Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
No doubt like many of you, the bulk of this week (and last) has been spent attempting to get on top of my workload and capitalise upon the opportunity the Easter break has presented. Having said that, work and revision for the June papers is only optimised when effectively combined with an appropriate amount of rest and relaxation. For me that has mainly consisted of over-dosing on the hit TV series Breaking Bad.read more...»
I am cross-posting this from the Economics blog as I think it should be useful for BUSS4 students; in a rather low key report on the BBC website this week, I found the shock news that China had a trade deficit of $23bn in February. This is alongside the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which focuses on small privately owned businesses, and which gave a reading of 48.1 for March, compared to 48.5 in February - with any figure below 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. And today there is a forecast of the ‘official’ PMI, which looks at the larger state-owned factories; although this is slightly over the ‘expansion’ measure of 50, it is only predicted to come in at 50.3 - and is subject to a 0.3 downwards correction to allow for seasonal patterns, according to Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
A combination of excellent news articles from last week have helped my students and I to fully understand the size and scope of Alibaba. Former teacher (and self-confessed technophobe) Jack Ma’s online company has experienced exponential growth and led to fear and envy from some of China’s (and the world’s) biggest companies. However, in his modesty he has described himself as “a blind man riding on a blind tiger”, giving him instant legend-status in our eyes!
The attached presentation has videos, hyperlinks and infographics that allow students to focus on the various elements that have led to Alibaba’s potential $150bn valuation. Each slide focuses on a different section from the BUSS4 specification thus giving information on leadership, strategy, competition, diversification and the economic (electronic) environment.
Hope it helps.
Speaking at his annual address to parliament, premier Li Keqiang said “we are at a critical juncture where our path upwards is very steep… deep-seated problems are surfacing; painful structural adjustments need to be made”.
This comes at a time when there are reports of a potential sub-prime debt crisis in the “shadow banking” sector (worth between $604bn - $3.7 trillion, depending on the source).
Also, according to the Ministry of Human Resources, the number of job openings fell, with city jobs in Q4 falling 13.7% from the preceding quarter.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the first domestic corporate bond default happened last week. Energy company Shanghai Chaori Solar failed on a £9m interest payment. The state has previously bailed out Chaori and other such businesses, but chose not to this time, generating much speculation from analysts.
Many say it was a necessary move from the government to install a better risk culture, tackle China’s credit problems and starting with the “painful adjustments” necessary to decelerate growth.
However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated “We doubt that the financial system in China will experience a liquidity crunch immediately because of this default, but we think the chain reaction will probably start.”
This was echoed by Philip Li of China’s International Credit Rating, calling it “a domino effect”, and coupled with Robert Peston’s recent BBC article (and other sources below), should help students construct a strong case that the risks of operating in China now outweigh the rewards.
“students never really cognitively understand something until they can create a personal metaphor or model”
To help students understand how a business can overcome the many barriers to success in China, we used the metaphor of trying to gain the affections of a beautiful, foreign (but very high-maintenance) woman… called China! The analogy worked surprisingly well and we compiled the pros and cons on the attached PowerPoint.
To summarise, everybody loves China because…
- She’s beautiful
- She’s popular
- She’s rich (14% of global GDP in 2010)
- She has over 1 billion “things” to offer you
However, the problems are that…
- She’s very picky and discerning (48% of foreign businesses have failed within 2 years - WeberShandwick)
- She likes designer goods (“will purchase 20% of world’s luxury goods by 2015” - McKinsey)
- You don’t speak her language or know what she wants
- There are a lot of locals who do (35% of businesses feel comp from local is the 2nd biggest threat - The Economist )
- Her parents are strict and probably won’t like you (Hostile government - 32% see the Chinese government as the 3rd biggest threat)
- Her parents seem to prefer the locals (Protectionist approach – local businesses nurtured with fiscal and financial help)
So what do you do to succeed? The answer seems simple; learn why so many have failed, make sure you’re better than the rest, learn the language, culture and habits, give her what she wants and keep the parents happy!
This then led to application to businesses such as JLR, LinkedIn, KFC and Starbucks and what they did to build strong long-term relationships with the beautiful China.
My students were particularly interested in Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for the ridiculously high $19billion. We used the previous blog, then delved deeper and found a few great related articles; one explaining why it was a good price ($42 dollars for each of the 450m customers) but bad strategy and the other predicting that WhatsApp will not help them succeed in China. To summarise the two:
- WhatsApp is pro-privacy and data-free
- WhatsApp CEO Jan Kuom is sticking to his “ad-ban”
- WeChat – China’s domestic messenger service already has 300m customers and better functionality
- WeChat helps China’s economy and is subject to Chinese law (meaning “they” can keep tabs on the content).
- Chinese government banned Facebook, linked them with an act of terrorism and state media claimed that “80 percent of China’s net users felt Facebook should be punished”
- The government don’t want Facebook siphoning money and talent away from China’s domestic social media industry, most notably Weibo (China’s Twitter), whose profits have just jumped from $2.4m to $44.5m!
Segueing seamlessly to a social networking firm that seems to have secured a way into China; LinkedIn is trialing it’s Chinese language site via joint ventures with Sequoia China, China Broadband Capital and the aforementioned Weibo and WeChat!
Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said the deal has raised “difficult questions” for him, and has been forced to make various concessions in order to adhere to the Chinese Government’s censorship requirements, but believes that “LinkedIn's absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform,"
Overall, these combined articles give students relevant ammunition for each of the research “bullets” as it covers success, failure, methods of operation and ethical implications of entering the Chinese market.
It would appear that social network firms need to network with Chinese social network firms if they want to become social network firms that operate in China. Simple really.
After Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, I thought this made an interesting exam question. I've compiled a PowerPoint (Facebook_Whats_app.ppt) with graphs and hyper-links and asked students to research the facts behind the purchase. The main reasons seem to be:
- WhatsApp exponential growth was becoming a threat
- Facebook’s “determination to be the 'next' Facebook”!
- WhatsApp's comparative success in Europe
- Messaging companies becoming the social networks of choice for the young
- Google tried and failed
Whilst Facebook's share price fell and then recovered after the purchase, analyst Ian Maude stated "expensively buying every competitor does not feel like a long term strategy". Are Facebook, like Apple, losing their competitive edge?
Hope it helps.
We all know that the statistics about China's growth are awe-inspiring: a new power station every week, a new skyscraper every five days, and 30 new airports and 26,000 miles of motorways have been built in China in the last five years. Chinese outbound tourists are set to spend over £310bn on their travels this year - and that alone is a huge injection into the economies of other countries. A report last month showed Chinese investment in London real estate has risen more than 1,500 percent since 2010, increasing from 54 million pounds to more than 1 billion pounds at the end of the third quarter of 2013.
While Britain has been in the grip of the worst recession in a generation, China's economic miracle has surged forward.
Without this extraordinary growth, the depth of the slump in the developed economies would have been even worse; China's low cost output and their foreign exchange reserves have helped to keep the global economy growing at a time when any stimulus has been most welcome.
But, as Robert Peston explains in 'How China Fooled the World', the vast majority of this expansion has been built on credit from the 'shadow banking' system. There are huge developments of housing which have been built and bought up by investors at inflating prices, but which lie empty. As a result, the Chinese economy now has huge debts and there are doubts as to whether much of the money can ever be paid back. This sounds horribly reminscent of the bubble which built up immediately before the credit crunch in 2007-8 - but on an unimaginably bigger scale. What will happen to the rest of the global economy, if China is no longer there to support it?
There is only another 7 days to watch this excellent programme on i-player, and it is really worth devoting an hour to at the end of half term - could be very useful for several of the bullet points for June's BUSS4, particularly the second - the risks and rewards involved in trading with or operating in China - and last - how business strategy might be affected by developments in China.
Robert Peston's blog also has a supporting article. - which you can find here.
Does the combination of Apple’s falling sharing price and market share, their perceived lack of innovation post-Jobs and Samsung’s cross-licensing deal with Google spell trouble for Apple?
Attached is a 10 slide PowerPoint (Apple_V_Samsung_Research.ppt ) with infographics, hyperlinks, videos and questions that can be used to help students research the two tech giants.
As with the “Will Google rule the world” post, the lesson covers most of the following BUSS4 topics:
- Mission statements & corporate objectives
- Globalisation and emerging markets
- Technological change
Hope it helps!
OUP is one of the country's major academic book publishers, and naturally enough it has commissioned and published new studies on the outbreak of the First World War. A new book 'Saving the City', by Richard Roberts, covers the financial crisis which broke out in Britain, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.read more...»
Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Nest and current shopping spree into all things futuristic has made for an excellent BUSS4 case study. Attached is a 10 slide PowerPoint (Google_mergers_and_acquisitions.pptx) with videos, articles, hyper links and questions that can either be used as a homework task to start students on the road of research, a lesson in which students work independently and focus on the sections they find most interesting, or a catalyst for discussion about the similarities of Google, 1984 and Brave New World.
Whilst it focuses on acquisitions, by the end of the lesson all students were able to analyse Google in relation to the following BUSS4 topics:
- Mission statements, corporate aims and strategy
- Government intervention (or Google’s intervention with the government)
- Managing change
Most amusing is the Daily Mash's vision of a world run by Google... as if we have a choice!
You have a global brand. But, to maximise its strength in global markets, you need to take account of the local customer needs and wants. That is the essence of the concept of "localisation" and few global brands take this approach more seriously than Starbucks.read more...»
It has been along time coming (a six year negotiation), but Apple has finally signed the deal that enables it to connect to hundreds of millions of increasingly affluent consumers in China.
Apple has agreed a deal with China Mobile - the world's biggest network of mobile phone users - to sell iPhones to the network. China Mobile, which has about 760 million customers, will begin registering orders for iPhone from December 25 2013 in a deal that is likely to add many billions of dollars of annual revenues for Apple.read more...»
With the high-profile visits of George Osborne and Boris Johnson to China this week, there is a glut of resources available on the BBC website which could be very valuable to BUSS4 research.
Here are links to just a selection:read more...»
"The 20th Century was about dozens of markets of millions of consumers. The 21st Century is about millions of markets of dozens of consumers."
So said Joe Kraus, founder of a search engine called Excite in the middle of the 1990s. Never heard of it? That's not surprising; in 1999 it was a $6.7bn enterprise with hundreds of employees, but a year later the dot-com bubble burst and it disappeared from the market place. But this quote is one of in an article about Peter Day's Radio 4 Archive programme to be broadcast tonight, and already recommended by Michael Owen in his blog below; forgive me for this repetition, but this is such a brilliant article that it really merits a second look, and hopefully between us we will convince you of that!read more...»
Innovation turns business markets upside down, it alters the price and use of resources, it creates and destroys revenue flows and profitability as well as the way we work.
Peter Day a former BBC presenter considers a significant changes in a BBC Radio 4 series this weekend. Consider how the internet, search engines and 3D printing or additive manufacturing might alter market production processes, job opportunities marketing and economies.
There is much to discover and discuss in his superb introductory article linked above. The broadcasts are linked here.
A new study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has concluded that emerging markets are more important than ever, and they make up a large share of many multinational companies’ revenues and growth.
However, BCG suggests that, despite the importance of emerging markets, multinationals have not mastered key markets such as China, India and Brazil. The reason? Multinationals are “not playing to win”.read more...»
The horrific Bangladesh factory disaster has highlighted a number of business issues and proved a stark reminder of the global effects our purchasing decisions may or may not have on people halfway around the world. Tom White has already put up a blog with some initial thoughts; I thought I’d pose some further questions and examine some of the issues raised in that post.
A great starting point would be to listen to the ever-reliable Business Daily, from the BBC World Service. Their programme In the Balance invites guests to debate a topical business issue, and this week, the Rana Plaza disaster was under discussion.
One of the first questions to ask is to examine the extent to which firms which are supplied by such factories are responsible. There were more immediate causes, of course, such as the owner’s actions and the culpability of local regulation and enforcement (or lack of). But this is not the first time there have been such disasters, nor are the poor conditions in such factories surprising. So is it right that chains such as Primark continue to use such suppliers? Isn’t it their fault, with their demands for low prices and increased flexibility to meet the needs of the fast fashion market? Do they have a responsibility to ensure fair and safe working practices in factories they don’t own and which they are merely customers of? A lot of people would argue that yes, they do. But isn’t that the same as arguing we as consumers should audit the supply chains of the shops which we buy from? Primark is as much a customer as we are.
Perhaps we’re all guilty of picking up on ideas or stories that support a particular view that you feel is right. Ever since I began reading about doubts over the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring I’ve seen more stories on the same theme. There was Bob, who had outsourced his own IT job to China. Then came a special report in The Economist that asked some searching and detailed questions too (you can read more here).
And now the definitive proof - the "Nation's Noodle" is coming home. Golden Wonder's pot noodles are currently made in China and shipped 10,000 miles to the UK, but the 191-year-old British company that makes the product has cancelled its Chinese contracts in favour of making its own noodles in Leeds.read more...»
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V appointed Frans van Houten as Chief Executive in April 2011. The new CEO has reviewed the group's operations, and has taken decisions to reshape the firm.
My students know that I love the radio. Many a spare half an hour can be whiled away with a podcast of The Bottom Line (which returns on Thursday/Saturday this week), or More or Less, or Peter Day’s World of Business. And the great thing about this form of learning is that it can overlap with other tasks – there’s no opportunity cost! Listen to a business/economics podcast whilst at the gym, going for a run, doing the washing-up, whatever…
But whilst Radio 4 is well-scouted territory, but one students might not be so familiar with is NPR’s Planet Money. This show, from America’s public radio, is quite close in style to R4’s More or Less with a more of a business focus. 2 fifteen minute shows are podcasted a week.
This edition is a great place to start.
The central thrust of their argument is that the advantages of offshoring work (outsourcing overseas) are falling, fast. The logic of returning work to the developed economies looks fairly convincing.read more...»
This is a really important development for business students who need to appreciate the dynamics of the global economy to understand. The OECD has forecast that, within four years, China will overtake the USA to become the largest economy in the world. The value of China's GDP in 2013 alone is forecast by the OECD to be bigger than all the Eurozone economies put together. China has arrived - and it has hugely significant implications for business.read more...»
As the October 10th deadline approaches, the board of BAE face significant difficulties to
complete the proposed merger with EADS.
The BAE EADS merger proposal ought to help pupils attempt develop analytical skills using PESTLE, SWOT or stakeholder models. Can you use these management tools to develop your analysis and evaluation and go beyond application and understanding?
Read on about a couple of new shows ideal for business studentsread more...»
Fantastic lesson resource here from the BBC Magazine on the global reach (and history) of Coca-Cola. The recent decision to allow the sale of Coca-Cola in Burma means that there are just two countries in the world where it is not permitted to buy the iconic global beverage. Can you guess which two countries these are?
As the article explains, the Coca-Cola brand has been closely aligned to geo-political events over its 126 year history, largely as a result of its heritage in the USA.
The scale of the new shirt sponsorshop deal agreed between Manchester United and General Motors Chevrolet brand is staggering and a great example of the benefits a brand can enjoy when it becomes truly global.read more...»
News has been released this afternoon that Walgreen, a US company that operates 7,890 pharmacies across the United States, is buying a 45% stake in Boots, which has more than 3,300 health and beauty retail stores in the UK and 11 countries around the world, a strong internet retail presence, a manufacturing facility in Nottingham, as well as a wholesale business which supplies pharmacies and doctors in 21 countries. The deal, which is being reported as a MERGER rather than a takeover, has been under discussion for 18 months, although it still has to be agreed by regulators. Walgreen also have the option to take the remaining 55% of the shares in the next three years.read more...»
A simply fascinating piece of analysis by the respected Asymco website here which breaks down the costs of each individual element of what goes into an iPhone. Has there ever been a better example of added value to show students - though they may be somewhat surprised by how much contribution is made on each iPhone shipped!read more...»
A good article here which analyses the strategic challenges facing Sony and its new CEO Kazou Hirai.
As we’ve reported recently on the Blog, Sony is now undertaking a significant retrenchment strategy, including the loss of over 10,000 jobs (or 6 per cent of its global workforce) over the next 12 months. That sounds a lot, although it ought to be put in some context - Nokia has made over 30,000 job losses since Stephen Elop began his retrenchment strategy!read more...»
Our BUSS4 blog has a series of streamed revision presentations which students may find helpful in supporting their studies ahead of the exam. They are listed below:read more...»
I was reading today that BMW i8 engines are to be built in Birmingham. Why would the German-based car maker want to produce engines in the UK? What’s brought them here?
I often find this is a great induction session for students who are new to Business Studies, or those progressing from AS to A2 and are looking to apply their knowledge and understanding.read more...»
In the 1980s and 1990s, Ford embarked on a series of takeovers Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover, all of which were sold off to meet the firm’s liabilities. It also had built up a substantial stake in the Japanese Mazda company, holding almost 1/3 of the share capital, making a successful bid by rival multinational car makers less likely.
Today’s business news included an announcement that Mazda was forming an alliance with Alfa Romeo develop a new two-seater rear-wheel-drive sports car.read more...»
The topic of emerging markets is hugely important for BUSS4 students. The economic growth and large populations of the ‘BRIC’ nations (amongst others) has meant many businesses, including some of the tutor2u twelve: have been targeting these countries as part of their strategies for growth. Examples include Starbucks who plan to have 1,500 coffee shops in China by 2015, and Apple as their Shanghai store sells more iPhones per square foot than any other Apple store in the world.read more...»
Cable and Wireless Worldwide has 20,500km of fibre-optic cables in the UK, owning this would mean that Vodafone doesn’t have develop a network from scratch, estimated at £5bn. Vodafone like other mobile operators needs additional capacity to cope with the increased use of smartphones - downloads of music, video, photos etc.read more...»
At our A2 Business revision workshops in March we predicted that Sony would quickly become an essential research case study for students in 2012 and perhaps beyond, as we anticipated the strategic review being carried out by Hirai Kazou as he took over as CEO of Sony from Sir Howard Stringer. Events over recent days have supported that view. Sony’s plight - and proposed turnaround strategy - is packed full with fantastic business strategy materials. Perfect for comparing and contrasting with the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google & HTC.
Hirai’s announcement has been well covered in all the business media, particularly the online business television channels. Here is a selection of clips which help explain the strategy and also provide some examples of experts analysing and evaluating the likely success of the turnaround:
Update: BBC news, May 2012: Sony shares tumble to 31-year low amid record lossesread more...»
This revision presentation provides an overview of the topic of emerging markets. It highlights some examples of how businesses have pursued a growth strategy in emerging markets and also how developed economies have seen investment coming in the opposite direction. A brief overview of the methods and benefits/drawbacks of international expansion is also provided.read more...»
Chinese companies have historically been characterised as low-cost, low-quality producers of manufactured goods. However, there is growing evidence of a new breed of Chinese company emerging that is able to compete on the world stage.read more...»
A great article here for students researching the competitive environment in the consumer electronics industry. Students should certainly be familiar with the strategies of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony and others. But have they heard of Huawei? It looks like they might soon, if Huawei is successful in its objective of grabbing a significant share of the smartphone and tablet markets.read more...»
You’ll recognise some of these brands: Crowne Plaza; Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo. They are all owned by InterContinental Hotels Group and you’ll find them in just about every major city in the world, from Chicago to Munich; from Mumbai to Sydney. IHG is a global hotels group with more guest rooms than any other hotel group in the world – over 645,000 rooms in more than 4,400 hotels in over 100 countries. But have you heard of Hualuxe? You might do soon…read more...»
A quick heads up for business students and teachers who have no reason to follow the Economics blog - Geoff Riley has posted an item about VW’s growth and profits. There is a one-minute video which would be an excellent lesson starter, with hints about the acquisitions and competitive strategy which have led to a 15% growth in sales and doubling of profits, and their focus on emerging markets - plenty here which could lead into an investigation of the company for BUSS4 students.
The Tata takeover of Jaguar Land Rover (“JLR”) in 2008 is one of our five “must research” deals for the AQA BUSS4 research theme in 2012. And this recent article provides students with some compelling evidence about how successful the takeover has been for Tata, the private Indian conglomerate that is now the UK’s largest manufacturer. The Telegraph reports that JLR made record pre-tax profits of £559m in the final three months of 2011 as demand for its premium cars soared in Asia. This follows on from JLR’s record profits of £1.1bn in 2010.read more...»
The first time that any reporters have been allowed inside the iPad factory in China - and what an insight! This clip has it all for superb business studies lesson starter. Technology in production of course; but much more interesting is the issue of people management. Thought-provoking…read more...»
A new takeover has been announced this morning and its one that many students researching takeovers and mergers might want to use a topical case study. For many, the products involved will be close to their hearts…read more...»
Last Wednesday, Vestas the leading supplier of wind turbines posted a substantial operating loss of €166m on its operations. This has led to the resignation of the Chief Financial Officer Henrik Norremark, and the Chairman Bent Carlsen and two other main board directors. Norremark was about to be promoted to Chief Operating Officer, in control of the firm’s manufacturing operations.read more...»
I think the song goes something like that….Starbucks has been very popular in this blog lately with a number of posts across different topics. It seems to be all good news at the moment as they pursue a number of different strategies for achieving growth. And I used this video clip to get my students to identify three out of the four main ways of growing a business.read more...»
We know that the BUSS4 is a big fan of the Apple and Steve Jobs - and with good reason. As our BUSS4 Topic Tracker indicates, a previous essay question (Jan 2010) used the example of Steve Jobs to ask students to evaluate how easy it is for a Chief Executive to change a struggling business into a more successful one.
Steve Jobs shares much in common with another well-known entrepreneur and CEO - Howard Schultz (Starbucks). Both men founded, left and then returned to lead a turnaround of their respective businesses. Both have taken on the challenge of taking a business idea through rapid growth and then also manage a global brand in a much more uncertain external environment.
Might Howard Schultz feature in a future AQA BUSS4 essay choice? Its certainly possible and this article from Ernst & Young ought to be essential reading for any A2 business student who wants to build their understanding of Schultz and his leadership style and business strategy for Starbucks.read more...»
As of 1 January 2012 there are 17,244 Starbucks outlets around the world. Not one of them is operated as a franchise - until now. Starbucks has announced that it is looking to the franchise model as part of its organic growth strategy, with the first franchise store likely to be opened in London later in 2012.read more...»