Readings: Consumer Goods & Services
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.
The No. 2 U.S. discounter, Target, faces a revitalized Whole Foods, backed by a deep-pocketed parent-to-be. Retailers are adding groceries to their mix because they keep customers coming back. But Target gets only 20 percent of sales from food, while Wal-Mart gets 56 percent.
A ten-person shoemaking startup in Maine is trying to keep the craft of hand-sewn footwear profitable in the era of globalization.
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.
The aligning of corporate culture with the vision and mission of the organization has always been assumed to be a strong antecedent to higher levels of performance. With companies such as Badoo, a dating site popular in Russia and Latin America, the human resource practices used to attract and retain personnel have flown in the face of current acceptable practices. Parties that include risqué activities have become legendary in its corporate offices in London. This troubles some, but obviously attracts the talent that Andrey Andreev, its founder, perceives to create the environment conducive to growing his profitable business.
Real estate companies are using cloud computing to save time and money when buying and selling homes. Agents are spending less time scheduling and more time selling. Innovative ideas and processes using cloud computing are enhancing real estate sales and marketing.
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 basic concept of Uber is now spreading into other transportation arenas as well. A new California-based startup, Blackbird Air Inc., is providing a ride-sharing app for short-distance air travel. The app matches travelers that are time constrained with flights originating from general aviation airfields. These passengers would otherwise tie up valuable time using commercial air travel or driving to their destination. The price is significantly lower than chartering a flight.
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.
Flexe Inc., a four-year-old startup, has attained a competitive position against the powerful Amazon.com juggernaut based upon an expanded network of warehousing space created by strategic alliances that take advantage of seasonal supply-and-demand mismatches. It's a solid strategy because Flexe has already attained 25 percent of Amazon's warehouse capacity and has plans to add 10 million square feet within the year. The company's business model is not to become the face of its clients but to become a conduit for efficiently delivering vendors' products to their end customers relative to Amazon's model.
Snapchat is piloting ads built into pricey custom Lenses. It says a third of Snapchat users play with Lenses and geofilters daily. It remains to be seen whether the Lenses are effective or Facebook-proof.
Current technologies allow people to remotely access cameras in their home, or at work, to see if anyone enters and ascertain what they are doing. This is useful, but many times, the alert is triggered by people who are supposed to be there, and it is more bothersome than useful. Using 3D sensors and facial recognition software, Lighthouse, a startup, is improving the efficiency of these cameras by only bringing the exceptions to the user's mobile device.
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.
Purdue University has teamed up with the for-profit Kaplan higher-education chain to sell online degrees. It is a way for for-profit colleges to shed a tarnished label and still stay in business. It helps public universities expand their reach with online degrees targeting older Americans—many of them minorities—who are unable to attend traditional schools.
3-D printing has been a topic of conversation and application for over a decade now, but making prototypes of products and even finished products for consumer use has been the focus. Now materials are being developed that allow for healthcare applications including bone and cartilage materials tailor-made for the patient and even the very real possibility of creating organic tissues for such problems as chronic liver failure.
Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey’s new book, The Whole Foods Diet, furthers his mission to improve people’s health through diet. But investors are concerned about a lack of action to reverse a sales slump and falling stock price.
Whole Foods Market was long the darling of the ecologically sensitive investors in that they tapped into a solid market that had a loyal and growing client base and high profit margins. As many mass retailers began to move into the grocery sector and also the organic/ecologically advantaged products market, they began to first thwart the growth of Whole Foods Market, but now there are also concerns of reducing sales and profits.
Six straight quarters of declining same-store sales have forced Whole Foods Market, which has about 440 U.S. stores, to close stores and rein in costs. It has been pushing digital coupons and promotions while working to lower costs.
A clot-retrieving stent can dramatically reduce long-term healthcare costs and enhance the quality of life for people who have had strokes, yet it is only extensively used in roughly 150 stroke centers in the United States. While initial cost for installation of the stent is about $17,000 more than that of traditional treatment methods, its outcome is better, and the long-term savings could be about $23,000.
Munchery Inc., a food delivery startup, has blown through $120 million over the past 7 years and needs further investment of around $15 million to shore up its position. In order to accomplish this recapitalization, they are having to reduce the stake of early investors and create convertible debt to entice reinvestments or new investments.
Amazon’s goal is to become a Top 5 grocery retailer by 2025. This would require more than $30 billion in annual food and beverage spending through its sites, up from $8.7 billion—including Amazon Fresh and all other food and drink sales—in 2016.
Artificial intelligence researchers are training their systems to master steadily more complex fantasy worlds. The holy grail is solving not one game but any game with multiple players and imperfect information, as in the real world.
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.
Logitech has prospered lately with mice and keyboards that complement the PCs and mobile devices of industry leaders Apple, Google, and Amazon. Now the company wants to compete with them for a central role in the emerging home automation market.
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.
The online grocery delivery startup, Instacart Inc., is looking to pinch pennies, starting with bottle deposit fees. It's working to increase ad revenue as it tries to prove it’s the exception in a field of delivery-app failures.
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.
With an initial list of around 50,000, market researcher Quid used an algorithm including prior leadership team experience, time between rounds of financing, education of founding team members, and more subjective issues such as attractiveness of industry.
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.
Uber was a pioneer in the development of the modern sharing economy. In recent months, however, it seems to be facing both legal and public relations challenges. This spate of incidents is putting Uber's leadership, corporate culture, and business practices under a spotlight.
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.
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.
Data mining by traditional brick-and-mortar fashion retailers is not a new thing, but third party data tracking in the internet era is creating advantageous data that can lead to better targeting. Le Tote, a fashion rental service that uses products from such traditional retailers as the French Connection, collects data on the level of satisfaction of their customers (who pay a fee for their service) and now partners with the retailers to help meet the needs of consumers in a tailor-made way.
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.
E-commerce companies are tapping data for clothes and other goods. Old-school retail rivals want them, too. In the U.S., French Connection is tweaking its clothing based on feedback supplied by mail-order styling services.
Consumers have been frustrated with slow Wi-Fi issues, particularly in the home. With gaming, appliances, and information-oriented products vying for access, it has been a frustrating constraint for service providers such as Comcast. Innovative new firms have begun to incrementally improve this environment and seem to be establishing a great deal of value by doing so.
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.
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.
There has remained an industry of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras whose sole purpose is high resolution photography. While mobile devices such as phones have improved their resolution, there were barriers in place that kept them from attaining parity with the DSLR format. Rajiv Laroia, a cofounder of Light, has developed a method by which the barrier has been drastically altered and the quality of photos taken with a phone sized unit can closer approximate the performance of stand alone cameras.
Brazil is an important market in the worldwide beer industry, and this is the season for summertime beer ads. Compared to other years, however, the ads are a little more tame and less sexy. While this may be partly related to changing advertising norms, it also reflects the increasing importance of women as customers.
A falling unemployment rate is contributing to rising wages for workers at fast-food restaurants and discount stores. Many fast-food restaurants are finding that they need to work harder to keep employees, including paying higher wages and providing better benefits. Some managers are also finding that it is more important to pay attention to employees, including knowing their names and making them feel valued and important.
The on-demand economy is changing consumer behaviors and business models. It is also creating challenges for classifying workers as employees versus independent contractors. Uber and other well-known enterprises continue to grapple with this issue, but Handy, a less well-known startup, is proposing legislation that could create a compromise offering workers limited benefits without full employee rights.
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.
A drone to stifle other drones by capturing them in a net. How much of a market is there, and how long will it last?
Private equity firms snapped up homes after the real estate bust. Wall Street, America's new landlord, kicks tenants to the curb.
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.
Generate Capital, a startup venture fund specializing in green infrastructure projects, has obtained $500 million in investor funds to foster new green technologies and facilitate their adoption into mainstream use. Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, started Generate Capital with a couple of McKinsey consultants under the notion that the $1 Trillion market would not be a few huge players, but many smaller players that gain market access and proof of design and value.
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.
Startup Livestream is selling preachers, wannabe stars, and ExxonMobil on tools to improve their online video broadcasts. It buys display ads on websites that just show a customer’s stream, a service it calls “audience booster.”
For owners Comcast, Fox, Disney, and Time Warner, the Internet streaming service Hulu has been their beachhead in the increasingly popular world of video streaming. Now Hulu plans to offer live TV to strengthen its position against leaders Netflix and Amazon but may simultaneously continue to erode their owners’ cable TV businesses.
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.
Chewy, a pet supply store that specializes in creating a superior customer service experience online by sparing no expense, has developed into an $880 million revenue company. Unfortunately, its expenses have exceeded its revenue, but the company has solid financial backing and dreams of becoming even larger.
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 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?
Instagram is testing whether letting brands tag photos with links will succeed where other social media marketing has failed. It is part of its broader strategy for helping people pick out and buy things.
Fast-food chains are shelling out millions to purge preservatives, artificial ingredients, and other unmentionables. Skeptics question health claims.
With so many smart devices being routed wirelessly in our homes and businesses, they have become a prime target for cyberattacks. John Wu, a veteran in the W-Fi arena at the age of forty-two, has come up with a router that can stop attacks at the entry level, thereby protecting the devices.
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.
University of British Columbia students wasted a lot of plastic while making prototypes for robotics classes but addressed this problem by developing the ProtoCycler, a desktop machine that converts plastic waste into 3D-printer filament. While this is good for the environment, the recycled filament may also have a cost advantage over premade filament.
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.
The ability to store huge troves of data in the public cloud has created a burgeoning industry, but now, some companies are starting to want some degree of separation from the risks of public cloud storage. To that end, a sector called private cloud storage has found root as a sub-industry.
Twitter's "Firehose" of a half billion tweets a day is incredibly valuable — and just as dangerous. Find out how despots use Twitter to hunt dissidents.
Uber has unveiled the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) to address driver concerns and pressure for unionization. Uber's partner behind the IDG has agreed not to seek unionization, at least until 2021.
The Bloomberg Businessweek article "Innovation Fighting Hearing Loss" (October 31−November 6, 2016) assesses several potential solutions seeking to resolve hearing loss in patients.
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 growing number of retailers look to strengthen ties with customers by combining convenient payment and rewards. Mobile wallets are the new loyalty program.
Anne French, president of Dear North, a collaborative effort between Huna Totem (a Native Alaskan-owned company focused on tourism) and Ammunition (a company known for designing Beats, the popular headphones), dreamed of exporting consumer products that captured the Alaskan allure. The company has begun producing first product: salmon jerky. It aims to sell to the Lower 48 states, be in 700 outlets by the end of the year, and earn $1 million in its first year.
Sororities are a lucrative market for a fashion brand. It’s a natural human thing to want to belong. Win the sorority girl, win the American wardrobe. Companies such as Kendra Scott, Lilly Pulitzer, and upstarts like Southern Tide see half a million potential in customers ready to spend.
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.
Some wireless carriers are wary of Google's retail ability. Google sees software as its edge, rather than retail distribution and customer service.
Initiated by lower costs due to lower grain and oil prices, food prices have been falling for nine straight months. But food retailers seem to be engaged in a price war of cutthroat competition and irrational pricing.
It was bound to happen, and it was likely that Apple would be one of the pioneers. Attaching collection and connectivity to health data as a repository for tracking patient conditions is now becoming a real possibility, with the company leading the charge.
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.
Food, on average, makes up only about 15 percent of a consumer’s budget. Walmart effect combines with deflation to eat away at margins. Grocery stores are trying to compete on price through digital coupons and promotions.
With the upscale Australian department store chain Myer, EBay created a Virtual Reality Department Store, giving away 20,000 "shopticals" that let shoppers browse merchandise via augmented reality. Differentiating EBay from Amazon is the centerpiece of CEO Devin Wenig’s strategy.
While difficult to fully ascertain once in the product, Egyptian cotton commands a premium price in the fabric markets. Media stories of fake goods sold claiming this expensive fabric but really using less expensive and inferior cotton have given consumer confidence a negative hit. Using DNA testing technology, it is now possible to validate samples to alleviate the concerns. A small company operating from a business incubator in New York is specializing in this process.
House flippers turn to the crowd for quick cash. What could go wrong? Wall Street is not as interested in financing single-family developments in smaller and medium-sized deals, making crowdfunding a better way to fund such projects.
Amazon has been building up its same-day delivery system for several years and recently began leasing airplanes. The idea that Amazon could challenge FedEx seems "fantastical" to FedEx CEO Fred Smith, but Amazon has been expanding into delivery in a big way with AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Amazon Flex.
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.
Those attending church regularly have declined dramatically in recent years, while those who never attend have increased. It would appear that the target of those who attend occasionally may provide an opportunity for survival, but will it look the same?
Hospitals are using virtual reality (VR) to take patients' minds off their pain or relieve their boredom. VR has been shown to swamp the brains sensory capacity, affecting its ability to create as many pain signals. As the cost of hardware and software come down, it is becoming a consideration for longer term treatment.
After a number of failed ventures, Raj Bhakta’s “boutique” rye whiskey endeavor is a hit. But success is leading to conflict, as his partners and investors want to cash out, but he wants to build a family business. Bhakta’s personality and vision may have been key factors in WhistlePig’s success, but also may explain foibles that his partners cite in pending litigation.
Ad Magic has become the go-to maker for Kickstarter games. Ad Magic’s revenue has quadrupled since the company was hired to produce the popular Cards Against Humanity.
After burning billions of investor dollars to attract users and grow market share, mergers and acquisitions among China’s on-demand service providers promise to create dominant players and bring profits. The question is will Chinese users continue to call without the steep discounts.
Business incubators, accelerators, innovation labs, and a smorgasbord of other entities exist to create or jumpstart entrepreneurial endeavors, but a recent trend of note is to help existing small businesses take their goods and services to the next level.
An unexpected occurrence offered the founders of Yasso, a five-year-old company with an already established market in the northeastern United States, an opportunity along with a decision to expand. The business now earns $50 million in sales.
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.
Crimes at Walmart stores keep local police departments busy. Walmart is aware of the problem and has taken steps to address it. Some, however, think the stores are doing too little too slowly, placing profits over people. This is a complex problem involving the intersection of business, government, and society, but other retailers seem to have fewer crimes committed on their premises.
A lock that can be opened using smart device codes that are single use opportunities can lower the risk of general codes for building managers and their tenants. The device also allows for coordination with video devices that can assure security with multiple deliveries or pickups.
IDI has already built a profile on every American adult, including young people. Its database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data. IDI is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers.
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.
Amazon gains on Flipkart in India. Hobbled by self-inflicted wounds and a price war, the Indian e-commerce company is girding for battle with a deep-pocketed rival.
India is attracting multinational retailers like Amazon. Local competitors are working hard to maintain their lead.
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.
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.
Connectivity in your automobile will be convenience, or an intrusive nightmare. Today's sensor-laden cars collect huge amounts of data for which marketers may pay dearly. Automakers want to control such sales.
While live streaming capabilities have attracted even greater use from their core, Facebook is now struggling with what that means for them in terms of infrastructure investment and their responsibility to the public. Also of importance: does it lead to greater profits?
Single-family landlords have been losing renters to homebuying. Blackstone Group LP’s Invitation Homes is selling in Arizona and California. Financial landlords look to profit from renters with dreams to buy.
A technology that doesn't use radioactive means to provide superior imaging for dental offices? Sounds like a winner!
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.
Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and CEO, has many ambitions for his company. These include intertwined business and social objectives of becoming world’s biggest sportswear company and revitalizing the city of Baltimore. A passionate and visionary leader, Plank consciously seeks to use the company’s momentum to shape Baltimore’s future.
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.
While PC manufacturers tend to compete in almost a perfect competitive environment, those that focus on giving gamers a small advantage and the ability to adapt are reaping strong profits relative to the enhanced price.
These five substances offer opportunities for secondary innovations that can make a myriad of products perform better.
Sears seemed to falter with the rise of discount retailing. Then Kmart was outdone by Wal-Mart and Target. Merging the two hasn’t improved things. Now Sears wants to sell its top brands. Does that make sense as a turnaround strategy?
Using cheap sensors and monitoring devices, coupled with in-depth software, Vium, a company with $30 million in venture capital investment, is hoping to speed up the animal tests sector of the FDA process to provide its users with better inputs into the viability of human testing.
Perfumers want your signature scent to be a mix of fragrances that can run $295 each. Perfumers embrace perfume “wardrobing.” Customers can mix colognes to create a more distinctive trademark, much like you’d mix pieces of clothing to form a one-of-a-kind ensemble.
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.
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.
Congress created the U.S. Postal Service in 1970 to run the post office like a business. But it retained a political process for setting prices that has not been responsive to business needs.
Blockchain is the technology created to support bitcoin, but it may soon surpass the crypto-currency in importance. Investment in startups commercializing blockchain technology has eclipsed that in bitcoin-only companies.
Starship Technologies has built a robot capable of making deliveries to your house or business. Is this a viable market for robotics?
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.
Brick-and-mortar clothing retailers have traditionally been reluctant to make plus-size clothing a prominent part of their product offerings. However, over the past several years the demand for plus-size clothing has outpaced smaller-size offerings.
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.
Residents' monthly costs at Midtown assisted living building top $20,000. An owner of assisted living facilities is looking to get in on New York's luxury housing boom.
Investments in energy efficiency can take years to pay back from cost savings so are often rejected by CFOs. But framing them as a portfolio with returns of over 20 percent convinced Adidas to invest millions per year.
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.
Keeping up to date on your kids' day is only an app away now. Apps that digitize updates from preschools and day cares are becoming popular perks for parents.
Increased competition leads to more—and nastier—ads. Competition for clients is pushing up lawyer ad spending, which jumped to $823 million in 2015.
Mobility services, think Uber with self-driving cars, have the potential to disrupt the auto industry model of individual car ownership. So Detroit is seeking alliances with the tech companies and car sharing services behind that threat to strengthen their position.
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.
Making a non-dairy cheese has proven to be a difficult task to do well enough to please the discriminating palate. Lyrical Foods and its investors think they may have it and at just the right time.
Founding a business and developing its brand is a lifetime task for many entrepreneurs. Letting go and passing it on to family is sometimes a far more difficult task.
Gap returns to t-shirts in yet another bid for growth. Can the slumping company Gap figure out what shoppers want to wear?
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.
*This article is not available online.
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.
The scent of Baby Powder may be more recognizable then that of chocolate, but Johnson & Johnson's iconic century-old product may be associated with more than wholesomeness. Some scientific studies have found an association between Baby Powder use and ovarian cancer. More than 1,000 women and their families are now suing Johnson & Johnson and its supplier of talc, Imerys, claiming the companies failed to warn customers about this risk. Regardless of the conclusiveness of the scientific studies, Johnson & Johnson's violation of customers’ trust puts the entire company’s brand at risk.
Tesla has busily developed a defensible position in high-end, electric-powered automobiles. With an inelastic demand curve as it relates to oil price fluctuations, their resilience is sound in that sector, but now they have to deal in a sector that is more affected by oil prices. Chevy is also interested in the sector, adding to the complexity in behavioral competitive issues.
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.
Despite inconsistent state laws regarding employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, a record number of companies has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Economic incentives may be motivating companies like Hormel to outpace anti-discrimination laws with diversity and inclusiveness initiatives. By working to support a diverse workforce, these companies are creating value by creating workspaces that are attractive to younger workers.
Twitter is one of the most recognized brands in the social media market even though it is yet to turn a profit. Co-founder and past (and again) CEO Jack Dorsey is not necessarily reflecting on the past of Twitter except to the extent it can guide the future into profitable domains to leverage the brand.
Scandinavian-style co-housing is gaining traction among boomers. The U.S. is home to more than 150 co-housing communities, with 14 more planned exclusively for seniors.
A decade after taking over General Electric, Jeff Immelt’s long bet on the Internet of Really Big Things seems to be paying off. But competitive challenges still exist.
Customers hate delivery fees, so Instacart went to retail partners to help. The grocery delivery startup says ads from General Mills, PepsiCo, and other consumer companies account for 15 percent of revenue.
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.
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.
In a secret meeting convened by the White House, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software and gain access to the most heavily protected user data on the most secure consumer devices.
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.
There is nothing like the threat of hypothermia to get an entrepreneur to cut to the chase when pitching their product or service. Using frigid water as a timer, a European elevator-pitch competition offers an $11,000 reward to the winner.
Apple is resisting a court order to help the U.S. government gain access to the iPhone that belonged to the shooter in the San Bernardino attack. The government claims that it is asking for a one-time request for one device.
Until January 2014, Walmart rejected applications for spousal health benefits from employees who were legally married to same-sex spouses. By arguing that denying coverage to her same-sex spouse is a form of sex discrimination, an employee’s suit to recover costs incurred after Walmart denied her application for spousal health benefits has the potential to expand the scope of sex discrimination.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a crash test dummy that measures 7 times as many variables as the current standard. Not only that, there is an implication that it can also provide more accurate measurements as well. They sent out for bids to produce this test dummy, and the winner was Humanetics Innovative Solutions. The contract could be quite lucrative, at $400,000 per unit.
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.
Sometimes all the infrastructural elements are in place for leading industry transformation, allowing entrepreneurs to enter a market. It's also possible that some sociocultural (as well as economic) structural impediments keep the obvious from taking place, at least in the short run.
Entrepreneurs and venture capital see an opportunity in storage. The $33 billion industry is still growing, and new on-demand business models look promising.
The storage businesses will generate $33 billion in 2016, estimates research firm IBISWorld, up from $24 billion in 2010. More than 50,000 self-storage facilities are in the United States. Startups are trying to carve out a slice of the expanding storage industry by offering on-demand pickup and delivery.
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.
Wal-Mart has long been criticized for driving mom-and-pop stores out of business in small towns and rural communities. Still, Wal-Mart stores served consumers and provided employment. As the company begins closing hundreds of stores, including all of its small Wal-Mart Express stores, small towns and rural areas are experiencing a whipsaw effect: When Wal-Mart stores close, communities are left without grocery stores or pharmacies. The company's decision to shutter stores and increase efficiency is partially explained by recent increases in wages. These wage increases may be seen as socially responsible, but the store closings in small towns and rural communities has an adverse effect.
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.
As gaming leagues show rapid growth and indications that they're growing profits too, the competitive arena for leagues and teams has ramped up. As profits become more certain, interest from major investors seeking to leverage their economies of scope and scale are beginning to enter the fray. In question are the distribution of overall industry profits (appropriation) throughout the key stakeholder groups involved and how the cooperation can create even more value.
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.
Rarely do you think of going to pick up coffee with pricey brews made from the digestive results of a cat-like animal, but that's what Afineur is hoping people will do.
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 second amendment to the constitution and protection of the public interest square off. Creating safety devices to limit misuse of constitutional rights seems like it might be a profitable realm of technology development, but beware of consumer demands.
The success of small, independent coffee roasters signals a strong demand for their processes and products. Craft beans are following the path of craft beer.
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.
Musicians are suing Spotify for failing to fully pay for songs that it streams. Some of the suits are seeking class-action status.
A lawsuit could result in Spotify having big liabilities from unpaid royalties. How much are these potential liabilities? And how is Spotify dealing with them?
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.
Apps have made it relatively common to have remotely controlled systems in the home. Unfortunately, these systems can be hacked, creating massive losses both financially and even physically. Dojo, a cybersecurity system domiciled in Israel and designed to pick up on hacking attempts on home systems, has garnered over $1 million in seed money for their solution to this problem.
At what price has Chipotle focused on providing “food with integrity?” After three different pathogens have caused five outbreaks and sickened hundreds of Chipotle customers across the United States, Chipotle is shifting its focus to food safety. This shift, however, means a departure from many established organizational routines and practices.
Amid anxiety over mass killings, arms and ammo keep selling. America's gun king, Walmart, is geared up for the holiday rush.
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.
Swatch has filed smartwatch-related patents in recent years, even though CEO Nick Hayek has been dismissive of the devices. Swatch has been burned by earlier forays into new technologies.
Chipotle prides itself on serving fresh, healthy fast food, using local vegetable suppliers wherever possible and meat from animals raised without added hormones and antibiotics. These goals for freshness and healthy ingredients complicate supply chain management, however, and have led to shortages of certain ingredients. More troubling is the recent rash of food-borne illnesses that have been traced to Chipotle restaurants across the country.
For shareholders of Hamamatsu Photonics KK, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Apart from helping to advance our understanding of the universe, the company’s sensors play important roles in everything from X-ray machines to DNA sequencers. Hamamatsu has a 90 percent global market share in the devices known as photomultipliers and a stock price that’s jumped more than four-fold since early 2009.
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has diligently cultivated the medical diagnostic company over the past 12 years and is just now hitting the mainstream of her target market. However, both she and the company face stiff challenges.
Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood test pioneer Theranos, faces challenges to the credibility of her firm. Theranos products offer the potential of radically reducing the cost of medical diagnostics and have attracted a top-tier corporate board.
Amazon’s boom year means a swell in temporary workers, which cuts into profit -- though not as much as putting them on staff would. The weekly price of Amazon’s holiday help is $70.4 millon.
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.
For decades, sewage has been treated and used for irrigating crops, parks, and golf courses, but making it fit for human consumption requires advanced filtration technology. Dow Chemical’s process helps tackle drought and beyond -- and comes up smelling like roses.
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.
Using discount legal advice or algorithms, several new apps have helped beat thousands of parking tickets. These new discount legal service apps are sure to change the landscape of the $25 billion legal service market for years to come.
Walmart has a long and consistent history of opposing unionization of its workforce. The company carefully monitors activities of workers that may be trying to convince coworkers to join a union and provides extensive training to help managers understand legal limitations regarding federal employment regulations. In the past several years there have been a number of protests and partial strikes on Black Friday at some Walmart stores, but the company has used public relations and labor relations teams to effectively minimize disruptions.
Masayoshi Son, Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank, hired Nikesh Arora from Google to help the company invest $3 billion per year in promising startups with high end potential. Unlike most pools like this, they are not using a shotgun approach with the money, rather they are going to focus huge amounts of cash on around 10 startups. This Bloomberg Businessweek article gives personal insight into Arora and his frame of mind as well as his philosophies on risk.
Airbnb has caused a stir similar to Uber as the company uses technology to bring small businesses into markets formerly the domain of larger, entrenched competitors. However, it's also prompting the creation of service providers unique to its industry.
The pet foodie movement is surging. Premium pet food now accounts for more than half of the $23.7 billion market, and new entrants with innovative products are taking a big chunk.
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.
Entrepreneurial businesses are sometimes like trying to climb a rock wall, but in this case the business IS creating and manufacturing the rock walls.
The “eat-like-your-owner” strategy appears to be paying off for entrepreneurial high-end pet food manufacturers. Sales of premium dog food have surged 45 percent to $10.5 billion in the U.S. since 2009 and now account for more than half of the market. But is this a sustainable marketing strategy?
Brands are using a variety of labels to appeal to customers’ interests in wholesome foods. By labeling food products as "natural" or "authentic," companies may be responding to customer demands, but it is unclear what these claims mean. Loose regulations allow companies to label many food products in ways that are potentially misleading.
Internet video economics will increasingly favor original, higher-value productions. Call it the "Netflix effect."
Microsoft has made a push to engender fuzzier feelings -- and it's working. Since 2013, Microsoft has risen from seventh place to third in WPP's annual consumer survey on brands, now ranking just behind Apple and Google.
As consumers demand food that is less processed and more natural, food companies race to revamp their products and tout them on the label as being "natural" and "authentic." Are these claims legitimate or just a marketing ploy to increase sales?
As companies reformulate products and label them to evoke a sense of natural authenticity, terms such as “local,” “humanely raised,” and “authentic” are largely left to the interpretation of food marketers. The conclusion is that consumers are left to figure it out for themselves. But do we know what we are eating?
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.
A Taiwanese manufacturer and a Canadian toy executive joined forces to make a low-price surfboard that’s a best-seller in the U.S.
There now exist dozens of startups running websites and apps that promise cheaper, easier ways to transfer money abroad. These digital remittance startups undercut banks and couriers; online remitters charge about 1 percent, compared with an average of 8 percent for traditional services.
According to drug manufacturer Elanco, the world’s growing demand for meat, milk, and eggs is a more urgent priority than American consumers’ desire for food that is organic, antibiotic free, or pasture-raised. Elanco's answer is the use of antibiotics and growth hormones to increase food production. But is it safe?
Wavestorm surfboards, which launched in 2007 and are sold for $99.99 exclusively through Costco, are now the leading surfboard brand, selling five times more than the closest competitor.
Fantasy sports sites claim that they're not gambling sites, but states are moving to regulate them like casinos. The most recent round of investigations follows allegations of cheating at two of the leading sites, DraftKings and FanDuel. Who will win this game?
Microsoft tries to salvage respect in an environment that doesn't tremble at the company's name and might. While unarguably a key player in the gaming industry, it has most certainly not taken the dominant position in the game console market that it has in the computer software realm. Microsoft is banking on its new Halo release to at least maintain its stake and maybe further it in the near future.
Roku is not for gamers. CEO Anthony Wood believes that Xbox and Playstation consoles will continue to win over the gaming elite, Apple has too much power and presence in the mobile area, and Roku is choosing to stay clear. Is it a wise strategy?
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.
Cloud services, an industry developed by IT giants for IT giants, is finally seeing a few startups enter its realm. The startups have managed to underbid the giants in certain markets by keeping expenses relatively low.
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?
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?
Burger King is relying more heavily on data to make sure its marketing is cost-effective as it reaches customers through digital and social media. Franchisees say the resulting buzz has translated into higher restaurant sales, and the company is doing it for about one fourth of what McDonald’s spends on advertising.
Texas Roadhouse is fighting an EEOC suit that alleges the company discriminates based on age when hiring waiters, waitresses, and other front-of-house restaurant workers. The company notes that its servers must wear jeans, work nights and weekends, and line dance during their shifts. Any observed adverse impact on older workers is related to these job requirements, it argues, so its hiring practices are lawful. The case will test a common defense that businesses need younger employees to attract customers and project their brands’ images, as well as address the underlying question of whether prohibitions against age discrimination apply to all companies, regardless of the youthfulness of their brands.
How do you know real people are viewing your online ads? An increasing number of digital ad viewers are not human; they're ad bots. These bots are skewing data and the results that online advertisers report. Some consider it nothing less than advertising fraud.
Mutant flowers sounds like a great start to a horror flick, but in this case it may well turn into a business bonanza for the founder of Farmacy.
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.”
Netflix continues to reshape the movie business and the release of “Beasts of No Nation” gives the company a chance to win its first Academy Award. The goal is clear: to increase its 65 million-plus worldwide subscribers.
Apple’s design team focuses on how it can make products more intuitive and easy to use. The company does not believe in using focus groups to tell the designers what customers want, but believes the skills and instincts of designers will be able to provide software and hardware that customers will want to use.
Chobani's founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, helped the company bring Greek yogurt to the U.S. market. The company has weathered struggles with meeting production demands and quality control during a period of rapid growth. While some expected Ulukaya to be ousted, he remains CEO. Ulukaya has learned, however, that the company needs an executive with managerial skills that differ from his own.
The once-famous Stetson hat company is struggling. To keep the company relevant, CEO Izumi Kajimoto is no longer relying on cowboy culture. Instead, Stetson is pursuing the hipster market by offering an eclectic, trendy mix of hats.
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.
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.
High prices for milk last year caused farmers in many countries to invest in increased production.This year, with markets slowing in China and trade tensions with Russia, global trade in dairy products is down. Hence, dairy farmers worldwide are in a tough financial bind.
Understanding and maximizing the touch response of an iPhone screen can cost millions (or billions) of dollars, as Apple found out in building 3D Touch.
Hampton Creek’s Josh Tetrick is taking a stand against the FDA. The FDA issued a warning letter listing a number of rule violations related to the company’s Just Mayo product. Among these violations is the company’s use of the term “mayo” in the product’s name and the image of an egg on its label. The FDA asserts this is a violation if its standard-of-identity rules and can be misleading, since the product is eggless. Tetrick ‘s defiant stance stems from more than financial incentives; it is rooted in the company’s commitment to make the global food system more sustainable by developing plant-based substitutes for animal proteins. Thus, the regulatory dispute has issues of principle and may have implications for the evolution of the food industry.
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?
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.
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.
3G Capital and Warren Buffett are focused on cost-cutting and operational efficiency to boost profits at moribund Kraft. But analysts are concerned about the long-term value of the firm's brands in the evolving packaged-foods industry.
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.
Warren Buffett and 3G Capital have made one big promise: They’ll cut $1.5 billion in annual costs from Kraft Heinz before 2018. The company will lose employees, whole levels of management, and maybe a few brands, too. Will it be a boon to investors?
The comparison-shopping website PolicyGenius sells policies from 26 insurers. More than half of its customers are millennials who prefer to shop online and believe that the insurance industry is out of step with the times.
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.
Overproduction combined with an FTC investigation caused Skechers’ Shape-ups shoes to go from fad to fiasco. But the company rebounded. Skechers’ valuation has risen from $600 million at the end of 2011 to about $8 billion today.
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.
Claiming the largest share of Amazon’s business and looking to grow, the United States Postal Service has become a formidable competitor to FedEx and UPS. But that all depends on continued government support.
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.
Insurers brace for a time when automation reduces accidents -- and premiums. Insurers collected $195 billion in auto premiums from U.S. drivers last year. By 2030, consumers could pay 60 percent less.
Microsoft tries to win fans and improve its bottom line with a Windows operating system redo and ventures into non-OS products and services.
As the demand for streaming media content grows, television companies are moving quickly to develop online streaming platforms. The urgency to build these platforms has forced most television companies to outsource streaming-service development.
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.
Digital shelf displays continue to blur the lines between shopping online and in a store as retailers embrace both “bricks and clicks” to compete with Amazon and online retailers. As Amazon continues to grow, will this technology provide a competitive edge for brick-and-mortar stores?
Millions of people search online for information about symptoms and prescription drugs. Patterns in their searches might reveal previously unknown side effects of medications.
Digital price displays are giving brick-and-mortar retailers a weapon against online rivals like Amazon. However, going digital isn't cheap.
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.
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.
Rather than sell ads, YouNow, a live-streaming app, has shunned them to create its own strange, tip-based economy. Can it be profitable?
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?
As legislators in various markets come to grips with the lost revenue within the taxi service sector due to Uber and Lyfts, the business model is now shifting to avoid these issues and it is not being accomplished by the incumbent firms, but by other startups. One major player is Bla-Bla Car, which uses a ride-sharing model versus a ride-for-hire model.
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.
Is AB InBev acquiring craft brewers to strengthen the segment or put them out of business?
You have to be crazy to begin a startup. Can I be your therapist?
It's all about the base. Or is it?
Seeking romance and love in modern day China. There has to be an app for that. Or two or three.
Bolt Threads expects products made with its yeast cell-based silk to be available in 2016.
Coke offers small restaurants in Germany access to an app that will facilitate online ordering of food and beverages.
As pharmaceutical drugs become exorbitantly expensive, biotechs are forced to work with insurers on pricing and coverage.
Porsche is expecting China to become its largest market this year, but customers are starting to choose slightly cheaper models.
New startup OnePlus' business relies on word of mouth abroad.
Is WeWork a real estate company with a tech-bubble valuation, or a brilliant new office space?
Fewer than 20 percent of large banks worldwide are connecting their ATMs to the cloud.
To cut back on imports and boost domestic agricultural productivity, China is opening up to more GMOs.
Nestle takes steps to reduce water usage at its factories while facing criticism for selling bottled water.
A century-old retail business lays the groundwork for succession.
Sales growth at established Whole Foods stores has slowed to 3.6 percent, far below the pace of organics overall. Who is eating their organic lunch?
The cost of legal sales of marijuana—does it sometimes leave opportunity for illegal entrepreneurs?
Chinese online retailers take steps to curb the sales of counterfeit goods on their websites.
YouTube holds the lead in the $7.8 billion U.S. market for online video ads, but the chase is on. Multiple rivals are attempting to steal market share from the online video giant. Will the giant fall?
Pick a pic made easier and better.
Developers on Oahu try to balance opportunities to offer tourists high-priced condos with the need for affordable housing for locals.
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?
As labor costs rise in China, Indonesia tries to attract manufacturers.
Three-year-old Teespring sold 7 million shirts in 2014, largely on the strength of social media microtargeting.
Will major reductions in Procter & Gamble's product line make it more competitive?
Learning guitar is easy when you can see the music.
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.
NASA-backed software could orchestrate urban skies.
With $1.5 billion in annual revenue, Buffalo Wild Wings is breaking records in the casual-dining category.
Don’t worry, Americans aren’t becoming obsessive savers. Count on them to spend.
Airbnb works to overcome hurdles to open the Cuban rental market.
Startup VarageSale competes with Craigslist by focusing on mobile and has raised $34 million in venture funding.
The U.S. State Department and multinational retailers are taking steps to address human trafficking and poor working conditions in Thai factories.
Two inventors found it easier to build $7,900 bike wheels than to sell them.
Coke and Pepsi may be allies in the latest battle to win back consumers.
Human trafficking and migrant laborers have cast a shadow on Thailand's tuna industry.
U.S. cola consumption is falling by about 4 percent a year. Soda makers are seeking new sweeteners to reverse the trend.
Singapore’s palm oil king is leading the push to stop deforestation and adopt sustainable practices.
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.
You can resume your game after the advertisement is complete.
The $37 billion pizza industry wants Congress to roll back regulations designed to get Americans to eat fewer slices.
The U.S. Trade Representative's "notorious markets" list uses a name-and-shame approach to address intellectual property theft.
New audio technology manufacturers are trying to break into the $6 billion hearing-aid market.
A new specially designed drone can safely bounce off obstacles and people without damage or injury.
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.
Intel is spending billions in China in an effort to catch up with dominant mobile chipmaker Qualcomm.
User-ranked listings site Product Hunt attracts venture capitalists.
The American breakfast experience has changed, and Kellogg is in trouble.
It's a dog-eat-dog world in publishing, but that's not a bad thing for this company.
Can the Container Store maintain its commitment to conscious capitalism and keep shareholders happy, too?
In Africa, Pizza Hut can't be the cheapest or the first pizza chain, so it wants to be the best.
Pressure from stockholders may change the character of craft website Etsy after its upcoming IPO.
The booming market for autos in China has caused automakers to expand capacity faster than the demand warrants.
Two academics have created a security system that is practically impossible to evade.
The economy has been growing fast enough and long enough for employers to hire overlooked workers.
Expedia has taken an aggressive position on local hotel taxes and may face a tax bill of $847 million.
Mobile phone gamers worldwide play Dots and TwoDots, but the company has had difficulty cracking the world's biggest mobile gaming market: China.
All is not lost. That engagement ring is still worth something.
Rising wages in Cambodia cause multinationals to look elsewhere for cheap labor.
Startup Sprayable seeks to take customers from wide awake to deep sleep.
Whole Foods, unaffectionately known as "Whole Paycheck," had a lousy 2014. The elite grocer says it is ready to compete like a big-box chain.
How is Whole Foods planning to maintain its profitability in the face of increasing competition?
Whole Foods is responding to competition with moves that mirror the competition's tactics, such as cutting prices.
An engineer has created a temporary tattoo that can monitor your blood sugar without needles.
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.
How much does genealogy matter in entrepreneurial endeavors?
Target has admitted failure and is pulling back from its first international expansion into Canada.
Abercrombie & Fitch sales have fallen in five of the past seven years. Can this $4 billion retailer survive, or has it lost its shirt?
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.
An outspoken advocate of ethics and fighting corruption is now facing trial for bribery. Is Joe Sigelman guilty or a scapegoat?
With transactions staying below $55,000 a day, companies are looking at Bitcoin as a money transfer technology.
Despite a significant drop in worldwide PC shipments over the last year, Apple is gaining in the category.
With beef prices soaring, cheap chicken nuggets are the latest weapon.
Members-only online discount retailer, Jet.com, will launch this January and compete on price with industry giants Amazon and eBay.
Aston Martin’s annual sales fell by 45 percent to only 3,600 cars sold annually between 2007 and 2012. The company is now looking to James Bond to save its legendary brand. Can 007 do it?
The wage gap is just the start. A combination of the demise of traditional pensions for rank-and-file employees and lucrative deferred compensation plans for executives is making an even larger retirement savings gap.
If you can't have everything between your ears, you can at least have it all in your ear.
New facilities are supposed to prevent delivery disappointments.
Major obstacles remain despite President Obama reducing travel, trade, and banking restrictions with Cuba.
Fraudbusters are cracking down on fake goods in China.
Amazon has almost doubled the number of its sorting centers to avoid hiccups in holiday deliveries.
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.
Zara Home is helping propel growth at the world's largest retailer.
As Dunkin' Donuts expands internationally, it localizes its product offerings.
Websites, warehouses, and shipping companies in India can't keep up with e-commerce demand.
Travel expenses made easy and hopefully cheaper.
Howard Schultz had to create a coffee culture in the United States in order for his company to thrive.
We are all entrepreneurs at varying levels.
Chevron continues to spend large sums on R&D and the marketing of its fuel additive Techron although the competition has similar additives and consumers are more focused on price.
The restaurant industry grew less than 4 percent in 2013 and needs a boost. Can mobile order-ahead apps help to increase traffic and sales?
The declining value of the Russian ruble is making imports more expensive, thus impacting consumer spending and importers' business.
Holiday return rates are three times the usual, costing sellers billions of dollars.
Merchants say e-commerce companies in India, flush with foreign capital, are violating rules meant to protect locals.
Uber is using its $17 billion valuation to raise capital and finance rapid growth internationally.
An engineer has developed a 3D-printing plastic he claims can be used to print electronics.
Entering the makeup market from the blogosphere.
Amazon and local e-commerce firms in India try to work around rules designed to protect small shopkeepers from foreign-backed retailers.
Returns cost retailers up to an estimated $20 billion a year and merchants are turning to technology to bolster holiday profits.
Bangladesh exports leather, but the environmental and health costs remain local.
Bangladesh's $1 billion leather export industry is hazardous for workers.
Bargain-hungry shoppers can't stop clipping.
Keyssa is trying to bring a new level of wireless transfer speed to consumer phones, laptops, and home appliances.
Wal-Mart and Wild Oats plan to lower the price of organic food and bring it to the masses.
A great innovative company doesn't rely on its early success for extension; it leans on its brand reputation.
India is becoming increasingly attractive to manufacturers, although it is still in need of infrastructure improvements.
Organic sales are up, and Wal-Mart is expanding its selection of organic foods with the promise to sell them at the same price as nonorganic food. How can Wal-Mart still make its margins?
Is there hope for the struggling newspaper industry? Article-selling startup Blendle reports 129,000 users in six months with growth expectations ahead.
Worldwide demand for salmon is growing faster than it can be produced in Chile, Norway, Canada, and the United States.
Registers across America will soon accept Apple Pay. The next trick will be getting people to use it.
Six startups are competing to sell women a better bra.
U.S. laundry detergent sales fell 6.4 percent from 2009 to 2013 and are expected to keep falling through 2018.
Growth-oriented Proctor & Gamble must deal with a shrinking market for laundry detergent driven by efficiency and water conservation.
Once the market leader in both China and India, Samsung phones are losing marketshare to cheaper models.
Cheaper smartphones eat away at the South Korean company's lead.
Mobile food startups are moving beyond delivery into food prep.
Resurrected in emerging markets, Datsun's cars are viewed as too cheap.
Does coffee have a new competitor?
The strength of the U.S. dollar is a burden for developing countries dependent on imported commodities.
Most cream liqueurs draw female customers, but 47 percent of RumChata drinkers are men.
More and more people are using Bitcoin for common transactions.
A simple blood test may screen for a wide variety of cancers at extremely early stages.
Fiat CEO Marchionne says his expanded company will boost sales 60 percent by 2018. Analysts are doubtful.
Thync will soon launch a device to relax or energize you via small jolts of electricity to your brain.
Intel wants to make sure it's part of the “Next Big Thing,” which may be the “Internet of Things.”
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.
Jeff Bezos helped give Pro.com its start, and he may be positioning Amazon to compete with it.
The power of a dedicated fan leveraging the power of social media pushed Coke to re-introduce Surge.
Vani Hari's Foodbabe.com has helped motivate Subway and other companies to change their ingredients, but there may not be much science behind the Web activist's campaigns.
Drizly has an interesting business model to offer alcohol sales and delivery online.
Bring me another bottle of vodka. I live at ______________.
Are you buying your craft beer from a local source? You may be surprised. Brew Hub plans a five-brewery network that craft brands can use to grow the business far, far away from home.
After success in Scandinavia and Britain, Netflix sets its sights on Germany and France.
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.
CVS Caremark has kicked its tobacco habit, and hopes its customers can too.
Rising transportation costs and wage rates in China are causing firms to relocate manufacturing to the Southeast U.S.
Current trends leave the future of legacy burger-and-fries chains in question.
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.
Apple’s year-old indoor-tracking technology hasn't broken out from its pack of rivals.
Hollywood is suffering from overcrowding during its key season.
Chinese consumers buy a third of all luxury goods globally. A crackdown on gift-giving has slowed such sales.
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.
Ben & Jerry's advocacy for GMO labeling puts it at odds with its parent corporation.
Hisense is moving up in worldwide market share of television sets and is challenging Sony for the #3 position.
A former research engineer at NASA has created a plastic helmet that can limit hair loss using laser technology.
Xiaomi's smartphones emphasize technology over marketing, and are making inroads in Asian markets.
Purina claims that Blue Buffalo's image and its business are "built on lies."
Another smartphone maker goes after iPhone.
Labor costs in Ethiopia are approximately 10 percent of those in China, causing some Chinese companies to shift production to Africa.
Investors have cheered as Jeff Bewkes systematically dismembered Time Warner and raised the value of its stock. But at what cost?
How does a first-generation American move into the role of becoming a highly sought after spokesperson and a business-empire builder? Rapper Pitbull does it one partnership at a time.
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.
The ouster of American Apparel's CEO shines a light on the company's uneasy balance of idealistic social responsibility with a variety of transgressions.
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.
Sony lost $1.3 billion last year and continues to spend on research and development. Are Sony’s actions a testimony to a long-term vision or a design for short-term collapse?
According to one survey, 49 percent of U.S. consumers say they need a raise before they’ll shop more.
Intel has staffed up its plant in Vietnam by sending local students to Oregon for college-level training.
GM didn't just ignore whistle-blowers, it shut them up.
Cheap smartphones running Firefox's mobile OS are beginning to spread into emerging markets.
Starbucks offers employees tuition support on a grand scale.
Will Firefox be the new OS for our smartphones?
A simple operating system for simple phones has caught the attention of phone makers and network operators in developing markets.
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?
Taco Bell’s new-product team considers up to 4,500 ideas each year. Fewer than a dozen of those products actually make it onto the national menu. Will the Waffle Taco be the next hit?
Will electricity become part of our cable bundles?
Abercrombie is hoping to bring back teens who’ve left the mall and are shopping with their smartphones.
Abercrombie is hoping to bring back teens who’ve left the mall and are shopping with their smartphones.
Abercrombie & Fitch is hoping to bring back teens who are leaving the mall. Is there still time to save the brand?
Pinterest is trying to gain members outside of the U.S., but must adapt to cultural and social differences.
How does Stihl help small hardware stores stay in business?
Consumers, particularly Millennials, do not want to miss out on a conversation. Twitter’s lackluster growth after its initial public offering has been buoyed by ad sales team-ups with TV programmers.
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.
Do we really need another TV?
HTC’s chair and co-founder has stepped in to revitalize the company but isn’t advocating for radical changes.
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.
The Supreme Court's decision about online streaming could cause the end of a company.
There is a lack of synchronization among retailers, credit card providers, and banks to upgrade their credit and debit card technology to reduce fraud.
The popular storage service adds apps to fend off Box, Google, and Apple.
Amazon wants time in your living room.
With 500,000 food production and processing companies, China has become the Wild West of food safety.
First Book Marketplace accounted for 2 percent of all juvenile books sold in the United States last year to an unlikely audience at a surprising price. Why is everyone involved winning?
While China does have strict food safety rules, it is often up foreign multinational firms to make sure that local suppliers follow the rules.
Publishers profit when they work with First Book to make deeply discounted books available to children from low-income homes.
Western companies police the safety of China's food supply.
P&G lab churns out 150,000 diaper models a year, including many that won’t come to market for a decade.
How has Pandora’s slowing sales growth affected its stock price? And will it be able to control royalty expenses?
Pampers brand is especially important to P&G because it lets the company forge ties with moms, the company's "core customer."
Procter & Gamble is trying to create a Pampers diaper that has zero leakage, ultimate dryness, and an ideal fit -- and is investing millions to do so.
Target's information security systems worked well and identified malware before customer data was transferred. Nevertheless, Target failed to respond to warnings, violated its customers' trust, and let millions become victims of cyber crime.
Target's security monitors in India noticed the malware on its U.S. servers almost immediately, but the red flags were ignored.
Pot is legal in Colorado, but only with a tracking device.
Google faces a potential class action suit over Gmail privacy concerns.
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.
Meatpackers are suing to block a federal rule requiring Country of Origin Labeling on beef sold in the U.S.
The last French beret maker expects to make almost 200,000 this year. France used to produce millions.
According to hundreds of government filings analyzed by Bloomberg, 18 percent of companies have reduced the amount or delayed payment of 401(k) matching funds and dragged out vesting schedules. For many, that could mean the difference between financial security and scarcity in old age.
Customizing IKEA furniture for individual and local tastes creates business opportunities.
What can you get for free at the Dallas Museum of Art?
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.
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.
The Andean nation buys dollars, befuddling investors.
People will date someone they meet online, but will they hire babysitters they meet online?
Fast-growing data center software companies are expanding their services in search of profitability.
Having brick-and-mortar stores that rent video games and movies is still a viable business model in Mexico.
After more than four months of offers, counteroffers, poison pills, and pac-man defenses, Jos. A. Bank has now announced that it is considering acquiring Eddie Bauer to make itself less acquirable by Men’s Wearhouse.
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?
How $1 in damages paid to Google is a win for the company.
Should the mortgage-interest deduction for yachts be repealed, and how much in tax revenue will it save if it is?
Lenovo builds market share in smartphones and purchases Motorola Mobility from Google.
Can Lenovo compete with Samsung and Apple?
Although many people think the return of lost manufacturing jobs is just what the United States needs, most experts would disagree. Across richer countries, growth has been accompanied by a decline in the number of manufacturing jobs and a rise in the number of service jobs.
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.
How many photo-sharing sites can consumers tolerate?
A former reporter's talent for exposing the weaknesses in online security has earned him respect in the IT business and loathing among cybercriminals.
Big-box retailers are encountering new challenges as they downsize stores to accommodate population shifts.
Is Bitcoin the future of currency that transcends governments?
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.
Shredding is out; self-destruct messages are in.
The FDA's new rules regulating antibiotic use in farm animals look a lot like the voluntary program at McDonald's. Why are many corporate forces opposed to stronger regulation?
Stop paying for data on your smartphone.
Lennar industries was severely, although temporarily, damaged by unsubstantiated allegations in 2009. How did this happen to a company whose previous financial statements were clean?
Are restaurants willing to give commissions of more than 20 percent of their total food orders to a data company?
Would you like to cut down your Christmas tree or just click to get it? Online Christmas tree sales are booming worldwide.
Why has GE’s stock dropped a third during Jeffrey Immelt’s tenure as CEO?
Amazon is changing the physics of distribution.
Can corporate meat processors be trusted to oversee worker and food safety?
About 25 percent of skin care sales in India are from creams that promise to lighten skin color.
Camelcamelcamel's data and graphs help steer price-conscious Amazon shoppers to discounts that can top 30 percent.
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?
Are chemical and seed companies prioritizing public health as they develop new crop varieties?
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.
Scented vapors with my nicotine, please.
Online retailing and delivery has to adapt to Nigerian's skepticism and roadway realities.
After some false starts, the next revolutionary shift in payments is gathering momentum.
Fast food companies are working together to find ways to make their food healthier.
As smartphone usage continues to increase, mobile payment transactions are expected to take a 38 percent jump to $325 billion in 2014.
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 has expanded its product lineup and tapped into Internet-based opportunities to fuel growth.
Lego, which controls about 60 percent of the construction-toy business, seeks to woo older children and adults with new products.
With more than 40 million subscribers, Netflix has passed rival HBO and is looking overseas for growth.
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.
Can Etsy still claim to be “your place to buy and sell all things handmade”?
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.
Would you like condoms, cigarettes, or a chicken burrito? With traditional grocery stores sales falling, Tyson Foods now wants to leverage the marketing channel power of the more than 149,000 convenience stores in the United States.
Fast food without the drive-through—it isn’t rocket science.
Can Service Corporation International continue to grow in the business of funeral homes and cemeteries?
Using plastic to pay at retailers is growing, but still a novelty in Myanmar.
Getting more personalized retail offers based on your preferences and shopping history is closer than you think.
Apple is quietly seeding its mobile devices with iBeacon, which provides impressive location-based tracking. Why is the company being so quiet about this new technology?
Carriers around the world will suffer an estimated $3.6 billion in losses from fraudulent account takeovers.
The newest wells are not as productive as those drilled in the first year of the boom.
Retails workers want to overturn a 1906 law that limits store hours.
Sing your way to social media.
Brooklyn Brewery, through an arrangement with Denmark's Carlsberg Brewing, has tapped the Swedish market for high-priced beer.
Not for women only: Sales of men’s grooming products—from exfoliating scrubs to self-tanning creams—are expected to rise 5 percent this year, building a $17.5 billion industry.
Roku vs. Apple: the battle for streaming video.
About 65 percent of retailers in a recent survey reported they were victims of “wardrobing” (the practice of wearing and subsequently returning clothing items) in 2012. Many retailers are taking a stronger stand against the industry’s $8.8 billion-a-year return-fraud problem.
Retailers are risking customer loyalty to fight back against return fraud.
Chinese regulations mandating animal testing for cosmetic products are forcing cosmetic companies to make difficult choices between economic and social responsibility interests.
Refund fraud costs American merchants $8.8 billion each year. Now they are fighting back. But will they pay another price?
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?
IRII is using celebrity backing to bring change to Haiti's apparel industry and the lives of its workers.
Who is the target market for Google Glass? Glass may be able to find traction in the workplace and government agencies regardless of a lackluster consumer reaction.
They can see you even better now.
Many homeowners who were victims of foreclosure during 2007 and 2008 had no idea that the banks doing the foreclosures didn't have documentation proving they had any right to seize the homes.
Could you lose your home to a robosigner?
How has Danone reacted to the competition from Chobani in the Greek yogurt market? Is the company's reaction effective?
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.
Just like an old car, you can repair or trade in your smartphone.
Will Amazon's warehouse strategy be effective?
Only 10 companies in the S&P 500 have carried out stock splits this year, compared with an annual average of 48 since 1980.
Although they don't involve physical injury or addiction, food-label lawsuits are proliferating.
With Medium, short-form online writing pioneer and Twitter co-creator Ev Williams is trying to rebuild waning Web attention spans.
Is boasting about a product's health benefits worth it?
In Northern California’s federal courts, dozens of pending cases against food companies are seeking class-action status. Are these suits helping consumers or just the lawyers?
Mobile apps are a powerful component of marketing strategy. Mobile users may soon make up half of ModCloth's visitors, spending more per purchase than other customers.
Are the wages paid to fast-food restaurant workers an ethical issue?
What would it mean to pay an extra dollar for a Big Mac?
With a goal of promoting meaningful stories, Upworthy reconsiders the nature of viral content.
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?
Will Barnes & Noble remain in the e-reader market?
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.
Can built-in navigation systems compete with smartphones?
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.
Using your smartphone as a DVR?
Why have the net income results at Sears underperformed, and does it have anything to do with the management of Eddie Lampert?
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.
Using the fulfillment software as its secret sauce to combine orders placed at different times and fill them from different stores, an Amazon veteran is trying to take his online grocery startup, Instacart, national with $8 million from Sequoia Capital.
Can a grocery store app survive?
Can the McWrap bring back the 18- to 32-year-olds who want fresher, healthier offerings? No longer on the millenial generation's top 10 list of favorite restaurant chains, McDonald’s launches the new “Subway buster” product for that demographic.
American cattle ranchers are suffering from an extended period of drought, wildfires, and rising costs. As a result, the U.S. beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since the 1950s.
Paula Deen's business depended on her life story, personal image, and reputation. Could the rapid collapse of her business empire have been avoided?
Crocs is looking at a new image and international growth to spur sales.
Can anything save the Nintendo Wii U?
Europe's No. 2 fashion apparel chain will now give you a discount if you bring in your old castoff garments.
H&M's new program offers discounts to customers who bring in used clothing. Sustainable genius or greenwashing?
H&M is offering customers discounts to encourage recycling of old clothes.
H&M tries to spur sales by giving discounts to customers that bring in used clothes for recycling.
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?
At J.C. Penney, allowing staff to wear street clothes makes shoppers think there are few salesclerks in its store.
Dunkin' Donuts ranks second lowest in atmosphere score for beverage and snack shops, so it's no surprise that the majority of its sales occur before noon. To encourage more customers to come in the afternoon and linger, Dunkin' will have new store designs more in line with leading coffee chains.
Can Dunkin’ Donuts compete with Starbucks by remodeling their stores? Are other restaurants such as Wendy’s going to follow suit?
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?
Can you refer someone to me?
Startup MC10 miniaturizes medical diagnostic devices and has enlisted big-name partners in the medical and sports world.
In the U.S., working dads say they want more time with their children -- more so than moms.
How are revenues and profit margins for theme parks holding up in these weak economic times?
A look inside Google's secret lab.
Microsoft dominates console wars and now it wants the rest of your family’s TV time.
SAB Miller sells 46 local beer brands across Africa, and produces locally to lower costs and excise taxes.
Xbox isn't just for gamers anymore.
At its Chinese restaurants, KFC’s “finger lickin’ good” eats offer more local dishes, such as chili black fungus and fishball soup, undermining its American identity.
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.
Can sensors really help us with traffic congestion?
Two years ago Wal-Mart rolled out its "simplified" Ad Match Guarantee. The program is proving to be anything but simple to execute consistently across all stores and could even create a consumer backlash.
Walmart’s nationally advertised price-matching promotion shows how a popular retail strategy can create a consumer backlash.
How should multinational companies respond to deplorable working conditions in Bangladeshi factories?
Implementation vagaries may be causing a consumer backlash to Wal-Mart’s national price-matching promotions.
Will clear communications from Bernanke help avoid market disruptions when the Fed finally allows interest rates to rise?
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.
Can the garage developer survive the branded app?
TV networks are investing in an app that keeps viewers subsidizing the TV ad model even while glancing down at their phone.
Bottlenecks emerge as the housing recovery gathers pace.
Concerns about local baby formula in China drive demand for illegally imported baby formula.
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.
Yen depreciation helps big exporters but won’t do much for the little guy.
Americans are eating healthier foods at home but not when they dine out. America’s fast-food industry has embraced rich, fatty, gooey extreme foods to grab diners' attention, and the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich is just one example.
Visit more, stay longer. LinkedIn doesn't mind if you do.
Lack of information creates opportunity for Green Depot’s environmentally friendly building products.
Can bringing back former CEO Myron Ullman save J.C. Penney? Only if he can win back customers while conserving cash.
Have you heard of Foursquare? If not, you're not alone.
After losing almost $1 billion in the past year, J.C. Penney brings back former CEO Myron Ullman to revive the retailer.
What does a 37-year-old beer taste like? New Albion Ale has been resurrected with the help of Boston Beer and their runs of 6,000 barrels exceed its total sales in the 1970s.
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?
Is it a good operations management practice to cut costs by reducing the number of employees, which may result in longer checkout lines, less help throughout the store, and disorganization?
Why have some customers been switching from Walmart to their competitors to shop? Has Walmart cut costs too far?
The value of global takeover and merger announcements in March was the lowest since July 2009. Why do some think a sharp rebound is coming soon?
Will see-through yoga pants damage Lululemon's relationship with its customers?
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?
M.A.C. cosmetics finds sales opportunities for its high-end products in ethnic areas and emerging markets.
Estee Lauder is using its M.A.C. cosmetics line, a hit with ethnic consumers at home, to enter emerging markets.
A speech-recognition pioneer’s latest startup hopes to build conversation simulators that almost any business can use.
Netflix's latest innovation is to allow their 33 million online subscribers to view and comment on videos seen by their Facebook friends. Is this a promotional dream come true?
Online grocers FreshDirect and Peapod are battling it out in New York City.
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.
Apple sells a lot of electronics, but can it sell the iWatch?
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.
Computers may have feelings after all.
Why doesn’t mom know how to play with Hot Wheels? Mattel sells $1 billion in Hot Wheels annually, and with that number is shrinking, the company wants to find the answer.
A new kind of university?
Will Obamacare make you more reliant on your tax adviser? How might tax advisers be impacted when Obamacare is finally fully implemented?
What potential risks are suggested by Ireland's discovery of horse meat in hamburger?
“The Jetsons” are here. The smart home-automation envisioned in the show's scenarios are finally possible. SmartThings wants to make household devices talk to each other.
Is the automated home the next great technology?
Most wine exported from Australia now ships in container-sized plastic bladders, to be bottled after the ocean journey.
BlueStacks’ App Player software could mean that mobile apps can be used on any device or operating system. A gamer’s dream come true -- and more.
Web browsers’ looks and functions are changing as companies such as Microsoft and Google tie them into their operating systems.
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?
Are you ready for an office update?
J.Crew needed to reposition their brand with men, and the retailer took an unusual approach. It decided smaller is better.
Sales of bottled water in China are strong, as consumers question drinking tap water.
Can you taste the difference?
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.
Is there room for another online streaming service?
Economics is pushing the field salesperson online with impressive savings. Will this transition come at a cost?
Are TVs making a comeback?
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.
Companies are increasingly hiring employees who fit in with existing company culture, even if their job skills are lower than those of other applicants.
By emphasizing market share and having brands across many price points, Unilever is expanding in emerging markets.
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?
Sales of Uggs footwear fell 12 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Can Decker Outdoor survive?
Many global discount retailers have tried to establish a presence in Japan. After a dismal past in the country, Wal-Mart now believes there is hope for its "every day low prices" slogan there.
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.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are applying valuable lessons acquired from their online competitors this holiday season. Look out, Amazon.
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.