Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spotify Extends Reach in Asia With Taiwan Rollout

Grundberg, in his article “Spotify Extends Reach in Asia with Taiwan Rollout”, talks about the efforts of Spotify AB, a Stockholm-based company, in spreading its streaming-music service in Asia. It has presented its services to Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece, and Argentina. Japan is one of the largest streaming-music markets, and Spotify’s services are soon to begin there too. Spotify lets users use its services on mobiles, tablets, laptops, and desktops too, for very minimal charges per month. The company is already offering its services to developed countries like USA and UK. It is now working in Latin American and Asian countries too. The company has many rivals and competitors as well. Youtube, SASU, Rdio Inc., and Pandora Media Inc. are some of them. Apple Inc. AAPL -0.31% has introduced its iTunes Radio service for its users of iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. These are some of the competitors of Spotify. The company’s expansion is, however, proving to be very costly. Its holding company has seen great financial losses in previous years. The licensing fees are too high, which weigh very heavily on the company’s budget. New deals, with new license holders in new countries, are proving to be very costly for the company. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

China to Be No. 2 Rice Importer for Third Year Running

China to Be No. 2 Rice Importer for Third Year Running

         As I mentioned about rice exporter last week which India is No.1 rice export following by Vietnam and Thailand, respectively. Today news is about rice importer. Reporter said that Chinese is No.2 rice importer for third year continuously. Although Chinese prefer to produce their own grain rather than import from abroad, however, sometimes due to the higher price in domestic they prefer to purchase form overseas. 

         The International Grains Council forecast that China will import rice by 10 percent or around 2 million metric tons next year due to rise consumption and higher domestic prices. China ranks 2nd rice importer with 2 million tons while No.1, Nigeria imported 143 million tons of rice this year. However, the volume of import of China rose significantly fourfold, which it usually imported around 600,000 tons until last year, because local prices lost competitiveness against rice in neighboring countries. That led China’s domestic rice prices have increased since the government has guaranteed to growers of the higher prices.


         Nevertheless, Thailand plans to export 1.2 million tons of rice to China through inter-government deals and a contract with China’s state-run Beidahuang Group. This is because Thailand is overflowing rice due to the government-buying program and also price guarantee.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Japan to mull tax cut on Auto Purchases

The ruling-party lawmaker said that Japan is more likely going to lower the auto-purchasing tax. On Thursday, the lawmaker said the auto-purchasing tax should be lowered in stages to slow down the impact on car sales. The Japanese car makers worried that auto sales will decrease because tax raises to 8% in next April. This will bring the bad impact of the whole economy.The first drastic overhaul related to auto-purchasing tax would be cutting in car tax. Even the government has already planned to cancel the car-purchasing tax by October 2015, the tax is scheduled to raise up 10%. JAMA is urging the government to lower the consumption tax by 3% to 5% of the purchase price until the 10% tax rate effects. The chairman of JAMA said “it will bring the negative impact to Japanese economy by increasing sales tax without reviewing car tax because it will lead a drop of car sales.” Further auto sale decreasing will be hard for car makers to justify use advanced technology and skills to keep the domestic productions. JAMA expects the sales will decrease 12% to 2.74 million cars this year after the government ended car purchasing incentive program last September. The association predicts that 8% consumption tax will decline the car sales by just leave at 5%. Moreover, it will cause 170,000 lost jobs.However, once the tax rate hits 10% ,the sales will drop by 930,000 cars and 270,000 job eliminations. Compare to other nations, auto tax is really high in Japan. Cutting auto tax still need to be discussed because it will affect the government revenue. Therefore, local government opposed to change the auto tax rate.

China to Open Door Wider for Foreign Tech Firms

China to Open Door Wider for Foreign Tech Firms

Recently, the greatest news for Chinese market is that a free trade zone will be put in Shanghai. It announced that people in the free-trade zone can search the internet without any limitation and even do tariff-free trades. However, the lawyer, Scott Livingston, at Covington & Burling LLP., said that "Foreign investors should temper their hopes". Because the government has not the details of the free-trade zone‘s operation specification. 

As a Chinese, I have read the announcement that the government publish to explain what is the free-trade zone used for. However, as the Chinese government always doing, the announcement provide nothing but some political words. In short, we can get no information from it. 

China is a really big market, especially for Internet industry, since some famous website like facebook, Youtube are held back from China. Therefore, the free-zone trade is an access to Chinese market whereas a key to billions of dollars. Microsoft has already approve an joint venture, which invest 237 million dollars, with an inside company for gaming market. 

In my opinion, Chinese government is hardly to open the market completely to foreign investors even though it is just a zone. Chinese inside companies have countless operation problems.They have few possibility to win through international competitions. As a result, it supposes to be some policies to limit the free-trade zone. Investors should take a breath and calm down, instead of staring at the great share of market. 

A new Surface for Microsoft

Microsoft launched new Surface tablets, giving opportunity to people to make use of it more as desktop computer or laptop.

The Surface Pro 2 is targeted to professionals who want the complete command of a laptop with a tablet-style device. Microsoft worked a lot, to redesign the device and to make it easier to use on laps. 

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 also has a more powerful battery than its predecessor; additionally there is a new cover accessory that makes longer battery life and with an optional docking station, the Pro 2 can be used as laptop.

Microsoft is launching the Surface 2 with a better screen; it is a cheaper model that starts at $449, and the Surface Pro 2 at $899 and it will be available on Oct. 22 in the U.S. and other markets.

Microsoft is also thinking as strategy, to update its Windows 8 operating system on Oct. 17. Moreover Windows 8.1 can be displayed on smaller touch screens, cheaper and easier to carry, instead of the prior version of Windows 8 that was limited to tablets with 10-inch to 12-inch screens.

This is a time of transition for Microsoft because personal computer sales are diminishing but the software giant is using a more diversified software and mobile devices strategy. Before this month, Microsoft negotiated a deal to get Nokia's handset and services business for $7.2 billion. The company is also looking for a new CEO to substitute Steven A. Ballmer, who pronounced last month to retire by the next year.

Microsoft started selling Surface tablets last October, but sales have been slow; Microsoft absorbed a $900 million charge in the April-June period to account for its expected losses from the Surface RT after it cut prices to encourage demand, even though it said that Surface produced $853 million revenue. The $150 cut brought the price of the Surface RT with 32 gigabytes of memory to $349.
Globally Window’s tablet operating system is 3rd with 4% market share. I believe that the restricted retail presence damaged sales, because the clients cannot examine the device before buying so they are not motivated to purchase it. For example last year the tablets could only be purchased at about 30 Microsoft stores or online. Now they are intensifying the marketing plan, together with retail partners, in order to place Microsoft’s tablet in chains like Best Buy, Staples and Wall-Mart.

Medtronic's 'Artificial Pancreas' for Diabetics Gains FDA Approval


Medtronic Inc. MDT +0.11%said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a pump designed to automatically stop insulin delivery in diabetes patients when blood-sugar levels are too low, the first "artificial pancreas" to be approved in the U.S.

Insulin works to lower blood sugar, but it can also cause sugar levels to fall too low. The condition, called hypoglycemia, can be fatal, especially at night when patients aren't aware their blood sugar is low. Medtronic's MiniMed 530G, which includes a sensor, sends out an alert if levels are too low, and if the individual is sleeping, unconscious or unable to react, the pump will shut off for two hours.

Blood-sugar sensors have been available to help diabetics program pumps to deliver the proper amount of insulin. Researchers have been working for years to link the two technologies to automate insulin delivery as part of an effort often referred to as an artificial pancreas.

Medtronic said its system is the first in the U.S. that can automatically stop insulin delivery when blood-sugar levels fall too low. A similar system is already approved for use in Europe.The company also said it can help people better control their diabetes versus the use of multiple injections.

The MiniMed has been approved for use by people with diabetes over the age of 16, though post-approval study will include children ages 2 and older. The company said it would begin ramping up production immediately to prepare for a MiniMed launch in the next several weeks.

The approval comes a week after Medtronic received an FDA warning letter about issues related to manufacturing processes, among other things, following an inspection of Medtronic's diabetes facility in Northridge, Calif. The company said it has already addressed many of the observations noted in the letter and will resolve the other concerns as quickly as possible.
Medtronic's MiniMed 530G is a new innovation that the FDA approved it. This devise is pump designed to automatically stop insulin delivery in diabetes patients when blood-sugar levels are too low. It has been approved for use by people with diabetes over the age of 16, though post-approval study will include children ages 2 and older.
My opinion:
There is a high percentage around the world people with diabetes. This devise will be the best choice for them to manage their shots of  Insulin. This company should start get patent around the world. On the other hand, it's easy to copy this tech and produce it out the US.
This kind of devises usually in the beginning has high price, but with time the price will decrease. Poor people will buy the ungenuine.

Emirates Airline, Boeing Still In Talks Over Jet Order

Emirates Airlines has been faced with an offer from Boeing for the new 777-9X jet that it has been eyeing. The new 777-9X jet is larger than both models that Emirates Airlines carries now, fitting up to 400 passengers. However, the airlines president Tim Clark made a statement about the high prices that Boeing stands behind so pompously. The new 777-9X would be a good replacement for some or even all of the current 777 models that they own. The problem faced between the two companies deal is Boeing’s inability to give Emirates the full approval, meaning that Boeing will still have the rights reserved to change specifications of the planes until it the changes meet the directors approval. Other spokesman says that the business deal is “maturing”. However, after Boeing changed the release date of the 777-9X from 2018 to 2020, this tipped of the airline company. Despite the disputes Clark remains excited about the new jet stating “its going to be one of the best machines flying”. 

Apple Fixes iOS7 Lock Screen Bugs

Apple released an update for iOS 7 Thursday that fixes security bugs that emerged since it was released to the public.
An Apple spokeswoman said that among the changes was a fix for a bug that allowed some people to make calls to any phone number from the lock screen without having to enter a passcode.
The company also fixed a bug that allowed people to gain access to photos from the lock screen.

Finally new innovation fro a car!

Sep 27, 2013

Autombile generally speaking is one of the least things that evolving recently, I mean cars since it began never changed its 4 tires and a driving wheel to take your car at the directions you want by physically movement of course.

But what if you want something else you want to make your self at home and drinking your morning coffee, going to a movie theater, etc moreover the car will park it self; drop you on then park it self by using an app you will call the car remotely.

Now Mercedes Benz have announced about this feature by showing their car driving around, and there are other car companies such as Nissan, Infiniti, Ford. This is the new generation of what they call it Robo-Cars.

this link will take you to the video showing how the car drive it self:!52E21BAE-E366-49D6-A180-330F3D0BC73E

This is a changing in the game.


Fast Food Giant's New Marketing Strategy

As the Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. introduced its new fries to the market, fast food giant McDonald’s is facing more pressure than ever. Burger King markets its new fries as 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than McDonald’s fries. Apparently, its marketing strategy is to target to the customers who are fries-lovers with concerns about health issue.

The fast food market is always competitive, while McDonald’s has been dominating the market for a while. In order to maintain its leading position in the industry, on September 26th, McDonald’s announced a series of health-related commitments in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This is definitely a critical part of its current marketing strategy. Due to the potential health issue from fast food, some activists have been requesting McDonald’s stop marketing to children as well as improving nutrition content. Undoubtedly, gradually losing this customer group  children will tremendously hurt McDonald’s sales and bring about other issues which may further effect its reputation and sales.

Therefore, McDonald’s announced that it would promote only water, milk and juice rather than soft drink for kid’s menu as well as its advertising. Also, the company will emphasize nutrition in its package and advertising for children. On the top of that, it will provide customers with different choices of side salad, fruit or vegetable in place of French fries in its regular menu. With a huge customer base in U.S. and international market, McDonald’s has a confidence that its changes in menu as well as marketing strategy will consolidate its position as an industry leader in next five years. And these changes will be made to the 20 markets that represent 85% of McDonald’s sales by 2020 – those markets include the U.S., China and the U.K.

Although McDonald’s has decided to make a big move, it is never easy to achieve the goal without risks. Making changes on current menus which have been accepted by the market will have many uncertain influences on its future sale. It’s difficult to predict the market’s reaction to the new menus and new advertising. McDonald’s needs to make sure that it will be able to fulfill the nutrition commitments without hurting the company’s performance. Prudently changing options on its menu, choosing the way of advertising, setting up a step-by-step marketing plan and implement a year-by-year performance evaluation will be the keys to McDonald’s success in the next decade.

AT&T's Stephenson Says Open to European Acquisitions

 (September 24) AT&T's CEO Stephenson said that the company was open to start business with European companies. That means that the company wants to expand its market share and revenues consequently, by acquiring European telecommunication companies. Such desire was ignited by the recent 130 billion dollar deal between Vodafone and Verizon Communications according to which the latter get 45% of the two companies' joint project – Verizon Wireless (Gryta and Knutson).

The thing is that Verizon is one of the four American telecommunication providers which now expanded its activity to Europe. AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile, but the U.S. Justice Department decided that such acquisition would eventually lead to monopolization of telecommunication market and forbade the above mentioned merge. Being unable to increase its influence at home AT&T decided to focus on the European market. However, there are some obstacles with spectrum licenses for instance, because in Europe such licenses could be obtained only for 10 years or so. That means that any telecom company would have to compete for those licenses every decade not to mention additional expenditures connected with that process.
I have got interested in this topic because lives of common people both in the U.S. And Europe heavily depend on telecom services. Today, we use it all the time and mostly – for entertainment. With the growth of smartphones' market and the enhanced possibilities of such and the like devices – any merge of big enough telecom company can directly reflect on the quality and price of respective services. Moreover, even standards could be affected in such a way and users would have to upgrade or change at all their “outdated” devices because of such a  reason. One should also bear in mind that no small company can handle the challenges of such a scale and due to that aspect, the entire industry is moving towards complete monopolization. That is why governments should jointly come up with respective regulations to prevent that from happening.

Works Cited
Gryta, Thomas, and Ryan Knutson. "AT&T's Stephenson Says Open to European Acquisitions." The Wall Street Journal. Web. 25 Sep 2013. <>.

“The New Asylums:  Jails Swell with Mentally Ill”

Published September 27,  6:01 pm

What’s worse, a prisoner or an imprisoned prisoner?  The nation’s state and federal correctional facilities are not only increasing in inmate capacity, but are currently experiencing overwhelming  numbers of mentally ill inmates.  Several states have cut  budgets for mental hospitals eliminating necessary resources for disadvantaged citizens battling mental illness. It was stated in the article that National Alliance on Men

tal Illness estimated that the cost of prisoners with mental illness on the nation is $9 billion.  Untreated individuals having engaged in illegal activities (professionals believe as a result of their mental condition) are placed in jail,  undergo psychological assessments, diagnosed, and semi-treated.  As jail systems are already lacking in adequate reserves for common prisoners, one can only imagine the deficiencies for proper care of  mentally ill prisoners (who’ve now become patients’).  Since, there is no room on the main floors and these inmates need special observation, they are placed away from the general population in a small cell or solitary confinement.  This is typically a temporary holding place for trouble-makers or those awaiting court.  Solitary confinement, however, has shown to have more of a negative impact on mentally ill prisoners.  Other countries have done away with solitary confinement in their prison systems and have The article mentions that more than 11,000 inmates receive treatment daily, which tops three of the largest state-run hospitals in the country with a combined 4,000 beds.   The president of the American Jail Association, Esteban Gonzalez, stated: “’In every city and state I have visited, the jails have become the de facto mental institutions.’”  A drastic shift is evident, as prison systems no longer only attempt provide protection to citizens and rehabilitate criminals, but also treat mentally ill patients.  Not only do these inmates struggle through treatment for mental stability, but with lack of resources post-prison,  they move forward deprived of treatment, while facing a criminal record, and falter back to misfortune. 
This issue takes place globally, as there is a lack in programs aiding citizens in need of psychiatric treatment due to scant funding.  In addition, many view mental illness as a taboo and do not like to discuss it, let alone be affiliated with it.  An article from NPR identified that the United Nations sponsored a major conference and very briefly mentioned mental illness. It was also pointed out  here, that it may be possible to show these nations the correlation between mental health and physical health, in order to raise more awareness and proactive work  for the topic.  The World is in dire need of more awareness and a positive stance on supporting mental health.  I agree with projects facilitating essential resources and tools for mental-health and drug abuse treatment among prisoners, as described by a county official in the article.  This will aid in sound management and recovery of conditions that are so difficult for most to breakthrough.  The nation as a whole, should weigh in closely on the current state and fate of its country if these numbers continue to increase. 

References and further reading: