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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Lamborghini rockets onto TikTok with 3 million views in two daysWhen you are marketing one of the worlds supercars TikTok may not spring to mind. With the entry level models at £150k upwards, Lamborghini may be more expected in the FT. But the Lambo is the car of choice for many influencers. David Dobrik famously gave one to his best friend and a Google search shows many Drop Shipping courses feature a Lamborghini as the badge of success. Although rumour has it that many hire the Lamborghini for the day to film. And bear in mind the market for ostentatious expensive cars skews young. Premiership footballers and pop stars spring to mind. (A recent Miles Davis documentary has him driving a Ferrari in the early 60s). So Lamborghini are big on social and having a TikTok page makes total sense – Simon Andrews on the Lamborghini TikTok channel content. Being bucketed with drop shippers, top flight footballers and influencers as a Lamborghini owner wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me – but each to their own

What can Silicon Valley expect from Joe Biden? | Financial TimesHours after the president-elect made his acceptance speech, his head of press, Bill Russo, retweeted a picture sent by Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedian and film-maker. The picture showed outgoing president Donald Trump meeting Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and commented: “One down, one to go.” Mr Russo added his own comment: “Hell yes.” It was the clearest sign that Mr Biden’s team share the antipathy towards Mr Zuckerberg and his fellow Silicon Valley titans that has built among Democrats over the past four years. – I wonder how this will play with the Silicon Valley titans who have bankrolled Kamala Harris’ political career?

Tim Wu, who worked on technology issues in the Obama White House, said: “There has been a shift since the Obama administration, even among the people working in that administration, in the way they think about power in the tech world.

China Academy of Art teaches students to ‘reinvent its heritage’ | Financial Times – interesting how this approach fits into Xi Jingping thought

Interesting video that goes into using TikTok to convey serious media stories from the World Economic Forum

Interesting adaption of materials – South Korean ‘sparrows’ try to cap surge of throwaway plastic

Alibaba’s Investment In Farfetch Cements Its Luxury Credentials | Jing Daily – this is interesting given Tmall’s luxury boutiques

What To Expect On Singles’ Day 2020 | Forrester ResearchAlibaba has officially announced that 2020’s Double 11 shopping festival will have two phases: The first one began on November 1, and the second will begin on November 11. The first stage focuses on new brands, new products, and global exclusive items. The second stage will resemble that of the regular Double 11 promotions of past years. This makes the first stage an additional growth driver to ensure a grander Double 11 event. JD.com also upped its game and planned a four-stage Double 11 promotion, lasting from October 21 to November 13. Promotion schemes have become more varied and complex, too, including time- or category-limited red packets, preorder (with a deposit) exclusive offerings, member-exclusive promotions, and installment payments – complex value proposition that probably wouldn’t work in a market like the UK

Tokyo clinic mends stuffed toys and owners’ broken hearts | South China Morning Post – more Japan related posts here

RISC-V core out-clocks Apple, SiFive; available as IP | EE News – ideal time to take the lead over ARM

Deskilled and out of touch: the uncomfortable truth for creative strategy | WARC

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Ant Group saga

Beijing interviews Jack Ma over $37bn Ant IPO | Financial Times – Ant Group founder and shareholder Mr Ma last month gave a speech in Shanghai criticising regulators in China and abroad. He felt that Ant Group shouldn’t suffer their excessive regulation of banking and financial technology.

That didn’t go down that well with Chinese financial regulators and then Shanghai’s stock market operator calls a halt on Ant Group’s imminent listing, citing changes in regulatory environment | South China Morning Post which resulted in Ant to refund US$167.7 billion to 1.55 million Hong Kong investors in two batches after IPO is suspended | South China Morning Post

Ant Group aggregates large loans from banks and doles out the money as high interest small loans to young Chinese. Think Wonga or similar payday loan businesses that have sprung up since the 1990s. Ant also have savings and investment products that they get from other firms and act as an agent to sell. The huge IPO valuation of Ant Group already felt like hubris before Jack Ma criticised the financial regulators. More on China related stories here.

Everything else

MERICS China Industries Briefing – October 2020 | MericsThe laws have significant ramifications for Europe. Vague wording in both the Export Control Law and the draft Personal Information Protection Law open the door to sweeping retaliation measures against foreign companies and countries. The former cites harm done to China’s “national security and interests,” while the latter cites “discriminatory” measures taken against China concerning personal data as examples of legislative violations that warrant retaliation. On a more practical level, European firms with extensive operations in China, especially in R&D, will likely face additional compliance hurdles. These could include novel license requirements and security review procedures related to exporting goods, technologies and services, as well as collecting, processing and transferring personal information

Battle at Arm China threatens $40bn Nvidia deal | Financial TimesMr Wu also has backing in some corners of the Shenzhen government. In September, for example, Mr Wu was named on a high-level reform committee in the city, alongside other high-profile business figures such as Merlin Swire and Zhang Lei, founder of Hillhouse Capital, according to a document seen by the FT. Both the Shenzhen government and Beijing have a keen interest in the outcome of the battle, since Arm’s intellectual property underpins almost every mobile phone chip designed in the country. – what a mess

Stanley Black & Decker shuts Shenzhen plant amid US-China trade war | Apple NewsChinese media also report that most of the workers have already been recruited by other factories and obtained employment on the same day. Middle management and executives were snapped up by other firms. Staff from a neighboring electronic factory claimed they hired up to 200 former employees of Stanley Black and Decker. Kevin Tsui, an associate professor of the Department of Economics at Clemson University, casted doubt on the authenticity of these reports. While the Chinese economy has shown steady recovery, it is unlikely for firms to be able to take over unemployed workers on such a large scale. Stories of the generous compensations were published to stabilize public sentiment and prevent people from panicking as more and more foreign investors are pulling out, he added. Veteran news commentator Johnny Lau said the growing production costs in China, as well as new labor law restrictions, have prompted firms to move to South East Asian countries, which are more welcoming to foreign investors – fascinating reading on how globalisation is affecting China from a negative perspective

Key Takeaways | ChinaFile – reading this a topline report, it reminds me a lot of the UK’s disparate CCTV operations

In Hunt for Coronavirus Source, W.H.O. Let China Take Charge – The New York Timesit is hardly the only international body bending to China’s might. But even many of its supporters have been frustrated by the organization’s secrecy, its public praise for China and its quiet concessions. Those decisions have indirectly helped Beijing to whitewash its early failures in handling the outbreak.

Burberry announces partnership with Tencent Games’ blockbuster title Honour of Kings – BurberryAs interactive digital content is increasingly becoming a source of inspiration in luxury fashion, games offer another opportunity for consumers to connect with Burberry’s products online. Younger consumers are redefining community spaces, choosing to connect with each other and with brands in digital environments, such as sharing experiences through online games. Chinese luxury consumers’ offline and online lives increasingly intertwine, with more demand for a seamless connection between the two. Adding virtual products into existing online games environments offers a bespoke experience that aligns with the consumer’s existing lifestyle. – only a decade or more behind sports apparel…

Inside Apple’s Eroding Partnership With Foxconn — The InformationFoxconn has tried a variety of tactics to enhance its margins, all previously unreported, such as using Apple-owned equipment when doing work for Apple’s rivals and taking shortcuts on component and product testing, ex-employees said. In turn, Apple has tried to step up its monitoring and tracking of Foxconn employees and of Apple’s own equipment that resides in Foxconn facilities. Meanwhile, the relationship between the two companies is changing, as described by interviews with more than two dozen former Apple and Foxconn employees, including some senior managers. Apple, like its rivals Samsung, Nintendo and speaker design firm Sonos, is diversifying its manufacturing sites in an effort to hedge its bets. These companies are aiming to expand the number of manufacturers they work with and the countries where they operate in response to growing geopolitical risks such as the U.S.-China trade war. As a result, Foxconn’s bright satellite in Apple’s orbit has lost some shine. – This looks like a slow car crash

30 female engineers from India ask Silicon Valley to do better on caste discrimination – The Washington PostThe legacy of discrimination from the Indian caste system is rarely discussed as a factor in Silicon Valley’s persistent diversity problems. Decades of tech industry labor practices, such as recruiting candidates from a small cohort of top schools or relying on the H-1B visa system for highly skilled workers, have shaped the racial demographics of its technical workforce. Despite that fact, Dalit engineers and advocates say that tech companies don’t understand caste bias and have not explicitly prohibited caste-based discrimination. A new lawsuit shines a light on caste discrimination in the U.S. and around the world. In recent years, however, the Dalit rights movement has grown increasingly global, including advocating for change in corporate America. In June, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a landmark suit against Cisco and two of its former engineering managers, both upper-caste Indians, for discriminating against a Dalit engineer

Tory group in push for watchdog to counter Chinese interference | Financial Timesand so it starts, I have been expecting this for a while

How Borat 2 reveals the playbook for the streaming movie blockbusterit had exactly four weeks to generate word of mouth. In Hollywood marketing terms, a four-week movie campaign is unheard of, ludicrous—or, as Borat would say, “Very nice—not!” Yet Amazon pulled it off by leaning on Baron Cohen’s relentless energy and creative salesmanship. There were Borat stunts galore both online and IRL, which helped create a burning sense of immediacy and helped the film explode into the cultural consciousness, as opposed to being slowly fed to audiences by an IV-drip marketing campaign over the course of lumbering months – I also imagine this was due to legal scrutiny of the film content

Three actionable insights with… Sir Martin Sorrell | The Drum”Marketeers have surrendered control. Too few marketeers are CEOs of companies. There are probably too many CFOs who are CEOs of companies and I can say that as an ex-CFO. I think this started in 2008 after the Great Recession. Then there’s a huge pressure in 2009. It rebounded in 2010, but ever since then and up to 2018 there’s been a relentless pressure on cost. It‘s nonsense that it‘s Google and Facebook that are putting pressure on the holding companies. The simple fact of the matter is the clients have been so focused on cost, they put pressure on the agency middlemen or middle women, and they push them. Remember the chat around ‘non-working’ costs around advertising — basically on production costs. But you know this phrase ‘non-working’ and the implication that a lot of what the agencies did wasn‘t working or it wasn‘t working well enough, so you had to get rid of it. This is huge pressure. So, instead of asking media owners for 60-day credit or 90-day credit, they asked the agencies. – Sir Martin Sorrell is as much sinner, as sinned against but this rings true

Breakingviews – China’s latest five-year plan girds for battle | ReutersThe message from China’s leadership seems to be that things will get worse before they get better. It elevated the status of technological self-reliance to be a “strategic support” for national development as a shield from overseas restrictions on imports. That will translate into greater R&D funding and subsidies, and diversion of funds to high-end manufacturing from property markets. There are early signs the approach is working: new registrations for semiconductor makers have jumped by a third this year, according to local media reports – the move away from overheated property markets is a good thing

The FT – Huawei develops plan for chip plant to help beat US sanctions and a good analysis on the challenges that will be faced on Radio Free Mobile – Huawei – Nowhere to run pt. XXIV. – these will be way behind the curve, it makes more sense if Huawei partners with other Chinese chipmakers

The resource curse and Hong Kong: Why the city has stagnated |Dr Michael Lawson | Apple Dailyin many ways Hong Kong is now suffering in the grip of a resource curse, where the opportunities from catering for finance and tourism for mainland China have crowded out almost all other areas of the economy. It has often been said that Hong Kong is a very bureaucratic place, where trying to do anything new is almost impossible without multiple government approvals. This can be seen from the lag in adopting electric buses, the ban on electric bikes that is unique in the world, and the strange rule prohibiting tandem paragliding. This is because due to easy access to income sources which require little innovation, there has been no pressure to let anything change or develop in the Hong Kong economy. Like the rulers of other resources cursed countries, the nettle of economic reform is not grasped and vested interests are allowed to divide up the spoils. In fact, it is noticeable that the decline of the film and manufacturing sectors of the Hong Kong economy has neatly coincided with the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, with many of the established industries in Hong Kong willingly moving their operations there before being overtaken or taken over by more nimble mainland firms – pretty succinct analysis of the current economic problems facing Hong Kong

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 7 minutes

From Supreme to Gucci: How North Face uses big-name collaborations to drive ‘brand heat’ – GlossyTim Hamilton, North Face’s head of global creative, said it typically does two collaborations per year, at most. In addition to its upcoming collab with Gucci, North Face has an ongoing collab with Supreme that started in 2015. And it released collabs with athletic brand Brain Dead and MM6, the sportswear line of Maison Margiela, in August.  Hamilton said the brand’s collaborations typically require a lead time of 1-2 years and are almost always manufactured and produced by North Face. The MM6 collab, for example, began with discussions between Hamilton and the Margiela design team in 2019. – This lead-up time probably explains the balance in their collabs between hype and steadier brands. Hence no Virgil Abioh or Yeezy deal with North Face. Abioh has flirted with Canadian technical brand Arcteryx; which is owned by Chinese sports and outdoor clothing conglomerate Anta – who have a lot of cash. It is interesting that nothing has come from Abioh’s visual love letter so far.

Op-Ed | New Balance Collabs Are Second to None This YearNew Balance places an emphasis on “aligning with brands that are authentic in their space and have substance behind their message.” New Balance’s roster of collaborators represent a wide range of aesthetics, communities, and subcultures, meaning the brand can speak to a variety of consumers based on what product has been matched with which collaborator. In a sense, putting together a New Balance sneaker collaboration is like a game of exquisite corpse. “We’re able to keep product executions and stories fresh while creating different followings for each type of partnership,” – you could argue that adidas and Nike’s deals with Yeezy and Off-White relegate adidas and Nike to little more than original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). But New Balance also doesn’t have the deep pockets to go up against adidas and Nike head-on. That lack of deep pockets also affects North Face as well. I am surprised that the North Face and New Balance haven’t collaborated, though part of the issue maybe New Balance’s Danner Boots business. This competes somewhat with North Face’s boots business, but they have a very different aesthetic appealing to a different audience. North Face is owned by VF Corporation with sister brands Dickies, Timberland and JanSport. This means that brand collabs for North Face are probably complex politically.

A millennials love affair: China’s second-hand luxury goods market booms | Reuters – yes Chinese like new things like new apartments. Yes but: Chinese luxury consumers have become more sophisticated. Chinese consumers have travelled and seen the pre-owned market like Milan Station and BRAND OFF in Hong Kong and Japan respectively. In absolute terms middle class wages are lower in China still than the US; yet this isn’t reflected in luxury product pricing

Alibaba Takes Over China’s Top Hypermart Chain for $3.6 Billion – Bloomberg – interesting that Alibaba is working on an offline retail strategy

Robert Lighthizer Blew Up 60 Years of Trade Policy. Nobody Knows What Happens Next. — ProPublica – I am not normally interested in publishing about politics, but this article on US trade policy is an interesting starting point to think about the current debacle

Revisiting Lyn Collins’ “Think About It” – Micro-Chop – great essay. Its also good to see how the edits of Ultimate Breaks and Beats played a role in popularising the ‘think’ break

Hong Kong walks: discovering traditional, trendy Tai Hang | Financial Times – it makes me ‘home sick’ as Hong Kong island was my home for a while

Baaaa for business: Princess Diana’s iconic sheep sweater is back | Financial Times – its interesting that luxury brands are now raiding not just archives but childhood memories for cues. Also the convoluted customer journey outlined in the article for the original purchase via a bridesmaid’s mother

Debate over vegan ‘sausages’ and ‘burgers’ heats up ahead of EU vote | Financial Times – unsurprising given the size of the beef and pork industries in the European Union

WPP back on hunt for deals, says chief | Financial TimesRead’s challenge is to win back investors who think agency holding groups are struggling with multiple structural tests: cost-cutting and clients taking business in-house, competition from consultancies such as Accenture, and waning clout as middlemen in digital ad markets dominated by Google and Facebook. WPP’s share price is 65 per cent lower than its 2017 peak, and has fallen more than a third since the pandemic battered the economy. The three-year decline is a more severe than at rivals such as Omnicom and Publicis. Meanwhile, investors have flocked to the simpler growth story of adtech providers such as The Trade Desk, which this year has soared to almost three times WPP’s market value on a tiny fraction of its revenues. The £2bn market capitalisation of Sir Martin’s S4 Capital, a digital-only advertising group, is almost a quarter of WPP’s value even though it generated less than three per cent of its £12.4bn sales in the year to June 30.  – a number of things from this interview. The Trade Desk has a lot of heat around it, WPP attempted to do this with Xaxis but has got little credit. Read tried to spin that Accenture and WPP have sweet spots at different points in the economic cycle. Hence the comment about Accenture being good at cutting marketing costs.

Mr Read’s pitch is that WPP has combined its traditional creative strength with the tech expertise to build ecommerce platforms for clients such as Sainsbury’s, and become the single biggest integrator of Adobe’s software. “Our goal is to be to revenue growth what Accenture is to cost reduction,”

Chinese-Americans campaign for Trump on WeChat | Financial Timesit is becoming increasingly difficult to organise on WeChat, not only because of the looming US ban but also because of Chinese censorship. Simple WeChat filters for sensitive terms such as “democracy” can detect articles about US politics. Sometimes when Mr Ming sends articles to his groups, those with Chinese-registered phone numbers on their WeChat accounts cannot receive the links, no matter where they are in the world. Ms Wen, who used WeChat in 2016 to organise a door-knocking campaign for Mr Trump, was glad to shift away from the platform this year. “I know it is completely surveilled. Nowadays I mostly use Telegram,” she said, referring to the encrypted messaging app. – interesting move to Telegram, mirrors what I saw in my Hong Kong friend network after the Hong Kong National Security law was passed

Google’s new ‘hum to search’ feature can figure out the song that’s stuck in your head – The Verge – now this is clever

The future of fashion week? Look to Shanghai | Vogue BusinessShanghai Fashion Week, which pioneered digital pivots like live streaming, returns today as a largely physical event, featuring around 90 brands across a number of venues, including its main stage in fashionable shopping district Xintiandi and emerging designer platform Labelhood

How to steer clear of discounts this holiday season | Vogue Business“Markdowns have almost single-handedly ruined our industry,” says Hewitt. “They train the consumer not to buy in-season because they can come back in three months and get a discount. It’s a vicious cycle.” – during the 2008 recession Rolex reputedly bought back watches in its retail and wholesale channels. And then recycled them

Kibbles & Bytes #1122: Apple Releases Four iPhone 12 Models and the HomePod mini – Don Mayer nails the assessment of 5G in the latest edition of his newsletter.

Why a new generation of challenger brands need to rethink how to challenge | A Little West of Centre – Blands. That’s what Ben Schott, writing for Bloomberg, coined them. And what a coining it is. The new generation of humble, conscious, in-it-to-sell, underdog companies, sporting D2C models, consumer champion narratives, minimalist aesthetics, affordable luxury positionings and post-choice selling techniques (this is THE mattress, that is THE toothbrush).

Sony Launches SR Display: You Can See 3D Pictures Without Wearing 3D Glasses – Gizchina.com – really interesting technology

Indonesia’s central bank hints burglary in e-wallet playerconsumers should look at the track record of providers before using them to save large amounts of money. Indonesia’s total e-wallet transaction value size is expected to reach US$15 billion by 2020, according to a recent report by The Asian Banker

Problem Solved #13: A lesson in tackling bloody taboos from Bodyform | The Drumthe result was to present the viewer with flame-engulfed apartment of a perimenopausal women; a monster ripping at an endometriosis sufferer’s uterus; a ‘flood gate’ moment following an unexpected sneeze; a woman who has chosen not to have children; and the often-turbulent journey of trying to conceive

Diane von Furstenberg: Interview | Vanity FairThe iconic wrap dress, designed in 1974 and sold more than 15 million times since, made von Furstenberg an overnight sensation and began a dialogue with women that she has maintained ever since, in a large part through admirable philanthropic efforts, including the annual DVF awards. Now she’s taking that dialogue to the podcast, a medium she champions for its value in shifting the focus away from appearance.

British Airways Avoids Huge £180 Million Data Breach Fine for Hack That Compromised the Personal Details of Over 400,000 Customers – good for BA given airlines are haemorrhaging cash at the momen. I am worry about the message that this sends to large corporates and customer data

Shenzhen — Justin McGuirk – pretty much nails how I found Shenzhen over the decade that I visited regularly. More on Shenzhen related posts here.

Facial recognition data leaks are rampant in China as Covid-19 pushes wider use of the technology | South China Morning Post – interesting that this is being collected by non-state actors such as property management companies and schools as well as the state bodies

iPhone 12 launching without earbuds or wall chargers is compared to eating without chopsticks in China | South China Morning Post – I was expecting this as Chinese consumers are value orientated, brands focus on ‘client delight’ and there is a culture of free gifts with products. So taking items out of the box and the green explanation won’t wash

Beijing 1986: portraits of a forgotten China | Financial Times – amazing photos from 1986.

Shenzhen/Huawei: the other Bay Area | Financial TimesThe impression of military manoeuvres by alternative means was reinforced by Tencent, another Shenzhen resident. It was among big Chinese social and video platforms including iQiyi and Weibo, that simultaneously cancelled the livecast of Apple’s iPhone 12 launch – a small example of the nexus between the Chinese government, corporate decision-making influenced by the government and an undercurrent of Han nationalism