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Tablet market decline continues: Strong demand for substitutes and low innovation resulting in falling sales

MarketLine

The tablet market has undergone consecutive years of decline in recent years, and the market is expected to continue declining in the coming years as well. This has put intense pressure on players operating in this market, and many such as Dell and HTC have decided to pull out. Overall the market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Several reasons have been given to explain why the tablets market after such a promising start has succumbed to this pattern of decline. An important reason is the way in which… Read more

Nissan $9.5bn China investment: Scale of spending required to stay relevant in world’s largest car market

MarketLine

Whilst Nissan is not regarded as being a member of the top-tier car manufacturers – the likes of Volkswagen Group and Mercedes Benz are much larger – that has not stopped the company from pumping $9.5bn into car manufacturing in China. Such investments are now essential, particularly for the less popular global brands. The move represents significant ambition from the Japanese car maker: Toyota, recently the second largest player in the Chinese market, is declining in China and an opportunity exists for Nissan to climb up the hierarchy. Large investments… Read more

Amazon’s latest financials: Growth potential lies in advertising and web services

MarketLine

Amazon’s latest financials have once again demonstrated exponential growth, as the company continued to increase its advantage over its rivals in the online retail sector. The largest part of its revenues may come from these retail operations, but profitability and growth potential lies in other “overlooked” income streams, such as the web-based services and advertising. This becomes obvious form the fact that Amazon continued to incur operating losses from its retail business, which are the price paid for the growth of revenue. Moreover, these losses mainly come from emerging markets,… Read more

Daniel Wellington: The fastest growing private European company in 2017

MarketLine

Daniel Wellington is a Swedish watch making company that has been placed at the top of the “Fastest Growing European Companies” list. Started by Filip Tysander in 2011 using his own money, the company has since witnessed impressive growth thanks to a very successful social media marketing strategy campaign. Rather than engaging in traditional marketing in a rather congested market where giants like Rolex and Tag Heuer exist, Daniel Wellington instead has sought to utilize the power of social media in order to boost its brand awareness. It has done… Read more

Post-Christmas Results: Discounters achieve massive sales growth over the festive period compared to last year

MarketLine

December is the most prolific season in the UK and in many other areas worldwide for retailers and consumers and this is demonstrated by shopping behavior during this time. Retailers are in the process of revealing their Christmas sales over a period where we can compare results to last year, and understand why certain areas have achieved, and why some others have not. For Christmas 2017, discounters have enjoyed great growth, despite consumer spending remaining weak overall. Department stores and luxury food retailers on the other hand, have experienced the… Read more

UK Rail Service: Fed up consumers overwhelmingly back train re-nationalization after another price hike

MarketLine

In the first week of 2018, UK rail passengers were made aware of another price hike that hit both season tickets and single ticket fares. The cost rose by 3.4% on average nationally in a country where fares are already close to the worst in Europe, levels of service equally bad and bailouts of failing operators protecting train companies. This has effectively exacerbated the already low levels of confidence in the crucial public transport service causing users to speculate whether only complete nationalization and restructuring of the service might get… Read more

Honda: Company finally makes a serious move into the electric vehicle market

MarketLine

Falling in line with other manufacturers, Honda has announced its own vision for the electric power train future that it sees on the horizon. At the Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows two new concept cars were shown off that indicate Honda has decided to conform to the path that many other manufacturers are following, that of the complete adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles. Honda doesn’t expect to drop its conventional engine vehicles entirely; indeed Honda is believed to be the biggest maker of engines in the world, but it… Read more

Chinese ban on waste imports: End to off-shoring dirt

MarketLine

Introduction of the ban on imported solid waste, coming to force in China as of January 1, 2018, means the country will be importing a lot less of foreign waste material, and replacing it with recycled material collected in its own domestic market instead. China’s dominance in manufacturing means that for years it has been the world’s largest importer of recyclable materials. The country’s hunger for plastic, the most difficult waste material to dispose of, has spawned a lucrative industry where plastic waste was purchased from the international market and… Read more

Norway & Drugs: Scandinavian country moves to decriminalize illicit drugs, rest of Europe likely to follow eventually

MarketLine

In a first for Scandinavian countries, but unlikely to be the last, Norway has moved to decriminalize the use of illicit drugs. Whilst this is just the starting point for the process of decriminalization and the government still needs to implement the directives from parliament with coherent public policy, the vote represents the current wind of change. In Europe the move towards decriminalization of illicit drugs is an awkward topic; many different countries view this change as a backwards step and even those countries which have pioneered new ways of… Read more

Toys R Us: Collapse Inevitable as Company Fails to Utilize the Power of the Internet

MarketLine

In recent months, well-established toy retailer Toys R Us has given repeated indications of the state of its finances. In September the US-based parent company announced that it entered into bankruptcy protection proceedings and is planning to close more than ten percent of its US stores in the near future. More recently the UK division made similar announcements, to close nearly a quarter of its stores soon after the New Year. So the recent news that the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), one of the company’s largest creditors in the UK,… Read more

AeroFarms: High-Rise Greens

MarketLine

AeroFarms’ food growing method, called aeroponics, requires no dirt, no sun and needs about 95% less water than traditional farming. It also applies 40% less fertilizer, and no pesticides. The company uses rehabilitated buildings, such as warehouses or old industrial plants, instead of constructing sophisticated massive, modern facilities from scratch, which dramatically reduces the property costs. While about ten years ago, indoor farming was associated with high costs and visions of people in lab coats walking around plants in soil many stories up in the air, the reality today is… Read more

Persimmon: Unjustified Criticism Forces Resignation of Valuable Senior Management

MarketLine

In February 2012 Persimmon, the UK-based homebuilding firm, announced ambitious plans to make dividend payments to investors totaling nearly £2bn ($2.67bn) over a ten year period. Eight months later the company’s Long Term Incentive Plan was approved by the board and shareholders, providing rewards for management pegged to dividend payout amounts. Fast-forward five-and-a-half years and the goal has almost been reached. During that time annual revenues have nearly doubled and the share price has increased by a factor of more than three-and-a-half. In the coming weeks the company’s CEO is… Read more

CRISPR Gene Editing: Now the technology is being used on humans, we can and should change the nature of our species

MarketLine

CRISPR technology is a simple yet incredibly powerful tool for editing genomes, the fundamental building blocks of any organism. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function potentially with no limits or boundaries to what can be done to alter the physical attributes of animals and human beings. The process uses enzymes to cut through sections of DNA allowing new sequences to be added or parts removed. The result is that we can now completely alter genes, therefore the actual structure of an organism itself. Perfected… Read more

YouTube TV expands its presence in the US: Changing consumption patterns reduce demand for cable TV

MarketLine

A major shift is currently underway as an increasing number of consumers switch over from cable/satellite TV to online streaming. 61% of young adults for example today watch TV online, as compared to around 10% of the 50-64 age group. YouTube therefore in April 2017 launched its live online streaming service in five major urban areas in the United States. The service has seemingly been a success as by the end of the year, it has been expanded to more than 80 urban areas across the US. YouTube TV provides… Read more

Qatar Eurofighter Typhoon deal: BAE sale should not distract from harsh reality of lost markets

MarketLine

The decision of the Qatari government to buy 24 Eurofighter jet aircraft built by BAE is useful but should not disguise a stark reality: at present the jet is losing out badly to the French made Rafale, especially in what were formerly highly productive markets in the Arabian Gulf. The danger in placing too much faith, or emphasis, in attempting to turn around sales is that very few nations have the available resources to buy in the numbers BAE would ideally like. The current geopolitical problems in the Gulf suggest… Read more

Bitcoin: Bitcoin to reach a value of $100,000 per coin over the next five years

MarketLine

The term cryptocurrency has become widely spread amongst the investment news world in recent times due to its increasingly fast growth in value. Although the phenomenon began in 2008 with the release of Bitcoin, more and more cryptocurrencies have now established their presence in the market, reaching massive market values already, with thousands of investors purchasing coins on a daily basis. With large growth forecasted by analysts worldwide, regulations in this ‘currency’ market are not to be seen, but the UK treasury is working with the EU to tighten up… Read more

Huawei second bestselling smartphone brand in mid-2017

MarketLine

In June and July 2017, Huawei was found to be the second bestselling smartphone brand globally. Whilst the race to become the top smartphone brand has usually been a two way race between Samsung and Apple, the inclusion of Huawei into this race at least temporarily is indicative of future trends. The company’s fast growth in the most populous parts of the world, namely China and the wider Asia-Pacific region suggests that Huawei is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. The strong growth potential in… Read more

Kindred AI – Putting robots in human shoes

MarketLine

Teaching computers to learn on their own has been the core aim of AI research, with the world’s largest tech companies, including Facebook, Google and Baidu, all racing to develop the best techniques. Although there have been breakthroughs in speech and image recognition, the machines still struggle to handle basic physical tasks. Kindred AI, a Canadian start up, decided to tackle these issues applying a new, innovative approach based on the technique of immersive teleoperation. According to its founders, the best way to make robots as smart as humans, is… Read more

Airforce modernization picks up pace in the Middle East

MarketLine

Tension in the Middle East has been expanding in recent years as the emergence of a new de factor leader in Saudi Arabia has led to the country reacting aggressively to what it perceives to be an expansion of Iranian influence and power in the Middle East. This tension is ultimately leading to a de facto arms race between the two powers wherein both also seek to stay ahead of the other from a technological point of view. Sanctions whilst holding back Iran in recent years have now been removed,… Read more

Elon Musk brand continues to grow: Heavy public profile and revolutionary products amplify Musk’s popularity

MarketLine

Elon Musk’s brand image has evolved strongly over the past two decades, and he is today one of the most recognizable and admired CEOs globally. Whilst some of the major companies he owns such as Tesla are still very small compared to their market competitors Musk’s popularity only seems to grow. This is primarily due to two major reasons. The first is that Musk’s companies are engaged in the manufacturing of products that do not only carry financial benefits to the owner, but also do the wider society some good, whether… Read more

Harley-Davidson: Heavyweight brand experiencing big difficulty selling to millennials

MarketLine

Harley-Davidson’s recent results have been poor and there are some concerning signs that the broader motorcycles market in certain geographies might be suffering currently. Harley-Davidson is attempting to combat some of the problems that it sees to make its vehicles more appealing to younger generations and expand their appeal globally, by updating designs and engines and spending more on marketing. However, there are some fundamental problems that are affecting the motorcycle industry which are yet to be addressed by these changes. Millennials becoming the new largest generation means that companies… Read more

UK Gambling Restrictions: Proposed changes to gambling limits are the wrong approach to a very real problem

MarketLine

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, supported by a proposal from the UK Gambling Commission, announced plans on October 31, 2017 to cut the maximum bet that can be made at B2 gaming machines, often known as fixed-odds betting terminals by more than half, from its current level of £100 ($131) to a level around £20-30 ($26-$39). At present a consumer could theoretically bet – and lose – up to £18,000 ($23,600) in one hour on a B2 machine. The government is also considering an increase in the… Read more

Spain in turmoil: Catalan parliament declares independence from Spain

MarketLine

The Spanish region of Catalonia, on October 1, held a referendum on independence, despite fierce opposition from the central government, which said the vote violated the Constitution. The vote was held even after being suspended by the Constitutional Court. The decision to go forward with a vote descended into chaos, with hundreds injured due to clashes with the police and now a mass conflict has appeared between the Spanish authorities and the Catalonians. Catalonia’s withdrawal from Spain would impact the Spanish economy negatively let alone the European Union, but without… Read more

Shinzo Abe reelected as tensions in Asia rise

MarketLine

Japan has in the past decade been hit by two major financial crises. The first one was the global financial crisis of 2008 and the second one came about following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The latter resulted in a nuclear meltdown and forced the Japanese government to immediately cease operations at all other nuclear power plants in the country, which together generated almost a third of all electricity consumed in Japan. As Japan increasingly relied on fossil fuel powered electricity in the aftermath of Fukushima, increased imports of… Read more

Blue Apron – Changing the way of eating and buying food

MarketLine

The US meal-kit delivery service is projected to be a $5bn market over the next three years. Though space is already crowded, a start-up company, Blue Apron, managed to carve a niche out for itself. By recognizing the educational void for the multitude of home cooks and building a wildly successful business around feeding them, while sharpening their kitchen prowess, the company managed to build a $2bn recipe-delivery business with 2,500 employees, in 36 months. By designing its business model around supply chain efficiencies, the company managed to get fresher… Read more

Flybe Group: Another profit warning issued amidst a chaotic industry

MarketLine

On 18th October 2017, Flybe Group Plc issued a profit warning, the second one following an earlier warning in March. The company warned that profits for the first half of 2017/2018 are expected to be in the region of £5m-£10m ($6.8m-$13.5m), down from adjusted profit before tax of £15.9m ($21.5m) for the same period last year. This follows an announcement in March in which the company revised its profit expectations to a loss for year-end March 2017, rather than the earlier anticipated small profit that had previously been announced. While… Read more

Brexit Uncertainty: London’s status as global financial center under threat

MarketLine

London has, for many years, been one of the world’s major financial centers. Some would even argue that it is the world’s financial center. Banks from all over the globe have offices there, many of which take advantage of the EU’s passporting system to sell their services across the Union.  However, as the threat of a rough (or no) trade deal for the UK becomes an increasingly likely prospect, many banks are looking to move their  European headquarters out of the City or at least relocate large numbers of staff… Read more

eSports continues to grow in popularity: However challenges like match-fixing amplify the need for more regulatory bodies

MarketLine

eSports has grown at an impressive pace in recent years, and this rise has attracted the interest of globally recognized sponsors and sporting clubs. As the speed of internet has increased as have broadband connectivity levels, and the ease of playing games online has substantially increased. Sensing this opportunity brands like Intel and Red Bull as well as sporting clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and the Philadelphia 76ers have entered eSports as sponsors. However as the popularity of eSports has increased, so have the challenges it faces. One notable example is… Read more

Tata-ThyssenKrupp merger: Deal will have short-term impact but doubts remain over long term

MarketLine

The merger of the European steel making section of Tata and German based ThyssenKrupp will likely have useful short-term impacts upon European production, but the benefits heading into the long-term future are less clear. Soon to be the second largest steel maker in Europe, the combined company will have sufficient bulk to compete much better with Chinese producers who are under pressure from the central government to consolidate. Chances are the new company will gain substantial efficiencies and improve product quality beyond other major rivals, but this only solves some… Read more

Ginkgo Bioworks: Quest to disrupt the biotech space

MarketLine

Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based DNA writer and designer company, launched in 2008, is already one of the largest DNA writers in the world. It is expected to make over $20m in revenue in 2017. Ginkgo’s success is based on an innovative technology that uses yeast as a base to make all kinds of substances, including perfumes, cosmetics and sweeteners, from microbugs. This technology can be used across a whole host of consumer and industrial products, enabling customers to grow rather than manufacture better products. The company is currently working on… Read more