April 6, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi, we've got 3 charts for you today:

  • Russian expulsion. Zelensky wants Russia expelled from the UN Security Council.
  • The Elon effect. Elon Musk has bought a big chunk of Twitter.
  • Faster fashion. Shein is now worth $100bn.
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In his latest address to the United Nations Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for the expulsion of Russia from the UN Security Council amidst mounting evidence of war crimes in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine.

Veto power

As one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia, along with China, France and the UK & US, has the power to veto any substantive resolution. Russia (or formerly as the USSR) has done this almost 120 times, most recently in February -- vetoing a resolution that would have demanded Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine.


The UN should be the most important organization for fostering international cooperation, and yet it's most important goal, maintaining peace, remains at the whims of a select few major geopolitical powers from, not 2022, but 1946. Zelensky accused the organization of not being fit for purpose, an accusation that's hard to argue with given recent events.

This week Elon Musk announced that he'd acquired a 9% stake in social media site Twitter, earning him not only a seat on the company's board, but also the title of the company's largest shareholder, with more than 4x the shares held by founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey.

The Elon effect

The news has sent shares in Twitter up more than 30%, with more than $13 billion worth of shares changing hands on Monday alone. That's more than double even the busiest days of trading from Twitter's 8-and-a-half years as a public company. It's way more than the $5bn that changed hands on Twitter's first day of trading after its IPO, it's more than was traded when Google was rumored to be looking at acquiring Twitter in 2016 and it's 4x what was traded when Donald Trump was banned from the platform last year.

A billionaire's playground

Musk's interest in Twitter is unlikely to be directly financial. With a net worth north of $200 billion, his stake in Twitter represents just over 1% of his wealth. But he uses the platform more than any other major public figure, promoting Tesla, SpaceX and - increasingly - his views on free speech and politics in between memes and jokes.

At its most serious, Elon's involvement might mean a substantive change in Twitter's moderation or free-speech policies... or he might have literally just spent ~$3bn to get an edit button.

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Shein, the Chinese fast fashion app beloved by Gen-Z, has reportedly raised a fresh round of investment that values the company at $100 billion. It has a grand total of zero physical stores.

The reign of Shein

That valuation makes Shein more valuable than some of the largest apparel retailers in the world. Inditex, which owns Zara, Pull&Bear, Bershka and more is valued at $68bn. H&M is worth $24bn. Iconic american brand GAP is worth $5bn, one-twentieth of Shein - a company that few had even heard of just 2 years ago.

The list of apparel retailers worth more than Shein is pretty short: it's pretty much just Nike, or a few luxury fashion conglomerates if you widen your definition a bit more.

There's fast fashion, and then there's fast fashion

As we wrote back in December, Shein has taken the idea of fast fashion, sped it up and then turbo-charged it. Its supply chain doesn't commit to a million units of the same top, hoping that the focus group it asked was right that it was "cool" -- instead the company commits to tiny runs of products, ramping up production almost instantly if the sales or social media data suggests it's worth it.

The haters

A Google search for "shein stole my design" throws up loads of stories of designers having their ideas or patterns "copied" by Shein - an accusation not uncommon in the world of fast fashion. Additionally, it's not entirely clear how sustainable Shein's products are, as little remains known about the company's actual production. There were reports in December of staff working 75-hour weeks and Good On You, a site that tracks sustainability practices, gave Shein a “very poor” environmental rating.

More Data

1) Construction has been completed on a 1,428 foot-tall tower in New York, which is now officially the world's skinniest skyscraper.

2) The best (or technically scariest?) 9 charts from the 2022 IPPC report on climate change.

3) How did stocks perform in the first quarter of the year? Cool visualization from reddit.

4) Over $1 trillion is invested in quantitative hedge funds. Composer lets you get in on the action at a fraction of the entry point - no PHD required.**

5) How the war in Ukraine compares to other refugee crises (The Economist).

6) Forbes has released its annual World’s Billionaires List, noting that there were 2,668 billionaires around the world, down slightly on the 2,755 last year.

*Investing in securities involves risks, including the risk of loss. Composer Technologies Inc., SEC Registered RIA. This is not a recommendation of a particular security or strategy.

**This is sponsored content.

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