Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Unilever Sales Rise on Ice-Cream, Emerging-Markets Demand

Unilever Sales Rise on Ice-Cream, Emerging-Markets Demand


Ashley O'Hara

Unilever, the maker of Magnum Ice Creams and personal care product lines such as Dove, reported Q3 revenue "increased sharply as the sales of ice cream jumped and the company logged strong growth in emerging markets." Growth was 2.1% YOY. 

There were three main causes for this which I found very interesting. The first was due to last year’s overestimation of demand in China's markets. The company endured a large hit in Q3 2014 when they over-supplied to large Chinese retailers. The second was due to conditions in the U.S. marketplace. Unilever cited better weather conditions (i.e. hotter) and Bluebell's listeria outbreak and subsequent recall and stop of production driving a greater demand for their ice cream. Lastly, growth of personal care products in emerging markets due to advanced purchases before price increases were announced.

Even though the increase in revenue was seen as a positive, the recent economic slowdown in some of their largest international markets (Russia, China and Brazil) "kept a lid on growth." I found it interesting to learn that Unilever is "pushing deeper into personal-care products such as shampoo and deodorants with appeal across different markets." They are shying away from food brands because there is significantly slower growth than the personal-care products. Although food brand growth is slow, tea and ice-cream sales are rising. So much so, late in Q3, Unilever acquired Grom, an Italian artisan ice-cream maker.



Apple, Banks in Talks on Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service


Apple, Banks in Talks on Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service


Ashley O'Hara


Apple is looking to dethrone PayPal's Venmo platform as the most prominent and easiest to use payment platform used by millennials. Apple is working with American banks, such as Chase, Wells Fargo and Capital One, to develop the service that would seamlessly allow users to "zap" money to one another through their phones, allowing users to forgo the use of cash or checks. 

Much of the speculation on how Apple would make money off this service, launch date, and how the technical details would fit into banking's current infrastructure are still unclear but many see this as a way for Apple to grasp a firmer hold on their customers by relying on their iPhones for more "everyday needs." The article considers the service would run through the already existing Apple Pay. A patent was already granted this year to Apple "for an encrypted person to person payment system using electronic devices that communicate wirelessly." 

Apple looks to take over the market share currently held by all the other mobile payment sharing programs, most notably, PayPal's Venmo, Square, Google Wallet and Facebook Messenger. In Q3, Venmo users alone had $2.1 billion in mobile payment transactions. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, told Trinity College in Dublin recently that digital payment systems will become so prominent in the future "your kids will not know what cash is."

Apple Pay is currently available in the US and the UK, and they are currently working on an entry strategy into Canada and Australia. 

With the adoption rate so popular among millennials along with the convenience of combining mobile and internet banking, I believe Tim Cook is correct in thinking this is the way of payment in the future and it's only a matter of time until it's offered globally.

Link to Article

India’s Economic Growth Accelerates

Jonathan Evans


Nov. 30, 2015 8:47 a.m. ET


The article begins by talking about how India’s economy continues to expand rapidly as strong growth in manufacturing has helped its economy pull ahead of China as the worlds fastest growing economy. In the last quarter, the economy has growth 7.4%. while many other emerging markets have struggled this year, India has stood out. Lost of the credit has been given to recently elected Pirme minister, Narendra Modi, who has encouraged easier transition of business in India. The plan has worked out so far and experts say that the future growth is dependent on the continuing improvement of the business environment. The country is also rapidly improving its infrastructure as its expected to increase the total length of the highway network by 50% before 2020.  The article ends by talking about how an economic storm is coming for many emerging economies but because of the solid growth and optimism of India and its leaders, many economists believe that they should weather the storm and even continue to see growth in the coming quarter. I have interest in this topic because of its significance to the growth of India, the country we decided to introduce our product to. It is relevant to the class because this article shows how much growth India has gone through recently and where is is headed as other economies struggle right now. This article shows the application to other businesses because as the economy improves, it opens up opportunities for all new business. I believe that this will fit into this class because of a couple of reason. One chapter 11 talks about the growth of India and where it has come from as a country. Secondly, Chapter 4 talks about a few of the social institutions that can shaped the origins of culture. In this case, the government is the main one that is shaping this new and improve culture as it continues to focus on new business opportunities in the country for all foreign countries. Not only are companies that come into India changing the way they are doing business there but they are adjusting to their values and rituals in order to have as much success as possible. In all, India economies is showing that it is one the right path to becoming one of the top economies in all of Asia, not to mention if it continues on the path its on, in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg Promotes Facebook Growth in India

Jonathan Evans


Oct. 27, 2015 11:20 a.m. ET




While shut out of China, Mark Zuckerberg has chosen India as the source for future growth for Facebook. In the past year, he has visited India twice and met with its prime minister, Narendra Modi, when launching a free internet initiative. Zuckerburg goal currently is to connect more people in the developing world and what better place to start than in India with a population of 1.2 billion people. Facebook has met much resistance in China since they do not let their citizens have access to the website along with other popular U.S. sites like Twitter, Google, and YouTube. Many expect India to have more Facebook Users than the US in the next few years. Many companies are investing heavily in the Indian market like Amazon who has invested billions in the Indian Market, Uber who believes it’s the 2nd largest market behind the U.S. in terms of cities served, and Google who have already begun to invest in online real estate startups and health care booking platform. The article expresses how there is still much growth to happen in India due to over 1 billion people still not having access to the internet. This is primarily the reason why in 2013, Facebook launched the the efforts called internet.org to bring free internet access to users in the developing world. Even though met with much opposition of violations of net neutrality and the over stepping of web providers, Zuckerburg stands strong on his decision and spoke at Tsinghua University, in mandarin, about how his main goal is to connect as many people as he possibly can. The article ended with a quote of Zuckerburg from his trip to the Taj Mahal saying that,” I’ve always wanted to see this. It is incredible what people can build.” I had a lot of interest in this topic one because I’m a big fan of social media, Facebook being one of my favorite and two, India is country that we have decided to do business in. This article had much relevance to the class because of the research done on India in order to bring a new product into their market. Also when marketing internationally, one must know the different ways to market to customers in different countries. This article has many applications to other businesses because Facebook also gives businesses the opportunity to market their product to new customers, making it the prefect application for new businesses. It also gives businesses in India the opportunity to market their products to people outside of India, giving them access to more networks and the opportunity to grow their business more rapidly. This article relates to Chapter 11 in the International Marketing Textbook when it talks about the emergence of the Indian Economy. Also in Chapter 16, the textbook talks about the tactical considerations in social media when entering into new markets. In all, this article showed how important Facebook is to marketing products and business because of the mission it is on to connect as many people as possible and as internet access continues to arise, so will the popularity of social media and Facebook.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ad-Focused Malware Targets Apple Users in China and Taiwan

 

Ad-Focused Malware Targets Apple Users in China and Taiwan



Updated Oct 5, 2015 10:23 am HKT

Article by Newley Purnell, with contributions by Josh Chin
Analysis by Stephanie Stelter

Two separate types of malware targeted Apple users in China and Taiwan: YiSpecter and XcodeGhost.  YiSpecter was the more recent attack, is hidden within an app that allows users to view free pornographic videos. This is of note because pornography is illegal in China.  The code embedded within the app adjusts settings on the device to allow advertisements to appear during the use of almost any other app on the device.  Essentially, the malware allows Apple users in China intending to participate in illegal activity to be spammed with excessive amounts of advertising.

My interest in this article stems from a question of the primary characteristic that led to the population to be targeted for the attack: being Apple users or intending to watch porn.  The possibility of the first characteristic, being Apple users, is the consideration that has possible international ramifications.  Apple relies on the reputation of its products for being more resistant to cyber attacks than similar products produced by other companies.  If hackers in China begin to hone methods to infiltrate Apple devices with increasing regularity, it may have a significant impact on Apple's reputation.  Apply may be well enough established in the international market to sustain its market share, even if its reputation suffered.  However, there have been studies of Apple's operating system market share compared to that of other mobile device operating systems that would lead one to believe that Apple is not as well established in all parts of the world as it is in the U.S.

China's Xinhua News Agency Blames OPM Hack on Criminal Gang


 
 

China's Xinhua News Agency Blames OPM Hack on Criminal Gang


Updated Dec 3, 2015 10:47 a.m. HKT
 
Article by Damian Paletta, with contributions from Josh Chin
Analysis by Stephanie Stelter
 
The hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, resulting in the theft of the personal information of more than 21 million people, sounds like an episode of a primetime television political drama.  However, in this case, the international politics and drama are real.
 
The latest plot twist occurred when Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency, published an article asserting that, as part of a meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials, an investigation had proven that the U.S. assumption of a Chinese state-sponsored cyber attack to be false.  There are several possible driving forces behind including this detail in the article and even more interpretations of the precise meaning of the wording.  The Wall Street Journal article only speculates on the possibilities, since U.S. officials were not available for comment.
 
My interest in the story grew as I considered the possible forces behind the publishing of the Xinhua article and the tumultuous history of U.S. and Chinese interactions.  I can not help but consider whether it is possible that so many of these tense exchanges and political games stem almost exclusively from the distinct cultures of the two countries.  Chinese culture places a high emphasis on the building of relationships and many ceremonial and traditional practices surrounding the establishment and maintenance of those relationships.  U.S. culture is generally more task-oriented, seeking to accomplish a goal.  In business and in politics, both cultures have developed more awareness of the tendencies of the other throughout time.  However, that awareness developed only after the initial foundation of the relationship had been established.  It seems that interactions between the countries have improved, and yet there are still circumstances of finger pointing and blame, like this one. My question, which will remain unanswered because there is no way to know: Would U.S. and Chinese relations be vastly different today if either side had been more culturally aware at the start of that international relationship?


GM Posts China Sales Record in November




In November, General Motors Co. set a sales record in China due to new purchase incentives and model updates. This is good news for GM because their slump may be over. The No. 1 U.S. auto maker said it sold 346,000 vehicles in China last month, a 14% increase compared with the same period a year ago on strong demand for its Buick, Cadillac and local Baojun car brands.

Government tax breaks for car purchases and increased demand for sport-utility vehicles, created an advantage for American auto-makers by fueling GM’s performance and likely lifted the auto industry during the month.“The market has been improving in the past two months,” said GM’s China chief, Matt Tsien. “We are well positioned to achieve a strong finish to the year.”

Although U.S. is the most profitable market for GM, analysts closely monitor it has a large manufacturing footprint in China and is planning billions of dollars in additional investments in that country in coming years.Next year, GM will ship China-made Buicks to U.S. dealers, becoming the first global auto-maker after Volvo Car Corp. to import Chinese-made vehicles for sale in America. Buick is a niche brand in the U.S., but is a high-volume in China.

I found it interesting that sales skyrocketed in China. I am curious to see how the Chinese-made vehicles will sell in America.