Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Eye-Scanning ATM Is Here

WSJ By Peter Rudegeair Oct. 25, 2015 7:27 p.m. ET 
The Eye-Scanning ATM Is Here  

Citigroup is developing technology with ATM producer Diebold that would allow customers to withdraw money with an eyeball scan instead of a card swipe. This new technology is the latest demand by banks to find secure ways for consumers to access their cash than the standard ATM card transaction. More recent, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America started internally testing their own card-less ATM technologies. Citigroup’s R&D group says they will need a new ATM machine that does not have a touchpad. Instead, customers would first check the bank’s mobile app on their smartphone/tablet ahead of time to sign in and select how much money they want to withdraw. Then, once they’re at the machine, it would quickly scan their eyes to verify identity. After scanning the eyes, the ATM would spit out the right amount of cash. Citigroup tested that the card-less transactions take about 15 seconds to complete compared with around 45 seconds for more traditional transactions.

Advocates say this new technologies may give banks an advantage to against frauds that aim at ATMs. Credit-scoring and analytics firm FICO said “ in May that the number of attacks on consumers’ debit cards used at ATMs in roughly the first three months of the year hit the highest level in at least 20 years.” Wayne Malone, Citigroup’s head of global ATMs said “Everyone is doing more and more on their mobile device." Between 2013 and 2015, the share of bank customers who said their first preference for basic banking was using their mobile phone rose to 13% from 5%, according to Javelin. Now, interest from some of the largest U.S. banks signals that more consumers may see the option. “Larger players sometimes like to wait on the sidelines a little longer to see if a product has merit before investing in it,” said Daniel Van Dyke, an analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Burberry Shares Dive on Weaker Asian Demand

Burberry Shares Dive on Weaker Asian Demand

by Saabira Chaudhuri

           The WSJ article for October 16, 2015 has an article depicting the foreign external environmental influences on the Burberry company with an emphasis on the Asian consumer market. Burberry is a very strong luxury brand in all of their markets however shares fell 8.3% in London Trading on Thursday. The article, in keeping with global marketing and the importance of always looking at the external cultural influences, pinpoints estimates as to why this decrease occurred. The article states that "the company blamed inherent Chinese consumers and its geographic mix for the weak results." The target market location of the Burberry  company, with its main target of mainland China, has been the most hit in these few days. 

                         This is further explained, "Burberry has, in the past, benefited from Chinese shoppers spending in the high-margin markets of mainland China and Hong Kong, but that has changed in recent quarters as stock-market turmoil and macroeconomic weakness there has been compounded by currency volatility that has changed spending behavior. Separately, wealthier Chinese consumers increasingly are traveling to buy luxury goods in Japan, a country that currently makes up just 2% of Burberry’s wholesale and retail revenue. Ms. Fairweather said Burberry is “significantly underpenetrated” in Japan but is moving to increase its presence.A weaker euro has made shopping in Europe cheaper for Chinese tourists, but the relatively strong British pound has discouraged tourist spending in Burberry’s home market of the U.K., where it has a major presence." 

         Burberry therefore must use these observations and react quickly to the changes in location preferences and demand of the consumers. I believe it is very important for them to become creative and react quickly especially in order to keep their investors happy and on board for the future. It is very hard to predict consumer behavior especially on a global scale. The image of stores by region also shows the emphasis on mainland China rather than on Japan which is receiving luxury consumer demand as well as Europe. I think that this article is important as it shows that marketing research is very important and that consumer behavior can change even with the best predictions and marketing research. This is also especially when dealing with a multicultural range of consumers. It will be interesting to see how Burberry will react and deal with this problem and I believe that their actions can become a model for other companies that may have to deal with the same problems in the future.

Katherine Wojtyna

Olam Buys Archer Daniels’s Cocoa Business for $1.2 Billion

Olan, based in Singapore, has agreed to buy Chicago based ADM's cocoa business for $1.2 billion dollars. ADM has said that they wanted to exit the cocoa business because it is extremely competitive and that they want to focus on higher profitable businesses.

Because of this deal, Olan is now the largest cocoa processor and will now be able to process up to 700,000 pounds of product per year. In addition to becoming the largest processor of cocoa, the deal will save Olan an estimated $40,000,000 in operating costs by year 2018. Olan will now be a part of the chocolate making process from cocoa farms in Africa to the chocolate producing companies in Switzerland.

This article directly relates to chapters 8 and 12. Olan was looking to expand its reach into foreign countries and has done so by purchasing a foreign company. Because of this deal, the company now has processing plants in 12 countries worldwide.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blazing a Trail in Chicago

“Blazing a Trail in Chicago” by Matt Villano
In June of this year, Chicago opened a scenic and convenient mode of tourism in its northwest corner.  The Bloomingdale Trail is an elevated viaduct and trail converted from a closed rail system that is most commonly utilized for cycling, running, mothers pushing strollers, romantic date nights, and tourists frequently the downtown area that do not want to stray too far away from their hotel.  The trail is comparable to Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Promenade with actual vendors and businesses to frequent for shopping, food, and cocktails and in decent proximity to a downtown hotel.  The Bloomingdale Trail contains two levels. The upper level is a mode of leisurely transportation through historic neighborhoods. The lower levels consists of merchants.

Bloomingdale Trail united previously disconnected areas of northwest Chicago.  It showcases each of the four neighborhood’s unique personality. Easily accessible from downtown Chicago, the lower level of the biking trail contains all things from high end goods to off the beaten path “mom and pop” shops.  Bloomingdale Trail will draw a diverse and eclectic crowd year round.  The area is growing with ethnic enclaves such as immigrants from Costa Rica.  The area has experienced gentrification due to young professionals relocating to the hip and trendy area of Logan Square where the popular pubs and bars are located.

Irazu, a Costa Rican restaurant at 1865 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

First effects in the global automobile industry after the Volkswagen-gate

After the scandal of the German automobile make, Volkswagen, manipulating the cars to pass the fuel emission tests some recent repercussions have happened in the global vehicle sector. Today Toyota, Japan’s largest car company, has indicated that they will drop out the production of gasoline- and diesel-engine powered cars. Although the deadline is way too far away in time, because it is going to be by 2050, there is openness to the implementation of new alternative technologies.

According to Toyota’s decision we can start to think this is the start of a new wave of green car strategy or may be just an image positioning strategy. 
Only time will tell.  

By Barbara Bordon

Based on the reading of WSJ's article: 

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: a Latin-American perception

This week a significant trade agreement has been signed by twelve Nations around the Pacific Ocean. At the heart of this pact there is the willingness to lower the trade barriers that affect good and services within this enormous region.

Countries that have approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement are: Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Singapore and United States. A most curious fact is the non-involvement of a substantial economic power in the Pacific area such as China. The main official reason was that China would not accept new standards in trade and investment that the treaty wants to follow. Experts have argued that the purpose if the agreement is to neutralize the big Asian country.

Nevertheless, an outstanding figure materializes while analyzing that these twelve signatory members together represent 40% of the global economy. Another fact that has called my attention is that there few Latin-American Countries that adhered to it, only accepting the agreement were: Chile, Peru and Mexico.

Latin-American presence is characterized mainly by countries that jointly form a regional trade bloc named the Pacific Alliance, Colombia the fourth country is not yet part of the T-PP although it is considering to be part of it. After the creation of the Pacific Alliance in June 2012, which pursues a free trade or at least lowering trade barriers, two main trade agreements divide the region in a virtually vertical line from North to South. In contradiction to the Pacific Alliance we can notice the existence of the Mercosur. Formed in 1991 Mercosur has not done a relevant effort to promote its inter-regional interaction with other world market. However, through the years it has created an endless number of bureaucratic organisms in order to maintain a seemingly political integration.

The presence of three of the Pacific Alliance’s nations that sanctioned the new Trans-Pacific Agreement once more reveals the difference between Latin-American postures towards the openness of global trade. 

By Barbara Bordon

Based on the readings of WSJ's articles:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Volkswagen Scandal Tests Auto-Loving Germany

Wall Street Journal: Volkswagen Scandal Tests Auto-Loving Germany
By Ruth Bender
September 25, 2015

Article reviewed by Ayan Martin
Recently Volkwagen has been in the headlines for making false claims regarding emission levels in their vehicles. Many around the world and especially here in the US have probably asked "how could they have gotten away with that?!" The article I reviewed from WSJ's website provides a good reason; the government. 

The article states that unlike the US, Germany's auto industry and government have close ties. This is understandable as the article mentions that "one in seven people earn their living, directly or indirectly, from auto making," and vehicles is one of its most well known exports. However, the relationship between the two groups was too close for comfort for the rest of the world. According to the article, in 2013 Germany blocked tough EU emission restrictions that would have devastated German auto makers. The article continues to discuss the relationship between Volkswagen and various members of the government, and a deputy floor leader of the Greens plainly states "in a sort of companionship with the auto industry, warnings were ignored." The Transport Ministry is now involved and stating that the government was trying to get tougher emission testing standards. This makes me wonder if the German government is trying to clean up the mess with the auto industry as a whole, or leaving Volkswagen to fend for themselves and trying to avoid any accusation that they had any part in the wrong doing.

The section in chapter seven on Green Marketing Legislation really represents this article. It's interesting though that the book states "Germany has passed the most stringent green marketing laws," but I guess stating true results with car emissions wasn't part of those laws. I wonder how many people who have purchased a Volkswagen will trade in. I also wonder how many Volkswagen vehicles parked in the "low emission" parking spots in the garage at work will be asked to move.