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A meeting with a group of manufacturing company executives cannot be guaranteed to surprise, but I recently found myself in a gathering that did exactly that.

The managers came from a mix of businesses. Some made cars, one made fertiliser, others produced steel or glass or perfume.

All present were troubled by the Covid-related shortages that have struck supplies of everything from computer chips to Ikea mattresses. The lack of workers in what has been called the Great Resignation

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Sony and Zee Entertainment are preparing to enter the bidding for Indian Premier League cricket rights this month as part of a merger between the Japanese and Indian companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Sony-Zee bid for the 2023-2027 media rights for one of the world’s most valuable sports competitions would set up a battle with existing holder Walt Disney, which owns rival Indian media company Star India.

Other potential bidders include Facebook, which bid

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Manufacturing activity in China suffered its first official contraction since the beginning of the pandemic as widespread power shortages compounded a loss of momentum across the country’s economy.

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, an official gauge of factory activity, was 49.6 in September, dropping below the 50-point threshold that separates monthly contraction from expansion for the first time since February last year.

The PMI figures are one of the clearest signals yet of weaknesses across China’s economy as it grapples with severe power shortages, a slowdown across its vast property sector and sporadic outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant

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Fumio Kishida will be the next prime minister of Japan after winning a leadership battle in which the ruling Liberal Democratic party staked its future on stability instead of gambling on a new generation of leaders.

The victory in a tightly contested race on Wednesday marks a stunning comeback for the 64-year-old former foreign minister whose political fortunes were crushed following his defeat to Yoshihide Suga in last year’s LDP leadership tussle.

But Kishida’s win is a blow for a younger generation of party members, who had hoped that the leadership contest would herald a generational change and a

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Lego updates

Lego enjoyed dizzying growth in both sales and profits in the first half of this year as the Danish toymaker proved itself to be one of the winners of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It cemented its position as the world’s largest toymaker by increasing revenues in the first half by 43 per cent year on year to DKr23bn ($3.6bn) and net profit by 140 per cent to DKr6.3bn, both records.

Even though its revenues were only 50 per cent higher than the industry’s number

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