French food retailer Leclerc takes on rivals to crack Paris

French supermarket chain Leclerc, which launches a home delivery service in Paris this month, also aims to open click and collect stores and hypermarkets in the capital.

Leclerc is France’s biggest food retailer by market share but most of its 681 stores around the country are outside big cities. Tackling the lucrative Paris market is its next frontier for expansion and Chief Executive Michel-Edouard Leclerc said it will take three years to establish a solid foothold in the city.

The home delivery service launches on March 26 and the group hopes to open about 15 click-and-collect stores in Paris to pick up goods ordered online, and 40-50 delivery points, Leclerc.

Read More’s finance unit aims to raise $1.9 billion, valuation set to double

The unit of China’s second-largest e-commerce firm is seeking to deepen its push into areas such as securities, banking and insurance – businesses that have seen the entry of several new technology-focused players.

The move adds to a flurry of fundraising by Chinese tech firms keen to respond to burgeoning demand for digital services, especially in the financial sector.


The fundraising by JD Finance kicked off late last year and is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks, the people said, declining to be identified as details of the deal were not public.

Investor enthusiasm for Chinese tech stocks has jumped over the past few years. The unit was valued at about 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion) after it was separated out from its parent in mid-2017. That valuation has since grown to about 120 billion yuan ahead of the latest fundraising, the people said.

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Gazprom to cut hundreds of traders as Kremlin retreats from West

Russian gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) will cut hundreds of jobs at its overseas trading and export offices, including Britain, and move them to St Petersburg, according to two sources familiar with the plan, which comes at a time of rising tensions with the West.

One of the sources said the decision reflected a broader trend of Russian state firms retreating from the West as part of President Vladimir Putin’s drive to repatriate capital to reduce exposure to sanctions and also shore up the domestic economy.

“In Russia, this story can be sold as a job creation exercise on home turf. This is useful, especially ahead of the presidential election,” said the source, referring to the vote on Sunday that Putin is widely expected to win.

 The reorganisation comes as relations between Russia and Britain, where Gazprom has the largest trading office by far, have hit a new low after Prime Minister Theresa May said Moscow was to blame for the attempted murder a former Russian double agent in an English city.

Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Inc maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.

IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.


The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 U.S. adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the“most visible” corporate brands.

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said.“We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”

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Accounting firm PwC is testing a blockchain analytics tool to help trace digital tokens after their launch, helping companies to guard against the risk their tokens will be misused as a medium for money laundering and other crimes.

Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, is a digital, decentralised ledger that keeps records of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. It is also the underlying technology of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Young said the blockchain analytics tool, being developed by the emerging technology team comprising 80-plus people, will allow ICO issuers to trace their cryptocurrencies post-issuance

“While on the blockchain ledger one could track the amount of transactions that have been done using the cryptocurrencies, there is still no way for an issuer of an ICO to trace its coins and know how these coins are being used,” Young said.One goal is to help companies mange the risks of their tokens being transferred to entities or individuals linked to sanctioned countries. “With artificial intelligence built into our back engine, our solutions would enable clients to better predict which jurisdictions the digital token could potentially be circulated to. Depending on the type of company and the type of business it is engaged in, it could then apply a high risk score to that particular jurisdiction,” he said.

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The city with a thousand lakes is faced with a massive pollution problem that has seen some of its largest lakes frothing up and even catching fire

Is Belt and Road Initiative worth the risk for foreign investors?What do you do when water catches fire? That’s exactly what Bangaloreans are scratching their heads over – the water in their lakes is catching fire, and nobody knows how exactly to put the flames out.For a city that once boasted close to a thousand lakes, this is something of a problem.

Bangalore or Bengaluru, India’s Garden City, a quiet backwater once known as “The City of Lakes”, has been losing perspective lately. It’s once beautiful, temperate, lake-filled landscape has stumbled into something of a drunken stupor, frothing around the edges.

A snow-like froth has been bubbling from several of Bangalore’s lakes, making them look more like an enormous fuzzy bubble bath. But anyone nearby these lakes now needs to cover their mouths and eyes – because that froth is a toxic cocktail of untreated chemicals and sewage. Whenever it rains, wind carries the flammable foam into the city.

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Geely’s Li Shufu $9 billion stake in Daimler

When Daimler announced that Li Shufu had acquired almost 10 percent of the automaker last Friday, it caught financial markets – and German regulators – by surprise.

Although the move seemed sudden, the head of the Chinese carmaker Geely had, according to multiple sources and documents reviewed by Reuters, spent months stealthily laying groundwork for the stake.

Two sources in Geely and one source close to the company said a senior executive there, Li Yifan, had for more than a year led a small team tasked with acquiring shares in Daimler.

By using Hong Kong shell companies, derivatives, bank financing and carefully structured share options, Li Shufu kept the plan under wraps until he could, at a stroke, become Daimler’s single largest shareholder.

The result was a $9 billion (6.54 billion pounds) investment that skirted disclosure rules requiring investors to notify German authorities if their share of voting rights in a company passed 3 percent, and then 5 percent. Because of the way the stake was built, there is no indication that Geely breached those rules.

“The fact that Li would invest did not come as a surprise,” said a senior Daimler executive, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media. “But how he went about it certainly was.”


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Trump trade row: EU considers tax on Levi jean imports

Media captionCecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade

Levi jeans and bourbon could be hit with a 25% import tax by the European Union if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, told the BBC the items were on a draft list of US goods to be taxed.

Last week, the President said he would tax imported steel, declaring: “trade wars are good”.

His comments have prompted reaction around the world.

Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her concern in a telephone call to Mr Trump on Sunday.

Levi Strauss came out strongly against trade barriers.

A company spokesperson told the BBC: “We support open markets and free trade where everyone plays by the rules. Unilateral tariff impositions risk retaliation and destabilizing the global economy, in which case American brands, workers and consumers will ultimately suffer.”

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