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Here’s what you need to know
The US charged crypto exchange Bitzlato with money laundering. The Hong Kong-based platform has been accused of processing $700 million in illegal funds, including some tied to Russia.
China is launching a state-owned transportation platform… It will include ride-hailing, ferry, flight, and other services as Beijing enters a new phase of tech sector regulation.
… and ended its three-year ban on Marvel. Black Panther and Ant-Man will make a return in February as Beijing lifts its de facto ban on the franchise.
Lufthansa bid on a stake in ITA Airways. The German airlines made the lone offer for a minority stake in the Italian airline, formerly Alitalia, as it looks to expand its business.
British nurses went on strike. Tens of thousands of nurses staged a walkout demanding higher pay amid a wave of industrial action sweeping across the UK.
Taiwan reported its biggest fall in economic growth since 2009. GDP in the fourth quarter of 2022 fell by 0.86% as the island faces a slowdown in demand for tech exports.
What to watch for
Netflix releases results for the last quarter of 2022 after market close today (Jan. 19), and all will be tuning in to see whether the streaming giant has won back viewers. Netflix would like to finally put to rest that bad season in the first quarter of last year, when it recorded its first subscriber drop in a decade.
Netflix expects to have gained 4.5 million subscribers this past quarter, which would be nearly double those added in the previous quarter. But it’s still just over half of the 8.28 million subscribers added in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The most-talked-about feature to entice new subscribers, a $6.99 ad-supported subscription tier, will have limited impact on the figures (it was only launched in November, the middle of the quarter, in just 12 markets). But next on Netflix’s to-do list is cracking down on password sharing with a $2.99 fee.
The big tech antitrust cases to watch this year
Governments around the world are attempting to rein in the influence of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft.
Legal pressure has been mounting against the tech giants for years in the US and Europe, but is now expanding elsewhere. In a major ruling this fall, the Indian Competition Commission said that Alphabet abused its dominant position in the smartphone software market with its mega-popular Android operating system.
This stream of new litigation and legislation could impose serious limitations on the growth of these companies, a reason the biggest firms spent almost $70 million lobbying US Congress in 2021. Quartz’s Diego Lasarte has charted the antitrust cases to watch in 2023, and we think it’d also make a great poster for die-hard followers of big tech regulation.
Davos dispatch: 👂Overheard
“I hate talking about China. Fuck. You can never say anything right.” —An American CEO at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead 2023 luncheon
“I’m with the Young Global Leaders. Of course they put us in Klosters.” —A first-time WEF invitee on a late-night shuttle from Davos to the neighboring town
“I still don’t understand the business case for being in there. They livestream everything anyway.” —A European entrepreneur outside the Congress Center, where his badge would not allow him entry
✦ There’s more where that came from—sign up for our Need to Know: Davos 2023 newsletter, and read what Quartz reporters overheard Larry Fink say about a recession in 2023. And while you’re at it, grab a Quartz membership, we’ve lowered the price by 50%.
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Amsterdam is giving underwater bike parking a spin. Luckily, you don’t need to swim there, and it’s also free for up to 24 hours.
Tourists are flocking to an abandoned British oil refinery. They’re going for the over 1,500 species of wildlife, not the industrial chic views.
Outhouse racing is a 42-year-old tradition. It takes place in Conconully, Washington, and also happens to involve skis.
British taxpayers handed over £4,175 for Liz Truss’s podium. It looks like Jenga blocks, which may have been an early red flag about her longevity in office.
Wifi can sense you in a room. Scientists have used routers to map out human bodies and their movements in 3D.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, underwater bike routes, and chic industrial vibes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Heather Landy, Ananya Bhattacharya, Diego Lasarte, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.