Sunday, November 29, 2015

Japan Fights Gender Gap at Work

By Eleanor Warnock on November 11th, 2015

According to this November 11th article, Japanese firms are seeking to increase the amount of women in the workforce, specifically in leadership roles to decrease the wide gender gap.  Japan’s practice of lifetime employment is one of the main contributors to this gender gap among top management personnel.  Meaning, current top executives that are in line for retirement began their careers in the 1970s and 1980s, when Japan’s workforce was predominantly male making it impossible to have female executives currently at the same level.  The second reason for the gap, Japan is a traditionally patriarchal society. All major decisions regarding the family and the woman’s role in society is approved by the husband or father.  In the article, Michiru Tomabechi, a Japanese woman being interviewed regarding her recent promotion to division manager, admitted to seeking support from her husband first. The next reason for the gap is an evident lack of female mentors in leadership positions to encourage and coach female direct reports coming up through the ranks.   In trailblazing the path of gender equity in the workforce, women executives can find it a lonely space to inhabit.  I would venture to say that what a Japanese woman’s experiences in the workplace is unique, and may be difficult to express to her male co-workers. More females in top executive and management positions will be needed to fill the role of “safe persons” during the closing of the gap.


Video link on workforce gender gap in Japan

Going forward, Prime Minister Abe wants to begin  incorporating attractive additions to the compensation packages like flexible schedules, reducing or eliminating mandatory overtime, and extended child-care and nursing-care leave policies.  This additions benefit both male and female employees.  In relation to Chapter 17 in our textbook, if a multinational firm was looking to recruit local nationals or third-country nationals from Japan, they would need to take into consideration the compensation package offered to both female and male employees. According to our textbook, Japan’s high UAI score indicates an innate distrust for different constructs and behaviors. Organizations will need to respect that Japan is a country scoring closer to the “we” end of the Individualism/Collectivism Index, meaning family or society first.  When attracting more female employees, Japanese and multinational firms will need to lead with the guarantee of a work-life balance as the main selling point during talent acquisition.

For World’s Ancient Cultures, Let the Games Begin

By Reed Johnson on October 24-25th, 2015

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Brazil next year, recently there was a less publicized sports competition in Palmas, Brazil, the first Indigenous World Games.  Last month, this competition highlighted lesser known indigenous traditions and cultures from around the world.  Along with showcasing the talent and strengths of the competing athletes, a three day festival ensued with the purpose of providing education and awareness to key issues plaguing different indigenous communities. These issues included education, the environment, health, and social issues that are commonly plaguing the communities.  Among addressing societal issues, there was a major focus on sustainability.  All the athletes’ training and living facilities were made from temporary and sustainable materials. Saplings were planted for each tree cut down for the making of logs, canoes, bows, and arrows.

Palmas 2015.JPG

The games themselves were not the key marketing focus.  Organizers wanted to find a way to bring awareness of these diminishing cultures to popular culture.  So many of the youth in these cultures have been affected by global marketing influences in the last few years.  The youth have increasingly abandon tribal dress and rituals, and migrated from tribal lands to live a more socially-acceptable lifestyle in urban areas.  In the article, organizers spoke to the desire to “create lasting bonds of friendship and knowledge among far-flung peoples united by ancient ties to the earth.”  This goal is a reference to Chapter 1 in our text regarding how organizations can develop a global awareness strategy by instilling a culture of tolerance and nurturing long-term cross cultural relationships.   

Friday, November 27, 2015

Flush Indian Startups Face Shortage of Skilled Workers

David Jara

“Flush Indian Startups Face Shortage of Skilled Workers”

November 8, 2015
Indian start-up companies are competing for more than market share.  The real battle is for talented Indian programmers and startups are pulling out all the stops.  Since 2010, the number of Indian based startups has almost quadrupled as the venture capitalist money has poured in.  Many of these startups are tech based companies and require highly skilled coders to help support their e-commerce sites.  However, it has been difficult to retain personnel with the advanced programming skills needed.  So companies are paying up.  For example, in 2012 salaries for entry level programmers was around $25,000.  Now someone with the same skill set can earn upwards of $45,000.  More seasoned programmers went from making roughly $100,000 in 2012 to now over $200,000.  Indian based startups are also looking outside of their country for top tier talent; especially at the executive level.  Yahoo, Motorola Mobility, and Google have all lost people to the Indian startup craze.
One other interesting aspect of this article was how companies are getting more creative with compensation.  Companies are offering fringe benefits. Start-ups flush with money from foreign investors are offering incentives such as free rides to work, free lunch, quality laptops and smart phones, and gym memberships. 

  I think this article is a good example of what companies often have to do when looking to staff themselves with the right people.  Often times they can look for local nationals but if the talent pool is limited they may need to go outside of their country.  Also, this article shows that to attract the right people it can take more than a competitive salary.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gaining The Edge During The Holiday: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

There is no way merchants would not capitalize on the barrage of your senses this holiday season or allow the increase in shopping during the holiday season to be disrupted unless goods do not get to stores at the right time. The goals of any merchant is to always get you to fork over more cash. Although during the month of October the American Trucking Association reported truck tonnage increased by 1.9% compared with the previous month, the industry group fright index hit 135.7 in October shy of its all time high of 135.8 in January.

Nervousness has left industry experts uneasy because of the uncertainty willing to submerge sales as a result will have an effect on the holiday demand  of freight volumes. As noted by ATA chief economist Bob Costello “ I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain.” The problem highlighted by logistics operators present fears that the system is reacting to an imbalance of shipping and demand capacity, that seems to be affecting the freight services across all modes of transportation, including truck, rail, air and ocean carriers.

This problem has fully surfaced on both the east and west coast of the United States; like the Port of New York and the West Coast ports that handle container ships from Asia. Out of the chaos of the freight overflow Savannah -  the best-run port in North America has emerged and has a reported 15% increase and has no hint of congestion like it counterparts on both coast.

But as the holiday season begins in late November and ends in early January, problems loom on the the horizon with rerouting of ocean freight to smaller ports driver scarcity becoming a problem across modes of transportation, logistics services providers consolidation of services and labor strikes. Could this be the " Grinch Who Stole Christmas?"

  This logic is consistent wiith what we learned in Chapter 4 and Chapter 15.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pfizer and Allergan to Merge

Wall Street Journal: Pfizer, Allergan Agree on Historic Merger Deal
By Jonathan D. Rockoff and Dana Mattioli
November 22, 2015

Article reviewed by Ayan Martin
It was announced that Pfizer and Allergan will merge, creating one of the largest mergers in 2015. It will also bring a large pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, overseas. This is not a typical merger, it's an inversion. The smaller, Dublin based company, Allergan, is purchasing Pfizer. Both companies are powerhouses that create medications and perform research on various diseases. 

The main reason for this purchase/inversion is the fact that Pfizer will be reducing it's U.S. corporate tax rate from 25% to lower than 20%. Pfizer's Chief Executive, Ian Read, has been trying to lower the companies tax rate for some time. The company initially tried to merge with British based AstraZeneca, but when that didn't work out it didn't stop Mr. Read and Pfizer's goal of trying to go abroad to lower their taxes. 

This article closely relates to Chapter 6. Mergers weren't fully mentioned, but ways on entering foreign markets like joint ventures were. The merger with Allergan will give Pfizer a more successful entrance into a foreign market.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

China Aims to Build Its Own Secure Smartphones

By:EVA DOU in Beijing and 
JURO OSAWA in Hong Kong
For years, China’s technology was lagging. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, most handsets are either Apple Inc. iPhones or are powered by Google’s Android operating system. China would like to gain dominance in the smart phone industry. Therefore, seeking to make its own secure smartphones, in an attempt to insulate its handsets from U.S. surveillance. Beijing wants to build a homegrown tech industry that eliminates U.S. suppliers. China’s efforts stem from revelations in 2013 of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had placed surveillance “back doors” in some American gear sold overseas.

Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp. is working on a secure smartphone for government agencies using an operating system developed in-house, and a processor chip from a Chinese supplier. The country’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, last year switched publicly to a Chinese-made smartphone, the ZTE Nubia Z5, after being criticized for using an iPhone, yet the Chinese device ran on Android and included a Qualcomm Inc. processor, according to its specifications list.Multiple Chinese technology companies are making progress toward eliminating Western technology.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has also joined with China’s Ministry of Public Security to develop a secure mobile operating system for police officers. that it bills as more secure. All of the efforts target a niche group of government agencies and state-owned enterprises and are unlikely to target the average consumer. For example, ZTE’s secure phone will come without camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections to minimize security risks.

The trend is unlikely to have much impact on the market share in China of U.S. mobile components and software. Analyst James Yan of market-research firm IDC estimates secure phones might make up 3% of China’s smartphone sales next year, or about two million units. But if more made-in-China operating systems and processors emerge into consumer handsets that could possibly pose a challenge for Google’s Android and for Qualcomm. 

China's desire to create its own smartphone in order to avoid U.S. surveillance can be related to chapter 6 , which discusses cyber security. China wants to avoid the incident that took place when Snowden leaked confidential information. Therefore, China deems it necessary to create their own secure phone.

How Lower Tariffs Can Save Lives

by Nilanjan Banik and Philip Stevens
Nov. 9, 2015 1:04 ET
How Lower Tariffs Can Save Lives

Advancements in technology have made it easier and cheaper for many industries to manufacture goods. The World Trade Organization is currently pushing the Information Technology Agreement , which would allow for the elimination of all tariffs on high-tech products - including medical technologies. In practice, this will allow for more affordable access to health care and improvement of patient care. 

According to the article, due to the placements of tariffs on medical devices in countries such as India, China, and Brazil are relatively high (7 to 16%), while  more developed countries average at 0.5%.  Therefore equipment that may be very affordable in the United States or the United Kingdom would be priced astronomically high in India and Africa - decreasing the access to healthcare.

Unfortunately, two countries, China and South Korea are preventing the ITA from proceeding. Each country has plans to lower tariffs in the next 7 years, while not long in theory, is extremely long in terms of the technology industry. Both countries have explained that their opposition is due to the fact that they want to protect their domestic industry. This logic is consistent with what we learned in chapters 2 and 18.  It will be very interesting to see just what happens with this agreement and whether or not pressure from the other WTO nations will affect China and South Korea's decision.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Effects after Paris attacks

WSJ article: 

Last week another terrible event has shaken our lives, even if we are thousands of miles away from Paris. A series of unexpected terrorist attacks have beaten the French capital, killing and hurting many innocent lives. In the moments after the attacks we felt unsafe around the Western part of the globe.

The effects after the terrorist attacks showed again how vulnerable can a nation and their citizens be in a World that is more and more interconnected. One consequence in the market has been the depreciation of the Euro against the dollar. Not only it is a concern  the exchange rate of the European currency but the effects on the fragile economy.

As our textbook in Chapter 6 explains political environment can be a critical concern for global business. Therefore we must pay attention which are the next step that Western countries are going to take. We do not have to forget that violence is a risk for companies that would like to go global, it is a risk that must be assessed while planning their business.

The problem, after Paris attacks, surges whether violence is not more confined to one single country. But instead it is used to terrified us. Nevertheless, we must be confident that we are again going to feel that violence and hatred will be away from hour home. 


Alibaba’s Global Ambitions Face Counterfeit Challenge

By; Gillian Wong
Nov. 10, 2015 4:27 am ET

By now, many consumers are familiar with Alibaba Limited, the number one e-commerce company in China. Many products from beauty and fashion to gardening and home improvement can be found at affordable prices on the site. Unfortunately, AliExpress has been increasingly scrutinized for the sell of counterfeit items.

Manufacturers are becoming worried about the global implications of having unauthorized goods advertised and sold with their branding. Because of the increasing complaints from both customers and manufacturers, Alibaba has allowed for consumers and companies to flag counterfeit goods for expedient removal. What the site is failing to consider is the number of consumers who are intentionally using their site to purchase these fake goods. 

As a consequence of the high number of counterfeit items posted, Alibaba has been sued and many countries are wary of letting their items be sold on the platform. This issue is one that we have encountered in the chapter 7 and again in chapter 18. If the counterfeiting is not reduced or eliminated, it is possible that many companies will begin to make their products more exclusive. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The End of ‘One China’

WSJ by Andrew Browne Nov. 13, 2015 12:01 p.m. ET 
The End of ‘One China’

China has scrapped its one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children for the first time since draconian family planning rules were introduced more than three decades ago. The announcement followed a four-day Communist party summit in Beijing where China’s top leaders debated financial reforms and how to maintain growth at a time of heightened concerns about the economy.

China will “fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an ageing population”, the party said in a statement published by Xinhua, the official news agency. “The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.”

Some people celebrated the move as a positive step towards greater personal freedom in China. But human rights activists and critics said the loosening – which means the Communist party continues to control the size of Chinese families.  

After this historic surprise meeting with the leader of Taiwan, Xi Jinping could go down in history for recognizing the island democracy.