Klarna + more things

7 minutes estimated reading time


How Klarna’s pastel pink exterior began to crack | Dazed – Klarna isn’t new technology, its unsecured financing. Once you scratch beneath Klarna’s technology veneer you realise that Klarna is like pre-internet business like a shopkeepers lay away or the catalogue agents who used to work for Freemans and Littlewoods. Previously the catalogue companies were vertically integrated with retailing and consumer finance. Now Klarna does the unsecured consumer finance, de-risking the retail business. But this business model leaves Klarna with all the risks. Klarna also has age-old problems regarding fraud. I am also concerned about the consumer debt risk that Klarna represents.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s historic businesses face an uncertain future | Financial Times – my money would be on Jardines over Swire. Jardines moves in Indonesia seem to have just the right amount of risk to them

Hong Kong population drops for first time in 17 years | Apple Daily – unclear how much is due to national security law related exodus


Estonia warns of “silenced world dominated by Beijing” – Axios 

Most people in Britain see China’s rise as a top threat to security in next decade, survey finds | South China Morning Post – China is the Millwall of countries in terms of soft power perceptions

Ex-officials, academics call for US to work with Europe to counter China | South China Morning Post“A road map for US-Europe cooperation on China”, published by the Paul Tsai China Centre at Yale Law School on Wednesday, the experts said steps needed to be taken as an “urgent priority” in six key areas: trade, technology, human rights, climate, pandemic plans, and reform of international institutions

US and China on path to ‘inevitable’ economic decoupling: report | South China Morning Post – Rhodium Group report

Confronting Chinese State Capitalism | Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Dead poet rekindles cultural feud between South Korea and China | Apple Daily – “There is general consensus that Yun is Korean and it is not in dispute,” he said, adding that “the Chinese hegemony is imposing its values on South Koreans.” – first trying to steal kimchi, now trying to steal Korean patriots; the Chinese government has no shame


This unusual hydrogen paste could revolutionize the transport industry – hydrogen offers a better opportunity than Li ion batters in the longer term


The China challenge | Financial Times – the interesting thing is the way China is co-opting Goldman Sachs and others as a fifth columnist hook into the US until they have their digital currency ready to challenge the dollar as global reserve currency

Virtual control: the agenda behind China’s new digital currency | Financial Times – private sector innovates, government then does fast follower. A lot in about social control; but also useful for understanding the money supply in near real time that would allow the fine tuning of economic policy much faster


Is The Role of Digital Becoming Obsolete Within Luxury Companies?recent changes at the top level management at LVMH may signal a wider move within the luxury industry to move away from “digital transformation” and a shift towards a “total immersion” in their business.


The west is too obsessed with its colonial guilt | Financial Times – its also bad for the colonised who are fixed in a state of permanent victimhood – really interesting op-ed by Kamel Daoud


Apply challenger thinking | WARCremember, the enemy is indifference, not rejection. – BBH’s John Harrison on brand salience by any means

The profound, unintended consequence of ATT: content fortresses | Mobile Dev Memo 

Adam Curtis knows why we all keep falling for conspiracy theories | WIRED Ubest read with The China model has come to America – Asia Times Far too few Americans grasp the implications of such a view taking root among their own elite. Though more and more Americans are awakening to the challenges inherent in China’s growing economic, technological, and military capabilities, few understand the threat that China’s governing philosophy and structures pose to the US. – assumes that US philosophy will stand on its own merits, or in other words magical thinking or a blind spot

P&G’s Old Spice to open first barbershop, doubling as content studio | Marketing Dive – kind of similar to the old Lynx barber shop in London

Jaffa Cake economics | Yiu – I remember getting told off bringing a calculator into the supermarket when I was at university because of this

Livestreaming: will UK FMCG get in on the Asian foodie shopping craze? – will UK consumers buy FMCG products over live-streaming?


1 in 12 Irish people access radio on digital devices | RTÉ About 8% of the population, or 330,000 people, listen each day using a digital device, the report found. Just under 5% listen via a mobile device, 2% on a PC and around 1.5% on a Smart Speaker and the remainder on a TV set or DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). – 77% on FM. This makes sense given high car ownership, poor mobile coverage and slow progress of DAB head units in cars

Top 100 Hong Kong movies – the best Hong Kong films of all time – everyone of them a banger

China Bans BBC World Service, Following U.K. Ban Of Chinese Network : NPR – no one surprised

China eyes ‘virtual production’ technique used in The Mandalorian to help local film industry catch up to Hollywood in visual effects | South China Morning Post – the scenes were not shot on location, on a movie set, or using a green screen. They were filmed in front of a giant LED wall display that could project an imaginary world as one that appears real to the audience. 
Known as “virtual production”, the digital background are generated in real time by a powerful computing game engine, allowing filmmakers to combine live-action footage with visual effects in real time. 
The technology could revolutionise filmmaking because real world settings can be replaced. China, with more than 20 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion) of box office revenue in 2020, is known for its theme parks across the country that double as locations for film shoots. In the town of Hengdian in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, for instance, the so-called “movie city” built a replica of the Forbidden City for filmmaking


France Ties Russia’s Sandworm to a Multiyear Hacking Spree | WIRED – what comes through in these stories is size, capability; expertise in project management and long-term offensive planning – Microsoft says it found 1,000-plus developers’ fingerprints on the SolarWinds attack • The Register  – Russia has its own problems in terms of data security that Bellingcat has used in its Russian related investigations as databases bought on Telegram with digital currency

Nasdaq Decodes: Tech Trends 2021 | Nasdaq – buzzwords in enterprise technology sales for 2021

Facebook Meets Apple in Clash of the Tech Titans—‘We Need to Inflict Pain’ – WSJThe war of words and ideas will ultimately play out in court, regulatory agencies and user decisions as both companies defend themselves against antitrust investigations. The potential regulatory settlements and legal decisions are likely to affect hundreds of millions of consumers’ phones in coming years. A Facebook spokeswoman, Dani Lever, said the choice between personalized services and privacy was a “false trade-off,” and that Facebook provides both. “This is not about two companies. This is about the future of the free internet,” she said, asserting that small businesses, app developers and consumers lose out under Apple’s new rules. “Apple claims this is about privacy, but it’s about profit, and we’re joining others to point out their self-preferencing, anticompetitive behavior.” – spoken like a true sociopath

BBH_Labs – A download on Telegram – interesting that BBH is going here now

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou sues HSBC in the UK — Quartz – looks like this is a case to get hold of evidence that Meng hopes would be useful to fight the US extradition case

NEC Bids for Open RAN Leadership | EE Times 

Nanomaterials are being discovered in living organisms | Fast Company – nano technology’s dystopian grey gloop by other means

Artificial intelligence helps automation, but can’t tell you where to put your money, Indexa CEO says 

Sennheiser wants to 3D print you bespoke earbud tips using an app – problematic for Snugs

Facebook reported revenue it ‘should have never made’, manager claimed | Financial Times – call it what it is: fraud

UK competition watchdog warns Big Tech of coming antitrust probes