Hammered by a pandemic that arrived with economically devastating lockdowns, the global economy is in a wobbly place right now. It’s a world where hedge fund traders make a killing on uncertainty, and the U.S. stock market has seen its best August in 36 years. And yet there’s real pain around the globe. What’s going on and what can we learn? Today’s Daily Dose aims to find out just that, from creative finance ministers to unlikely tech stars to a new look at tourism. But we will start with the country that — like it or not — will arguably have the biggest impact on the future of the global economy: China.
Investors are salivating ahead of what could be the biggest IPO in history: a $30 billion float for China’s Ant Group, parent company of payments super-app Alipay. Alibaba ($783 billion valuation) and Tencent ($689 billion) have soared amid the pandemic and are among the world’s most valuable companies. But are there cracks in China Inc.? High-profile accounting scandals at Luckin Coffee and TAL Education Group leave questions about how real the numbers are at emerging Chinese companies. Not to mention ongoing geopolitical tensions with the U.S. — where both candidates for the presidency are dying to look tough on China — raising questions about how much America could hurt Chinese companies for political reasons, TikTok-style.
2. Industry to Watch: Health Care
They aren’t as sexy as tech giants, but health care and biotech companies are raking in billions in new transactions this year, as China becomes a new hub for the health sciences. China spends far less on health care than the U.S. as a percentage of its gross domestic product, leaving room for huge growth. Don’t be surprised if one of these emerging companies becomes the next global health giant.
China has weathered the global coronavirus economic downturn better than just about anyone, but the pandemic has served to widen the nation’s yawning gap between rich and poor. This is mostly because instead of handing out cash to consumers directly, as the U.S. and Europe did, China aimed to stimulate investment and construction. But the trickle-down hasn’t arrived as of yet.
One part of America’s economy that’s still booming is real estate, which means plenty of people are changing apartments right now. But the methods have changed. Follow influencer Rachel Mooreland as she embarks on her remote apartment hunt in Chicago, in search of more space and a better location.
“I hate to say it, when there’s blood in the water, when it looks like everything’s terrible, you got to buy, you got to buy, even though it feels terrible and you don’t want to do it,” CNBC host Andrew Ross Sokin shares in a candid moment on The Carlos Watson Show, hosted by OZY’s co-founder and CEO. Considering that the S&P 500 is up nearly 60 percent from the bottom of its late-March coronavirus-induced swoon, you could have made a few by heeding Sorkin’s words.
Say it with us: The stock market is not the economy. Yes, equities are hitting record highs and retirement accounts are replenished for those with enough scratch to save. But the boom is fueled by a Federal Reserve buying spree and high hopes for a vaccine, not the dismal reality of double-digit unemployment. With the cash spent from the massive government stimulus — and no more expected soon — while the virus still rages, America is in for tricky times. Even a gold standard company like Coca-Cola is slashing thousands of jobs.
3. Gold Rush
Don’t trust glimmering tech returns? Precious metal prices are hitting record highs too. And that’s going to have a big impact on previously untouched Latin American and African nations that could see a scramble from gold explorers. Will that boost poor economies … or lead to neocolonialism?
4. Free Trader
Adam Todd is democratizing the cryptocurrency trade with his commission-free trading platform Digitex Futures, where all trades are commission-free. This allows users to employ strategies like scalping — where traders make gains off small deals — which is hard to do when you have to pay a commission on every trade. Plus, avoiding the big exchanges fits the pirate ethos of cryptocurrencies in the first place.
5. Rags to Riches
Forex trader Sandile Shezi got his first taste of business at the age of 12, when he sold muffins in his poor South African township. Now 27, he has a net worth of more than $2.3 million earned through high-risk currency trading.
Launches today! Written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author Jon Meacham, It Was Said explores some of America’s most important, influential, timeless and relevant speeches in history that have been both mirrors and makers of the nation's manners and morals at key moments. From the Peabody-nominated C13Originals studio, produced in partnership by our friends at HISTORY®️, It Was Said features the unforgettable words of Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, John Lewis, Hillary Clinton and more, taking listeners back to inflection points ranging from the McCarthy era to our present time through the real-time rhetoric that shaped and suffused America. Available today, wherever you listen to podcasts!
Despite its reputation for skilled cyber hacking, Russia’s tech scene has long been limp. Standing out in the lackluster crowd, though, is innovative firm mail.ru, thanks in large part to its tie-up with Alibaba last year. The well-timed online retailing venture AliExpress Russia is going gangbusters during the pandemic, and now there are whispers of an IPO.
2. Special Delivery
Though Europe has a formidable economy, its tech scene putters along in the long shadows of Silicon Valley and Beijing. But there are signs that tech power players are emerging here as banks slip. For example, Delivery Hero replaced the disgraced payments company Wirecard on Germany’s DAX 30 index. The Dutch firm Just Eat Takeaway bought U.S.-based Grubhub. Meanwhile the cloud business services provider SAP and semiconductor-maker ASML are growing into some of the biggest companies on the Continent — long dominated by stodgy banks, conglomerates and oil majors.
Autonomous vehicle startupAurora Innovation launched three years ago with an intriguing offer to the big automakers: We will partner with you, not disrupt you. The company soared, vacuuming up funding and engineering talent, but now finds itself in an awkward spot, with a wave of consolidation going on. Automakers are opting to make their self-driving cars in-house. Can Aurora still stand on its own?
The global boom in remote learning is sending the ed tech sector into a frenzy. But a closer look reveals only a few big fish, and not a ton of innovation. Of the 10 most-used K-12 ed tech tools since the start of the pandemic, eight are from Google. Observers fear that smaller startups with promising ideas may be swallowed up in acquisitions or simply fail to survive.
OZY is working on a new show, The Science of Dating, and you could be the perfect match. This groundbreaking series will use scientific methods and experiments to help match compatible couples. We are currently looking for people who live in the Chicago area and are ready to get serious about settling down and finding their perfect match. Interested? Fill out the application here.
Valeri Chekheria helped build the post-Soviet nation of Georgia into a paragon of cool with his slick hotels in the long-prized getaway by the Black Sea. Now his Adjara Group is trying to pull off a move into wellness and health retreats to cater to a more skittish post-pandemic traveler.
The pandemic has brought the world — and tourism — to a standstill. That's threatening millions of jobs across Africa, according to the United Nations. Now groups in South Africa are innovating: If tourists can't come to the country's famed wildlife reserves, they'll take safaris to tourists in their living rooms instead. A growing number of organizations are offering "virtual safaris." The footage itself is free, but companies are making money by selling merchandise.
Need a little beat to get you through the week? OZY Presents: Your Hump Day Playlist, featuring the game-changing artists you love and rising stars you’ll soon love. Check out this week’s playlist on OZY’s Spotify.
know these finance ministers
1. Martín Guzmán
Argentina’s 37-year-old finance minister was dealing with an economy in tatters — and that was before the pandemic hit. Yet he’s pulled a rabbit out of the hat, sealing a deal with global creditors that had seemed impossible and ending the country's ninth sovereign debt default. His reputation for moderation stabilized markets last year, and he’s using cash transfers for the poor and financial aid to small businesses to fight the recession.
The 57-year-old at the helm of Indonesia’s economy is the most experienced finance minister in the G-20. She led the country’s economic recovery after the 2004 tsunami and the 2008–09 financial crisis. Can she do it yet again?