Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2013 05:11 PM
The mobile industry's most highly anticipated event of the year has come and gone, leaving some innovation in its wake—but very little surprise.
Today's iPhone event at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters confirmed a handful of rumors that have been circulating for weeks: two iPhones, the upgraded 5S and the more affordable, plastic 5C. The colorful 5C, which is essentially the iPhone 5 in a plastic shell, is the company's first foray into a value-centric device—a metric that will lend itself well in important mobile markets like China and India.
Available globally on Sept. 20, the two new devices will grant the company access into markets where it has previously encountered obstacles, though Cook and his colleagues did not mention any specific deal with China Mobile, the country's largest mobile provider. They did, however, highlight several providers in Japan that will offer the new iPhones.
While more was revealed—additional details of iOS 7, updated camera functions, a new, faster processor chip—there was no mention of wearables, including Apple's eventual release of its rumored iWatch, leaving it more difficult to declare a winner in the latest mobile wars, especially between Apple and rival Samsung, which debuted its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and new Galaxy Note phablet last week.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 10:46 AM
Nearly every auto brand in the US market has been trying to find ways to keep up with the boom in sales, from adding manufacturing capacity in America to raising prices. But no other brand is in the fix that Subaru is in.
Well, actually it's not a fix: Subaru is selling a lot more cars these days than it used to, but the brand is so small, with just 2.6 percent of the US market, that leadership of the brand and parent Fuji Heavy Industries is in a quandary about how how to respond to the brand's mini-boom.
Subaru's US sales were up by 27 percent for the year through July, more than three times the rate of increase for the market overall, and it faces shortages of its newest models. So while Subaru keeps gaining American fans with its rugged, all-wheel-drive vehicles and quirky advertising about "love" for its cars, it may not actually be able to sell them anything.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on August 23, 2013 12:43 PM
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: the "Apple three piece set"… budget mooncake… Robert Downey Jr's HTC ad translated… Wu Mo for Baidu… living in a KFC... GlaxoSmithKline... AmCham… Imax espionage… "China's Boston"… Shanghai Lacoste… Fruit Ninja advertising… Hong Kong air… marketing with "Singlish" and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on August 13, 2013 12:58 PM
After nearly a decade of trying to crack the retail egg that is China, Tesco, the world's No. 3 retailer has thrown in the towel.
The British retailer announced plans to create a joint venture with China's state-owned China Resources Enterprise Ltd., which would marry Tesco's 131 China stores with CRE's nearly 3,000 Vanguard units across China and Hong Kong, creating over $15 billion in sales—much more than Tesco's reported China sales of $2 billion. The deal, though, wipes out the Tesco name from the Asian market, as the retailer will only assume a 20 percent stake in the new venture, Reuters reports.
"This may look win-win, but in reality, Tesco is saying 'I can't figure out China,'" one analyst told Reuters. Like many other foreign retailers before them, Tesco struggled to carve out a solid brand identity for itself among the fast-growing China market, where Walmart and France's Carrefour have been the only foreign supermarket brands that have managed to compete with local outlets.Continue reading...
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...
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2013 04:41 PM
Subcompact cars have become one of the most vibrant segments of the US auto industry, but Honda has been largely left behind—surprisingly so, for a brand that made its mark as a small-car expert. Through June, US sales of Honda's entry in the segment, the Fit, were only about 25,500 units, putting it in sixth place in a category where Nissan's Versa and Kia's Soul were fighting for leadership, each with about 63,000 sales.
Now, however, Honda appears to be pulling out all the stops in launching a completely new version of Fit in Japan this fall and in the United States by next summer. The tiny car will incorporate and represent a number of big firsts for Honda, placing stakes on the success of Fit that Honda executives couldn't have imagined even two years ago.Continue reading...
chew on this
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...