🌍 Tesla’s trendy stock split

Plus: Asia’s loosening its covid stance.
🌍 Tesla’s trendy stock split

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Asian countries eased covid restrictions… Japan is scrapping pre-departure covid tests, China reinstated some foreign visas, and Singapore is lifting its indoor masks requirement.

…as incubation time drops with each new variant. The time it takes for symptoms to show after an infection decreased from 5 days with the alpha variant to 3.42 days with omicron.

Supporters of former Malaysian PM Najib Razak demanded a pardon. The disgraced politician began serving a 12-year jail sentence for his role in the 1MDB corruption scandal.

Germany replaced diesel locomotives with hydrogen-powered trains. This latest green hydrogen breakthrough is the first of its kind.

​​Russian authorities detained a critic of the war in Ukraine. Politician Yevgeny Roizman was one of the last prominent opposition leaders in the country who was not behind bars.

US president Joe Biden is forgiving $10,000 in student debt for most borrowers. It’s too much for conservatives and too little for progressives, but changes in income-based payments could have a big impact.

What to watch for

After the market closed yesterday, Tesla did one of the trendiest things in finance—it split its stock. Every share held in Tesla is now three shares, with each worth a third as much as the original.  

In June, Amazon executed a 20-for-1 stock split and meme stock GameStop split 4-for-1 in July. Apple, Google, and Shopify have all been to Splitsville too, but this is Tesla’s second trip. The electric car manufacturer completed a 5-for-1 stock split just two years ago, in August 2020. So why do companies do this?

Stock splitting is more of a psychological marketing trick than a feat of financial engineering. But with many large publicly traded companies courting retail investors, it’s come back in style. And stock prices typically rise with increased retail buying in the weeks leading up to a split. So it’s not just a cosmetic change, is it?

China’s dictionary as economic indicator

In 2014, when the last edition of the Standard Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese was published, terms like “sharing economy” and “carbon neutral” hadn’t caught on, much less “influencer.” But the 2022 edition has a number of new entries that reflect key political socioeconomic trends in China, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

📖 “New normal” [新常态]: According to Chinese state media, the Chinese version of the phrase and its eponymous theory were first coined by president Xi Jinping in 2014. Its inclusion in the dictionary is a reminder that Beijing is far from realizing its goal of rebalancing the economy.

📖 “Overtaking on the bend” [弯道超车]: Supercharging China’s technological capabilities to surpass those of major powers like the US is a staple of China’s many industrial policies. While China has “overtaken the bend” in EVs and batteries, not all of Beijing’s efforts have panned out.

Corporate purpose takes a step backward

A New York judge ruled against Ben & Jerry’s in an unusual case earlier this week. The ice cream maker had taken its parent company, Unilever, to court, arguing that selling its product in Occupied Palestinian Territories through a local distributor threatened Ben & Jerry’s overall mission.

​​The case highlights a question gaining prominence within modern capitalism: What is the purpose of companies?

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Surprising discoveries

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The drought in Texas unveiled dinosaur tracks. Act fast, Instagrammers, they’ll be underwater again in a week.

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Wild oysters truly are better in R-months. When the weather is colder, oysters are more mature, tastier, safer, and more sustainable.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, hydrogen power and wandering dugongs to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Annalisa Merelli, Mary Hui, Sofia Lotto Persio, and Susan Howson.