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Global LNG giants turn to poor countries for new markets

Bringing rivers of the liquefied stuff WHEN it comes to liquefied natural gas (LNG), the supermajors have supersized appetites.

A legal vulnerability at the heart of China’s big internet firms

COMPANIES’ legal structures are usually mind-numbing fare. But occasionally it is worth pinching yourself and paying attention.

The business of sperm banks

Fruit of a global supply chain BROWSING websites that list sperm donors is weirdly similar to online dating.

New rail routes between China and Europe will change trade patterns

ASTANA in Kazakhstan is one of the world’s most remote capitals, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of empty steppe.

China moves towards banning the internal combustion engine

“A DEFINING moment for the auto industry.” That is how usually restrained analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm, described the news that China’s government wants to move towards a ban on gas guzzlers.

Is Margrethe Vestager championing consumers or her political career?

EVEN her enemies admire the bloody-mindedness of Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner in charge of competition policy.

Rivalry between Apple and Samsung in smartphones will grow fiercer

NEVER shy about hype, on September 12th Apple’s boss, Tim Cook, presented the firm’s latest iPhones to a packed auditorium in its glitzy new headquarters in Cupertino.

Why do European companies bother to hire ex-politicians?

THIS month Gerhard Schröder starts a new job. Shareholders in Rosneft, a Russian energy giant with a market value of nearly $60bn, are set to appoint Germany’s ex-chancellor as a board director on September 29th.

Mobile technology is revamping loyalty schemes

THOSE of a cynical bent might think Tom Stuker a glutton for punishment. Over the years, Mr Stuker has flown more than 18m miles (29m kilometres) on United Airlines, a carrier not always renowned for treating its passengers tenderly.

A craft-beer boom with Chinese characteristics

EVIDENCE unearthed at Mijiaya in Shaanxi province proved that the Chinese have an ancient tradition of making beer.

An infrastructure for charging electric vehicles takes shape

A NEW phrase, “range anxiety”—the fear that an electric vehicle (EV) will run out of power before it reaches a charging-point—entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.

America’s electricity industry prepares for a nuclear threat to the grid

When the lights go out WHEN North Korea said on September 3rd that it had developed a hydrogen bomb, adding that it could be used for a “super-powerful” high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) attack, America’s electricity industry was already on alert.

Panipat, the global centre for recycling textiles, is fading

Tools of the shoddy trade WHEN the doors open to the warehouse at Ambey Spinning Mills in Panipat, a city 90km from Delhi, it seems as if its contents might tumble out like those of an overstuffed cupboard.

United Technology merges with Rockwell Collins

WHEN passengers board an aircraft, only a few care whether it was built by Airbus or Boeing, two giants that make all the world’s big airliners.

Ever better and cheaper, face-recognition technology is spreading

TOURING the headquarters of Megvii in Beijing is like visiting Big Brother’s engine room. A video camera in the firm’s lobby recognises visitors in the blink of an eye.

Cargill, an intensely private firm, sheds light on the food chain

ANGLERS love a record catch. Fish farmers, too. So when a salmon bred and raised near this village at the head of a Norwegian fjord was pulled out of captivity earlier this year weighing a sumo-sized 17kg, it was cause for jubilation.

Naspers comes under fire for free-riding on Tencent

SOUTH AFRICA’S stockmarket has Naspers largely to thank for its recent record highs. Shares in the media and internet group have soared by 45% this year; even before then it was Africa’s most valuable firm.

Pricey housing markets mean co-living buildings are on the rise

  MONDAY is “Game of Thrones” night at The Collective’s Old Oak building. Millennials congregate in TV rooms around the 11-storey, 550-person block.

The parable of St Paul

PAUL POLMAN runs Europe’s seventh-most valuable company, Unilever, worth $176bn, but he is not a typical big cheese.

Uber picks Dara Khosrowshahi as its new boss

Into the hot seat “A LEADER is a dealer in hope,” said Napoleon. For much of this year Uber, a ride-hailing firm, has lacked both leadership and optimism.