China currently exists as one of the most desired markets in the global business world. With E-Commerce on its current rise globally, the key then, is finding a way to reach China’s online customer base. As of 2009, China had roughly 384 million internet users, and that number is expected to hit 650 million in 2015. It’s safe to say that many online retailers around the globe are seeking a way to penetrate China’s market. The best way to do this is to gain a better understanding of the consumers they’re trying to sell to.
globalEDGE Blog - By Author: Steven Clay
Today we will look at a piece of technology which could have a substantial effect on the global business world. In this specific case, it’s how we power things. Now, windmill power has been talked about many times before, but this is the first time we’ve seen anything which combines the harnessing of the ocean with a windmill design. The AK-1000, recently released by Atlantis Resources Corporation in Scotland, could have a “revolutionary” effect on making renewable energy a viable replacement to fossil fuels.
China is growing. India is growing. In fact, the whole of Asia is expanding rapidly - in population, economy, and technology. The latest area Asia is looking to improve upon is education. Countries like China and India are in the process of trying to establish themselves as leaders in the world of business education. They’re doing this by offering Western-trained business professors opportunities they wouldn’t be able to get normally.
Media in the Middle East is in the process of becoming revolutionized. There are currently around 487 free-to-air satellite channels broadcasting throughout the Middle East, and 620 in total. As such, many companies and cities throughout the region are vying for media dominance. Could Abu Dhabi emerge as the front-runner for becoming the Middle East’s primary media hub?
In February 2009, the U.S.-Peru trade promotion agreement (TPA) went into effect. The TPA has had some exciting effects for many U.S. companies. Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service interviewed John Simmons, the Department of Commerce’s senior commercial officer in Lima, about how the TPA is helping U.S. businesses.
Hospitals today are fast-paced, frenzied places. The goal, of course, is to get health care to as many people as possible. Hospitals around the world suffer similar problems in that they often have too much health care to administer, and not enough adequate facilities with which to do so. Furthermore, the types of health care that need to be administered are evolving as well, leaving many places with outdated or ineffective facilities with which to handle them. However, the Compass system seeks to alleviate some of these problems.
We’ve heard a lot this week about how people worldwide are changing how and where they travel. It seems a fitting end to the series, then, to discuss what the future may hold for global tourism. One of the ways to do this is to examine sports tourism, one of the hottest new trends in the global tourism industry.
Widespread use of the Internet has led to a decline in the prevalence of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, and this disparity will continue to shift as more people worldwide are provided with Internet access. Buying online is simply more convenient, and most of the time more affordable than traveling to a physical location and purchasing a good or service. Even more convenient, however, is the ability to conduct business and make purchases while on-the-go. With an increasing number of smartphones sprouting up all over the world, making purchases has never been easier. Mobile commerce is a trend we can expect to see entire business strategies built around.
One of the major issues in today's international business climate is sustainability. Countries are ever-seeking new ways to operate in an evnrionmentally-friendly way, while at the same time saving money in the long run by coming off of a dependence on fossil fuels. The fastest-growing country in terms of economic growth and trade in the world is China. Due to China's current prevalence in the international business world, and its future impact, it is valuable to see what steps China is taking to go green.
It's something that's been the lore of science fiction novels and movies-- a wild, futuristic dream... the flying car. It's been deemed so difficult to pull off, that not many have tried to make one. If a flying car were made at a relatively affordable price, the demand for it would be huge. A flying car being the stuff of dreams is no more: the Terrafugia Transition is here!
“Feeding the world” has gotten more difficult as world population has risen, but the countries contributing the most to this population growth are also doing their part in making food for it as well. A recent joint study put forth by the United Nations-OECD says that agricultural output in the BRIC countries over the next decade will grow three times as fast as in the major developed countries. The report says a lot about changing diets production, and what and where one can expect to see their food coming from.
The World Cup, currently taking place in South Africa, is well underway. Tomorrow in this blog series, we'll discuss the prevalence of large sponsorship deals that many businesses have with FIFA, the international governing body of football. FIFA takes its role of protecting World Cup sponsors very seriously, and the warnings it has issued towards many businesses are ones that should be heeded.
Very recently, all 27 member nations of the European Union (EU) approved the entry of Estonia into the eurozone, meaning that Estonia would adopt the euro as its primary form of currency. At first glance, it seems that tying itself to a widely-used, strongly-supported currency would be a no-brainer for Estonia. However, with Europe’s recent economic woes, the situation becomes a bit more complicated.
It's a problem many of us deal with, especially those running small businesses. In today's world, email stands out as one of the domninant forms of communication. When on vacation, or away on business with no access to your email, the load tends to pile up rather quickly. In the following video, Gina Trapani of Fast Company offers some tips on how one can work smarter and develop a system for dealing with such mountains of email:
It might be surprising to learn that the majority of companies that export have less than 100 employees, and even more have less than 5! There seems to be a misconception going around that a company needs lots of employees and lots of capital in order to engage in international trade. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With the following helpful advice, you could be expanding your business globally and possibly enhancing it.
The United Nations recently forecasted a 3 percent growth in the world economy. Much of this growth is expected to come from developing nations. The majority of this contribution by developing countries comes from growing global powerhouses China and India. A further role they play is in generating a “spill-over” effect to other developing countries, which helps to generate the growth of infrastructure, industry, and trade. One such case which can be examined is that of India and Africa.
Trends in the Aerospace and Defense Industry have been shifting lately; what was once a primarily domestic industry has started to become global in nature. As highly populated nations such as China and India become more open to global markets, international suppliers will seek to fill their demands. What are some of the things we can expect to see from the global Aerospace and Defense market in the near future?
Founded in 2003 by Andrew Rugasira, Good African is a coffee manufacturer which has begun to penetrate the global business scene. Good African began its foray into international markets via Waitrose, a British supermarket chain, has expanded to other rival chains, and is now being sold in supermarkets across Britain. The company is also planning on expanding to the United States as well. What lessons might someone seeking to take their business global bring away from Mr. Rugasira and Good African?
While Vietnam’s largest export is textiles, seafood is often overlooked as another crucial product to Vietnam’s economic well-being. In June 2009, Vietnam and Japan signed the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which effectively reduced and eliminated tariffs on a number of Vietnamese goods, one of which was dried seafood. In the past, high prices had deterred other Southeast Asian countries from buying Vietnamese seafood, but the tariff cuts, coupled with overall increased demands, have led to a boom in Vietnamese seafood exports.
The U.S. Commercial Service recently opened registration to its Basic Guide to Exporting Webinar Series! Based off of the best-selling book A Basic Guide to Exporting, these webinars are designed for those interesed in taking their business international. The webinars require a paid registration to access, and registration is time-sensitive.
I remember when I was eight years old and traveled with my family to Cancún, Mexico. We stayed in a four-star hotel, and yet still had cockroaches running around the room. It certainly seemed at the time like the star system standards were different between the U.S. and Mexico. As it turns out, there is no world standard for hotel star ratings. Systems for ranking hotels and motels differ from global region to global region, between countries, and even within those countries. What then, can the tourist or international businessperson do to better decipher which hotels are worth staying at, and which ones to avoid?
Looking for international trade leads? The U.S. Commercial Service can help. Recently, they released the International Sales Leads gadget on iGoogle. The gadget contains pre-screened, time-sensitive sales leads and Government Tenders gathered by the many U.S. Commercial Service offices around the world. International sales leads are updated regularly with the newest leads appearing on the top of the list.
Check out the U.S. Commercial Service's International Sales Leads Gadget!
It's time for more market briefs! This time, Doug Barry, of the U.S. Commercial Service, conducts two interviews. The first is with Aileen Crowe Nandi, the principle commercial service officer in Chennai, India. In the interview, Ms. Nandi describes the ample number of opportunities for U.S. businesses in the southern region of India (Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai). She also discusses a number of other issues, including cautionary advice for U.S. firms looking to do business in South India, the necessity of being able to compete in an industry based on price, the current infrastructure and consumer base of South India, how these are shifting, and how these shifts should affect the approach when entering into the South India market.
Recently, the European Union signed the largest aid deal ever with Mauritius (93 million Euros, to be exact). The aim of the package is to serve as a means to social and economic reform for the island nation. The timing of the deal couldn’t have been better. Only three days earlier, Mauritius’s Minister of Education and Human Resources expressed his nation’s desire to expand and modernize its textile industry. What implications might these events have on current and potential investors, and the textile industry as a whole?
Recently, P.S. Surana, founder of Surana & Surana International Attorneys, released the book, “Uruguay-India: on trade and links.” In the book, he states that Uruguay presents a “wonderful, little explored opportunity for Indian businessmen.” Is there any truth to this? And if so, what makes Uruguay and India so right for one another for trade opportunities?
It's time for our readership to be rewarded with yet another blog series! This week's series will be focusing on contemporary issues in the retail industry The topcs we'll be covering include an overview of the top global firms in the retail business, a look at the ever-so-fashionable fashion industry, consumers, and last-but-not-least, purchasing behavior, and how consumers are shopping in new, different ways.
One of the quirkier tools used to examine the Purchasing Power Parity between two currencies has been the Big Mac hamburger, responsible for being the basis of The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which compares the price of Big Mac hamburgers in each country. It may be difficult, however, to apply the Big Mac index to Iceland’s króna, as the hamburger giant has pulled out of the country. Don’t pity Iceland, however. Fast Company’s Robert Walcott and Michael Lippitz visited Iceland in December, and are quite optimistic regarding its potential.
Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has another market brief for our blog readership. In this brief, he interviews Amer Kayani, who is a Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The interview covers the potential of emerging markets, with a primary focus on Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Mr. Kayani clears up some misconceptions some may have regarding Saudi business sentiments towards U.S. investors and businesspeople.
The Czech Republic is rising as one of the premier tourist locations in Eastern Europe, primarily due to the draw of Prague. Prague, the largest city and capital of the Czech Republic receives over 4.1 million visitors annually. It has served as the political, cultural, and economic base of the Czech empire for over 1100 years. Overall, the income from tourism composes a significant portion of the Czech GNP (5.5%), and makes up 9.3% of its overall export earnings. Tourists that visit the Czech Republic overwhelmingly choose Prague, with over seventy percent of total tourists choosing to stay there. So what makes Prague so appealing to tourists that it can generate a substantial portion of the Czech Republic's GNP?
Recently, Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service, interviewed Rich Steffens, who is head of the Senior Commercial Office in the Ukraine. In the interview, Mr. Steffens describes the learning curve required to effectively market and do business in the Ukraine and the larger former Soviet bloc. He also describes the major industries and natural resources which shape the way business is done, and the future markets that might emerge there. He also describes ways in which the U.S. Commercial service can, and has provided assistance to those seeking to do business in the Ukraine.
Check out the video version of the interview, or read the transcript!
A recent report conducted by Community Food Enterprise, backed up by a number of case studies, highlights the importance that local businesses in the Food and Beverage Industry play in economic development. The report focuses on twenty-four food ventures from around the world, such as an organic farming co-op, as well as a caterer in Zambia. All of the enterprises examined in the report aim to become sustainable business models which are not dependent on government aid.
Christmas in Germany is coming early this year, in the form of jobs. Department stores require much more seasonal help around Christmas, and the result is a huge boost to the economy; In Germany, it means 2,500 Christmas markets generating 188,000 jobs, and revenue figures of around €3- €5 billion a year.
Professor and author C. K. Prahalad explores how General Electric took a local innovation in the healthcare industry, one designed to help those in the poorest and most remote villages in India and China, and turned it into a global, game-changing product. In his book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, he argues that this is no anomaly, but rather the future of innovation.
The aim of reaching a broader market with the EKG turned into a more efficient, cost-friendly product. Should companies be taking more of a look at developing innovative products to help the rural poor? Could these innovations spread to the global market as well?
It’s often difficult for those in the Food and Beverage Industry to determine what consumers want. The industry is such that the consumers have very fickle tastes, and this makes for quick trend shifts. While organic foods were popular in 2008, the recession led to a return to inexpensive comfort foods in 2009. With the economy in recovery, what trend shifts can we expect in 2010?
The Food and Beverage Industry is undergoing significant trend shifts, one of which is a move towards more environmentally-friendly packaging. Many customers are demanding less material waste in the supply chain area of the industry. Complicating matters in the international spectrum is the fact that every country has different regulations regarding what's acceptable and what isn't. The key, then, is to find forms of packaging which comply with more of these regulations and can ultimately make the supply chain aspect of the Food and Beverage Industry more streamlined. That’s where polyactic acid (PLA) comes into play.
It isn’t really a secret that knowing the culture and language of a country will help one to have a smoother stay there, whether it’s for business or pleasure. However, while learning a new culture and language can be a short, fun experience for tourists, the necessity of mastering a foreign language and becoming culture-savvy for business purposes is much more important. In honor of International Education Week, it is valuable to highlight the importance of linguistic and cultural education in this ever-globalizing world.
Recently Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consultancy, released its 2009 rankings of the top global brands of 2009.
So what is a global brand, exactly? A global brand is one that has transcended the linguistic and cultural challenges of entering foreign markets. Widely recognized global brands have successfully implemented the namesake and desirability of their products to consumers in many countries.
The Top Ten Global Brands of 2009:
Since its establishment in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has made its primary priority to be the creation of a monetary union, and subsequently, a single currency across the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council is a trade bloc of six Arab nations residing in the Persian Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC nations, excluding Oman and the UAE, have aimed for January 1, 2010 as a deadline for establishing a common currency. If the GCC is successful in establishing a single currency among their member nations, what implications could this have for them and the international business world?
Much of Europe is heavily-reliant on Russian pipeline gas to satisfy its energy needs-- However, this could change fairly soon. Oil companies and private investors are carefully weighing the initiatives which may be set forth following the 2009 Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum. The Black Sea is home to a wealth of unconventional oil and gas resources which could possibly rival Russia in the sheer volume of output and usage.
Lastly, we have the city which won the bid to host the 2016 Olympics: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! The historic selection of Rio makes it the first South American city to ever host the games, and the second ever to do so in Latin America. To better understand the effect the Olympics could have on Rio, it is important to examine the various facets of Rio and its diverse economy.
Since 2002, The Economist has been measuring house-price data for 20 of the largest players in the world of global business. They recently compiled this information and incorporated it into an interactive graph which can compare various house price indicators between countries. It measures: house price index, prices in real terms, prices against average income, and the overall percent change. Check out the Global House Price Indicators Graph!
In light of the ballooning global cost of providing healthcare to patients, there has been much discussion as to how operations in the healthcare industry can be implemented in a smoother and more cost-efficient manner. One major solution could lie in the efforts of various supply-chain management firms and programs to help hospitals and health care systems reduce their supply chain costs. In addition to supply chain revamps, technological revisions of documentation in the health care industry should have a significant impact in cost-cutting and time-saving.
As the Trade North America Conference continues, it is important to understand the nuances of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which make the implementation of NAFTA’s goals possible. One of the largest barriers to getting the agreement passed, and which still creates issues today are the legal issues surrounding the agreement, as well as how it deals with the differing legal systems of each of the countries involved.
A group of twenty finance ministers and central bank governors, nicknamed the G-20, will be meeting in London this weekend to discuss the future of the global economy. Australian treasurer Wayne Swan provides an overview of some of the proposed directions the G-20 wants to take the global economy in.
It’s hard to deny that the business climate for women is changing. Fifteen Fortune 500 companies are currently run by women, up from twelve last year. Twenty-eight companies have women doing the top job in the Fortune 1000. Yet challenges still exist for women, namely in the international business world. Recently, Mrs. Evelyn Mungai of Nairobi, Kenya, an international business entrepreneur, visited Indianapolis to speak to the National Association of Women Business Owners about these challenges and how to overcome them. She is currently the owner of Evelyn’s School of Design, an internationally-acclaimed business that has been going strong for 33 years.
It isn’t a secret that many aspects of developing countries are unappealing to the global businessperson. Decrepit urban and rural areas, lawlessness, and violence often cause companies to avoid these areas either out of fear for employee safety, logistics, or simply because they can’t find a way to make doing business there profitable. However, the fact still stands that these areas have hundreds of millions of potential customers lacking many goods and services. Additionally, there have been numerous pioneering companies which have had to modify their business strategies in order to adapt to the economic climate of these regions, and have subsequently thrived there. Here are a few of the issues that have arisen in these areas, and tips from successful companies on how they’ve handled them:
As mobile technology improves, many of the cell phones people are using are becoming outdated at an increasingly-faster rate. This is especially the case in Japan, where the latest cell phone can be usurped by another within a few weeks. In fact, the Japanese are so far advanced in cell phone technology that they've had a difficult time taking their cell phones global. So, what does one do with a bunch of outdated phones that nobody wants? Recycle them for their precious metals!
A recent ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has those in the U.S. entertainment industry rejoicing. The ruling would force China to open the channels of distribution to free enterprise. This means that those from the U.S. in the entertainment business will be have their work distributed in a manner which should yield more profits. The ruling will play a major role in the complex relationship between China and the U.S. entertainment industry.
In the month of June, Chile saw a 22 percent jump in wine exports. This could be due to a rebounding economy. It could also have to do with the fact that Chile is producing more wine than ever, and at a better quality than it ever has. Given the positive direction that Chile’s wine industry is heading, what implications does this have for the economy and other businesses in Chile?
South Korea and India recently signed a free trade agreement. The comprehensive agreement is the first of its kind for South Korea with any of the BRIC countries, and the first of its kind for India with any major economy. The implications of the deal on the global business world are substantial:
What was once an ancient risk now has a modern face, and is a growing concern for shipping companies. Following the release of the Maersk Alabama, the media has paid much less attention to the infamous Somali pirates. These pirates are still very much active. The number of piracy incidents has risen drastically since 2008. Back then, most of the acitivity conducted by pirates consisted of simply plundering the ship and fleeing. Now, the pirates are not only plundering the ships, but are also taking the ships and crews hostage for ransom. What changes could the piracy resurgence bring to the shipping industry?
Recently, social networking giant Twitter posted it's Twitter 101 for Business Guide, which is designed to enlighten both consumers and businesses to ways they can use Twitter's micro-blogging service. The guide offers advice on how businesses can use Twitter to market products and boost sales, and will also help consumers who are curious about the site but don't know how to use it or where to even begin.
Want to know more about how the top Japanese companies do business?
The Fall 2009 class at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan has written and narrated a series of podcasts which explain many aspects of Japanese firm management, in addition to presenting the students' perspectives on the issues.
The Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) has created a corporate barometer to survey businesspeople's confidence levels. The Corporate Expectations Barometer takes about five minutes to complete, and can be helpful in gauging the expectations of fellow businesspeople in one's own industry as well as other industries. Additionally, the EIU will prepare a customized briefing for those who complete the survey which will allow them to track their results over time and receive monthly updates, as well as being able to compare results with the EIU's own findings.
This could be a very helpful tool for the small business owner, as it helps connect different business peers and can give them an idea of where their industry could be headed. Check it out here!
The international consulting firm Mercer recently released its list of the World’s Most Expensive Cities to Live. The implications of the study on global business are substantial. With all of the outsourcing that has taken place, companies will be much more guarded in where they move their businesses to. Many times, companies provide compensation packages to employees living abroad, and it will cost them considerably more to help support employees abroad in cities which are expensive to live in.
Although there may be a demand for their business, companies will likely choose cities which are cheaper for their employees, which means they spend less on employee compensation and can gain more profits. What implications does the list have for you?
The Top 5:
The rising stock of Twitter and Facebook as valuable business assets is a surprise to nobody, but just how big of a role they play may be overlooked. Australia, which is currently going through a tourism slump due to the global economic downturn and the swine flu epidemic, is getting a bit of help from social networking giants Twitter and Facebook.
The managing director of Tourism Australia, Geoff Buckley, asserts that Twitter and Facebook are helping to pull the Australian tourism industry through the recession. “Tourism Australia’s activities on Twitter and Facebook are connecting people around the world who have visited Australia and getting them to share their experiences with a community of travelers who are equally passionate about our country.”
The recent acquisition of the automobile retailer Saturn by Penske has reawakened an old debate in business: to co-brand or not to co-brand? Co-branding is the collaboration of two companies in marketing their product, aimed to create synergy and draw interest. If Pillsbury Brownies are enhanced by Nestle Chocolate, then brand recognition and desirability is increased for both parties. Too often, though, co-branding has been relegated to large businesses, because small businesses stand nothing to gain by co-branding because they cannot reach as many people with their products. However, co-branding can be effective for small businesses as well.
If the norm at the moment is that countries don’t want to invest in other countries due to the economic downturn and volatile markets, then the exceptions are Qatar and Germany. Currently, the country of Qatar is looking to invest heavily into the exporting powerhouse, and they have the money to do it. As of 2007, Qatar has attained the highest per capita income in the world, primarily through the means of oil and natural gas revenues. So what interests Qatar so much about Germany?
Surprisingly enough, Qatar has its sights set on Germany’s auto industry. The oil giant is primarily concerned with the German brands Volkswagen and Porsche, brands which are very numerous and very popular in the Arab world, especially in the country looking to invest, which had an $80,900 GDP per capita in 2007.
In light of the current state of the global economy, people will want to cut down on expenses, while still enjoying the leisure and relaxation afforded by tourism. Here are the Top 10 2009 Tourism Trends, which include several options for the cash-strapped consumer:
1. Domestic tourism—This year will see a boost in domestic tourism as tourists will go around their own countries more than flying to another. This is one of the cheapest ways to travel and may help balance out the anticipated lack in foreign tourists.
2. Travel to nearby countries—As many people still want to explore countries other than their own, the next best thing is going to neighboring countries where they’re not expected to spend as much as a jet-setting spree. Europeans may go backpacking across their continent; Americans may go either north or south; and Asians may island-hop around the tropics.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about a new global reserve currency, or how the Yuan might overtake the dollar. One little-examined currency issue, however, is the role of virtual currency. Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing-Games such as World of Warcraft, which has nearly 11 million players worldwide, use an in-game currency system, where players can buy items, creatures, or even services from other players with virtual “gold”. In China, where a huge online gaming community exists, government officials are worried that, to some degree, virtual currency could replace the actual currency, and might even have a significant impact on the country’s economic system.
One month ago we posted about the Top 10 Global Small Busines Trends for 2009. Apparently this is still a hot topic, and Emergent Research has compiled a more pointed list of 10 expected trends for small businesses in 2009:
1. The recession drives small business innovation.
2. Government plays an increasing role in the economy.
3. Global infrastructure and stimulus spending.
4. The number of small businesses will increase in 2009.
5. Small business globalization will temporarily slow.
To many nations, having numerous fields of wind turbines seems like a far-off green dream. Denmark, however, has made it into a reality. The Danes are now essentially energy independent, and wind power plays a major role. In 2007, wind power provided nearly 20 percent of the nation’s electricity production and 24 percent of its capacity; proportions nearly double that of the next highest country. The Danish company Vestas has emerged as the top manufacturer in the world of these wind turbines, which are in high demand. Executive Erik Therkelsen says, "If we can make a turbine, it's sold." So what does this mean for the energy industry?
The U.S. dollar has, for a long time, maintained its position as the world’s reserve currency. That fact, though, could be changing. As the debt of the U.S. government grows, it is possible that the dollar will lose its significance and subsequently its role as the world’s reserve currency, most likely to China's yuan. The ‘safe haven’ aspect of the dollar will not be easy for China to overcome, but with China’s economy growing as strongly as ever, it could be possible. Furthermore, China has been making financial moves which could land the yuan in the role.
Last week in Amsterdam, the first of 1,200 households installed energy-saving systems aimed at cutting their electricity costs. Additionally, Dutch banks ING and Rabobank provided access to financing for the purchase of energy-saving light bulbs and efficient roof insulation. Actions like these are the beginning of a concerted effort to make Amsterdam’s infrastructure smarter, greener, and more eco-friendly.
It’s nothing new for tourists to visit a place in order to do something that would be prohibited where they live. Whether it’s lower drinking ages, legalized drugs, or legalized gambling, some places thrive off of such tourism. Bahrain, for example, serves as a sort of liberalized haven for many of those living in Islamist Saudi Arabia. The country's lenient drinking laws have attracted Saudi escapists, who in turn contribute nearly ten percent to Bahrain’s economy. So why are Bahraini legislators contemplating scrapping the country’s drinking laws and imposing near-total prohibition?
China has long-held a reputation of being one of the world’s top exporters. 2007 World Bank Figures amount China’s exports to around $1.22 trillion, or 37% of its GDP. It is the 2nd largest exporter in the world behind Germany, and is currently number one on globalEDGE’s Market Potential Index Market Growth Rate. The annual growth rate of China’s exports had traditionally been around 25 percent, although effects from the current economic downturn now project these numbers dropping to a modest 10 percent. So with a 15 percent drop, how can it expect to satisfy previous GDP growth expectations?
A recent survey done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that employees who who went into work while sick were 53 percent more likely to take a sick leave of two weeks or more and 74 percent more likely to take a sick leave of two months or more.
A recent report done by Small Business Trends highlights the top 10 global small business trends to look for in 2009:
1. Disruptive innovation will be both the coolest and hottest new growth strategy in 2009 because it will transcend all boundaries and transform businesses.
There was a time when trains dominated most of the transit taking place in countries such as the United States. Today, high-speed trains are a cheap and effective means to get across many places in the world, like Europe, Japan, and South Africa, and are important conduits of these economies. Yet it still seems that whenever people want to get away on vacation, they either fly to their desired destination or take a cruise. A growing trend, however, is the rising number of luxury trains and patrons that are using them. This trend could change the dynamic of the hospitality and travel industry, as these trains offer both.
Mercer Consulting recently released its 2009 Quality of Living Survey, which documents the cities of the world which provide the best quality of life, based on a number of factors. The survey is partly designed to help major companies in determining where to place employees on international assignments. The 2009 list is dominated by European countries, with over 20 of the 30 countries listed being in Europe.
In the current economic downturn, it isn’t surprising to see workers avoiding vacations. Many need the money, and may even be unsure of whether or not they will have a job the next day. But, if they spend all their time working and saving their money, and not spending it, this creates a problem. In Japan, the issue has actually taken a noticeable toll on the economy. Japanese workaholics, or sarariman, often work late nights and stash away their money. Japan, then, needs to find a way to get Japanese households spending their $8 trillion in savings.
Like all good things, globalization has some negative side effects. The current outbreak of swine flu highlights the ability for diseases to be transported quickly around the world, primarily because of how interconnected the global economy has become. It is important for both governments and international business people to arm themselves with the proper knowledge in order to be prepared and put in place the best safeguards for such an event.
A recent story by BusinessWeek describes the value of a country focusing on the education of its female populace.
Some interesting statistics:
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later, on average, and has 2.2 fewer children.
- An extra year in primary school statistically boosts girls' future wages by 10% to 20%, and every additional year a girl spends in secondary school lifts her income by 15% to 25%. The size of a country's economy is in no small part determined by the educational attainment and skill sets of its girls.
- Young women have a 90% probability of investing their earned income back into their families, while the likelihood of men doing the same is only 30% to 40%.
- A girl's school attainment is linked to her own health and well-being, as well as reduced death rates: For every additional year of schooling, a mother's mortality is significantly reduced, and the infant mortality rate of her children declines by 5% to 10%.
A recent Businessweek Ranking listed Hong Kong as No. 9 of the "World’s Gloomiest Countries" with respect to economic outlook, with exports, profitability margins, investments, turnovers, and selling margins all expected to fall in a negative manner. Despite the hard hits that Hong Kong and the other Asian markets have taken in the financial crisis, Hong Kong can and will bounce back.
Just as the housing and stock bubbles burst, it appears that wine’s bubble may be figuratively bursting as well. In Bordeaux, France, numerous wine tasters and connoisseurs gathered this week to sample and possibly purchase many of the vintage versions of 2008’s premiere wines. However, amidst a global recession, many of the big spenders who splurged on such delights have sobered up a bit. The result is an uncertain future for the wine market, as well as other aspects of the food and beverage industry.
A few days ago, Tata Motors of India introduced the commercial version of the Nano, a tiny ten-foot-long five-foot-high compact car which the company hopes will revolutionize transportation not only in India, but in other parts of the world too. The car will sell for roughly 100,000 rupees ($1,979; £1,366) and goes on sale next month.
When the global financial crisis hit, many nations saw a drastic decrease in their national wealth. While Tunisia suffered a slight decline in GDP by the end of 2008, its losses were not even close percentage-wise to those of other developed nations. The key to Tunisia’s economic resilience may be due to the fact that it is still undergoing a period of rapid economic growth and development. It may also be due to the fact that Tunisia’s economic backbone is based primarily on a labor-intensive workforce, and boasts a diversified economy with minimal exposure to the finance industry. Whatever the reason, Tunisia provides a strong example of what steps should be taken in order to get a country on the track to economic growth.
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group which measures the government policies and corporate performance most encouraging to innovation has Singapore as the number one global leader of innovation, followed by South Korea at number two. Former innovation leaders from the west such as the United States and Germany dropped to numbers eight and nineteen, respectively. What exactly has contributed to this?
A recent article in Global By Design discusses the possibility of country and city-based domain names for various businesses. This would mean that a business opened in a various city could possibly have the domain name of that city. For example, a small business that opened in Tokyo, Japan could take the domain name, “smallbusiness.JP” or “smallbusiness.TYO” This could be quite beneficial for global businesses trying to create more distinction with respect to their web brands.
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?
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.
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?
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.
In the near future, Mountain View, CA. based Google is planning to introduce the GDrive. What this device will do is allow the user to access their personal files and operating system from any internet connection. So, in essence, no more data loss from crashes, no need for flash drives, no need for storage space on emails, etc. Sounds pretty convenient, right? It's affordable as well. With the release of the GDrive, consumers will no longer need to purchase bulky desktop computers, or purchase additional storage space. All the storage will be done on Google’s servers. Seattle based Amazon.com also offers a similar service called the Simple Storage Service - in both the United States and Eurpoe. And we can probably expect more of these services to appear in the future.
The days of flaunting wealth through exorbitant purchases have come to an end, thanks to the global economic recession. As companies cut back and global business activity declines, the demand for private jets has dropped sharply. A host of buyers from Asia, the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe are second-guessing the necessity for an expensive private jet. The decline has jet manufacturers such as Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and Brazil's Embraer S.A. scrambling to adjust their business models amid mass cancellations and declining orders.
Traditionally, Iceland has been one of Europe’s priciest vacation destinations. However, following the recent financial collapse, vacationing in Iceland has become much more affordable. Since the financial crisis, the Icelandic króna is worth less than half its value a year ago, which, as economics tells us, increases the value of other currencies being used in that country. Some multi-night deals are starting at $400, a sign of both the depressed Icelandic economy as well as the desire of attracting foreign currency in order to help jump-start the economy.
Most teenagers dream about owning their own car. For some, it is a realistic expectation that in the near future, they’ll own a car. For others, it’s a long-term goal. Regardless, few can deny the convenience, comfort, and freedom of owning their own car. Japanese youth, however, seem to have other dreams. Japanese automakers say the youth in Japan are more interested in technological goods such as cell phones, computers, and many other Japanese technological marvels. For more on Japanese business, visit its page on globalEDGE!
Many agree, times are tough right now. Yet, no country right now is suffering the level of crisis that Iceland is. A small number of investors in Iceland have essentially turned the country’s banking system into one giant hedge fund. In response, many concerned Icelanders have taken to the streets, especially in the capital of Rejkjavic, to protest these “financial Vikings” and call for re-regulation to come to the banking industry.
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.
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?
As the executives of the Big 3 in Detroit - General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler - fly in their private jets to Washington in order to ask for public funds, they should consider this: a bail-out may not be the best way to revive the auto industry! The problems being faced by the Big 3 are not only a result of hard economic times, but also an inevitable conclusion of poor business practices. There are a number of things the auto industry must do to get itself back on track, and a check for $25 billion isn’t one of them. Such a measure will only prolong the inevitable collapse.
Even in rural areas, people from around the world are beginning to embrace the practicality and convenience of the internet and cell phones. In Charkhai, Bangladesh, the mother of three who needed surgery was able to use mobile internet to schedule an appointment in the capital city, Dhaka, about 140 miles away.
In the midst of a housing bubble, sub-prime mortgage crisis, an unpopular war, and the stock market steadily declining, it stands to reason that many Americans, nay, citizens of the world are worried about the future of the financial world. Our business world has been built on the "magic of the market" and "success of the fittest," which provided the booms throughout the century that shaped the contemporary market. However, in an article by Breitbart, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd argues, the global economic crisis is a result of the "comprehensive failure of extreme capitalism."
Amidst fears of a global slump, and the assumption that the Middle East will not be immune to it, the property developers of Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates, continue to build, build, and build some more. As businessmen in the world’s hottest real estate market, who can blame them? Dubai’s annual growth rate has been a steady-near 18% since 2001, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
An attempt by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad to change the Iranian economy through the implementation of a new sales tax was met with heavy opposition by Iran’s merchant class, the primary bearers of the new tax.
According to the Washington Post, angry shopkeepers refused for the second straight day to open their stores in the central bazaar city of Esfahan. Shopkeepers in other Iranian cities such as Tehran, Mashad and Tabriz also refused to sell goods.
The reason? Growth in emerging markets for cell phones is astounding. An analysis conducted by Portio Research predicted that the percentage of the world’s population that uses of mobile-phones will increase to 80% in 2013 from the current 50% now, which amounts to 5.8 billion people. The expected number of cell phone users is expected to reach 4 billion this year alone!
Although the current state of affairs seems predisposed in dealing with the global banking and equities crisis, another crisis has the potential to dominate our lives much more in the long-term - energy. The supply of fossil fuels will not last forever, and so the race for finding viable replacements to gas, oil, and coal before these become unaffordable to the average person is on.
The heart of business has been and always will be innovation. Therefore, it’s not hard to believe that numerous business schools have begun taking the lead in planning for a post-oil world. According to an article on CNN, this is going to become an increasing trend. Institutions such as
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