hong kong

Edition 131 of my email newsletter went out on Monday.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox, simply enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🇭🇰 We’re back in Delhi after an action-packed four days in Hong Kong last week. I was there for our annual Wall Street Journal D.Live tech conference, where top executives from the region gathered for panel discussions and networking.

Our our main takeaway story from the event sums things up, amid ongoing political tensions between Washington and Beijing: A U.S.-China Trade War Would Reshape Tech Investment.

A snippet from one attendee, mentioned in the story: “‘Chinese companies will be more likely to invest in emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia,’ said Fan Bao, the chairman and chief executive of investment bank China Renaissance Partners.”

Meanwhile, here’s a wrap-up of the panels, including tidbits from India’s Paytm (mobile payments and e-commerce), Southeast Asia’s Lazada (e-commerce) and Grab (ride-hailing), Google in India and more.

🍴 On a more personal note, a culinary highlight of the trip, in a city where good food is abundant, was a dinner one night at Yardbird. It’ a “modern izakaya” restaurant in Sheung Wan that reminded me in its approach somewhat to David Chang’s Momofuku).

Standout dishes: the liver mousse; meatball yakitori; and “KFC” (Korean fried cauliflower). A ordered expertly, as she always does. Highly recommended.

💎 Oh, and I also saw a very bling-tastic Hong Kong vanity license plate on a blue BMW: “PLAYHARD,” it said.

On to this week’s NN:

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇮🇳 1) By me, online and in Thursday’s print WSJ: Why Tech Titans Are Betting on India, in 14 Charts [WSJ] — My colleagues MinJung Kim, Rosa de Acosta and I pulled together data showing the opportunities — and very real challenges — of investing in the country’s nascent internet economy.

📵 2) A story I helped my colleague Dan Strumpf with while in HK: American Hustle: ZTE’s Surprise U.S. Success, Now Under Threat [WSJ] — A look at how the Chinese telecoms giant is likely to be hit by the U.S. government blocking sales of American products to the company.

🛍️ 3) Amazon Prime has 100 million-plus Prime memberships [Recode] — Many have speculated about how many members they’ve got; now we know: A lot. As Rani Molla notes, that’s fewer than HBO (142 million) and Netflix (125 million), but more than Spotify (71 million) and Hulu (17 million).

🚢 4) The Secret Language of Ships [Hakai Magazine] — From loan lines to symbols denoting bulbous bows and more, a fascinating look, accompanied by nice photos, of signs and symbols on huge seafaring craft.

🏙️ 5) A story that’s been kicking around inside my head since I read it: Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? [The Atlantic] — “We’re used to imagining extinct civilizations in terms of the sunken statues and subterranean ruins,” Adam Frank writes. “These kinds of artifacts of previous societies are fine if you’re only interested in timescales of a few thousands of years. But once you roll the clock back to tens of millions or hundreds of millions of years, things get more complicated.”

Bonus link: Frank and a colleague’s International Journal of Astrobiology paper, “The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?”

🧠 6) Standing Up at Your Desk Could Make You Smarter [NY Times] — Richard A. Friedman, director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, writes about a new report showing endless hours sitting could result in “possible impairment in learning and memory.” And exercise might not even help.

😮 7) Headline of the week: Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo [The Guardian] — “There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger,” says Paul Templer in this riveting account. “It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.”

🌐 8) Wondrous thing of the week: GlobeGenie — click the “teleport” link to be “transported” to random spots around the globe, then explore the destinations via Google Maps. So cool. Not new, but new to me.

 9) The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile [New Yorker] — Alexandra Lange on Susan Kare, who designed the Mac’s first icons.

Bonus link: Scans of the very notebook containing her sketches.

🐶 10) Silly dog video of the week: “JUST CUT THE BULLSHIT AND THROW IT STEVE.

If you like this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. If you received this from a pal, you can sign up here.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley