Google to Fund, Develop Wireless Networks in Emerging Markets

Google Inc. is working to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, connecting a billion or more new people to the Internet. WSJ’s Amir Efrati reports. (Photo: Getty Images)

Google Inc. GOOG -1.07% is deep into a multipronged effort to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets as part of a plan to connect a billion or more new people to the Internet.

These wireless networks would serve areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren’t available, said people familiar with the strategy.

The networks also could be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centers, these people said.

Google plans to team up with local telecommunications firms and equipment providers in the emerging markets to develop the networks, as well as create business models to support them, these people said. It is unclear whether Google already has lined up such deals or alliances.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

In some cases, Google aims to use airwaves reserved for television broadcasts, but only if government regulators allowed it, these people said.

The company has begun talking to regulators in countries such as South Africa and Kenya about changing current rules to allow such networks to be built en masse. Some wireless executives say they expect such changes to happen in the coming years.  READ MORE

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EBay Focuses on $195 Billion Global Emerging Markets Push

EBay Inc. (EBAY), owner of the biggest Internet marketplace, is boosting staff in its emerging-markets group by 50 percent this year, seeking to win loyalty in burgeoning regions where online sales may top $195 billion.

The team tasked with stepping up sales growth in Russia, Latin America and China has reached 140 employees and may increase by about 60 more people by the end of 2013, said Wendy Jones, who oversees geographic expansion and cross-border trade at San Jose, California-based EBay. The effort is “incredibly well-funded” and plans to focus first on Russia, she said.

EBay Targets $195 Billion Emerging Market With Global Push

The EBay Inc. logo is displayed at the entrance to the company’s headquarters in San Jose. EBay is reaching into developing countries as the company competes with Amazon.com for the loyalty of merchants selling on its online store. Photographer: David PaulMorris/Bloomberg

EBay Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe is betting on regions of the world where consumers and merchants are starting buy and sell more over the Internet. The company predicts that 25 percent of its users will be in developing countries at the end of 2015, up from about 5 percent in 2012, as EBay works to narrow Amazon.com Inc.’s lead in global e-commerce.

“There is still a significant, untapped opportunity out there,” said Dan Kurnos, an analyst at Benchmark Co., who recommends buying EBay shares. “If EBay doesn’t address it, someone else will.”

EBay ended 2012 with 6 million active users in Brazil, Russia,India and China, with $3.2 billion in sales to consumers there. It had more than 112 million active users worldwide.  READ MORE

For Sale: Eastern Europe

An entire region is trying to unload everything from national railroads to postal services.

By UDAYAN GUPTAThe Wall Street Journal

image
Photographs (from left) by Adam Lachs/NYTimes/Redux; James Reeve/Getty Images; Darrell Gulin/Getty Images; Adam Panczuk; Getty Images
From left: Manor House, Szteklin, Poland (Asking Price: $2.5 million); National Rail Freight, Bucharest, Romania (Minimum Bid: $81 million); Real-Estate Holding Firm, Warsaw, Poland (Minimum Bid: $77 million); Bridges and Toll Roads, Turkey (Minimum Bid: $3 billion); Production Studio, Warsaw, Poland (Minimum Bid: $215,000)   READ MORE

Yoo: A Global Design Empire Expands

U.K.-based developer John Hitchcox has pushed his property-design and marketing company, yoo, into 26 countries, targeting label-obsessed emerging markets with a brand of subtle aesthetics

By KRISTIANO ANGThe Wall Street Journal

On a recent evening in Singapore, women in little black dresses and men in crisp suits mingled about a hotel’s rooftop bar with glasses of wine in hand. The occasion: the launch of a condominium located more than 1,000 miles away. 

image

Philipp Engelhorn for The Wall Street Journal

Reaching Out: John Hitchcox founded yoo with French designer Philippe Starck

John Hitchcox, whose firm designed the development in the Philippines that was launched that night, has made a name for himself housing an internationally minded, design-obsessed crowd in far-flung, sometimes unlikely, destinations. In his native Britain, he is known for residences that drew the creative class to postindustrial neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification.

When he and his partners first thought of developing lofts in London’s Bankside district in the early 1990s, it was anything but the coveted area it is today. “There was no Tube station or Tate, and the Globe was just an idea,” said Mr. Hitchcox, 51 years old. READ MORE

INVEST IN UKRAINE: REVEALING THE POTENTIAL

 UA2013Forum

Dear Readers,

You are respectfully invited to participate in the International Investment Forum & Road Show “INVEST IN UKRAINE: REVEALING THE POTENTIAL” which will take place on June 10-11, 2013 in New York City.  I will be one of the featured panelists at this premier event and would love to see you there.

The Forum will bring together the CEO level representatives of the Top-100 Ukrainian companies in the ‘worth a second look’ sectors and US investment professionals, who represent investors, private equity funds, investment and commercial banks. It is hoped that the named parties will exchange critically important information about serious opportunities for attracting/providing investments to Ukrainian companies during a time of economic challenges.

The main topics to be covered are: the reasons why the sectors are worth a ‘second look’, financing sources available for companies in the said sectors including debt, private and public equity, as well as the outlook of global investors on Ukraine generally.  

The complete program and roster of presenting participants is here. You are welcome to attend any and all listed events.

Link for registration: http://goo.gl/6Zjw8

I look forward to seeing you at the Forum.

Sincerely,

Alexander Gordin

Ukraine - Proprietary Fi180 Country Profile - page 1 of 4

NEW BILLS SEEK TO IMPROVE EXPORT PROMOTION EFFORTS

Global Trade Magazine

Thre pieces of new legislation has been introduced in Congress aimed at better coordinating the federal government's export promiton programs. Credit. leatherdown.com

Three pieces of new legislation has been introduced in Congress aimed at better coordinating the federal government’s export promition programs. Credit. leatherdown.com

Three bills have been introduced in Congress that would enhance several federal programs aimed at promoting US-based small- and medium -sized businesses (SMEs) abroad.

The legislation – introduced last week by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), chair of the House Small Business Committee – seeks to improve “the coordination of federal trade promotion agencies.”

That would include “doing a better job of publishing up-to-date listings of foreign trade missions, tariff laws, and modifications in foreign regulations” and “integrating the states’ efforts at foreign trade promotion” into existing federal programs.

“Although 95 percent of the world’s market for products exists outside the US, many small firms do not have the resources and personnel to take advantage of these opportunities,” Graves said in a statement.

However, despite an improved environment for lending to SMEs, improved access to working capital remains a key factor in the success of small businesses wanting to expand into the global marketplace.

A survey released last month by the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy found that small business exporters “were especially dependent on working-capital loans because of the longer transportation times required when shipping goods abroad and the risk in foreign sales. “

The US Export-Import Bank (EXIM) manages an initiative to assist SME’s with expedited export financing and loan guarantees, but the agency has come under threat recently as it could be forced to stop operations in two months unless the Senate approves the nomination of Fred Hochberg as president of the government-operated bank for another two years.

“If we do not again confirm Mr. Hochberg before July 20, we run the risk of leaving the bank without a quorum to act on many of the transactions before it, which will hurt American workers and exporters,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD).

THE WORLD-FAMOUS FRENCH FRY

 

Trade-Cycle-Lead

 BY WILL SWAIM, GlobalTradeMag

Japanese kids have always been early adopters of global cultural trends—consider baseball (the country’s national sport) and Santa Claus, whom the Japanese have transformed into a kind of Jewish matchmaker presiding over a Christmas that looks more like Valentine’s Day.

Now Japanese youth are storming fast-food joints to order belly-busting volumes of fried potatoes, disgusting some observers by eating them all, and outraging others by leaving some behind. Blogger Brian Ashcraft reports that one scold took to Twitter to admonish the revelers: “Look, buying 23 large French fries is fine, but you gotta eat them all, you gotta eat every last one.”

Fried potatoes are truly international—whether they make a cameo in Canadian poutine (put to bed beneath blankets of gravy and a kind of cheese), as chips in England, as Belgian fries or a freak Japanese trend. But no matter where you eat them, the global trade cycle of what Americans call “French fries” begins in the Andes.

1

1In the 1550s, Spanish infantry encountered the potato in the arid Peruvian highlands. Shipped back to Europe, the tuber slowly grew in popularity, imbedding itself in Ireland, for example, as the chief staple. “No London merchant ever formed a new company to trade potatoes,” writes Steven Topik, my Global Trade colleague and co-author (with Kenneth Pomeranz) of The World That Trade Created. “But crises created needs to which the potato was beautifully suited; today, potatoes are the second-largest food crop in the world.”    READ MORE

US COMMERCE DEPT. RELEASES LATEST US EXPORT FIGURES

GlobalTradeMag.com

The US exported $184 billion worth of goods and services, according to the latest figures released by the US Department of Commerce. Credit: redbubble.com

The US exported $184.3 billion in goods and services in March 2013, down from the $186 billion shipped overseas in February, according to the latest trade data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the US Commerce Department.

For the three months ending in March, exports of goods and services averaged $184.9 billion, while imports of goods and services averaged $227.2 billion, resulting in an average trade deficit of $42.3 billion.

The March figures show surpluses with Hong Kong of $3.2 billion; Brazil, $1.7 billion; Australia, $1.5 billion; and Singapore, $1.4 billion.

Deficits were recorded with China, $17.9 billion; the European Union, $9.9 billion; Japan, $6.6 billion; Mexico, $5.3 billion; Germany, $5.1 billion; OPEC, $4.5 billion; Canada, $2.3 billion; Ireland, $2.1 billion; Saudi Arabia, $2.1 billion; India, $1.8 billion; South Korea, $1.3 billion; and Venezuela, $1.3 billion.

Exports of goods and services over the last twelve months totaled $2.2 trillion, which is 39.7 percent above the level of exports in 2009. Over the last twelve months, exports have been growing at an annualized rate of 10.8 percent when compared to 2009.

According to the BEA, over the last twelve months, among the major export markets the countries with the largest annualized increase in US goods purchases, when compared to 2009, occurred in Panama, 31.2 percent; Russia, 24.7 percent; United Arab Emirates, 24.4 percent; Chile, 23.4 percent; Peru, 23.4 percent; Venezuela, 21.1 percent; Argentina, 21.1 percent; South Africa, 20.6 percent; Hong Kong, 20.6 percent; and Columbia, 20.3 percent.

lndustrial supplies accounted for 34 percent of total exports with capital goods claiming a 33 percent share; consumer goods,12 percent; foods, feeds, and beverages account, 9 percent; and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines, 9 percent.

Emerging Tech: 9 International Startup Hubs to Watch

Emerging Tech: 9 International Startup Hubs to Watch

Dublin, Ireland
image credit: Luxe Travel

Logitech, Rovio and Skype — these three companies produce products as mainstream as keyboards, services as cutting edge as video chatting, and games as addictive as Angry Birds. While each is different, they all began as startups outside the U.S. and experienced the kind of success that propelled their brands across borders worldwide.

All over the globe, tech entrepreneurs are striving for similar results. But where are they starting up? Beyond London and Tel Aviv, many are gravitating to some unlikely locations to try to realize their business dreams.

Here’s a look at nine international tech startup hubs that might be under your radar. These vibrant communities are more than just places where startups set up shop. They are hotspots full of innovation and support, where inspiration and perspiration commingle as business plans are hatched, opportunities emerge, and even entire markets are being built.  READ MORE

6 Strategies to Build a Global Brand

 
6 Strategies to Build a Global Brand

Image credit: Shutterstock

Building a global brand requires more than just launching a web site that’s accessible from almost anywhere in the world.

From language missteps to misunderstanding cultural norms, veteran branding expert Barbara E. Kahn has seen it all when it comes to the missteps of launching a brand across borders. Here, she shares six tips to help entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls.

1. Understand customer behavior. 

Just because consumers have certain buying preferences or habits in one culture, doesn’t mean that such preferences are universal. “It’s astonishing how many retailers haven’t made it because they haven’t studied how consumers shop,” she says.

In her book, Global Brand Power (Wharton Digital Press, 2013), Kahn cites Walmart’s mistake in choosing locations in China that were near industrial parks when consumers were used to shopping closer to home instead of near work.

2. Position yourself properly. 
Good brand positioning includes truly understanding your competition and then looking at your competitive advantage. Who are the providers of similar products and services that you sell in this country? They may not be the same providers as in the U.S.

For example, if you sell athletic clothing, look at where people are buying their athletic clothing. It could be from specialty stores, online retailers, or sporting goods stores. If you have a high-end brand and you’re going into a market where the preferred buying location is discount retailers, it may take a different strategy from the one you use in the U.S. “You need to understand how people shop and how your brand will fit into that mix,” she says.

3. Know how your brand translates.
A clever brand or product name in one language may translate into an embarrassing misstep in another. For example, the French cheese brand Kiri changed its name to Kibi in Iran because the former name means “rotten” or “rank” in Farsi — not exactly the association you want for cheese.

In addition to ensuring that your brand translates well into other languages, consider which colors are favored in various markets. In the U.S., blues and greens are favored, while reds and yellows are frequently used in some Latin American countries and may be appealing and familiar to audience members from those areas.
4. Think broadly. 
Since your company may need to expand into offering new products based on regional market demands, it’s important that your company name be broad enough to accommodate those changes.

“Boston Chicken changed its name to Boston Market because it had expanded into other foods,” Kahn says. If your company name is Brian’s Computers for example, consider whether that will be limiting in other markets if you also sell peripherals and services, she says.

5. Find good partners. 
Work with your attorney to protect your intellectual property overseas, filing the appropriate trademark and patent protections in the U.S. and elsewhere, if applicable. Find trade representatives who come recommended from colleagues or state or federal trade offices, since they’re more likely to be reputable.

If you decide to license your product or service name to a manufacturer or provider overseas, exercise tight controls to make sure that the provider is reputable and won’t misuse or misappropriate your name and will adhere to your quality control standards. “When you put your brand name on [a product or service], you want a consistent experience so that every time, people have it, they understand the values of the brand,” Kahn says.

To learn more about developing international strategies visit www.fluentinforeign.com or if you have specific questions please contact us at your convenience

 

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