globalEDGE Blog Archive February 2009

At the Mobile World Congress gathering in Barcelona, Spain, communication giant executives discussed the future of the telecommunications industry in light of a global economic recession. Their conclusion? On the whole, things aren’t slowing down. In fact, handset-making juggernaut Nokia, based in Finland, plans to increase its investment in what has traditionally been a poor U.S. market. Is Nokia the exception?

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File under: India

You may know that Michigan State University (this blog is managed by MSU's international business center) is known for its excellence in Supply Chain. As a result, we here even dream in Six Sigma! And an error rate of 1 in 6 million is a dream come true! Watch a short video about the "dabbawalas" in Mumbai and the near perfect lunch delivery service they provide:

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File under: Business Risk

One of the blogs I regularly read, ResourceShelf, recently put together a great post on the concept of due diligence in business. They include links to several different articles on variations of the topic, but the one that I found most relevant was from Deloitte, called Cross-Border Investigative Due Diligence: The Look Before You Leap Imperative. The article outlines hidden risks that firms can easily overlook before expanding internationally, and how with due diligence you can identify and neutralize those risks.

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File under: Financial Crisis

It is a fact that the world is in a financial crisis. It is a fact that many are losing jobs; that many have lost money; and many more will find themselves having to pay back loans that they do not have the money for. Every one knows that, but what are we doing about it? It is time for the world to look into some positives about the financial crisis because pointing out the negatives is not helping out anyone.

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File under: China, India, Webinars

We wanted to let you know about a free global virtual seminar on business strategies for China & India and how to leverage these economies for global advantage. This webinar is organized by ICA (India, China and America) Institute, a non-profit research institute working to foster research and dissemination of knowledge on the rise of China and India and their impact on global markets, global resources and geopolitics of the world.

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File under: Culture

Did you know that the phrase “part two” carries a sexual connotation in France? Neither did Roger Gussiaas, which is why some people left in the middle of a conversation he was having while he was in France. His cultural gaffe encouraged him to attend an international business workshop in Fargo, N.D. The event, coordinated by the Northern Crops Institute, sought to educate business owners such as Gussiaas on the ins-and-outs of etiquette when conducting business overseas.

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Imagine if you could use one simple swipe pass to pay for everything. No, I’m not talking about a credit card. Think of it more like a bus pass. Now integrate this pass into a whole infrastructure of travel. Behold Hong Kong’s octopus card! In Hong Kong, 90% of all traveling is done by mass transit: 7 million daily riders have access to an “octopus card,” used by 95% of Hong Kong’s population (16-65), which is accepted as currency not only for the various forms of mass transit but also at parking meters, convenience stores, and fast-food restaurants. Hong Kong is widely regarded as having the best blueprint of a successful mass transit system. Could this spread elsewhere?

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The United Kingdom recently unveiled a new plan to revamp its inter-city rail system, awarding Hitachi a contract to develop new, more efficient and lightweight trains, called the "Super-Express". The 7.5 billion-pound upgrade comes in the midst of the worst global recession in decades, but transport secretary Geoff Hoon is confident that investing now will pay off, both in the short term job creation and the long term infrastructure boost.

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The world is still in a financial crisis and it is highly unlikely that it will be over soon. Many nations still blame the problem on CEOs in the United States. After the government bailed many banks out, people ask what is happening to that money. Is it really put into good use or do banks keep on lending more? Everyone knows that the problem is that consumers and businesses are facing huge debts, but it doesn’t seem that CEOs are taking any responsibility.

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Oversized ships crowd the high seas while global trade is at its lowest. These jumbo vessels, many longer than three football fields and able to carry over 13,000 containers, can provide tremendous economies of scale if the shippers can fill their holds. Meanwhile, a ship capable of carrying 22,000 containers has been designed by a South Korean shipbuilding company.

With overcapacity and a drop in global trade, shipping rates per container have fallen 90% from a year ago. In fact, some ships will take containers for free and only charge for fuel and transit fees. Yet, shipping companies aren't cancelling orders for new ships, allowing global fleet to increase by 12%, including 200 ultralarge ships in service by 2013.

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File under: Financial Crisis

The terms depression and recession were not even around until after the Great Depression. However, they have been used plenty of times lately. It has been months since the American government has declared the economy to be in a recession and it seems that the world thinks that a depression for the USA is inevitable. But when does a deep recession officially become a depression? Here is a video on this topic:

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Around a week ago, the World Economic Forum took place in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum primarily addressed the global financial crisis. One person who attended the Forum was Airbus CEO Tom Enders. Enders argues that in order to successfully finance expenditures on their products, a global financial system is needed.

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A while back I wrote a post on the recent upsurge in piracy. At the time, a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil had just been commandeered, and the global shipping industry was unwillingly thrust into news headlines worldwide. In the end, the tanker was released for an undisclosed ransom, but the incident served as a catalyst for discussions on how to deal with the threat of piracy.

Navies from around the world have responded by sending ships to the coast of Africa to stave off attacks and hunt down the buccaneers. Even Japan sent forces to the region in a rare, post-WWII military action. The pirates are operating in an area larger than 1 million square miles however, making it nearly impossible for these forces to ensure the safety of shipping vessels. Shipping companies, consequently, must address the question of how they will manage the risk of piracy.

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Glossary