Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Gurgaon, India, Dynamism Meets Dysfunction

Although India is considered to be as economically promising as China, and its population is predicted to surpass China's in coming years, the two countries share little in common.  While both have embraced capitalism, the role of government in fostering economic prosperity is widely disparate.  In China, a strong central government has invested billions in infrastructure to permit companies to prosper and goods to move freely.  In India, however, a weak government means that businesses there prosper in spite of, not because of, the government.  One example is the city of Gurgaon, near New Delhi.  Gurgaon is a booming city filled with malls and businesses, but it lacks basic city infrastructure such as a functioning sewer system, reliable electricity or water, public sidewalks, parking, decent roads, or any system of public transportation.  Companies that operate in Gurgaon therefore provide these services to their workers, as this excellent and eye-opening article in the New York Times explains.

In Gurgaon, India, Dynamism Meets Dysfunction -

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chesapeake Bay Candle Struggles to Open U.S. Factory

Chesapeake Bay Candle is a major player in the multibillion dollar scented candle industry.  In spite of its name, all its candles are made in Vietnam and China.  Recently, due to increasing wages in those countries and high shipping costs, the company decided the time was right to start making candles in the U.S.  What the company did not account for was how much more expensive it is to build a factory in the U.S., with many laws and codes to comply with.  The factory is now over budget and delayed, and the founders are wondering whether the U.S. is ready to compete with Asia for manufacturing business.

Chesapeake Bay Candle Struggles to Open U.S. Factory

Skin-Deep Gains for Amazon Tribe

The plant on the left is urukum, which is used to make a pigment dye for Uruku lipstick, made by Aveda on the right.  Aveda, a unit of Estee Lauder, buys Urukum from the Yawanawa Indian tribe in Western Brazil, where they have used urukum to make body paint for a long time.  Aveda joins a long list of companies, including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, Whole Foods, and The Body Shop, which uses cause-related marketing to convince consumers that their product are eco-friendly and can lead to sustainable community living as well.  The Yawanawa, however, don't make enough money selling the dye to Aveda to support themselves.  The project has become simple philanthropy for Aveda, not the sustainable business model it had hoped for.

Skin-Deep Gains for Amazon Tribe -

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GE Remodels Businesses in India

Like many multinational companies, GE has struggled with India.  High levels of bureaucracy, corruption, and differing consumer needs and tastes made commercial success difficult in the wide array of industries GE competes in, from locomotives to jet engines to medical equipment.  Now, the company is starting to see results from a turnaround that started with a realignment of the business.  The company started by creating a separate P&L for all of India, something the company rarely does at the country level.  Then, it focused not just on marketing and sales, but also on research and development for low-cost products for India as well as other developing countries.  The company sells a baby warmer, for example, for $3000 to hospitals throughout India and other parts of the world, while incubators in the U.S. sell for four times that price.

GE Remodels Businesses in India -

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Internet Start-Ups Cater to India's Affluent

Although India is home to many internet-based or IT companies, there's surprisingly little e-commerce happening within the country.  That's beginning to change, as more companies try to become India's next Amazon or Groupon, as this WSJ article explains.

Internet Start-Ups Cater to India's Affluent -

Monday, April 11, 2011

Finding Top Talent in China, India, Brazil

In rapidly growing countries such as Brazil, China and India, tapping expatriates is becoming obsolete. Instead, global businesses are looking for leaders who have the ability to move easily between different cultures and have deep local roots as well as international operational experience. This talent pool is very small, and they command salary premiums as a result.

Finding Top Talent in China, India, Brazil -

China's Crackdown Signals Shift

The artist who designed the Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Olympics (and then boycotted the opening ceremony), and more recently installed an incredible piece of art at the Tate Modern in London involving hundreds of thousands of hand-painted porcelain seeds, has been arrested by Chinese authorities and is missing.  The crackdown on dissidents signals a shift towards more repression as the government tries to maintain social stability in China.

China's Crackdown Signals Shift -

How to Get a Real Education at College

Here's a wonderful essay from Scott Adams, Dilbert's creator, on why entrepreneurship education is so important, and why business school generally is more valuable than say... art history.  If the link takes you to a firewalled site, type in the article title into and follow the link from there.

How to Get a Real Education at College -

Yep, it's Spring in Dayton

Taken at 7 AM this morning, University of Dayton RecPlex.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Disney to Open Park in Shanghai

It will be "authentically Disney but uniquely Chinese." That is how company officials are describing Shanghai Disneyland, which broke ground today and is expected to open in 2015.  The $4.4 billion theme park is a huge gamble for Disney into the huge Chinese market.  With 330 million people within a 3 hour drive of the site, Disney hopes it can capture hearts and pocketbooks of generations of Chinese consumers.  Disney only owns 43% of the company owning Shanghai Disneyland, with the balance owned by a consortium of state-owned companies, but will own 70% of the company that manages the park.  After a bad start in Hong Kong (Chinese consumers take 40 minutes to eat meals, as opposed to 20 minutes for Americans, leading to crowded restaurants), the company hopes to apply its lessons in cultural sensitivity into building a brand and business in China.

Disney to Open Park in Shanghai -

CHART OF THE DAY: Reminder, The Deficit You're Freaking Out About Is Bush's Fault

As we head for a possible government shutdown, I wondered why the budget deficit was so high and why the government is in so much debt. Then I found this explanation. Just saying.

CHART OF THE DAY: Reminder, The Deficit You're Freaking Out About Is Bush's Fault

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Auto Industry's Castoffs Benefit From New Owners

Just as Ford is finishing up its sale of Jaguar and Land Rover to the Indian firm Tata, the brands are experiencing a renaissance in sales. JLR posted profit of $443 million in the most recent quarter, something it rarely achieved while under Ford ownership.  It is now exploring building cars in China, something Volvo, another former Ford brand, is also exploring.

Auto Industry's Castoffs Benefit From New Owners -

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

India Graduates Millions, but Too Few Are Fit to Hire

In spite of the fact that there are thousands of new college graduates in India, very few of them are landing employment. The reason is that they lack the skills companies are looking for. Many cannot communicate effectively in English, and and many lack basics such as reading comprehension. A lack of investment in educational systems, pervasive passing grades, corrupt teachers open to bribes, and a focus on rote memorization are taking their toll on the quality of India's college graduates.

India Graduates Millions, but Too Few Are Fit to Hire -

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Groupon's Big China Gamble

On Monday, Groupon launched its operations in China, the world's largest Internet market.  In doing so, the company faces daunting challenges such as intense competition, price pressures on the Groupon business model, and a fractured market.  Groupon hopes to overcome some of these challenges by capitalizing on the business knowledge and relationship network of its local Chinese partner, one of China's largest internet companies.

Groupon's Big China Gamble -

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hong Kong’s Couples Invited to Wed at McDonald’s

In 2006, Hong Kong changed its marriage law to permit for weddings to be held outside places of worship or City Hall.  Since then, weddings have taken place on boats, in underwater theme parks, and shopping malls.  The latest company to cash in on this trend is... McDonald's.  A McWedding starts at $1280, which includes food and drink for 50 people, a "cake" made of stacked Apple Pies, gifts for the guests, and invitation cards with photos of the couple.  McDonald's employees dress in black suits, greet guests, and deliver Big Macs and fries with the proper pomp.  There is no alcohol -- toasts are accomplished with sundaes or shakes.

Hong Kong’s Couples Invited to Wed at McDonald’s -

Friday, February 25, 2011

Foreign Investment Ebbs in India, and Questions Begin

Although India's economy is growing at a healthy 9 percent per year, and a growing middle class is consuming goods at historic levels, foreign direct investment (FDI) into India shrank by 31 percent in 2010, according to the United Nations.  The decline highlights the challenges foreign companies face when trying to operate in India, where extremely restrictive laws, inefficient bureaucracy, and corruption are starting to scare away investors.

Foreign Investment Ebbs in India, and Questions Begin -

Russia's WTO Membership Faces Rocky Road

Russia remains the only major world economy that is not a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  In large part, this is because Russia's major export, oil, is already tariff free around the world, so Russia hasn't felt the pressure to join the WTO in order to obtain market access for its companies.  However, foreign investors are increasingly putting pressure on Moscow to enter the global group.  Entry is supposed to happen in 2011, but it won't be easy.  Russia still has steep tariffs, high levels of corruption, and customs controversies over goods valuations that will cause Russia many more transition problems than China, which entered the WTO in 2000.

Russia's WTO Membership Faces Rocky Road -

Dollar's Fall Rocks Far-Flung Families

The U.S. dollar is struggling.  Against all major world currencies, a dollar buys less currency today than it used to.  Within the U.S., this makes imports more expensive but also helps the export competitiveness of U.S. companies by making U.S.-produced goods cheaper overseas.  Outside the U.S., however, the dollar's fall is having dire consequences for many economies that rely on the exchange rate.  One such economy is the Philippines, where the exchange rate has strengthened the Philippine peso 15% against the dollar in the last year.  Over 10% of the Philippines GDP is made of remittances, where Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) send money back to the Philippines.  These workers typically earn U.S. dollars, which means their remittances are now worth less in the Philippines.  This had led some in the Philippines to argue that the time has come to stop depending on these remittances and to start creating job opportunities at home.

Dollar's Fall Rocks Far-Flung Families -

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alabama Sock Town Suffers as Cotton Soars

Fort Payne, Alabama, calls itself the "sock capital of the world."  Ten years later, about one in eight pairs of socks came from Fort Payne.  Sock manufacturing is largely automated, so labor is not a huge component of the cost.  The closing of the sock's toe, however, is still done by hand so any cost advantage becomes important when multiplied over high volume.  A few years Ft. Payne fought to re-instate a sock tariff to protect itself from cheaper laborers in South America, but today, more mills are still closing in Ft. Payne.  The culprit this time is the high cost of cotton, up to $2.40 per pound, double last year's price.  Only 10 mills remain in Fort Payne, and while some are focusing on higher end (and profit) product like organic socks, the industry is once again in deep trouble.

Alabama Sock Town Suffers as Cotton Soars -

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Huawei waits for White House review before selling unit

It was the deal that almost slipped under the radar screen -- in May, Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei purchased U.S. startup 3Leaf Systems for $2 million, a tiny deal in the world of M&A.  3Leaf creates technology that allows groups of computers to work together like a more powerful machine.  When the Pentagon found out about the deal, however, it asked the company to file for a review with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee that reviews FDI into the U.S. that may pose a national security risk.  Now, CFIUS has recommended Huawei unwind the deal and divest 3Leaf, something Huawei doesn't want to do.  The company has appealed to President Obama for a final decision.

BBC News - Huawei waits for White House review before selling unit

Monday, February 14, 2011

Groupon in Japan Faces Growing Pains

Groupon isn't just a hit in the U.S. -- it's rapidly expanding overseas as well, with 50 million subscribers in 35 countries.   Part of its expansion strategy, however, is to acquire local startups rather than compete with them, which has led to some growing pains for Groupon.  Most recently, a nationwide deal in Japan went bad, forcing Groupon founder Andrew Mason to post an online apology to Japanese customers (above).  The two-year-old company now pulls in more than $1 billion in revenue, and the business model of offering huge discounts to popular goods and services looks set to flourish in international markets.  Apparently a good deal transcends all cultural barriers.

Groupon in Japan Faces Growing Pains - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Rising China Bests a Shrinking Japan

It's official -- China is now the world's second largest economy, displacing Japan from a position it's held since 1967. At the same time, it's still one of the world's poorest economies, with over 100 million citizens living on less than $2 a day. This dichotomy is explored in today's WSJ article, as well as the video above.

Rising China Bests a Shrinking Japan -

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WTO finds Boeing got billions in illegal subsidies, but how many billions?

While most are familiar with the bruising battle between Airbus and Boeing for market share as the only two competitors left in the large passenger jet market, with new competitors from Canada, Brazil, and China in the small passenger market nipping at their heels, it is the legal battle at the WTO between the two giants that is drawing the most blood.  Boeing and Airbus have been tied up in WTO litigation for years, each accusing the other of receiving various forms of subsidies from governments, all of which are illegal under WTO rules.  Boeing won a key victory last year when the WTO ruled Airbus did receive illegal aid, but this week the WTO signaled it would be handing Airbus a victory as well.  There are still major disagreements over which side received more subsidies, and over what to do next.

WTO finds Boeing got billions in illegal subsidies, but how many billions?

Auto Maker Nissan to 'Significantly' Reduce Exports From Japan

At Nissan, a move in the value of the dollar versus the yen by one yen in either direction is worth around 18 billion yen, or $219 million, of Nissan's operating profit on an annualized basis.  That's why the carmaker announced recently plans to dramatically reduce the number of exports from Japan and production increases in plants outside Japan.  Nissan joins Toyota and Honda, as all Japanese automakers have said it is difficult to export cars from Japan profitably when the Yen falls below 90 to the dollar (it is currently at 82).  Production of the Micra (above) will shift to India, the Micra to Thailand, the Juke to U.K., and the Rogue to Tennessee.

Auto Maker Nissan to 'Significantly' Reduce Exports From Japan -

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Nigeria, Used Cars Mark a Step Up for Middle Class

The World Bank predicts that the number of middle-class Africans, whose income exceeds their basic needs, will rise to 43 million by 2030 from 13 million in 2000.  That growth extends to Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and a budding economic powerhouse.  The average income per capita is $2700, meaning that most Nigerians can only afford used cars.  This has led to a booming used car import industry, and the establishment of used cars as status symbols for middle class Nigerians.

In Nigeria, Used Cars Mark a Step Up for Middle Class -

G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture

When it comes to joint ventures, GE is notoriously shy, prefering to use its own substantial assets to enter a market in order to protect its intellectual property.  Those rules are thrown out the door in China, however, where an infant aerospace industry is taking shape.  The Chinese want to rival Airbus and Boeing one day, and in order to do so, they need technology.  GE, which is desperate to supply engines, avionics and other systems to any Chinese aircraft manufacturer as the market reaches $400 billion over the next two decades, has agreed to share its most prized technologies with the Chinese in a new joint venture as a condition to entering the market, as this report details.

G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture -

Friday, January 14, 2011

Volvo Mulls China-Made Cars for U.S.

Volvo is a Swedish car company with a Chinese shareholder and a German CEO.  The company already builds a small number of cars in China for the Chinese market, but is now considering a major ramp-up in production in a new assembly plant (in Chengdu, where it's owner Geely has a major new plant), not just for the Chinese market, but also for the export market including the U.S.  Currently, American consumers readily purchase made-in-China consumer goods, but no one is selling a made-in-China automobile yet, and there is some concern that Volvo's customers may shy away from a Chinese-made vehicle.  This strategy is being driven partly by the desire to reduce currency risk.  Volvos produced in Sweden and Belgium are priced in Euros, and the exchange rate has eaten into Volvo's profitability.  The Chinese currency, the yuan, is pegged to the dollar and would provide Volvo with more protection from exchange rate swings.

Volvo Mulls China-Made Cars for U.S. -

Toyota Tries to Break Reliance on China


Toyota has a problem. The automaker, a leader in hybrid cars, is heavily reliant on neodymium (above, being mined), a rare earth metal that is used in magnets.  All electric cars rely on magnets in their motors.  These rare earths are mined almost exclusively in China (China makes 95% of the world's neodymium), making Toyota highly reliant on a supply chain that is vulnerable to import quotas, export tariffs (up 67% last year), political upheaval, and outright bans.  The price for these metals has soared recently as China orders more production to stay within China.  Toyota is forced to explore a new type of motor that doesn't rely on these metals.

Toyota Tries to Break Reliance on China -

Starbucks Brews Plan to Enter India

India remains a huge untapped market for coffee giant Starbucks.  The company plans to grow to 1500 outlets in China in the next five years, but doesn't have any retail stores in India yet.  That may change soon, as the company announced plans for an alliance with Indian conglemerate Tata Group.  Tata Coffee already owns Eight O'Clock brands sold in the U.S., and is a big coffee producer and exporter in India.  Indian law prohibits Starbucks from owning its own retail outlets.  The alliance starts with Starbucks purchasing coffee from Tata, and may grow to include joint operation of Starbucks-branded outlets in the country.

Starbucks Brews Plan to Enter India -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

McDonald's Bets on Japan Big-Burger Blitz

Japan's top restaurant by number of outlets, McDonald's, rolled out its Big America 2 campaign last week, featuring the Texas burger (above).  It comes with chili, three buns, cheese and bacon, and comes in at 645 calories.  The Idaho burger features a quarter-pound patty, cheese, a hash brown, bacon, onions, and pepper-and-mustard sauce, for 713 calories.  In Japan, going big and unhealthy, and emphasizing its American roots, works well for McDonald's.  The company made $91 million in Japan last year.

McDonald's Bets on Japan Big-Burger Blitz -

Laos stock market opens to boost economy

Sandwiched between Vietnam and Thailand, Laos is one of the world's poorest countries.  The communist government has been trying to liberalize and attract foreign direct investment since the mid-1990's, and hopes to emulate China's model of gradual economic liberalization while maintaining a strong central government.  Yesterday, the country's first stock exchange opened.  It only lists two companies, but hopes to eventually serve as a fundraising tool to inject $8 billion into the economy.

BBC News - Laos stock market opens to boost economy

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vietnam Confronts Economic Quagmire

Although Vietnam's GDP is growing at 7% annually, double digit price increases, a downgrade on the country's sovereign debt, and an unstable currency make Vietnam's economy one of the most unstable in the region.  A big contributor to the instability is the existence of giant state-owned companies, especially Vinashin.  Vietnam's state-owned companies use 40% of the invested capital, but produce only 25% of the country's output.  Vinashin is now receiving a multi-billion dollar bailout from the government, and many investors believe that unless the Vietnamese government is willing to allow more state-owned companies to privatize or go under, the economy won't grow to its potential.

Vietnam Confronts Economic Quagmire -

Saturday, January 8, 2011

U.S. Ban on Mexican Trucking Is Reconsidered

Under NAFTA, the U.S. was supposed to allow Mexican trucks to operate on U.S. highways as long as they meet U.S. regulations.  Currently, goods trucked in from Mexico have to switch from Mexican trucks to U.S. trucks at the border.  Under pressure from labor unions, the U.S. has never implemented this portion of NAFTA, opening the door for Mexico to impose billions in retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of American agricultural goods.  This week, President Obama took tentative steps to resolve the dispute by proposing a concept document that would finally permit Mexican trucks into the U.S.

U.S. Ban on Mexican Trucking Is Reconsidered -

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

W.T.O. Upholds Tariffs on Tires From China

Last year the Obama administration imposed tariffs of up to 35% on tires from China, arguing that the surge in imports had threatened domestic manufacturing.  China's ascession agreement into the WTO included a special safeguard section that allows the U.S. to make this argument, and this case marks the first time the U.S. has invoked this section of the WTO agreement.  Unlike traditional antidumping case, the U.S. only had to demonstrate that U.S. companies suffered "market disruption" from imports.  This week, a WTO dispute resolution panel ruled that the U.S. tire tariffs were legitimate and legal.  China vows to appeal the ruling.

W.T.O. Upholds Tariffs on Tires From China -

Monday, December 6, 2010

U.S., S. Korea reach deal on auto trade Ford will back - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive

While Korean automakers are selling hundreds of thousands of cars in the U.S., U.S. automakers aren't experiencing nearly the same level of success in South Korea, where Korean brands dominate more than 97% of the domestic market.  This has long been a sore point for U.S. automakers and unions, who argue that the U.S. market is too open for Korean exports while the Korean market remains relatively close.  The proposed U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement may solve these problems, and negotiators have come to agreement on a key number of points that may see more U.S. cars in South Korea soon.

U.S., S. Korea reach deal on auto trade Ford will back - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive -

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Euro Zone Is Imperiled by North-South Divide

When economies run into trouble and start slowing down, governments often turn to devaluing their currencies to make exports cheaper, and therefore more competitive.  The U.S. is in effect doing this now, by printing more money and engage in quantitative easing, driving down the value of the U.S. dollar worldwide.  In the Euro zone, however, individual countries do not control the value of the Euro.  The Euro zone makes sense when countries have similar economic profiles, but recently economists have realized that southern European countries like Portugal, Spain and Greece have uncompetitive economies, with high social benefit costs, high budget deficits, and high wages.  Unlike bigger and more competitive economies in France and Germany, however, they lack strict work habits, innovation, and suffer from inefficient labor markets and tax systems.  This divide is causing a crisis in the Euro zone, a crisis some believe may result in the ultimate embarrassment: the abandonment of the Euro experiment altogether.
Euro Zone Is Imperiled by North-South Divide -

Sri Lankan Accountants Attract Global Outsourcers

War-torn Sri Lanka has 10,000 certified accountants, with another 30,000 in training.  Outsourced accounting offices in Sri Lanka are doing work for global giants including HSBC.  A U.S. CPA makes $59,430 while a Sri Lankan CPA makes $5900, making their work both affordable and high quality. 

Sri Lankan Accountants Attract Global Outsourcers -

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fiji Water to Leave Fiji

Fiji Water, makers of high-end bottled water from the Pacific island of Fiji, is a privately held company owned by a billionaire couple from California, the Resnicks, who also own POM Wonderful and a few other well-known brands.  Fiji Water is often criticized for the huge expense and energy cost of shipping empty containers to Fiji to fill up with water and then shipping it around the world to affluent consumers.  Fiji Water, on the other hand, argues that its operations create jobs for hundreds of Fijians who would otherwise be unemployed.  Fiji underwent a military coup in 2006 and is now widely viewed as a state in decline with a dictator in charge.  The country recently announced it was increasing the "extraction tax" on water from 1/3 of a Fijian cent to 15 cents a liter.  The company has responded by announcing that it will shut down its operations and pull out of Fiji, demonstrating that human rights abuses and a military dictatorship aren't enough to stop business, but an export tax will do it.

Fiji Water to Leave Fiji - TIME NewsFeed

Wal-Mart International Chief McMillon Seeking Growth in China, Brazil

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, sees more opportunity in emerging markets than in Europe, according to the company's International CEO, Doug McMillon.  At the top of the list is China, followed by Brazil.  The company is looking overseas for growth as sales in the U.S. stagnate and slow down.  Wal-Mart operates 4100 stores in 41 countries outside the U.S., with annual sales topping $100 billion.  Its most recent entry is to purchase 51 percent of South Africa's Massmart for approximately $2.3 billion, stopping short of buying the entire company due to objections from local unions.  Hit the link below for a video interview with McMillon in which he explains the company's international expansion strategy.

Wal-Mart's McMillon Interview - Video - Bloomberg

Friday, November 19, 2010

China’s Censorship Backfires in ‘Li Gang’ Case

In late October this year, a college student named Chen Xiaofeng was inline skating with a friend on the campus of China's Hebei University.  A VW sedan, driven by a drunk driver, struck them head on, killing Chen.  The driver tried to speed away, but was stopped by security guards.  "My father is Li Gang!" he yelled at them.  Li Gang is the Deputy Police Chief in the Beishi district of Baoding.  When the Communist Party tried to suppress the story for fear of populist reaction to the son of a high-ranking official being given favored treatment, the opposite happened on the Internet.  Soon, the driver was arrested and the phrase "My father is Li Gang" has become a mocking catchphrase.

China’s Censorship Backfires in ‘Li Gang’ Case -

Friday, November 12, 2010

Japan’s Farmers Oppose Pacific Free-Trade Talks

Japan maintains a 777% tariff on imported rice, as well 252% on wheat, 360% on butter, 320% on sugar, and 38.5% on beef.  As a result, Japanese consumers have to pay some of the highest prices in the world for basic foods.  Now, Japanese industry groups are urging the government to reduce tariffs in return for greater market access to big economies such as the U.S.  Japanese farmers, however, are terrified that dismantling the tariffs will lead them to ruin.

Japan’s Farmers Oppose Pacific Free-Trade Talks -

Chinese Build 15-Story Hotel In Just Six Days, Rest On Seventh

Chinese Build 15-Story Hotel In Just Six Days, Rest On Seventh

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gap Joins a Retailer Rush to the Chinese Market

With sales in the U.S. sluggish, Gap Inc. is setting its sights on China's fast-growing consumer market, opening a flagship store in Shanghai today.  The company expects to open Old Navy and Banana Republic stores in the future.

Gap Joins a Retailer Rush to the Chinese Market -

Free-Trade Pact With South Korea Still Not Finished

At the G20 summit meeting in Seoul, President Obama failed to reach an agreement with South Korea over the last two sticking points in a proposed US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.  The sticking points are autos and beef, both of which face a tough time in the Korean market.  Both sides have set themselves a deadline of weeks (not months) to finalize a deal that may mean better market access for Ford to the South Korean market.

Free-Trade Pact With South Korea Still Not Finished -

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cotton Clothing Price Tags to Rise

Get ready to pay a lot more for T-shirts and jeans.  Flooding in Pakistan and bad weather in India and China means that there is a worldwide shortage in cotton.  This shortage recently led to a record high price for cotton, meaning that everyone in cotton's supply chain, from farmers to processors to manufacturers to retailers, are going to raise prices soon.

Cotton Clothing Price Tags to Rise -

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

India’s Soaring Currency Attracts Foreign Investors, but Exports Suffer

The Indian rupee has climbed 9% against the dollar in the last 16 months.  That has taken a toll on a key Indian export -- textiles -- because it makes exporting more expensive.  Instead of fighting the appreciation like Brazil, however, India is letting the currency strengthen for now.  A stronger currency is helping the country to develop a modern consumer economy, and is fueling a boom in inward investment from giant shopping malls to new car dealerships.

India’s Soaring Currency Attracts Foreign Investors, but Exports Suffer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise

Twenty years ago, there were hardly any dogs in Beijing. In the communist era, dogs were likely to be herders, guards, or meals, rather than companions. China's rapid globalization and increasing wealth, however, means that dogs are common these days, and increasingly pampered.

Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise -