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Quest Means Business
European Union Facing New Lockdowns, Rising Cases and Slow Vaccine Rollout; President Joe Biden and Democrats Tout Massive COVID Relief Bill at White House. U.S. President Hosts Virtual Summit with India, Japan and Australia; Digital Token Fetches $69 Million At Art Auction; COVID Deaths Surge in Brazil's Largest State; Ant Group CEO Resigns; It's All on The Cloud Kitchen Menu. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 12, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: The markets are back as we go into the last hour of trading. The Dow has gone five for five this week and tech is
This is way the markets are looking at the moment. Up 240, but the NASDAQ is lower. The markets and the events of the day. Here they go.
Back to the lockdown. Italy is planning more restrictions as Europe's recovery plan flounders.
Joe Biden is telling leaders in Asia. My stimulus plan will help your economies.
And one of China's top executives has quit after a government crackdown on his Ant Group.
We are live in New York on a Friday, it is the 12th of March, end of the week, glad we've all made it. I'm Richard Quest and even on a Friday, of
course, I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, Europe appears to be sinking back into the COVID crisis while the rest of the western world is getting ready to leave the
pandemic behind. President Biden told Americans last night that life in the U.S. could return close to normal by mid-summer, July, the Fourth is when
he said people could look forward to getting together.
People living in E.U.'s top three economies are hearing a different message. Italy for instance now set to enter a new lock down with an
Eastern travel ban. If you look at the numbers, Italy's infections are up 15 percent from the previous week.
In France, Disneyland Paris has delayed the reopening. April 2nd was the target date. It's blaming prevailing conditions and travel restrictions
across Europe. Whilst in Germany officials say a third wave has already begun. Cases are on the rise and the fear is the variant is taking hold.
Our correspondents are covering this. Delia Gallagher is in Rome; Melissa Bell is in Paris.
Let's start in Rome. Why are they looking at a time when so many places are removing restrictions? Why is Mario Draghi imposing restrictions at Easter?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, the Prime Minister spoke earlier today and he said they need to avoid further deterioration.
You know, on Thursday, they registered their highest number of daily cases, over 25,000. That was their highest number since November and the addition
of variants. The Italian Health Ministry is saying that the variant first identified in the U.K. is now prevalent in Italy as well as the variant
first identified in Brazil showing some small pockets in Italy.
So those two reasons combined have led the Prime Minister to take these new measures. It is for the moment, a lockdown for 10 of the 20 regions in
Italy, but includes major cities like Rome, Milan, and Venice, and of course as you mentioned Easter weekend, a national lockdown for April 3rd
QUEST: Melissa, Disneyland is not opening. Germany -- a Minister there in Germany says a third wave has now -- or a health officials said a third
wave has begun. And we've got countries saying don't take AstraZeneca.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Richard. This catastrophically slow vaccine rollout that seems to kind of have fresh
problems thrown at it day after day.
It is -- it was, if you'll remember the time of the restrictions that were introduced during the second wave, there was this hope that things might
get back to normal. You mentioned Disney, but there are also the restaurants that were meant to open here in Paris and the rest of France at
the end of January.
What really then happened with these new variants, just as you've just been hearing from Italy, the British variant now the majority form of
coronavirus new cases in France and in Germany and it spreads, of course that bit more quickly.
So, here in France, we've seen a tightening of restrictions in the very north of the country and very south of the country and increasingly, the
Prime Minister hinting that that may follow in Paris because the situation is extremely tense in terms of ICU occupancy.
So, it is -- the figures have been going the wrong way and there are fears that here, too, we may be faced with more tightening rather than any
lifting anytime soon.
QUEST: But even in Britain, the Prime Minister has been able to put on the table potential dates, May for beginning of travel again. He has basically
said the thing is coming to an end if things continue as they are.
QUEST: So, for either of you, whichever one wants to jump in first, what's gone wrong? What is happening in your countries that is different to say,
for example, the United States, the U.K. or those that seem to be having more success?
Delia, you go first.
GALLAGHER: Well, it may be a question, Richard, of where countries are putting the bar in terms of setting a new lockdown. Italy is putting that
bar probably fairly low. We'd have to do a comparison of all countries, but at the 25,000 daily new case rate, they decided that this was an important
time to start into a new lockdown.
At the same time, of course, we have to remember that Europe has had a delay in their vaccination plan. So one of the other things that the Prime
Minister was saying today is that they are now at 170,000 vaccinations per day. He wants to triple that soon, he said. He didn't give a time line, but
I think the two things working in tandem, the delay in starting the vaccinations and watching those daily cases jump today, they went to over
26,000 just from yesterday, over 25,000.
So that may be one of the reasons why Italy is acting soon to go into a lockdown -- Richard.
BELL: As Delia was just saying really all about Europe. When you think about it, none of this health policy was organized at a European level. The
crisis came, the pandemic began, they decided -- Europe decided to try and play that role and almost use this to sort of unite the European Union.
In the end, contracts were later being signed, the distribution itself has been complicated with the Austrian leader today saying today that there had
been an uneven distribution in terms of populations within European countries. A growing number of European countries going into their own
agreements away from Europe with various vaccine companies.
In the end, by trying to bring the countries together on this, really, Europe has made it so much harder for the vaccines to get to the people who
so desperately needed them even as those new variants began spreading with all that extra pressure now on European leaders as they then in turn put
pressure on the European Union.
QUEST: Melissa, Delia, thank you, both of you. Have a good weekend.
Let's head to Alex Stubb, the former Finnish Prime Minister and now Director of the European University Institute in Florence.
Alex, even you will have to admit it is not going well. And I'll give you an example here. I'm in New York which had the worst of the worst at the
beginning of the pandemic last year. Now restaurants are open. They're increasing capacity.
The United States is vaccinating 2.2 million people a day. You can get a vaccine pretty easily. So I mean, at what point is somebody in Europe going
to say that they've cocked it up?
ALEXANDER STUBB, FORMER FINNISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, I think you know, there are two figures that you need to really sort of compare here.
One is the number of deaths per capita there, of course, the United States is way above Europe, and I do think that's the most fundamental one. And
the second figure that you need to look at is vaccinations. And as far as I gather, the United States right now has vaccinated roughly 18 percent of
its population, and the European Union has vaccinated roughly 6.5 percent of its population.
So, in that sense, I do think that the Americans have been much better and much more efficient about this.
QUEST: Right, so if we take that example, but even today we have the Danes not wanting to use AstraZeneca along with Icelandics and the Norwegians
because of a perceived blood clot threat.
But the very regulator that gives it seal of approval, other countries as well, you can see there, the very regulator, the European Medicines
Association says don't do this. The risk is minimal if at all, and it outweighs -- the benefits outweigh that.
So, you see where I'm going. How do you make sense of this?
STUBB: Well, I think it makes sense to understand that what national politicians and health authorities are trying to do is to protect their
What the European Union has done is basically come and rolled out the vaccinations.
You know, I come from a small country, Finland, 5.5 million people. We would have never ever had as many vaccination doses as we do was it not for
the negotiation of the European Union.
What I do think the member states need to do is basically standby the actual vaccination procedures, to say that all of these vaccinations are
safe because they've gone through the European Medicine Agency and then push it through.
But you know what European leaders do, and you know, I'm former one myself. What you do is when things go well, you take the credit. When things go
bad, you blame Brussels. That's just the name of the game.
QUEST: And in that case, though, Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen, will there be a moment of introspection at the center? Will they be saying, you know,
is this an example that this half in, half out towards a federated Europe doesn't work in a true emergency crisis?
You need to be able to lead from the center and impose from the center?
STUBB: Well, I'd like to see one country which has led from the center impose from the center and done this crisis well. But, I do think you're
right. I mean, it is a bit like being the glass is half full or half empty.
I will have to say, however that the amount of doses that the E.U. has negotiated has been good. And the sad thing is that there is about 40
percent of the procured doses, they are lying around in storage in European member states because they're incapable of doing the American thing, in
other words rolling them out.
And I do think that the Commission is getting a little bit too much criticism for the stuff that the member states are doing wrong.
QUEST: Finally, Hungary, one can always rely on Hungary to do something that's different, I mean, and I know it sounds like we are bashing them at
the moment, but apparently, I mean according to my newspaper this morning, Hungary is paying something like twice the amount for the Chinese vaccine
which hasn't even been approved in the E.U.
I'm not sure where that leaves us in terms of European Union working efficiently.
STUBB: Well, I do not have the capacity to analyze the health aspects of that, but the political aspects are that a lot of European leaders are
trying to jostle and look good in front of their own population, and this is one way of trying to do it.
But I've always believed in authorities in the sense that I would go for the vaccinations that have been approved and then go for the rollout.
The basic delay in Europe is going to be a few weeks, a maximum of one or two months, and I think everyone will be then vaccinated by the end of the
summer. And I think it's important to coordinate this.
But believe me things are going to go wrong all around the world in this particular case. It's so complicated.
QUEST: Alex in Florence enjoying Italy. Well, of course, you'll be enjoying it only up to a point and then the next lockdown will come along over
Easter, maybe you'll be back --
STUBB: But, Richard, I just did my groceries. People are walking around. We have to go home by 10:00 in the evening and things calm down anyway.
QUEST: And I hope you were wearing your mask.
STUBB: I was wearing my mask. It was nice and blue.
QUEST: Thank you. Alex Stubb joining us.
A day after he put pen to paper, President Biden celebrating one of the most important and biggest stimulus packages in American history. We'll
talk about that after the break.
QUEST: President Biden has hailed the passage of a massive stimulus bill that he says will rebuild the backbone of America will bring back jobs.
Speaking in the Rose Garden a few moments ago, he celebrated the COVID-19 Relief Bill amongst top congressional Democrats who helped secure its
The President says, the bill, now law will improve the lives of Americans in very concrete ways.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This legislation, and everybody has already mentioned will provide $1,400.00 in direct payments which we
Well, that means for a typical family of four, a middle-class family, husband and wife working making $110,000.00 a year, that means $5,600.00
check they're going to get. Eighty five percent of the households in America will be getting this money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, the President says his stimulus package will benefit U.S. trading partners as well and help spur global economic growth, and he
reminded when he hosted a virtual Summit of the so-called quad, the leaders of Japan, India and Australia. The White House said they agreed on
ambitious vaccine initiatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: With respect to COVID-19, these four leaders made a massive joint commitment today. With India
manufacturing, U.S. technology, Japanese and American financing and Australian logistics capability, the quad committed to delivering up to one
billion doses to ASEAN, the Indo-Pacific and beyond by the end of 2022.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Jeff Zeleny is with us in Washington. The interesting thing, Jeff, is this marginal shift towards the international arena. The AstraZeneca
vaccine that's building up in stocks over here, there is now a call to actually send those overseas if the U.S. isn't going to use them.
And now, even the President is saying once we've done our bit at home, we need to help those other countries. That is different.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is different. He was saying that quite directly. I mean, he is putting a priority on getting
Americans vaccinated first of course, that is the bulk of his focus, but we are hearing repeatedly in that meeting of the so-called quad as you
mentioned earlier today was the first real sign of the plan in which the U.S. government will indeed help other countries around the world.
And it is interesting, just the fact that the meeting was happening at all. That is an indication, Richard that the Biden administration wants to
elevate this group of the quad, of Japan, of India, Australia and the U.S.
It's been around for more than a decade or so, but the Biden administration, President Biden himself wants to elevate this. And he said
there would be an in-person meeting of all these leaders later this year, at the end of this year.
But before, of course all of that, there are -- you heard the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan saying that there would be significant
investment in producing more vaccine in India with financing from all of these countries.
So the fact that the Biden administration is talking about it in this way, of course all this group is designed to counter the influence around the
world and the region, of course, from China. So that's certainly very interesting agenda item and priority for this Biden administration,
focusing on the quad again to counter the power of China.
QUEST: As I watched the President last night, it was a far side without the far side. You know, leaning in, lowering the voice. But, I mean, a lot of
it I've heard before because we get to hear sort of the speech every time he speaks, but even so, do we know how it is being received?
ZELENY: It's been received at least quite well in terms of how the White House believes it, and the best way you can tell, Richard, when I talk to
Republicans here in Washington, they, you know, grudgingly acknowledge that it was a job well-done. And they are concerned about the popularity of this
American Rescue Plan bill.
The reality here is a lot of the things are similar to what the Trump administration was doing last year and proposing in terms of stimulus
checks to American people. But the President himself, you know, taking a bit of a victory lap in the Rose Garden, it is a victory lap well-earned.
ZELENY: Now, of course the challenge comes in delivering all of this, the challenge comes in, outlaying all this $1.9 trillion. There are bound to be
some bumps in the road on that. He knows that better than anyone else.
But in terms of why this President was elected, it was for moments like this to try and get the economy back on track. The stimulus out to the
American people, the pandemic stopped. Now, now of course comes the hard part of executing it.
But this is no small feat here that's been accomplished. And one thing we saw just a few moments ago in the Rose Garden, yes, there were just
Democrats there, but this President has managed to keep the Democrats united and that was something not was not necessarily seen as possible just
a few weeks ago with some progressives complaining about the bill.
So, a very big first step for this President. Of course, many more to come, but certainly an achievement for him -- Richard.
QUEST: And finally, Jeff, that ability -- so what's next? The big -- the big bazooka has been fired, in a sense. Where do you think the priority now
goes for the next big move by the administration?
Because let's face it, he has only got another two years before there's a risk of him losing the majority in one side of Congress or the other or
ZELENY: For sure. So, they do want to go big during that period. Infrastructure is the next big thing that this administration wants to try
to get enacted. You know, there are some discussion about getting it through by summer, perhaps by the end of summer. We'll see how ambitious
I mean, we'll see also the appetite for spending another couple billion or trillion dollars or so, excuse me. We'll see what their -- and if there is
bipartisan agreement for that. But there is you know, a recognition that infrastructure in this country as it is around the world is troubled. It
So, infrastructure will be their next big investment. Of course, the question is, will they try and go big and expand, you know, try and get
Republicans to play along? Or will it be more of a Democratic only bill? That will be determined in the days ahead, but that is the next big item on
the agenda -- Richard.
QUEST: Jeff, thank you. Have a good weekend, sir. Thank you.
A year since the U.S. put travel restrictions on Europe and the whole industry -- travel industry went into meltdown.
On last night's program, I invited you to send me your last pre-pandemic photos travel photos from this time last year. And boy, you did.
Dozens of you sent us pictures along with the stories of cancelled flights, abandoned itineraries. A few people who got stuck in places they weren't
We also heard plenty of hopes for the future, hopes to reunite with family and friends in far places or indeed just to finish that trip that got
Now, as we go into our next guest, I'll keep the pictures playing, so the pictures you see are those that you sent us of your trips and your holidays
before the pandemic.
And from Miami, Florida, you didn't send us one, Steve, but I didn't ask you.
The Kayak CEO, Steve Hafner is with me. So, we're getting close, aren't we? We're getting close. The U.K. says maybe middle of May, the travel ban will
lift. People are starting to make plans. There's a real feeling that the people we're seeing on the screen now will be able to travel. What are you
STEVE HAFNER, CEO, KAYAK: We're seeing a slight rebound. So, glimmers of optimism out there. If you look at T.S.A. data, for example, passengers who
are going through airports, it's still down about 45 percent from pre- pandemic levels, but if you lock at search data, which is what we have at Kayak as a leading indicator, it's only down about 50 percent from pre-
But there's a big hidden message there, is places like Miami, which is where I am, query volumes were only down 25 percent. New York is down 70
percent. So, people do want to travel, they're just not going to the traditional hot spots they're used to.
QUEST: And they're wanting safety, they are wanting security. They're wanting to be assured. So, this idea of vaccination certificates, let's not
call it passports, vaccination certificates, do you see this as becoming the new yellow fever card?
HAFNER: I don't know. I mean, I think for this pandemic, we're probably past the point in time where we can coordinate a timely response to that,
but there are a lot of government groups and governments looking into it for the next pandemic.
And historically, we got these things happening every four to five years, so hopefully for the next one, we got something in place that can
anticipate and fulfill the needs there.
QUEST: What's this business of you opening a hotel? I mean surely -- is it -- it's a real hotel but is the idea as a laboratory or are you actually
planning to go into competition with those people who may be actually selling on your site?
HAFNER: So, Richard, what you're referring to is our launch earlier this week of the Kayak Miami Beach, which is our first hotel and you're not the
first person to ask me why. It is a flight meta search company linked to the hotel business.
HAFNER: And the answer is, we're not really getting into the hotel business. We don't want to compete against the Hiltons or the Marriotts of
the world, but what we do want to do is level the playing field for great and small independent hotels who don't have access or the wherewithal to
the latest technologies.
So with Kayak Miami Beach, it is kind of our design lab where you can use the Kayak app, check in, check out, someone in housekeeping make a
reservation at a restaurant and we want to make that technology available to all the other small and great hotels around the country.
QUEST: A laboratory. One final point, Steve, I finally managed to get refunds for all the various flights, 12 months it took for all the various
flights that I was meant to go on my honeymoon with, and I will still do the honeymoon at some point, but my point is, I was given vouchers. I was,
in some, I had to battle against consolidators or bucket shops or how one appeared to sell me a ticket, but over lines of another or through a third.
This has not been the industry's finest hour and I realize the size and scale has been enormous, but what needs to change in term of the refunding,
HAFNER: Yes, I mean a lot of consumers made interest free loans to airlines who had no idea they were doing that and sometimes online travel agencies
instead. So, I, like you, had a lot of travel plans that got canceled, and I have been in the position of lending airlines money for no interest.
I think the biggest change that's happened is the airlines realized this and have introduced free cancellation or wage cancellation penalties
although they still kind keep your money depending on which fair class you buy.
So, it is something that I think everyone recognizes is a problem. Hopefully, we'll get our way to fixing it. But more importantly, you know,
I think when travel demand comes back and we can put this pandemic behind us, you'll actually be able to make a booking and go on your trip and you
won't have to worry about this experience again.
QUEST: Thank you, Steve. And by the way, since you're now in the hotel business, I'd like breakfast at 7:30, English breakfast tea please and
Hopefully, your app will be able to accommodate me.
HAFNER: We'll do that, Richard. Thank you.
QUEST: Good to see you. As we continue, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, a Brazilian state governor says his country is collapsing.
Now, he is putting regional lockdown measures in effect in trying to curb the impact of a second wave of the virus.
It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I've left the bell in my office.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. Of course, there's a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue.
$69 million for a digital picture. The CEO of Sotheby's about the crypto craze that's setting the art world alight.
And the chief executive of China's Ant Group steps down after an IPO disaster. Why, what and when?
We'll have it all after the news headlines because this is CNN and on this network the news always comes first.
The White House says the U.S. government is turning down vaccine requests from other countries saying President Biden wants to make sure Americans
are vaccinated before sending doses abroad.
The U.S. is holding onto millions of AstraZeneca doses even though regulators in the United States have not yet authorized its use.
The New York governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not step down amid a series of sexual harassment allegations despite growing calls by fellow Democrats
for his resignation.
The governor again insisted he never harassed or abused anyone and urged his critics to wait for the facts to emerge from a new investigation.
For the third time this year there's been a mass kidnapping in Nigeria. The police say armed men stormed a college in the northwestern part of the
country early on Friday and abdicated at least 30 students, both male and female.
The authorities say 180 other people have now been rescued by soldiers.
The governor of Brazil's most populous state says his country is collapsing. He made the comment days before emergency lockdown measures in
Sao Paulo are due to take effect.
Brazil is coping with a brutal second wave of the virus with deadly death rates reaching new highs, hospitals and ICUs just about at capacity.
CNN's Matt Rivers reports.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, I was last here in Brazil about six weeks ago. And we were in the Amazonian city of Manaus which was
going through a horrific outbreak at the time caused in part by a new variant also because of social gatherings.
And what was happening in Manaus at the time has now basically spread through the entire country.
We have seen record numbers of deaths in a single day this week; two records set just this week alone, on Wednesday, nearly 2,300 people lost
their lives in a single day.
We know the United States has registered the most coronavirus deaths of all country around the world, Brazil is number two.
But if you take a look at this graphic here, this shows the seven-day moving averages of deaths from coronavirus in each country.
Look at those trend lines. The United States going down, Brazil now having exceeded that number in the United States.
And when you look at the near future it's probably not going to get better anytime soon.
Look at ICU occupancy rates across the country in Brazil. In 23 of 26 states, Richard, we're seeing occupancy rates in the ICUs at or above 80
percent, 11 of them are above 90 percent. They are at risk of collapse.
Despite all of that, what we're hearing from President Jair Bolsonaro is that the economy continues to be the biggest threat in terms of what's at
risk here from all of this thanks to new restrictive measures that have been put in place due to this recent surge.
Bolsanaro just choosing to basically ignore the fact that those occupancy rates are what I just described.
And when it comes to vaccines, Richard, still a lot to be desired. Less than 11 million doses have been administered so far in a country somewhere
between 210, 220 million people.
QUEST: Matt Rivers in Brazil.
A change at the top of a Chinese financial tech giant, Ant Group. Its CEO is resigning citing personal reasons. But it comes at an extremely
I'll explain after the break.
QUEST: The Ant Group chief executive is stepping down from his role.
Simon Hu's resignation follows months after the financial tech giant was forced to pull its IPO as the co was coming under increasing scrutiny from
CNN's Selina Wang, CNN CORRESPONDENT.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet another blow to China's financial technology giant.
Simon Hu has resigned as CEO of Ant Group, the financial affiliate of Alibaba months after it was forced to pull its IPO amid a crackdown from
A spokesman told me Simon Hu has resigned due to personal reasons. He will now devote his efforts to philanthropic work at both Ant Group and Alibaba,
a person familiar with the matter told me.
Eric Jing, the company's chairman, will also become its CEO.
Ant Group is best known for its Alipay digital payments app that has more than 700 million monthly active users. It's also ubiquitous in China for
helping consumers pay bills, get loans, buy insurance products and even invest in money markets.
While Ant has been able to grow largely unchecked over the past decade, China is now increasing its control over tech companies.
Not only did Chinese regulators force Ant Group to pull its record-breaking IPO in November, regulators have also ordered Ant to overhaul its
Authorities also launched an anti-trust investigation into Alibaba and have questioned executives at rival technology companies like Tencent and
Pinduoduo. They've also drafted new rules.
In the future regulators may expect Ant Group to look more like a traditional Chinese bank rather than a tech company. That could
dramatically slow Ant's rapid pace of growth.
The government has made it clear that if companies like Ant Group want to succeed in China they have to tow the line of the Chinese Communist Party.
WANG (On Camera): Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
QUEST: Let's go from the boardroom to the dining room.
Many of us have turned to food delivery in the past 12 months and the demand has helped create a new business model. It's called a cloud kitchen.
It gives restaurants the chance to outsource food production to keep up with the orders.
Eleni Giokos has the story from Dubai in today's THINK BIG.
ELENI GIOKOS, NARRATOR, THINK BIG: It's peak lunch hour in Dubai and the chefs at Kitopi are preparing food for 40 different restaurants
It's a tall order made possible by a hi-tech commercial space known as a cloud kitchen.
MOHAMAD BALLOUT, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, KITOPI: Think of it as a kitchen that allows brands to scale up but our team members are actually the ones
cooking the food on behalf of brand in a shared resource logic (ph).
GIOKOS: The restaurant industry's next big idea is outsourcing food production to cloud kitchens like Kitopi.
CO Mohamad Ballout launched Kitopi in Dubai in 2018 to integrate and digitalize restaurant supply chains.
Global brands like Pappa John's and Ichiban use kitchens to save money on their physical restaurants and deliver to clients faster.
It all starts with an online order.
BALLOUT: That order goes straight into our kitchen. We cook the food. We pay the brand a royalty fee for the right to use their brand. Then the
aggregator and 3PL (ph) services come in and pick up the order once it's done.
GIOKOS: Equipped with an in-house built smart kitchen software, Kitopi's cloud kitchens can effectively cook for multiple brands and process up to
3,000 orders a day.
BALLOUT: The purpose of the software is to solve three key things. From an operating perspective, it's to solve quality of food, availability of food
and speed of delivering that food.
GIOKOS: Thanks to license agreements with around 200 restaurant chains, Kitopi uses the same recipes and ingredients to meet customer expectations.
BALLOUT: They want their food delivered fast. They want excellent quality and it always to be consistent.
GIOKOS: This market is expected to grow to $71.4 billion globally by 2027, according to Allied (ph) market research.
Some brands like New York's Bondi Sushi are also outsourcing to expand in the region with lower costs, a move that's driving Kitopi's growth in the
BALLOUT: Your brand in New York, you want to expand to Dubai, you license your brand out to us. In a matter of two weeks, you're live.
GIOKOS: With its smart tech and structured organization, cloud kitchens are becoming the next business model for restaurant brands to keep thriving in
the online era.
GIOKOS (Voice Over): Eleni Giokos, CNN.
QUEST: Coming up next. The Picasso of the pixels or the pixels in Picassos.
Block chain's driven the price of this digital collage into the stratosphere.
QUEST: So we're all familiar with this concept when it comes to beauty's in the eye of the beholder. That much is true.
QUEST: Now the value of an artwork when you have to actually pay dollars and cents, or pounds and shillings is trickier.
Now this digital collage has just fetched $69 million at Christie's. It's by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple.
The sale price puts him in the company of only two other living artists, Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
The difference is he created this image as an NFT, a Non-Fungible Token. It's a block chain token that can't be copied or forged.
Oh, it can be -- I can have a replica of it but it can't be the original.
The CEO of Christie's says these tokens let digital artists enter the high- end market.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUILLAUME CERUTTI, CEO, CHRISTIE'S: It's very important to understand that this work, this art community, did exist before. But today the NFT and the
block chain technology together give these artists a safer marketplace because their works, their digital works, can be proved as being unique and
authentic through the block chain technology.
And that's why Christie's decided to connect with the art community and the existing platforms to build this auction sale and to reach this record
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Nonfungible tokens. What are they and how could they be worth so much? Well, if something is fungible, it can be replaced by something
equally and identical. A dollar bill is essentially the same as another.
If something is non-fungible, it's unique, it's one of a kind. In the case of Beeple, it's a digital collage comprised of an artwork created every day
over the past 13 years.
Now the NFT could be a.gif or it could be music, or it could be a video clip; anything digital authenticated by its creator using block chain
Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter's even looked to sell the first ever tweet as an NFT.
The issue, of course, is can't anyone bother and copy and paste it for free?
Well, by turning into an NFT, it establishes its authenticity and its originality. And it's those two values that confer value.
Selling these digital items opens new markets for the traditional auction houses as you hear from Christie's.
Charles Stewart is the CEO of Sotheby's. Charlie, good to see you, is. Thank you very much.
You've been pushing innovation a great deal in the way auctions are done. And during the pandemic you've seen considerably larger numbers of people
digitally online engaging. But is this a step too far, do you think? The NFT takes it into another league.
CHARLES STEWART, CEO, SOTHEBY'S: Well, to me, Richard, it's the continuation of what we've been seeing over the last 12 months. The level
of digital engagement of new audiences coming into the art market.
It's been something we've been seeing really now for the last 12 months, and the NFTs are in some way the latest iteration of that.
I think they're also evidence that the world will not go back to exactly how it was pre-pandemic.
QUEST: OK. So it doesn't, if it doesn't go back to how it was which is probably a good thing in many cases, what will that change look like in
Look, I'm never going to be able to afford a Monet, I'm not even going to be afforded some of these NFTs.
So tell me, how do you get someone like me to engage with Sotheby's?
STEWART: Well, one of the nice things for you, Richard, is that the Monets I think may look like a great value compared to some of the NFTs we've seen
So, as you say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we'll see how it develops.
I think it will be -- you'll see the rise of this new category of art and audience for art. That's what's really exciting for me to watch this rise
But at the same time we're seeing enormous interest every day in our auction rooms. We sold a Botticelli six weeks ago for $92 million here at
And so I think the physical art world and this NFT art world will exist simultaneously and it bodes well for all categories.
QUEST: And if we look at the profile of the buyers, can you draw any trends, chains that you've seen from buyers, pre-pandemic to post-pandemic?
Are they willing to spend more, are they willing to spend less, are there more people engaged? What trends are you seeing?
STEWART: Sure. Well, the first thing I would say is that there's a much larger audience overall -- and that was before this recent frenzy of NFTs.
I should point out that NFTs have been around for some number of years. It's only been on the broader radar perhaps over the last few months but
they've been around for several years and it's exciting to see them develop in this way.
But in terms of the overall audience we're seeing a larger audience, we're also seeing a younger audience.
And I think we're seeing the younger audience in part with this pivot to digital first engagement. That's very intuitive for these younger audiences
in terms of how they want to engage with art, with their communities, their social life and ultimately, the objects that they own.
So we'll see that trend continue for sure.
What's going to be exciting about 2021, I think, is that we hope and expect to see the best of this digital first engagement with the return of more
traditional physical experiences.
Which, of course, for physical art objects anyway it's important to be able to be in front of them, to experience them with your friends and family and
QUEST: That will be -- the auction. I still think -- I think there's no feeling quite like being in a room with lots of people who are willing to
spend tens of millions and are battling it out between each other to give away money that you and I could live on for the rest of our lives and
STEWART: Yes, I fully agree with you. And we can't wait for that moment.
Actually, I think this year with hopefully the easing of restrictions and the easing of the pandemic, that will create an opportunity to reinvent
some of those physical experiences to make them as exciting, as glamorous and also blending together the digital and physical experiences in a really
-- in a new, innovative and exciting way.
QUEST: Charlie, as always when I talk to you, I'm always listening very closely to what you're saying but I'm always looking very closely at what's
And that blue number, that blue circle, is a rather nice little number. I guess it's going to set me back a bit if I want it.
STEWART: I'll definitely send you some information about the Damien Hirst afterwards, it's a nice ruche (ph).
I don't know if you can see it behind me but there's also quite a unique Shelby Glover sitting here that I can see you driving around town, Richard.
QUEST: How much? Go on, what's the reserve on it?
STEWART: Well, this is actually for private sale, not everything we do is auction these days. We're actually really excited about this. But you'll
have to contact me directly about the price on the car.
QUEST: Well, I haven't got a garage, so I'll leave the car with you. But that Damien Hirst -- which I should have recognized -- talk about
Philistines of the world unite -- that Damien Hirst I've got my eye on.
Good to see you, Charlie. Keep well, please.
QUEST: Thank you. No amount of money can buy the chairs Harry and Meghan sat in for their Oprah interview. Not really.
As Jeanne Moos reports, they're sold out. And the designer might surprise you.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is story with legs, not to mention cushions and even wicker.
Who needs a thrown when you've got those patio chairs viewers were ogling?
UNKNOWN: How can I get those patio chairs?
MOOS: Currently out of sale, sold out everywhere from Overstock to Amazon.
Priced at $545 a pair, but what's priceless is their connection to this.
(Singing) That's the way we all became the Brady Bunch.
MOOS: The man who owns the company behind the chairs that cradled the behinds of Prince Harry and Meghan and Oprah is none other than Peter
(Singing) And it's time to change --
MOOS: Over 50 years later he goes by his real name, Christopher Knight home Collections.
CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT: I love it.
MOOS: On his Facebook page, Christopher noted -- "I am honored to have the patio chairs from my collection become the seat of the most fascinating,
famous sit down in recent history."
MOOS: While most folks were digesting --
PRINCE HARRY: It's a girl.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW: Ah.
MOOS: -- various bombshells dropped in the interview --
CBS HOST, CBS THIS MORNING: So much to unpack there.
MOOS: -- others just wanted to unpack those chairs. The real winner of the Oprah interview? The chairs.
Even a similar, cheaper version was sold out on Walmart's website.
Usually it's clothing like Meghan's $4,700 Armani dress that gets all the attention. The dress with its lotus symbol representing rebirth also got
parodied for representing a seagull bombshell.
WINFREY: Before we get into it --
MOOS: But the patio chairs escaped unbesmirched. Some five decades ago Peter Brady couldn't stop imitating Humphrey Bogart.
PETER BRADY, IN The BRADY BUNCH SHOW: Did you say we were having pork chops and apple sauce?
MRS. BRADY: Yes.
PETER BRADY: That's swell.
MOOS: Well, he's still doing the imitation and serving the dish as well.
UNKNOWN: What's that?
CHARLES KNIGHT: The apple sauce.
MOOS: But when it comes to sales, nothing beats getting royal rumps into his chairs.
PETER BRADY: That's swell.
JEANNE MOOS (Voice Over): Jeanne Moos, CNN --
(Singing) The Brady Bunch.
MOOS (Voice Over): -- New York.
QUEST: I want them, I want them. A set of them. I haven't got a patio, but I could put them somewhere.
Last few moments of trade on Wall Street. The Dow's on its way to a record high, it's up 200 points, nearly 300 -- there you go the numbers. A record.
Boeing is the best of the day, it's up more than six percent. But bear in mind what Boeing has already done; it was up another five or six percent
earlier in the week.
So Boeing has put on nearly 15 percent over the course of the week. Absolute tear on orders and things looking much brighter for Boeing.
Apple's down, Salesforce is down. Not by much.
Bank stocks solid; Goldman, JP Morgan, American Express. And it's tech that's on the down. Investors are pulling back on rising bond yields.
We will have a "Profitable Moment". I'd ring a bell if I had one, but I haven't. So there.
After the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment". I was going to talk about Europe and vaccines and the current state of affairs but it is Friday night ahead of
the weekend and I don't want to leave on a depressing night -- note.
So instead let's "Profitable Moment" on the question of your photographs.
The wonderful pictures that you sent me showing the vacations that you had immediately before the pandemic. We've got dozens of them. These are just a
few we're able to show you tonight.
What it shows me is that we're all ready to travel, we all want to travel in some shape or form.
We know that we can't at the moment, and we know that there has to be precautions. But the vaccination certificate -- I'm not calling it a
passport because you can travel without it, it's a vaccination certificate -- is going to be the passport that will allow many of us to travel in
safety and comfort.
And when that happens, people like Kayak have told us, you've heard from other people on this program this week, we know there is this pent-up
demand for wishing to travel.
And so these are the great photos you've sent us. I wish I could show you more, we'll try and show you more in the future.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.
I had forgotten to bring with me -- I'm looking down for a minute -- here we go. I forgot to bring the real bell, so I'm going to do it digitally
That means QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead -- I hope it's profitable.