🌍 Siemens lays big tracks

Plus: What taxing the ultra rich in India could do

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Here’s what you need to know

Didi resumed signups. Beijing lifted an 18-month ban on the ride-hailing service’s customer enrollment as China eases its tech crackdown.

Alibaba launched buy now, pay later in Europe. The Chinese e-commerce giant is offering the payment option to customers abroad in a bid to boost sales.

Siemens signed a $3.3 billion train deal with India. The German technology company will provide 1,200 electric trains and 35 years of servicing under the deal, the biggest in its history.

Nigeria’s inflation cooled for the first time in 11 months. December’s rate fell from around 21.5% to 21.3%, raising the prospects of a smaller rate hike ahead of February’s general election.

The UK’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda will face challenges in court. Two judges have permitted that appeals to parts of the controversial decision will be considered.

PwC resigned as China Evergrande’s auditor. PwC mentioned in its resignation letter that the embattled property developer had failed to provide key information.

A tax of up to 5% on the world’s ultra rich could lift 2 billion people out of poverty. The annual Oxfam report released at the start of the World Economic Forum put a spotlight on inequality (more below).

What to watch for

Twitter’s office fire sale is about to begin. More than 600 items, including furniture, kitchen equipment, and various three-dimensional representations of its iconic blue bird logo, are up for grabs at an auction starting today (Jan. 17) at 7pm Pacific standard time.

Some of the items originally retailed for thousands of dollars, but now display starting bids of either $25 or $50. It’s a potential steal for any startup or eatery looking for an upgrade, with offerings including rotisserie ovens that can roast 24 whole chickens at a time, vegetable dryers with a 20-gallon capacity, and industry-grade coffee machines. There’s also more traditional tech company equipment, including dozens of smart TVs, three iMacs, and five phone booths.

The low starting bids suggest Twitter is looking for a spring cleaning more than fundraising. But the list of items under the gavel also seems like a requiem for its bygone, buzzy startup era—going, going, gone.

What taxing the ultra rich in India could do

Globally, taxing the richest people 5% could lift billions of people out of poverty, but what would that actually look like in practice? In an India-specific report, Oxfam used one problem—a lack of funding for education—to exemplify how taxation could completely change the system.

The total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2020 to 166 billionaires in 2022, with the richest 1% owning 40% of wealth in the country. Taxing the top 100 of those billionaires at 2.5% would ensure education for all children. The inequality gets even starker when just the top 10 billionaires are considered:

150 million: Kids in India who can’t afford schooling

5%: Rate at which India’s 10 top billionaires would need to be taxed to send all of those kids to school

2%: Rate at which just one billionaire, Gautam Adani, would need to be taxed to ensure India’s school teachers get paid

Davos dispatch: Who’s there, and not there

At least 634 CEOs are meeting in Davos this year for the World Economic Forum, making up nearly one in four attendees. Big names include:

🛢️ Wael Sawan (Shell)

🛒 Andy Jassy (Amazon)

🏦 Jane Fraser (Citigroup)

💉 Stéphane Bancel (Moderna)

But there are some noticeable absences, including George Soros, who won’t deliver his dark (and frequently, but not always, correct) geopolitical analysis to the press. Also not there: Elon Musk, whose recent words about WEF didn’t indulge the conspiracy theories preferred by some of his followers, but were also… not very kind.

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Surprising discoveries

Tissue damage from heart attacks may have a cure. Protein injections can help recover muscle elasticity.

More women are running Fortune 500 companies than ever. They now lead more than 10% of firms for the first time.

Human brains develop just like squid brains. And that’s despite a 500 million-year-old split in evolutionary history.

Lasers can redirect lightning. The technology could be used to protect sites like rocket launchpads.

Rat DNA was used to track down historical trade routes. It may prove that New Zealand illegally traded seal pelts with China in the 19th century.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, lightning lasers, and rat detectives to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Heather Landy, Ananya Bhattacharya, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.