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Netflix expands in Europe: An American in Paris

A transatlantic tryst with a happy ending AMERICAN internet giants such as Google and Amazon are the target of much criticism in Europe these days, accused of avoiding taxes, invading privacy and competing unfairly with local firms.

Car rentals: Hire purpose

BOOTLEGGERS and bank-robbers were among the first to use car-hire firms when they got going in the 1920s.

Swiss watches and the Apple Watch: It’s not about time

WHEN cheap, accurate quartz watches started pouring out of Asia in the 1970s, many Swiss watchmakers went bust.

Share buy-backs: The repurchase revolution

IN THE decade before America’s housing bubble burst, Home Depot, an American home-improvement chain, spent heavily on building new shops to meet rampant demand for everything from taps to timber.

Schumpeter: The China wave

MANAGEMENT thinkers have paid surprisingly little attention to how Chinese firms are run. They routinely ascribe those firms’ rapid growth in recent years to their copious supply of cheap labour, or to generous financial backing from the state, rather than inventiveness.

Apple’s future: Reluctant reformation

APPLE prides itself on constantly re-imagining the future, but even the world’s leading gadget-maker likes to dwell on the past too.

Schumpeter: Over the horizon

FOR most people a 50th anniversary is an excuse for a party. For the men and women of McKinsey it is an excuse for a conference.

Italian businesses: Keeping it in the family

RAISED in an orphanage, Leonardo Del Vecchio started selling spectacles in Belluno in northern Italy in 1967.

Germany’s Googlephobia: Closing the circle

IN ITS nearly 500-year history, Unter den Linden, Berlin’s main boulevard, has seen many political protests.

Executive pay: The final reckoning

Worth every penny IN HIS book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, Thomas Piketty argues that it is impossible to find an “objective basis” for the high salaries of senior executives in terms of their individual productivity: they pay themselves such exorbitant sums simply because they can.

Digital news: Read all about it

LAST December Uruguay became the first country to legalise cannabis fully. Soon afterwards, an American website, became the first news organisation to send a journalist to smoke weed with José Mujica, Uruguay’s president.

Alibaba: After the float

THE initial public offering of shares in Alibaba, due shortly on the New York Stock Exchange, may raise more than $20 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs on record, and value the Chinese e-commerce firm at $150 billion or more.

Schumpeter: A new green wave

BILL MCKIBBEN, an American environmentalist, once dismissed sustainability as “a buzzless buzzword”. That seems about right.

Online gaming: Streaming down the Amazon

ON OCTOBER 4th 2013, tens of thousands of gamers packed the Staples Centre in Los Angeles to watch SK Telecom T1 triumph over Royal Club in the annual finals of “League of Legends”, a team-based video game; 32m people watched the games live at some point, about 50% more than watch “Sunday Night Football”.

Natural gas in China: Shale game

IN 2012 China’s main planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, declared that the country would produce 60 billion-100 billion cubic metres of shale gas a year in 2020.

Marketing: What are brands for?

WHEN Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-largest cigarette-maker, said in July that it would spend $7.1 billion to expand its business in America, its chief executive, Alison Cooper, was adamant on one point: it will not be buying companies.

Cloud computing: Silver lining

IN 2004 Amazon, then a $7 billion-a-year online retailer, was starting to build up a technology infrastructure to serve other companies as well as itself.

Burger King: Seventh time lucky?

Would you like the company with that? ACCORDING to its supporters, the union of Burger King with Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant chain, is all about world domination.

Accounting for brands: Untouchable intangibles

COCA-COLA is worth $79.2 billion, according to Interbrand, a consultant. That does not seem excessive for the brand responsible for making Santa Claus look so jolly.

Trust-busting in China: Unequal before the law?

IN RECENT weeks, Chinese authorities appear to have been singling out foreigners in bars around Beijing, harassing them for allegedly breaking the country’s narcotics laws, conducting spot inspections of their bodily fluids and reportedly busting them without due process.