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Netflix Nears a Major Milestone

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Editor’s Remarks
Netflix’s latest figures show that it’s on the brink of a major milestone, with its global subscribers totalling almost 100 million. But despite the impressive figure, the world’s leading video streaming service reported some disappointments in its first quarter earnings. It added fewer new subscribers than expected (reaching 98.75 million rather than the 98.83 million forecasted by FactSet) and, importantly for shareholders, its forward earnings guidance came in at 15 cents per share, far lower than the 24 cents per share forecasted by Thomson Reuters. Netflix will, naturally, celebrate its 100 millionth member – expected to arrive as early as this weekend – but it had hoped to welcome him or her into its hallowed halls of box set binging a fair bit earlier. 5 million new subscribers in one quarter beats a great many other streaming subscription services (nearest competitor Amazon Prime doesn’t release its exact figures), but it’s not good enough for Netflix. Still, it has reasons to be cheerful: its earnings per share beat expectation, and revenue is steady at $2.64bn. And, importantly, it is now more global than ever. As recently as 2014, less than a third of its then 57.4m subscribers were outside of the US, but this proportion now stands at 49%. Now available in over a hundred countries, Netflix’s number of international subscribers is expected to overtake its domestic customer base this year. (edited)

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How Are the Chinese Net Giants Faring?

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In the last year, China’s tech giants have really come into their own. Finally, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have shed their former reputation as “China’s version of [insert western tech company]” and begun to define their business models by their own terms. The market has rewarded them for it too: Baidu gained 60% in 2017, with Tencent and Alibaba each up about 120%, which trumped the price gains achieved by their western competitors. Tencent has cemented itself as the world’s biggest video games company due to its ever-expanding portfolio of mobile games and savvy investments in a broad range of foreign tech firms. Alibaba, meanwhile, has expanded into physical supermarkets in China, where it hopes to build further streams of revenue. Baidu is somewhat lagging, as its relatively small market cap indicates but the company is actively testing autonomous cars.

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How Big Banks Have Invested in FinTech Since 2013

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In the UK at least, fintech has been characterised by challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo opening their (virtual) doors to customers in recent years. However, that does not mean that big banks aren’t getting in on the fun too. Since 2013, premier investment bank Goldman Sachs has completed some 37 fintech-related investments with Citibank trailing with 25 similar deals over the same period. Kensho is one company that has received a lot of attention from Wall Street’s biggest players; Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi and Morgan Stanley all invested in the machine learning startup’s Series B fundraise last year at a valuation of $500m. with the advent of blockchain, it seems like 2018 will see many more fintech deals take place.

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The Earth’s Continents by Population

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Asia remains by far and away the world’s most populous continent with a staggering 4.5bn people, largely from India and China. The two superpowers are now roughly neck and neck in terms of population size, with one unofficial poll, in fact, putting India ahead of China last year. China phased out its one-child policy in 2015, which had stood since 1979, and replaced it with a two-child policy. The impact of these policies on the demographics of the nation have been enormous; many Chinese men are unable to found spouses due to there being around 15% more females than males among millennials in the country. Elsewhere, Africa is expected to witness a population boom between now and 2050, when the population is expected to be in excess of 2bn – and keep growing. Asia is also expected to add another 1bn people in that time, while Europe and the Americas will have stopped growing.

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