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Snapchat: Popularity germinates, safety concerns arise

MarketLine

Snapchat, the billion dollar social media company has grown substantially in value terms and very quickly over the past five years. With an increasing amount of new developments, Snap Inc. has somewhat introduced a new development which could revolutionize users’ experience with the smartphone’s interference with regards to day to day activities. Snap Map reveals a user’s location in real time to his/her friends or public in a design friendly interface which could mean friends can track exactly where their friends are at any point of time. With some positive… Read more

Greater Manchester mayoral elections: Manchester shows little interest in the predicted Conservative landslide

MarketLine

  The Greater Manchester Mayoral Election during the local election period of May 2017, was a particularly interesting one. Despite strong Conservative gains nationally, this was not reflected in the Greater Manchester vote. The Labour Party win was a white wash and even areas that traditionally had leanings towards the Conservative party did not show a strong Conservative turnout. What was also seen was that, particularly in the case of the Manchester Central district, deprivation or affluence is a very poor indicator of voting intention as both poor and wealthy… Read more

Namibia: NEEEF is not the solution. New policy would be bad for the economy

MarketLine

NEEEF is not the policy the Namibian economy requires at present. Businesses, however big or small, would be required to be at least 25% owned by people described as ‘disadvantaged persons’ and occupy half of board and management positions. The suggested legislation appears to be an effort towards what amounts to forced redistribution of wealth and has similarities with the land redistribution attempted in Zimbabwe. Ownership is not the only target: spending and investment would be subject to new controls too. Problems regarding implementation are legion. Given approximately 40% of… Read more

Saab: Company is confident about Gripen sales, but 300 units is a tough ask

MarketLine

In a world full of eye watering price tags and ludicrous development times the Saab Gripen fighter jet has been able to carve out a path of its own. For those unable to pay the entry fee for an F-35, F-22 or Eurofighter, there are few other options to maintain a viable air defense system that can compete with dangerous neighbors. For those that can afford it, sometimes it not politically expedient for the west to sell their prize fighter jets to countries they are suspicious of, so they usually… Read more

Australian Work: 457 to be abolished

MarketLine

Australia has always been a country which is protective of its individuals and its environment. With growing concerns of an increased number of individuals from other countries moving to Australia for work and to start a new life, especially in the current political climate in other countries, the Australian government says it is looking out for the Australian nationals by cutting down the list of careers on the 457 visa list. This will be replaced with two shorter visas with limited possibility for the visa holders to apply for permanent… Read more

President Park Impeached: Relations with chaebols could change forever

MarketLine

Legislation designed to curtail the strength of chaebols has traditionally failed to discover parliamentary approval; now amendments to several acts have found new impetus following the impeachment of the president. Whilst voters await the coming election, prospective candidates are seeking to assert their case for a change in how chaebols operate in the South Korean economy. However, despite the rise in support, problems will need to be overcome for lasting change to occur. Previous efforts have fallen flat; this time there is a far greater chance of success. Moon Jae-in,… Read more

Gig Employment: Not a smooth ride

MarketLine

The number of individuals defined as self-employed is growing aided by the latest trend of gig-employment. These self-employed individuals serve to increase competition between those seeking full time employment and those who prefer to work contract to contract. A recent change in the mindset of the gig-employment workers has caused a shift in working patterns with these workers now beginning to seek out full time employee status and the benefits which accompany this. Businesses which previously exploited these gig workers (e.g. Deliveroo and Uber) are now under scrutiny and face… Read more

Once Upon A Time At Christmas… The John Lewis Formula

MarketLine

Advertising has been an increasingly important aspect in modern day business with companies spending millions on advertising campaigns. Every now and then, an advertising campaign can capture the imagination of the people watching which helps to increase the profile of a brand substantially. In the UK, one such example is that of the John Lewis Christmas advertisement. From 2007 onwards, John Lewis has evolved its Christmas adverts into something of a Christmas tradition. Every year, people anticipate the release of the new advert speculating on what it may contain with… Read more

UK Economy – held back by euro area Treaty

MarketLine

The Maastricht Treaty has been slowly asphyxiating any possibility of sustained economic recovery in Britain. It has been partially responsible for the erratic recovery of manufacturing, production and construction industries. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Britain peaked back at pre-crisis level in the second quarter of 2013 driven mainly by the growth of the services industry. This industry is 13 per cent larger in value compared to 2009 (figure below). Production, construction and manufacturing industries are on average 7% smaller than their pre-crisis levels. The majority of UK industries… Read more

Airbnb: The sharing economy company encounters resistance in Berlin

MarketLine

Airbnb is one of the biggest sharing economy success stories of recent years and along with companies such as Uber, Lyft and Task Rabbit, Airbnb has found a new way to use to a widely available resource by applying new smart phone technology. Essentially the program allows apartments, flats, houses and rooms to be advertised for rent, and visitors to a city to have a different experience to what might be provided by a traditional hotel chain. Local knowledge, unusual locations and a homely experience, are some of the reasons… Read more

The dichotomy between H&M’s fast fashion business model and sustainable cotton

MarketLine

H&M is a fashion retailer with over 4,000 stores in 61 markets worldwide. The adoption of the fast fashion business model has been key to the company’s huge expansion since 2000. Fast fashion has a four to six week turnaround, much quicker than traditional collections which were released two to four times per year. As a result, clothing is more on-trend but it also more throwaway. The production of clothing has a huge environmental impact, particularly in the case of cotton. Cotton uses a huge amount of fertilizers and pesticides… Read more

Electricity: change in the global industry

MarketLine

It’s an economic rule of thumb that the richer the country, the greater its demand for electricity. As the global economy grows, this correlation should be good news for the companies that generate and sell power. Things are actually a little more complicated than that. The power companies are operating in an industry that is changing in several ways. Most governments are now committed to reducing their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Power generation is a significant contributor: in countries where thermal generation from fossil fuels is predominant, this industry can account… Read more

The US is poised to become a net exporter of fracked gas in 2015

MarketLine

The US has now moved to a position where it can export fracked natural gas. Cheniere Energy, a company which initially spent $2bn building a natural gas import terminal is now building an export terminal, expected to be finished this year, allowing it to sell liquefied natural gas to other countries. The company’s Sabine Pass facility got the first approval from the Department of Energy to export to any country in the world. CEO Charif Souki said, “It’s a revolutionary thing, absolutely astonishing, that America will be an exporter of… Read more

Matchroom and Sky have the Heavyweight pedigree

MarketLine

Three years ago in October 2011 two young and ambitious fighters in Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew fought in the light-heavyweight Division. The WBO World light-heavyweight Campion Nathan Cleverly was victorious and retained his title but all involved agreed it was a close fight. This spawned a fierce rivalry that had roots leading back from before the first bout. Finally, this Saturday the keenly anticipated rematch is on, Clevely v Bellew II, available on Sky Sports Box Office for £16.95. The pay per view (PPV) price initially met with criticism,… Read more

Royal Mail delivers second class performance

MarketLine

Royal Mail Holdings plc  (RM) has blamed increasing levels of competition in its parcels delivery business for a 20% fall in operating profit for the six months ended 28th September. Although results were better than some analysts had predicted, shares still slumped by over 8% after the news – although they remain much higher than the flotation price of 330p. Part of the fall in operating profit was attributed to the growth of rival firms, squeezing the parcels delivery market and causing revenue from parcels to fall 1%, whilst overall… Read more

The G20 Summit – The Brisbane Action Plan

MarketLine

As world leaders departed Brisbane on Sunday, the headlines mostly centered on the “Brisbane Action Plan” (and of course President Vladimir Putin’s decision to leave early to get some sleep), the plan’s aim was to use co-ordinated policy approaches across the 20 nations in order to achieve the following key objectives: Lift global GDP and create jobs Boost trade and promote competition Increase investment in infrastructure Build a stronger and more resilient financial system Fight corruption and tax avoidance In addition steps were also announced to combat Ebola and address… Read more

Epic Shale: Investor exodus from Poland leaves wider questions for fracking

MarketLine

One of Europe’s largest shale gas markets by drilled wells has seen many companies wind up their exploratory operations, leaving Poland’s shale gas ambitions floundering. The companies cite a mix of bureaucratic entanglement and difficult geology as their reasons for exiting the market, with only state owned enterprises (such as PKN Orlen, Lotos and PGNiG) and a few well-funded global companies left prospecting. It is a far cry from former foreign minister Radek Sikorski’s vision of Poland becoming a “second Norway” in 2010. Emboldened by the US’s shale boom and… Read more

Natural sweeteners market – Stevia

MarketLine

The global market of diet soda beverages has been on the decline for the last six years. The last 10 years were hard for producers of diet drinks, especially carbonated ones. In March 2014 the diet soft drink market declined further, by about 7% compared to February’s figures with Coca-Cola recording a 6% decline and PepsiCo hitting almost 7% decline in volume terms. Stevia’s leaves are remarkably 300 times sweeter than plain white sugar while containing no calories, has been heralded as the answer to changing diet habits. Global stevia… Read more

El Taxico: Madrid and Barcelona clash with Uber

MarketLine

Two of Spain’s largest cities have launched punitive measures in order to combat the rising popularity of the ridesharing app. Uber launched its services in Barcelona in April 2014 and Madrid in September 2014, and has been met with fierce resistance from local taxi drivers. Barcelona effectively banned the app in June 2014, and Madrid has implemented an equally hostile policy response only a month after introduction. Fines will range from EUR 4,000 to EUR 6,000 and could rise to EUR 18,000 plus seizure of the vehicle if there are… Read more

Tesco: Fallout from profit overstating continues

MarketLine

Yesterday (September 22), the UK’s largest retailer Tesco had to make the embarrassing and damaging admission that its first half profits had been overstated by some £250m (approximately $390m). Consequently, profits for the period are now expected to be around £850m (approximately $1,328.8m) rather than the originally-reported £1.1bn (approximately $1.7bn); quite a difference. The fallout has been catastrophic and has prompted some serious questions that have led to staff suspensions, a delay in publishing its first half results, and the intervention of legal and accounting firms. Following the shock announcement,… Read more

Is time running out for Sony?

MarketLine

  “We must be like the Russians defending Moscow against Napoleon, ready to scorch the earth to stay ahead of the invaders. We must be Sony United and fight like the Sony warriors we are.” Exactly nine years ago to the month, Sir Howard Stringer then Sony’s first foreign CEO roused his comrades with these words, as he aimed to revive the fortunes of the Japanese electronics giant. Nine years on and with the General now departed to pastures new, Sony fights on like a war weary battalion trying desperately… Read more

Alibaba says open sesame to western markets

MarketLine

  Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has increased the price range of its eagerly anticipated IPO to $66-$68 per share, adding further value to the offering, which is already expected to be the largest technology IPO in history (surpassing the $16bn raised by Facebook in 2012). The value could even eclipse the largest ever US IPO – that of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010 – if underwriters exercise options to purchase additional shares. The jump in price means that the IPO could now net over $25bn, valuing the company at… Read more

Consumer Electronics – Industry Analysis

MarketLine

Introduction The global consumer electronics market contracted from 2011 to 2013 and has performed poorly in recent years in most regions throughout the world with the exception of some. In general, consumer electronics are deemed as a non-essential item and is sacrificed at the cost of more essential items in times of austerity. However, the market has had some form of redemption from a strong performance from countries within emerging markets such as China and India leading the way. With the economy turning the corner, the consumer electronics market will… Read more

Sony’s Project Morpheus reveal bodes well for the Oculus Rift

MarketLine

With the reveal of Sony’s virtual reality hardware at GDC last week, VR technology took another small step toward the mainstream of consumer tech, and a potential competitor to Oculus’ Rift emerged on the horizon – but Oculus is not worried. In hardware terms, Sony’s prototype VR tech – codenamed Project Morpheus – stacks up fairly well against the current Rift development kit. Both devices run at 1080p (or 960×1080 per eye), although the field of view offered by Sony’s device is 10 degrees narrower than Oculus’ latest design at… Read more

Tim Cook needs to take a bite into Apple’s innovative core

MarketLine

Following his death in October 2011, Steve Jobs was always going to be a tough act to follow. He was named CEO of the decade by Fortune Magazine in 2009 and turned a loss making company into the world’s most valuable one. The increasing sales revenue the new CEO, Tim Cook, has managed in a more competitive market, saturated with similar products, is therefore very impressive. Selling 150m iPhones in 2013, compared to 72m in 2011 is no mean feat, either operationally or in terms of obtaining the sales. However,… Read more

Microsoft’s new CEO – opening the window to a fresh start?

MarketLine

Microsoft’s newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella faces a number of challenges as he takes over leadership of the technology giant. In recent years Microsoft has been criticised for failing to adapt quickly enough to technology trends such as the switch to mobile. Microsoft has been criticised for being too reactionary with its new technology products, and for bringing new products to market too late to be able to secure a large market share. This has been partly blamed on the company’s need to be more conservative than competitors to appease… Read more

The i has it

MarketLine

Newspapers are the oldest of the mass media, but might their sometimes glorious (and occasionally scurrilous) history be coming to an end? Having seen off the challenge first of radio and then of television, printed news in the UK is now under serious threat from digital media. But one publisher has made a counter-intuitive decision. The sales figures tell a story of long-term decline. Looking at the 2002-2012 period, circulations of UK national daily newspapers fell every single year. For the mass-market tabloid segment, the annualized rate of change was… Read more

The container shipping capacity glut; is Maersk Line’s gluttonous Triple-E vessel and the P3 Network the answer?

MarketLine

Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, has gained notoriety for the development of its Triple-E container ship, taking delivery of the first tranche of in mid-to-late 2013. At almost 400 meters in length, and with a capacity of 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), the vessels have been delivered at a time when excess capacity is hobbling the container shipping industry, proving somewhat controversial. Designed specifically for slow-steaming, to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, Maersk Line saw its economies of scale benefit, however critics pointed out that current… Read more

CVS tobacco sales up in smoke

MarketLine

Earlier this week (Wednesday February 7th), the second largest drugstore chain in the US, CVS, announced that it is going to cease sales of cigarettes by October 1st. In doing so, it blazed a trail as it became the first US drugstore operator to announce such a move. Why is a company that brands itself ‘America’s largest integrated pharmacy healthcare provider’ selling tobacco products in the first place? Surely this goes against the company’s stated aim of improving people’s quality of life? The answer is, unsurprisingly, it’s profitable. Shares in… Read more