Skip to navigationSkip to content

Parts of Beijing are facing lockdown

There are fears that restrictions could become as severe as Shanghai's.

people wear face masks to prevent the spread of covid-19 on a snowy morning in Beijing
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
Published

Good morning,  Quartz readers!

In case you missed it—we’re lifting our paywall, making the vast majority of our journalism free for everyone to read! It’s all part of our mission to make business better.

Here’s what you need to know

Parts of Beijing are facing lockdown. With mass testing under way, there are fears that restrictions could become as severe as Shanghai’s, where residents have been confined to their homes and have faced food shortages because of China’s covid-zero policy.

Twitter is reportedly considering Elon Musk’s bid. The social media company is taking the offer more seriously, according to The Wall Street Journal, after Musk made it clear he has the funds to move quickly.

Emmanuel Macron retained the French presidency. But his far-right rival Marine Le Pen secured more than 40% of the vote.

The US is offering additional military support to Ukraine. The US embassy will also reopen, secretary of state Antony Blinken and defense secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv today.

Nissan retired its Datsun brand again. Originating in 1914 as DAT—an acronym for Den, Aoyama, and Takeuchi, three early investors—Datsun was originally phased out in the 1980s, before a recent, short-lived revival.

Sponsor content by Trend Micro
Sponsor content by  Trend Micro
As organizations shift to the cloud in droves, their digital attack surface continues to rapidly expand. And with the number of threats rapidly increasing, security leaders need to enhance their attack surface risk management. We explore how a unified cybersecurity platform can help improve your defenses against cyber risk in comparison to point products.
Learn more

What to watch for

Coca-Cola bottles are shown in a cooler.
Image copyright: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Coca-Cola reports first-quarter earnings today, which should provide a glimpse into how companies are faring under the latest round of rising prices and logistic bottlenecks. The beverage giant has been unusually adept at navigating pandemic disruptions. It streamlined its supply chain and passed along higher costs to consumers, beating expectations for the fourth quarter last year.

Coke’s results could again come in above forecasts, as more people venture out to restaurants, bars, and concerts, where it sells a lot of drinks. But CEO James Quincey warned in February of consumers’ thinning patience for higher prices. The company’s international sales, meanwhile, are bound to have taken a hit after Coca-Cola shut down its Russia operations due to the Ukraine invasion.

While a good quarter for Coca-Cola doesn’t necessarily spell similar results for other consumer product companies, a bad one would suggest others are struggling as well.

Who is beating inflation?

Over the past year, US inflation has spread from a few products made scarce by the pandemic—used cars, electronics, or furniture—to practically everything.

But there are some Americans whose lifestyle preferences and purchases have helped them stave off some of the worse effects of inflation.

🥗 Vegetarians. While prices for many fruits and vegetables have increased, they’re well below prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, which have grown by 14%.

🍋 Lemon haters. Citrus is one fruit that has seen a huge price hike, with prices climbing nearly 20% year over year.

🚌 Mass transit riders. Fares for buses and trains have increased by 1.9% over the past year, while gas prices have gone up by a whopping 48%.

🛏 Homebodies. Stay-at-home drinkers, for example, saw alcohol prices increase 2.7% year over year, compared to bar-goers who faced a 4.9% increase.

China’s retirement dilemma

China has some of the youngest retirement ages in the world. But it’s becoming a big problem for a country that is steadily aging. For one, China’s pension system is drastically underfunded for the growing number of people who are approaching retirement.

Officials have floated the (unpopular) idea of raising the retirement age above what it is now: 60 for men, and 50 or 55 for women. With a shrinking working-age population, it makes sense for China to try and keep experienced workers in the workforce—and paying into a social welfare system—for as long as possible. But young people worry that’ll delay work opportunities for them and affect the free child care many older adults provide.

A line graph showing the share of young and old in China's population. In 1960, the share of young people was much higher. But by 2020, the share of old people has overtaken young.
Quartz announcement
Quartz announcement
Even mission-driven business professionals can struggle sometimes with momentum. Ready to learn how to find and maintain purpose in a profit-driven world, and how to get others in your organization aligned?

Register for free for How to find meaning at work, next up in our Quartz at Work (from anywhere) series. Join us Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 11 am - 12 pm EDT (3-4 pm GMT) and hear from our speakers: Sponsored by Accenture
Register for free

Handpicked Quartz

👯 How to make new friends as an adult—and keep them

🛍 Nigeria’s plus-size market fights for inclusivity

💪 How powerful is your country’s passport?

🤔 Why aren’t US oil producers drilling more as prices rise?

🐭 How did Disney get its own special district in Florida?

😒 With Netflix greenlighting ads, streaming is about to become cable TV

✦ Love stories like these? Support our mission by becoming a member—use code MAKEBIZBETTER to take 50% off.

Sponsor content by Trend Micro
Sponsor content by  Trend Micro
Looking for a fresh perspective on how you can better understand, communicate, and mitigate cyber risk across your enterprise? Be a part of Perspectives on April 26. Industry experts will share deep insights, real-world examples, and advice on how a platform strategy can play a pivotal role in accelerating your digital transformation.
Learn more

Surprising discoveries

A chihuahua named TobyKeith is the oldest living dog. He is more than 21 years old.

Let’s meet at the trapezoid? Businesses are tinkering with triangles, half circles, and oblong tables to find out which is best for hybrid work.

Kangaroos are showing up in India. The marsupials are likely being smuggled in as exotic pets.

The “Champion of the Earth” is none other than Sir David Attenborough. The UN Environment Programme bestowed the honor to nature’s favorite narrator.

Insects may be abundant, but coating them in sauce and packaging them in snack bags is expensive. High demand is likely driving up prices, Quartz reporter Ananya Bhattacharya explained in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher 

Sponsored by EY

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, TobyKeith t-shirts, and earthly honors to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Ana Campoy, Tripti Lahiri, Nate DiCamillo, and Morgan Haefner.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.