Studying this year's research theme really requires students to have a solid understanding of the macroeconomic factors which affect the demand for products made by UK manufacturers. Yesterday, the ONS released the latest figures for changes in UK industrial output, which are worth spending some time on. Below I have extracted the key points of the ONS's report, and added some analysis of the reasons for the changes.read more...»
A fantastic documentary for the Section A Research Theme (bullets 2, 4 & 5), that also ticks a great many boxes for the BUSS1, 2 & 3 specifications.
Channel 4’s Inside Rolls Royce charts the production of the Celestial (a one-off showpiece car that has more bling than Liberace, as well as an optional £20,000 picnic hamper!). It covers many topics within Human Resources, Operations, and Marketing, but my highlights are as follows:
- The front of house manager who checks the length of the grass
- The relentless quality control that almost breaks a man
- The marketing of the new Rolls Royce Wraith in Abu Dhabi, which includes hand selected movers-and-shakers from the city getting to test drive it around the formula 1 track
The documentary is available via this link (if you don’t have a C4 account, it takes only 2 minutes to register) and I’ve created a worksheet with 29 questions (numbers correspond to the minutes) intended to promote discussion about a brand synonymous with British excellence.
Hope it helps
It seems that all is not well in the global market for luxury goods. There is increasing evidence of a slowdown in demand for luxury products. One reason is slower economic growth in the emerging economies. The geo-political environment isn't helping either, with unrest in the Ukraine and Hong Kong contributing to consumer unease. Add in the worries over the Ebola outbreak and a clampdown on public corruption in China - it is not hard to see why demand for luxury goods is weakening.
But, is there another underlying reason - are consumers also getting fatigued with some luxury brands?
This useful FT video explores the issues.read more...»
As BUSS4 students start on their research into UK manufacturing, one piece of data that they should keep an eye on is the CIPS Purchasing Managers Index. This is produced monthly by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply by surveying managers responsible for purchasing materials in manufacturing industries, and so it gives an indication of the level of activity. A reading above 50 (shown by the red line on the graph above) shows growth in activity, below 50 shows a decline.read more...»
The Chinese internet giant, ran by former English teacher Jack Ma, has become the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in History.
Having studied them last year, I considered buying shares in them, hemmed-and-harred, and didn’t. What a mistake! Shares started at $68 and rose to $92.70, an increase of 38%. Had I invested my spare £5mil (left-overs from the Apple shares I bought in 1999), I would have been up by a cool £1,900,000!
I used this as a way to introduce Public Limited Companies, but also linked it to risk and reward, raising finance and working out percentage increase.
Hope it helps
Tesco's share price slid again today, although the firm has announced that the new Finance Director Alan Stewart started work three months earlier than expected.read more...»
The world’s largest multinationals are in a constant search for revenue and profit growth, with many targeting emerging markets as the best source of growth that will satisfy their shareholders.read more...»
The headline above from the FT really caught my eye this morning. Tata Group, perhaps best known in the UK for its ownership of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Corus, has set out ambitious plans to invest $35bn in capital spending over the next three years as part of its vision for the next 10 years.read more...»
As far as I know, Pot Noodles don't usually feature as a typically Brazilian dish, but they are just one of the products jumping on the World Cup bandwagon.
There are plenty of other examples to add - Domino's have new Fiesta and Rio pizzas, Tilda have 'sweet and spicy' rice and Lucozade have a new Brazilian variety. These and others all feature in an article about the range of Brazilian-themed products appearing in the supermarkets.
How on earth is Starbucks making a success of its push into China? China is a tea-drinking nation. In fact, China has the world's oldest and largest tea-drinking culture. Chinese people hate coffee – they say it tastes so bitter it is like tasting medicine.
But, look at the evidence. Starbucks has been in China for 13 years, with an initial presence in the major tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Starbucks expects China to become its second-largest market by 2014 aiming to have 1,500 outlets throughout China by 2015. The number of staff employed by Starbucks in China is forecast to rise from 12,000 to 30,000.
According to the latest Euromonitor report, Starbucks has a 60 per cent share of China's emerging coffee house market, well above its closest competitor.
That sounds like a success story. So how has it done it?read more...»
The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) partners with UKTI to promote trade between the two countries. Their mission is “...to help UK companies of all sizes and sectors, whether new entrants or established operations, access the full potential of the fastest growing market in the world.”
They publish a regular magazine called Focus, and I have been through a few recent editions looking for nuggets of information to add to the files of research for BUSS4 Section A answers. Here is a summary of what I have found – I hope that some of it is useful:read more...»
There was a great radio programme on today, For all the TV in China. As Chinese consumers become TV owners, there is a vast market for entertainment shows, and as this is one of the UK's biggest exports (see this recent report from the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport which sets out how creative industries are worth a whopping £8million per hour to the UK economy), there are plenty of UK production companies who are keen to sell their products to China.
It turns out that the Chinese can't get enought of shows like Take Me Out, and there are plenty of ways of adapting their formats so that they reflect Chinese tastes and cultural sensitivities. The programme is 28 minutes of BUSS4 gold dust, with a good sprinkling of cultural awareness scattered over it as well.
There is plenty of concern about the slowdown in China's growth, and what this might mean for businesses looking at expansion via China. To what extent should those businesses be worried about slower growth? The issues here are very relevant to the external environment in China, and could be useful for bullet points 1 and 6:read more...»
In true tutor2u style, here we have an adapted resource that asks students to decide whether the annual sales ($bn, 2013) of one major global brand is 'higher' or 'lower' than another. The original resource was an economics activity comparing the GDP growth of different countries (available from this link).
This resource has been compiled by Paul Hoang, using data from Fortunes Top 100 companies. It is an interactive Powerpoint game that asks students to string together as long a sequence of correct answers as possible (the highest possible score is 36). The screen shows one business and its annual sales revenue for last year and then shows the name of a second business. The student has to say whether they think the annual sales revenue of the second company is higher or lower then that of the first business. Answer correctly they are offered another business to compare. Answer incorrectly, the student is 'out' and someone else can be invited to play.
This is a fun, interactive resource that gives students an insight into the relative sales figures of some of the world's major companies.
Click this link to download the resource.
Boston Consulting Group have produced a fascinating new report which investigates the competitiveness of the world's top 25 goods exporting nations. Their press release highlights significant changes in the world order over the last decade. The newly-minted BCG Global Manufacturing Cost-Competitiveness Index incorporates four factors: energy costs, productivity, wages and exchange rates. That analysis shows that Mexico now has lower manufacturing costs than China, while Brazil is now one of the highest-cost countries, and the UK is the cheapest location in western Europe.
Hostile government, the threat of a financial meltdown, slowing growth, higher wages and an ageing population. Is China still the best option for foreign investment?
Compare this to India's younger, cheaper workforce, more welcoming government and forecasted largest middle-class population by 2030.
To allow students to analyse and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of investment in China , I've attached a research task based on India that gives key economic and demographic information, and looks at the "Indian strategies" for the following Tutor2u BUSS4 Top Ten businesses: JLR, Starbucks, KFC, Apple, Samsung and Ikea.
Good luck with the revision this term!
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...»
A great BBC article and video highlighting why China’s domestic mobile phone companies are now the greatest threat to Apple and Samsung’s success.
The extracts below will add weight to any argument that foreign mobile companies will struggle to succeed in the Chinese market.
- Shenzhen, once a fishing village is now referred to as China’s Silicon Valley. It is home to Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE (three of the five largest mobile handset companies in the world) and a further 6000 handset manufacturers.
- China produces more than half of the 2.5 billion phones sold around the world annually.
- China now spends around $300bn (£182bn) a year on R&D, compared with a US spend of $450bn, and it is estimated to surpass Europe by 2018 and the US by 2022.
In the interview with Shi Lirong, Global President of ZTE (now the most innovative company in the world, filing 50,000 international patents last year), he lays out his three-pronged strategy of customer-focused innovation, recruitment of the best staff from around the world and the development of business partnerships.
Very impressive stuff!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.
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.
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.
The airline Cathay Pacific has just announced their 9th annual business awards competition, for" British businesses which have successfully capitalised on opportunities to operate in China and Hong Kong". The scheme is run with the China-Britain Business Council and sponsored by HSBC and The Daily Telegraph - and is valuable for BUSS4 students as the Telegraph's information about it has a number of case studies and stories of businesses which are former winners of the awards.
You can find out a little about 2012 winners Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the business standards company BSI and the fair-trade Chinese tea producer Herbal Health, see why the CEO of Fired Up says that entering the Chinese market is essential for British business, and why the chief executive of the China-Britain Business Council says that he has his work cut out breaking down the misconceptions that surround doing business in the country, and bringing the real opportunities into the spotlight.
It has arrived there somewhat later than its major competitors. However, McDonald's has finally open its first outlet in Vietnam. It is a significant moment for an icon of globalisation, not the least given the historical connection between the USA and Vietnam.read more...»
Lenovo has agreed to buy smartphone manufacturer Motorola from Google for $2.9bn.
As Puneet Pal Singh from the BBC explains in his excellent analysis of the deal, this is not the first time that Lenovo has used an acquisition to accelerate its growth (a good example of "external growth).
Back in 2005 it acquired the desktop and laptop business of IBM which immediately catapulted it into the global top division of computer manufacturers. Now, Lenovo is the world's largest manufacturer of computers and it has set its sights on building global market share in mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets.
Overnight, the takeover of Motorola puts Lenovo into third place globally, overtaking Huawei, which itself also has global leadership ambitions. Regular readers of the business blog might also ask - where are Sony and Nokia? The answer, of course, is falling fast as competition intensifies.read more...»
Are the good old days over? Is the gold rush of multinationals into China at its end?
I think this is a very useful leader article in The Economist which ought to be part of the research notes for aspiring BUSS4 students looking at China.read more...»
The Year of the Snake proved a challenging one for major bureaucrats in China who had previously enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. However, a new focus on rooting out corruption amongst China's public servants, is catching up with corrupt officials. As senior public servants fall into line with the new, stricter regime, demand for certain luxury products is falling in China! In this video from the FT, Ben Marino examines the changes and the possible implications for businesses that have relied on lavish spending.
A great example of how a change in the political environment can impact directly on business!read more...»
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...»
The challenges for businesses outside China gaining a profitable share of fast-growing markets in China have been illustrated by two recent announcements by leading multinational cosmetics firms - L'Oreal and Revlon.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...»
A fascinating survey has been released by the UK's Manufacturing Advisory Service ("MAS"). It reports that a growing number of manufacturing SMEs are bringing production back to the UK from overseas. This is a process called "onshoring" which, of course, is the reverse process to "offshoring".read more...»
A terrific six minute video here which highlights and then explains five key challenges for a business outside China wanting to do business in China. Well worth a watch. An underlying theme across the challenges is how businesses outside China can reduce or manage the risks involved in entering Chinese markets. China poses quite distinct risks, particularly around the lack of information, the different culture of doing business, the role of government and the importance of local relationships.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...»
Students looking at international expansion strategies of multinationals will soon come across the term "glocalisation". It sounds similar to the idea of diversification and both are concerned with choices that businesses make about which products and services are offered and into which markets. Such choices are often analysed using the Ansoff Matrix. But is glocalisation the same as diversification? Or is it really a kind of market development?read more...»
During our CPD briefing days on China we've often mentioned the rapid growth of the Chinese middle class and the resulting impact on demand for consumer goods. China now accounts for 20% of global demand for luxury goods and this is illustrated in the following short video from the excellent FT team based in Hong Kong.read more...»
A strong sign here of the increasing competitive strength of businesses based in China that wish to expand into other markets around the world. US-based venture capitalist KKR has invested around $550m for a 10% stake in Qingdao Haier, China's largest refrigerator and washing machine maker.
We have mentioned Haier before on the Business Blog as a good example of an emerging markets multinational corporation (EMMC) and Haier is also recommended as a case study for students researching China & Emerging Markets for AQA BUSS4.read more...»
More than half of U.S.-based manufacturing executives at companies with sales greater than $1 billion are planning to bring back production to the U.S. from China or are actively considering it, according to a new survey by The Boston Consulting Group.
The share of executives who are planning to "onshore" or “reshore” or are considering it rose to 54 percent, compared with 37 percent of executives who responded to a similar BCG survey in February 2012.read more...»
Here's Lei Jun (on the left). Notice something familiar about him? The blue jeans; dark top and introducing a shiny new smartphone to present to the world's media. Uncanny.
Lei Jun is the founder and CEo of a firm called Xiaomi which the Chinese media have nicknamed the “Apple of the East."
Lei Jun himself is also increasingly being called the "Steve Jobs of China" - and not just for his dress sense and presentational style!read more...»
Just why have so many Western retail giants struggled to succeed in China? If global retailers like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour and Best Buy have struggled, what hope is there for the rest?read more...»
Say the word e-commerce in the US, UK and many other developed economies and one word usually comes to mind – Amazon. The Seattle-based multinational claims to be the world's largest online retailer. It has highly diversified operations that have taken the business well beyond the original proposition - selling books online. CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com in 1995 and over the next two decades Amazon has expanded its retail websites to dominate the market in Canada, the UK, France, Germany and elsewhere.
However, in China, say e-commerce and a different "A" word is on everyone's lips. Alibaba is a private Chinese company that is now the largest business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer company in the world. Amazon might dominate global business-to-consumer online retailing. But, in China, Amazon has a very small market share and it is Alibaba that dominates.
In fact, Alibaba can legitimately claim to be the world’s leading e-commerce business. Reports suggest that Alibaba handled total sales of $170 billion in 2012 – which is more than the transaction value handled by Amazon ($96bn) and eBay ($75bn) combined!
After more than eight years of effort, Amazon has less than 1 per cent of China’s $196bn e-commerce market. Alibaba is estimated to have a market share of nearer 75 per cent.
To put this into perspective, China’s e-commerce market is already the largest in the world and by 2020 is forecast to be bigger than the existing markets in the USA, UK, Japan, Germany and France combined. So Alibaba’s market share of over 70% makes it a very big player indeed.read more...»
Businesses from outside China trying to sell in China face a critical question as they try to enter China. How far should they go to adapt or redesign (“localise”) their products and services to meet the needs and wants of customers in China? Should they adapt existing products just enough to appeal to consumers in China? Or should they look to start again – rethinking the product or service from the ground up – in order to established a position in the market and then gain market share?
Yum! Brands is a multinational that operates or licenses Kentucky Fried Chicken ("KFC"), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and other small restaurant brands worldwide. Yum! is the world's largest fast food restaurant company in terms of outlets with more than 39,000 restaurants around the world in over 125 countries and global sales of over $12bn.
For the last decade, Yum! Brands has relied upon international expansion as the main driver of revenue and profit growth. China in particular has proved to be a significant source of growth. For example, KFC has opened an average of one new outlet per day in China and has an objective of reaching 15,000 outlets.
KFC has achieved this high rate of growth by adopting the concept of localisation. It has largely ignored the traditional model of KFC outlets in the US and other developed economies - that of a franchise operation with a limited menu, low prices and an emphasis on customers taking-out their food and drink to consume. Instead, the KFC model in China was redesigned to meet local needs.read more...»
The risks for businesses from outside of China from operating in China have been well-illustrated by the problems now faced by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline plc ("GSK”).
GSK is facing claims that it made corrupt payments of around £323m to Chinese doctors in order to win market share. GSK is cooperating with the Chinese government in an investigation which might result in a substantial fine or other punishments for the company.read more...»
The risks of doing business in China have been highlighted again with news that a division of Danone, the French multinational with global brands operating in bottled water and dairy products, has been accused of bribery.
The Chinese authorities have instigated a number of investigations into bribery recently. The accusation for Danone to handle is that its baby milk brand Dumex paid large bribes to doctors and nurses in Tianjin to incentivise them to feed newborns Dunex brand infant formula.read more...»
If they want to grow, multinationals based in developed economies have to make emerging markets their number 1 strategic priority.
That's the view of the CEO of Tupperware - Rick Goings.
"Customers that want growth simply must be where the growth is" said Rick Goings in his contribution to a major survey about multinational strategy in emerging markets.read more...»
CK Prahalad once wrote of the "fortune at the bottom of the pyramid" - reflecting the commercial opportunities for businesses that can successfully connect and bring products to markets inhabited by low income consumers whose living standards are on the rise. China's fast-growing economy provides an enormous opportunity, but how can companies win sales in the Chinese interior, hundreds of miles away from the coastal centres of commerce?
As wealth and consumerism reach China's most remote cities, foreign brands are venturing far from Shanghai and Beijing hoping to win over millions of new consumers. The FT's Patti Waldmeir visits two lower tier cities in central China and looks at how Adidas is expanding in the far outposts of the Middle Kingdom.read more...»
An excellent case study here in how to grow a business through expansion into faster-growing international markets.read more...»
Students looking for a great example of how a UK business can transform its fortunes by focusing on the opportunities in emerging markets need look no further than JCB.read more...»
It is now six years since the global financial crisis triggered a prolonged downturn in economic activity. The UK economy, like other developed economies, has struggled to escape from a period of stagnant economic growth.
However, despite the weak economy, many UK firms have succeeded in significantly growing their revenues and profits.
Here are three examples of such businesses. Their strategies for success are different – but there are also some similarities.
Can you compare and contrast these three – and also identify some other businesses that have enjoyed similar success despite the tough economic environment?
You might also consider:
- What factors have driven revenue growth at each of the three
- Has their growth strategy been based on organic or external
- To what extent has their growth been driven by international
- Do you think their recent success can be sustained?
- What factors might that continued success depend on?
Let's face it. Nearly all of us associate Ikea with flatpack, affordable furniture. The Ikea brand has become a global success and, as we reported on the business blog recently, the Ikea format is well-positioned to achieve further success in key emerging markets.
However, Ikea's business portfolio is not just about furniture retailing.
In March 2013, Ikea announced that it is to partner with Marriott International to open a chain of three-star hotels. The chosen brand name for this joint venture between Marriott and Ikea is Moxy Hotels.read more...»
A superb article here from Reuters which examines the challenges facing Ikea as it accelerates its expansion into key emerging markets, notably China and India.
On the one hand, Ikea aims to exploit its global brand by applying the core retailing concept (epitomized by the store racetrack layout, flatpack goods etc) and core values that have enabled to it to become the world's largest furniture retailer.
However, Ikea also needs to be sensitive to the specific customer needs and wants in each national market if it is to meet customer expectations and compete effectively.read more...»