Ocean ‘lover’ Barbie, a tulip bulb update and the Olympics in, er, 2036

Planet Business: A superstar stock-picker cools on Chinese tech

Image of the week: Crushed crypto

Cryptocurrencies are a "tulip bulb" with "no inherent worth", according to Luke Ellis, boss of hedge fund manager Man Group. These bitcoin-mining machines certainly no longer have any inherent worth, having been crushed by a steamroller on the instruction of Malaysian police in Miri, Borneo. Authorities have seized $1.25 million (€1.05m) worth of the machines from crypto-miners, who have been accused and in some cases convicted of stealing electricity to power the energy-sucking devices. Bitcoin mining, which requires some high-level maths and quite a bit of processing power, is the way new bitcoins enter circulation. And as each single bitcoin has a trading value of about $40,000 – or at least it did earlier this week – this crazy business is lucrative for some.

In numbers: Barbie boom


Net sales increase year-on-year for Barbie in the second quarter, part of a bumper set of results for toymaker Mattel.

$395 million


Doll sales for Mattel in the quarter, with new products including a Barbie Loves the Ocean line made from recycled plastics and the recent sell-out launch of a Barbie modelled on tennis champion Naomi Osaka.


Feature film projects planned around Mattel’s intellectual property, including a Margot Robbie-starring Barbie movie to be directed by Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig.

Getting to know: Cathie Wood

High-profile stock-picker Cathie Wood, the Los Angeles-born eldest child of Irish immigrants to the US, had a great 2020, with her fund management company Ark Invest boasting some of the top-performing exchange traded funds (ETFs). Indeed, in the five years to 2020, she grew the combined value of her five ETFs from $3 billion to $60 billion, the kind of result that attracts "superstar" investor epithets. Wood has been in the financial news this week because Ark Invest's flagship Ark Innovation ETF has been slashing its considerable holdings in Chinese technology stocks and completely exiting some of them in response to a regulatory crackdown in Beijing. The Chinese government's big strike against leading tech companies including Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu has seen the value of the Nasdaq's Golden Dragon China Index plunge as sellers such as Wood started dumping them whenever they could. She's still massively keen on bitcoin though.

The list: Olympic future

The next three summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are being held in Paris, Los Angeles and Brisbane, but what about 2036? It might be 15 years away, but staging a massively costly global event with a far from guaranteed economic dividend takes time to organise, as these places might yet find out.

1. Istanbul. The Turkish capital is a serial applicant but dodged a pandemic bullet when it lost out to Tokyo for 2020. It has already announced its intentions to bid for the 2036 Games.

2. Indonesia. The southeast Asian country had its heart set on 2032 and now hopes to achieve its Olympic dream four years later. "We will not back down," says the head of its Olympic committee.

3. Ahmedabad. The city in western India is flirting with a 2036 bid, though the Indian capital New Delhi has also been mentioned in connection with 2048.

4. Berlin and Tel Aviv. Two German sports officials have suggested a joint bid from the two cities on what would be the uncelebrated centenary of the Nazi Olympics. File under "unlikely".

5. London. The Olympics were only just in the English capital, but mayor Sadiq Khan is keen for the city to bid again for either 2036 or 2040. Maybe the International Olympic Committee should award it the honour on the condition Boris Johnson gets stuck on a zip wire again.