The day’s business news at a glance
US companies walk fine line with China
The furor over a tweet by the Houston Rockets’ general manager in support of Hong Kong protesters is highlighting the fine line that U.S. companies must walk when doing business with China.
With a population of 1.4 billion people, a rapidly growing middle class and easing economic restrictions, China is highly appealing to U.S. companies looking for growth overseas. But experts caution they should know what they’re getting themselves into when they do business with China.
Company making pajamas flagged for forced labor
Products shipped from overseas, such as rubber protective gloves and baby pajamas sold at Costco, are being seized by U.S. Customs officials as they investigate whether the items were produced using forced labor.
On Oct. 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection slapped rare detention orders on goods imported from an unprecedented five countries in one day based on allegations that people producing those items might be children, or adults subjected to forced labor.
US seeks to blacklist Chinese AI firms
The United States is blacklisting a group of Chinese tech companies that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology that the US said is being used to repress China’s Muslim minority groups.
A move Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department seeks to put the companies on a so-called Entity List based on national security concerns. The blacklisted companies include Hikvision, a major global provider of video surveillance technology.
Boeing delivers just 26 planes in September
Boeing deliveries of new jetliners are down 70% from a year ago, but the plane maker is reporting the first order in months for the grounded 737 Max. Boeing, however, isn’t identifying the private buyer of the plane.
The Max accounted for nearly the entire drop in September deliveries compared. Boeing halted deliveries of the Max shortly after the plane was grounded in March after two deadly crashes.
Online shoe brand Allbirds to double stores
Online shoe brand Allbirds plans to more than double its store count next year, hoping to reach shoppers who want to touch and try on its wool shoes.
The company said it plans to open 20 stores in 2020, bringing its number of stores to about 35 by the end of the year.
Its store expansion will bring it to cities it’s never been before, including Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.
Legos underfoot? Toy maker testing recycling
Lego is testing a way for customers to ship their unwanted bricks back and get them into the hands of other kids.
The toy maker said that customers can now print out a mailing label on its site, dump their used Lego bricks in a box and send them off for free.
Lego said the blocks will be cleaned, placed in a box and donated to classrooms across the United States. Lego said if its test is successful, it may expand the program beyond the U.S. next year.
Stocks skid as tensions flare ahead of trade talks
Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street Tuesday as tensions between the U.S. and China flared ahead of talks aimed at resolving the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. The sell-off knocked more than 300 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average.