health fallout

Kanebo's Goodwill Pays Off as Skin Lightening Industry Shrugs Off Scare

Posted by Adeline Chong on August 5, 2013 05:45 PM

Kanebo's voluntary recall across Asia of its skin-whitening product range in early July was a wakeup call for consumers as well as the skin lightening industry. Kanebo, the second largest cosmetics company in Japan after giant Shiseido, sells products in over 50 countries across Asia, Europe, and the US, with its whitening products comprising nearly 30 percent of its skincare range. 

Nearly two months before its July 4 recall, a clinic reported to Kanebo that three patients had complained of skin damage following use of a Kanebo whitening product. The company withheld the information for over a month before notifying the government and issuing a recall, a move that garnered worldwide criticism. The products, which gradually lighten the skin, are a part of a $13 billion industry in Asia alone, where fair skin has long been associated with an elevated social class.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Uber Enters Asia Slowly—And with On-Demand Ice Cream

Posted by Adeline Chong on July 29, 2013 02:42 PM

In many Asian cities, a wait for a taxi during peak hours can seem interminable. Uber, an app-based private car service, which aims to become "Everyone's Private Driver", has begun its rollout in Asia to hopefully end that.

The luxury car service, which was launched in 2010 and counts Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs as investors, enters into a market awash with private cab companies and luxury mobile services that cater to Asia's business elite. Uber is no different, as it has entered Singapore, as well as Seoul and Taipei with premium priced services like UberBLACK, which shuttles passengers around in luxury sedans and SUVs. 

In Singapore, for example, the S$7 base fare is double the S$3.00 to S$3.50 flag-down rate of taxis, with a minimum fare of S$12. The eventual fare can be three times that of a taxi fare, compared to a premium of 20- to 50 percent for Uber car rides in the US. However, the ride is typically in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan, a far step above the economy vehicles that are available for typical taxi rides. However, Uber is not the only one offering luxury jaunts, as it faces competition from Comfort and Premier cab companies. The competition is only greater in other Asian cities, especially those in China and Japan.Continue reading...

automotive

Jaguar Land Rover Plays Catch Up in China with New Models, Joint Ventures

Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2013 06:20 PM

Not wanting to be left standing outside a big pool of potential cutomers, Jaguar Land Rover has indicated that it wants to catch up with its German luxury-car rivals in China by developing new models, expanding its sales outlets and forging more local joint ventures.

The company, owned by India's Tata Motors conglomerate, has only had a presence in China for three years and sold just fewer than 20,000 units there in June—versus 45,000 sold by Audi and 35,000 by BMW.

And while car sales across the board have been cooling a bit in China, Bob Grace, Jaguar Land Rover's president in China, told Livemint that the luxury segment in China will continue to grow enough for expansion by all brands. "There is enough headroom for everyone to grow," he said.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Readies to Make Bigger Imprint in Asia with 2014 Vietnam Debut

Posted by Adeline Chong on July 22, 2013 11:56 AM

McDonald’s announced recently that it will be opening its first outlet in Vietnam next year in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's commercial hub. 

While the fast-food giant has an immense presence in greater Asia, McDonald's is late to market in Vietnam, where Yum! Brands' KFC and Pizza Hut, along with Burger King, Subway, Jollibee (Philippines), and Lotteria (South Korea) already have a solid presence. Trailblazer KFC opened its first restaurant in 1997 and now has 100 outlets in Vietnam. Burger King, meanwhile, opened just last year and has 12 outlets, while Starbucks opened its first location in Ho Chi Minh City this past February. 

McDonald’s apparently considered the market over a decade ago, however the lack of a domestic cource of beef and a poor supply-chain infrastructure deterred the company. Prior to that, the company was briefly banned from the country in the 1990s—about the time that the local economy became accessible to the rest of the world, according to the Financial Times.Continue reading...

china

How Unilever is Translating the Dove Real Beauty Campaign for China

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 15, 2013 04:04 PM

If I only have an A-cup breast, will you still love me? So asks a new Dove campaign in China.

On the heels of its success with the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" campaign in the west, Dove is taking its self-esteem message to women in the world's most populous nation.

Interestingly, the campaign takes on a whole different set of baggage in China, where a gender imbalance and the stigma over "leftover women" make for a tricky environment for marketers—one where messaging runs the risk of exploitation, or even worse, being ignored in the din.Continue reading...

retail

Global Consumers Vary on the Importance of Brand-Focused Shopping

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 15, 2013 11:24 AM

The whole branding industry may be for naught in North America. According to the new Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior, those residing in North America and Europe are much more concerned about the pricing of a product than its brand. Meanwhile, consumers in the Asia and Asia Pacific regions are impulsive, brand-centric shoppers, while those in the Middle East and Africa tend to consult industry experts for advice on the most famous brands.Continue reading...

china

The Week in China: Chatting with the CEO of 'China's Foursquare,' China's Insatiable Auto Market and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 12, 2013 01:47 PM

At top: Ok, it's not China but it is great. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's political party woos support by launching "a smartphone app called Abe Pyon, which roughly translates as Jumping Abe."

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: An interview with "China's Foursquare" Jiepang about "Jiepang 5.0"… Lacing auto sales add-ons… banned lingerie ads… Bruce Lee for scotch… Foxconn for "iPhone 6"… McDonald's gives away Kleenex… Asiana post-crash PR… Australia's "Chinese theme park"… Xiaomi leaks… China spoofs Jay-Z again... and more.Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Singapore's Tigerair Strives for Renewed Reputation with Rebrand

Posted by Adeline Chong on July 9, 2013 01:07 PM

In Asia, the tiger is highly revered and seen as a symbol of strength, power, courage and energy. With its recent makeover and steps taken to improve its operations and customer service, it appears that the newly minted Tigerair intends to uphold the symbolism behind its name, leaping tiger in its logo or not.

The low-cost, Singapore-based carrier formerly known as Tiger Airways announced its rebranding earlier this month, complete with a new, more subtle logo and a renewed approach to consumer relations. The airline will now allow passengers to make changes to bookings online and have also announced mobile and web check-in for all passengers—services already widely available on competing low-cost carriers like Air Asia. The carrier hopes to get a leg up on competition though with its new call center—an ammenity that other airlines don't offer in the region—to field customer inquiries and opinions.

Tigerair CEO Koay Peng Yen told brandchannel, “We hope to be able to better connect with our customers through our new brand personality—warm, passionate and genuine. We will also strive to deliver more positive experiences to our customers by improving our service quality.”Continue reading...

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