Davos

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe did not shy away from discussing the tensions with China in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Lifen Zhang, editor-in-chief of FTChinese.com, examines the reaction of Chinese delegates and journalists.

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By Joe Leahy in São Paulo

Team Brazil began its charm offensive in Davos on Thursday with Finance Minister Guido Mantega reasserting the primary role in global economic growth of the so-called Brics, which also include Russia, India, China and South Africa. Read more

FT editor Lionel Barber on why Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani wants to end Iran’s isolation and why he might be the leader that the west could do business with.

One of the big themes at the World Economic Forum in Davos is income inequality and whether growth favours the few rather than majority. Senior columnist Gillian Tett contrasts how the middle classes are being affected by the improving global economy.

Tony Abbott, Australian prime minister©Getty

The Group of 20 must stop being merely a “talkfest”, the Australian prime minister said on Thursday at Davos, committing his country’s ambition to securing concrete agreements during its chairmanship this year.

Tony Abbott sought to refocus the group, which has lost its way since the crisis, targeting financial measures, global taxation and trade and infrastructure financing.

The chairman of the G20 has significant influence in shaping the global economic debate every year, but little has been achieved at the G20 since the Korean presidency of 2010. Subsequently, France, Mexico and Russia found co-operation and meaningful agreements on global economic matters difficult to achieve.

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FTChinese.com editor-in-chief Lifen Zhang says the focus is not just on China’s economic power but its foreign relations. He also says Chinese business remains cautious about spending its cash piles.

John Gapper

Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor, is an expert on “disruptive innovation” in various industries – when incumbent companies find themselves overtake by a new technology. He is now facing the possibility of being disrupted himself.

At a breakfast held by Bain & Co, Prof Christensen compared his own fate as a professor at an elite university facing competition from Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with that of sailing ships in the 19th century. They were eventually replaced by engine-driven ships, but it took decades. Read more

Chris Giles

(c) Getty Images

There was a very interesting session this morning on the “sharing economy” focused on the consequences of companies such as Airbnb, which allows people to rent their rooms out, or Zipcar, which allows people to rent rather than own cars in cities easily.

Everyone agreed that the increased efficiency and reduced redundancy was a great idea and even traditional companies liked the idea. Sir Ian Cheshire, CEO of Kingfisher, recognised that if products his companies sold were used more intensively, customers would come back more often, so the idea was not a huge threat to good traditional companies. Read more

John Gapper

One of the benefits – and pleasures of Davos – is the chance conversations that strike up among strangers, either in the fringes of meetings or on the shuttle buses that ferry people around town.

On Wednesday evening, I was in a shuttle bus with three other people. One of them introduced himself as Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace in South Africa.

Sitting opposite him happened to be Tulsi Tanti, chairman of Suzlon, an Indian wind energy company that has an operation in South Africa. They started to talk about wind and solar energy in Africa. Read more

Courtesy of FastFT:

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is giving a high-profile keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday. Read more