This is a bumper issue of my regular(ish) posts of interesting stuff around the web
Apple’s Cook meets China regulator after pulling Hong Kong app – Reuters – Quisling Tim Cook takes more orders from China
The Nike of China Wants to Go Global and Has Xi in Its Corner – Bloomberg – Anta seems better positioned to challenge the Western sporting apparel giants because it’s building a family of brands with reach far beyond China. He says the company has been bolstered by its recent $5.2 billion acquisition of Finland’s Amer Sports Oyj, parent of ski brands Armada, Atomic, and Salomon, as well as high-end outdoor gear company Arc’teryx and equipment company Wilson. “Anta is heading towards the Winter Olympics in much better shape than Li-Ning was in 2008,” Martin says. “With the winter and outdoor sports brands, it’s very relevant. Anta’s already in a better position to leverage the sponsorship.” – (paywall) – interesting article. What isn’t discussed is that Salomon and Arcteryx are key providers to western special forces units. Arcteryx’s LEAF outfits have a lot of material and design innovations that have aided operators. This is a very real security risk that hasn’t been addressed at all
China Celebrities Help Fan New Generation of Nationalists – Bloomberg – mando pop idols used to push nationalist agenda. Also explains government restrictions on K-pop in China
Terminus 2049 | NBA events and national madness – sane Chinese thoughts on the NBA debacle, fascinating read which provides insight into the conundrum of correlation between Chinese national fragility / sensitivity and Chinese power
Chinese Values Are Changing America – The Atlantic – China is transforming the US rather than the other way around
On-Board ‘Mystery Boxes’ Threaten Global Shipping Vessels | Threatpost – Commercial shipping environments are rife with vulnerabilities, according to researchers – up to and including unpatched “mystery boxes” that no one knows anything about. “In every single [nautical pen] test to date we have unearthed a system or device, that of the few crew that were aware, no one could tell us what it is was for,” said Andrew Tierney, researcher with Pen Test Partners – given the importance of logistics in the global economy this should be frightening
Home Bargains delivers bigger profit than Harrods | Financial Times – there’s room at the bottom of the UK market as the middle class collapses
The Boycott Blizzard Movement Is Weighing on Activision Blizzard Stock – Barron’s – Boycott Blizzard responsible for an 18 – 23% drop in US revenue – multinational corporations alignment with the Chinese government is not starting to burn the businesses in markets outside China
Redrawing the Map of Global Capital Flows: The Role of Cross-Border Financing and Tax Havens – We find that private capital flows from developed countries like the U.S. and Eurozone to firms in large emerging economies – including Brazil, China, India, and Russia – are substantially larger than previously thought. (PDF)
Huawei’s 5G Tech Isn’t Worth the Risk – Huawei may assert that it has already taken an unbeatable lead in 5G infrastructure, judging who’s truly ahead in the field means looking at multiple criteria. Such indicators can include commercial contracts, deployed performance, integration with network infrastructure, and real technological innovation. For example, Huawei has claimed that it has more 5G patents than all U.S. companies combined, but quantity does not necessarily correlate with quality—especially in China, where patents are often of dubious value. – Interesting article, it burns Huawei in a different and probably more damaging way if it gained traction
FE Investegate |Sports Direct Intl. Announcements | Sports Direct Intl.: Media Statement – interesting move by Sports Direct looking to counter Nike’s move to a direct to consumer only model over the next two years
WSJ City | Congress Probes Bot E-Cigarette Messages – interesting how the US is a world away from the UK in terms of vaping regulation and marketing
What can we tell from China’s reviving sales of instant noodles? | HKEJ Insight – inelastic spend / consumption patterns?
China fact of the day | Marginal Revolution – Starting with the Opium Wars in the 19th century, foreign powers bullied a weak and backward China into turning Hong Kong and Macau into European colonies. Students must memorize the unequal treaties the Qing dynasty signed during that period. There’s even a name for it: “national humiliation education.”
Flora ends Mumsnet partnership over spread of anti-trans sentiment | The Drum – proud of my old colleagues from my time contracting at Flora
What luxury brands can learn from Golden Week 2019 | Marketing | Campaign Asia – the silver generation has gone on to become the driving force behind holiday consumption. According to data from Alibaba, this demographic is now tech-savvy and will order food delivery, book travel packages online, and purchase high-end skincare and health packages from their phones. As much as luxury brands focus on millennials and Gen-Z, they shouldn’t ignore Chinese seniors, many of whom are retirees willing to splurge on luxury goods and go on luxury holidays. According to a study by the China-Britain Business Council, Chinese seniors who are 60 or older have set aside an average of 15 percent of their annual income for travel.
ADMAP | June 2019 | Tim Doherty on how China is finding its voice – YouTube – Chinese using voice interfaces for entertainment and surf the web, 77% use of voice on smartphones. I wonder how much of this is voice messages on WeChat rather than Siri type interactions? Interesting how strong government support has bolstered voice technology
Handbag Market Dynamics Have Changed | NPD – Today’s consumer is looking for a solution, not just a bag. Consumers expect a lot from the products they are buying, from function and versatility to a brand’s engagement in the social and environmental issues that matter to them, and the luxury market is not immune to these pressures
Here’s How the UK Avoided A “Vape Lung” Epidemic – “I think the difference between the U.K. and the U.S. are due to the American propensity to turn health issues into moral crusades,” University of Louisville doctor and tobacco addiction expert Brad Rodu told Vice. “It appears that policymakers in the U.S. are either completely ignorant of the history of tobacco, or completely ignore it.”
LinkedIn Adds Tools to Help Marketers Sharpen Their Campaign Targeting – Adweek – another Matt Muir zinger: The ability to create targets using Boolean parameters is quite a nice touch (if that sentence fragment meant nothing whatsoever to you then know that I am so, so jealous of your innocence), as is the live view of the exact demographic breakdown of your target audience as you set your ads up (so, for example, you can see what percentage of the overall X,000,000 people you could potentially reach are senior managers, what percentage janitors, etc). Really rather useful, although it doesn’t stop LinkedIn from being a miserable, awful place where joy goes to die
Facebook’s Workplace hits 3M paying users, launches Portal app in a wider push for video | TechCrunch – I’ll leave you with Matt Muir’s critique: – 3million paying users is a lot for a product which, whenever I’ve seen it in use, doesn’t appear to actually fulfil any practical purpose whatsoever other than giving HR another channel through which to spout platitudes about cake-based fundraising initiatives and what’s on the canteen menu today. Still, some people obviously like it (ha! Joke! Noone ‘likes’ this stuff; at best, one tolerates it while one waits for the sweet release of death), and should you be one of said people then you will be THRILLED to hear of a few exciting updates to the service. “Workplace is announcing several steps of its own into video. It’s releasing a special app that can be used on the Portal, Facebook’s video screen; and alongside that, it’s announcing new video features: captioning at the bottom of videos; auto-translating starting with 14 languages; and a new P2P architecture that will speed up video transmission for those who might be watching videos on Workplace in places where bandwidth is constrained.” Oh, and there will be a bunch of new materials and tools available to help the aforementioned HR people to get people to actually use the service, as well as METRICS and ANALYTICS and OTHER STUFF. Lucky, lucky us.
Daily chart – Exposure to air pollution is linked to an increase in violent crime | Graphic detail | The Economist – explains the rise of rabid Han nationalism in China
How NBA crisis brings US-China tension into American living rooms – Inkstone – “What used to be the gap between the hard consensus on China in Washington and the ambivalence or bias toward a positive perspective on the street, that gap is closing,” said Jude Blanchette, chair in China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington
Daring Fireball: Apple Removes HKmap.live From App Store – I still haven’t seen which local laws it violates, other than the unwritten law of pissing off Beijing. This is a bad look for Apple, if you think capitulation is a bad look.
Facebook to Pay $40M in Proposed Settlement in Video Metrics Suit | Hollywood Reporter – According to a brief in support of the settlement, Facebook would pay $40 million to resolve claims. Much of that would go to those who purchased ad time in videos, though $12 million — or 30 percent of the settlement fund — is earmarked for plaintiffs’ attorneys. The suit accused Facebook of acknowledging miscalculations in metrics upon press reports, but still not taking responsibility for the breadth of the problem. “The average viewership metrics were not inflated by only 60%-80%; they were inflated by some 150 to 900%,” stated an amended complaint.