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Electronic sports, or more commonly known as “eSports” are an online competitive platform allowing video game users to compete through online gaming. Although people have been playing computer games for over 30 years, digitalization has permitted players to gain a following of millions of fans. The global connectivity has also allowed online gaming to become more organized, competitive, and professional.

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Jack Ma and Mukesh Ambani are two of the biggest powerhouses in business today, with their net worth being 38.2 billion and 49.2 billion, respectively. But the influence of these two men stretches far beyond their wealth. These businessmen, through exuberant wealth, name recognition, and influence have greatly influenced not only the unities of their countries but also the economies.

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There may be an unintended consequence of the White House’s trade battle with China. Companies in the Pearl River Delta, a Chinese manufacturing hub are accelerating towards making higher-quality products to compete against American goods. Recently, the U.S. government announced their plans to unveil fresh tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products entering the U.S. Many of these products are focused on low-cost goods, of which were once the bread and butter of the Chinese economy. In response, China is hoping to be innovative and resilient as an attempt to overcome these headwinds.  

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Today, the next big advancement for the world just might be the arrival of fifth-generation (5G) wireless network technology. The new 5G technology plans to use higher-frequency spectrum known as millimeter waves, which can carry more data than other types of the spectrum but can’t travel as far or penetrate many hard materials, which means at first, the coverage will only be available in select cities.

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About a year into second his term, President Obama called Max Baucus, Montana’s then recently retired senior senator and offered him the job as the country’s senior diplomat to China.  He readily accepted.

Thus began what Baucus says is the most interesting and demanding job of his career. So, it was with high expectations that I recently attended that annual Zeidman Lecture in Washington, D.C., at which former Ambassador Baucus was featured. He promised several times during the evening to “cut to the chase,” and largely did, telling the audience that China is the most important relationship the U.S. has, the rough patch happening now is likely to get rougher, but he’s optimistic that things will get better—eventually, and if neither county does “something stupid.”

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China has been the world's number one importer of waste for the past 20 years. However, in an effort to address their growing pollution problem, 2018 marked the year China would begin banning imported recyclable waste from other nations. This ban applies to 24 types of materials including plastics, unsorted paper, textiles, and scrap metal and is predicted to include 32 more types by the end of 2019. As a result, countries around the world are scrambling to figure out how and where to dispose of their piling waste.

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Artificial limbs, manufacturing machines, and transportation drones all share one common trait: the implementation of robotics.  One of the fastest growing sectors in the world, robotics and its applications are revolutionizing the way society conducts our lives.  The recent data boom has produced a newfound excitement around all technology, using the benefits of mass statistics to carefully craft new innovative products.  Robotics has been one of the largest, if not the largest, benefactors from this trend, using systems like cloud storage, artificial intelligence, and responsive programming to evolve into a highly intelligent and efficient tool.  Currently, technology stocks are growing tremendously compared to past years and robotics seem to be on the cutting edge of a new era.

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It is no surprise that the proposed Chinese tariffs looming over American agricultural industries such as soybeans, fruit, nuts, wine, and pork have the potential to greatly affect not only the companies and farmers that they target but the everyday Chinese consumers who purchase those products as well. If the duties are imposed, they will raise the cost of American imported goods in China to a point that exported goods from other countries may become a more valuable and competitive option than those from the United States.

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The past couple of years have experienced tremendous growth in renewable energy, and this is expected to continue throughout 2018.  According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global renewable energy is expected to grow by 43%, to 920 GW by through 2022.  In 2016, about two thirds of the global net new power capacity came from renewable energy sources, and solar photovoltaic capacity grew by 50%. This is considerable growth because this allowed the growth of solar energy to exceed growth of all other fuel sources.  The world leader in renewable energy is China, which added approximately half of the growth seen in 2016.

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Companies often seek growth opportunities by acquiring a company or merging with one either within its borders or internationally. Successful M&As (mergers and acquisitions) have proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase a company’s sales and/or profitability. It is also a method to push competitors outside the picture and take a larger part of the pie. M&A’s face a long list of challenges when it comes to M&A, but one of the most significant obstacles companies face in the pre-deal stage is government intervention.

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The number of firearms produced and sold in the United States has continued to rise, and according to the Firearms Commerce in the US report produced by the Justice Department, the amount of firearms that are manufactured in the country have tripled since 1968. This may be alarming considering the fact that in the time it took the number of manufactured guns to triple, the US population has only grown by 35%. In 2015 alone, there were about 9,360,000 firearms manufactured in the US. Out of the 9,360,000 firearms that were manufactured in the US, only about 343,000 firearms were exported from the US in 2015, which is less than 4% of the total.

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2018 could be a very important year for the Chinese economy, with retail sales expected to exceed those of the United States this year.  In the past, China’s economy has been largely supported by its manufacturing businesses, but now, there is a decline in manufacturing and an increase consumer spending and importing.  Considering that China is the largest export economy for approximately 40 countries today, by the year 2030, many more countries may be relying on exporting to China.  This includes the United States, who currently purchase almost 20% of China’s total exports. In fact, China currently buys over 20% of total sales from major companies such as Apple, Boeing, and General Motors.  Many imports to China are coming from the United States, including approximately one out of every five cars sold in China.  One factor that has contributed to the increased spending by Chinese consumers is the fact that there have been increases in their incomes.  

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In the midst of an economic transformation that favors technology, the trucking industry is seeing one of its largest growth years in the past decade. In January, American trucking companies ordered the largest number of new 18-wheelers in about 12 years. This action took place following a tax overhaul that gave them more cash to invest. Trucking companies have also been incentivized to purchase new fuel-efficient trucks in a period of rising diesel costs. In a way, a digital economy has the potential to boost the growth of the trucking industry even further. Heightened packaging volumes have allowed suppliers to employ more truckers, which has boosted margins through their economies of scale. On top of this, more individuals are partaking in e-commerce, which has pressured the shipping industry to have the capability to access customers in rural areas as well as suburban and urban areas.

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This is the fourth post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry.

As more countries consider the environmental impacts of capturing and using different forms of energy, the era for previous power-houses like coal is coming to a close. This post will explore the accessibility, development, and trading of upcoming fossil fuels around the globe.

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This is the second post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry. 

Every day we face new problems arising from the environmental state of our world. Widespread pollution is a huge problem to our environment and there is an urgent need to start using renewable sources that eliminate the burning of fossil fuels. Geothermal and hydroelectric are renewable sources of energies and produce “clean” fuel sources.

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We are almost a decade away from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and economies around the world are still expanding, almost in unison. In 2017, the world saw improvements in the labor market, positive trade growth, and rising stock markets. All of this positive data came in the midst of political turmoil across the globe including unrest in the South China sea - which is an important trade route.

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International investing is more appropriate than ever for Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, and India. These emerging markets are predicted to generate big gains for investors due to aspects such as their growing middle-classes, stimulative economic policies, and even the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. 

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Flipping on the television, powering up a gaming device, and relaxing on the couch has become a routine for millions of people around the globe—in fact, it’s estimated that more than 1.8 billion people are playing video games worldwide on a range of devices from smartphones, to game consoles and computers.  In the US alone, there are 2,858 video game companies and 65,678 workers within those companies based on Forbes estimates.  According to Newzoo, these people along with the billions of players will help the market value grow 7.8 percent to $108.9 billion in 2017.  The major leader in the market is the mobile games sector, which accounts for 42 percent of revenue—$46.1 billion—and the profound interest from the Asia-Pacific market.  With the current growth expected to continue, the video game market is expected to reach $128.5 billion by the year 2020.

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A collaboration between Supreme, a top-tier streetwear brand, and Louis Vuitton, a high-end fashion company, has produced a hoodie that costs upwards of $7 thousand.  Another collaboration between Supreme and The North Face, a winter outerwear company, gave way to a $600 backpack.  So what’s causing this uptick in prices for everyday items?  Streetwear—the casual clothing of a style worn especially by members of various urban youth subcultures—is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, with an estimated value of $309 billion.

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2017 is quickly coming to an end with many major holidays approaching in the blink of an eye. People are beginning to search for the perfect gift for their significant other and grandmothers. Black Friday, and more recently Cyber Monday has played a large part in the purchasing of holiday gifts. Black Friday originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and expanded across the globe in the last ten years.

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This year, the International Air Transport Association anticipates four billion people will engage in global travel. By the year 2036, it is expected to nearly double to 7.8 billion—half of which will solely be from people living in Asia. High rates of international travel indicate economic well-being, and increased globalization will continue to drive demand. Areas experiencing a spike in international travel will benefit from the influx of money from tourism, but not without enduring the consequences of expansion.

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This is part four of a five-part blog series on the evolution of the textile industry over time.

The textile industry is one of the largest economic markets in the world, generating $450 billion and employing over 25 million people across the globe.   It’s estimated that over 120 billion pounds of textiles are made each year, a number that is ever-increasing because of constant high consumer demand.  Specifically, cotton consumption rates feature all-time highs, with an annual demand of over 120 million tons.

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This is part two of a five-part blog series on the evolution of the textile industry over time.

The textile industry has been shaping international business and cultural trends for thousands of years. In fact, ancient Chinese silk was one of the catalysts for the formation of the world’s first international commercial highway. The Silk Road, or Silk Route, was an ancient network of trade routes spanning from China through India and Central Asia. Ultimately, these routes connected two of the greatest and powerful ancient empires, the Chinese and the Romans.

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Automotive manufacturers across the globe are investing in electric vehicles and its accompanying technology at unprecedented levels. Just this week, Detroit based General Motors announced plans to introduce two more electric vehicles in the United States over the next year 18 months and 20 vehicles globally in the next six years. Not to be outdone, cross-town automotive competitor, Ford Motor Company, disclosed that they had formed a new team, dubbed “Team Edison”, to help direct investments toward new electrified vehicles expected in the coming years. This trend is not unique to the U.S. German auto manufacturer, Volkswagen, recently stated that they plan to invest $83 billion worldwide into rolling out 300 electric vehicle models by 2030. This investment is a marks a major shift in strategy, as VW was firmly committed to diesel fuel technology prior to their 2015 emissions scandal. Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz have also announced plans to increase production of electric vehicles, either themselves or through joint ventures with other manufacturers.

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The world’s biggest and smallest shipping companies have been experiencing some hardship since the financial crisis occurred. For the past two years, shipping operators have been going through major losses with freight rates being below the breakeven point. However, it seems like a plot twist is being encountered by the shipping brokers this year due to rising demand for commodities.

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Initial Coin Offerings, or ICO’s, are a new and quickly growing way for startups to raise capital. Despite being a relatively new phenomenon the total value of ICO’s has been proliferating with nearly $1.5 billion dollars being raised since the start of the year. That value seems outlandish when compared to the mere $256 million of funding that was raised in the entirety of 2016.

While the value of ICO’s has grown nearly six-fold in the past year, many people are still in the dark regarding the new trend that is sweeping investors and startups across the globe. Essentially, ICO’s are a cross between more traditional IPO’s and crowdfunding. During and ICO a company issues “coins”, or digital tokens, similar to the popular cryptocurrencies bitcoin and Ethereum. Investors can then purchase these coins and conceivably can use them to purchase a good or service from the company at some point in the future. The value of these coins will theoretically increase in value, as long as others continue to invest. An important distinction between IPO’s and ICO’s is that investors in an ICO do not receive equity in the company and don’t really have anything tangible behind their investment besides a promise for the ability to be able to purchase a good or service from the company in the future. A second differentiator between traditional methods of raising capital and ICO’s is the amount of regulation. Given that the concept of an ICO is so new, the space is largely unregulated allowing companies to prepare for and launch in ICO in a matter of weeks as compared to the months it takes for companies to clear regulatory approval for IPO’s.

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On August 18, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced a trade probe of China's intellectual property practices. According to the Chicago Tribune, the probe is meant to verify complaints that "Beijing improperly requires foreign companies to hand over technology in exchange for market access." The United States government claims that these allegations amount to serious intellectual property and technology theft, meriting a thorough investigation that may take up to a year. The probe was invoked by triggering Section 301 of the Trade of Act of 1974, which allows the president to levy tariffs and other such restrictions on countries accused of "unfair trade practices." If the allegations against China are true, it is estimated that the value of intellectual property loss may amount to as high as $600 billion.

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Recent indicators by top battery and automotive manufacturers have sparked interest in the revolution of the electric vehicle (EV) market. Though electric vehicles have not hit mainstream markets yet, many industry analysts believe that EV technology is developing faster than consumers think. Additionally, an updated report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reveals an optimistic forecast of the EV market due to falling prices of batteries and the aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe. Previous pessimistic reports of higher sticker prices and government subsidies have become outdated, and BNEF includes detailed material to prove it.

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The scope of global business and international trade has seen optimistic improvements throughout recent years. Many analysts and companies are becoming increasingly confident regarding global trade and overseas opportunities. This confidence is due to global trade growth exceeding initial forecasts as well as the stabilization of China's economy and demand. These particular factors could be indicative of a year without a major economy falling into recession, a benchmark that has never previously been reached.

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that China and the United States had signed a new trade agreement, named the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. The trade agreement is a result of ongoing negotiations between the two countries following a meeting between U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. This 100-day action plan contains 10-points to be implemented by both China and the United States. For the United States, the agreement is part of an ongoing attempt to cut the trade deficit with Beijing.

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The Xiongan area outside of Beijing has been deemed the newest special economic zone (SEZ) by the Chinese government. Compared to other countries, China has been the most successful in using SEZs to spur investment and growth—specifically by attracting foreign capital. For example, Shanghai's Pudong New Area was established in the early 1900's and is now the nations hub for financial business. However, there are also significant concerns when establishing a special economic zone that have to be taken into account.

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The Life Cycle Hypothesis (LCH) is an economic model developed by famed economist Franco Modigliani in the early 1950’s, which attempts to explain the saving and consumption patterns of individuals over their lifetime. The crux of the hypothesis is that by assuming all individuals maintain stable lifestyles, they will plan to even out their consumption as best they can over their lifetime. This implies that an individual will transition through multiple phases of saving and consumption patterns throughout their life. In their youth, before entering the workforce, an individual will borrow against future earnings, many to pay for education and training. Once that individual enters the workforce, they will become a net saver, as they put money away for their eventual retirement. Finally, in the twilight stages of their life, once an individual retires, they will become a dis-saver, as they begin to drain their accumulated retirement savings.

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Since implementing market reforms in 1978, China has recognized the fastest sustained economic expansion in history, with GDP growth averaging almost 10%. Much of China’s assent to the second largest economy in the world can be attributed to the growth and development of their manufacturing industry. In 1990, China accounted for less than 3% of the global manufacturing output by value; today they account for nearly 25%. However, the economic and demographic trends that stimulated China’s meteoric rise are shifting and China is being forced to shift their manufacturing strategies to remain on top of global manufacturing.

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Iron ore is one of, if not the, most used elements in the modern world. Iron is the most important part of the steelmaking process and about 98% of the world’s iron ore is used to make steel. It has a combination of strength and durability most metals cannot compare to. Because of this, in much of the world products that contain steel are seen almost everywhere, from small household appliances to cars and major construction projects.

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A memorable part of most people’s childhoods is learning how to ride a two wheeled bicycle. Now that skill is becoming a vital mode of transportation for many in Beijing, China. There are multiple start up apps running the main front of this business such as Mobike and Ofo. All one must do is download the app and it will locate the nearest bike. This service costs only 7 cents for a half hour and has taken off in Beijing. However not everyone is happy about the healthy, cheap new mode of transportation.

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South Korea has been under tremendous pressure as tensions increase due to China’s boycott of South Korean products, North Korea firing missiles, and the United States insisting that South Korea increase its defense. Recently, North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles and firing them near Japan and South Korea, and this has many countries concerned with their defense systems. The U.S. argued that Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), “an American missile defense system designed to shoot down short and intermediate range missiles in the terminal phase”, was needed in South Korea to protect the country from the North. Therefore, Seoul's government agreed to increase its defense system and install THAAD on its soil.

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On Thursday, United Kingdom consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser placed a bid on Asian firm Mead Johnson for $16.7 billion. Mead Johnson is well known for producing various consumer products, including baby formula, a product with sales of $41 billion in 2014. Asia is currently the fastest-growing market for this product due to the repeal of China’s one-child policy in 2015. Couples can now have two children, after only one was permitted throughout the 36 year long rule. As a result, the birth rate last year was China’s highest in the past century, with the number of newborns rising by 7.9%, or 17.86 million.  

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China has recently stated its intentions to produce rain over five dry provinces in the country’s northwest. To accomplish this, the Chinese government plans to use a technique called cloud seeding. Cloud seeding involves inserting a substance, usually silver iodine or dry ice, into a cloud. The goal of this is to alter the precipitation the cloud produces. The most common way for China has practiced cloud seeding in the past is to disperse silver iodide into the sky in the location which rain was desired. In early 2009, China experienced a three day long continuous snowfall which ended its longest period of drought in nearly 40 years.  China hailed this result as a great success for their cloud seeding program; however, many scientists dispute claims that cloud seeding works at all. Other scientist point to events like China’s incredibly heavy 2009 snowfall as evidence that cloud seeding is effective in increasing precipitation levels. 

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China was able to achieve a 6.8% economic growth rate in the last quarter of 2016, which marks the end of its constant declining growth after more than 2 years. This boost was fueled by higher government spending and record bank lending. Overall, the economy grew at 6.7% in 2016, which is within the government’s growth target but still the slowest in 26 years.

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China’s central bank, known as the Peoples Bank of China, or PBOC, is cracking down on the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, as part of their latest attempt to stem China’s capital outflow amidst the decline of the Yuan. The Chinese Yuan is currently under immense pressure due in part to the slowdown of growth in the Chinese economy and increasing uncertainty about its future prospects. The currency depreciated 6.6% against the US Dollar in 2016, and in order to prevent a further decline, the PBOC was forced to sell around $26 billion foreign exchange reserves. This selloff, coupled with the comparative rise of the US Dollar caused China’s reserves to fall to a six year low of $3.011 trillion.

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China has been one of the largest economies in the world for many years, however its place near the top has been impacted in recent times because of its currency. The yuan, the national currency for China, has been depreciating in value and will continue to do so into the first quarter of 2017. This decline has been the biggest for the Chinese yuan in the last two decades. For the past 14 consecutive months, money has been leaving China, causing a slump in the nation’s central banks. About 1.1 trillion dollars of foreign currency has vacated the country since China devalued the yuan in 2015.

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East Asia is home to three of the biggest economic powerhouses in the world: China, Japan, and South Korea. Thus, the well-being of the global economy often depends on the region's pecuniary health. Central banks already hold the utmost power in this regard; yet, in recent times, each nation's bank has led endeavors to consolidate further economic control. The effects of these measures, along with last week's global market shakeups, have paved a path of economic uncertainty. Here is a look at recent developments in East Asian central banks.

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Medical breakthroughs have sparked the rise of the robotics industry in the arena of medicine. Through technological advancements, robots have been gaining popularity. There are various types of robots, some are made for personal assistance or social use, but they have seen the most significant growth and evolution in industrial automation. Companies in China have been on the rise to implement the use of robotics in the medical industry to develop new products and to meet consumer demands in order to keep up with medical advancements.

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Researchers have found that the quality of the air that we breathe can affect how we perform in the office. As pollution increases, labor productivity may decrease due to the fact that inhaling polluted air can hinder our “respiratory, cardiovascular, and cognitive function”China, along with many other industrialized countries, have experienced a decline in worker productivity due to the extensive air pollution and climate change.

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Two of the world's most valuable technology companies, Facebook and Alphabet (by means of its subsidiary Google), are working with TE Subsea Communications (TE SubCom) and Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC, a subsidiary of China Soft Power Technology) to construct the world's fastest trans-Pacific submarine cable. The 12,800 kilometer (8,000 miles) submarine cable will enable a speed of 120 Terabits per second and connect the United States and China by way of two major cities: Los Angeles and Hong Kong (where PLDC is based). The cable, known as the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), will utilize fiber-optic technology to create the fastest possible telecommunication channel, covering twice the speed of the current-fastest undersea cable. The goal of the PLCN is to increase bandwidth and reduce connection delays in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Google, the cable should be built and functioning by 2018.

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China has gained a valuable foothold in the nuclear energy industry as Britain’s new Prime Minister has given the green light for a power plant to be built in Hinkley, England. The project is worth a reported $24 billion and has many people worried about the economic ramifications of allowing China and France to fund this large scale project on English soil. “In response, the U.K. has set out new restrictions on the project's builders, saying the companies would not be able to sell their stakes in the plant without prior approval from the government. Going forward, the British government will take a stake in all nuclear power projects, giving it control over a change of ownership.” (CNN) The restrictions that the UK has put on this project eases the fears of many, but some still are worried over the consequences of this act.

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Venezuela has one of the largest oil supplies in the world, and oil serves as the primary source of income for Venezuela’s economy. The large drop in prices has severely hampered its ability to import products, and has prompted a rapid rise in inflation. The IMF is forecasting that inflation will hit 700% by year end 2016, compared to the Venezuelan government’s forecast of a 180% increase in inflation.

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China devalued its yuan in 2015 by calculating the reference rate on a daily basis and letting market forces affect the value. For some, it seemed like a good idea to get China more into the dynamic financial market. For others, it’s not playing out that way.

With the Iran nuclear deal and US sanctions lifted, Iran’s market – read oil production and related industries – should open up to companies. Not really. There is just too much bad feeling and economic turmoil for some to engage.

While the cases of China and Iran involved decisions being made (by China and by the US vis-à-vis Iran), TPP has been in negotiation since March 15, 2010 without an agreement. TPP, often talked about, seldom spelled out, refers to the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” and involves 12 primary countries as potential trading partners. Nineteen official negotiation rounds between 2010 and 2013 and numerous other meetings since led simply to indecisiveness.

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China has become what Huffington Post refers to as, “the world’s factory”, and has remained one of the top manufacturing countries in the world. However, the Chinese economy is undergoing a drastic change, transforming from manufacturing and big industry to a service based economy. By switching to services, around 85 million jobs will be spread across the globe, and the question rises as to where these jobs are going to be relocated.

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Venezuela is home to the largest oil reserves in the world. However, the vast amount of oil exports could not save Venezuela from the economic crisis it is now experiencing. The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the overall GDP for Venezuela will fall by 8 percent, and the inflation rate will rise by 720 percent in 2016.  Economic turmoil has caused extensive damage to the country, and Venezuela is in need of change to help save the country from economic collapse.

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Economists and governments have predominantly been talking about bringing the ancient Silk Road back into the world of trade. Although the Silk Road dates back to 300 BC, it has had a lasting significant impact on stimulating the cities that laid along its trail. This has influenced China to bring the Silk Road back in order to enhance global business. As a result, President Xi Jinping of China launched China’s Silk Road trade in 2014.

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On May 26, the price of the bitcoin began to surge, hitting a value of $467.50. Throughout the weekend, the currency continued its dramatic trajectory, spiking at $570 before settling around $530. This amounts to a sudden increase of 21% in the midst of a consistent, if low, period for the currency. While these values are far below bitcoin's one-time peak of $1,151, they are the highest prices the digital currency has reached since 2014. That same year marked a heavy blow for the bitcoin, bottoming it out at low rates that remained in force over the past year. Now, investors are indicating promise in the currency once again: Over the weekend, daily global transactions equated to $134,056,000, with over 15 million bitcoins in supply.

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A major alliance between two ascending regions of the world has been bubbling under the surface of public awareness for years. This alliance is of the economic variety, and has the potential to reshape the socioeconomic and political future of our world. The size of China’s investment in Africa is truly massive; or is it? As many may not know, China has been in the news for its lending and investing activities in Africa over the recent years. According to new research and investigation, however, the scope and hype of the Chinese activity in Africa may be over-exaggerated.

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For pro basketball fans everywhere, it comes as no news that last night was Kobe Bryant’s final game as a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant has become a household name, not just in America, but globally. Kobe Bryant has ridden the larger wave of global basketball, with a particularly massive (and growing) fan following in China. Sports, and American culture of many varieties have become commoditized and are now consumed in massive quantities throughout the world.

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It is no secret that China has experienced massive capital outflows over the past year, and it also isn’t a secret where a lot of this capital is going. Capital flows from China to the U.S. have occurred at record levels in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, with a large portion of these flows going into real estate and other hard assets. What is particularly interesting, however, is the recent acceleration of Chinese investment in the hospitality industry of the U.S., mainly hotels. It isn’t an entirely new phenomena, as evidenced by the Chinese purchase of the historic Waldorf Astoria in 2014 for $1.95 Billion. It is striking, however, how quickly the pace of investments has increased. Much of the high profile purchasing comes from one company, Anbang Insurance, but represents a larger ideal within China.

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In 2015, India took over the title of the fastest growing economy from China. This is partly due to China’s slowest growth year in a quarter of a century. Even with the fast rising economy, India is a still a nation filled with poverty. Tim Worstall from Forbes stated that “Poverty is, after all, simply a lack of both stuff to consume and the wherewithal to purchase such, and economic growth is defined as more stuff and the incomes to purchase such. Thus economic growth is, by definition, the solution to poverty.” This is great news for the politicians as well as the people, as it shows a solution to a problem that has long plagued the sub-continent. The rupee, India’s currency, has been on a down swing lately, as value has stayed relatively low given the economic gains. This, however, may also be beneficial as it makes exports cheaper for foreign consumers, which leads to a greater volume of exports and thus a boost in GDP. 

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Over the past two decades, China's economic growth has averaged 9.5% and national income has been doubling every eight years. This significant growth can be attributed to China's timely shift from a largely agrarian society to industrial production. However, expansion cannot last forever. The amount of raw materials being produced in China is continuing to increase, but demand for these materials is decreasing. Decreasing demand has contributed to the initial slow-down following China's rapid expansion, but if production itself is not moderated, China's economy could suffer greater consequences.

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Auto maker giant, General Motors, recently announced its fourth quarter earnings. After a record year, GM reported net income of $6.3 billion in the last quarter of 2015. This was caused by consumers buying less gas efficient models, as gas in United States has continued to stay very low at around $2 a gallon. Sales in North America rose 8.6% in the final quarter and 14% in China. This could have a great impact heading into 2016, where consumers were initially predicted to go more into electric vehicles and more gas efficient models. If the current trend stays true, then the first quarter of 2016 could spike as well. In Europe, the company continues to struggle as they are still in the negative in the difficult continent. However, GM's CFO has stated “Breaking even in Europe in 2016 is a companywide focus and we’re confident that we’re going to achieve that,” leading many to view GM's prospects in the region optimistically.

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China's recent economic activity has set the entire world on edge. In 2015, the country reported a growth rate of 6.9%, its lowest in a quarter century. This has been reflected in the state of the country's major industries, especially in automotives and mining. China is still one of the world's superior mining nations, but several problems have erupted as growth continues to slip. Natural resources are depleting, top minerals and metals are experiencing production decline, and international projects are being abandoned. This has affected the industry on an global scale, considering many countries trading in metals are largely dependent on China. The country appears to hold on to its number one spot with further projects and investments, perhaps in the hopes the industry will give it a much-needed boost.

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China, the world’s second largest economy and a key market for many nations, began 2016 with a slowed economic pace, as the manufacturing industry contracted for the fifth month straight in December. This suggests that the government may have to implement new policies to prevent a potential slowdown. The services sector ended positively, but the economy as a whole is still on track to grow at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century.

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Alibaba Group Holding Company is a Chinese e-commerce corporation that works to connect online businesses and marketplaces all over the world. The company is the largest e-commerce operation in China and has made its founder and chairman, Jack Ma, his country's richest man. Alibaba has often drawn comparisons to Amazon due to each company's respective dominance in local and global markets. A big part of Amazon's success has been due to its expansion from online retail services, and Alibaba now appears to be following a similar route

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For the first time in 15 years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has changed the structure of the special drawing rights (SDR) basket and has announced the Chinese yuan to be a new official foreign reserve asset. This change not only acknowledges China's monetary reforms, but also accelerates the yuan’s internationalization. This blog will explain the challenges and benefits that China is facing with respect to the inclusion of its currency in the SDR basket.

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Across Nigeria, low cost goods imported from China are rampant, further providing evidence of Beijing’s growing dominance in global trade. While the trade flow from China has helped to keep life affordable for some Nigerian families in times of economic stagnation and plunging prices, low quality and counterfeit products are becoming a major problem within the country. For example, dozens of fires each year can be connected to electrical wiring, outlets, and power strips from China found in the homes and offices of Nigerian citizens. Not only are poor quality items posing safety risks, but they are also taking away employment opportunities from workers in Nigeria.

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Over the past five years, the U.S. real estate market has been flooded with capital from Chinese investors who are eager for the opportunity to both earn high yields and move their cash outside the reach of the Chinese government. This real estate binge began when the crash of the U.S real estate market drew in thousands of Chinese investors looking to swoop up houses and commercial properties for highly reduced prices. The Chinese government limits individual's annual overseas investments to roughly $50,000; however, for years these laws have been circumvented by channeling money through friends, relatives, and employees. After the Chinese market crash in August, the government has cracked down on these laws, making it increasingly difficult to transfer capital outside the country. John Chang, a real estate broker with Re/Max in New York City described the current situation as being “like barbarians at the gate,” Chinese families want to buy, but “can’t get the money out.” 

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The once mighty emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are currently experiencing the negative consequences that come with the title "Emerging Markets". Brazil and Russia are experiencing terrible recessions, China is attempting to control a stagnant market, and India is struggling with economic reforms. To give an indication of the severity of the situation, Goldman Sachs, whose former chief economist coined the title given to the BRIC countries, has recently pulled its BRIC fund after years of continued losses. 

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China has a problem. In fact, China has multiple problems, but perhaps the most concerning issue is its greying populace. Throughout the world, advances in technology and knowledge in the general population of birth control, have left advanced countries facing demographic crises. China is no different, and while not considered an advanced country, it faces similar issues that are plaguing its population.

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As of October 29, 2015, China has abolished the one child policy that had been in place since 1979. Couples will now be allowed two children under the new policy. China originally started the policy due to “fears that an exploding population would slow economic growth.” This change in policy has huge economic implications due to the prospective increase in population in the world’s most heavily populated country. Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) saw its shares increase 4% on Thursday since the announcement, in part due to MJN being one of the leading sellers of baby formula in China. More children means that companies that make goods tailored towards a younger clientele will see their profits increase in China.

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On Monday, October 5, 2015, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was officially signed into existence by the twelve Pacific Rim nations.The countries involved in the deal include the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Brunei. China, the world's second-largest economy and the biggest trading partner for over half of the countries involved in the TPP, was not included in the list, and they are hesitant about showing support for the new deal.

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Cybersecurity remains one of the largest concerns for many of today’s largest institutions. Hackers have become more prevalent than ever and are always finding new ways around the latest internet security precautions. There are many different kinds of information that these hackers seek. It can range from medical information from hospitals, staff and donor information from universities, or inside information from public or private companies. Whatever the targeted material may be, hacking is putting companies and even countries at risk to have this information stolen. Multinational cybersecurity corporations such as Cisco and Fortinet have tackled the task of creating cybersecurity systems to protect complex data and operating systems used by many institutions. As the internet grows every day, these cybersecurity platforms need to fend off new and improved cyber threats.

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China’s economy has been all over the news recently, as stock prices in Shanghai crashed and worries of an economic slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy troubled investors around the world. One of the most important sectors of China’s economy in recent decades has been the manufacturing industry, and reports on the industry have not helped quell investors’ fears. China’s manufacturing sector has been contracting since the beginning of the year, and recently hit its lowest mark in three years. The poor manufacturing data could be an early signal of an economic shift in Asian manufacturing, as neighboring countries try to take advantage of the developments in China.

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India and China are both among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Despite the global economy being in financial turmoil after China's projected lower economic growth, India is trying to project itself as a safe investment with continued economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Indian business leaders and economists for a three-hour summit to discuss how to steer India’s economy in a positive direction after China’s slowdown was announced.

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Tomas Hult, Director of Michigan State University's International Business Center, recently wrote an article for The Conversation discussing the recent struggles that the BRIC countries are facing. The article touches on the immense economic promise displayed by Brazil, Russia, India, and China at the turn of the millennium, while also presenting the current economic standing of these nations. Follow this link to access Tomas's article and broaden your knowledge of the BRIC countries.

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An article written recently by Tomas Hult, Director of Michigan State University's International Business Center, focuses on the devaluation of the yuan and the impact it will have on the U.S. economy. He argues that the impact on U.S. businesses will not be as negative as many people think and cites research to support his position. His article appears in Fortune's online publication and can be accessed by clicking here

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On Monday, August 24th, Chinese stock markets fell by 8.5%, creating a major crash in the Shanghai Composite. Investors have called this day China's 'Black Monday' because of the dent it has left in China's business as well as the consequences it has caused for the global economy. The crash was caused by many factors including the staggering amount of people investing in the Chinese stock market, suffering businesses with high stocks and prices, margin calls, and the sudden selling of stocks by these same investors. The stock market crash has had damaging effects on billionaires and global markets. Although some markets seem to be in recovery, the crash could be seen as a sign of a bigger problem in China.

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Even though global market trade has been in a bit of disorder lately, great advances are expected in trade between Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe by the year 2020. Currently, China's trade is growing, just not at margins seen in the past. With only an expected annual growth rate of 5% over the next five years, China's slowing trade growth comes at a cost from weaker growth among emerging markets. This slowing of China's trade will lead to new trade expansion in the global market.

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The fire may have died down in China, but the burns it left in its wake are still raw, as the Chinese government attempts to bring back some stability by weakening the yuan. Devaluing its currency is proving to be rather injurious for Australian, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwanese dollars, as they took a rough tumble earlier this week. Luckily for America though, this drop has proven successful for the USD, as investors are getting bullish on its outcome in coming weeks. But this move on behalf of China’s bank is not to be overlooked or underestimated, since it is being hailed as a one-time fix.

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Sporting events, such as the Olympics, have been thought to be large magnets for foreign investment, and large sums of money are often spent on developing state-of-the-art facilities. These sporting events have played a large role in raising awareness for the host country on the global stage and developing infrastructure. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games were recently hosted Los Angeles, California, and Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. China recently won the bid to host the 2022 Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee has been struggling to find suitable cities to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. However, lately there has been debates regarding the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics.

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China is home to the world’s second biggest stock market. This market, which peaked with a value of above $10 trillion, has been on a tumultuous ride in 2015. The market was up over 150% until June, when it suddenly crashed. The largest market in China, the Shanghai market, lost 32% in a four week slide that bottomed out on July 8. The smaller Shenzhen market slid 40% over the same time period. Immediately following this prodigious selloff, the market proceeded to have its strongest two-day rise since the 2008 global crisis. This summer’s stock market madness in China has left onlookers with many questions; principally, what caused this historic volatility and what is next for the markets?

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Global discussion and concern about climate change has amplified in the past few years, as more research has been conducted and more world leaders have voiced their opinions on the issue. The most recent world leader to do so was Pope Francis, leader of almost 70 million Catholics worldwide, who declared global warming to be a threat to life on the planet and called for a reduction of the usage of fossil fuels. As this movement garners further support, more and more nations are turning to clean and renewable alternative energy sources to supplement, and eventually replace, their fossil fuel driven energy sources. Of these renewable alternatives, solar power is one of the most popular worldwide.

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Now that the cutoff date to sign up for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has come, there is a lot of talk about why some countries chose not to participate and also what the AIIB has to offer to its members and the world. The last two countries to seize the membership opportunities were Taiwan and Norway, just days before the deadline. The plans for the AIIB are to help finance construction of roads, ports, railways, and other infrastructure projects throughout Asia.

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China’s manufacturing and factory sector hit an 11-month low in March, alarming investors worldwide. This indicator is yet another under-performing expectation that will likely have a negative effect on China’s gloomy first quarter. Ultimately these results are detrimental to the Chinese Government's 7% GDP growth target and will likely lead to new stimulus measures during a period of slow economic grw.

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With the March 31st application deadline quickly approaching for countries interested in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Australia is rethinking its prior decision not to apply. The investment bank, led by China, recently added the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany as members, even though the United States has issued warnings about the bank. The decision by these four major European countries to join the bank against United States wishes has led Australia to reconsider its position on AIIB, and look to possibly invest up to $3 billion in the AIIB.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) connects physical objects with the internet and provides the ability to transfer data over a network. This innovative concept is likely to have an enormous impact on the IT sector. This technology is already revolutionizing the sports industry, as large amounts of data are captured during sporting events to help improve player performance and strategy. IoT is expected to generate data from diverse locations and communicate it through massive networks, thereby increasing the need to better store and process such data. Cloud computing is there to solve this problem, which enables central data storage and remote online access to various resources and services.

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This past week, the Obama Administration cleared a plan to override federal regulations on oil drilling off of Alaska's coast in the Arctic Ocean. The proposal is intended to establish drilling standards for the Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas, both of which are believed to be abundant in fossil fuels, and follows a growing emphasis in the international system on the Arctic's natural resources. Last January, 1,400 participants from several countries gathered in Tromsø, Norway to stake their claims at the Arctic Frontiers conference. Russia's increasing interest in the region, coupled with its growing military presence throughout international waters, gave the conference unprecedented significance.

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Oil prices dropped by 42% in 2014, and hit a five and a half year low on Monday. Many analysts are projecting that the price of oil is only going to continue to decrease in the near future. This drop in oil prices is having a drastic effect in a multitude of sectors of the economy, all across the world. What is causing oil prices, which have continually risen in the past decade, to suddenly crash? There is not a single source of this crash, but rather a plurality of causes.

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This past year was considered a significant year for the global airline industry. The disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the explosion of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in the Ukraine war zone have raised questions about the safety of Asia’s low-cost airliners. Meanwhile, as oil prices drop, the cost of operating airlines will definitely decrease, but it may or may not help the global airline industry.

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Turkmenistan is a small nation with only about 5 million citizens, yet it could be the solution to energy problems affecting hundreds of millions of people. Despite the fact that the Central Asian nation has the world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan ranks twelfth in the world in natural gas production. Turkmenistan plans to fill this gap between reserves and production with multiple plans to export its natural gas abroad.

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Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan recently returned from a week long business investment trip to China. In an effort to promote international trade, Snyder continued his mission of increasing trade between Michigan and Asian countries. Snyder first embarked on this mission in 2011 and has made trips every year since. He has visited China, Japan and South Korea with a concentration on the automotive industry. He wishes to build a long term relationship to increase business investments.

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After eight years of negotiation, China and Australia finally drew a free trade deal on last Monday. This agreement signals a transformational change in the economic relations between China and Australia because trade tariffs in dairy, beef, and horticulture products will be completely eliminated within the next couple years. Without a doubt, it will greatly facilitate the trade between these two countries. On the other hand, Canada, one of Australia's main competitors, is now worried about its exports to China.

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President Obama began his week-long trip abroad this Monday in Beijing, where he was attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. While at the conference, President Obama unveiled a new visa agreement with the Chinese government. The new agreement extends tourist and business visas from one year to ten years, the longest allowed under US law. Student visas are also extended from one year to five years. The visa reforms went into effect Wednesday, November 14th.

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If projections hold true, 2014 will be the first year China’s investment overseas exceeds foreign direct investment into China. Foreign investment in China is expected to reach $120 billion this year, and it is predicted that China’s investment in other nations will surpass this amount. By acquiring foreign companies, Chinese firms will grow internationally and be able to contribute useful technologies and innovations to new markets.

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In an earlier blog post, I discussed how the restructuring of China's economy by its government had the potential to affect other nations and impact the global economy. In this post, I will be discussing the economic and political struggles it is currently facing and how these issues are influencing Western nations. China is currently having trouble with its slowing economy as well as a tough anti-corruption campaign that deals with government figures and local business. Currently, the government is actively seeking solutions to these problems.

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Last week, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited Beijing, China to help gain economic support for Spain. Rajoy met with the President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to help facilitate the signing of 14 contracts, totaling about 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion). A crowd of Spanish and Chinese businesspeople were in attendance as Rajoy encouraged China to invest in Spain after its recovery from the Eurozone crisis.

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China and India have been in an economic race for many years and although China is still ahead, the gap between the two countries is shrinking. While the public fears that China’s GDP growth will continue to decrease, India seems to be making a revolutionary growth story of its own, as the new Prime Minister Narenda Modi takes control. Many find that Modi’s economic revival strategy mirrors China's economic strategy in the early 2000s and India hopes to achieve a similar level of economic success and growth.

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By 2024, it is estimated that China will have the world’s largest economy – according to global information provider IHS Economics. Earlier this week in a blog post titled “China’s Impact on the Global Economy”, Nitish spoke of China’s rebalancing trend, which is signaled by an increase in consumer imports and a decrease in imports for investment purposes. Although rebalancing may limit other countries’ investment opportunities in China, it will spur growth in China’s economy, the Asia-Pacific regional economy, and possibly even the global economy. It is predicted that a drastic increase in consumer spending will propel China past the United States to become the world’s largest economy.

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As the world's second biggest economy, China is a mainstay for several countries who depend on it for their international services. Most of these tend to be neighboring countries on the same continent, but China's influence is not limited to Asia alone. With major business also being done in Australia and North America, China has proved that its reach is global. As a result, the impact of its attempt to rebalance its markets and economy will not stay within its borders, and will most likely affect economic policies everywhere.

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Nearly a decade ago, many foreign companies began or significantly increased their presence in China. The country had many attractive business advantages including relaxed regulations, cheap manufacturing costs, and low labor wages, among others. China was providing companies with every reason to invest in its country. Now foreign companies from the US, Europe and Japan are beginning to get the ‘cold-shoulder’ and feel unwelcome in China.

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Leaders from almost 50 African countries and the United States met in Washington DC on Monday, kicking off a three day conference that hopes to boost trade between the US and the largely untapped African continent. The summit highlights the realization by many US officials that greater attention needs to be paid to African countries who hold great economic potential. Leaders at the summit expect many trade and business deals to be signed during the three day conference, with some estimating that over $1 billion worth of deals will be announced by Wednesday. With these deals in hand, US African trade relationships could increase greatly in the coming years.

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Alibaba is a Chinese corporation that operates as a bank, marketplace and a search engine. The company is the largest online retailer in the world, handling 80% of all online retail sales in China. The company handled more money in transactions last year than Amazon and eBay put together. It’s made up of three major websites that have millions of users all over the world. The three main sites are Alibaba.com, Taobao, and Tmall.  Taobao is a shopping website that gives seven million merchants a place to sell, and Tmall is a retail site where major businesses such as Apple and Nike are able to sell products directly to Chinese shoppers. Alibaba does not currently have a date listed for its IPO, but it is expected to go public in early August. It will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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After 10 years of negotiations, Russia and China have finally reached a natural gas deal.  The 30-year agreement worth an estimated $400 billion will supply China with Russian natural gas, beginning in 2018.  China will make advance payments amounting to as much as $25 billion to Russia to develop the necessary infrastructure to effectively supply the gas.  With this deal signed, Russia may be in a better position to negotiate with the United States and European Union over imposed sanctions for Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

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As the violent protests and riots in Vietnam affect the country’s social harmony, the business climate is also being seriously impacted. Anti-Chinese riots erupted in Vietnam on Tuesday after the Chinese government placed an oil rig in disputed waters between the two countries, and by Thursday the riots had claimed at least 21 lives. Following mass demonstrations, some Vietnamese protestors began to loot and destroy Chinese businesses, and as the rioting intensified, the protestors started to target all foreign owned businesses. Along with Chinese establishments, Taiwanese, South Korean, Japanese, and Malaysian companies have all reported damages from the riots, which threatens to continue as emotions are still running high throughout Vietnam.

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Post graduation, previous students have to make a decision. Should they continue to educate themselves and receive a higher degree in order to make more money upon entering the workforce? Some select this option; however, in recent years the number of students immediately planning to do the opposite has increased, particularly in China. In regards to Chinese Business School grads alone, 76% plan on beginning their job search promptly after graduating.

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In the face of major economic sanctions from many countries around the world, especially the United States and other Western nations, Russia has been actively looking to avoid economic isolation. As a result of this, it has turned to many large nations in the East to set up economic agreements. One country that is willing to open its doors is China. After over ten years of talks on the subject, Russia and China are finally coming close to signing what has been called a "Holy Grail" for Russia and especially Moscow; a deal where Russia will send natural gas to China.

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Last week, a panel from the World Trade Organization announced that China had broken international trade law by restricting its exports of rare earth metals and other metals critical to the global manufacturing industry. The panel discovered that the export taxes, quotas, and bureaucratic delays in Beijing artificially raised the prices of exports and created shortages for foreign buying nations. The panel also determined that these export quotas, which the Chinese argued were intended for environmental protection, were actually instituted to achieve industrial policy goals aimed at promoting the continued growth of the Chinese economy.

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For the first time in China’s history, a Chinese company defaulted on its bond payments, signaling a change in the country’s economic policy.  Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology, a company that produces solar panels, could not make its interest payments on a one billion yuan bond, and defaulted after the Chinese government refused to bail the firm out. This is a stark change from previous actions by China, which has always bailed out onshore companies that were on the verge of defaulting. This decision to allow Chaori to default shows China’s commitment to a more open economy, in which investors cannot fall back on the government to bailout bad business decisions.

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Now that so many businesses are expanding into the BRIC countries, one major focus should be how are they going to secure the best and brightest to work for them.  The needs and wants from employers by professionals in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China are unlike that of employees in developed countries. Companies need to learn how to tailor their workplace in these countries in order to identify, secure, and retain top talent.

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China's economy has politicians, investors, and businessmen all over the world biting their nails in nervous anticipation. Business and investment in the country have become increasingly risky and low expectations have been predicted for several sectors of the economy. The country as of late has been able to hold their own and beat their dismal forecasts; however if it does not stabilize its economy soon, it could prove bad news for the country and for the global economy.

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In January, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume in terms of number of deals made in the Asian-Pacific region rose 60% from a year earlier.  Volume in dollar terms more than tripled to about $25 billion.  This drastic surge has been fueled primarily by Chinese and Japanese companies.  In contrast, M&A activity in Southeast Asia has been falling as of late, as the region only accounted for 13% of Asia’s M&A activity this January – down from 18% a year ago.

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People’s attention shifted to the U.S. stock market again when stock prices dropped by 10 percent and hit a record low since October 2011. Although the recent ease-money government policies played a role in the price drop, the main reason for the decline was the global growth slowdown.

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Throughout the past year China has announced its plans to open industries to foreign companies. Since the Shanghai free trade zone was introduced in September 2013 China has made many attempts at opening up parts of the economy in hopes of stimulating economic progress in the country. Within the Shanghai zone the government is testing free trade in Chinese currency as well as allowing interest rates to be set by market forces. This provides a great opportunity for foreign companies who wish to harness the mass market China provides.

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After a 4 day meeting in Beijing, party leaders agreed to make changes to the infamous one-child policy in China. This previous policy allowed one child to be born into each family unless both parents were only children, in which case they may have another child. Additionally, couples in rural areas were allowed to have a second child provided that their first was a girl. Although theoretically this law was implemented to combat poverty by decreasing the total amount of births, the result instead was a long-term imbalance of genders and a capped labor force. Consequently, the Chinese government has altered the policy to ensure continual manufacturing growth in the coming years.

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International relations are extremely important for developing countries. Without support from abroad, funding infrastructure projects and economic development would be nearly impossible. This is exactly the case in Zimbabwe where government officials have turned to China for help. Recently, China has lent Zimbabwe $319 million to ease electricity shortages by expanding its Kariba hydropower station. Although this project will take an estimated four years to complete, it can have dramatic effects on the development of Zimbabwe and international relations in Africa.

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In terms of art, China is certainly in a buying mode. Meg Maggio, an American gallery owner with 20 years of experience in China, found that western firms are pouring into the Chinese art market nowadays. This year, China has officially surpassed the United States in becoming the world’s profitable art and auction market. The Chinese art market posted auction revenues of $8.9 billion in 2013. However, freedoms of foreign firms in the industry are strictly limited by Chinese authorities and competition has increased between local and foreign firms. This post will address the challenges that foreign auction houses are facing in the Chinese art and auction market.

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Major changes could be coming to China, after officials released plans to reform economic and social policies. China’s president, Xi Jinping, unveiled reform plans after a four-day conclave of Communist Party leaders in hopes that the economic changes will increase economic growth, which has slowed since the world-wide recession. Along with the economic reforms, plans were made to relax the one child policy and close labor camps, both infamous in the international community. The reforms, if implemented, could have wide-ranging impacts on society and business in China, improving human rights and opening new sectors of the economy to private companies.

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The number of tourists traveling to Beijing, China’s capital, in the first three quarters of this year has dropped by roughly 50%.  The main reason cited for this drastic decrease in tourism is poor air quality.  In 2010, it was reported that air pollution contributed to 1.2 million deaths in China.  Additionally, China spends a staggering 6% of its annual GDP on health care costs, material damages, and premature deaths caused by air pollution.  China must do something to combat this serious issue or risk losing more than just tourists.

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People around the world are questioning the objectives of China and Saudi Arabia, who are vying for seats this week on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. The members of the General Assembly elect the members to the council’s forty-seven seats. The inquiry of these countries to the council comes on the grounds that the General Assembly is supposed to take into account the contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, while China and Saudi Arabia may be considered to some, two of the most infamous violators of human rights.

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While the European economic crisis appears to be gradually resolving, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is insistent that the improvement being observed is not actual. Although the deficits of struggling economies such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain are contracting, this is due to a collapse in imports as a result of the recession, not an increase of trade exports. The IMF has also taken note of lowering labor costs, but attributes the decreases to mass unemployment rather than pay cuts for workers. Consequently, even though economic indicators are showing signs of improvement, these events could be causing an even larger cyclical downtown for Europe. Since European banks have allowed large amounts of loans to be taken out, they too are unable to invest in businesses which might support infrastructural growth. As a result of this, the United Kingdom in particular is seeking help from international business partners to mitigate the issue.

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As the world continues to integrate the globe becomes more interconnected with complex supply chain systems. This becomes even more important now that countries are becoming evermore specialized in one industry or another. An interesting development where countries are specializing is in the arena of patents.

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On Sunday, China opened a new, 28 square kilometer free trade zone in northern Shanghai. The zone will feature loosened restrictions compared to greater China, such as more freedom for banks and the opening of several industries. Foreign investors and companies hope the new zone will allow for easier access to the Chinese market, but the Chinese government has released few specifics on the regulations and rules of the zone. This has brought along skepticism on whether the zone will have any meaningful impact.

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With China’s rapid economic growth in the past decade, fortunes were made as the country experienced an economic boon. However, this fast-paced growth also had its costs. During this growth period, air pollution and traffic congestion increased dramatically in many major cities around China. Now the government and businesses alike are developing ways to solve the costly side effects of rapid economic expansion.

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Chinese oil companies that have held exclusive oil-extraction privileges for nearly a decade in Western Africa are now facing resistance from governments who claim that the Chinese are "gouging, polluting, or hogging valuable tracts." In Niger, private auditors have recently uncovered large costs and impractical charges made by the China National Petroleum Corporation, which has added another argument for the revisions of trade agreements that have already saved Niger tens of millions of dollars from the Chinese. In neighboring Chad, the government recently shut down Chinese oil operations after discovering immense amounts of environmental pollution within their borders. Gabon has also joined in the fight against the Chinese petroleum corporation, which surprised the oil industry by withdrawing a permit from another Chinese state-owned company, Sinopec, and giving it instead to a newly created national oil company.

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Economic bubbles have been a reoccurring economic cycle in the world throughout the history of capitalism. Recent economic bubbles that the world has experienced include dot-com/telecom, real estate, stocks, and biotech bubbles. They date back to the 1880’s when the first railroad tracks were laid down in the United States. The goal was to connect the United States through economic integration and development, which created a boom in the development of canals, turnpikes, railroads, and telephone lines. Many of these projects were funded by the government, and now green technology projects are funded by them as well. Globally, governments are beginning to promote green technologies through loans and subsidies. The rapid growth the world has seen in green technology could be the start of the next big economic bubble.

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The Arctic Ocean has traditionally been covered in ice and very difficult to travel through with a ship. Currently the ocean is travelable for four months a year as polar ice caps melt due to global warming. One country taking advantage of the newly opened route is China. A Chinese shipping company, COSCO, sent a ship from the port of Dalian to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a 3,380 mile route that would take just over 30 days.

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Since the governmental reforms and the economic reforms that Australia underwent in order to make their country more relevant in global trade, China and Australia have maintained strong trade relations. Since 2008, Australia has more than doubled its trade with China. This is due to less strict trade regulations, lower taxes on exports, and a less conservative economy. Once these reforms were made, Australia transformed from a independent, isolated and small economy to a more internationally competitive economy with a more export oriented background.

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Are you a recent college graduate with no job prospects or hope for repaying your student loans? If this doesn’t describe yourself, you probably know someone in a similar situation. Maybe packing your bags and heading to China to work with the People’s Liberation Army is the answer to the distressed college graduate’s problems.

There have been recent increasing efforts to recruit highly educated individuals to work for the PLA. Employees not only earn financial compensation, but also the highly coveted hukou, which is a permanent Beijing residence card, after serving their duty with the Army.  The new recruiting strategies aim to upgrade the PLA to a higher caliber. However, can China prove that it is all that it’s cracked up to be for aspiring young graduates?

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The International Monetary Fund releases a yearly forecast for countries that will predict the growth of the country. For France and China, the IMF has recently lowered their growth forecast due to a number of different reasons. For France, Paris has lacked a competitive economy and been slow to reform in recent times. For China, credit has been rising too fast along with the debt, and also slow growth economically will coincide with a slower growth in China. These two countries will have to find new ways to generate expansion along with minimizing losses during this slow economic period globally.

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From the hustling cities of Asia to the scorching desert cities of the Middle East, business travel is booming in emerging countries. Last year business traffic in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East grew substantially and major infrastructure projects are underway to accommodate the rapid growth in these markets. Most emerging cities are experiencing an expansion of airports, hotels, and highway. This trend is further testament to the dynamism and growth prospects of emerging markets.

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International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on Tuesday that the shale oil recently found in the United States will help meet most of the world's oil demand in the next five years. It is significant to the world market as well as to the U.S. itself because it eliminates the threat of future energy shortage and reshapes the U.S energy market and its relationship with other countries.

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Until now, China has never shown much interest in Middle Eastern investment. If it is able to establish a relationship with the Middle East, it can take advantage of arguably one of the most volatile areas in the world. In an area where westerners have long feared to go, China seems very interested in the diplomacy, economics, soft power and security. Upon helping in the war in the Middle East, China has begun to fully immerse themselves in the Middle East in an effort to increase their involvement in the area.

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Back in February, a colleague of mine wrote a blog post regarding the European horsemeat scandal in which horsemeat was advertised as beef in supermarkets. He described the implications that this might have concerning the global supply chain. One quote of his that proved to be shockingly accurate was, “…that the recent events involving horsemeat are only the tip of the iceberg.” Yet another food safety scare has arisen in China, where people are getting served rat meat for dinner instead of the requested mutton meat. China has experienced other food scandals in recent years, mostly involving toxins detected in dairy products. These food scandals have resulted in increased international trade, especially with dairy products, and the much needed increase in food-safety regulation in China.

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This year the spring slowdown in manufacturing may slow down more than anticipated. Following disappointing results in the manufacturing activity and industrial production worldwide, analysts are saying that with the already weak economies in China, Germany, and the United States, the slowdown could impact more than just spring. Germany has had a trend in weaker manufacturing activity, and the U.S. has been introduced to sequestration due to its weak trend in the industry. If China, Germany and the United States can’t find a way to power their manufacturing activity this slowdown could have global effects.  

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As political season in China begins between the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, there have been concerns with the consumption of luxury goods. China has gone to extremes measures to prevent the issue of inequality by banning politicians to speak publicly about spending on luxury goods. With increases in social media, people have been able to show how wealthy they are by posting to websites such as Tumbler, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Recently, there was an online argument between a Chinese socialite and a member of a sports car club over who has more money. As Asian countries begin to crack down on the over the top display of wealth, could luxury goods retailers be affected?

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Germany’s economy holds a critical significance in the European Union, especially in regards to the ongoing debt crisis. Its industrialized economy has held steady despite a slump in the global economy. It might be surprising to hear that Germany, one of the most industrialized countries in the world, is undertaking an energy revolution that will dramatically transform its economy’s energy sector. The newly re-engineered economy will no longer receive its energy from nuclear powered stations as all nuclear power plants in Germany are being closed down. Renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power, will instead fill Germany’s energy gap. Will this move jeopardize Germany’s economy and how does this energy revolution affect Germany’s relationship with other countries?

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After last year’s scare in China with the manufacturing industry taking a step backwards with a year of contraction, it has rebounded and returned to positive growth for four straight months. However, February was China’s lowest month of positive growth since November after posting record growth in January. February’s growth was 50.4, while in January it was 52.3. On the scale, readings above 50 indicate expansion, while below 50 indicates contraction.

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2013 might just be the year emerging markets have been anticipating. Throughout the past year, investors have been pouring money into emerging markets in developing countries. There are other factors that point to success for emerging markets, but are they enough to boost the small businesses to profits and prosperity?

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In an effort to quell the widespread problem of overproduction, China is encouraging mergers in nine key industries: steel, cement, shipbuilding, autos, aluminum, electronics, pharmaceuticals, industrialized agriculture, and rare earths.  Chinese officials are confident that these mergers will increase economies of scale and limit brutal price wars.  Government officials are also hopeful that consolidating companies in these main industries will result in larger companies that will emerge as titans of international trade.

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In recent years, the Chinese and Latin American business relationship has done very well, especially in the South American countries.  China is now the main market for most of the exports for Latin American countries, along with being a big source of imports as well. There has been much greater investment in Latin America by Chinese companies such as mining in Argentina, Brazil and Peru, manufacturing in Brazil and Uruguay, and tourism in the Bahamas. With all of these influences from China taking place, there have been some major imbalances of different kinds.

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The New Year began with the United States barely avoiding sequestration that many economists agree would have been a giant setback for the U.S. economy that would pile on to the global economic troubles. Not the way to start things off. With the major economies of the world still struggling to return to the growth needed to bring down unemployment there may be good news after all.

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Globalization has provided the world economy with an enormous amount of wealth and expansion since it first began in the 1970’s. It slowly progressed throughout the 1980’s up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to a doubling of the global free-market labor force. Since then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed from 800 in 1979 to over 13,000 by 2007. The era of financial globalization went into effect in 2003, when financial services accounted for 30% of stock market earnings. For the past 3 to 5 years though, we have seen a different trend in globalization and the free flow of capital across borders.

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Alongside China’s growing assertiveness in foreign policy, businesses in China are also being more aggressive in their international business practices. Chinese businesses are increasingly using international acquisitions to expand their presence overseas in various countries such as Canada and the United States. Chinese firms have already acquired an American manufacturer of high-tech batteries and a major aircraft leasing business this past month. Overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies are expected to continue to increase as firms pursue companies in Canada including Nexen, a major Canadian energy company. Chinese acquisitions are changing the landscape of international business and may also be an indicator of China’s goal to be the world’s strongest economy.

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Many analysts anticipated the growing possibility of the 3rd largest economy falling into recession in the short future and the time has now come. The analysts expect that Japan will stay in recession in the final quarter of the year due to sluggish trade to China, a strong yen, and the effects of the tsunami that ravished the country over a year ago.

Official data on Monday morning showed Japans economy contracted during the second quarter this year by .03% and then by another .09% between July and September. The increasing contraction trend of the economy is putting more pressure on the government and Bank of Japan to take more steps to boost the economy.

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A significant percentage of China’s wealthy citizens, especially those looking to retire, have decided that they no longer want to live in China.  Instead, these members of the upper and middle classes in China are expressing serious interest in emigrating to the United States, Canada, and Australia.  These three countries are appealing to wealthy Chinese because of their open spaces, clean air, consistent medical care, and relatively stable political systems.

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When the financial crisis hit the world in the fall of 2008 most sectors of the economy came crashing down with it. International trade was no different, and by some measures the decline was more pronounced. When world GDP began to contract and hit its bottom in 2009, exports dropped nearly 30%. One would expect a certain amount of withdrawal when a crisis of this magnitude hit but with such a huge drop off the question arises what other factors could have played in? The answer is not as simple as it may seem.

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As many of you news readers may know, China and Japan have been involved in a territorial dispute over a small chain of islands in the East China Sea. They can’t agree on a name—Japan calls them the Senkaku Islands and China calls them the Dioyu Islands, but both countries view those islands as part of their territory. They are technically controlled by Japan now due to war treaties, but China has had claims on them in the past so both countries have a case to make for ownership. However, as the islands do not really have much of significance on them, they are viewed as an important symbol of dominance in the often tumultuous relationship between China and Japan. While war or other extreme actions have not been taken yet, the dispute has impacted businesses in the area which could easily impact the world’s economy.

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One of the most public dramas that has played out in the downturn of the economy has been the manufacturing sector's struggles. Data released earlier this week shows reason for cautious optimism in the United States. For nearly the first time in four months, manufacturing grew within the United States. While the U.S. welcomes even the smallest improvement, other regions did not fare as well. Both China and the Eurozone continue to see the manufacturing sector of their economy contract.

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In today’s world, energy is always in demand and this has led many companies in the energy sector to focus on new renewable forms of energy. Lately renewable energy, specifically solar, has experienced a multitude of issues that threaten many of the companies that specialize in solar power. From the high profile collapse of Solyndra to the free fall of prices around the world, many are left wondering what the future holds for this burgeoning industry.

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China is currently in an economic slowdown, the causes of which are a great debate in Asia’s largest economy. China, the world’s second largest economy behind the United States, expanded 7.6 % in the second quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace since 2009. While a growth rate above 7% might seem thriving at first glance, you must first consider that China has had an average annual growth rate of nearly 15% since 2000. Many economists believe that their growth will slow further to a rate of around 7.0% for 2012. Is the economy of the most populous nation in the world in trouble?

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The changing global climate has become increasingly more difficult to ignore due to climbing air and water temperatures, rising sea levels, and melting of polar snow and ice. Recent reports have stated that the area of ice in the arctic has never been smaller, which has recently caught the attention of Asian economists. The opening of the Arctic north promises new trade routes, untapped reserves of oil, and an abundance of minerals to discover.

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In China, the domestic economy is struggling just like the rest of the world with slow sales and declining construction. The cost of labor has also increased drastically, with wage rates increasing upwards of 15% in some cases, year over year. Compared to May of last year though, exports have increased 15.3 percent, twice as fast as economists had predicted. How are Chinese companies finding success when Europe is in a debt crisis and the United States is still recovering from rampant unemployment though? Easy – exporting and automation.

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No. Well, at least not for a while, according to Xu Xiaoping. Xu ranks among China’s most prominent angel investors. He is also CEO of a NYSE-listed education company called New Oriental Group that helps prepare people from China to study overseas. There are many reasons why innovation has been lacking in China. Many of these reasons deal with cultural differences in comparison to other countries, where innovation is encouraged and embraced.

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Small businesses in China for a long time have depended on small firms, wealthy investors, and loan sharks for funding.  Some of these tactics, depending on the terms, are illegal, but often times have been the only source for small businesses in need of loans.  This is the case because China’s major state-owned banks focus on lending money to large enterprises that are owned by the state.  The Chinese government has recently announced that authorities are looking for ways to legitimize this informal-lending sector, in hopes of transforming existing underground lenders into licensed investors and potentially small-loan companies.

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In an attempt to decrease its carbon footprint, China is asking its energy-intensive industries to reduce their energy consumption by a greater percentage than previously mandated.  These efforts by China are also a result of growing domestic and international pressure to decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.  Last year, China’s industries fell short of the government’s goals for lowering energy intensity and pollutant emissions, but the government is optimistic about firms meeting this year’s targets due to new and improved policies and controls.

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China has grown immensely in the global gold market. India has been the largest gold consuming nation for many years, but in 2012 China is predicted to take over the top spot. Chinese demand reached around 770 metric tons in 2011. This demand is a 20% increase from the previous year. This growth is strong, and experts see the demand continuing to skyrocket in China. There are several factors that have caused this increase in demand.

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Africa is a land with vast natural resources, but they come at a high price. Africa is known for having some of the most unstable countries in the world. Even with these dangers, China has broadened its exposure in the region to secure the natural resources needed by the factories and businesses of the world’s fastest growing economy.

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What happens when you mix a close proximity to fast growing nations and an abundant supply of natural resources? An impressive economic boom, but a fear of being highly dependent on a few key nations. Australia is currently enjoying not only a very lucrative demand for its natural resources from China and India, but is also becoming a tourism hotspot for the people of China.

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In an effort to develop closer trade ties with China, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing last week.  Canada’s goal is to continue to increase its trade with China in hopes of decreasing its reliance on trade with the United States.  This goal especially relates to the oil industry and Canada’s effort to overcome the increasing environmental regulations being imposed by the United States.  Canada sees China as a solid alternative for trade because of its vast market size and high demand for foreign oil.

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Two years after pulling its search engine from main land China, Google is once again pushing to expand in the enormous market. The original disagreement between Google and Chinese officials started after Google traced a cyberattack to Chinese hackers. The hackers attempted to not only steal proprietary computer code, but also attempted to spy on Chinese activists' Gmail accounts. Although officials denied any connection to the hackers, Google moved its search site to Hong Kong where censorship requirements are not as strict.

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The storm caused by the European Debt Crisis has loomed like a dark cloud over much of the world.  But certain sectors of the economy, the transport manufacturing industry in particular, have weathered the turbulent markets.  It is the rise in purchasing manager indexes for the United Kingdom, Switzerland, China, India, and Australia, coupled with the decrease in Germany's unemployment that make economists suggest a boom in the export of cars and machinery for the coming year.

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Globalization and the growth in emerging markets have driven significant changes in nearly every industry around the globe. This no different in philanthropy where the “old” standard of donations being led by wealthy Westerners is being turned upside down. Explosive growth has led to tremendous wealth creation in many developing countries and veteran donors are urging the new rich to donate to important causes. Philanthropy has also been repackaged into a businesses where consumers help donate products to needy causes.

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There are about 30 million overseas Chinese in total, and most reside in neighboring Asian countries. Indonesia and Thailand have the biggest numbers, with about 7-9 million each, while Singapore has the highest concentration of around 3 million, or 75% of its population. One such country that is reaping the benefits of immigration is Malaysia, but is Malaysia returning the favor?

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China’s e-commerce industry is growing at an extremely rapid pace; it is expected to become the world’s largest e-commerce market by 2015. With a population of 1.3 billion, there is a vast untapped market for online sales in China. However, growing competition has lowered the margins and fuelled price wars in the region. What does the future of e-commerce look like for the growing nation?

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The deals and sales offered during this year’s holiday season captured us all, but companies have been shopping as well. In fact, Japan’s multinational corporations seem to have gone on global shopping spree. This past year, Japanese companies spent a record $80 billion on approximately 620 foreign companies. These international investments could be seen as not only a sign of economic strength, but also as an indication of domestic weakness.

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With many concerns and debates regarding climate change, countries around the world are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions. These carbon emissions happen to be the leading cause of climate change and large coal-burning industries are mostly responsible. One way to reduce these harmful emissions involves a new technology that captures carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it directly underground for permanent storage. This project was operated in Germany, Scotland, and the United States with little success. However, the two largest consumers of carbon dioxide, China and the United States, are investigating a new way to reduce carbon output and are looking toward a surprising industry for this solution.

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With the announcement of North Korea's Kim Jong II's death on Monday, many business and world leaders are trying to figure out what will happen with the historically volatile country. Although the US places strict restrictions on how US businesses can interact with North Korea, other countries are much more liberal and have created many opportunities for their businesses to profit from relations with North Korea.

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The world of sports is closely intertwined with the world of business.  Sports franchises and leagues function to create an economically-viable product for profit.  Businesses in many industries utilize sports entertainment for its unmatched marketing opportunities.  Global athletic events bring tourism, trade, and international attention to host cities and countries.  Businesses could not function without sports and sports could not function without business.  This week, the globalEDGE blog will take a closer look at business and economic impacts of sports around the world. 

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China’s image as a low-cost place of production is likely to change due to the rapid increases in worker wages.  In fact, wages for the average manufacturer worker in China are expected to double by 2015.  As this has begun to unfold, many foreign manufacturers have begun looking for alternative low-cost production bases and have been largely unsuccessful in finding better options.  Foreign reliance on China for inexpensive production will likely be a thing of the past as these wages continue to climb.

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Feeding on the strength of European demand and Asian emerging markets, China’s trade surplus rose to its highest level in more than two years during the month of July. The country’s surplus rose to $31.5 billion, the biggest gap since January of 2009. Chinese exports and imports both grew over 20 percent from a year ago and there are a couple key reasons that account for these large increases.

Growth in shipments to Europe has doubled over the last two months granting China higher export numbers. Exports to Japan also rose as Japan surges back after the tragic earthquake that occurred earlier in the year. China’s relationship with developing countries in Asia, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, continues to strengthen providing China with lucrative export markets. Sales of Chinese goods in these markets have increased this past year allowing the trade surplus gap to grow even larger.

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In 1982, China was just beginning to open up to capitalism when the government decided to use a plot of land in a rural town of Yiwu to use as an open-air market. What started off as a rural, poor city has turned into a vibrant Trade Mart which now covers 988 acres. To put this into perspective, you could fit 10 Mall of America’s in the same space.

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There have been massive efforts recently to improve the quality of China’s polluted air by blending low-polluting imported coal with dirtier-burning domestic coal. Experts argue that while this will positively effect the air quality in the near-term, it might contribute to faster global warming in the long-term.

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Three months after Japan’s largest earthquake, a major nuclear reactor disaster seems to have been avoided. However, major doubts surrounding nuclear energy as a safe power source remain in countries around the world. If these doubts linger, the energy industry can be changed dramatically with this significant loss of faith in nuclear energy. Alternative energy sources must be able to replace nuclear energy and many countries will have to develop efficient and sustainable infrastructures to support this energy change.

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With unemployment in America still hovering near 9 percent, many Americans are upset that companies are offshoring jobs to countries such as China. However, according to a new analysis by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), there is a “manufacturing renaissance” on the United States’ horizon.

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Food prices have certainly become a hot topic recently, and so has food quality. With oil spills, nuclear waste scares, and natural disasters constantly threatening the quality of the world’s food supply, businesses have to be more careful with what food they sell. Still the exporting of food seems to continue to increase. Fish exports in particular have seen a huge increase in global demand.

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Pecans have long been a steady source of income for farmers in the United States.  Southern farmers produce two-thirds of the world’s supply and U.S. consumers have been the main source of their business.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the current price of $2.14 per pound for pecans is nearly twice as high as three years ago.  What has caused this sharp spike and what does the future hold for the pecan industry? 

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In 2009, China became Brazil’s largest trading partner in the world, overtaking the position that the United States has held since 1930. Brazilian exports are increasing rapidly to meet China’s immense demand for raw materials and commodities. On the other side of this trade relationship, cheaper goods imported from China are opening new horizons for Brazil’s growing middle class. This commercial relationship between these countries is continuing to grow and has reached an entirely new level.

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Over the last 100 years, transportation has taken some significant leaps.  With the invention of the car and its proliferation to countries around the world, individuals were empowered to go where they wanted, when they wanted.  However, as the boundaries of distance decreased with an increase in vehicle quality and reliability, so did the world’s desire to travel even further and at greater speeds.  The latest potential advance in human transportation is the proliferation of high-speed rail.

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A recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau highlights the U.S. Trade deficit for 2010. This report is very straight-forward and shows the change in the trade balance throughout the years. As most everybody knows, the U.S. has been running a large trade deficit (i.e. they have been importing more then they export) for several years now. The report gives us a good starting point to understand where the deficit is coming from and some of the reasons behind it.

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After the official unpegging of the Renminbi (Also referred to as the yuan) to the dollar mid-way through last year, China has surprisingly started to increase the flexibility of the Renminbi and is actively encouraging the globalization of the currency.  Much of this change has come for two reasons. The first is as China has become the world’s second largest domestic economy, the need for a globalized currency becomes exponentially more important. Also, international pressures on the Renminbi and China, especially from the U.S., have started to force change.

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With China being one of Brazil’s most important trading partners, the two have created a whole lot of business and money-making opportunities for both countries. No person knows this more than Eike Batista, a Brazilian minerals tycoon that is now the eighth richest man in the world, with a wealth of $27 billion. He’s gotten there quickly, thanks in large part to China.

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The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting piece for their “The Saturday Essay” this past week. It reflected on the cultural differences in parenting styles; written from the perspective of Amy Chua – a Chinese mother who is also a professor at Yale Law School. While it is written to contrast mostly American parents, I believe (and so does the author) that the article can be viewed from a completely global perspective.

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China is on the rise’ is a statement that we hear all too often. However, China’s growth does not only appear to be benefiting China alone. Vietnam has been able to use this neighboring country’s growth to benefit its own economy. Vietnam has a lot of appeal for international business and has begun to make a name for itself through China's success.

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Ahh Silicon Valley – a beautiful 50-mile strip located right on San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and San Jose. It's home to innumerous technology companies including global chip heavyweights Intel and AMD. Silicon Valley used to be the go to place to start a new chip company however startups are starting to attract less funding and much of the development can now be done in China.

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With China’s push for rapid economic development, it’s no surprise that China consumes more energy than any other country in the world. As China dominates the global energy market, it also is the single biggest force in causing oil prices and carbon emissions to increase. However at the same time, the International Energy Agency claims China to be the most influential country in the development of renewable energy. China is looking to lower the costs of oil and reduce carbon emissions linked to negative climate change by improving the progress of green energy. This developmental process of increasing the supply of energy in China will affect almost every country in the world.

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China has recently come under pressure from Europe for its domestic bias to companies competing for public construction contracts. While China has had to loosen the wording of laws after coming under fire before, many companies are up in arms after trying to endure some of the trials entailed in entering the Chinese economy.

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China remains a robust destination for a gamut of businesses. The country offers a particular wealth of advantages for manufacturing companies. Often solely regarded as a region for inexpensive labor, China also offers an increasingly sophisticated range of manufacturers and workers. Today, China accommodates the entire span between high quality manufacturing needs and orders for manufactured commodity goods. For most global companies, perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a presence in China is the fuller access into the Chinese market that this provides. But what is the best way to navigate business operations in China?

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If you watched the news recently, you would have probably noticed a huge event happening in Chile. In case you haven’t heard, 33 miners went to work in the San Jose Mine (used for the mining of raw copper) for what was supposed to be a ten hour shift. The roof of the mine ended up collapsing on them. Fortunately, after spending 69 days underground, all of the miners have been rescued from their earthen prison safe and sound. Now that this saga has finished its final chapter, perhaps the greatest impact experts in the Mining, Minerals, and Metals industry hope it has was best summed up by Alonso Contreras (a cousin of one of the trapped miners): “Hopefully no one ever again has to do anything like this.”

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The United States has long been known as a global powerhouse when it comes to innovation – especially when it comes to manufacturing. These innovations may not necessarily be products (although some certainly were) but, rather, just tweaks to the manufacturing process that greatly improved efficiency (think of interchangeable parts or the assembly line, both developed by Americans). However, in today’s global economy, the United States is losing jobs in the industrial manufacturing sector, despite still being on the forefront of innovation. Many claim that this is simply because of the lower wages required in other countries, but is that the only reason why?

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Say goodbye to your flat-screen TV and that new car battery you were going to buy. In late July China announced that they would be decreasing the supply of rare earth metals to the rest of the world. Now it may not seem like an obvious connection but these rare earth metals in question are the materials that help produce our flat-screen monitors, car batteries, and many more products we manufacture and sell. Now the question comes to, why is China doing this?

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The view is a strange one for most foreign visitors to Chinese residential areas. An array of colorful fabric is draped from building to building in all directions. A local resident can often be seen reaching out of a high window to hook a cloth on the end of a long wooden stick. What is this strange ritual that appears unlike anything experienced in many Western cultures?

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Did you know that by creating a building with a “green” design you can save 72% more energy, compared to a standard design? There is a great opportunity happening in China with green energy and building design. Of all the markets in the world, China is one which can leverage green building design more than most others. With the amount of new construction occurring over the next ten years, the country is poised to take advantage of significant overall energy savings, while reducing their carbon footprint. In fact, it is projected the China will add 20 billion square meters of buildings in the next ten years.

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In a challenging economic environment, young professionals and recent graduates across the globe are forced to think of new ways to enter the workforce.

In the United States, some are taking an entrepreneurial approach. These entrepreneurs recognize that what they are doing on the side can create revenue – running a website out of their home or offering social media marketing consultation – and can be performed anywhere in the world with anyone, at any time. They toss the security of a paycheck and good benefits at a place that is now considered a boring place to work.

In the United Kingdom, graduates are trying to fill their resumes. They are encouraged to find a market shortage and then gain the skills to fill the gap.

In China, the story is different. The economic future looks (arguably) optimistic – China boasts more than 10% growth on average. The problem is that China is providing more than 6 million college graduates a year and the economy is not producing the number of jobs demanded by the graduates. The video below is a great 6 minute documentary on the issue, especially for international students traveling to China to broaden their interests and expand their resume.

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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.

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It can be done! Creating jobs back home while increasing sales overseas is possible and United Solar Ovonic has proved it. United Solar Ovonic is a Michigan based company that creates and exports solar panels and has recently begun a joint venture with United Solar Ovonic Jinneng in China. They develop lightweight, flexible solar panels. They are great, not to mention green, energy producers so it’s no wonder that this business has been booming.

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Over the past 10 years, China has had a significant impact on the world economy. Many businesses in the United States, especially those whose success has been dependent upon manufacturing, have felt the effects the most. Although many feel that the shift in Chinese economic power has adversely impacted the United States, it is also important to highlight the positive aspects of these changes. One of the great success stories comes from Michigan, in the heart of the Midwest.

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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.

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As of today (July 1st), Japan has significantly relaxed the visa restrictions for tourists allowing the single fastest-growing group of overseas travelers, the Chinese, to be able to travel to Japan. These new regulations will enable another 16 million households to be able to apply for a trip to Japan. This is 10 times the amount of tourist visas that were available before the new regulations. Up to now, Japan had strict regulations regarding visitors from their neighbor to the west; only allowing wealthy Chinese with high annual incomes to travel to Japan. The massive influx of Chinese travelers will hopefully result in a jump in income for many local shopping centers in Japan.

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We all know that China is a place full of innovation, business growth, and a giant work force. However, they have not been known as an extremely ‘green nation’. But now, they are attempting to make the future of business more environmentally friendly. The China Greentech Initiative was started about two years ago and was designed to encourage innovation in the green technology sector in China. Both the U.S. and Chinese governments have made climate change commitments and are both striving to be more sustainable.

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The first round of the World Cup has definitely been cut throat so far! But the action on the field has not been the only competition centered around the world cup. In our blog series last week we talked about how sponsoring the world cup and advertising during it is not only extremely expensive, but very competitive as well. Any international sporting event brings the opportunity to bring global attention to your brand, product, or even country. The 32 countries that have a team representing them in the tournament have an advantage for international exposure, but other countries aren’t out of the game yet.

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The BRICs marketsBrazil, Russia, India and China – have survived the global economic crisis quite well, emerging even stronger than before. These counties have large surpluses in international trade as well as reserves in foreign currency, which really helped in the last downturn. They are on pace to equal the G7 in size by 2032, seven years earlier than originally predicted.

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Singapore's economy grew 38% in the first three months of this year. That is the strongest quarterly growth ever recorded in Singapore's history. The key to this recovery and of the Singapore economy as a whole is the manufacturing industry. Healthcare and electronics are the two biggest sectors for this industry in Singapore. Many companies that produce high-tech medical devices are looking to expand into China. China is a huge potential market as they grow and are looking for these high-tech equipments with their increased buying power.

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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?

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The largest world fair in history will take place in Shanghai, China starting May 1 to October 31. Its theme is "Better City - Better Life". More than 190 countries will be present setting pavillions portraying their culture and technology.

The event is six months long and is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors. Therefore, it is an excellent networking opportunity. Nations that are already parters with China will be there in order to further firm the connection. Also, there is the chance to make new friends and establish new connections as a BBC video explains.

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What do Michigan and China have in common?  They are both involved in the production of a triple junction amorphous crystalline solar cell. In layman’s terms, solar energy.  These roof-mounted solar cells will generate much more electricity than silicon because of it is lightweight and flexible structure which holds up more efficiently in real-world conditions.

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McDonald’s Corporation is now starting Hamburger University in Shanghai as a place to train the latest generation of managers.  This decision is influenced by the fact that China is McDonald’s fastest-growing global market, increasing 10 percent annually. Part of this growth is because collectively, Chinese spend nearly 300 billion dollars a year on eating out at informal restaurants.

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Do you want to go out to eat? People around the world are saying “yes” to this answer, but are finding different venues to satisfy their hunger. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that 20% of the world’s food venues are street vendors! Did you know that of the 10 largest markets in the world in the food services industry, five are in East Asia? The industry is making some major shifts which are also specific to geographic location.

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Imagine a scene that many of us carry out everyday: You are driving through a remote part of town, and you approach an intersection. At the intersection, there is a traffic signal where you stop and wait. As you look around, you see no traffic for miles! Wouldn’t it be great if the traffic signal knew the current traffic and changed the light to green? Welcome to the concept of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

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It is finally here! China recently opened a chocolate theme park in Beijing. It contains five indoor pavilions with controlled temperature so that the chocolate does not melt as well as two outdoor sites. They offer displays of various chocolate made objects such as replicas of the Terracotta Army, the Great Wall, famous paintings, and other items such as shoes or sports equipment, and a full size BMW. Tina Cheng, who will be operating the park, said that visitors will be offered a full chocolate experience - they will be able to see, touch, taste, and purchase the different chocolate items. 

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How would you like to get out of traffic jams, have cheaper parking, and still get to work on time? Well, if you live in China, now you can! China is the world’s new automobile capital, estimated to sell more than 12 million cars this year. However, China also produces an electric bicycle called the e-bike.

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China's State Council announced new plans and guidelines that are aimed at promoting the development of the tourism industry over the next five years. This is an attempt to improve the employment rate in the country since the tourism sector consumes fewer resources while generating job openings. The government is hoping that tourism will become a leader industry in the national economy.

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One of the critical factors of having a large, successful international operation is having “feet on the street” in the country where multinational companies do business.  Recently, an article from ChinaDaily.com featured some staggering statistics about expatriates and the duration of their stay in the country.  Although business demands often dictate relocation by executives and their families, is this the most efficient use of resources?

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China has just recently launched its brand new Growth Enterprise Market, a Nasdaq-style stock market that has been over 10 years in the making. Twenty eight small- and medium-sized companies will be debuting on the Gem as it is called, made to attract financing of new high growth industries. These industries include software companies, pharmaceutical firms and creative industries. But investing in these companies will be risky business, since there will less than 30 companies to begin with.

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Poultry has been traded globally for years. Each individual country can not possibly produce everything it needs, making this trade a necessity. Of course, that does not mean that there hasn't been any problems. There are several past examples of poultry trade gone wrong, but as a result standards are higher, making trading less of a risk.

In 2004, China and the United States had a major rift in their chicken trades and there has been tension ever since. The initial problems were a result of the bird flu outbreaks. Following that, both countries temporarily banned the trade of poultry from one another. Soon after, China lifted their ban, but it was another two years before the U.S. followed suit. Around the same time, Thailand chicken exports were suffering because several countries refused to buy their chicken because of past outbreaks, even after the products have been inspected and deemed safe. It seems that there will always be tension over poultry trade.

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Gary Locke, now a prominent figure in the U.S. Government is charged with the responsibility of forming U.S. Commercial policy across the globe.  Gary is a recent appointee into the Obama administration and career politician.  Prior to his current position, Mr. Locke served two terms as the governor of Washington.  Given his new role, the obvious question becomes: How will Mr. Locke’s policies impact global trade?  Here are two points to consider:

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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.

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Anyone who has engaged in cross-cultural business knows that spending a little bit of time to understand the other culture will go a long way towards producing business success.

This is especially true in China, where business relationships usually require some form of personal relationship. In this country, business partners typically go through a long process of “courtship,” which will likely entail banquets and other events aimed at getting to know each other on a personal level, as well as a string of meetings where business progresses at a snails pace. This process is vital from the Chinese perspective, as the nation’s cultural values emphasize long-term relationships and prosperity over quick, impersonal deals.

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China has three main goals it weighs when considering where to invest its vast sums of money. Those goals are “safety, liquidity, and profitability - in that order.” For many years, the result of this strategy has been to invest heavily in U.S. Treasury notes. As the Middle Kingdom’s coffers began to fill with dollar-denominated debt, the financial well-being of the entire nation began to be increasingly tied to the strength of the U.S. dollar. So it should not come as a surprise that declines in dollar value that have occurred in recent years have been met with consternation by the Chinese.

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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.

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Richard Gelfond, co-CEO of IMAX, talks about the company's decision to sign a contract with a company in China due to the potential the country holds.

This deal is expected to increase profits for IMAX and the film industry in general. Furthermore, it will be helpful to the Chinese economy as it introduces a new product to the market with the potential for success.

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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.

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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?

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It was easy to run a profitable outfit when the Chinese economy was booming. Double-digit GDP growth, combined with strong demand for cheap Chinese exports fueled a tidal wave of successful startups. Investors shoveled tremendous amounts of capital into these young companies, but many were more concerned with “getting into China” than with investing in a particular company. As a result, many companies that would not have been financed during low-growth periods were given a shot.

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I am a huge fan of pretty much everything that Monocle publishes. They are always on the cutting edge, whether the topic is public affairs, business, or even culture and design. Recently they partnered with UK Trade & Investment to produce a series of videos on the business climate in different sectors and countries around the world. So far the topics have been: Doha, Boston, UK Creative Sector, UK Motorsport, London, São Paulo, Guangzhou, and Sofia. 

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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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Some people thought that Asia, with high growth rates, huge trade surpluses and substantial foreign reserves could be less affected by the economic storm which originated in the West. Yet, a number of economic indicators show us that Asia in fact could not avoid being hit by such a global disaster because of the fact that it heavily depends on West to fuel it's own economy. For example, exports contribute 45% of Asian countries’ economy and out of these exports, western consumers count for a half of it.Western investors are also the major players in the Asian markets. The depreciation of Asian currencies caused a huge loss on currency-hedging products. Even so, Asia - the source of one third of global GDP - can play a crucial role in bringing the economy back to the prosperity.

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The Middle Kingdom has long been the up-and-comer among the world’s economic powers. The nation saw year after year of double-digit GDP growth, fueled by a strong manufacturing base and high demand for its relatively cheap exports. The global economic crisis has not passed over China however, and it now seems that the nation is being forced to slow its plans for growth.