance company Anthem.

North Korea fired two more short-range missiles. South Korea interpreted the second such test within a week as a protest against Trump’s economic sanctions. The US president signaled he is open to further talks with North Korea, even as the US justice department announced it had seized a North Korean cargo ship.


We talk to Fraser Howie, co-author of a seminal book on the creation of China’s state-owned banking behemoths, who believes that Chinese fintech upstarts like Ant Financial are still beholden to their old-economy predecessors. Over at Private Key, we look at a novel and controversial solution to bitcoin heists: asking bitcoin miners to roll back the theft.

Quartz Obsession

The pizza box refuses to be disrupted. Decades after its invention, the square box for a round meal remains unbeatable in balancing effectiveness and cost efficiency. Silicon Valley keeps trying to improve on it, but the foundation of the delivery economy is still sturdy, square, and corrugated.

Matters of debate

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Facebook should be broken up . Company co-founder Chris Hughes says Mark Zuckerberg has amassed a dangerous amount of power.

To save history, college should be free. Saddled with debt, students are turning away from the humanities.

Stop eating fish. The fishing industry is hastening the general collapse of life on Earth.

Surprising discoveries

The Australian $50 bill has a typo. The misspelled word “responsibilty” appears in two places on the note.

Paternal leave policies made Spanish men want fewer kids. Researchers think spending time with their children made men more aware of the effort and costs associated with childrearing.

A naked Vermeer cupid will soon be restored. Lab tests revealed it had been painted over decades after “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” was completed.

You can’t hide toxic masculinity with concealer. The men’s cosmetic brand War Paint is under fire for its “unnecessarily aggressive” branding.

San Francisco has the most billionaires per capita of any city. One out of 11,600 residents is a billionaire—runner-up New York City only has one for every 81,000.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pizza deliveries, and errant banknotes to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Susan Howson and Jessanne Collins.