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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 13 November 2018

Geopolitics

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Competiting interests

Will Taiwan make it onto the podium at the 2022 Olympics? Not if China has anything to do with it…

It’s going to be a testing month for Taiwan. Apart from upcoming midterms that are set to test president Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership, on 24 November the island is also due to hold a referendum that will include a question on whether its Olympic team should drop “China” from its official name when competing at Tokyo 2020 – a move that will surely touch a nerve in Beijing. The Olympians of the wayward territory have been competing under the badge and flag of Chinese Taipei since 1981; it’s the name that Beijing accepts as suitably recognising its unflinching “One China” policy. But the growing call for a rebranding has been given added credence since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive party took power two years ago. The referendum will be enlightening.

Affairs

Image: Getty Images

Allez les Bleus!

The winner of our annual Soft Power Survey has been decided.

Monocle’s ninth annual Soft Power Survey is topped by France. As exemplified during a pointedly anti-nationalist speech on Remembrance Day over the weekend, president Emmanuel Macron isn’t afraid to stand up for global liberal values. He also knows how to host a good lunch, bringing together everyone from Putin to Trump at one table. At a time when international relationships are in flux and nations are reassessing where they stand on the world stage, soft power is more important than ever – and whether it’s robust language schools or preparations for the upcoming Olympics, France gets it just right. To find out where your nation stands, pick up the December/January issue at all good newsstands from Thursday.

Business

Image: Alamy

Money talks

Tanzania’s desire to attract investment from abroad is understandable but will the plan backfire?

Aggressive foreign investment in Africa, typically from China, is a long-established trend. While certain nations on the continent are weary of such overtures, some are still keen to woo. Tanzania’s minister for land, William Lukuvi, has offered free parcels of property to international manufacturers of construction materials – such as cement-making companies, for example – who are willing to set up a base in the country. He hopes that this will reduce costly imports of building materials and create local jobs. But dishing out land in such a no-strings-attached manner could be interpreted as desperation, leading foreign firms to simply exploit the generous offer to their advantage.

Communications

Image: Getty Images

Strong message

With mobile-phone mammoth SoftBank about to hit the stock market, where will CEO Masayoshi Son call next?

With Tokyo’s stock exchange having approved the entry of SoftBank Group Corp, the Japanese capital is now expecting the biggest initial public offering in its history. Parent company SoftBank Group – pretty much the sole shareholder in the phone business – expects to make some ¥2.4trn (€18.8bn) by selling 33.5 per cent of the shares. Since establishing the company in 1981, chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son (now the richest man in Japan) has been aggressively building his empire in telecommunications, IT and renewable energy, among other areas. The company goes public on 19 December, with Son looking to invest the windfall in his burgeoning AI business, which he hopes can transform industries including medicine, transport and construction.

From Monocle 24

Mickey Mouse at 90

The Monocle Culture Show

As Mickey hits a significant birthday, we take a look at his career as a film star, logo, toy and all-round international brand superstar.

From Monocle Films

Lisbon: The Monocle Travel Guide

Lisbon may be one of Europe’s oldest cities but it’s far from staid, with massive murals, azulejo-covered townhouses and cutting-edge museums. Allow us to guide you through this eminently liveable (did we mention there are sandy beaches?) and fast-changing city. Published by Gestalten, The Monocle Travel Guide to Lisbon is available now at The Monocle Shop.

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