It appears Baby Einstein isn’t the only company peddling products that may retard our children. On Tuesday, toy maker Mattel announced its second major recall in as many weeks.
Tough times for automakers have turned the industry upside down. Household names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer have gone the way of the dodo. Saab narrowly avoided a similar fate with a last-minute purchase by Dutch super car manufacturer Spyker, a niche player that has intriguing plans for the quirky Swedish brand. Fiat and Chrysler became strange bedfellows. And Toyota is struggling through an historic, crippling recall. But one of the more interesting outcomes of the recent upheaval within the auto industry is Ford Motor Company's sale of Volvo to China's Geely.
If Disney’s latest strategy works, moppets across China will be saying “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” in a most delightful way. And with perfect diction.
With 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, we see a China that is a powerhouse of contemporary, iconic architecture. We see a China that is global host, not a walled world. We see an entire culture struggling with freedom, technology and the environment. From this view, China is a massive case study -- a window into -- the global future.
Food from U.S. Farms: It's a New Chinese E-Commerce Trend
To many skeptical consumers in developed markets, Brand China still means lower quality. As has been the case elsewhere in Asia, companies in China traditionally focused on asset-intensive industries and low-cost manufacturing and paid little attention to intangibles such as brands and human capital. To become major branded players away from home, Chinese companies must address their challenges in three strategic ways.
But Marketers Are Stymied by Lack of Access and Limited Knowledge
Sports Brand Targets Women With 'All In For My Girls' Campaign
Brand Loyalty and Repeat Buys Are Hard to Create Among Newly Affluent Customers
Despite its smoggy reputation, China is doing better than the United States. Much better.
Mobile phones are found all around the world — ubiquitous even in emerging markets such as China and India — but how you use the device depends greatly on where you live.
Italian jeweler Bulgari SpA and sports-car maker Maserati SpA have succeeded in China largely by portraying themselves as the ultimate male status symbols. But the two recently joined a growing number of luxury brands in China that have revamped their marketing tactics to also appeal to self-made female entrepreneurs, a rapidly emerging market segment that also wants high-end baubles and toys.
In the same way China approached its preparations for the Beijing Olympics, businesses have fully detailed each sensory impression a product will have on consumers. One company's ultimate objective: Become a global leader in car manufacturing. Look out, Detroit.
BEIJING—Burberry Group PLC is outfitting its stores in China with the latest digital technology, including touchscreens for customers and iPads for staff, at the start of a world-wide campaign to shake its stiff, older image and win over younger customers.
Luxury goods marketers in China received some good news last month. After the country's annual policy planning meeting, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming announced that Beijing would soon reduce tariffs and cut red tape on luxury goods imports. The decisions are in line with other policies that will stimulate domestic consumption and, the government hopes, will chip away at the globally contentious trade surplus that China enjoys.
Starting next week, mum's the word on luxury in Beijing. After April 15, any company that puts up a public advertisement in China's capital city using the adjective -- or a few other flowery phrases like it -- will be fined around $4,500. The municipal government says on its website that such words induce hedonism and spiritual emptiness. The state media cites the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, often dubbed the Oracle of Omaha, has seen the future of fashion in the most unlikely of places, bearing a "Made in China" label better known for its cheap than chic. "I threw away the rest of my suits," beams Buffett in the 2007 video, adding that he and Microsoft founder and Bill Gates are fans of Chinese suit maker Trands and would be great salesmen for the company based in the northeast Chinese city of Dalian. Trands is one of a handful of emerging Chinese brands that someday hope to take on the likes of Gucci, Armani and Prada in the lucrative luxury goods market. Sales of luxury goods in China grew 12 percent in 2009 to $9.6 billion, accounting for 27.5 percent of the global market, according to Bain & Co. In the next five years, China's luxury spending will increase to $14.6 billion, making it the world's No. 1 market.
Evolving from the world's biggest factory to creator of the world's biggest brands is a challenge, and China continues to struggle with crafting a name for itself beyond just low-priced products.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, you might have missed some interesting developments: the Chinese government has started allowing the value of its currency to fluctuate, and Chinese workers have begun striking in efforts to increase their wages. Both of those developments are likely to increase the cost of manufacturing in China, and here’s another newsflash: the costs of shipping containers are also going up. Fast.
Western fashion brands are looking to expand in mainland China, with Vivienne Westwood planning an additional 20 boutiques throughout the mainland, Burberry slated to add a whopping 66 new stores, Coach opening another 20 locations and Ferragamo planning 10 new stores, according to Alisa Gould-Simon at The Guardian.
By now, we all know that we live in a world in which word-of-mouth rules. The recommendation of a friend or family member outweighs anything a brand may have to say for itself. As a result, marketers from around the world are racing to measure the degree in which their customers, and the market at large, is likely to recommend them. And, more importantly, what they should do to be more liked in the social media space that is called my kitchen.
Quick: Think of a Chinese brand name. Japan has Sony. Mexico has Corona. Germany has BMW. South Korea? Samsung. And China has . . . ? If you're stumped, you're not alone. And for China, that is an enormous problem.
Coca-Cola Co., rebuffed by Chinese regulators in its bid to buy one of the country's leading juice makers, is now "totally focused" on organic growth in China and is on track to achieve its investment targets, said Chief Executive Muhtar Kent in an interview Friday. Mr. Kent shrugged off the decision last year by regulators to reject on antitrust grounds the company's $2.4 billion bid to acquire China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd.
"We’ve been in China since 1988. We're only in about 14 categories. We lead all of them but one. But the spending per capita in China is only $3 a year on Procter & Gamble products. That compares to the United States, where we are in over 25 categories, and the per capita spending a year is $100." The above quote is excerpted from a recent interview with Procter & Gamble's CEO, Robert McDonald. McDonald's ambitious plans for P&G call for adding 1 billion new customers over the next five year--that’s 200 million customers each year--or 500,000 new customers EACH DAY for the next five years. The vast majority of these customers will come from emerging markets, especially in China and India.
Should we be surprised that the biggest fight over freedom of expression in years involves Google, a company that produces algorithms rather than articles? Probably not. Google executives struck a blow for free speech in China last week when they announced they were moving their service to Hong Kong after a series of mounting conflicts with the government over the privacy of its users and the free flow of information. That would seem to put Google in league with newspapers, television news divisions and other outlets that look to protect information from government control. But no, Google insists, it is definitely not a media company.
Chinese Internet users have one less Web search option this week, but otherwise it's business as usual as the People's Republic of China uses technology and intimidation to keep citizens away from objectionable content. Following several months of strategizing and negotiations, Google finally stopped censoring its search results in China and is redirecting visitors to Google.cn to a server based in Hong Kong. There they see unfiltered results and are able to visit sites about Falun Gong, Tiananman Square, and Tibetan independence. As noble as the move might be on Google's part, it changes very little for the approximately 4 million Internet users in China who have lived with restrictions on their online and offline activities for decades.
This is a nation that builds dams, high-speed rail lines and skyscrapers with abandon. In newly muscular China, sheer force is not just an art, but a bedrock principle of its seemingly unstoppable rise to global prominence. Now China has tightened its grip on the much more variegated world of online information, effectively forcing Google Inc., the world’s premier information provider, to choose between submitting to Chinese censorship and leaving the world’s largest community of Internet users to its rivals. It chose to leave.
It’s a lot harder to actually be good than it is to simply say you are good. Like others, I am becoming increasingly skeptical of the original Don’t Be Evil company (the one Cutts works for, in fact). Their hypocrisy on China is stunning. It’s hard to argue with the evidence Danny Sullivan laid out. Whether Google is doing business with the Chinese government in 2006 or pulling out of the market in 2010 they make the same argument that good v. evil dictates their actions.
Don’t expect an army of web companies to rush to Google’s defense in China v. Google. The lines are drawn but Google will stand alone, according to internet law expert and Harvard Professor Jonathan Zittrain. Other companies, Zittrain argues, are too timid to go toe-to-toe with China, especially with the web’s biggest market at stake. That decision to remain neutral seems like a no brainer — at least from the short-term, dollars and cents perspective — but there’s an argument to be made that Google could eventually emerge as the victor.
As Google began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users on Tuesday to its uncensored Web site in Hong Kong, the company’s remaining mainland operations came under pressure from its Chinese partners and from the government itself. The Chinese government moved on Tuesday to block access to the Hong Kong site, the use of which Google had hoped would allow it to keep its pledge to end censorship while retaining a share of China’s fast-growing internet search market.
Google’s legal structure in China will allow the company to continue operations in the country even if it closes its local search engine, local employees and industry and legal experts say. The comments come amid frenzied speculation that Google is on the verge of carrying out its January threat to retreat partly or fully from China.
Google Inc. may pull out of China on April 10, China Business News reported today, citing an unidentified Chinese sales agent for the company. The search engine may announce its exit on March 22, the Shanghai-based newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Google China employee. It may also reveal plans for its China workforce on the same day, according to the report.
Google's likely shutdown of its Chinese-language Google.cn search engine, the main portion of its China operation, isn't good news for marketers and their ad agencies -- but it hasn't fazed them about business opportunities for multinational companies in the mainland, either. "Google came into this country with their eyes wide open and knowing censorship would happen," said Shanghai-based Arto Hampartsoumian, CEO, China at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
If Google Inc. decides to close the door on its search engine in China, it might open a door for Microsoft Corp. The software giant's Bing search engine is among the potential beneficiaries if Google goes ahead with its threat to close its Google.cn site amid a dispute with the Chinese government over censorship. Although Bing has struggled to gain traction in China, Microsoft has already hired away at least three people from Google's China business, after aggressively pursuing them following Google's threat, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Google Inc. appears increasingly likely to shutter its Chinese-language search engine, a step that would remove one of the last major foreign players from the world's most populous and fastest-growing Internet market. A person familiar with situation said on Saturday that Google is likely to take action within weeks. Separately, Chinese authorities on Friday told local news Web sites that Google's Chinese site is likely to close and that, if it does, the news sites will be required to use only official accounts of the situation, rather than publish stories from anywhere else, according to a person familiar with the order.
A top Chinese minister warned Google Inc. "will have to bear the consequences" if it stops filtering its search results in China, suggesting there is little room for compromise in the high-profile showdown over censorship. Friday's remarks were the sharpest words yet in an unusual duel that could set a precedent for international business in the country and could escalate tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments.
Two months ago, Google threatened to shut down its China search engine over censorship. Yet until today, its China search engine has stayed up with results still censored. Now the search company is finally expected to announce that it’s going to actually follow through and slowly shut down its China search engine. So why does it feel like Google’s impending decision will not have the impact it could have had two months ago?
General Motors said on Wednesday that it would shut down Hummer, the brand of big sport utility vehicles that became synonymous with the term gas guzzler, after a deal to sell it to a Chinese manufacturer fell apart.
In Davos, signs of recovery for the economy — but it's not the same old world.
The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.
When Time Warner Cable was tussling over fees with the News Corporation, it did something that would have been unthinkable in the backrooms where deals were once struck: it hired a political consultant to mount a public campaign against its own client.
Google announced on its company blog that Chinese hackers had attacked its users and as a result Google.cn may leave China due to the security breaches. While unfortunate that Google.cn may be shutting down, my ethnographic work in China revealed five things that aren’t being told in the current story.
Google Inc. reported its strongest revenue growth in a year and issued its firmest public statement saying it would like to continue doing business in China, a week after it said it may pull out of the country due to a sweeping cyber attack. The Mountain View, Calif., company said its revenue rose 17% in the fourth quarter to $6.67 billion from a year earlier, up from only 7% revenue growth in the third quarter and 3% growth in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Google's profit more than quintupled in the fourth quarter to $1.97 billion, or $6.13 a share, from $382 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago. During the 2008 quarter, Google took a charge related to investments in AOL Inc. and wireless service provider Clearwire Corp.
Few people say they think Google’s Chinese-language search engine will survive the company’s confrontation with China. But as Google prepares for talks with the Chinese government over its decision to stop cooperating with censorship laws there, the rest of Google’s business and operations in China hangs in the balance
The crown jewels of Google, Cisco Systems or any other technology company are the millions of lines of programming instructions, known as source code, that make its products run. If hackers could steal those key instructions and copy them, they could easily dull the company’s competitive edge in the marketplace. More insidiously, if attackers were able to make subtle, undetected changes to that code, they could essentially give themselves secret access to everything the company and its customers did with the software
Just under a year ago, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, wrote a blog post describing how Twitter has made him a better (and happier) person. In it, he poses the following question: "What would you do differently if there were a permanent public record of what you do or say?" Fact is, there is a permanent public record of what you do or say -- online, at least. And, thanks to deals between the major social platforms and the major search engines, that permanent public record is pretty well accessible to anyone. And what it's meant is a greater necessity for people and businesses to display integrity.
Google's recent turmoil in China has prompted the company to halt the launch of two Android smartphones in the Chinese market. The company told Dow Jones Newswire on Tuesday that it has indefinitely postponed the Chinese debut of two mobile phones manufactured by Samsung and Motorola. The phones, which were to be sold by provider China Unicom, were initially set to hit China on Wednesday.
Normally China's internet censorship is a topic of hot interest for the Human Rights crowd at the State Department, but the fate of Google.cn in China should be watched closely by marketers, too. If the search site does disappear from the mainland, more is at stake than just paid search opportunities. Google is a key player in drawing advertisers to online media. The web -- and particularly the growing number of social networks -- have found the U.S. company to be a key catalyst for online marketing efforts.
Yahoo’s Chinese partner issued a scathing criticism of the US technology company at the weekend, calling it “reckless” for publicly supporting Google’s threat to quit the country in protest over a wave of Chinese cyberattacks. Alibaba Group, in which Yahoo holds a 40 per cent stake, said it had “communicated to Yahoo that Yahoo’s statement that it is ‘aligned’ with the position Google took last week was reckless given the lack of facts in evidence. Alibaba doesn’t share this view”.
We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake. Google’s (Google) actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts. Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good. Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.
On the desk of Jim O’Neill, chief economist for Goldman Sachs, stand four flimsy flags. They look out of place among the expensive computer terminals of the investment bank’s plush London office, like leftovers of a child’s geography homework or cheap mementos from backpacking trips to exotic parts of the world. But these flags hint at a more interesting story – of the latest way in which money and ideas are reshaping the world. The small scraps of fabric are pennants for big countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. And almost a decade ago, O’Neill decided to start thinking of them as a group – which he gave the acronym Bric.
In the post below, on Google standing up to China over its spying on dissidents and censorship, I note how Zeit Online calls Google a quasi-state — in a post under the headline “The Google Republic” — and Fallows says Google “broke diplomatic relations with China” as if Google were a nation. What this says, of course, is that the internet is the New World and Google is its biggest colonizer: the sun never sets on Google.
A hill, a giant chasm, and a cloud-covered peak. Close your eyes and picture a lopsided "M" for a second. That's the new landscape of advantage. And the recent skirmish between Google and China is its best example yet. On one side is the old high ground of the industrial era capitalism; on the other, the new high(er) ground of next-generation capitalism. The yawning chasm in between them is the gap between the 20th century and the 21st.
While China’s censorship policies are prompting Google to consider quitting its operations in the country, some technology companies see the restrictions as a golden business opportunity. More than a million people in China, including human rights activists and expatriates, are using special software to circumvent the nation’s complex online censorship system, known as the “Great Firewall.” This has created a booming market for software companies, which are capitalizing on the growing desire of China’s Internet users to fanqiang, or scale the wall, to visit Web sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
U.S. government officials and business leaders were supportive but wary of taking sides in Google Inc.'s battle with China, a sign of the delicate tensions between the growing superpower and the West. The White House said it would wait to comment until China responded to Google's threat to bolt from China, over censorship and alleged cyber spying. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke called Google's charge that it and dozens of companies were hacked "troubling" and encouraged China "to work with Google and other U.S. companies to ensure a climate for secure commercial operations in the Chinese market."
Google’s stunning declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country ricocheted around the world Wednesday. But in China itself, the news was heavily censored. Some big Chinese news portals initially carried a short dispatch on Google’s announcement but that account soon tumbled from the headlines and later reports omitted Google’s references to “free speech” and “surveillance.”
When Lenovo announced in December 2004 that it was taking over the PC business of IBM, it stunned employees at “Big Blue”, competitors in the industry, bankers and management experts. As most cross-border mergers and acquisitions fail anyway, how could this succeed? The US$1.75bn deal was unprecedented. It involved a company controlled by the Chinese state swallowing one of the world’s leading technology businesses. A company that had been selling in China only was attempting to transform itself into a global player with foreign markets accounting for 60 per cent of its sales.
The global downturn put some U.S. theme parks into bankruptcy and upended grand plans for new ones in the Middle East. But in Asia, a development boomlet is under way, as operators race to roll out parks and add attractions to draw in the region’s growing middle class. A Universal Studios is set to open early next year in Singapore at Resorts World at Sentosa, a sprawling development that includes a casino. Over the border in Malaysia, ground has just been broken on the first Legoland in Asia, due to open in 2012. In Hong Kong, the $750 million redevelopment of Ocean Park is to be completed in 2013, while Hong Kong Disneyland Resort recently began a $465 million expansion project that is to add three areas by 2014. And last month, Disney finally won approval from the Chinese government to build a theme park in Shanghai; it is expected to open in five to six years.
Following the widely reported news and subsequent recall of baby formula, pet food, and children’s toys due to contamination, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has taken proactive steps to address consumer fears about Chinese-made goods. The Ministry recently released a 30-second television commercial to air internationally as part of an effort to rebrand the “Made in China” label.
France's Groupe Danone finally lost its foothold in China this fall after a two-year legal battle with local beverage maker Wahaha. Apple's iPhone logged a disappointing debut there in November. Figuring out the Chinese retail market -- which posted 5.9 trillion yuan ($867.6 billion) in total sales in the first half of this year -- is far from a piece of cake for some big international corporations. But not for Kraft. The president of Kraft International, Sanjay Khosla, told Forbes how the world's second largest food company overhauled its recipe for success to align with the particular appetites of China's 1.3 billion people. It now boasts the biggest market share in China in two major categories: cookies and powdered beverages.
Daimler AG said Monday sales at its core Mercedes-Benz cars division rose 16% in November to 98,400 vehicles, as demand in many regions improved, with China showing particularly strong growth.
Best Buy, recently forced into a holiday shopping price war with retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart after suffering a 77% seasonal earnings drop in 2008, remains the largest US electronics retail chain, with about 1,000 stores. As is true for other retailers, the carnage hasn't stopped; Best Buy's net earnings for its second fiscal year quarter, which ended August 2009, fell 22% from the prior-year period.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall — who's the fairest of them all? That's the question most economists are asking. Many answer China, a few holdouts contend: America. I'd like to tell you a very different story, that clashes with both orthodoxies. Economic might isn't shifting. It's evaporating. Welcome to the Age of Decline. A new decade's breaking, and in it, people, companies, and countries will have to strategize differently. The story the macroeconomic tea leaves foretell isn't one of power shifting from America to China or anywhere else. It is a story of global economic might everywhere wavering and falling, unable to meet the new challenges of the 21st Century, The Age of Decline isn't just American: it's global, a descent into a new kind of economic dark age - unless different choices are made.
Unilever is turning on the cyber charm in Asia with a burst of social-media activities for brands like Pond's, Lux and Comfort. One effort in China, an experiment to use bloggers in a blind test of Pond's Age Miracle moisturizer, will become a regional marketing strategy for the skin-care brand.
China's economy has positively purred over the past year compared to the rest of the world, with its gross domestic product growth hovering around 8%. But retail stores, airlines and hotels got an extra bump during the first week of October, when the entire country took an eight-day holiday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
You may think you've never heard of Li Ning. But assuming you were one of the 4 billion or so people watching the opening ceremony of last year's Beijing Olympics, you've seen him. Remember the guy who lit the Olympic flame? The one who, as if by some superhuman power, levitated more than 100 feet and ran that mesmerizing aerial lap around the Bird's Nest stadium before setting the Olympic cauldron ablaze? That was Li Ning. And if he has his way, you won't be forgetting him again.
As Web 2.0 and Social Media became globally pervasive, the landscape proved expansive, overwhelming, and bewildering. It required a social cartographer in order to visualize its grandeur. Thus, in August 2008, the original Conversation Prism was born with the help of Jesse Thomas of JESS3. The Conversation Prism continues to rapidly evolve as social networks emerge, merge, and vanish. One thing that we cannot overlook is that the true language of engagement is indeed international. Communities around the world have rallied to adapt the Conversation Prism to the reflect the social networks that thrive within each country. So far, those countries include France, Japan, and China.
Young Chinese today are consumed by all things digital. Internet bars, bursting with netizens, are the size of football fields. More than 600 million individuals carry mobile phones and more than 60 million blog, double the number in the U.S. What is less understood is how they engage with new media -- and whether their emotional urges and self-expression are fundamentally different from Western kids.
Chinese carmakers are venturing on to the global stage with bids for Western brands from Volvo and Hummer to Saab, but there are doubts these inexperienced firms can manage the transformation such deals would bring. "Getting involved in European companies is likely to bring a complexity of personnel management that will blow their minds," said Graeme Maxton, a Europe-based independent auto industry analyst, noting Chinese companies' poor track record of managing their businesses.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the latest marketer in China to invite consumers to create an ad campaign, but the brewer has one rule: The commercial must feature ants. The U.S. beer giant is partnering with Tudou.com, a Chinese video-sharing site like YouTube, in a contest that lets consumers pitch ideas for a Bud TV spot that will run during the Chinese New Year in February 2010.
Customers hop into display beds and nap, pose for snapshots with the decor and enjoy the air conditioning and free soda refills. They just don't buy much.
Can Chinese companies capitalize on the global recession to better establish and develop their brands overseas? Many Chinese companies will likely invest in American companies (or brands) given the massive decline in asset values in the United States and Europe. But what do we mean when we say "better establish and develop" brands? We are asking whether Chinese corporations have intentions to promote their own brands in foreign markets. And whether any are in a position to compete at a price premium directly against established brands in Europe, America and Japan.
Greetings from the wonderful, if rather wet, city of Shanghai. About seven years ago I signed on with a big multi-national to train its marketing teams here in China. To be honest, when I started running the program I had little idea what to expect. Now, however, many years later, China exerts a strong pull over me.
The global recession has turned cash-hungry Western companies into takeover targets for Chinese marketers, and foreign countries into tempting new markets for Chinese brands and retail stores. Chinese companies haven't been hit to the same extent by the economic crisis as those in the U.S. and other major countries.
For a long time, the idea that language might shape thought was considered at best untestable and more often simply wrong. Research in my labs at Stanford University and at MIT has helped reopen this question.
Chinese brands have come a long way since the days of Mao where coats and boots came in two colors and consisted of dubious quality. Rising in complexity and caliber, brands such as Haier and Chery are not content to rule the middle kingdom and instead seek to invade new markets. Forget bringing your brand to China, are you prepared for the onslaught of Chinese brands in your home market?
Digital media and branded content largely have been seen as strategies for mature markets where TV advertising faces its greatest threats from media fragmentation and DVRs. But Unilever has found that such programs work in India and China as well as the U.S., and is making them increasingly common in global campaigns, even in developing markets.
As I’ve mentioned before I like my entrepreneurs risk-taking and a little crazy. Earlier this week on TechTicker, we ran an interview with a guy who fits that bill: Shai Agassi. at the end of the third segment (embedded below), Agassi said something that’s been sticking in my head ever since: America has to start making things or the economy won’t work. He argues you don’t have a country with just a service economy to support it. I’m starting to fear that he’s right, especially spending time last month in China and this week in central Africa, both places where manufacturing and consumer goods industries are being built fresh and in incredibly innovative ways. It’s a bit like what you kept hearing after the dot com bust: When things turn south it’s good to have hard assets to fall back on.
As it goes into its third season as a smash TV hit across the mainland, the Chinese version of "Ugly Betty" is also pioneering new levels of product-placement clutter. The show is set in an advertising agency rather than a fashion magazine, which enables the program to focus on all manner of products and their attributes. Mateo Eaton, who heads the branded-content division of Mindshare North Asia, acknowledged that the dense placements are a bit over the top, but advertisers -- and the TV producers they're paying -- aren't complaining at all.
Luxury goods consumers in China rank third in the world behind the Americans and Japanese, spending an average of US$ 6.5 billion a year. While the financial crisis has convinced many in the US and Japan that they can do without that Fendi bag, similar decreases in consumption of luxury goods in China have yet to appear.
Despite China’s massively growing internet market, international giants like Google and Facebook are having trouble making gains with the 300 million Chinese online users. China’s netizens are on average very young – 66.7 % of them are younger than 29 years old and 35.2 % of them are teenagers—with social networking and entertainment applications being the most popular. While companies like Facebook struggle to conquer market share in China and to create viable business models everywhere, their Chinese clones have built lucrative cash machines literally earning billions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, adopting Chinese methods may not help American social networks due both to cultural differences in Chinese user behavior and industry practices.
A new study by London-based market research firm Hall and Partners that examines how the economy is affecting consumer trends in the U.S., the U.K. and mainland China finds few surprises -- the UK and U.S. are pessimistic, while Chinese citizens see a bright future once the economy goes through short-term turmoil.
China's leaders are eager to see local companies invest in overseas assets, grow their businesses and improve the overall image of China. But the government isn't ready to loosen control over its own assets.
Barbie turns 50 this month, and to shake off a midlife crisis she's getting tattooed and opening the doors to her first megastore in China.