Readings: Global Awareness
An escalation in military tension is scaring tourists away from South Korea. Corporate scandals have also diverted attention from the 2018 Winter Olympics Games there.
In order to improve sales in India, Amazon, Google, and Apple are all working to localize their voice assistant apps. Amazon's Alexa can now speak Hinglish, a blend of Hindi and English. Amazon didn't want Alexa to seem like a visiting Brit or American who speaks with a foreign accent but instead to sound just like a neighbor.
Federal and state tax credits have been supporting the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market, making EVs more competitive with lower cost gasoline cars. Whether the federal credits are ended in the proposed tax reform or they simply phase out as planned in the current law, EV makers will soon have to face a competitive challenge.
Ericsson has bet its future on the fifth generation of mobile. However, nobody knows what applications and services will get customers to pay the billions of dollars 5G will cost.
The next big cyberattack could turn America's lights off. Security experts say there's evidence Russian hackers have breached U.S. utilities and nuclear power plants.
Contracts between suppliers of natural gas and utilities typically run for up to 20 years, stabilizing prices and supplies. Twenty percent of contracts will expire from 2018 to 2020, with 80 percent expiring over the next decade, providing an opening for new suppliers to step in.
Hacking is reaching new levels. Russia, for example, is taking out lights.
In Switzerland’s risk-averse watchmaking industry, keeping young buyers interested is essential to survival. For Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie, that means trying everything except playing it safe.
As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has had a single-minded focus on restructuring the State Department and improving its operational efficiency. This effort is not gaining much support within the State Department. There is little evidence that Tillerson has adapted his leadership style, developed in corporate settings, to better align with the State Department’s organizational culture.
Negotiations between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement have begun but without much progress. While the Trump administration has indicated that it wants to discourage firms from moving operations to Mexico in order to lower costs, relocation firms report business remains strong. With labor savings of around $20,000 per person per year, even if U.S. taxes increase on goods from Mexico, it still makes sense for some manufacturers to shift production to Mexico.
When campaigning through steel country, Donald Trump promised to bring back jobs to the American steel industry. He also indicated that "we're going to be make pipeline in the United States" with American steel. However, tariffs or trade restrictions on "cheap" foreign steel have not been forthcoming, and a big winner in some recent pipeline contracts is a Russian steel company with close family ties to the Trump family.
Can extremists be deprogrammed? Gen Next is counting on it.
Japanese manufacturers have been able to survive with premium prices in an increasingly competitive global market because of their reputation for quality and reliability. Recent scandals such as fake quality data at Kobe Steel are putting that reputation at risk.
Fanuc is the worldwide leader in producing the robots used in manufacturing all sorts of products, including mobile phones, automobiles, and more robots. These robots help improve precision in performing repetitive tasks, while reducing labor costs. While earlier models were primarily used in high-wage countries, Fanuc is seeing some of its largest growth occur in China, where Japanese robots are replacing Chinese workers.
Hackers have a head start in exploiting system flaws. The Equifax hack is an object lesson in the need for U.S. security watchdogs to receive more money and pick up the pace.
Japanese manufacturers have been the models of continuous quality improvement. Facing increasing competition from China, incidents of Japanese companies reporting fake quality and safety data are on the rise. Individual companies are bearing the consequences of their actions, but Japan's reputation for excellence may be at risk.
For years, Japanese companies have held on to a reputation for high-quality goods. This has been critical in order for them to effectively compete against Chinese and other foreign competitors. But in order to be more price competitive, some Japanese companies appear to have been skimping on quality or taking unethical steps in order to reduce costs.
The UK’s impending divorce from Europe could clog ports across the country. Acknowledging the chaos that such a scenario could create in ports like Dover, the government proposed that shipments could be “pre-notified to customs.”
Digital money like bitcoin could help the Swiss rebound from a decade-long assault on bank secrecy, but it also brings back questions about whether the country is luring illicit cash.
Back in the 1930s, Mexico nationalized its oil industry, designating government-owned Pemex as the only company allowed to drill for oil. But recognizing that other companies had made important technological advances and looking for foreign investment, in recent years Mexico has allowed foreign companies to bid on exploration leases. Now that Texas-based Talos Energy LLC has discovered oil in a field that extends beyond its lease, the government needs to develop the necessary rules for revenue- and profit-sharing.
Innovation is at the heart of Apple’s business, and innovation depends on talent. The locations of Apple’s research facilities may reflect its strategy to hire the best and brightest. Apple’s practice of opening research facilities and then hiring employees from nearby companies might be viewed as poaching, and in some cases it has led to the dissolution of a relationship with a supplier.
Adidas is opening two new highly automated manufacturing facilities that can produce customized shoes quickly and closer to markets. A new factory in Germany can produce about half a million pairs of shoes annually while employing 160 people. A similar factory will open soon near Atlanta. The goal with these factories is to be able to respond quickly to new trends and help maintain stocks of highly-sought, full-price items.
Adidas' new "Speedfactories" in Germany and the U.S. will use automation to get new shoe designs to stores in days rather than months. Adidas says this is the biggest revolution in shoe manufacturing since moving production to Asia.
Canada's Bombardier received a couple pieces of bad news this week. In the rail business, Germany's Siemens decided to pursue a merger with France's Alstom, which at least for now leaves Bombardier as a much smaller player in the worldwide rail market. Its aircraft unit also learned that the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary ruling in favor of Boeing that Bombardier received significant subsidies from the Canadian government and, as a result, imported Bombardier aircraft will be subject to duties.
Worldwide cocoa prices have fallen about 40 percent over the past three years, as good harvests have led to a growth in supply without much to change demand. As part of a measure to help support cocoa farmers, the Ghana Cocoa Board guarantees that farmers receive a set price per pound. But with falling worldwide cocoa prices and with costs incurred by the Ghana Cocoa Board, the board loses money on every transaction. Complicating matters is the fact that growers from neighboring Ivory Coast smuggle their beans into Ghana in order to obtain the higher prices, which further strains the government of Ghana's ability to maintain its high prices.
Globalism is alive and well in Germany, where 46 percent of GDP comes from exports. While large, well-known manufacturing firms are responsible for some of these exports, so are the much smaller, privately owned German manufacturing firms that export goods worldwide. Delo Industrie Klebstoffe GmbH, for example, makes the glue used in 80 percent of smart cards worldwide.
L’Oréal has a gender gap; it ranks high on lists of the most attractive places for women to work, but struggles to attract men. The company has made it a goal to recruit an equal number of men and women by 2020. To achieve true gender balance, L’Oréal will need to do more than attract more men, it also needs to fully integrate women into its highest ranks and encourage women to take science, technical, and engineering positions.
Colombia's constitution allows local regions to hold referendums on topics important to the citizens. Several recent votes have prevented foreign multinational companies that had purchased rights for oil or mineral production from commencing operations. Locals are concerned about how the operations would affect water supplies, local farm land, and the way of life in rural Columbia.
Nissan's Leaf is the world's best-selling electric vehicle in large part because of its early introduction. The carmaker is revamping it to counter rivals' advances.
T-shirt manufacturing is returning to the U.S. as Chinese apparel maker Tianyuan Garments builds a $20 million factory in Little Rock, Arkansas, with incentives like tax breaks and infrastructure assistance. T-shirt bots from Softwear Automation of Atlanta will sew all the shirts, making them at the lowest cost in the world.
Paul Polman's tenure as CEO of Unilever has already outstretched the average for CEOs at similarly sized companies. This is especially notable, as Polman has adopted a long-term focus that prioritizes environmental, social, and ethical objectives. The company has had financial success. Time will tell whether Polman's vision for making Unilever profitable, ethical, and long-term-focused can be sustained.
New French President Emmanuel Macron was elected in part because of his vision for fostering innovation in the country. Just like in organizations, the need to replace and/or retrain its workforce is a key element, but unlike within companies, the pain of an underdeveloped workforce cannot simply be removed.
Unilever manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide, with brand names that are well-known to consumers everywhere. Under CEO Paul Polman, it has also taken steps to emphasize corporate social responsibility and concern for the environment. Recognizing that underdeveloped areas of the world are an important growth opportunity, Unilever works to educate consumers on proper hygiene while building brand recognition.
China-based Tianyuan Garments is building a new factory in Arkansas that will be highly automated, making T-shirts for about 33 cents each. Tianyuan is one of China's largest apparel makers, with this plant allowing the company to be more responsive to shifts in the North American market. The sewbots have been developed by a U.S. company, Softwear Automation, and will be able to make about 23 million T-shirts a year.
Teva Pharmaceutical has been a symbol of Israeli entrepreneurship, and in Israel it has been called the “people’s stock.” After the 2011 death of Eli Hurvitz, Teva’s legendary former CEO and chairman, the company has floundered, going through a series of CEOs. Factors related to the company’s culture have exacerbated the challenge of finding a leader to succeed Hurvitz and positioning Teva for a changing economic environment.
After a series of food safety concerns, China strengthened laws in 2015 against retailers who sell mislabeled products. One provision of the law allows customers who buy counterfeit or damaged goods compensation of up to ten times the purchase price. This has led to a new profession of "fraudbusters" or individuals who purchase goods they believe fail standards in some respect and then sue for damages.
Bosch, the German auto parts manufacturer, is investing billions of dollars in R&D as it works to transform itself into a global technology company. In the midst of this endeavor, the company is facing increasing scrutiny for the role it may have played in the diesel emissions scandal that first came to light in VW cars. While Bosch’s role remains unclear, potential damages could be in the billions and the reputation costs could affect the company’s future.
Several U.S. refineries have been specifically calibrated to work with Venezuela's sludgy high-density, high-sulphur crude oil. Last year, $10 billion of Venezuelan crude oil was imported and refined, helping keep gas prices low. But with the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela, as well as the possibility of sanctions against Venezuela's government, U.S. consumers and refiners could face adverse consequences.
Economic development has brought the poor diet and lack of exercise found in the West to places like rural India, resulting in higher levels of chronic illness like diabetes. Big Pharma is sponsoring health-care visits to screen for such conditions and inform people about the medicines available, giving them a foothold in the largest growth opportunity around.
Brazil's 3G Capital has grown by buying well-known consumer product companies and cutting costs. It typically makes deep cuts to expenses, including closing factories, laying off workers, and getting rid of expensive perks. To grow, it also looks to grow market share in countries where the brands are less well known.
Sophisticated Chinese apparel manufacturers are behind most leading global apparel brands, and some would like to move forward with their own global brands. Down coat maker Bosideng’s retreat after five years in London is a cautionary tale.
The Brillante Virtuoso was allegedly hijacked and destroyed by Somali pirates, but circumstances surrounding the 2011 explosion and fire on the ship remain a mystery. Details of the case are intriguing, but the story also highlights the challenges insurers have in distinguishing between legitimate casualty losses and fraud. This uncertainty may contribute to insurers’ tendency to settle shipping claims, but the practice may encourage insurance fraud and pass the cost on to consumers.
In 2013, Mexico passed legislation that eliminated state-owned monopolies in the electricity and oil industries. This change meant to attract foreign investment into these industries to increase efficiency and stimulate new discoveries. For the oil industry, however, theft and violence create a huge potential cost for would-be investors.
Gao Dekang grew Bosideng from a small factory with eleven workers to a global apparel powerhouse and the largest maker of down coats in China. As a manufacturer, Bosideng makes coats for many well known brands, including Adidas, North Face, and Columbia Sportswear. Domestically in China, Bosideng has a strong brand, but it has had difficulty taking its brand global.
China's disproportionately small sports industry and amateur community reflect decades of limited government support and insufficient disposable incomes. Alibaba's tiny sports arm is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to nurture China's interest in sports and related merchandise.
Carlos Ghosn has assembled an alliance of auto manufacturers that has a global reach. He successfully turned around the struggling French auto company Renault, and later was successful with Nissan. The alliance now includes Mitsubishi, AvtoVaz, and Dongfeng.
As chairman and CEO of a global alliance of auto companies, Carlos Ghosn has had success with helping struggling companies become more profitable. He believes in cutting marginal operations so that he can invest in the more profitable ones and help them thrive. He is an advocate of globalization.
Forster Rohner AG produces fine textiles and lace in factories in Switzerland, Romania, and China. The factory in Switzerland is highly automated, while also employing highly skilled workers who prepare very detailed work by hand. In addition to its 250 Swiss employees, the company employs another 640 at factories in Romania and China, where lower priced goods are produced.
It would appear that simply the inclusion of the word "Russia" sparks fears of espionage and fears of collusion to destroy the United States. To ramp that up even more, include cybersecurity in the discussion.
The past decade has seen a significant buildup of mobile phone networks across Africa, with countries auctioning spectrum to multinational bidders that hoped to cash in on the projected growth of subscribers on the continent. The costs involved, along with new regulatory hurdles, have caused some multinational telecom firms to scale back on their investments. One new wrinkle is requiring mobile phone operators to at least partially list their shares on local exchanges and make stock ownership available to local investors.
Large factories require large volume to run efficiently. As the American market has shifted from sedans to SUVs and trucks, Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to spend $1.3 billion to transform its huge Camry plant in Kentucky to one that can produce 11 different vehicles and shift quickly among them.
The U.S. government has been blocking the sale of several semiconductor firms to companies that are affiliated with the Chinese government. The concern is that the U.S. government does not want the Chinese government to have access to and future control over technology being developed at these companies. It is unclear, however, whether blocking these particular deals will have much impact on the future growth and success of the Chinese semiconductor industry.
Nokia has a long history, dating from before the establishment of Finland as a country, and has run a variety of different businesses over its existence. It became known internationally as a pioneer in mobile phones, and for several years was the world's leading producer of mobile phones. While Nokia sold the phone handset business to Microsoft after it experienced a significant drop in marketshare, it is still a major global competitor in providing networking equipment and telecommunications infrastructure to mobile phone service providers (e.g., Verizon, Orange, AT&T, Vodaphone) across the globe.
As politicians and countries maneuver to keep steel mills and other factories at home, the companies are maneuvering to maintain their competitiveness through automation. Voestalpine AG’s fully automated steel wire plant has only 14 jobs, but they are “really attractive.”
As Myanmar's government is transitioning, it clearly sees the opportunity for tourism development, and it has strongly encouraged it by creating some of the necessary infrastructural components. Unfortunately, the tourism sector has yet to kick in, and this is causing some consternation.
For the past several decades, labor-intensive manufacturing of textiles and clothing has shifted from higher wage countries to lower wage countries, and in the process helped bring jobs and economic growth to increasingly poorer countries. With advances in technology and automation, however, that regular shift to the next country with lower pay levels may be coming to an end.
India is now the best opportunity for smartphone growth, but Apple has only 3 percent market share there. To compete with cheaper Chinese and Indian phones, Apple has begun offering older models at discount prices.
Apple is making old iPhones new again to win India. Old-gen models like the 5S make up more than half of Apple’s shipments to the subcontinent.
A Russian software billionaire takes on SAP and Oracle. Boris Nuraliev has built a fortune with enterprise software tailored to Russian needs. He uses a franchise model in which partners are licensed to install its software and adapt it to the needs of each particular business.
Twenty-five years ago, U.S. chipmakers vowed to stop using chemicals that caused miscarriages and birth defects. And they did—by outsourcing the danger to women in Asia.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of studies in the United States showed that workers at semiconductor manufacturing facilities had abnormally high rates of miscarriages. The US industry responded by trying to eliminate many of the most noxious chemicals, improve working conditions, and shifting semiconductor manufacturing to other countries. More recently, the handling of highly toxic chemicals in semiconductor plants has also been associated with a number of other health problems, including cancer, infertility, and birth defects in the children of male workers.
Corruption and bribery may be more common than not in the Brazilian construction industry, but for Odebrecht SA it grew over decades to a scale that ultimately proved unsustainable. In exchange for shorter sentences, Odebrecht principals are providing details of their transactions and the systems they devised to support bribery activities. This in turn, is revealing the roles banks and others played, both inside of Brazil and in other countries.
An obsession with building factories that make "things" that could be more efficiently produced in other countries could be counter-productive to improving the economic health of working-class Americans. The highest paying jobs, and the most valued added, come from the early stages or product design and development, and the latter stages of customer service and support. Policies that would encourage companies to invest in low-margin manufacturing operations, rather than other activities, could hurt their overall competitiveness and lead to prices increases for U.S. consumers.
Bollywood makes more than twice as many movies as Hollywood, but profits are limited. Now, other regional filmmakers in India are challenging Bollywood, making for an increasingly difficult industry environment.
There are changes and challenges in the $110-billion outsourcing business at the heart of India's economy. This is said to be primarily due to automation and changes in the U.S. immigration policy.
An Indian blockbuster, "Baahubali 2," had box-office revenues of more than $230 million in three weeks. This could spark more films outside the Bollywood mold. India produces 1,500 to 2,000 films a year and generated about $2.2 billion in 2016. It has about six screens per million viewers, versus 23 per million in China and 126 per million in the U.S.
Norway has high taxes on most cars, easily doubling the price of a new car. And even though the country is rich with oil, the price at the pump is around $7 a gallon. Electricity, however, is relatively inexpensive, and electric vehicles are exempt from most tolls. With these sorts of governmental policies, it is not surprising that Norway has the highest per-capita adoption of electric vehicles.
Like many high-profile companies, Caterpillar structured international transactions to reduce its U.S. taxable income. One of the company's tax accountants reported this under whistleblower statutes. Now, Caterpillar faces a $2 billion IRS bill in back taxes, and the accountant may collect hundreds of millions of dollars in the biggest whistleblower award ever. The series of events leading up to the ongoing investigation highlight issues related to the connections among business ethics, organizational culture, leadership, and human resource management.
Caterpillar has been a symbol of U.S. manufacturing worldwide, with its equipment in use in probably every country. The company is also known for its ability to deliver parts to repair the equipment, wherever it is being used. Where the profits on those parts should be booked, and taxes paid, however, is now under scrutiny.
Chinese food producers have a bad reputation in their home market for quality and safety, limiting their pricing and growth opportunities. So they are acquiring foreign brands to overcome the cynicism of Chinese consumers.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has prioritized information in amnesty deals, and this is empowering IRS efforts to shut down tax evasion achieved by hiding money in offshore accounts. Both U.S. taxpayers and Swiss banks have avoided prosecution by providing records and other information related to tax evasion. Using this data, the IRS is now tracking down taxpayers who use foreign bank accounts to evade taxes as well as the companies and advisors who facilitate these efforts.
Concerns over food safety and contamination have led many Chinese consumers to prefer Western brands. In order to help bolster their reputation and move up-market into premium brands, large Chinese food conglomerates have purchased Western food companies. One of the largest deals was the almost $7 billion WH Group paid for U.S.-based Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork processor.
General Motors is posting record profits even as its major rivals are moving to lower investors' expectations. CEO Mary Barra's heavy focus on profitability, and operating margins in particular, has led her to scale back or entirely abandon investments in emerging markets like India and Russia, although those markets represent many millions of annual vehicle sales. She says that GM won't win by being all things to all people everywhere.
Mary Barra may be leading GM away from its past as she focuses on a profitable future. GM is leaving some markets to focus on high profit margins and investments that will position it for a period of rapid change in the auto industry. In addition to changing the company's strategy, this focus is also changing elements of GM's culture.
GM was once the leading global automaker with a presence in all of the major and emerging markets. But CEO Mary Barra has decided to ditch low profit-margin markets like India and Russia to focus on more profitable markets and invest in being a leader in new technologies.
Chinese manufacturing and industrial companies, looking for growth opportunities but facing slower growth in China, are looking at foreign opportunities. One example is the recent purchase of Slovenian app maker Outfit7 by Zhejiang Jinke Peroxide Co. for $1 billion. With clearly no operational synergies, this is simply an example of foreign direct investment for financial reasons.
Etihad Airway's strategy of building a global network by purchasing interests in financially struggling regional carriers helped the company quickly build a presence in the global airline industry. Some of the airlines in which it invested, however, including Alitalia and Air Berlin, continue to lose money and have weak competitive positions. The architect of this strategy, CEO James Hogan, is now on his way out as Etihad reviews its strategy.
Russians have loaded up on Cyprus’s citizenship program that attracted $4.4 billion in foreign investment last year. Cypriot citizenship helps them avoid the prying eyes of their government and pay lower taxes, and may make it easier to move money, because banks see them as benign locals, rather than potentially suspicious foreigners. One Russian got citizenship after buying two Limassol villas.
Comac, or Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., is planning to compete with Boeing and Airbus in the aircraft industry. Comac's model C919 took its first flight last week from Shanghai. The Chinese domestic market for aircraft of this size, a single-aisle model that can carry 158-174 passengers, is expected to be more than 5,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.
Rather than sharing in a windfall when Juno was acquired, drivers who held unvested shares in the new ride-hailing company were informed that the stock plan was void. Some of these drivers had left Uber because of the chance to own an equity interest as well as Juno's promise to treat drivers with respect and fairness. Less than a year later, the company that promised to treat drivers better than Uber seems to have broken that promise.
The role of unions in Mexican factories is a bit different from the standard procedure in the United States. Before a factory even opens, a contract is signed between a local labor union that will represent workers and the factory's owner. Dues are paid by the factory, and many workers are not even aware they are members of the union.
The hacking tools released by Shadow Brokers may have infected more than 400,000 computers and could be tough to erase. The group’s NSA-quality malware release isn’t just another hack.
Despite record profits, BMW is perceived to be falling behind in the fast changing world of electric cars, self-driving vehicles, and robo-taxis. So the company's CEO is putting employees through a day-long session to raise awareness of the challenges and to instill fear of falling behind.
China is fast becoming one of the larger markets for workplace automation. This has led to the development of a large number of Chinese companies in the robotics and automation industries, though many currently just assemble components designed and manufactured by leading German, American, and Japanese robotics companies. But in the process, these companies and Chinese central planners are working to create a competitive robotics industry in China.
Some 800 robot makers seek scale as Chinese industry automates. JD.com, E-Deodar, and Midea lead China’s charge for domination. It has also deployed a pollution-monitoring robot and a deep-sea robot.
The narrow victory on April 16, 2017’s referendum vote for expanding the powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey will not likely fix the ailing economy or reduce terrorism. Erdogan might take the victory as a mandate to reject European values and become increasingly inward-looking.
Manufacturing of dentures and dental implants has become more automated and is increasingly done in low-wage locations. A combination of the use of digital technology, consolidation among dentists, and lower costs overseas has contributed to a shift in production of dental fixtures. U.S. manufacturers that have remained competitive have shed jobs by investing in automation.
China is the world's largest auto market, and most cars are sold under a foreign brand name. This is a result of China's policy of requiring foreign car makers to work with a joint venture partner, and in the process transfer some technology and manufacturing expertise. As the Chinese government considers dropping this restriction, it could hurt local manufacturers who have come to depend on the profit streams from foreign-branded vehicles.
The shipbuilding industry has taken a significant hit in recent years, as low oil prices decreased demand for oil tankers and offshore drilling rigs. There is now a bit of hope, however, as demand for liquefied natural gas is driving demand for gas tankers. Demand for electricity in India and China is boosting demand for clean electricity-generating technologies, hence demand for liquefied natural gas from the Americas.
In early 2016, Carrier announced it would be closing a furnace factory in Indiana and shifting production to Mexico. In a mature manufacturing industry that requires minimal skilled labor, the two primary ways to reduce operating costs are to increase automation and/or lower wage costs. One approach to lowering wage costs is to shift production to lower wage locations. In Carrier's case and in the words of its CEO, the timing happened to coincide with the "silly political season" that was short on "adult supervision." The Indiana plant, however, will for now remain open.
Beginning in the 1990s, Alabama used tax breaks and other incentives to attract foreign auto manufacturers to the state. As multiple auto companies built factories in Alabama, auto-parts makers followed. Questions about safety violations and working conditions at these auto parts factories raise questions about potential costs associated with Alabama's manufacturing renaissance.
Ethereum could present a whole new way to run a business, but there are some serious kinks to work out. Ethereum’s ledger can store fully functioning computer programs called smart contracts.
Brazil's JBS SA is the world's largest meat producer and is preparing to raise additional funds via bond sales and a partial stock listing. JBS has grown through a series of acquisitions, spending $20 billion in the past decade. Recent investigations into the bribing of Brazilian meat inspectors to overlook food safety violations are now spooking foreign customers and threatening to derail JBS's stock offering.
Small firms are using EBay to reach markets across borders. In Europe, sellers can now sign up to have items listed in multiple countries and have the descriptions translated into local languages. For EBay, more than half the company's revenue now comes from international markets.
Retailers in several areas of India have decided to pull Coke and Pepsi products from their shelves. Behind this boycott is a combination of nationalism, support for small farmers who need water for irrigation, and concern over water quality and shortages. Coke and Pepsi are perceived as "foreign" firms that are making money off from a valuable national natural resource: water.
After pulling Chevrolet out of Europe in 2013, prospects for General Motors there have not improved. Now GM has agreed to pay French automaker PSA Group to take Opel and Vauxhall Motors as it exits Europe.
Foreign dairy companies have found it difficult to enter the Chinese consumer market with milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products. The food-service industry, however, which supplies restaurants and cafeterias, appears to be easier to enter while having lower margins. In order to encourage Chinese chefs to use more dairy products in their cooking, foreign dairy companies are holding workshops and investing in training kitchens to help introduce dairy products to Chinese chefs.
Large family-dominated conglomerates, called chaebol, have significant influence in Korean business. The nine largest companies in South Korea are responsible for 75 percent of the country's gross domestic product and have significant influence over government policies. A bribery investigation that implicates both the country's president and the leader of Samsung has led to renewed calls for reform of these highly successful conglomerates.
5G will be great for streaming video but will also enable a new world of connected cars, drones, and robots. The future cellular networks will generate $3.5 trillion in economic output.
Nuclear power looked like a promising business when Toshiba acquired Westinghouse Electric in 2006. Now cost overruns and delays at the only nuclear plants under construction in the United States since 1979 will cripple, if not bankrupt, the once formidable industrial conglomerate.
The U.S. agriculture industry depends heavily on exports, with more than half of U.S. wheat, rice, cotton, and soybean production traded overseas. Uncertainty over Trump’s farm policy, along with his administration’s clear signals to scuttle multilateral trade agreements, could be good news for farmers in Russia, Brazil, and Ukraine. With Trump pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership on trade, which was backed by farmers, countries that remain in the partnership may have preferential access to important markets.
Using a tiny camera at the end of an elongated needle, the Mi-eye2, the only product of Trice Medical, can enter into an injured joint and provide superior visual information about the type and extent of the injury. This allows the proper type of treatment to be determined without the degree of risk of orthoscopic units as well as the superior imaging than MRIs can provide.
Trump’s talk of hard line dealing with China over trade has Hollywood worried. The Chinese had promised to further open their lucrative film market this year, and Hollywood doesn’t want anything to change their minds.
Slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants are not the most enjoyable places to work, and while the pay typically exceeds minimum wage, employers have a hard time attracting and keeping employees. In order to keep operations running and meat prices at levels customers have come to expect, plants have increasingly turned to immigrant and/or refugee labor. With the recently announced travel and refugee ban, many workers that had hoped to build a life in America and bring their families to join them, now wonder if they can ever achieve the American Dream, and meat processing plants wonder if they will be able to find enough workers to fill the jobs.
The U.S. and Chinese film industries have become increasingly interdependent, with big U.S. studios counting on Chinese financing and ticket sales. Last year the Chinese market generated 19 percent of global box office sales and had higher revenues than U.S. theaters for some films. In addition, Chinese firms have made major investments in U.S. movie theaters and film studios.
Athletic footwear makers may bring some manufacturing back to the United States to save on shipping and perhaps avoid a Trump Twitter tirade. But the factories are likely to be highly automated and create few jobs.
The political relationships between countries in the Middle East are complicated, with history, religion, and territorial disputes causing many impediments to cooperation. While Israeli diplomats may have difficulty working with counterparts from Arab countries, that doesn't keep Israeli businesses from doing business with Arab governments. The logistics of keeping these business relationships obscured, however, can be challenging.
The manufacturing of sneakers has been a labor-intensive process, and thus, much of the manufacturing has taken place in low-wage nations. With changes in design and new manufacturing techniques, it may be economic to move some production closer to markets. This will reduce shipping costs, while shortening the time to market and making it easier for manufacturers to quickly respond to shifting demand.
Seemingly motivated by Donald Trump’s public vows to punish companies that send jobs overseas, IBM’s CEO has pledged to hire 25,000 U.S. workers in coming years. IBM’s actions, including multiple rounds of U.S. firings in 2016, raise questions about just how genuine the company’s pledge is. Despite becoming more savvy in the way it conducts its U.S. workforce reductions, IBM continues to fire U.S. employees and replace many with overseas workers.
While IBM talks about Trump-pleasing hiring plans, it's firing thousands. IBM pledged to hire 25,000 workers over four years, but it's continuing to fire American workers and move their jobs abroad. It wasn't long before employees were accusing the company's CEO of hypocrisy.
NATO members will increase military budgets and spending, amid doubt they can rely on the United States. However, some members will fall short of the mandatory 2 percent of GDP. Weapons makers look forward to a spending spree as stocks surge.
The printed book is dead, long live the printed book. Bertelsmann is betting that print books will continue to be good business as it moves to take 100 percent ownership of Penguin, the world’s largest book publisher.
A crackdown on bribery and concerns over conspicuous consumption have slowed demand for luxury goods in China. Data suggests that the country's wealthier consumers haven't stopped spending, however; rather, they've shifted their consumption pattern. The end result may mean a more sustainable growth rate for makers of high-end goods.
The supply chain in the automotive industry is incredibly complex, with parts coming together into subassemblies and then joined with other subassemblies before being assembled into final vehicles. Under NAFTA, regardless of the North American country where final assembly takes place, most vehicles are made from parts manufactured or assembled in the other two countries and other countries worldwide. Simple-minded ideas such as imposing a tax on imports from Mexico sounds like a way of shifting manufacturing to the United States but may result in fewer U.S. manufacturing jobs if auto manufacturers shift production outside NAFTA to lower prices for consumers.
Celebration of Trump’s victory by pharmaceutical executives turned to fear when he suggested they should bid for the government’s business as well as bring manufacturing back to the U.S. But Trump will have to overcome the powerful pharmaceutical lobby to get such measures through the Republican Congress.
In recent years, there has been no shortage of scandals in the banking industry. Deutsche Bank has been implicated in a number of the scandals involving tax evasion, mortgage securities, and even manipulation of LIBOR. Perhaps the biggest scandal, though, was Deutsche Bank’s involvement in investment banking, the evolution of its culture, and the details of another scandalous transaction designed to obfuscate a client’s losses.
Analytics startups help manage companies’ server needs. About 1 in 5 businesses that rent computing capacity through the cloud now use specialized software to keep better tabs on costs. Companies such as Cloudability, CloudHealth, Cloudyn and Cloud Cruiser do face two serious risks.
Bringing insurance to the world's poor would seem to be a difficult proposition. Blue Marble Microinsurance, backed by industry giants like American International Group, is starting with crop insurance, which could be a key to agricultural development and longer term emergence of other insurance markets.
Fintech upstart Paytm is leveraging an anti-corruption campaign to establish itself as India's dominant digital payments player. It wants to be India's first $100 billion company by value.
Netflix has been gradually building a subscriber base in Central and South America. A key step in attracting customers to its subscription video service was to help develop the infrastructure that facilitated high-speed streaming. Netflix has also developed original content specifically for South American consumers.
German music streaming service SoundCloud is in trouble despite having about 175 million users and the adoration of both artists and fans. Pandora and Spotify face similar problems as they continue to lose money while record labels get most of the streaming revenue.
Emirates has grown from a two-plane operation to being the world's largest long-haul airline. Using the natural location advantage of Dubai as a hub, the airline can efficiently serve many routes between South Asia, Africa, and Europe. Its continued growth, however, may be limited by both demand conditions and concerns over unfair advantages it receives as a result of government ownership.
Emirates Airline has a corporate culture and human resource management policies that reflect the government that owns it. With the support of Dubai's government, Emirates carefully controls employees and many dimensions of the enterprise. Aggressive expansion has made Emirates Airline the world's largest long-haul carrier, but some question the sustainability of the company, its business strategy, and the multilateral world without borders philosophy that underpins the company.
The Chinese auto industry has been growing steadily for 26 years, with foreign luxury brands such as Audi doing very well. The market is shifting, however, as other luxury brands such as Mercedes are experiencing faster growth. Meanwhile, there is also pressure for more fuel-efficient, electric, and hybrid vehicles. Thus, Audi dealers are finding it hard to make a profit, while Audi seeks out additional sales channels to spur growth.
Emirates flies the fanciest product on the biggest planes on the longest routes. There might not be much more room to soar. The proliferation of lighter, fuel-efficient jets such as the Boeing 787 are making long-haul routes between smaller cities economical, reducing the role for megahubs and the superconnector model such as Dubai World Central.
Sales of makeup aimed at the Muslim market are growing fast. The trend “carries a certain stigma with the average American.”
Kering, the corporate parent of many famous fashion brands, including Yves Saint Laurent, Puma, and Gucci, has taken steps to improve the business practices of its suppliers down the supply chain. Francois-Henri Pinault has followed in his father's footsteps in developing a corporate culture that tries to make the world a better place while also making money. Each year the company produces a corporate sustainability report that outlines steps it takes to make the world a better place while also making high-end luxury products.
From her own experience as a high school student, Cindy Mi realized that teachers can have a huge influence, good and bad, on a student's attitude and success. She worked for a time at her uncle's school doing tutoring before starting her own company. Recognizing the desire of Chinese parents to have the best education possible for the child, including English language instruction, and the relatively low pay of teachers in North America, she started a company for online tutoring that pairs Chinese youth with North American teachers.
China has been encouraging companies to “Go Abroad” in recent years and make acquisitions to obtain access to markets, technology, and brand names. In the first 10 months of 2016, Chinese companies spent almost $150 billion on foreign investments. There are now indications that China is starting to tighten capital controls, and scrutinize outward investment more carefully.
China is the world's leading steel exporter, and in the process has driven down worldwide steel prices. The Chinese government is now trying to restructure its domestic steel industry, closing smaller producers. This should help the country reduce air pollution while giving some financial relief to other steel makers.
Storing data on "the cloud" cheaply is an enticing proposition for those with huge storage needs, but security of that data is becoming a focus of attention for IT professionals. A company started in 2007 named Guardtime has begun to sell security software that can detect breaches of data security. They started in Estonia, one of the first countries to place an emphasis on e-government and systems.
The movement to reduce the power of South Korea’s Chaebol is gaining strength as prosecutors have tied them to the scandal that led to President Park’s impeachment. Corporate executives are keeping their heads down in the hope that the populist anger against them will subside.
The global supply chain that brings shrimp and fish to your neighborhood restaurant or grocery store can be very opaque. For centuries, aquaculture has been a part of the Chinese food supply, and the Chinese seafood industry has grown to become one of the largest producers and exporters in the world. Concerns over the use of antibiotics and the safety of the food has raised concerns among Western regulators, causing Chinese firms to use transshipment techniques to avoid certain tariffs and import inspections.
Blockchain-style ledgers can log changes to files stored online. Employee-owned Guardtime, whose software is rooted in blockchain, is the Pentagon’s early leader for cloud security.
China's state-owned airlines are adding international routes and gaining marketshare from international competitors. Part of the reason behind their success is price-based competition that allows customers to save hundreds of dollars compared to other large international competitors. But the growth is also attributable to an increasing number of Chinese customers who may favor domestic over foreign carriers.
Apple Inc. has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to use drones for data collection to improve its Maps service. Apple acquired startup Indoor.io last year to help bring its indoor mapping project to market.
Planeloads of cash seek to turn India's black money white. Winning support for demonetization and implementing it effectively is crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi before key state elections next year and a national poll in 2019.
The European airline industry has been undergoing consolidation, much like that in the United States. And just like in the Unites States, European airlines face stiff competition from low-cost, no-frills carriers. But what remains different is that the large airline groups still operate multiple brands, and with state ownership interests, it is difficult for these airlines to achieve the cost savings of their North American counterparts.
Global personal care product companies such as Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive have started to see their market share in India decline, as local firms offering natural ayurvedic products grab market share. Focusing on all-natural ingredients, and using marketing based on yoga-gurus and an emphasis on balance in life, firms such as Patanjali have continued to gain market share. Patanjali has grown to hold more than 1 percent of India's market, with its principal owner now worth about $2.5 billion. More local competition is entering the market, and the large conglomerates are starting their own lines of ayurvedic products.
Leading apparel retailer Zara rejects the label fast fashion because of the company's focus on design. Yet its designers are driven by sales and consumer data as they deliver fresh styles to stores twice weekly.
A unique management formula may be why Inditex’s revenue growth—up 11 percent in the first half of 2016—far outpaces its rivals. The biggest fashion retailer is thriving as rivals falter. It has virtually no ad budget apart from social media marketing.
As competitors struggle, Zara continues to thrive. It's known as a fast-fashion company supported with a supply chain that allows quick turnarounds. Some facets of Zara’s business model may be imitable, but its approach to management, unique decision-making process, and organizational culture may be able to sustain the company's success.
Inditex's business model for fast fashion allows it to frequently update its inventory and adapt its offerings to different tastes in different countries. Rather than rely on lead designers to try and predict or create fashion trends, the company uses data and a team of designers to continually shift production at its factories. Since a large portion is produced near the Inditex's headquarters in Spain, new designs can move quickly into production and onto store shelves in Europe.
The fall in the value of the ruble, along with real wage declines, has contributed to a boost in Russian exports of some manufactured goods. Although the cost of doing business in Russia is still higher than in many other countries, it is very competitive with eastern Europe, and exporting to Europe can make sense for goods with high transportation costs. Both IKEA and Samsung have recently expanded production at factories in Russia.
The North American automotive industry is highly integrated across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, with parts and vehicles flowing back and forth across borders. All that could change if Donald Trump follows through on his threats to levy import taxes and cut trade with Canada and Mexico. The implications for automakers from Ford to Toyota to Volkswagen are significant, as are the resultant rise in prices of that U.S. consumers would face.
Investments in clean power by major U.S. corporations are expected to increase in pace despite the election of climate change denier Donald Trump. The business case for renewables is positive despite threats to reverse Obama’s commitments to the Paris climate accord and the Clean Power Plan.
The semi-unanticipated results of the past Presidential election have sent shock waves through the political/economic sectors that did not have a favorable outcome. One such area is that of technology sectors focused in Silicon Valley. The availability of talent from Asian countries is perceived to be in jeopardy. Will this create a international competitive disadvantage for the United States?
U.S. tech companies are facing new challenges in recruiting talent due to uncertainty about future U.S. immigration policies following the election of Donald Trump. Xenophobia may make the U.S. less attractive to new immigrants. Some foreign-born tech workers who are already working in the U.S. are putting plans on hold; others are planning to leave the U.S.
As a matter of national security, Russia is trying to develop more home-grown software and applications. It is also requiring that Russian consumers' data be stored on servers in Russia. For U.S. technology-based firms such as Google and Microsoft, not only can this mean lost revenue, it also contributes to the development of new competitors.
Porsche plans to have a high powered all-electric coupe out by 2019, just in time for the EU’s tough new carbon emission standards for 2020. Porsche’s Mission E will also growl like a Porsche.
Pension fund portfolios are not as boring as they once were. Near zero yields on government bonds are increasing the funding gap for European pension funds and driving investment in alternative assets. These unusual investments include British bingo halls and real estate in Amsterdam’s red-light district. Yields are higher with alternative assets, but it may be disconcerting for pensioners to realize that their retirement funds are invested in enterprises that many might consider unseemly.
Although many communities, electronics manufacturers, and retailers have programs to recycle old electronic gear, a great deal of e-waste ends up in places such as the neighborhood of Renovacion in Mexico City. There devices are manually and mechanically taken apart to get at bits of precious metals that can be harvested, melted down, and resold. The work pays well, but there are potentially significant health risks to workers and residents.
Over the past two years, Walmart has repositioned the 14 Sam's Club stores in China to offer more expensive products. The focus is on "aspirational customers," or those who want to show off their wealth. Flat-screen TVs, BMWs and fine wines are on display.
Hawkers, a Spanish sunglasses brand, has become a Facebook and Twitter case study. It illustrates that you do not need lots of money to spread the word. Saldum Ventures, the parent company of Hawkers, has sold 3.5 million pairs of sunglasses in three years with guerrilla marketing and heavy promotion on social media.
NTT Docomo is trying to exercise a clause in its joint venture agreement with Tata Group that would allow NTT Docomo to exit the joint venture with at least half of its original investment. It has even received a court ruling in support of this, and Tata has agreed to make the payment. India’s central bank, however, has blocked the payment, leaving the joint venture and both parties in legal limbo.
CyTech Services is still waiting to be paid by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Why the delay?
In Mexico's Guerrero state, signs of a gold rush are emerging.
Following the April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, multinational companies and the government are trying to improve factory working conditions.
Cotton is a natural fiber, but its production has involved so much pesticide and water use that it is considered one of the world's dirtiest crops. Retailers, garment makers, and farmers have formed the Better Cotton Initiative to develop more sustainable produced cotton. "Better Cotton" may not meet the environmental standards of organic cotton, however it balances sustainability with a cost and is gaining a growing market share.
China's domestic smartphone makers are gaining worldwide market share. While the growth of Apple and Samsung in worldwide markets has slowed, Vivo, Oppo, TCL and Xiaomi are all growing. These companies are not just counting on growing sales in China, however, but also have their sites set on India and other growing markets.
A program under development by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may offer a reprieve for foreign-born startup founders and their employees. It’s not a startup visa, but it’s close.
The European Union has put the brakes on a number of U.S.-based technology companies this year. Apple has been informed that it owes over $14 billion to the Irish government due to a sweetheart tax deal, and other governments are also looking into whether this tax deal meant that the company did not pay appropriate taxes in their countries. Google has also faced a number of inquiries into its business model, with different countries having slightly different regulations that limit the services it can offer.
A good climate and great soil has contributed to the success of Ukrainian farmers in the global food market. Current projections suggest that Ukraine will rise to third place in world agricultural production, following United States and Brazil. But outdated technology and uncertain land use regulations are holding back some of the capital investment required to expand agricultural production in Ukraine.
Google's new high-end Pixel smartphones will compete directly with Apple's iPhone, but also with Samsung and HTC and the rest of Google's Android partners. Google says it will treat its new hardware division just like the other Android partners and is confident it can keep it all together.
At the time Cheng Wei and colleagues were starting the Didi ride-hailing service in China, they faced a number of domestic competitors. Their model, unlike Uber, was based on the U.K.'s Hailo. After beating out their Chinese competitors, they recently reached an agreement with Uber.
Adidas's stock price is seeing a nice rise as the company picks up market share and sponsorship agreements. Part of the rise is fueled by a greater emphasis on fashion, including limited edition shoes. Adidas is also working with music entertainers to have them "design" shoes for the company.
Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International is developing a concept car with autonomous driving and emissions-free technologies. It is positioning itself to be the contract manufacturer for automakers, old or new, seeking to introduce such vehicles.
Although Tencent Holdings is now one of China’s largest public companies, it maintains a start-up mentality and uses internal competition to spur innovation. Employees at all levels compete against each other to win funding for projects. In this competitive culture, ideas often come from the bottom up, and the company’s executives actively engage with rank and file employees.
Any company considering entry into the auto industry will likely be in contact with Magna International. Magna makes a variety of components that go into most autos, and operates assembly lines that produce cars for certain auto companies. It is currently exploring how it might create a platform that companies considering entering the auto industry could use as the basis for their vehicles.
Egyptian cotton is known for its long fibers that help make fabric particularly smooth and comfortable. Many retailers and brand name designers proudly label their bedding as being made with Egyptian cotton. Unfortunately, given the small scale of the Egyptian cotton production, it is simply mathematically impossible for all the bedding labeled as Egyptian cotton to actually have come from Egyptian cotton. As cotton goes through the various stages of production, it is common for cheaper varieties to be used. Now steps are being taken by retailers and designers to have the cotton they purchase be marked, and then subsequently tested, to make sure they are ending up with fabric that uses the cotton they paid for.
Singapore's shipping and logistics companies face a record $1.8 billion in bond maturities. Container throughput shrank 8.7 percent in 2015 as global trade slowed. The going could get even tougher in 2017 with record debt falling due.
Hundreds of wealthy homeowners are taking the riskier route by auctioning their home in lieu of listing it. The client base has shifted from people who are selling their third, fourth, or even fifth homes, to older people who are downsizing.
While there have been shifts in manufacturing over the past few decades, there are still opportunities for manufacturing to thrive in developed countries such as the United States. Globalfoundries' facility in New York makes semiconductor wafers and employs 3,000 people with an average salary of $92,000. 9to5 Seating, a Calilfornia-based chair manufacturer, exports quality components from its U.S. factory to China, where assembled chairs are then sold in markets such as Saudi Arabia and China.
Is oil the new tobacco? Although Exxon’s scientists had evidence connecting burning fossil fuels to climate change, the company may have engaged in a disinformation campaign. Some see parallels between Exxon’s behavior and that of the tobacco industry and hope to hold the company liable for covering up scientific knowledge and misleading the public.
Some of the world's largest digital effects companies are based in Britain, and the recent drop in the value of the British pound is making these firms even more competitive on a global scale. While skilled talent and competitive prices are important for movie studios that are looking for visual effects expertise, tax breaks or incentives also play a role in attracting portions of the movie business to Britain. Great tax deals in Canada, however, are now causing the British firms to shift some of their work to offices in Vancouver and Montreal.
Family owned and managed for over 100 years, New England Paper Tube was driven into receivership after 3 decades of losses in the face of foreign competition. Under new ownership and lead by the former production manager, the company has returned to profitability by focusing on the products where it has competitive advantage, like mortar shells for fireworks and the military.
Foreign sales are becoming increasingly important to U.S.-based defense contractors. Many Asian countries are ramping up their defense spending, while U.S. defense spending on new systems remains relatively flat. As part of a proposal to win sales in India, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing have both indicated that they will manufacture fighter jets in India rather than simply exporting them from the U.S.
Like many global technology companies, Amazon has actively pursued tax strategies that minimize the taxes it has to pay. In 2005, for example, it shifted certain intellectual property from the United States to a limited liability partnership in Luxembourg, valuing the assets at just over $200 million. Since then, those assets have generated revenue (e.g., licensing fees) of almost $6 billion. Now both the IRS and EU tax authorities are exploring whether Amazon has been underpaying taxes in their jurisdictions.
Low oil prices are leading to a reduction in construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Thus, Saudi construction companies are cutting back on employment, as their cash flow suffers. Caught in the fray are foreign construction workers who aren't getting paid, can't send remittances back to family, and can't get exit visas to leave Saudi Arabia.
CEO Ed Bastian attributes Delta’s bankruptcy to “a lot of dumb decisions.” A shift in strategy and better employee relations have helped Delta return to profitability. But industry consolidation and lower oil prices haven’t hurt.
Pickup trucks have been banned in most Chinese cities in order to lessen congestion and air pollution. Relegated to use in rural areas and on farms, sales of pickup trucks have been limited. Domestic manufacturers Great Wall Motors and Jiangling Motors have dominated the market, with limited imports from Ford and Toyota. A recent loosening of regulations, however, may be good news for foreign truck manufacturers.
India is attracting multinational retailers like Amazon. Local competitors are working hard to maintain their lead.
In the shadow of an environment that represents repression and stagnation spanning centuries, entrepreneurs in Germany are trying to develop the next Silicon Valley. How is Berlin working to establish a profitable haven for innovators and investors?
Flipkart's new CEO, Binny Bansal, is facing a tough challenge from retailer Amazon in the Indian e-commerce market. Bansal's leadership, focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiencies, is what the company needs as it tries to simultaneously cut costs and increase marketshare. While Amazon has been aggressive in signing up third-party retailers to its network, Flipkart has emphasized customer service and building customer loyalty.
Vietnam is attracting a number of foreign retailers as its economy expands, and the middle class develops. About 60 percent of the population is under thirty-five years old, suggesting even stronger future growth. Japanese retailers are staking out major positions in the Vietnamese market, while the domestic Japanese market remains mature.
Some in the UK argue for slashing taxes after Brexit, but the move might not be worth the cost to the public purse. If Britain’s cuts are viewed as unfair to other countries, the EU could exact a high price by restricting access to its markets.
Shell Oil Co. has put its forecasting prowess and money behind the need to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change as it transforms into a natural gas company. Now there's a glut of natural gas.
In 2013, Wal-Mart announced a plan to encourage more manufacturing in the United States. Pledging to spend $250 billion over ten years on "Made in America" products, the goal was to entice companies to shift about 250,000 jobs to U.S.-based factories. While the results suggest that products can be efficiently manufactured domestically, with the program leading to an increase in U.S. manufacturing, the number of workers hired has not likely met the projections.
Detroit Bikes is helping to bring manufacturing back to motor city. But the economics of making bicycles in the U.S. are challenging.
For many years, foreign multinationals have been attracted to China's coastal region, setting up factories to take advantage of low labor costs. Within China, this has led to a migration of young people from rural interior areas to the coastal regions, as they seek income while sending some money home to support their family. This migration has slowed significantly in recent years, as economic development in rural China has created opportunities for some migrants to return home and others to never leave.
Despite its glamorous first-class accommodations and superjumbo capacity, the Airbus A380 has been a financial disaster. Little interest from airlines other than Emirates could force Airbus to kill the program.
India's oil consumption is growing at a 10 percent rate, with gasoline consumption growing even faster. The country, however, imports 75 percent of its oil due to limited domestic supplies. It is working with governments and oil companies in a diverse set of countries, including Iran, Mozambique, Russia, and Afghanistan, to help make sure it has a secure supply of oil to fuel its growing economy.
Worldwide salmon production is down, and prices are up. As salmon farming has become big business, regulations have increased, and obtaining permits has become more difficult. In response, producers are working on new technologies and techniques to lessen the environmental impact of salmon farming and reduce the incidence of natural parasites.
With Britain set to leave the European Union, many companies are trying to work through the implications of this for their employees in London. While London is likely to continue to be a major world financial center, some banking jobs may move to other European financial centers. Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and Paris are the leading contenders, and all have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Kickstarter just did something tech startups never do: it paid a dividend. The company quietly made the first payment this spring and continues to say that it has no plans to go public.
A cheaper brand of single-serve pods gets increasing attention. Nestlé's coffee business is competing with itself.
Loophole for fund managers slams shut at the end of 2017. Experts searched but "no one has come up with magic bullet." Money managers soon have to recognize a total of at least $100 billion in offshore income. This is good news for charities and tax lawyers.
By 2018, Tesla will need to double the annual global production of lithium ion batteries. In moves reminiscent of Ford’s River Rouge, Tesla has integrated battery production and is making moves to control supply of the minerals needed.
Around a third of foreign students studying in U.S. universities are Chinese, and after graduation many take a job working in the U.S., but after a few years, some return home to help create technologies and companies in China. In Chinese, these professionals are referred to as hai gui, or "sea turtles" that come come home after a long journey.
The first U.S. foreign direct investment in Cuba is a startup that will make tractors for small farmers. The international new venture could solve a significant problem in Cuban agriculture, if the farmers can afford to buy them.
While Cuba has significant agricultural potential, one of the things holding back agricultural production is a lack of modern farm equipment. Now two U.S. entrepreneurs are hoping to change that by operating the first U.S.-owned manufacturing facility in Cuba. The tractors will be of a simple and adaptable design and targeted for operations on the relatively small farms of Cuba and other developing nations.
Takata’s travails continue as the recalls of its airbags expand. Takata was the only airbag manufacturer to use ammonium nitrate, a chemical with well-known stability issues, as a propellant. Takata’s corporate culture and leadership help explain the decisions that led to the continued production of potentially lethal products and the largest auto recall in history.
Yandex can lay claim to running Russia's most successful search engine, as well as Moscow's largest ride-sharing service. In doing so, it has beat out, or at least garnered a strong head start, on Google and Uber. Now it is attempting to do the same with online retailing, offering an Amazon-like marketplace while Amazon has yet to offer its service in Russia.
Human resource management issues can challenge companies undergoing international expansion; Disney's experiences in China are one example. The company's theme parks depend on character-based entertainment, and in opening its Shanghai resort, talent development has been one of the biggest challenges the Disney has faced. Because there is a limited pool of talent trained in Western performing arts, Disney has needed to be innovative and make substantial investments to recruit and train performers. As competitors plan to open theme parks in China, Disney’s next challenge will be to retain the performers it has trained.
In preparation for its Shanghai Disneyland theme park, Disney began working with arts institutes in China to build awareness and interest in performing at the park. Part of the challenge was to develop talented performers who could sing in the style of Disney show tunes, such as those in The Lion King. Another part of the challenge was to better understand how Disney productions could be modified to be more interesting to Chinese audiences. In a separate program, Disney launched English language training programs aimed at children two through twelve, with a curriculum that uses Disney characters.
Importing pigs that are considered delicacies in Spain but relatively unknown in the United States can be a bit of a risky proposition. Two men in Texas believe that it is worth investing $3 million of their money to build a specialty market for these cured hams.
A Google-backed startup is building a volunteer network in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania. It is bringing 911 service to the developing world with smartphones and motorcycles.
NASA isn’t launching many satellites, but commercial launches are expected to increase in the next few years. Satellite launches generate billions for the industry, but most of the revenues come from services that provide communications such as TV, cellular calls, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
That background music heard in restaurants and shops could come from a variety of sources, some of which might be infringing on copyrights. Soundtrack, a firm out of Sweden, aims to unseat leader Mood Music with its cloud-based service streaming background music to businesses.
Atlassian, a software company from Australia that makes popular project-management and chat apps, sold $320 million worth of business software last year without a single sales employee. Everyone in the industry noticed.
Apple, along with the smartphone industry, and its suppliers, are facing a maturing market with recent declines sales and stock values. They are trying to diversify through innovation but there doesn’t yet appear to be a next big thing.
Purchasers of Tesla's electric vehicles are often looking to spend $40,000 or more on a car. In surveys of Tesla shoppers, the other brands they were most likely considering were BMW, Toyota, Audi, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz. U.S.-based brands such as Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jeep, and Dodge appeared far less often on the shopping lists of Tesla customers.
An Environmental Defense Fund program recruits and trains MBA students to use traditional financing metrics and techniques to motivate companies to increase fuel efficiency. One of these students was ultimately able to use traditional financial measurements and objects to support capital investment in fuel efficiency projects at Adidas. Applying techniques from finance to sustainability matters can be important in attracting interest in energy efficiency projects.
Germany's Borgward auto company was founded in 1924 and at one point was responsible for 60 percent of the country's auto exports. By 1961, however, it had gone out of business. Now the brand is being revived in China, with a Borgward SUV being manufactured by Chinese truck-maker, Beiqi Foton.
Last year, watch exports from Germany rose 14 percent, while Swiss watch exports fell 3 percent. Part of the difference in magnitude is driven by the significantly smaller size of the German watchmaking industry, but underlying economics help explain the trends. As the euro has fallen in value relative to the Swiss franc, German watches are relatively more affordable.
As the technological world shifts to phone and portable methods of operation, the PC market has been dwindling. Mass manufacturers need to use their capacity for new products, and 3D printers seem to provide a new growth oriented market.
Cotopaxi is an outdoor recreation products company with a social mission rather than a more common environmental one. Even though it is a B Corp that gives a share of revenue to humanitarian organizations, it has attracted venture capital funding.
Whereas the U.S. used to be the world's largest exporter of wheat, it has lost that position Russia, with Canada poised to push the U.S. to third place. The reasons behind this shift are complex, including improved supply from, and growing conditions in, Russia and Canada. The quality of U.S. wheat still commands a price premium in the market, but the rise in the U.S. dollar makes it less competitive in global markets.
NAV CANADA's software guides the skies over nine countries. The success of Canada’s system had led some U.S. lawmakers to push for partial privatization of the FAA’s air traffic division.
The Impossible Project aims to revive the business of making instant film and cameras that once put Polaroid at the top of the tech world.
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Asia's air travel business is growing rapidly, as an emerging middle class seeks more opportunities to travel. This has been good news for Asia's airlines but is causing a strain on airlines' ability to service the demand. A possible solution is to increase the number of women pilots, who worldwide only comprise 5 percent of commercial pilots. Traditional expectations and work requirements make it hard for many women to rise through the ranks and become commercial pilots.
China is the world's largest car market, and the luxury segment is growing quickly. While Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have done well in capturing market share, other competitors are trying to pick up a portion of this lucrative market. In January, General Motors opened a Cadillac plant in Shanghai, which will help it avoid import taxes of about 25 percent. Ford is also opening specialized showrooms for its Lincoln brand, offering the same level of customer service as a five-star hotel.
Clorox has successfully grown Burt’s Bees into a broad-market personal care brand through Walmart and Target, without losing its all-natural authenticity. Now it has successfully positioned the brand upscale internationally and has a very profitable business.
Samsung and LG have been successful selling NCM batteries (nickel, cobalt, and manganese) for electric vehicles in China, with much of that success related to generous subsidies the Chinese government has provided to electric buses. A goal in stimulating the use of electric buses is to decrease pollution in China's cities. The government will continue providing subsidies, but only to the less expensive LFP batteries (lithium-iron-phosphate), which are available from a number of Chinese suppliers.
Africa's population is projected to more than double in the next 35 years, putting a strain on the continent's food supply. Africa already has a problem growing and distributing sufficient food. Years of farming practices that depleted nutrients in the soil has contributed to the problem. To help address the continent's food needs, major agricultural companies and NGOs are working on a variety of solutions.
Sri Lanka is working with Google to provide Wi-Fi service country-wide. As part of the system, Google is launching Wi-Fi equipment that is attached to balloons that can provide service to remote locations. Providing Wi-Fi will help more residents get online, but the next challenge is providing sufficient capacity of high-speed internet connections to and from the island nation.
Honda’s new CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, is working to eliminate quality control problems and rebuild the company’s reputation. He's already reshuffled Honda’s executive ranks and plans to raise domestic output by 30 percent, to 950,000 vehicles, by 2020.
In the U.S., the number of discouraged workers is dropping, while in Europe it’s rising despite a recovery. Some working-age Europeans have rarely, if ever, held jobs. And as the number of discouraged workers continues to increase, there's another concern: Who will take care of them during their retirement?
Half of U.S. business schools may not be operating in 10 to 15 years, according to an industry source. With U.S. enrollment down, B-schools are wooing foreigners; in 2015, international candidates accounted for 58 percent of the applicant pool at full-time MBA programs.
In order to attract European customers, an increasing number of content distribution companies like Netflix and Amazon are developing exclusive programs and series. Whereas the exclusive programming that Amazon and Netflix have developed in the U.S. to attract customers has some level of international appeal, in order to gain market share in European countries these firms are investing in original content tailored to each country's language and culture.
Appealing to the tastes of conservative Muslim women in Turkey and around the Middle East is giving fast fashion retailer LC Waikiki an edge over global competitors like Zara and H&M.
The Kucuk brothers have helped turn a French fashion retailer into a multinational company focused on conservative fashions for observant Muslims. Their chain, LC Waikiki, now has over 600 locations, with about a third outside Turkey. LC Waikiki tries to have a great range of stylish apparel for "covered women."
Retailers are beginning to use facial recognition software to collect data and engage with customers. While customers could benefit from personalized shopping experiences, using this technology involves customer surveillance and raises privacy concerns. The use of facial recognition technology in retail settings also has human resource, legal, and ethical implications.
Chinese companies have recently been on a buying spree. In January and February of 2016, Chinese companies announced over $77 billion in investments, mergers, or acquisitions of foreign companies. All deals involving potential risks to U.S. national security, however, can fall under review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS. CFIUS has blocked some potential deals, and just a decision to review some deals has caused potential foreign investors to back off. Many deals are approved after review, although CFIUS has blocked other deals that it felt could threaten U.S. security interests.
The oversupply of many commodities in China has driven down related prices, impacting both local economies and global stock markets. In particular, steelmaking capacity in China keeps rising despite government pledges to cut production and end easy credit.
For decades, Intel has had a dominant position in microprocessors while Samsung has had a strong position in memory chips. Now the two firms are positioning themselves to take bites out of each other’s primary chip markets.
Deepening concern over the global economy has made sub-zero interest rates the norm in most European Union countries as well as Japan. The willingness of debt investors to effectively pay governments to borrow reflects increasing skepticism of central bank policies and concern that those policies may ultimately do more harm than good to the global economy.
When Oceanografia went under, investors blamed Citigroup for keeping it afloat with cash advances. Now the investors are suing Citigroup, maintaining that it colluded in the fraud that surfaced at Oceanografia.
Nearly all supermarket chains lose money in India. However, D-Mart woos Indians with promises of all-year discounts and its cheap grocery prices fuel sales of higher-margin goods.
Intel and Samsung, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 chipmaker, respectively, have successfully dominated different segments of the market for years. Competitive forces are now causing them to increasingly go head-to-head for the same customers.
Apple is well known for its differentiation on design and software. Less well known is that Apple spends billions to design its own chips for the iPhone and iPad.
A number of multinational corporations have come under scrutiny in Europe and the US over tax strategies that minimize taxes paid. While there are a variety of mechanisms for tax avoidance, the basic idea involves shifting costs to locations with high corporate tax rates, and revenue to locations with low corporate tax rates. While the European Union and national governments are changing laws to make tax avoidance harder, firms such as Google are still able to shift profits to countries with the lowest tax rates.
Although tech companies from Apple to Google have for years fought patent wars over smartphone features, search technology, and computer chips, banks largely ignored the patent office and gained a reputation for keeping their internal processes to themselves. Now, the biggest U.S. banks and payments networks are applying for more patents than ever before.
Amazon says it is building global delivery capabilities to supplement existing carriers during peak times, but internal documents suggest it is quietly building a major competitor in the global shipping and delivery business.
The National Hockey League (NHL) keeps its books in U.S. dollars, with all revenues expenses earned in other currencies converted to U.S. dollars (not unlike many U.S.-based multinational firms). The recent fall in the Canadian dollar, however, means that the league will be reporting lower overall revenue when the Canadian funds are converted to U.S. dollars. With about a third of the NHL's revenues coming from Canada, an 18% drop in the exchange rate means that revenues would fall around 6%. All player salaries, however, are negotiated in U.S. dollars.
Approximately one third of National Hockey League (NHL) revenue is generated in Canada. Since the league’s compensation arrangement is based on revenue sharing and salaries measured and paid in U.S. dollars, the weak Canadian dollar is affecting team owners and players. The revenue sharing arrangement, a variation on profit-sharing, means that players and owners share in the currency risk.
With the integration of Eastern European countries into the European Union, large disparities in wages across the EU became evident. As a result, many Western manufacturing firms started shifting labor intensive manufacturing jobs to Eastern regions. Meanwhile, many Eastern workers started looking westward for higher wages. The result of those two trends has now led to low unemployment in Eastern Europe, and companies are struggling to find enough workers for factory jobs.
Women's empowerment conferences are booming. While this trend may reflect a growing interest in the empowerment of women, it remains uncertain if the conferences are helping women advance their careers or if the demand may actually reflect the need for more change.
Walter Liew spent decades collecting information about DuPont's proprietary process for producing titanium oxide, a compound used to make things white. Much of the information that he obtained came from disgruntled former DuPont employees. While DuPont has elaborate security processes designed to protect its titanium oxide process, Liew's success shows that former employees are a potential point of vulnerability for trade secrets. Corporations may find it valuable to maintain the loyalty of former employees, especially those with sensitive knowledge.
While Samsung holds around 20 percent worldwide market share in smartphones, it has just 6 percent of the smartphone market in Japan. As it expanded worldwide, Samsung chose to focus on other emerging markets and largely left the Japanese market to local competitors. In fact, other than Apple, foreign phone makers have had difficulty entering the Japanese market.
Bombardier's goal of competing with Boeing and Airbus in the market for 100-plus seat aircraft has fallen short of expectations. While Bombardier has received orders and is getting ready to deliver its first aircraft, its order book is much weaker than it anticipated. With its stock trading below a dollar and the company operating at a loss, the Quebec and Canadian governments may need to step in to provide financial backing (and save jobs).
Scammers are turning to small batch attacks to beat today’s more sophisticated e-mail filters. As artisanal spam becomes a bigger problem, the cybersecurity industry is pushing for adoption of new protections that could save our in-boxes.
The Swiss watch industry is lowering prices and looking to new markets. High-end Swiss luxury watches saw sales drop 3.3 percent in 2015, the first annual decline since 2009.
The multinational agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program has opened the door for many foreign firms to pursue business deals in Iran. Not only are many foreign business leaders visiting Iran, but on a recent trip to Europe, the country's president, Hassan Rouhani, closed deals with several European firms. Most American firms, however, still have significant restrictions on what they can do in Iran.
Chinese appliance-maker Haier has become a major global competitor but, after fifteen years of trying, has yet to establish a strong position in the United States. Now it has acquired one by agreeing to pay $5.6 billion for GE’s appliance unit.
The olive oil industry is based around the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia, Spain, and Italy are the world's largest producers. While the United States is far behind in terms of production volume, California producers are taking a much more scientific approach to growing, harvesting, and processing olives.
Haier, a China-based manufacturing firm, is buying General Electric's appliance business for $5.4 billion. While General Electric appliances are well known in United States, the company has done little to expand its appliance business internationally. Haier has made some inroads in the U.S. market and expanded in other markets both through growth and acquisitions. This acquisition will help Haier move from a small to significant player in the U.S. appliance market.
The theme for this year’s Davos conference is Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution—referring to the impact of technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. But the guest list and discussion topics seem more focused on geopolitical concerns about China, the Middle East, and Russia.
Real estate agents turn to Uber-driving amid prolonged property slump. Cars for hire increased 51 percent in the first half of 2015.
Facebook sees India as a market with great potential, but many potential customers have limited internet access. In India, Facebook has teamed up with mobile service provider Reliance to offer free access to a focused and simple version of Internet access at reduced download speeds. The goal is to get new consumers interested in Internet access, and then be able to sell them full service options (around 40% upgrade within 1 month). The service has critics, however, who don't like how this contradicts net neutrality.
After experimenting with a variety of business models for its meal delivery business, Munchery has settled on one that gives it greater control of operations and customer experience, but with high fixed costs. This could give it a more sustainable competitive advantage.
A tiny patch designed by Pierre-Henri Benhamou of DBV Technologies, a French firm, has shown promise in helping its users overcome one of the most widespread and dangerous food allergies: peanuts.
Canada's investment in neural network technology has helped its universities develop significant expertise in artificial intelligence. Technology firms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have hired Canadian artificial intelligence experts, and/or purchased companies and the technology they helped develop. While there is some concern regarding a brain drain with these high skilled employees moving to the U.S., it is helping the government and universities realize that they need to do more to help retain and attract this human capital in Canada.
WhatsApp is being used to help women trapped in human trafficking. Women are being given information to help them escape.
While most Peruvians have mobile phones, only 20 percent have a bank account. That means a lot of cash transactions take place, and cash also attracts criminals. Peru has introduced a money system using mobile phones that has the support and involvement of all the country's banks. The system also can work on simple low-tech phones and 2G networks, in the hopes that poor people in rural areas will use the system for simple transactions.
Russian consumers who binge on credit wind up on the country's no-fly list. Last year, 1 in 8 Russian debtors had three or more outstanding loans, some with interest rates as high as 45 percent.
By merging then breaking up into three companies, Dow and DuPont can achieve focus and scale at the same time. That should finally make their activist investors happy.
Taiwanese bike maker Giant Manufacturing's U.S. sales grew 13.8 percent in the first half of 2015, as it pushed higher-end products. The firm is looking to aggressively expand its market presence in the U.S.
Everlane’s approach to business has been characterized as more "missionary" than "mercenary." The online retailer sells fashionable shoes, clothing, and accessories, but also discloses details about the factory where each item is made and the costs of production.
M-Kopa, a Kenyan company in the solar power business, plans to be a $1 billion firm by selling solar panels to rural residents -- and providing them with credit. M-Kopa's typical customer lives on less than $2 per day, but is willing to purchase a $200 power system in order to save money on kerosene and electricity.
Pfizer will make its $160 billion deal with Allergan look like the much smaller Allergan has acquired Pfizer. This will allow the merged company to claim its tax location in Dublin and cut its taxes in half. The Pfizer CEO and the U.S. president disagree on whether this is responsible corporate behavior.
To understand the logic behind the merger of Allergan and Pfizer, the relative corporate tax rates of the U.S. and Ireland make it simple--35 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. As a U.S.-based company, Pfizer's worldwide profits were taxed at 35 percent. In what is referred to as a tax inversion, Ireland-based Allergan technically purchased the much bigger Pfizer.
A new trade agreement between Australia and China has paved the way for additional trade. One development is the shipping of live cattle from Australia to China, where the cows are then slaughtered. Specialized containers have been developed to facilitate the shipping of cattle on Boeing 747 aircraft, which allows shipping to cities far from China's coast.
Carnival’s CEO, Arnold Donald, has replaced seven of the company’s nine cruise line heads, and given them a charge to think outside the box to reach new customers. Donald believes that a diverse group of people working together can outperform a more homogenous group 90 percent of the time. His new cruise line heads reflect this philosophy. In an industry that is male-dominated and white, four of Donald’s new cruise line heads are women, one is black, one is gay, and some have no experience in the industry.
Indoor rock climbing gyms are being opened worldwide, and the world's largest builder (Walltopia) comes from an unlikely location - Bulgaria. Two and a half hours outside Sofia, in the small town of Letnitsa, is a factory that has supplied walls to gyms in more than 50 countries. Through a combination of cheap labor, innovative designs, and willingness to develop custom walls for clients, Walltopia has gained a loyal worldwide customer base for their climbing walls.
China has been Apple's manufacturing base and sales growth engine for the past several years. Although growth in Chinese sales of all smartphones is slowing, Apple has seen its third-quarter sales double from 2014 to 2015. While such a high growth rate may not be sustainable, Apple will continue to view the Chinese market as an increasingly important source of revenue.
Wavestorm of Taiwan has become the surfboard industry leader by selling soft surfboards for $99.99 exclusively through Costco. Some say WaveStorm is killing the industry with low margins. Others hope it will expand the market and lead to eventual growth in sales of higher-end boards.
The Chinese government is collecting so much money from the public that its bank deposits equal 32 percent of GDP. As a result, the Chinese economy is ailing.
Weather Modification Inc., a North Dakota-based company, has built a global business in cloud seeding. While its pilots and planes fly all over the world doing cloud seeding, it also offers consulting services to help governments and local contractors develop their own ability to stimulate precipitation.
Glencore, a global mining company based in Switzerland, recently announced it will lay off more than 4,000 workers at mines in Zambia. During the shutdown, the company will spend money on improving the mining operations to try and cut operating costs. But for most workers, as well as the communities that supply goods and services to the mine workers, what had been a bright spot in a bleak economy will be dimmed.
Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” technology turns out not to be so clean after all. Some Volkswagen cars only met emission standards because the company used software to fool emissions tests by turning on special emission controls only during testing conditions. While it remains unknown who at Volkswagen was responsible, hubris may be one of the explanations for why Volkswagen cheated, and it may also explain why the company so readily admitted to the fraud.
Legislation in the United States has encouraged automakers to explore new technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and increase fuel economy. While some automakers have turned to hybrid and electric vehicles, Volkswagen chose to invest in what it termed clean diesel technology. In many ways, this was simply building on Volkswagon's strengths and investments in diesel engines, but when the technology couldn't quite get the company to the point it desired, a few lines of code were used to trick the emissions tests.
Keeping production cost low is important for any firm, but inbound and outbound logistics within the linked value chain have powerful impacts as well. Infrastructural components can create advantages and disadvantages in the global market.
Skin care in South Korea is big business, with skin-care rituals sometimes taking an hour a day. Products made from natural ingredients such as snail mucus (slime), donkey's milk, and bee venom have had a place in skin care for centuries. Now Korean firms are seeking to take advantage of the export potential, as well as setting up retail outlets overseas.
Apple claims 90 percent of the smartphone industry’s profits. Although other firms offer very competitive phones, so far they seem to be eroding one another's positions -- not Apple's.
In the ultra-competitive smartphone manufacturing market, Apple gobbles up close to 90 percent of industry profits, while Samsung takes the majority of the rest. So why do the other manufacturers continue to compete?
Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive location for software companies, as employment in the Canadian hardware industry drops. Canada’s venture funding has doubled in five years, to $2.4 billion.
Apple’s utter dominance of the money-making end of the smartphone industry leaves many Android makers scrambling to create less expensive phones. Are the margins for these low-cost smartphones sufficient to support this strategy?
Strong demand from China drove high prices and robust investment in commodity materials for over a decade. Now China’s slowing economy has the increased supply meeting lower demand, and many industries are awash in materials.
In some countries, economic development is negatively impacted by a corrupt educational system that does not allow the brightest poor students to reach their potential. Instead, wealthier students (or their parents) pay to get into prestigious schools, receive inflated test scores, and/or receive bogus degrees. As a result of this corruption, deserving students are denied educations, and some who receive degrees may not have skills that are consistent with their educational credentials. Multinational corporations must adapt hiring and training practices in these environments and thus bear some of the costs of educational corruption. The costs borne by society and individuals, however, may be much more substantial.
The prices of commodity metals, such as copper and aluminum, are driven by a combination of fluctuating demand and much less volatile, large-scale production that adjusts slowly. When the Chinese economy was booming in the earlier part of this century, it generated strong demand for metals, causing prices to substantially rise. Companies such as Glencore and Alcoa were incentivized to invest in new mines and processing facilities. This additional supply is now coming into the market just as Chinese demand is dropping, causing commodity prices to fall.
In some countries, the education system has been undermined by corruption. Wealthy families can bribe teachers and school officials to fudge test scores, provide documentation for unearned degrees, or admit unqualified students. Concern over the training of doctors has led the European Union and United States to not recognize the medical degrees of graduates from Ukrainian schools, for example.
The European Union has made a point of separating governments from ownership in companies, and many previously state-owned companies are now public companies. There's a regulation in Germany, however, referred to as the Volkswagen law, that has allowed the government to maintain a direct ownership stake in the company—a so-called "golden share"—that gives it significant say in the operation of the company. Now that Volkswagen has admitted to rigging the software in many of its cars so that they appear to be more efficient and cleaner than they actually are, there are questions as to whether the unique ownership structure of Volkswagen helped allow this situation to come to pass.
In a UK court, the former UBS trader, Tom Hayes, was found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years in jail for his role in manipulating Libor. Throughout the court case, there was no disputing what Hayes had done. It remains unclear, however, whether Hayes was truly a mastermind behind the Libor manipulations or simply one of a number of participants in an industry-wide practice.
With all its interest in tech gadgets and automation, it's easy to think Japan would be on the forefront of mobile phone and Internet-based banking—but it isn't. In fact, Japan has one of the lower rates of mobile banking adoption in the world behind India and Nigeria. Japanese customers have a preference for cash, and visiting luxurious bank branches to access their cash.
Tatitlek Support Services workers are claiming back pay for overtime and break time that they should have been given under California labor laws. These workers spent up to two weeks at a time living on a Marine Corps base while participating in training exercises teaching U.S. troops how to interact with Afghan and Iraqi populations. Tatitlek is arguing that federal laws, rather than California’s stricter labor laws, apply since the exercises took place on federal military bases.
While it is common to think of Africa as a continent poised for growth, the situation differs across many of its fifty-five countries. The falling price of oil has meant that oil-exporting countries (e.g., Nigeria, Ghana, Angola) are seeing much lower revenues. Meanwhile, countries that depended on minerals and other commodity sales to China have also seen growth slow. But both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia are expected to have more than 8 percent GDP growth this year. As a result, there are still good investment opportunities in Africa, depending on the country and the sector of the economy.
New Israeli ride-hailing service La’Zooz is a cooperative that relies on volunteers for coding. Riders pay with bitcoin-like tokens that can be earned by giving rides or working on the app. A bitcoin developer says La’Zooz has the potential to “eat Uber and Lyft.”
Bollywood film studio Eros hopes to build a strong enough position in video streaming to fend off Netflix and Amazon when they enter India. With a large library of its own films, original programs, music videos, and a head start, Eros wants to be the dominant streaming service in India.
One of Bollywood's biggest studios, Eros, is betting it can win the online streaming race. The idea is to use the Mumbai studio’s bulging catalog of more than 2,000 films and new, exclusive series to build a critical mass of devoted users before Netflix and Amazon plant their flags in the world’s second-most populous country.
Eros is one of Bollywood's largest studios, releasing around 70 movies a year. Hoping to attain a first-mover advantage in advance of foreign rivals such as Amazon and Netflix, Eros is launching a video streaming service.
Dairy farms around the world are suffering from declining milk prices. A combination of reduced Chinese demand for imported milk and Russia’s ban on EU, American, and Australian milk has left the global market awash with milk. As a result, global dairy prices are falling with no turnaround in sight.
Shoemaking companies in Portugal are performing well financially as they move up-market. While they can not compete on price with Asian manufacturers, they can compete on quality and have found a profitable market position between high-end Italian shoes and lower-priced Asian models. Some have also added their own brands while continuing to operate as contract manufacturers for more famous labels.
Forget about streaming video or downloading or uploading large files if you live in Cuba. With fewer than 4 percent of homes having access to the Internet, Cuba has some of the worst Internet access in the world. How does Castro’s government respond to the market demand for better Internet access and control access to information?
Not everyone has access to the Internet. Fewer than 4 percent of homes in Cuba have online access.
Qatar Airways expects to hire about 6,000 more flight attendants over the next two years, many of whom will come from other countries. When hiring flight attendants, the company tries to make clear that its employees are required to adhere to certain cultural norms of the conservative Middle Eastern country and that the job may not be right for everyone. The company recently relaxed rules related to marriage and pregnancy, but Western workers might find some remaining rules to be odd or discriminatory.
Netflix is on track to become the first worldwide, online subscription television network. But it may have difficulty selling the same service the same way everywhere, especially in Japan.
Netflix continues to see a growth in revenues, with strong sales in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and Brazil. Now the company has its sights set on Asian markets as it rolls out its service in Japan. This, however, will bring new challenges, as Japanese consumers are not used to paying for programming.
While policies on marriage and pregnancy have recently been relaxed, Qatar Airways' flight attendants still must abide by some rules that are consistent with local middle eastern culture but different from the rules of many international airlines. Qatar Airways pays well by industry standards and provides free housing to its employees. With the company planning to hire another 6,000 flight attendants over the next two years, it's making some changes to its policies while also trying to make sure applicants know what is expected in a conservative middle-eastern culture.
Netflix has been a Western phenomenon. Betting that streaming will become a global phenomenon, Netflix will expand to more than 150 countries by the end of 2016.
Regardless of where innovation is generated, it will seek its highest potential returns wherever they may exist across the globe. Due to revenue constraints, British healthcare innovators are beginning to seek and find funding (as well as markets) in the United States before looking at home.
Since taking over as Chinese president in 2013, Xi Jinping has centralized power and set forth a series of bold economic reform policies to further modernize the country. However, with a weaker GDP outlook, the Chinese government is finding it difficult to adhere to its stated plans for economic reform.
It used to be complicated and expensive to cultivate and maintain a pipeline of contacts for insider trading with illicit stock tips. Now insider trading is much simpler to coordinate and execute.
Is Cuba now a capitalist or socialist society? Although 201 categories of work are now open to entrepreneurs in the country, the state still dominates the economy.
Insider trading, or making stock transactions on soon-to-happen information, is both illegal and lucrative. Hacking has changed the way insider traders operate. U.S. authorities say hackers illegally accessed 150,000 news releases, an example of a new form of insider trading.
Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce operator, is spending $4.6 billion to purchase Suning Commerce Group Co. This is Chairman Jack Ma’s largest deal ever and part of the company’s push to reach millions of new customers in rural China and abroad through a bigger logistics network. Alibaba has lost more than $90 billion of market value since its shares peaked in November 2014.
A new variant of insider trading involves hacking computer servers. In one recent example, the SEC charged foreign hackers with selling press releases with financial information to traders.
Greece trails Spain and Italy in olive oil production, but is poised for a good year in 2015. A drought in Spain has led to a large drop in production, and bad weather, fruit flies, and a disease have all contributed to a decrease in Italian output.
As an expatriate, being assigned to lead sales in the largest and fastest-growing international market would seem like a good thing. For Citroen's Sabine Scheunert, the dream job has turned into a real challenge as China's auto market has cooled. The downturn has led to dealerships needing to offer significant discounts to move inventory, and Scheunert's challenge is amplified due to evolving consumer preferences.
Shell has resumed drilling in the arctic sea after years of legal battles and weather-related disasters. Despite the risks and the current glut of oil, Shell believes it is fulfilling its responsibility to provide oil the world will need.
Google's search engine is very popular in Europe, as is the Android operating system. European opinion leaders have heaped praise on the company for its stance on free speech and human rights. But Google also has its critics and detractors who believe the company has used its dominant position in the search market to push its own services at the expense of other websites. The search engine giant is now facing increasing criticism in Europe and potential fines for its business practices.
Unregulated supply chains and poor record keeping make it easy for counterfeit drugs to find their way into stores in many developing countries. MPedigree, a Ghana-based company, works with manufacturers to place scratch-off security codes on drug boxes to help consumers find out if the product is legitimate.
Counterfeit drugs are a critical issue in many developing countries, as unregulated supply chains and poor record keeping make it easy for bootleggers to slip fake products into supply chains. The results can be life-threatening for customers who rely on the efficacy of drugs.
The development of new drugs is a long process, requiring years of research and testing before products can be released. New companies require significant capital to carry them through years of expenses before they generate revenue. In Europe, more firms are now turning to initial public offerings, and investors are more willing to provide capital with the hope that a new drug will pay off big.
Growth in China’s market of 400 million smartphone users has almost flattened, leaving manufacturers scrambling.The decline is particularly bad news for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which has been dependent upon the rapidly growing domestic market.
Viewed from afar, the financial woes of Italy and Greece can look dangerously similar. However, Italy has managed to avoid Greece's fate due to a stronger economy and more help from the European Central Bank.
E-Nable designs 3D-printed prostheses for children older than 3 and shares its blueprints so they can be made for as little as $30. This way, the prostheses can be easily replaced as the kids outgrow them.
The large smartphone companies have done well in recent years, with rising sales and profits. Part of the reason for their success is the growing market for smartphones in China. However, the smartphone market in China may be reaching saturation, with most consumers who want and can afford a smartphone already owning one.
Shigenobu Nagamori started Nidec in 1973, and turned his small motor-making business into one of Japan’s most profitable multinational corporations. Nagamori, who has been recognized as one of Japan’s top business leaders, has an uncommon leadership style: He emphasizes motivation, dedication, and hard work over talent and intelligence.
As a young man in Belarus, Dmitry Naskovets wasn't a computer whiz, but his English language skills made him valuable for answering credit-card and banking security questions triggered by fraudulent transactions. While identity theft is clearly illegal, in the eyes of this young man it was different from more violent crimes.
South Carolina's Grand Strand is dotted with golf courses, condos, and resorts. After some recent acquisitions, China-based Yiqian Funding now owns 22 of the golf courses and is adding to its real estate holdings. Yiqian's goals include increasing the number of Chinese tourists, and potential condo owners, to the area.
Ferrari, Fiat’s top luxury brand, is being spun off. Fiat is planning to fill the vacuum of the iconic Ferrari brand with Maserati. One of the challenges for Maserati is finding a way to broaden its appeal without chipping away at exclusivity.
Disney is applying what it learned from the problems it had establishing a park France as it develops the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disneyland. The goal is to build something that is authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese. The demographics are quite different, and adult visitors may outnumber kids four to one. Will Disney’s largest foreign investment to date pay off?
Saying it has learned from experience in Paris and Hong Kong, Disney has gone to much greater lengths to tailor its new park in Shanghai to Chinese culture and society. Yet retaining an authentic Disney experience may be key to succeeding in China’s increasingly competitive amusement-park industry.
The farm lobby in Washington proved successful in getting legislation passed in 2000 that allowed agricultural exports to Cuba. Under the guise of humanitarian goals, agricultural companies could ship goods (primarily grain) to Cuba as long as no government financing was used. With the potential for more open trade between the United States and Cuba, the lobbying efforts have increased, although not everyone is pushing for open trade in agriculture between the countries.
Disney is preparing to open a new theme park outside Shanghai that blends standard Disney features with Chinese themes. It also has to adapt to the Chinese demographic, where, as a result of the one-child policy, it is expected that there will be four adults for every one child at the park.
A pioneering startup accelerator is building businesses in one of the world’s toughest places. The drive and focus of the citizens in the Gaza Strip is helping create a tech hub there.
Rare-earth prices jumped as much as sixfold in 2011. However, they crashed soon after, leading to the bankruptcy of U.S. miner Molycorp. The rare-earths commodity bubble burst when their scarcity was short-lived.
DuPont has completed the spin-off of its major chemical operations. The new company, Chemours, inherited thirty-seven active chemical plants with products that generated 19 percent of DuPont's revenues. Chemours also inherited 62 percent of DuPont's environmental liabilities. The spin-off raises questions about DuPont's responsibility to meet obligations arising from decades of pollution.
You have to be crazy to begin a startup. Can I be your therapist?
More countries are starting or purchasing trading companies to help serve national interests for the export or import of commodities.
After a raid and seven arrests, questions of bribery and corruption surround the organization that runs global soccer.
Both sides aim to reduce the sticker shock of new specialized drugs.
Coke offers small restaurants in Germany access to an app that will facilitate online ordering of food and beverages.
Porsche is expecting China to become its largest market this year, but customers are starting to choose slightly cheaper models.
Takata expanded its recall of defective air bags to 34 million vehicles. Analysts say that could cost it $2.5 billion.
New startup OnePlus' business relies on word of mouth abroad.
To cut back on imports and boost domestic agricultural productivity, China is opening up to more GMOs.
Can data that is stored in another country be kept safe and private?
Although billions of dollars in fines have been levied, traders who allegedly rigged Libor are just coming to trial.
Chinese online retailers take steps to curb the sales of counterfeit goods on their websites.
Two competitors, two different strategies in Russia.
China may be the new California as its policies drive automakers to produce EVs.
While Toyota bets on hydrogen over electric power for autos, in China it is selling electric cars to win favor with the government.
Is creating opportunities for a few individual small businesses at the same time we create huge benefits to large businesses overseas a solid strategy for entrepreneurial proponents?
Financial advisers charged with helping clients evade U.S. taxes live as fugitives in Switzerland.
As labor costs rise in China, Indonesia tries to attract manufacturers.
With the price of crude down 50 percent, reserves get spent fast.
France's attempt to make money selling nuclear power plants has fallen flat.
Japan’s dominant e-commerce company, Rakuten, is trying to become a global competitor through acquisitions.
Having gained a strong position in Japan, Rakuten is making acquisitions internationally to spur growth.
Exxon's big bets in Russia can't pay off until sanctions are lifted.
Airbnb works to overcome hurdles to open the Cuban rental market.
The U.S. State Department and multinational retailers are taking steps to address human trafficking and poor working conditions in Thai factories.
Many cybersecurity firms work with governments, but close ties between Kaspersky and the Russian government are causing concern.
Human trafficking and migrant laborers have cast a shadow on Thailand's tuna industry.
There’s no reason for all the hand-wringing about the strong greenback.
Singapore’s palm oil king is leading the push to stop deforestation and adopt sustainable practices.
A palm-oil billionaire changes his thinking and tries to clean up his industry.
After fortunes have been made, the push to stop deforestation in the palm oil industry has moved other big companies to follow suit. Is this a legitimate campaign or a sustainability stunt?
China may prove to the big market for Apple's most expensive watches.
Automated high-frequency trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange has forced most human traders out of their jobs.
The U.S. Trade Representative's "notorious markets" list uses a name-and-shame approach to address intellectual property theft.
Despite the brand's melancholy theme, the founder of Stutterheim’s trendy raincoats has nothing to be depressed about.
A U.S. government report names names in the business of fakes.
Celebrating a melancholy mood helps Stutterheim sell high-priced Swedish raincoats.
The company is spending billions on factories and state-owned rivals.
In Africa, Pizza Hut can't be the cheapest or the first pizza chain, so it wants to be the best.
About 300 million Chinese play basketball, and the NBA hopes to use that fan base to someday eclipse soccer’s popularity. With that dream be realized?
Rather than shifting demolition work to safer and cleaner shipbreakers, recent EU regulations may be fueling the growth of India’s dangerous and dirty shipbreaking industry.
The booming market for autos in China has caused automakers to expand capacity faster than the demand warrants.
Old European ships find their way to scrapyards in India, working around EU regulations.
Mobile phone gamers worldwide play Dots and TwoDots, but the company has had difficulty cracking the world's biggest mobile gaming market: China.
Rising wages in Cambodia cause multinationals to look elsewhere for cheap labor.
Bond prices have risen so high that yields on much of the world's government debt have turned negative.
Western brands vie for product placement on China's hit shows, and often don't even have to pay for the publicity.
The Tiny Times movies have pulled in $208 million at the box office, making them attractive for promoting luxury brands to an affluent and young Chinese market.
Target has admitted failure and is pulling back from its first international expansion into Canada.
Target is cutting its losses and exiting the Canadian market.
Starbucks' flat white is being introduced in the U.S. after successful runs in Australia and Britain.
Xiaomi, which raised $1.1 billion in December, is pouring money into its own investments.
Unless you work for a company that voluntarily offers it, or in one of three states, paid maternity leave doesn't exist in the U.S.
An outspoken advocate of ethics and fighting corruption is now facing trial for bribery. Is Joe Sigelman guilty or a scapegoat?
Chinese car dealerships battle with car makers over growth and margins.
Can the U.S. successfully prosecute Russian hackers?
India's airlines have lost $10 billion over the past seven years, but that doesn't keep more airlines from entering the market.
Nairobi is a vibrant environment for young expat entrepreneurs and social enterprises.
China’s consumption of coal is likely to peak by 2020 but it appears coal will remain the primary source of electricity for the foreseeable future.
Dating app Blued and its backers are targeting an affluent minority.
Major obstacles remain despite President Obama reducing travel, trade, and banking restrictions with Cuba.
Fraudbusters are cracking down on fake goods in China.
Renewable energy is starting to make a difference.
Will electric vehicles become a thing of the past? Toyota has a vision that its hydrogen vehicle will become the first mass-market hydrogen car.
Are tax-motivated corporate inversions unethical or smart?
As Dunkin' Donuts expands internationally, it localizes its product offerings.
Increasing cybersecurity is one way for U.S. corporations to respond to hackers who can cripple operations and steal valuable data. Should corporations also be able to retaliate?
Websites, warehouses, and shipping companies in India can't keep up with e-commerce demand.
Outsourcing has been taking place for longer than most U.S. college students have been alive.
The declining value of the Russian ruble is making imports more expensive, thus impacting consumer spending and importers' business.
Uber is using its $17 billion valuation to raise capital and finance rapid growth internationally.
Can SeaWorld overcome the backlash over its treatment of marine animals?
Overstaffing at some ports is leading to a work slowdown, affecting imports and exports.
Amazon and local e-commerce firms in India try to work around rules designed to protect small shopkeepers from foreign-backed retailers.
Though Uber keeps expanding, not all cities are welcoming the car service app with open arms.
Bangladesh exports leather, but the environmental and health costs remain local.
Bangladesh's $1 billion leather export industry is hazardous for workers.
Bangladesh has a $1 billion leather industry. Unfortunately, safety and sustainability are not priorities.
Entrepreneurs prefer to list their companies' shares in the U.S.
As Ericsson's network equipment sales slow, it looks to develop new revenue streams in the cloud.
The shadow of Communism lingers 25 years on.
India is becoming increasingly attractive to manufacturers, although it is still in need of infrastructure improvements.
Coal producers and utility companies are trying to slow implementation of the EPA's plan to limit power plant emissions.
Under pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Japan has begun to enforce its laws against bribery and corruption overseas.
Takata has a reputation for innovative technology and improvements to auto safety. Nevertheless, the company, auto manufacturers, and regulators all face increasing pressure regarding air bag safety and recalls.
Worldwide demand for salmon is growing faster than it can be produced in Chile, Norway, Canada, and the United States.
Once the market leader in both China and India, Samsung phones are losing marketshare to cheaper models.
By boosting production and lowering prices, Saudi Arabia has helped create a bear market in oil.
Resurrected in emerging markets, Datsun's cars are viewed as too cheap.
The strength of the U.S. dollar is a burden for developing countries dependent on imported commodities.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has big plans to gain a position among the small number of large global automakers.
Fiat CEO Marchionne says his expanded company will boost sales 60 percent by 2018. Analysts are doubtful.
Fiat tries to reconfigure its product lineup to find the right niches in markets worldwide.
Sub-Saharan countries are recalculating their GDP.
Adidas's sales in the United States are down 14 percent this year due to weak sales in basketball and golf.
Low cost auto factories in Eastern Europe create a jobs and export engine for the region.
Too European? Adidas leads the industry in soccer globally, but it hasn't been able to bring in enough U.S. fans as sales fell 14 percent in the first half of 2014.
Is the huge demand for stock from the Alibaba IPO going to trigger a market decline by pulling investor cash out of other equities?
Buybacks and takeovers have more than offset IPOs, reducing the supply of stock by $900 billion in the past four years.
China's exports of military equipment are growing, as it provides easy-to-use, inexpensive arms to developing countries.
As the Chinese buy less coal and iron ore from Australia, the country can rely more on farming and tourism.
Australian exports of coal and minerals to China are falling, while exports of beef are rising.
China’s economic slump crushes demand for iron ore and coal.
Sanctions against Russia over its Ukraine policy won't impact a key source of Russian revenue—oil—because the West doesn't want to see higher oil prices.
Direct investment in China is down, as foreign companies face increased scrutiny from the Chinese government.
After success in Scandinavia and Britain, Netflix sets its sights on Germany and France.
Rescator sells stolen credit cards, but it gets rave reviews for its customer service.
As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, exports of many agricultural products from the EU to Russia have stopped, which is good news for EU consumers, bad news for EU farmers.
Can a stock index shame companies into focusing on creating value for shareholders?
Interface's sales are growing as it makes progress toward eliminating waste and meeting other sustainability goals.
Rising transportation costs and wage rates in China are causing firms to relocate manufacturing to the Southeast U.S.
Manufacturing is slowly returning to the U.S. -- and much of the action is in the South.
How have tax incentives and labor costs affected the location of new manufacturing plants in the South?
Current trends leave the future of legacy burger-and-fries chains in question.
Unemployment in Brazil has dipped to a low of 5.2 percent, despite the onset of a recession.
Can Whole Foods help save an endangered Amazonian fish by getting U.S. consumers to eat more of it?
Greater demand for paiche could attract commercial fish farmers.
As patriotic fervor flourishes, Russian consumers cut spending.
Erik Buell Racing, maker of powerful trophy motorcycles for the rich, will add low-priced bikes made by Hero MotoCorp of India to its line next year.
Chinese consumers buy a third of all luxury goods globally. A crackdown on gift-giving has slowed such sales.
Did a Wall Street titan's money bail out Robert Mugabe in his hour of need?
India’s largest maker of two-wheeled vehicles is investing $25 million in Erik Buell’s latest bike venture.
The Macan is Porsche’s newest product. Is the smaller SUV going to taint the brand or replicate the success of the Cayenne for the legacy automaker?
Huawei is finding growth opportunities in Canada that it wasn't finding in the United States.
Hisense is moving up in worldwide market share of television sets and is challenging Sony for the #3 position.
Xiaomi's smartphones emphasize technology over marketing, and are making inroads in Asian markets.
Ethiopians make $40 a month stitching shoes. Their Chinese counterparts make more than $400.
Labor costs in Ethiopia are approximately 10 percent of those in China, causing some Chinese companies to shift production to Africa.
Let’s Gowex won numerous awards and its stock price soared until a short-seller revealed that the company was grossly misstating revenues.
Just as some big brewers have found that microbrews have bigger than microprofits, now a multinational spirits company is trying to capitalize on some consumers' preference for locally made vodka.
Despite trade restrictions that bar foreign retailers, Amazon and EBay have entered the Indian market and are about to overtake Flipkart, the Indian market leader.
Are U.S. companies that avoid U.S. taxes by changing their domiciles to foreign countries good corporate citizens?
After tremendous doubt about Brazil’s ability to make it happen, the World Cup wins. The match between the U.S. and Portugal on ESPN drew 18.2 million viewers, a record for soccer. Brave World Cup sponsors could not be happier.
The next car an American purchases—even if it has a German or Japanese brand name—might just be made in Mexico.
Delivering in a city with no street address system. Can it be done?
What effect does the controversy over GMO seeds have on Monsanto?
Despite mounting losses, Sony is increasing spending on R&D and releasing new products like the SmartBand, which it hopes will be the next big thing.
According to official Chinese media, about 600,000 Chinese die every year from working too hard.
Vietnam is enacting regulations designed to standardize catfish production processes, which will help it gain more export opportunities.
Intel has staffed up its plant in Vietnam by sending local students to Oregon for college-level training.
Oil prices could badly damage the world’s economic recovery if they reach $120 a barrel.
Cheap smartphones running Firefox's mobile OS are beginning to spread into emerging markets.
Argentina is looking for ways to get around an unfavorable court ruling on its $95 billion bond default.
New laws will let in foreign drillers, but gangs may deter small players.
A simple operating system for simple phones has caught the attention of phone makers and network operators in developing markets.
Growing middle-class populations have exploded global demand for dairy products and given U.S. dairy farmers their best performance in decades.
Although some companies opposed the Dodd-Frank conflict mineral provisions, Intel worked for years to make its global supply chain conflict-free.
Some companies pushed to avoid helping fund Congolese warlords, while industry groups challenge the Dodd-Frank rules.
Strong international demand is pushing up global milk prices, creating an opportunity for U.S. dairy farmers.
Coca-Cola has invested $4 billion this year on marketing as Brazil’s 2014 World Cup, the biggest soccer party on the planet, is now plagued with protests. What will Coke do if things go as badly, as some predict?
A new customs commissioner is bringing data analysis and an intolerance for corruption to the Philippines.
A new Philippine customs commissioner is cracking down on bribery and corruption.
Governmental instability in Thailand is dampening foreign investment and economic growth.
An EU court ruling weighs the right to free speech against individuals’ right to be forgotten.
China's officials know English is essential to further develop their economy on a global level, but they greatly fear the Western values that come with it.
Pinterest is trying to gain members outside of the U.S., but must adapt to cultural and social differences.
Is Pinterest too American?
Nike is making a big push to catch Adidas in the soccer gear market.
The rally in Japanese equities has fueled sales of foreign autos.
An estimated 300 million people play the game and 1 billion people watch it. Soccer represents a growing global market and Nike wants to take it over.
Hazardous garment factories provide one of the only ways out of poverty for many Bangladeshi women.
A shot in the dark? Fireball Cinnamon Whisky has become one of the most successful liquor brands in decades, with annual sales now exceeding $80 million.
Working in poor conditions in the garment industry has helped raise the living standards of many women in Bangladesh.
What are the states doing to crack down on offshore tax havens?
A prescription drug’s price typically falls by as much as 50 percent when a generic version is first introduced.
Where do your clothes come from? Startup clothing retailers are answering this question and urging customers to pay more and buy less.
Last year, more than 1,100 workers died in the collapse of a Bangladeshi clothing factory. A handful of startup online retailers are taking action by selling direct and offering ethically manufactured, higher-quality products.
Germany is exploring the possibility of harsh sanctions. Will Europe follow?
Skeptics question a government program designed to help U.S. manufacturers sell to foreign buyers.
Troubling allegations raise questions about Samsung's responsibility for its employees' illnesses and deaths.
Expatriates considering a move to China are demanding more hardship pay to deal with air pollution.
Convertibles, long a symbol of fun and freedom, are going the way of the Model T.
The tensions and resulting sanctions over Russia's seizure of Crimea are likely to reduce the ruble's value significantly and undo years of progress in Russia's financial and monetary policies.
Fiat is planning to relaunch Alfa Romeo as an Italian brand to rival BMW and Audi.
Merger and acquisition activity is on the rise, including cross-border deals.
With 500,000 food production and processing companies, China has become the Wild West of food safety.
While China does have strict food safety rules, it is often up foreign multinational firms to make sure that local suppliers follow the rules.
Construction and employment in Australia are rebounding, aided by rate cuts.
Western companies police the safety of China's food supply.
Is China's digital wall coming down?
A study of megadams in 65 countries found that cost overruns averaging 96 percent imperil most projects.
A new Jeep, the Renegade, will be built on a Fiat frame in an Italian factory but with Jeep styling.
FedEx and UPS are finding that domestic rivals in China are getting permits much faster.
China now accounts for more 25 percent of global luxury spending for U.S. brands, and U.S. sales are growing faster in China than pricier European luxury lines.
U.S. brands such as Coach, which sells bags for less than $400, are growing faster in China than pricier European luxe lines.
The last French beret maker expects to make almost 200,000 this year. France used to produce millions.
In two years, Nissan has gone from having the highest to lowest profit margins of any Japanese automaker.
A Russian businessman tries to consolidate vodka production.
As incomes rise among tens of millions of consumers across Asia, so does the number of low-fare airlines competing for their business.
A weakening yen is good news for most Japanese automakers, but less so for Nissan.
Climate change and other factors are endangering the Arabica coffee bean. Starbucks’ response is to buy a Costa Rican coffee farm and share research on coffee plants and sustainable farming methods.
Preparing for Asia’s budget airline war.
The Andean nation buys dollars, befuddling investors.
Denmark's sale of 18 percent of state-controlled Dong Energy to Goldman Sachs is raising a furor.
Having brick-and-mortar stores that rent video games and movies is still a viable business model in Mexico.
SodaStream and other companies operating in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are facing boycotts. Do these Israeli companies provide a path to peace or further poverty and the denial of rights?
Cold weather and inexpensive electricity attract data centers to Scandinavia.
Cheap abundant electricity and cold air make Scandinavia an attractive location for huge new data centers. They are also helping companies build the greenest data centers in the world.
Bosses flee, cinemas close early, and foreign capital goes elsewhere in Venezuela.
Can Lenovo compete with Samsung and Apple?
Factory jobs are going, going, gone.
As glaciers melt, ski resorts are using new snowmaking technologies to keep operating. But solving one of the problems created by global warming may contribute to the problem of global warming itself.
Is the digital music market saturated? Beats says its brand cachet will give it an edge in the chase for 29 million streaming music subscribers worldwide.
Regulations prevent foriegn-backed firms from operating retail facilities in India, but Amazon and EBay have managed to gain a small foothold by providing the "marketplace" for local firms to sell using the American companies' websites and warehouses.
Seeking to spur exports, Japanese sake producers are starting to treat sake and the selection of rice with an approach similar to fine wineries.
Are you looking for a Chevy or a BMW? The three major German auto manufacturers are introducing luxury sedans at lower prices than some mainstream U.S. cars.
Norwegian Air Shuttle is looking to bring low costs to long-haul flights.
In Cambodia, striking garment workers are risking their lives to seek a higher minimum wage and a "better life."
Samsung has captured worldwide market share in appliances, with the goal of being No. 1.
Samsung’s goal for your kitchen is simple: It wants to own it by 2015.
A wealthier generation loses its grandparents’ fear of higher prices.
Why ignore the biggest communication network in the world? The fastest and largest network is the one we have all been building together, router by router. It's changing the face of the wireless industry.
The amount of corruption associated with the record $51 billion spent on the Sochi Olympic Games has been unprecedented. Where is this corruption occurring, and will the games be affected?
Manufacturing output in Syria has shrunk as the civil war has shuttered (and bombed) factories.
Former employees say Urban Lending stymied homeowners who sought mortgage modifications to avoid foreclosure.
The number of Chinese students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities has more than tripled in the last decade, and many spend big bucks on cars while they are stateside.
China's rising labor costs drive multinational firms to shift production priorities at Chinese factories.
Global trade is what makes the world go round, and right now it is in retreat.
Apple is poised for growth in Japan and China.
Some believe that the BlackBerry brand has value and that people want to see it succeed. Reality may make a very different decision as the company continues to burn through cash with no end in sight.
About 25 percent of skin care sales in India are from creams that promise to lighten skin color.
The big draw for foreign investment in Mexico is no longer just availability of assembly line workers. Skilled engineers are one reason carmakers have invested nearly $13 billion in Mexico in the last three years.
In order to spur customers to use more data and decrease switching carriers, Reliance Communications is offering highly subsidized iPhones if customers agree to a two-year contract.
J.Crew is invading London with American style at a higher price point. Will it succeed where others have failed?
The country’s auto industry gets a boost from homegrown talent.
What is the outlook for the debt of emerging-markets corporations?
Jumia wants to be the Amazon.com of Africa. Although Jumia and local rival Konga.com have taken a page from the playbook of Amazon.com, their deliveries are made with even more of a personal touch. You can take delivery by motorbike and pay in cash.
Microsoft’s Xbox One has the hope that games and entertainment will collide into something even bigger and better. Will it make a difference in the decline of console purchases?
Online retailing and delivery has to adapt to Nigerian's skepticism and roadway realities.
ZARA's fast-moving supply chain quickly allows it to get new designs to stores worldwide.
Netflix shares have had a tremendous run this year. Are growing earnings fueling their rise in price?
Lego, which controls about 60 percent of the construction-toy business, is wooing older children with a $350 robot set.
Lego, which controls about 60 percent of the construction-toy business, seeks to woo older children and adults with new products.
Despite Apple's code of conduct and supply-chain audits, workers in the company's supply chain fall victim to excessive recruitment fees and other mistreatment.
Dell is pursing retail sales, and opening up stores, to build market share in China.
To move up market, Electrolux is changing how it develops new products.
Emerging market demand has slowed as China’s economy cools.
Drones are helping keep Kenyan elephants away from poachers. They can’t help with Kenya’s booming population.
Fiat needs Chrysler's cash to expand its product offerings, but the cash is not easy to access.
British television producers look to global markets, including the United States, when developing new television shows.
Can a bank owned largely by a union be profitable and also have private equity shareholders?
Europe has been skeptical of ADHD diagnoses and the use of medications to address children's behavioral issues. But pharmaceutical companies have much to gain by pushing the diagnosis and treatment.
Although two thirds of all ADHD drugs are sold in the United States, drug makers are trying to get the attention of doctors and regulators in Europe.
The U.S. Army's "green" campaign may do more than protect the environment; it may save soldiers' lives.
In Russia, cash is king, with many consumers looking to e-cash rather than banks or credit cards to pay their bills.
Retails workers want to overturn a 1906 law that limits store hours.
By freely sharing innovations implemented in its Swedish data center, Facebook is conserving resources and helping to revolutionize the data center industry.
Brooklyn Brewery, through an arrangement with Denmark's Carlsberg Brewing, has tapped the Swedish market for high-priced beer.
How did Eike Batista go from being a billionaire to being near bankruptcy?
Do investors have "calamity fatigue?" Wall Street’s fear index and other measures of anxiety show traders are giving the risk of a U.S. default a big yawn.
Chinese regulations mandating animal testing for cosmetic products are forcing cosmetic companies to make difficult choices between economic and social responsibility interests.
With nursing home costs much lower to the east, many Germans are spending their final years outside their homeland.
Debt stands at 176 percent of GDP in Greece. No one knows how the country will pay.
In China, regulations require certain products to undergo testing on animals before being approved for human use, while in the EU some of these same products would be banned if animal testing was used.
How did Despicable Me 2 earn $840 million, and what effect has that had on Universal?
Between 2001 and 2011, about 27,000 companies left Italy, where high costs and regulatory rigidity have decreased competitiveness.
IRII is using celebrity backing to bring change to Haiti's apparel industry and the lives of its workers.
After years of looking at foreign companies as sources of capital, technology, and managerial know-how, China appears to be specifically targeting European and U.S. multinational companies in a crackdown on anti-competitive behavior.
The Chinese government is going after more foreign multinationals for violations of Chinese laws.
The next stage in innovation and new productivity gains could lead to higher revenues and lower costs.
How has Danone reacted to the competition from Chobani in the Greek yogurt market? Is the company's reaction effective?
Construction outsourcing can help companies reduce costs by as much as 20 percent.
A no-fat, high protein food fight: Danone’s Oikos aggressive brand campaign has slowed the growth of its competitor and market leader Chobani in the $7.6 billion Greek-style yogurt U.S. market.
Construction companies discover the benefits of outsourcing parts of massive projects.
Tension in Syria and Egypt puts a damper on Turkish exports to other Middle Eastern countries.
For Chinese factory managers, reducing energy costs is an economic imperative, but it may also create environmental and health benefits.
Outsourcing large components of buildings or factories can cut costs and improve quality.
Kazakhstan's Eurasian Bank addresses corruption by asking employees to take polygraph tests.
Consumers aged 55 to 64 are far more likely to buy a new car than drivers under 34. Automakers have taken notice.
Despite a two-year drop in the rupee’s value, India’s trade deficit is 9 percent of GDP.
Despite considerable risks and costs, Korea wants a commercial presence in the Arctic.
In order to extract hard-to-get oil reserves, Mexico needs the expertise of foreign oil companies.
Foreign firms hoping to open in Myanmar have a tough time finding office space.
NQ Mobile has two corporate headquarters (Dallas, USA, and Bejing, China) and two CEOs.
In order to capture market share in cloud computing, Germany's SAP is making acquisitions in California.
Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth has crowdfunded millions of dollars to develop a super-superphone: a single device with phone and tablet capabilities that mimics all the functions of a PC. Will the numbers work?
Mahindra is exporting small tractors to the United States, trying to break into the market with better warranties and more attractive financing.
Analysts believe Chinese automakers are about a decade away from delivering their first globally competitive vehicle. Great Wall may be the company to pull it off.
How do you compete with free? Car navigation manufacturers are struggling to compete with free smartphone-based systems that offer real-time data.
The nation fights a losing battle against inflation—particularly in the price of a culinary favorite.
Makers of hummus are modifying traditional recipes to suit American tastes. Will it be the next salsa?
The market for palm oil is expanding, but human rights abuses are rampant in this industry.
Chances are pretty good that you'll consume some palm oil today and that you wouldn't want to work under the conditions in which it was produced.
David Cameron profits from signs of meager recovery.
Activision Blizzard's stock is up 40 percent this year, but its top game is losing market share in one of its largest markets: China.
It worked before, and Nissan is betting it will work again. Nissan is dusting off its Datsun brand and will sell cars starting at less than $6,650 in Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa.
Mursi couldn’t stop the hoarding or save the currency.
Maserati’s $65,600 Ghibli offers a direct challenge to high-end sedans from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. The right mix for global appeal is the key to success.
Maserati targets a lucrative segment of the market, hoping Italian styling and luxury can beat German engineering.
President-elect Rohani talks about the need for markets and capital.
Crocs is looking at a new image and international growth to spur sales.
H&M's new program offers discounts to customers who bring in used clothing. Sustainable genius or greenwashing?
BP is paying billions of dollars for economic damages related to its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but many of these claims may be inflated and/or fictitious.
H&M is offering customers discounts to encourage recycling of old clothes.
Why has the Swiss Parliament voted not to allow Swiss banks to cooperate with the IRS?
The central bank signals that the days of easy money and no oversight are ending.
Why is Paranapanema, Brazil’s largest refined copper producer, switching its domestic shipments to slow-moving freighters from swifter trucks?
Hewlett-Packard is moving into enterprise data analytics to increase sales. Is it enough to alter the path of struggling company?
Rising wages are impacting the economics of production in China.
If you move inland, it’s not really saving you costs.
In South Africa, banks and mobile phone service providers compete to offer banking and mobile payments.
Ralph Lauren did it. Can Coach? As Coach’s North American market share slips to 30 percent, the company hopes to leverage the luxury brand into other fashion categories. But why shoes?
In Australia, at least 3 percent of every worker’s paycheck goes into a compulsory retirement savings program. Should Americans be required to save more for retirement?
Ferrari plans to reduce production in 2013 in an effort to grow sales.
Dhaka, a city of 18 million, has more than 3,500 garment factories.
U.S. energy companies want to export natural gas, but U.S. chemical companies that favor cheap domestic prices want to block exports.
Android versus Apple - is it even a competition anymore?
Is the federal budget deficit shrinking too quickly or not quickly enough?
Are Apple's tax avoidance tactics rational or rotten?
Congress is not happy about Apple's innovative tax practices.
SAB Miller sells 46 local beer brands across Africa, and produces locally to lower costs and excise taxes.
How has Jamie Dimon managed to keep control of JPMorgan, and should he maintain control in light of the problems the company has recently endured?
Systems based on anonymous employee phone calls may be able to help Western companies monitor and improve working conditions in factories across the globe.
Facebook scrambles to make money from mobile. Does it have a plan to make it profitable?
KFC, China's largest fast food chain, has seen revenue fall as consumers became concerned about the spread of bird flu.
Since Chinese owners of many Mercedes S-Class sedans ride in the back seat, the company has redesigned the passenger compartment for the market.
How should multinational companies respond to deplorable working conditions in Bangladeshi factories?
The collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh brings attention to a huge export industry that's helping Bangladeshi citizens out of poverty - with pay under $50 a month.
An $18 billion garment industry provides opportunities and a steady paycheck to millions of illiterate women but at great risk.
Can the garage developer survive the branded app?
With a dedicated user base regularly spending big money, mobile gamemaker Supercell turned a 58 percent operating margin last quarter.
Concerns about local baby formula in China drive demand for illegally imported baby formula.
Even after significant government push, not one of the top 10 automobile brands sold in the People's Republic of China is Chinese. There are a number of forces in place that will make it difficult for local brands to gain ground in the near term.
U.S. farmers and shippers resist legislation that would help poor countries grow their own food.
Japan's economic plan to spur the economy and investment may not be all that attractive to large Japanese multinational firms.
What do you in a struggling economy? H&M says raise prices as it opens new upscale stores as a way to expand into Europe’s fast-growing market for shoes and accessories.
Average citizens expressed outrage on Facebook and pressured Israel's second largest bank into withdrawing a sweetheart deal.
Yen depreciation helps big exporters but won’t do much for the little guy.
After fining banks billions of dollars for distorting Libor, regulators are now investigating possible manipulation of an obscure rate that influences prices in the $379 trillion interest rate swaps market.
In an effort to win support from farmers, the Thai government raised the price of rice and effectively killed exports.
The economic incentives for developing orphan drugs may be changing as governments face budget pressures.
At less than $3,000, the Tata Nano may be too cheap.
India's internet and transportation infrastructure creates a few different challenges for e-commerce retailers.
How does America's tax system stack up against the rest of the world? The facts might surprise you.
Low corporate taxes and development assistance continue to attract American software companies to set up shop in Ireland.
Foreign ownership of debt in euro-area countries is dropping.
Samsung is now the top seller of smartphones, the number one manufacturer of LCD televisions, the seller of more flash memory and RAM chips than any other company, and passed Nokia to become the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer. What next?
With U.S. oil consumption down and U.S. crude oil supplies up, a lot of consumers want to know why they're paying more at the pump. The short answer: U.S. exports of refined fuels are increasing, and there are a number of reasons why that isn't likely to change in the near term.
By tailoring products to the local market, including use of traditional ingredients, L'Oreal is boosting sales in China.
You make the call. Are China's Internet companies imitators or innovators?
Just one year after toppling GM to become the world's No. 1 carmaker, Toyota is poised to report profits at a five-year high of 860 billion yen.
M.A.C. cosmetics finds sales opportunities for its high-end products in ethnic areas and emerging markets.
The yen falling 16 percent in the last five months translates to about an additional $1,500 cost advantage per each car made in Japan.
To the IRS' delight, a Swiss financial advisor inadvertently incriminated U.S. tax evaders.
A Chicago School free-marketer is advising India’s government on reforming the economy. His work may take decades.
Toyota, which imports almost 30 percent of the vehicles it sells in the U.S., may yield an extra $1,500 in operating profit per car.
Lorenzo Ramaciotti has a challenge in balancing consistency across brands with creating unique identities for Fiat's wide range of vehicles worldwide.
Intel is trying to grab a piece of the worldwide semiconductor foundry business from its Taiwanese and Korean rivals.
How can you profit from future climate change? Where is the “smart money” investing in this area?
Media companies are now producing original content sit-coms, dramas, and mini-series in Eastern European countries.
Should the identities of Hong Kong companies' directors remain public?
Why are Canadian oil companies encouraging the government to impose pollution taxes on oil extracted from the tar sands?
While automakers in Europe want to close at least five factories in order to cut costs and reduce capacity, regulations and union resistance make it difficult.
Can Apple design something else that consumers didn’t even know they needed: a smart wristwatch? Apple needs a boost, and the company hopes it's time for the smartwatch to give them a hand.
With its $4.2 billion acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann last year, PepsiCo is now the biggest food and beverage maker in Russia. PepsiCo's objective of using Russia as a springboard to reach customers in former Soviet republics won't be without huge challenges, but the payback also could be huge.
Chinese consumers have embraced cognac and Champagne as symbols of westernization and conspicuous consumption.
PepsiCo collects $5 billion in annual sales in Russia, its second-largest market after the U.S., which it’s using as a staging ground for expansion into fast-growing Eastern Europe.
Pepsi is investing in healthy (and not so healthy) foods in the former USSR, while adapting products to local tastes.
PepsiCo sells $5 billion worth of products a year in Russia and is using the market as a staging ground for expansion into Eastern Europe. And it's not just about selling Pepsi anymore.
Are American banks making proper disclosures with respect to derivatives and mortgage securities?
Voters in Switzerland will vote in March on a law that would place limits on the type, timing, and allocation of executive pay packages.
Africa presents many opportunities for IBM, while also carrying risks.
Providing free services with social benefits is part of IBM's strategy in Africa.
Corporations like Dell employ malware experts to protect corporate economic interests, but society also benefits.
What potential risks are suggested by Ireland's discovery of horse meat in hamburger?
Mining opportunities in Greenland are attracting Chinese companies and workers.
Most wine exported from Australia now ships in container-sized plastic bladders, to be bottled after the ocean journey.
Satisfying our craving for chocolate is likely to be more expensive very soon.
Japanese auto companies are finding Thailand more friendly than China.
Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, is an billion dollar American success story. Chobani’s payroll has almost doubled in the past year with plants in Idaho and Australia, and more growth is on the horizon. Can the yogurt be that good?
Chrysler's latest attempt at a small car, the Fiat-designed Dodge Dart, has done poorly in the American market.
Japan is currently trying to devalue its currency. Is this appropriate for Japan, and what might other countries do in response?
With Nestle's SOM in the bottled water business slipping in Europe, the United States, and Australia, the company sees China as a huge opportunity. Because more than seventy percent of lakes and rivers in China are polluted, Nestle is positioning itself to take advantage of a boom in bottled water sales.
Sales of bottled water in China are strong, as consumers question drinking tap water.
Japan wants to create inflation, which will weaken the yen. The whole world may benefit.
In order to boost growth in India, Apple lowers prices while still maintaining a premium pricing strategy.
Which countries are now the most popular tax havens?
Pharmaceutical companies that compete in the marketplace cooperate to fight counterfeit drugs.
What do you get when you cross a Russian-born tennis star with a gummy candy? Maria Sharapova is betting $500,000 that the answer is a profitable, upscale candy company.
Sub-Saharan Africa's economy is picking up, attracting bankers, private equity investors, and M&A specialists.
Shipper Maersk says Hong Kong’s reduced port charges for ships that use "clean," low-sulfur fuel cover only 40 percent of the added cost of going green, and it wants something done about it.
Germany's tax system, which makes company cars a valuable employee perk, is helping keep demand for high-end German cars strong.
The disappearance of $18 million of Canadian maple syrup is one of the largest agricultural thefts ever. While $18 million is a substantial sum, the motivation for the theft may have been philosophical.
Italy has turned out to be a great market for QVC, with the company's average tele-shopper spending around $1,900 a year.
By emphasizing market share and having brands across many price points, Unilever is expanding in emerging markets.
The Bank of Japan may lose its independence if it doesn’t crank up the money supply.
China is now the world’s largest smartphone market and home to Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC vendor. In 2013, Lenovo is working to get every phone sale possible. Look out Apple?
Will the globalization of financial markets be undone by new rules?
Shadow banking helped cause the 2008 financial meltdown, but the $67 trillion industry is now bigger than ever. Can regulators find ways to control it without limiting its usefulness?
While many economic indicators in China are improving, one figure is going the wrong direction: corporate debt.
Sharp forecasted a record loss on November 1, 2012, twice the previous estimate, raising questions about its ability to survive. Sharp once dominated the LCD television industry with a 22 percent market share.
Sandy will be a boon to some industries and some workers.
Perhaps wearing leather to the office is OK after all.
The union of federal immigration agents says Obama’s recent policy is illegal, a stand that puts it at odds with the AFL-CIO.
Can Windows 8 enable Microsoft to reposition itself in its desperate fight for relevance? With broken partnerships in its wake, the stakes for Microsoft have never been higher.
Some major U.S. businesses hope that the Supreme Court will not end their use of affirmative action to build diverse work forces
Will the U.S. economy ever be able to grow rapidly again?
A union worker and a non-union worker don't quite see eye-to-eye about the U.S. auto industry.
The current U.S. federal public debt has many causes.
Hospital and nursing home managers are reaching for the aspirin again. Medicare and Medicaid cuts are coming.
In a slowly recovering economy, numerous U.S. companies remain hesitant to hire, and some are laying off workers.
China's second-tier cities are said to be important engines of world economic growth in the near future
No wage demands and inexpensive? Wow! Let's get more of these new robot employees.
Despite China's strong economic growth, working there doesn't appeal to all expats, and some are leaving. Why?
Are Chicago's teachers recently on strike the latest evidence of a declining labor union movement in America?
Is Australia's economic pain more evidence of China's importance in the world economy?
P&G is reported to be falling behind its competition in introducing new products.
To keep investors informed about potential risks to a business, the SEC wants companies to report cyberattacks.
Burning coal underground is receiving some attention as a new way to make more use of the United States' most available domestic energy resource.
For some reason, Chinese auto buyers prefer foreign brands, confounding state planners.
Working conditions at Foxconn, Apple's main supplier, are reportedly getting better.
Numerous companies have hired chaplains to work with their employees.
Some states are acting quickly to build the insurance exchanges required by Obamacare. More taxation and a loss of some jobs are now viewed as possible.
The lower wages and increased regulation of banking and Wall Street have reduced the appeal of jobs and careers there. Is that good or bad?
Amtrak is asking for even bigger taxpayer subsidies this year. All aboard?
Just like Japanese companies learned to do so well in the 1980s and '90s, some Chinese companies are trying to increase their U.S. operations and sales.
Move aside, USA - here comes a Chinese company to produce oil in Canada and ship it back home - to Beijing, that is.
A dearth of skilled workers makes French unemployment worse. Are there lessons for operations managers?
Online competitions spur workers to get healthy. Operations managers can hope that this also increases productivity.
How has John Deere increased its international operations?
President Obama wants China to reduce its tariffs on imports of U.S.-made autos. What should operations managers do?
Is outsourcing the payment of retiree pensions something that operations managers should consider?
Some small U.S. manufacturers are bringing their factory operations back to the U.S.
Is oil money setting the stage for expansion of franchising operations to the Middle East?
Should operations managers be allowed to hire foreign workers with job skills that enterprises need? Or in this time of high U.S. unemployment, should all jobs be reserved for Americans even if they are less qualified?
General Electric, the No. 1 maker of wind turbines in the U.S., is winnowing its supply chain in anticipation of an industry shakeout.
Some companies are bemoaning the conditions Congress may put on a proposed tax exemption for 95 percent of their overseas profits.
The U.S. is a party to an intended new free-trade agreement. What might this mean to operations managers?
China's economic growth is slowing down - what's an operations manager to do?
Operations managers might want to sponsor less air travel.
Should operations managers be moving in Ferrari's environmentally direction?
Hey! Look at who is hiring now. Operations managers, should you be doing likewise?
California farmers often rely on illegal immigrants to harvest labor-intensive crops. However, the supply of these workers has been falling.
Free trade or not? Which appeals more to operations managers?
How might operations managers take advantage of advances in 3D printing?
Coal-powered energy is dying, some say. Others aren't so sure. What's an operations manager looking for inexpensive, reliable energy sources to do?
Should federal or state minimum-wage laws be changed?
Is it time to learn a trade?
It's time for a United States industrial policy. Or maybe it's not.
Well, not having a definite vacation policy is a good start.
China's exporters are starting to move toward higher-margin products in heavy industry. Can operations managers benefit?
Is Hungary now a target for cost-conscious operations managers?
Better-off European economies are being asked to pay for profligate economies' recovery. What might this mean for enterprise operations on the Old Continent?
How should operations managers respond to growing federal government regulation?
Obamacare has already arrived. What does it mean for operations managers?
As U.S. corporations outsource more skilled white-collar jobs, they increasingly are looking beyond India to closer places with well-educated labor pools.
PepsiCo has spent at least $17 million fighting soda taxes while assessing fees on its own employees who are overweight.
Banks have found an unusual way to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the federal law requiring them to bolster the economies of low-income neighborhoods. Is there a lesson for operations managers?
The Federal Reserve has said it expects to keep interest rates at current levels until 2014, which means pension plans
Smart blinds cut power use, but workers find them maddening. What's an operations manager to do?
Obama's plan to cut corporate rates and some tax breaks while keeping others and placing a new tax on offshoring profits dares Republicans to say no. What should operations managers prepare for?
Obama must show how he would fix the corporate tax system. Kicking corporate taxes down the road isn't the answer. Operations management will be affected
The Irish are trolling for investment to rekindle growth. Despite the Obama Administration's anti-offshoring initiative, could Ireland be a good base for overseas operations?
U.S. companies that lease panels, often Chinese-made, to homeowners thrive. Can operations managers benefit?
Sometimes vilified on the campaign trail, new government rules can create as many jobs as they kill.
Like cigarette girls, milk men, and now Wal-Mart greeters, lots of jobs fade away. But what do we lose - or gain - in the process?
More companies are assessing the full cost of outsourcing with an anti-business administration. This makes manufacturing in the U.S. look more competitive and is something for operations managers to consider.
To prevent hackers and competitors from stealing private information, companies and public agencies should make sure workers don
Efforts by the FAA, airlines, and others have reduced the chances by 93 percent of a plane crashing and killing someone. What are the lessons for operations management?
The U.S. Ambassador to China reflects on life and business in that country. How can operations managers benefit?
Enforcement of maritime safety laws may be lax; do the lessons extend to operations ashore?
The Yale economist figured out the Great Depression. Can his lessons be applied today?
The one-time import leader in the United States gets a boost from Mexico's Dos Equis.
New laws in Maine and Wisconsin make it easier to hire minors, possibly for low pay. Should operations managers be interested?
In a signal to Chinese banks to start lending, the central bank cuts reserve requirements, freeing up $55 billion. Is it time to shift more operations to China?
The former Pixar engineer applies some graphics magic to spreadsheets. Can operations managers use his software?
In the wake of an illegal immigrant exodus, Alabama has jobs available. Trouble is, many Americans don't want them - the pay is too low, and the work is too hard. What should be done?
The MacBooks and iProducts maker spends lavishly on all stages of its manufacturing and supply chain process to attempt to give it an operations advantage
The court could find the individual mandate unconstitutional but leave the rest of the law intact, giving Congress a fix it or repeal it choice
Some say flat organizations function better than hierarchical ones. What's your view?
Sometimes training or retraining helps the unemployed get jobs. Who should pay for it?
Payrolls, stock indexes, and GDP growth point to another contraction. Operations managers, prepare your enterprises.
Some American CEOs say they wish the U.S. tax code could be more like those in Europe
The U.S.'s need for national security creates opportunities for some small and nimble defense contractors
Some midsize U.S. makers of industrial components are selling their superior products in Asia and beating competitors.
Let's face it, women are pushing men aside in the quest for jobs. A smaller share of men have jobs today than at any time since World War II.
Carnivores keep coming back for the authentic vibe as much as the beef but maintaining it throughout the franchise is no simple task, and In-N-Out Burger is a strong competitor.
How should the United States solve its energy problems? The experts brainstorm. Can operations managers benefit?
A weaker dollar and booming demand overseas are boosting the economy. Can operations managers take advantage?
The factors that have led to Texas
A welcome end to the U.S.-Mexico trucking dispute - how can operations managers take advantage of it?
Certain aspects of a business (call center, customer service, etc., if they are core competencies) should be kept close to home. Pro or con?
Laws against illegal immigration make little economic sense, some say. So why punish the brave citizens who break them? Really, is that what we think of the rule of law?
If the debt ceiling is not raised, does the U.S. federal government really have to default? Or can it simply pay its debt obligations and reduce other spending?
Some say that government is part of the problem and also part of the solution. If so, where is its sweet spot? Or is the economy pretty much on its own?
Inflation may be pushing Vietnamese workers to strike:336 times in the first four months of the year. What is the lesson for operations managers?
The Supreme Court's ruling is the latest in a series of decisions that make it clear the justices aim to curb mass litigation and through doing so, reduce enormous judgments against corporations and legal fees paid to tort lawyers.
Can the National Labor Relations Board force a company to build a plant where unions want?
If President Obama wants to keep his job, Americans may first have to feel more confident about quitting theirs. What does this mean for operations managers?
Tougher enforcement faces resistance from businesses that want to be allowed to continue to hire illegal immigrants - even when the unemployment rate is high in the U.S.
Virtual marketplaces where consumers shop for standardized health-care insurance policies may hold the key to bridging divisions between Democrats and Republicans.
The British retailer's U.S. food chain, Fresh & Easy, hasn't yet gained traction. The company vows the chain will stop its operating losses by 2013
Apparel makers tweak clothing designs to snip and trim costs. Are there lessons for operations managers elsewhere?
As negotiations over trillions of dollars in federal budget cuts ramp up, lobbyists are out to protect their clients' interests
VW is spending $1 billion on a Tennessee factory to boost market share in the U.S. Could it eventually become the No. 1 global carmaker?
Higher wages in China and smarter factories in the U.S. may boost American manufacturing - if U.S. unions and big government don't get in the way.
Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-thru.
As California tries to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, state workers
Employers should allow workers to freely use personal smartphones in the workplace. Pro or con?
Standard & Poor's startled world markets this week by lowering its outlook on U.S. debt to negative.
Medical gear makers see an opportunity for their information technology operations as hospitals continue to be pressured to improve efficiency and curb waste.
A trade pact could boost U.S. exports by $1.1 billion, with companies such as Caterpillar, GE, Wal-Mart, and Citigroup as beneficiaries of expanded binational operations. All exporting operations managers should take note.
Complex and generally considered unfair, the U.S. tax system needs an overhaul. Here's an idea from Slovakia on how to get it done.
Instead of waiting until the economy strengthens further, employers should fill positions now. Are you pro or con?
Fifteen months of recalls of everything from artificial hips to Tylenol. Why?
According to a Bloomberg analysis, GOP alternatives would save less than $5 billion a year, or less than 1 percent of what health care cost in 2009. With so many health-care proposals and cost estimates - what's a prudent operations manager to do?
A Supreme Court review of a massive gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart could usher in new rules regarding class actions.
Obama's plans for electric vehicles, clean fuel, and high-speed rail could get a boost Unfortunately, operations managers could still pay a price for going green.
To counter rising expenses, the Swiss food giant tightens operations and moves upscale.
Some economists say home-loan forgiveness is the key to a rebound. Others say it would be a reward for bad behavior. Should companies help their employees with underwater mortgages?
Premier Wen Jiabao calls for a crackdown on the abuses of the Communist cadres. It may affect U.S. businesses with operations in China.
U.S. companies chase the fast-growing market for service bots. In part, they're trying to catch up with European and Asian companies.
Obama's HHS Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff are granting companies and states generous waivers to ensure full implementation of health-care reform by 2014. But are they really bending the law into a kind of diminished existence?
The economy is not creating many opportunities at the high end of the pay scale. Operations managers can take advantage of the situation.
The industry comes under pressure as Congress understandably focuses on reducing the national budget deficit. What can operations managers learn from this?
Telepresence - communications tools that let people meet remotely - is coming of age. Will high-def conference rooms and robots end business travel?
The world's most popular car risks falling behind a pack of new small-car competitors. Can operations managers do something about this?
In the Western world, many groups are trying to increase female participation in competitions for promising ventures.
Card readers that plug into smartphones are bringing new sales to small merchants.
In challenging Ambre Energy's plans for a coal export terminal, environmentalists are ignoring the economic growth it would bring.
The Democratic majority on the National Labor Relations Board could soon make it easier for unions to recruit members, press for higher wages, call for work rules that limit productivity, and even demand higher pensions.
From corn to chemicals, many industries are thriving under Obama's reign of rulemaking.
Frito, FedEx, and Coke like the lower fuel costs and green image of electric vehicles.
The cost of transporting coal by sea is dropping substantially. Operations managers interested in controlling their enterprise's energy costs should take note.
Starting in March, the Obama Administration will make a wide range of companies report on the greenhouse gases they produce. Naturally, there's a cost burden for affected industries and their customers.
CEOs don't want to increase employment until they know the recovery is real, but it won't be until they hire.
Research shows working-age populations are slipping in the U.S. and other industrialized nations while those of other countries are growing faster.
With drought and flood hurting harvests - and population growth increasing demand - some forecasters see significant food price increases in 2011.
In past recessions, small businesses led the rebound. Now they're relying on part-time workers and more productivity with fewer people.
Companies from China are setting up shop in the U.S. to avoid trade barriers and to take advantage of government subsidies. Should U.S. operations managers take note?
Which electric car(s) should operations managers prefer for their fleets, when, and why?
As global trade swells, demand for large container ships grows.
Mayor Jerry Sanders wants new employees to use 401(k)-like pension plans to save the city money. He's not the only mayor thinking this way.
The Filipino workforce, well trained in English, is luring call center operations from Bangalore and Gurgaon. Cost-conscious operations managers should take note.
As an alarming number of workers play hooky, some enterprises are clamping down and calling in the detectives.
Cap and tax may be just the first casualty of the skeptics in the incoming U.S. House and Senate. How should operations managers react?
Small businesses that have been rejected by large banks shouldn't overlook nonbank lenders, community and regional banks, and community development financial institutions as alternative sources of credit.
As a means of communication, the phone call is dying, soon to be replaced by a mix of text-based exchanges over e-mail, IM, and social networks. Pro or con?
The giant retailer wants the Supreme Court to block a huge gender-bias suit. Why? Should the Court agree to do so?
Small businesses are the principal U.S. hiring engine. However, young small businesses hire fewer workers than their more mature counterparts.
How the financial crisis shaped and strengthened a Canadian MBA program
A ban on offshoring Ohio government IT projects feels like the thin edge of the wedge in Bangalore. Is Ohio being stupid?
Veterans with GI Bill benefits are again helping universities as well as themselves. This time it's online institutions that are reaching out to enroll the vets.
Just how much pull President Obama has with Beijing may become clear when G-20 leaders meet in Seoul to consider a U.S. proposal to limit trade surpluses and deficits. It may not be enough.
In Northern California's Humboldt County, small marijuana growers worry that the legalization of their business could drive down pot prices. Others worry about an onslaught of stoned employees.
Record-low interest rates for the biggest U.S. companies aren't trickling down to their smaller counterparts.
Despite a surge of anti-immigrant feeling in some countries, most have stayed put. How can employers use them within the law?
The Treasury Secretary is attempting to use more IMF voting rights for China as leverage for the U.S. position that the yuan must be allowed to rise; will this work?
Unfunded but generous public pensions have become an election issue; however, public-sector unions are fighting to preserve them at taxpayers' expense.
Electricity generated from fossil fuels is starting to lose its price edge over some renewable energy sources. When will it be time for energy producers and consumers to jump on board?
The U.S. has used tariffs for more than two centuries to raise revenue and protect American industry. Will this work again in an era of diminished American power?
The House Republican plan to deny funds to Obama's health-care overhaul is difficult and risky but could be politically and fiscally warranted.
Trying to appeal to local shoppers, the big department-store chain lets each store cater to local tastes.
Financial transparency and giving workers a direct stake in a company's success can boost motivation and earnings, says Jody Heymann
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer believes the future of his company is about more than high-performance suburban status symbols
Philandering public figures have tended to give the office romance a bad name. Some have rebounded better than others.
With legal threats on the rise, especially from third parties, office affairs could be the latest recession casualty. What operations managers need to know.
Foxconn's Terry Gou might be regarded as Henry Ford reincarnated if only a dozen of his 920,000 workers hadn't killed themselves this year
Defense and aerospace companies are giving the President rave reviews for his plan to ease export controls that executives call too broad and burdensome
The EPA chief is using her regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act to control carbon emissions. Some say that it's an expensive, unjustified power grab by a federal agency.
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary is trying to remake commercial flights in his company's image: shabby, crabby, and cheap, cheap, cheap. Is this the airline product that customers want?
Several insurers say the Northern California hospital chain uses its market clout to raise prices. Does ObamaCare prevent this?
Federal agencies in charge of employment visas are making them harder to get
At Philip Morris, it's smoke 'em if you got 'em in a workplace that offers qualified support to employees that smoke.
Often ostracized by their peers, smokers are taking advantage of their time together outside to get work done.
Illegal immigration to the U.S. remains high. Some want to continue to tolerate it, but business wants it fixed.
It's important to minimize corruption in order to maintain public acceptability of highly deficitary federal government stimulus spending.
Small companies are likely to see the greatest scrutiny as government agencies crack down on the use of so-called permalancers.
What to expect and when from the new health-care reform and taxation law.
Some IPOS from clean energy companies are coming, at least as long as their government subsidies last
Some critics say the CEO's hunger for profits led to safety lapses at the Upper Big Branch mine
Does that sound like good news? Think again, some say.
Instead of just shaking your head, take a look at your own company.
Making up for lost time, the Ford CEO is boosting production, as well as investment and marketing, in fast-growing China and India
The iPad is fun and games. And also spreadsheets and presentation graphics and collaboration tools and
In a recent change, Western companies are finding themselves shut out of business or production opportunities as Beijing promotes homegrown rivals.
Major cost-cutting and expansion programs strained the automaker. Are they the cause of Toyota's troubles?
A combination of high-speed global growth and ambitious cost cuts led to the quality lapses that have tarnished the once-mighty brand
When it comes to reform, we should drop the public-private debate. The way to cut costs is to put care and insurance in the same bed, that is, to integrate them
Faced with expiring patents that could weaken sales, Lilly is reorganizing for speed. Manufacturing will have to keep up
The Taiwanese PC maker is now the global No. 2. A new focus on corporate sales could take it to the top if operations managers are timely involved
A new emphasis on e-services is helping the retailer regroup.
Big money is starting to flow into biomass, geothermal, and marine wave power projects.
The provider of financial services for military families uses remote technology and a keen focus on clients to stay atop the annual customer service rating.
GM, Ford, and other competitors have an opportunity to steal buyers from a bloodied Toyota. The trick is not to seem predatory. Really? Who's kidding who?
Some 170,000 Irish jobs vanished last year, and the lack of employment may be driving a generation away from the country.
Why Toyota may take years to win back the confidence of car buyers, assuming the flurry of recalls is over. Perhaps there's an opening for Honda, German, and Korean autos, or even Detroit iron.
Washington wants to pump big amounts of our money into so-called disease management, although there's only limited evidence so far that it works.
HR has yanked the junk food and badgered you to get healthy. Now it's eyeing your spouse and children. Can HR do that?
Global warming skeptics beware, the EPA has regulations due at the end of March
The snack food company has hired a team of scientists to develop healthier and more profitable products
So what happened to all the jobs (except for the mature worker)?
Some companies seem to making the era of the temp worker more than temporary. Is this bad or just the way things are in modern business operations?
The amounts of carbon in the atmosphere are out of whack with predictions and reported output, some scientists say.
To boost employment, local governments in the U.S. are wooing Indian companies such as Tata, Wipro, and Infosys.
Despite the U.S. jobless rate of 10%, hiring of workers from abroad continues. It may be necessary in order to find skills not available through the U.S. educational system.
Called jugaad, India's improvisational style of invention focuses on being fast and cheap, attributes that might be just right for these times.
A deal at the climate conference could tip the balance toward renewable energy sources and offer opportunities for companies, albeit while hurting other enterprises and delaying U.S. energy independence.
The federal government has borrowed and spent to create jobs with only limited success. Here are some of the other job-creating ideas in circulation.
In recent recessions, employment has taken longer and longer to return. Why this recession's lag may be the longest.
Companies may be rewarded under the cap-and-trade system for green projects they already had in the works. What's wrong with that?
Offering employees only high-deductible, consumer-directed health-care insurance plans will save millions but may damage morale. Is it short-sighted?
Employers and hospitals don't have to wait for Congress to address inefficiencies and waste. And are there really more than 10 ways to act now?
More workers will soon be needed, some say. Is it time to start hiring?
The economic crisis has hit these programs hard, but the best schools are adapting to the new market expectations.
Why a lot of health reform's costs could be passed through by businesses to be borne by the middle class, despite Obama's pledge.
Medical care prices are rising faster than overall inflation, and the burden on consumers and companies thus continues to grow. Where are the greatest increases?
The U.S. economy still needs fiscal stimulus: Attack the debt once demand returns, says one analyst, a former high-level Clinton appointee.
The measure, now in the Senate, is aimed chiefly at carbon-intensive products from China and India. But would it spark a trade war? That's just what U.S. exporters don't need.
Insurers and taxpayers are likely to pay big chunks of the $900 billion bill to overhaul the nation's health-care system. But will they accept that?
Manufacturing around the world largely remains in decline. Relatively speaking, how is the U.S. doing?
Experts say the only way to cover the uninsured is to require them to buy insurance or pay a fine. But how much should the penalty for failing to have coverage be?
With prices low and the promise of vast new supplies, some businesses are making the switch from oil-based fuels and coal. Are they making the right call?
The federal government is giving jobless workers temporary help with COBRA premiums, but other plans may be better. Check carefully to see what's covered.
Why are renewables failing to increase their energy market share?
Some business executives contend that a public option will lead health-care providers to charge patients in private plans higher rates, but some economists disagree. Who is right?
The recession is no time to worry about employee engagement. Pro or con?
High unemployment and low inflation may lead to a decline in pay
Some say that consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) are the future of health care in the U.S.
Maria Bartiromo talks to SEIU head Andy Stern about health-care reform, President Obama, and a labor movement in need of change, and gets some far-ranging answers.
The manufacturing exodus from the U.S. is accelerating, but smarter tax policies, low-cost loans, and industrial zones may help keep factories at home.
Companies, still wary of weak consumer demand, aren't doing much hiring. The trend could keep unemployment high for the next year. How bad is that?
Recent business austerity is boosting profits and the need to expand, and rising global growth is lifting exports, all while public policy efforts continue to support demand by running massive deficits.
Nine new small cars are rolling out in the next 18 months, including six from GM and Ford. Will they sell in the U.S. without the incentives of high gas prices and federal subsidies?
If an employee needs expensive care, the insurer will often jack up the company's premium
With its Communist leadership out, the former Calcutta may be poised for economic growth.
Airlines are slashing service to second-tier cities, but a few startups may pick up some of the slack. Will the startups last?
Despite recent positive economic news, executives at some companies are holding off on hiring and other investment in an uncertain politico-economic environment.
Despite a charm offensive by Obama, his health-care proposals leave small business owners wary: they're hearing the T-word, taxation, among the possible reforms.
In an Ohio town with huge unemployment, the mayor, a worker, and 12 local families fought to save a high-end furniture maker. They're not quite out of the woods yet.
Finally, a minimum wage that is beating the rate of inflation. Who receives it?
Overheating batteries, a problem in electronic gadgets, could prove catastrophic in autos. Really?
CEO Ballmer hopes that extensive price cuts on everything from Office software to Web services will expand the company's market share. From the user viewpoint, is Microsoft the best way to increase office productivity?
The proposed law making its way through Congress fails to answer hard, real-life questions about health-care reform's cost and care. And we've just been told that Medicare is going broke.
The cost estimates, some biased, vary wildly. But without critical details about alternative energies, offsets, and new technology, it's hard to say. And does anyone know a government program that costs no more than promised? So what should the Senate do?
Could health-care reform actually spur employment? Two new studies say that it would.
Making primary-care physicians the center of America's health-care system could decrease costs. But is it feasible, given the relative shortage of primary-care doctors?
Obama's plan will lower specialists' pay and help primary-care doctors, could save billions, and might please many voters. Will it dampen interest in medical careers, or simply change which careers are favored?
As Detroit East falters, carmaking-dependent Slovakia is struggling to revamp its national business plan. Will it be successful in moving away from manufacturing?
A growing effort by doctors, insurers and politicians helps people make better-informed medical decisions. Will it bring down health-care costs?
One country's bailout is another's industrial subsidy. Rising tension could lead to damaging trade wars
A new study says rising wages in China and higher shipping costs make Mexico a better choice for manufacturing even before country political risk is considered.
Battles among top union bosses have dimmed hopes of making major gains under the Obama Administration, even before union-caused added costs and innovation stifling are considered.
Novatel's MiFi and Lenovo's Constant Connect could make life a lot easier for some business travelers. Given their imperfections, though, are they worth their modest cost?
Companies usually avoid reducing base pay for fear of demoralizing staff and undermining productivity. But not in this downturn. Are they making the correct call?
Women are using their increased economic power to bring about more creative, manageable work schedules. Men are interested in this too.
Neither Congress nor the White House will endorse any of the options: raise taxes, ration care, or cut payments to doctors, hospitals, and drugmakers. But there's really no free lunch.
As it forces the steel industry to idle plants worldwide, ArcelorMittal is streamlining itself for the future. Is it setting a good example for other producers?
A Hong Kong-based sourcer is handling factory contracting for more and more U.S. brands that discover it can do the job better. But will political problems arise?
Two companies have hired Western consultancies to help redesign Soviet-era plant floors, cut costs, and boost productivity. It's working for them and may be a model for other Russian companies.
Obama's plan to bring home more tax revenue from multinationals is more complex than meets the eye. It may hurt U.S.-based multinationals while aiding their overseas competitors.
In Norway, the world's second-largest manufacturer of newsprint has won the support of its union via an analytical approach to plant and job closings. Should companies and unions in the U.S. be listening?
Since Germany's government reformed its benefits and other labor programs, unemployment has increased only slightly. The U.S. might learn a thing or two from this example.
By committing $13 billion to high-speed train travel, the Obama Administration is giving long-dormant projects a boost. It's about time, some say.
President Obama can increase trade with Cuba without convincing Congress to lift the embargo
A horde of startups has innovative ideas. But the challenges are many, and the winners seem likely to be Shell, BP, DuPont, and other major energy companies that have the deep pockets and commensurate ability to pursue multiple promising technologies.
The hometown of Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, suffers from overreliance on a single industry, and there may be plant shutdowns nearby, just like in Michigan.
Ignoring the drug wars, multinationals are pumping in billions to set up or expand their Mexican factories
The new CEO knows every facet of the company, but the feds will be breathing down his neck. Who knows best? What will the UAW do?
Utilities and the government say new technologies will boost efficiency and lower overall energy costs. But consumer advocates worry about higher and fluctuating prices for electricity. Who's right?
So whose fault is it that China is now the #1 polluting nation?
Under one bankruptcy scenario, the automaker would create a good GM and a bad GM, with Hummer and Saturn part of the bad company. Does this sound like a good idea?
The University of Phoenix and others are cashing in. Critics say the schools have low graduation rates and dubious recruiting standards, while others say for-profit universities meet a need more efficiently and less bureaucratically than do public institutions.
The company is developing an all-new electric vehicle under its Project i. But will battery prices fall enough to make the car a success?
The President's new budget avoids taking on doctors and hospitals to cut health-care costs, but there are hints that bigger reforms are coming.
Among others, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to rally oil- and coal-state politicians and voters to alter the President's plan to control carbon emissions and increase the costs of fossil-fuel energy.
It's cheaper to trim hours or pay than to slash staff
To cut costs, companies are pushing more employees to work from home.
More companies are cutting back on
America's economic stimulus plan is likely to include substantial funds
The increased efficiency of U.S. businesses will limit profit losses but cost millions of jobs, and it may delay hiring when demand picks up.
There's gold in those giant trash bins behind sports stadiums and office buildings.
Bad economic times can bring out the worst in some employees, but new technology is catching more internal thieves.
The states are entering the private sector.
Some U.S. companies are retaining workers over 55 even as younger workers get the ax.
New government controls across a wide swath of industries are on the way.
Unions want to end the secret ballot for workers voting to join a union.
The Detroit auto show's theme this year is, not surprisingly, green, green, green.
UPS is about to field-test hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks, developed with the help of the EPA.
To qualify, projects must be green, shovel-ready, short-term, and job-producing
A troubled economy bolsters growth in online business programs - and there are other reasons too.
U.S. employers such as Pella and the City of Atlanta are cutting hours instead of jobs to slash costs while remaining ready for a turnaround. Is this approach right for other operations?
As oil prices have plunged, solar has become less cost-competitive. And the credit squeeze has made it harder to finance solar projects.
What commodities will shine in 2009? Gold, for one. Chinese demand for copper should pick up. And alternative energy will be big when the new U.S. administration takes office.
The president-elect's moves will profoundly affect every market and industry. Here's what operators can expect.
Rosy words for pink slips.
Overexpansion and plunging sales in North America have brought losses and deep discounts to Toyota Motor Car Company.
In the wake of the Mumbai siege, businesses must weigh the persistence of political violence against the strength and promise of the Indian miracle.
Barack Obama's energy plan seeks to turbocharge America's eco-friendly businesses and keep jobs at home, but the hurdles are high.
A flight to safety, in particular, is overpowering dismal U.S. economic news.
Shrinking demand overseas and the dollar's recent rise leave U.S. manufacturers with nowhere to turn as markets at home wither.
The social-networking site is moving aggressively to sign up more users around the world while much of Silicon Valley hunkers down.
He may spend up to $500 billion on stimulus. Lobbyists are already angling for a piece of the action.
Desperate to cut costs, more and more companies are eliminating their matching contributions to employee 401(k) plans.
With carbon restrictions likely soon, business wants the new president to lay out the rules. And quickly.
Business leaders say Obama's plan to end the tax deferment for overseas corporate profits will stymie growth.
The U.S. economy has all the ingredients
The retailer was reeling from overexpansion and tough competition. Now it's stressing bargains and pulling in crowds.
Experts say focus on helping the company, not attacking rivals
Amid pressure to downsize, it's easy to forget that retaining employees is a critical concern during a recession.
A new report confirms critics' charges against the H-1B program. But reforms are on the way.
Abbott Laboratories is getting more eco-car conscious.
They've got power, vision, bravery, and support
BMW is making a risky bet that horsepower-mad American drivers will go for cleaner and greener luxury in its 1, 3, and even 5 Series cars.
Critics of the energy-efficiency rating system say companies such as Samsung and LG are gaming it.
Info-tech spending in India by U.S. financial-services firms could shrink 15% to 20% over the next year.
Foreign central banks worry about U.S. debt load after a bailout. The greenback could suffer.
A new Mercedes sedan, due in the U.S. next year, is the first in a wave of high-end gas-electric models, but just how green is it?
A survey shows that benefits officers aren't wild about either candidate's health proposal, but they see Obama's as doing less harm.
Linking pay to performance may not always compute for women and minorities.
When redesigning a workplace for better teamwork, why not involve employees in the brainstorming?
With pregnancy-discrimination claims against U.S. employers at record highs, pregnant workers need additional protection from bias. Pro or con?
Why turning into a marketer and contract manufacturer of other companies' cars is risky
Profits are healthier and job losses fewer than in previous downturns. The reason: Swift response to falling demand is keeping productivity unusually strong and growing.
Lower commodity prices are welcome, but a global slowdown is a big part of the change, and that's no reason to cheer.
Brisk foreign trade has been propping up the U.S. economy. But as that growth slows, the pain of the downturn at home will become only more acute.
Here's one way to increase operations productivity: through the use of GPS location.
Company medical clinics are springing up at Toyota, Harrah's, Disney, and elsewhere. And the savings are substantial.
Recyclers are devising dazzling new ways to mint fortunes from America's mountains of waste.
As outlooks for the euro zone and Britain dim, central bankers will likely be forced to lower interest rates, creating conditions that could restore some of the U.S. currency's value
There's no joy in Detroit for Chrysler either.
Will the Fed hike rates to stop inflation from spreading beyond energy and food? Not when the job market is so feeble that most workers can't command higher wages.
It's no longer if, but when, where, and how many wind farms will go up along the U.S. coast.
A partial answer to America's energy crisis is springing up. But there's difficulty in building an industry that threatens the status quo.
Critical electoral votes have made it a potent campaign issue this year, but many say it's still years away.
The big carmaker will need to dig up fresh capital just to keep operating.
With the workplace ever more full of distractions, researchers are developing computer-based tools to keep us on task.
The popular Web site company's radical experiment is putting employees in charge of what it does ... pretty much.
The strong euro and expensive labor are making it tough for BMW, VW, Volvo, and some other European carmakers to show a profit in America.
Japanese carmakers are expanding at home, where nimble, high-tech plants offer more flexibility and higher quality.
Here's one way to park green.
A lot has changed for blogs in the past three years.
The current slowdown in business travel may not end when the economy recovers.
The planned eco-friendly fleets of GM and competitors are growing.
Sure, it could have been worse. But GM needs to do much more to get its problems under control.
Corn-based fuel isn't the villain critics contend, but shifting to other crops is critical.
Indian giant TCS makes most of its money in the U.S., while Big Blue does the bulk of its business abroad. What does that imply?
Sky-high gas prices have more workers switching to employer-subsidized transportation -- and loving it
The Delta-Northwest merger will probably lead to reduced routes and higher airfares across the industry.
In the aftermath of the Big Three's cost-saving deal with unions, Toyota's U.S. plants must play catch-up.
Washington and unions are raising flags about the surge in the offshoring of airplane maintenance.
A slew of high-mileage, low-emission diesel auto models destined for the U.S. market could give hybrids serious competition.
So many empty cubicles, such low morale. Let's call in the interior decorators.
In 2007, for the first time, the human race became more urban than rural, according to the United Nations.
The days of ultra-cheap labor and little regulation are gone. As manufacturers' costs climb, export prices will follow.
The powerful euro has crushed the country's decade-long economic expansion
Will the increasing number of hybrid autos require new power-generating plants?
The free-trade deal is taking the blame for huge job losses. But its true effects on workers and competitiveness are far more complicated.
Global warming won't slow unless China comes on board
The Ford Fiesta, after flopping in the U.S. in the 1970s and selling well in Europe ever since, is set to go global.
Surprise! Indian outsourcers top the list of companies bringing foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B program.
The insurance industry is jumping on the eco-bandwagon. Here's how.
Munich Re and rival Swiss Re are designing policies that insure against Third World disasters.
The effort to combat rising global temperatures by cutting greenhouse gases is becoming more urgent.
Despite their eco-rhetoric, some USCAP members are supporting efforts to undermine restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. Why?
Will Barack be bad for business?
Is a 'virtual' border fence better than no fence at all?
How much do you trust your telecommuters?
Are you paying enough to retain your star workers?
How did Germany get ahead in the use of renewable energy?
Are you ready to shut down the world oil industry? Shai Agassi is.
Now really, how often are operational decisions made with perfect knowledge?
So what's new in organizing international operations? Big Blue
The war for human talent never ends.
Is the security of using Canadian crude oil worth its environmental costs?
Is there really a difference between leading and managing?
Good news for small business: Health care costs may come down (or not grow so fast)!
Are the days of tolerance in hiring illegal workers over for U.S. businesses?
Does the current three-tier distribution system of beer and wine work?
Are products advertised as green really green? Maybe not.
What will happen to businesses that hire illegal immigrants? In Arizona, bad things, according to a new law.
Why can't anyone find a Nintendo Wii in stock?
Will someone someday pay for unused leftover paint?
What's health care going to cost you?
Will labor costs drive the cost of doing business in Russia?
Will commodities continue to be in short supply?
Where did the U.S. labor unions go?
Can Siemens afford to be so unlawful?
Can an e-commerce store successfully move to a bricks-and-mortar operation?
Who do you believe when it comes to greenness: environmentalists or corporations?
There might be a way to use those ubiquitous cracked egg shells to help produce clean energy.
It's Employees first, customers second, at India's large outsourcer, HCL Technologies.
Solid growth around the world - particularly in developed and emerging markets - means trading partners provide extra help just when the U.S. needs it. The U.S. economy, according to the BusinessWeek article A Helping Hand From Foreign Demand (November 5, 2007), faces its toughest challenge since the 2001 recession. But it might just get by with a little help from its friends, as foreign trade has provided a huge lift to growth this year. The question is whether trade will continue to support the economy in 2008.
Companies have long married their health-care policies to wellness programs that encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle (i.e. to quit smoking, eat right, exercise more often, etc). Increasingly, these programs give workers' wallets a workout, too, according to the BusinessWeek article Sweat More, Pay Less (November 5, 2007).