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Nearly a quarter of European firms in China are looking to invest elsewhere.

Pandemic restrictions in China have disrupted business and generated uncertainty for European countries.

The Evergrande Center in Shanghai.
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor


Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Nearly one quarter of European firms in China are considering shifting investments elsewhere. Pandemic restrictions have disrupted business and generated uncertainty for European companies. Meanwhile, a covid-19 outbreak in Macau has shuttered shops—but not casinos.

Russia became China’s number one oil supplier. While Western buyers renounced Russian energy imports over the war in Ukraine, Chinese companies went on a shopping spree.

Rail workers in the UK are going on strike after negotiations failed. The walkout will be the biggest in 30 years, and severe service disruptions are expected today.

Primark opened up to e-commerce. The fast fashion retailer will trial a click and collect service in the UK, having previously shunned online sales.

A Chinese beach resort temporarily banned Tesla cars. The two-month restriction coincides with a secretive annual gathering of the country’s top leaders, Reuters first reported.

A Japanese court ruled the country’s same-sex marriage ban is constitutional. It’s the only G7 country that offers no legal recognition for LGBTQ couples.

What to watch for

A law giving the US enhanced powers to block the imports of goods tied to forced labor in China takes effect today. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act targets goods originating from the northern autonomous region of Xinjiang, a major manufacturing hub.

US legislators and governing bodies have stated the region is host to mass internment camps subjecting thousands of detainees from Muslim minorities to forced labor as well as other abuses. The Chinese government rebuffs the accusations and has cautioned against implementing the bill as it would disrupt business relations between the two countries.

These are some of the sectors most exposed to the risk of forced labor.

👗 Cotton-made garments and apparel

🔆 Polysilicon, including the kind used in solar panels

🍅 Tomatoes and tomato products

💇‍♀️ Hair products, particularly wigs and hair extensions

📱 Touch screens and other electronics components

🛤️ Rail transportation equipment

No one really wants ultra-fast food delivery

A bar chart showing the percentage of orders that were discounted among two ultra-fast delivery companies in the UK, Gopuff and Gorillas. Gopuff's discounts have started to decrease since the second half of 2021, but Gorillas' are steadily increasing.

Ultra-fast delivery service, a business model that drew billions in investment during the pandemic, is now facing troubled waters in a post-pandemic world. Having burned through VC cash, and with customers once again free to roam, many delivery startups are cutting back their services or closing shop.

Others, like the US company Gopuff and Germany’s Gorillas, which operate in hundreds of cities, are using discounts to attract and retain customers as they seek to chart a course to profitability. But the high percentage of discounts is not a great sign for the industry, which has relied on scale and cheap services for cash flow.

With unstable markets and investors shifting to other prospects, delivery services will likely have to change their strategy if they want to stay afloat.

The fuel poisoning a new generation

3 million: The number of children in the US near airports that use leaded aviation gasoline.

Quartz has published a Pulitzer Center-supported, six-month investigation into how aviation fuel is poisoning a generation of Americans, and how—after decades of delays and resistance from oil companies, aircraft manufacturers, and even federal agencies—a solution may exist inside an airplane hangar in Ada, Oklahoma.

​​✦ Quartz members gained insight into what it would take to end the use of leaded aviation gasoline in the US in our latest Forecast email. Sign up for membership today and get 40% off.

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🛩 Are you at risk of lead exposure from a nearby airport? 

Surprising discoveries

Odd spirals of blue light were seen in the sky over New Zealand. Believe it or not, it probably has something to do with Elon Musk.

Love letters are getting a revival. One city in Japan is encouraging singles to scrap the dating apps and find their match by putting pen to paper.

VR at work may not actually… work. A study found that being in the metaverse all day can lower productivity, increase stress, and give people migraines.

Velvet worm slime could be the next bioplastic. The webby substance, which is as strong as nylon, could one day have commercial viability.

A black hole may have gone rogue. Black holes are usually found paired with a companion star, but scientists believe they have found one wandering all on its own.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, feather quills, and black hole finders to Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Julia Malleck, Sofia Lotto Persio, and Morgan Haefner.

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