Greetings from San Francisco, where Thursday night I helped host a 100-strong delegation from Guangzhou, China. We gathered for dinner at the plush St. Regis Hotel with Silicon Valley’s best and brightest to discuss Chinese innovation.
Those last two words until recently might have constituted what I learned in elementary school to be an oxymoron. No longer. Chinese companies, in their well-capitalized, rapidly growing, and surprisingly lightly regulated markets, have become global innovation leaders.
Michal Lev-Ram has a fine write-up of the night’s proceedings here. Investors Ying Wang and Hans Tung as well as McKinsey thinker Jonathan Woetzel wowed the crowd with examples of how the Chinese already are leading the way in areas like payments, insurance, healthcare, and e-commerce. The unanswered question is whether Chinese companies can export their success, the way a generation of commercially imperialistic U.S. goliaths like Coca-Cola, IBM, and McDonald’s did in previous generations. If I had to guess, the answer is yes.
Economist, policymaker, and academic Laura Tyson sounded a refreshing note of caution. China’s successes have taken place in an asymmetric fashion, Tyson noted in after-dinner comments, whereby China has repeatedly enjoyed open access to markets like the U.S. while closing its own for key sectors. This was the conclusion of an Obama-era commission on which she served. The current administration in Washington will only form harsher assessments.
U.S.-China commerce will be the most important business story of the next decade. And it certainly will be the biggest story at Fortune the first week of December, when we convene two major conferences in Guangzhou: Brainstorm Tech International and the Fortune Global Forum.
Have a great weekend.
Uber loses London. The ride-hailing firm has lost its license to operate across the pond for demonstrating what regulators view as a “lack of corporate responsibility” when it comes to public safety and security. Transport for London, the city’s taxi regulator, will let the license expire at the end of the month; Uber now has 21 days to appeal to decision.
Apple off to slow sales start. Signs seem to indicate that initial demand for Apple’s iPhone 8 doesn’t compare to the zeal for previous models. Unlike prior generations of the phone, the latest version has not been selling out early and, anecdotally, appears to be drawing fewer numbers to stores. Analysts expect iPhone X will perform much better.
Facebook to cooperate with Congress. The social network has agreed to provide congressional committees with more than 3,000 Russia-linked political ads that ran on its platform during the 2016 election season. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered an address regarding the company’s plans to prevent future abuse of its technology in a Facebook Live video on Thursday. (Bonus: Bloomberg Businessweek’s new cover story is on Zuck’s “political awakening”; the most compelling scene arrives at the finale, where Zuckerberg comes across as “wholly alive—engaged and even a little pissed off” at one of the reporters.)
Hewlett Packard plans layoffs. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is planning to slash 10% of its workforce—about 5,000 jobs—starting at the end of the year, reports Bloomberg. The move is part of CEO Meg Whitman’s strategy to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in costs. (For more on Whitman, read this superb profile published on Fortune today.)
Snap gadget unit restructures. The hardware division of Snapchat’s parent company has a new exec at the helm: Mark Randall, a former Googler who worked under the past lead, ex-Motorola exec Steve Horowitz. The social media company has released one non-app product to date, video camera glasses called “Spectacles.”
MongoDB files for IPO. This New York-based tech company, which sells tools related to open source database software, made its intent to go public known in a Thursday SEC filing. The company took in $101.4 million in revenue last year, more than the $86.7 million it lost during the same period.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Google Is Making Android Devices Better for Business, by Barb Darrow
The Good and the Bad in Apple TV 4k: Everything You Need to Know, by Don Reisinger
Mercedes Takes on Tesla With Plan to Build Electric SUVs in the U.S., by Kirsten Korosec
Facebook Messenger’s AI Will Now Help You Share GIFs and Buy Movie Tickets, by Tom Huddleston, Jr.
A New Report Shows Black Women’s Influence at Work and on the Web, by Ellen McGirt
Whoops: ISIS Backers Reveal Location on Instagram, by Jeff John Roberts
Bose’s New Headphones Come With Google Assistant, by Jonathan Vanian
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“I might be the only CEO in America who wants to run a smaller company.”
—Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, tells Fortune’s Jen Wieczner in this excellent profile about the woman who undertook the biggest ever corporate breakup by revenue. Her words hold extra weight given the news of impending job cuts at HPE. Although she didn’t get the Uber gig, Whitman, the only woman to have run more than one Fortune 500 company, continues to attract rumors of a future political bid.
ONE MORE THING
Meet the new TV dinner. What do meal-kit delivery services say about today’s society? Companies like Blue Apron and Plated, which popularized the phenomenon, “promise that, with the help of e-commerce, traditional family life can continue undisturbed even as the underlying structures that produced the family as we know it are undergoing extreme disruption,” says poet Linda Besner in this cerebral cultural critique for Real Life magazine, a publication funded by Snap. Consider her essay food for thought. Enjoy the weekend.