Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
The US and China are dragging down the world economy. The IMF lowered its prediction for global growth in 2022, in part because of slowdowns in the globe’s two largest economies.
Shein still wants to go public in New York. The Chinese e-commerce site’s founder is reportedly thinking about changing his citizenship to get around Beijing’s offshore IPO rules.
London police are investigating pandemic parties at 10 Downing St. A forthcoming report will determine whether the gatherings violated covid-19 restrictions.
The US is helping Europe find alternate energy sources. If Russia invades Ukraine, it could disrupt gas shipments to the EU. US president Joe Biden also said sanctions against Russian leader Vladimir Putin are on the table.
Pfizer will start testing an omicron vaccine. Some health experts question if it’s worth it, given omicron cases are usually less severe and the next variant could be completely different.
The Netherlands is easing covid restrictions. Bars, restaurants, and theaters can reopen today, despite record infection rates.
China is joining the NFT craze. The state-backed Blockchain Services Network soft launched a platform for businesses to create and sell NFTs separate from cryptocurrencies, which are banned in the country.
What to watch for
Today, Z Holdings, a SoftBank company that operates Yahoo Japan’s search engine and e-commerce services, is expected to lay out its strategy for so-called “quick commerce,” or delivery of groceries and household goods in as little as 15 minutes.
Z Holdings, like so many other businesses around the world, is vying for a slice of the money that can be made from the frequent, consistent purchases of food.
Let’s look at the receipts:
450: Global cities that can support quick delivery
≤18%: Expected grocery share of the US e-commerce market in the next three to five years
$15 billion: The valuation of Gopuff, a Philadelphia-based super-fast delivery company
$25 billion: Expected value of the “quick commerce” market in the US in 2021
The 15-minute promise
Z Holdings isn’t the only company racing to make grocery delivery near instantaneous. But 15-minute delivery is just the start for companies from Gopuff to Amazon. ✦ Try a seven-day free trial of Quartz membership to read why, and get other member-exclusive emails, too.
India’s newest decacorn
The accelerated adoption of food and online grocery paired with a rise in consumer demand for food delivery is a well-cooked combination for India’s latest decacorn: Swiggy.
The SoftBank-backed food-tech firm just closed a $700-million funding round led by asset manager Invesco. With its new valuation of $10.7 billion, Swiggy is the latest firm to enter India’s decacorn club of companies with at least a $10 billion valuation. It’s also better positioned to take on rivals like Zomato and powerhouses like Reliance and Amazon, which have made investments in the food delivery space.
There’s a right way to pay homage to a movie… A tarantula-killing worm was named after Jeff Daniels in honor of his Arachnophobia character, who saves a town from killer spiders.
…And a wrong way. Two men brought a dead body, Weekend at Bernie’s-style, to an Irish post office to pick up the deceased’s pension check.
Giving cash stipends to poor mothers improves their babies’ brains. Honestly, this one isn’t actually all that surprising.
A Mexican cartel used Grand Theft Auto to recruit drug mules. At least one player agreed to drive across the US border with what turned out to be a shipment of methamphetamines.
A Martian underground “lake” is probably volcanic rock. A new study called hopes for finding water a “dusty mirage.”
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, tasteful movie homages, and proof of extraterrestrial water to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Michelle Cheng, Niharika Sharma, Liz Webber, and Morgan Haefner.
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