We have all heard that the diamond is a woman’s best friend. The shiny rock has been providing income for many families and it has been a profitable industry for a long time. However, even the diamond industry is not economy proof. India has been one of the world’s biggest exporters of diamonds for many years. The country makes over four billion dollars from diamond exports each year. This year however, instead of an increase in profit from the diamond industry, India sees an increase in suicides because the industry is not doing well thanks to the global recession that has been the reason for many to lose their jobs. As of December 30th, there have been nine reported suicides of depressed diamond workers in the past 15 days in India. The situation has become so grave that NGO’s that have been previously working with HIV/AIDS affected people, have now started to counsel diamond workers on livelihood.
globalEDGE Blog Archive December 2008
Reports are beginning to show up all over the internet of another facet of the financial crisis: the damage done to the agriculture industry. If you check out the agriculture page in the Industries section of globalEDGE, you’ll get an idea of how large the consequences are for relevant businesses. The US alone produces almost $68 billion dollars in agricultural exports yearly. The Netherlands follow with roughly $38 billion, preceded by Argentina, France, and Brazil. It’s no surprise that as consumers try and spend less, the greater agricultural industry would be bearing the brunt of the losses.
As the economy continues to recede, many people are starting to think about their futures more seriously. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 6.7% and we are facing the worst job market in the past 15 years. Fortunately, there are still some industries with hiring potential.
Only a few short months ago, national security still appeared to be headline news. News paper articles, news feeds online, and television reports about threats of terrorism, weapons testing, illegal immigration, etc. were inescapable. It seemed strange to think that at some point we would have to pay attention to news about the global economy with the same sort of concern.
A recent Business Week article highlights how South African companies such as SABMiller, Standard Bank, and others are unlocking Sub-Saharan Africa as the biggest investor in the region - $8.5 billion thus far! While South African beer maker SABMiller leads the way in the region, Johannesburg cellular provider MTN is defying conventional wisdom by providing cell phones to people earning less than $2 a day. And neither the combat in Congo nor the drop in commodity prices have ruffled South Africa's mining company Metorex. In fact, the knowhow South Africans have gained on the continent is making their companies attractive to foreigners with ambitions in the region.
Whether it’s a trip to the mall to buy new clothes, to the supermarket for groceries, or to the drug store for cough drops, nearly every citizen in the world is an active participant in the monster industry known as retail. As the holiday season comes upon us, stores begin preparing for what, for many of them, is the crème-de-la-crème of the fiscal year, and a large chunk of their yearly profits. Despite a raise in sales from last year, the outlook for the retail industry is dim. An article by VOA News elaborates on this. Everything isn’t all gloom-and-doom, though. There is hope on the horizon for retailers.
In the past few years as petroleum was getting more and more expensive, scientists were trying to find alternative ways of transportation such as hybrid cars. Well, Italian company COVINI Engineering had a different focus. We have all heard of a 4-wheel drive, but how about a 6-wheel car? This is what the Covini Six Wheeler is (C6W). The team of COVINI Engineering has been developing a six wheel car for over 30 years and now they dream has come true – the car will be produced in limited numbers starting at the end of 2009. The C6W has four front wheels and two in the back. The car reaches a maximum speed of 300km/h (185mi/h) and its light weight “can give superb driving sensations” according to the COVINI Engineering website. Some of the reasons Ferruccio Covini – founder of the company gives for creating the CW6 are better grip, better breaking, less chance of aquaplaning.
The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper service, is a prime example of the downward trend for newspapers. As the newspaper approaches its 150th anniversary, parent company E.W. Scripps has acknowledged that it is entertaining offers to buy the newspaper. Along with the Denver Post, a counter-part in the Colorado newspaper business, the two newspapers have seen a $100 million loss in classified advertisement reviews. The online publication of the Rocky Mountain News has more, which leads to the question, what caused the downfall of the newspaper?
I have been particularly interested in branding recently (I recommend the Branding Strategy Insider blog), and how difficult it is to successfully build a solid, consistent brand message that reaches across diverse cultures and languages.
One of the fundamentals of effective branding is consistency. If a firm sends mixed messages, consumers are less likely to have a strong conception of what the brand stands for, what its characteristics are that distinguish it from the competition. Brands that try to change with every passing fad seem hollow, like followers rather than leaders.
Lists are interesting creatures - some find them informative while others simply disregard them. The 2nd annual list of the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. is an interesting follow-up to the recent Global Entrepreneurship Series on our blog. The list is a comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy - America's independent-minded entrepreneurs. Taken as a whole, these companies represent the backbone of the U.S. economy.