Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Few of My Recently 'Shared' Blog Reads

Innovation News in China 来自中国的创新新闻
By Chloe Ng, frog shanghai - December 9, 2010 via Dong Xi Design Mind

On Nov 18, Ying Zhang, frog’s general manager in Asia was invited to speak in the 15th Advisory Council for the Mayor of Lu Wan District, Shanghai. Ying delivered a speech on “Suggestions to promote creativity industry in the Luwan District”. More than 100 people including the mayor of Lu Wan and officials from different government departments as well as the media attended the event。 Regarded as the leading creativity consultancy in China, frog Shanghai was recently nominated as the representative of the creative industry to share our global experience from TED, WEF and other international events to provide a perspective on how the government can play a facilitator role to boost innovation and creativity in China. We also provided suggestions to the government on how to foster creative environment for four key target audience: individuals, corporations, educators and C-Level Executives. Ying also gave examples of the incubation programs from Tokyo, Bangkok, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In the same week, Rainer Wessler and I travelled to Guangzhou, China to participate in two government-sponsored events. The Guangdong Industrial Design Training Centre invited Rainer to present how the two notions of innovation strategy and craftsmanship need to play alongside each other to build successful and meaningful products. We also visited Nanhai Innovation Campus, a brand new training facility and a model shop that is equipped with the more than 20 mold making machines from the US and Europe. Rainer also joined the jury panel of the “Xing-shi Cup” International Household Appliances and Consumer Electronic Products Innovation Design Competition which attracted more than 1500 entries .The chairman of the jury panel, Mr. Liu Guanzhong from Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University together nine other experts conducted a face-to-face final judging to select the winners from 150 finalists. Rainer will give a keynote speech on the Award Ceremony on Dec 12.

Innovation becomes a hot topic in China. Shanghai has been recently honored with UNESCO’s “City of Design”. Shanghai was the third city awarded the City of Design because of its excellent architecture and fashion design.  Beijing has a strong foothold for art and culture while Shenzhen is the motherland of the household and consumer electronic products in the Pearl Delta. There is a very strong creative energy almost in every big city. The city government tried to find their unique positioning to promote the local industries by leveraging the local expertise and resources.  In China, there are more than 1,000 design and innovation related events happening in a year.  China’s government has a very strong vision to convert its fate from “Made-in-China” to “Invent-in-China.” This may require a lot of baby steps to achieve this goal. However, the determination is very strong, as Chinese people are already open to learning the best practices from intellectual exchanges and harness China’s entrepreneurship spirits and lower R&D cost. The transformation will be happening soon! >>念书中文

Retail Innovations You May Have Missed
December 15, 2010 from Access Asia

"There have been a number of very interesting changes in strategy among China's retailers lately that may have escaped your attention, and we thought were rather significant.

For instance, there is the new 37,000 square feet format of Wal-Mart's compact hypermarkets in China (see also here, here which have been based upon similar formats used in Latin America. The new format will operate under the "Smart Choice" banner (facebook), and was launched in November in Zhangshu, a town of 500,000 people in Jiangxi province. The new format concept is expected to help Wal-Mart to reach more Chinese consumers in rural areas and smaller cities, according to Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart International.

This interesting development follows an increasing number of urban retailers entering the rural market, while large-scale rural operators (chiefly New Cooperation Joint-Stock Trade Chain (see info here, here, here (Goldman Sach's Invests In NCS),  - or NCS as they tend to be known, and who we have mentioned here before) are now moving into urban areas, creating a crossover between these two retail development trends.

As we discussed last week, many of the big retailers are beginning to take online retail seriously now. Wal-Mart is one of those (although, interestingly, only for their Sam's Club warehouse club stores for now). Tesco and Carrefour are also working on online platforms. Combining an increasingly deep penetration of stores into more low-tier cities, and rural counties, coupled with online stores, will lay a significant infrastructural advantage as more Chinese shoppers inevitably shift to ordering their groceries online.

China Post Hyper Market Opening
Another interesting development was the entry of China Post into the grocery retail market. Yes, we kid you not! Here is a photo to prove that we have not lost our Christmas marbles... 
This was the first of seven outlets to be completed in late 2010, with another 1,500 planned across the wealthier rural areas of Hebei and Shandong in the near term, and a total 10,000 eventually across the country. The whole chain is the result of a JV between China Post and US investment company Horizon Group. Most of the outlets will be small, at about 330m2, with roughly 1,500 local and imported products, and will also provide agricultural goods.

So, yet again China throws a curve ball, and the time put into market models and development projections using fancy software based upon received wisdom about what China should be doing all goes down the toilet. Yes, rural China really is happening, and it is happening a lot faster than most people predicted.

Access Asia is a subscription website, although I don't have a subscription (I'm too cheap :-), it looks like they have a whole lot of great info on the China Market and doing business in Asia)

Wal-Mart Building 300 "HyperMarket" Stores in China

By Grab Networks December 3, 2010

"Wal-Mart (WMT) is up pre-market Thursday, on news it is bringing its  "compact hypermarket" format developed in its Latin American markets to rural China. The retailer is making a bid to woo lower-income Chinese consumers. The CEO of the company's international business, Doug McMillon, told the Financial Times that the costs to operate these new units will be less, so the return on investment will be doubled. The stores built in this format are smaller, built with cheap materials and can have no air conditioning. The superstore's French competitor, Carrefour, already has 100 "hypermarkets" in China. Walmart is looking to plant 300 hypermarket stores in the People's Republic.The risk of investment is whether the population in mid-sized cities and rural areas have the funds to shop at Walmart.International revenues represent near 25% of the retailer's $400 billion in yearly sales. However, overseas business accounts for just a third of operating income. U.S. sales grew at a rate of 1.

[Vietnam] Export price index increases 

December 9, 2010 from Vietnam Business News

Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on December 9 said that the Vietnam’s price index of 11 export items in November continued to increase by 1.4 percent from the previous month, and 10.8 percent versus the same period last year. Some export commodities saw high rises in price such as seafood, coffee, rice, rubber, footwear, electricity >> Continue Reading

[Former] Interiors of Wikileaks’ (former) server bunkers in Sweden

December 11. 2010 via Home Designing , originally posted November 4, 2010
Prior to the recent hub-bub which resulted in Wikileaks being booted from Sweeden (not to mention France) Home Designing Blog posted these awesome pix of the Wikileaks internet company. Although they are no longer there, it's still a super rad, James Bond / Austin Powers evil lair.

Check out the complete blog posting for rad videos and more pix.

Dec 13, 2010 10:17 PM from Jing Daily

The Porsche 911 Edition Style, making its
debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show
"Alongside such high-profile debuts like the Renault Latitude and the Baojun 630 at the upcoming Guangzhou Auto Show (December 21-27), Porsche is set to send a delegation of its limited-edition 911 “Edition Style” series. 

Limited to a run of 188 vehicles, and expected to cost around US$225,000 (1.5 million yuan), the 911 Edition Style series features a limited-edition dashboard plaque and customized treadplate. However, unlike other recent limited-edition models like the Bentley Continental China, which Jing Daily profiled last spring, Porsche doesn’t appear to be planning any further modifications to the 911 Edition Style model specifically for the China market. (Though the fact that they’re producing only 188 of them seems like a subtle nod to China, where the number eight is considered auspicious.) ... >> Continue Reading

Dec 13, 2010 3:46 AM via the Thought LEADERS blog

"2010 is almost over so as usual it's time for the year in review list of the BEST posts we've published in 2010.

...this list is comprised of our most viewed, most forwarded, quirkiest, most provocative work as judged by you the readers (with a little of our discretion thrown in). We've also included a few hidden gems we think deserve another shot in the spotlight. There's also a kicker bonus post on the list just for good measure (it's a "wayback" - and speaking of wayback, check out the photo on the trophy... yes... that's me '80's style baby!).

here are a few of them... check out the complete post for all here

this one is LOL funny! Most Viewed/Forwarded: Critical Tips Every Traveler Must Know. This thing whipped around the web at the speed of light. I guess many of you are just as frustrated as I am with the stupidity that occurs on planes, trains, and automobiles. You might want to read it to make sure you're not enraging other passengers around you.

Best Attack: Hate Presenting? That's Okay - They Hate Listening to You. This one is an attack on all horrible presenters. Are you one of them? Take a read and find out if you cut the mustard.

I already wrote a rant, I mean post, about this one here... Best Use of a Jedi to Make a Point: If You Don't Read This, You're Going to Die. This category changed it has because monkeys in the future jedis are not. Yoda makes some great points about how important it is to never stop learning.

Best Career Enhancing Advice: The Big Jump - Go From Having Answers to Asking Questions. This one really resonated with folks looking to take on higher level roles and advance their career. You need to move from being the answer provider to being the question asker.

Wayback Winner: 10 Reasons Your Team Hates You (They Just Won't Say It To Your Face). This is the greatest post I've ever written. It has it all: it's a list, it feeds on fear, insecurity, and drama. Read it. I promise you'll love it.

Dec 12, 2010 11:52 PM from China Bystander

The World Trade Organisation’s ruling at the end of last week in favor of China’s appeal against E.U. anti-dumping tariffs of imports of Chinese screws and other fastenings is significant. It undercuts the basis on which the E.U. and the U.S. have imposed a welter of similar antidumping tariffs against other Chinese imports (WTO report in full). Chinese goods have been the subject of antidumping measures by the E.U. and U.S. in 445 cases over the past decade, accounting for one in four of those imposed by all WTO members (which has included China since 2001).
The essence of the WTO’s ruling is that the methodology that the E.U. uses to assess the true production cost of Chinese goods is flawed and thus there are factors other than state aid that makes their manufacture cheaper than European-produced equivalents. Beijing has publicly played down the importance of the decision, but E.U. officials have described it as a “significant setback”. They have 60 days to appeal. We believe that unless the E.U. can see some sort of workaround, a challenge will be mounted because of the precedent it sets. With Beijing playing increasing legal hardball at the WTO, it is game on.

Louis Vuitton is China’s Number One Brand

November 30, 2010 from Stylites
Louis Vuitton ($LVMUY.PK) is the most desired luxury brand in China, according to a list by Bain & Company, that ranks Chanel and Gucci second and third. Despite the omnipresence of those tired names, the retail and luxury landscapes are diversifying. According to this Global Times piece, Chinese are becoming more selective, focusing on style rather than merely the perceived status of a brand, and CNN reports that many Chinese luxury consumers don’t care about brand name at all, prioritizing the shopping experience.
More and more, luxury buying will be happening beyond conventional shopping centers.
Fifth ranked brand, Armani is launching the first online store by a luxury brand that is tailored exclusively for the Chinese market. Still more interestingly, China Duty Free Group (CDFG) has opened China’s the largest Duty Free Shop in Sanya. This should become one of the main attractions at China’s number one luxury resort destination. Will this mean Chinese no longer must visit Paris to get their brand-fix at a reasonable price or will the mark-up be higher than in other mainland shopping centers? It might not matter.  According to my friend who manages a major hotel on Sanya’s Yalong Bay, most guests are government officials and their families visiting on the dime of business partners.  A shopping budget for this new duty-free store might become part of the standard Sanya “package”. What would luxury and hotel brands do without the special relationship between officialdom and business?

The Villa's shopping experience is developing
with a new kind of luxury shopper in China

"Shanghai fashionistas love a good label. Louis Vuitton. Shang XiaChanel. Even the casual observer notices the glut of people on the street sporting their designer digs with logos prominently on display.
Yes, labels matter.
But just a little way away from the super brands of Nanjing Lu is a place where luxury isn’t all monograms and logos: The Villa. ...." >> Continue Reading

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