🌏 Asia powers up

Plus: Less crypto, more beer
Two women charge electric police cars for the G20 Bali Summit at The Nusa Dua on November 13, 2022.
Two women charge electric police cars for the G20 Bali Summit at The Nusa Dua on November 13, 2022.
Photo: Agung Parameswara (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Asia will use half of global electricity by 2025. The International Energy Agency predicts China will use more electricity than the EU, US, and India combined by mid-decade.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy made diplomatic visits. He stopped in the UK and met with prime minister Rishi Sunak before departing for France to meet with president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The UK put a wrench in Microsoft’s plans to buy Activision Blizzard. Regulators opposed the $69 billion deal, finding it would hurt consumers and limit competition in the gaming industry.

Alibaba has its own AI chatbot project. The Chinese e-commerce giant joined the race to build a ChatGPT competitor. Meanwhile, Google’s AI chatbot Bard got off to a rough start.

The Adani Group is planning a $500 million loan prepayment. The embattled conglomerate is settling a loan due in March to Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and Barclays amid refinancing talks.

China’s Leekr is doubling its annual output of EV parts. The Shanghai-based EV supplier is ramping up production to meet demand. In Japan, Subaru has lowered its target output for the year by 10% amid a chip shortage.

Australia blocked the building of a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef. In a historical first, the government cited environmental laws to halt the project, saying it would cause “irreversible damage.”

What to watch for

PayPal posts its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2022 today (Feb. 9), and investors will be watching to see whether they should keep shares of the fintech company in their shopping carts.

The e-commerce company’s stock plunged 62% last year before slightly rebounding in the first month of 2023. Last August, PayPal announced a $15 billion share buyback program, and in a surprise move last week, cut roughly 7% of its workforce (2,000 jobs).

As the company tries to lower its operating costs amid recession fears, it’s just one pawn in the wild, wild west of mobile payment companies that are all trying to figure out if consumer spending will continue to hold relatively strong in the US. And even with a multiyear head start, PayPal is struggling to keep competitors Apple Pay and Zelle from closing in.

The Maersk x MSC ship is over

The world’s two largest shipping lines, Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co., are breaking up.

They claim it’s mutual, something about different needs (Maersk has big dreams of becoming a one-stop shop for logistics, while MSC wants to aggressively expand its own fleet). But the split also represents different bets on the shape of global trade in the decades to come—and on the forces of economic decoupling that will reroute the international flows of goods.

There are a few forces that are shifting the tides:

🏠 Reshoring. Countries are increasingly bringing factories back home.

👯‍♀️ Friendshoring. Countries with like-minded values are collaborating on protecting their own supply chains.

🌊 New flows of trade. Historical manufacturing hubs are shifting away from China to countries like Vietnam and Mexico.

Advertisers are betting big on beer

One thing viewers can expect from Super Bowl LVII ads: less crypto, and more beer.

We’re confident if you’re into American football, you can guess which brewing goliath has spent more than half a billion dollars on its beer commercials over the past few decades. It’s the same company that, for the first time in more than three decades, is giving up the reins to its exclusive advertising rights for the game. Naturally, Heineken, Miller Lite, and Crown Royal Whisky are jumping on the opportunity.

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Surprising discoveries

No one bussed the table after a Neanderthal crab roast. Remains of a 90,000-year-old meal were found in a Portuguese cave.

Earth has more molten layers than originally thought. But unfortunately none are chocolate or caramel or even edible for that matter.

Orcas are all mama’s boys. Adult males in the species still rely on their mothers to hunt for food.

Most Egyptian cotton is probably fake. Many a yarn has been spun for silk, cotton, and recycled material fabrics, too.

Mary Queen of Scots’s cipher was cracked. It took a team of codebreakers to decrypt her cache of prison letters written from 1578 to 1584.

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