This Is The Most Innovative Startup From This Year’s Y-Combinator Class; Thalmic Labs positions its MYO armband as the next generation of gesture control, enabling you to control other devices using your movements, and without the need for a camera

This Is The Most Innovative Startup From This Year’s Y-Combinator Class

Megan Rose Dickey | Mar. 27, 2013, 10:41 AM | 3,498 | 2

Silicon Valley’s most prestigious accelerator Y Combinator just hosted its Demo Day for its Winter 2013 class. Even though this class was smaller than its previous batches, the talent was just as good. Out of the 47 startups that presented at YC’s Demo Day, Thalmic Labs really caught our attention. Thalmic Labs positions its MYO armband as the next generation of gesture control, enabling you to control other devices using your movements, and without the need for a camera. Many current gesture control technologies like Microsoft‘s Xbox Kinect, for example, require you to be in front of a camera. It also forces you to use pre-programmed gestures. But with MYO, it can track even the most subtle gestures. The armband works by sensing the electrical activity in your muscles to control your computer, video games, or even a drone. But Thalmic has opened up its API so developers can come up with more ways to use MYO. Already, Thalmic has sold 25,000 MYO devices and brought in $3.7 million in revenue. You can pre-order your own MYO for $149 here.

How Samsung Became the World’s No. 1 Smartphone Maker

Here’s Bloomberg Businessweek’s Cover About How Samsung Became The King Of Smartphones

Steve Kovach | 59 minutes ago | 18 | 

Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover story this week is all about the rise of Samsung. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover art:

4-1-13 newsstand

How Samsung Became the World’s No. 1 Smartphone Maker

By Sam Grobart on March 28, 2013

I’m in a black Mercedes-Benz (DAI) van with three Samsung Electronics PR people heading toward Yongin, a city about 45 minutes south of Seoul. Yongin is South Korea’s Orlando: a nondescript, fast-growing city known for its tourist attractions, especially Everland Resort, the country’s largest theme park. But the van isn’t going to Everland. We’re headed to a far more profitable theme park: the Samsung Human Resources Development Center, where the theme just happens to be Samsung.


Photograph by Tony Law for Bloomberg BusinessweekSamsung’s Human Resources Development Center



feat_samsung14_mobile-chart_605 Read more of this post

The Brilliant, Unusual Way Media Startup Upworthy Grew To 10.4 Million Monthly Readers In Its First Year

The Brilliant, Unusual Way Media Startup Upworthy Grew To 10.4 Million Monthly Readers In Its First Year

Alyson Shontell | Mar. 27, 2013, 1:44 PM | 2,680 | 4

screen shot 2012-11-05 at 1.52.25 pm51542599-0c46-4b24-8c68-215fcac01582

Eli Pariser, co-founder of Upworthy.

Most media companies focus on covering the latest news. Eli Pariser and his army of bloggers at Upworthy don’t, yet they have grown from no readers last year to 10.4 million last month.

If The New York Times is a designer store with new, original items that keep readers informed, Pariser is running an antique shop, recognizing the value in old gems, and selling them for much more.

Essentially, Upworthy goes dumpster diving in the Internet’s archives, hoping to find gold. They’re looking for any scrap of a moving, visual story they can tell that was, for some reason or another, initially overlooked by readers. They polish it off with a catchy headline, send it out into the Twitterverse and Facebook, and watch the readers flock to the page.

When you’re promoting old stories, there’s not much competition either. News sites compete to be the first to a story, so there’s a lot of overlapping coverage. It’d be hard for another site to stumble upon the same older content Upworthy finds at exactly the same time.

To find the hidden gems, Upworthy’s content curators spend a large portion of the day scouring YouTube and other visual sites. They don’t crank out dozens of stories each; Pariser estimates only 60 pieces of content are created per week. Interest, not timeliness, is what matters when it comes to social content.   Read more of this post

Bitcoin Prices Have Gone Utterly Nuclear In The Last Two Days; Back in February, one Bitcoin was trading at around $20. Today? $95

Bitcoin Prices Have Gone Utterly Nuclear In The Last Two Days

Joe Weisenthal | Mar. 28, 2013, 5:30 AM | 4,438 | 18

The price of a Bitcoin, the digital money that’s become the new obsession of gold and silver-types, continues its dizzying assent. Here’s a short term chart. Back in February, one Bitcoin was trading at around $20. Today? $95, having had two huge moves over the last two days.

screen shot 2013-03-28 at 5.24.53 am


26 Tips On How To Read People

26 Tips On How To Read People

Kim Bhasin and Max Nisen | Mar. 27, 2013, 2:18 PM | 192,193 | 1

Few people are so rigidly controlled that they don’t give clues as to what they’re thinking or feeling. Learning to read these can be a big advantage in business and life.

There’s no single, consistent recipe — and even the best mind readers on the planet are only right 80 percent of the time — but there’s a lot to be learned.

According to UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian55 percent of what you convey comes from body language, 38 percent from the tone of your voice, and only 7 percent from what you actually say. 

We’ve compiled tips from Psychology Today and elsewhere that will help you stay one step ahead of everyone else.

To start, always get a baseline reading so you can distinguish personal quirks from real tells.

Notice others trying to read your baseline with seemingly innocuous questions like, “How are you today?” Read more of this post

Cao Shiru, the woman behind Zhongnanhai’s Hongqi supermarket; “In business, it is not enough to be self-possessed, you also need innovation”; Cao gives her staff the freedom to carry out their plans and backs them strongly if she believes that their ideas are right.

Cao Shiru, the woman behind Zhongnanhai’s Hongqi supermarket

Staff Reporter 2013-03-28


Until its mysterious closure, Hongqi of Chengdu was the only supermarket chain to operate an outlet in Zhongnanhai, the government compound in the heart of Beijing that houses the State Council and the headquarters of the Communist Party.

Despite the setback, the chain’s founder Cao Shiru has proved herself a canny operator in the retail industry, reports the semi-monthly China Entrepreneur.

“The first two characters of my name are pronounced the same as supermarket in Mandarin,” Cao told the magazine, explaining why she has a strong affinity for the retail sector.

Cao’s chain employs over 13,000 workers, and while around 80% of them are female, most of her senior executives are men.

Yu Shi, the company’s deputy general manager, told the magazine that Cao gives her staff the freedom to carry out their plans and backs them strongly if she believes that their ideas are right. Read more of this post

Bubbles and bankruptcy: a British history

Bubbles and bankruptcy: a British history

We review the Bubbles and Bankruptcy exhibition at the British Museum, which charts four hundred years of British bank collapses and the frenzied asset bubbles that all too often beguiled investors.

UK history – as the British Museum reveals in its “Bubbles and Bankruptcy” exhibition – is crammed with examples of wily banking scams, bailouts and asset bubbles.


Steve Bell’s ‘Bank Levy’ at the British Museum

By Helia Ebrahimi, Senior City Correspondent

2:47PM GMT 27 Mar 2013

No man is an island. But try telling General Gregor MacGregor that.

He invented one, the Principality of Poyais, which he claimed to rule before selling shares in the South American colony. It turned out to be totally uninhabitable.

He also pre-fixed his name with “Sir”. As you do. His honour, as it turned out, was also fictitious.

Still, in many ways, the general was a prototype investment banker. Not that far removed, perhaps, from those who packaged up sub-prime mortgages known to be worthless before selling them to hapless investors.

In fact, UK history – as the British Museum reveals in its “Bubbles and Bankruptcy” exhibition – is crammed with examples of wily banking scams, bailouts and asset bubbles.

From the South Sea bubble, to tulip speculation, it turns out that naughty bankers have always had a knack of getting rich while others pick up the bill. Not least the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street – aka the Bank of England.

The exhibition takes an amusing look at Northern Rock’s collapse, which is placed alongside a collage of defunct credit cards from HBOS, RBS and Lloyds – now propped up only by taxpayer funds.

financial-crises-1_2521051c Read more of this post

The Ambow Massacre — Baring Private Equity Fails in Its Take Private Plan

The Ambow Massacre — Baring Private Equity Fails in Its Take Private Plan

March 27th, 2013

Peter Fuhrman is Chairman, Founder & CEO at China First Capital, (中国首创)a leading China-focused specialist international investment bank and advisory firm for private capital markets and M&A transactions.


In the last two years, more than 40 US-listed Chinese companies have announced plans to delist in “take private” deals.  About half the deals have a PE firm at the center of things, providing some of the capital and most of the intellectual and strategic firepower. The PE firms argue that the US stock market has badly misunderstood, and so deeply undervalued these Chinese companies. The PE firms confidently boast they are buying into great businesses at fire sale prices.

The PE firm teams up with the company’s owner to buy out public shareholders, with the plan being at some future point to either sell the business or relist it outside the US. At the moment, PE firms are involved in take private deals worth about $5 billion. Some of the bigger names include Focus Media7 Days InnSimcere Pharmaceutical.

The ranks of “take private” deals fell by one yesterday. PE firm Baring Private Equityannounced it is dropping its plan to take private a Chinese company called Ambow Education Holding listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Baring, which is among the larger Asia-headquartered private equity firms, with over $5 billion under management,  first announced its intention to take Ambow private on March 15. Within eleven days, Baring was forced to scrap the whole plan. Read more of this post

Looming property taxes in China spark owner panic; South China’s Guangdong Province was first to detail its implementation of the measures on Tuesday

Looming property taxes spark owner panic   2013-03-27

BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) — Pre-opening queues have snaked around Chinese property trading centers in the past few days, with those in line vexed by the uncertain roll-out date of stricter market regulations.

They have been joined by Chinese netizens in feverish discussion of the March 1 announcement by central government that homeowners who sell will face income tax as high as 20 percent of the profit they make on the transaction. With no firm timeline set for the imposition of the measure, which is designed to cool the red-hot property sector, many are racing to sell.

Consequently, property agencies throughout the country have been inundated by sellers and buyers in a dilemma over the future heavier taxes.

Prior to the new rules, income tax was 1 percent to 2 percent of sale price.

South China’s Guangdong Province was first to detail its implementation of the measures on Tuesday. Read more of this post

Cool pictures of a soy sauce factory in Pudong, Shanghai that has been recognized by State Council for its intangible cultural heritage for its use of traditional processes to ferment the sauce


作者:金兮敏  | 2013年03月27日 08:44 | 栏目: 城市景深 原创

3月24日,上海博联部分博友,应邀赴地处浦东外高桥保税区的上海钱万隆调味品有限公司参观。 2008年6月,国务院公布了第二批国家级非物质文化遗产保护名录,”钱万隆酱油酿造技艺”成为中国酱油行业唯一的”国家级非物质文化遗产”的中华老字号品牌。钱万隆”官酱园”以其129年的历史传承,特有的酿造技艺,生产出纯正滋味的高品质酱油。得知天然特晒酱油的抗氧化剂保健作用高出红酒10倍,更感到传统酿造业的大有可为。


Liberate Your Employees and Recharge your Business Model

Liberate Your Employees and Recharge your Business Model

by Karan Girotra and Serguei Netessine  |   1:00 PM March 27, 2013

It finally seems that the uproar over Marissa Meyer’s diktat banning flexible work policies at Yahoo is dying down. While good arguments were made on both sides of the issue, what got lost in the charged debate was the potential for evolving traditional business models through changing the employee-employer relationship.

Our research on identifying replicable templates for business model innovation shows that innovating how a company engages with its workforce is an often overlooked way of increasing business model performance. The basic structure of the firm-employee relationship has not changed much over the last 50 years. Relying on a forecast of organizational needs, firms select the nature and number of employees, who are then assigned some working hours and tasks to do in those hours.

But a few pioneering companies are challenging each aspect of this traditional model and are offering unprecedented opportunities along the way.

Rethinking Who Your Employees Are

Traditional organizations identify a set of individuals as their “employees” before they are fully aware of the employee’s talents and their needs.  Read more of this post

A Data Scientist’s Real Job: Storytelling

A Data Scientist’s Real Job: Storytelling

by Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin  |   2:00 PM March 27, 2013

Every morning at, our computers greet us with a report containing over 350 million data points tracking our organization’s performance. Our challenge as data scientists is to translate this haystack of information into guidance for staff so they can make smart decisions — whether it’s choosing the right headline for today’s email blast (should we ask our members to “take action now” or “learn more”?) or determining the purpose of our summer volunteer campaign (food donation drive or recycling campaign?).

In short, we’re tasked with transforming data into directives. Good analysis parses numerical outputs into an understanding of the organization. We “humanize” the data by turning raw numbers into a story about our performance. Read more of this post

Dutch Co-Founder of Why I’m leaving China

Why I’m leaving China – opinion

By Marc van der Chijs @CNNMoney March 27, 2013: 10:08 AM ET


After doing business in China for more than a decade, Marc van der Chijs is moving to Vancouver.

When I first came to China as an expatriate in early 2000 to work for Daimler, I had no plans to stay.

But I fell in love with this country and ended up making China my home for more than 13 years. I stayed for the business opportunities, as well as the entrepreneurial vibe that runs through cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

While living in China I was able to co-found several companies, including online video site, the Asian operations of Dutch online game company Spil Games and online fashion site I also invested in many Chinese Internet and tech startups and helped them to grow.

However, about two years ago I realized that my love for China was slowly changing, and I first started thinking about moving to a different place.

Over the years, doing business had become more and more difficult for a non-Chinese. Although many areas have opened up for foreign investment, outsiders are not always able to do business on equal terms with Chinese entrepreneurs.

For example, foreigners need more capital to set up a business. Once you have a business up and running, it will be more closely scrutinized than Chinese firms. There are still tons of business opportunities available in China, but I generally felt less welcome in recent years as a foreign entrepreneur.

Much more important than this, however, was the fact that air pollution and food quality were getting worse in my adopted home. Read more of this post

Tiny Dolls Get Big Personalities in Hopes of Boosting Sales; Fisher-Price is revamping its Little People line of preschool dolls with an older appearance, personality traits and back stories. Will the move bring licensing riches?

March 27, 2013, 7:17 p.m. ET

Tiny Dolls Get Big Personalities in Hopes of Boosting Sales



The redesigned Little People dolls, on sale this summer, will have distinct personalities. From left to right: artistic Sofie, energetic Eddie, shy Mia, silly Kobe and twirly Tessa.

Little People dolls, a staple of the toddler playroom for more than half a century, have a problem: No one remembers their names.

Their maker, Fisher-Price Inc., is trying to change that. It hopes more memorable names lead to add-on riches like television shows and songs.

The visual changes in the figures—their first in 15 years—might seem subtle. They will be a tad taller (about 2½ inches high), thinner and less babyish looking. The dolls will wear updated clothing and hairstyles. No longer holding pets or playthings or snack food, their arms will be set in more expressive poses.

Most important, says the company, the painted plastic figures will have full-blown, identifiable personalities: Eddie is active and athletic. Mia is the shy, feminine one. Tessa loves to twirl like a ballerina. Read more of this post

A fast-growing crowd of mobile messaging apps with funny names like WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk is rankling technology giants from Silicon Valley to Seoul

March 27, 2013, 8:13 p.m. ET

The Messaging Apps Taking on Facebook, Phone Giants


On a recent Saturday, Johan Dijkland, a 23-year-old student in Emmen, Netherlands, opened a free messaging app called Line on his iPhone. Then he tapped on a virtual sticker of a sleepy panda with a “good night” speech bubble and pressed send to a friend.

With that action, Mr. Dijkland’s text joined the tens of billions of messages that are processed every day from a fast-growing crowd of mobile messaging apps.

These messaging apps—with funny names like WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk—have become an indispensable form of communication for hundreds of millions of people world-wide.

They are also rankling technology giants from Silicon Valley to Seoul. That is because when users like Mr. Dijkland send messages using Line, his mobile carrier Vodafone Group VOD.LN -0.05% PLC and iPhone maker Apple Inc. AAPL -2.00% don’t directly profit from the interaction. Read more of this post

When Apps Attack: Industries Under Pressure

Updated March 27, 2013, 7:59 p.m. ET

When Apps Attack: Industries Under Pressure


The mobile-apps industry is still in its infancy, but it is already taking on giants.

Apps are cheap to make and easy to distribute, forcing many old-line industries to rethink the way they do business.

With a single click, millions of Americans are comparing prices, hailing taxis and downloading addictive videogames to their smartphones.

“You don’t have to be a huge company with billions of dollars to build a business anymore; you really can be two guys in a basement,” said Jeff Haynie, chief executive of Appcelerator, which licenses software for app developers. “Very traditional models are getting disrupted.”

That trend is set to continue as more consumers switch from simple mobile phones to smartphones that spur app consumption. Last year marked the first time more U.S. mobile phone users had smartphones than simpler feature phones, according to data from comScore Inc.SCOR -0.24%

Here are four industries under pressure because of the rise of apps: Read more of this post

Adapt or Perish: Evidence of CEO Adaptability to Strategic Industry Shocks

Adapt or Perish: Evidence of CEO Adaptability to Strategic Industry Shocks

Wayne R. Guay University of Pennsylvania – Accounting Department

Daniel J. Taylor University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

Jason J. Xiao University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

March 13, 2013

Prior turnover literature documents various signals of poor performance that lead a board of directors to terminate the CEO, but does not explore the underlying causes of the CEO’s poor performance. Recognizing that terminated CEOs have often been successful earlier in their tenure, we conjecture that strategic shocks to a firm’s business environment can cause the board to decide that the existing CEO’s skills do not fit with the firm’s current leadership needs. Moreover, prior research on manager ability engenders the question of whether managers are specialists or are instead capable of adapting their “style” to the changing economic conditions. We examine industry-level changes in investing, financing, and operating policies, and their effects on CEO turnover. Our turnover results suggest that CEOs struggle to adapt to a change in industry globalization, investment and marketing efforts. We also find that boards consider the CEO’s performance in response to strategic industry shocks when inferring the CEO’s adaptability, and that the sensitivity of turnover to these shocks varies with activist investors, CEO tenure, and CEO entrenchment.

China Tightens Regulations on Wealth Management

Updated March 27, 2013, 11:08 a.m. ET

China Tightens Regulations on Wealth Management


‘Shadow banking’ in China was worth $3.7 trillion in 2012 according to Standard & Poor’s estimates. Qiang Liao of the S&P tells the WSJ’s Jake Lee why these risky investments are being sold across the country.

BEIJING—China moved to rein in wildly popular but opaque investment products that form a key plank of the nation’s shadow-banking system, after the high-profile failure of one product offered a glimpse of the risk they pose to the financial system.

The rules issued Wednesday by China’s banking regulator came as China’s four biggest state-run banks said they had more than 3 trillion yuan ($467 billion) worth of such products outstanding at the end of last year, their fullest disclosure yet of their exposure to the products and a move signaling their own caution toward their proliferation.

They are called wealth-management products, which some Chinese regulators have said are sold with limited oversight or disclosure of what they contain. They are typically short-term investments that banks market as a high-yield alternative to bank deposit rates, which are kept low by the government. About half are invested in low-risk assets such as government and corporate bonds and money-market products, according to research firm Cnbenefit. But many others are backed by everything from loans to developers to accounts receivable to valuables such as gold and jewels. Read more of this post

BRICS “Big Five” find it hard to run as a herd

Published: Thursday March 28, 2013 MYT 8:39:00 AM

BRICS “Big Five” find it hard to run as a herd

DURBAN: At a summit in South Africa on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin likened the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to Africa’s “Big Five” game beasts of trophy hunting lore – the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.

The Russian president’s comparison captures the dilemma of these muscular emerging global powers, which together present a formidable potential economic and political counterweight to the developed West, but individually could hardly be more different.

The question is whether the BRICS five can run as a herd or hunt as a pack on the global stage, transforming their diverse but collective strength into real institutions and coordinating structures to project their voice in the world. Read more of this post

How to build a $37 million online cat empire

How to build a $37 million online cat empire

March 28, 2013 – 3:30PM


The man who built an online cat empire

I have cats. I like taking photos of them. I love sharing these pictures with my friends. But I don’t have a $37 million company. That’s because I’m not Ben Huh, an entrepreneur whose websites have gained cult-like status around the world. And it all started with a simple website full of cute cats with funny captions.

Of course, no person in their right mind could have predicted that cats would become one of the most popular and most shared personalities on the internet. But Huh tapped into the zeitgeist and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Huh is CEO of the Cheezburger Network, a business that runs around 50 sites at any one time, all based on humour. Along with the original cat site I Can Has Cheezburger?, the other sites include This is a Photobomb and Totally Looks LikeRead more of this post

Fat-Buster Bacteria Helps in Gastric Surgery, Researchers Find

Fat-Buster Bacteria Helps in Gastric Surgery, Researchers Find

Bacteria that live in the gut change after gastric-bypass surgery, and may aid in weight loss, according to a Harvard University study.

Researchers gave mice the stomach-shrinking surgery and monitored changes in the gut’s bacterial inhabitants, according to a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine. When bacteria from the mice that got surgery were transferred into mice with no gut germs, those mice also lost weight, about a fifth of what they would have lost with surgery.

Gastric surgery helps people lose weight by shrinking the size of the stomach, making it tougher to absorb calories. Now scientists think it may also adjust gastrointestinal bacteria, contributing to weight loss and raising the possibility for less-drastic obesity treatments, according to the authors. Read more of this post

Gadget Makers Seeking Twitter Fame Flock to Texas

Gadget Makers Seeking Twitter Fame Flock to Texas

Hardware makers will tussle with application developers for the limelight at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, a conference better known for showcasing startups such as Twitter Inc. focused on software.

“There is more hardware happening at South by Southwest this year than ever before,” Hugh Forrest, the lead organizer of the event, said in an interview. “It’s a new thing, and that newness is always sexy.”

Memoto AB is touting tiny cameras that clip to a shirt, letting users capture a running photo log, while Leap Motion Inc. will try to lure attention to computers that respond to hand motions. MakerBot Industries LLC, meantime, is promoting a three-dimensional printer at the annual gathering of technology tastemakers that gets under way today in Austin, Texas.

Entrepreneurs and investors are growing more interested in gadgets, aided by an increase in websites that make it easier to raise funding and greater access to contract manufacturers that can help build products at a reasonable cost. That’s helping hardware gain ground at a conference, better known as SXSWi, which in previous years gave rise to software sensations Twitter and Foursquare Labs Inc. Read more of this post

Merchants paid an estimated $600 billion last year to let their customers use plastic to shop. Now, some stores are turning to a Swedish company that says it can slash those credit and debit card fees in half.

Former Trader’s Software Skips Visa to Challenge Google Wallet

Merchants paid an estimated $600 billion last year to let their customers use plastic to shop. Now, some stores are turning to a Swedish company that says it can slash those credit and debit card fees in half.

Those hidden fees to banks and card companies such as Visa Inc. (V) and Mastercard Inc. (MA) eat into profits that could have gone to lower prices for customers, said Seamless Distribution AB (SEAM) Chief Executive Officer Peter Fredell. While other apps let smartphone users pay without wallets, Seamless’s SEQR is the only one that saves merchants money with no investment, he said.

“This is huge, especially when many of these merchants have an operating margin of 1 percent,” Fredell said over lunch from his office overlooking a construction site on the outskirts of Stockholm.

Seamless cut its teeth on the streets of cities such as Accra, Riga and Mumbai, where its software lets mobile users top up their pre-paid cards without a modern banking infrastructure. After 12 years, the company is harnessing the booming use of smartphones to promise savings to merchants because it can route payments directly to and from bank accounts, dodging traditional card-handling fees. Read more of this post

Grooms at $18 Fuel IPO Ambitions for Indian Matchmaker; “Whether its bottom of the pyramid, top of the pyramid, online, offline, the idea is that, we need to help them find a suitable life partner.”

Grooms at $18 Apiece Fuel IPO Hope for Indian Matchmaker: Retail

Indian parents’ anxiety to find their children suitable spouses is a constant in a country that spends $37 billion annually on weddings. Pvt., whose website has brokered more than 2 million marriages, is banking on that desire to woo investors for a potential share sale.

The company, whose private equity funders include Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners, is expanding a wedding empire that includes websites to help parents arrange marriage by caste, complexion (dark to fair) and family values (orthodox to liberal). It is now preparing to ramp up growth by selling products for the less affluent — such as lists of 10 potential suitors for 1,000 rupees ($18).

“Marriages within the community is still very much the norm and I don’t see that changing,” said Chief Executive Officer and founder Murugavel Janakiraman, who met his own wife on the site. “This is a market that will keep growing for a very long time so the demand is strong.” Read more of this post

Drugs for Indian Poor Spark Pfizer Anger at Lost Patents; The dispute illustrates how emerging markets are turning out be less lucrative than drugmakers expected

Drugs for Indian Poor Spark Pfizer Anger at Lost Patents

In trying to get sophisticated medicines to its neediest citizens, India is increasingly pitting its generic-pharmaceutical industry against international drugmakers, threatening their growth in emerging markets.

An Indian regulatory board this month upheld a ruling that allows Natco Pharma Ltd. (NTCPH) to make a low-priced copy of Bayer AG (BAYN)’s Nexavar cancer treatment. The drug is one of at least four that have had their patents weakened, revoked or rejected in India in the past year. The country also has refused a patent for Novartis AG’s (NOVN) Gleevec leukemia medicine, and the Supreme Court will rule April 1 on the company’s appeal of the decision.

Those steps are needed to put modern medicines into the hands of Indians, according to aid groups and doctors. Western drugmakers including New York-based Pfizer Inc. (PFE) say the country, which has a $30 billion drug market that’s growing 13 percent a year, is abusing international law and allowing domestic companies to profit from products discovered at Big Pharma’s expense.

The dispute illustrates how emerging markets are turning out be less lucrative than drugmakers expected. London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) has warned that so-called compulsory licensing of patented products may hurt profit growth. One advocacy group now is pushing stricken Western countries such as Greece to follow India’s lead, raising the prospect of further pressure on drug prices. Read more of this post

Helene Rey made a side trip on her way to the hospital to give birth to her daughter in September 2006: She stopped off at the main office of London Business School, where she teaches economics, to turn in a report on a doctoral defense. “If I hadn’t, the student couldn’t have graduated,” she said.

Proving Greenspan Wrong Shows Why Rey Became Worthy to Bernanke

Helene Rey made a side trip on her way to the hospital to give birth to her daughter in September 2006: She stopped off at the main office of London Business School, where she teaches economics, to turn in a report on a doctoral defense.

“If I hadn’t, the student couldn’t have graduated,” she said.

Rey’s dedication has led to teaching posts at Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, the London School of Economics and Princeton University. The department chairman who hired her there, Ben S. Bernanke, is now chairman of the Federal Reserve. Just yesterday, she became the first woman to win the Yrjo Jahnsson Prize, for a European economist under age 45 whose research is significant to Europe.

It was at Princeton that France-born Rey co-authored a paper showing how the U.S. position at the center of global finance gives it an edge to borrow cheaply and safely in the short term and make high-return, riskier investments. The study addressed concerns about the nation’s ballooning current-account deficit: By 2004, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was warning that foreigners might be unwilling to keep buying dollars.

The research caught the attention of economists at the Fed and the International Monetary Fund, and spread through academia. Read more of this post

Three small Spanish banks post multi-billion euro losses

Three small Spanish banks post multi-billion euro losses

Wed, Mar 27 2013

MADRID (Reuters) – Three small Spanish banks reported multi-billion euro losses on Wednesday, showing the scale of the country’s problems with its property market.

The three banks – Banco CEISS, BMN and Caja 3 – which have all been rescued by the government, had to take big write-downs on bad property loans and assets.

Spain has forced its banks to recognize their property losses to try to clean up the sector after the country’s property boom collapsed in 2008.

Banks without a strong enough capital base, such as CEISS, BMN and Caja 3, turned to the state for support, forcing Spain to take 41 billion euros in European aid for its banking sector. Read more of this post

Analysis: Southeast Asia ready to build, but will investors come?

Analysis: Southeast Asia ready to build, but will investors come?

Wed, Mar 27 2013

By Stuart Grudgings and Neil Chatterjee

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia is seeking European investors for $9 billion worth of water, road, air and seaport projects in what will be a litmus test of Southeast Asian countries’ ability to seize on ripe financial conditions to upgrade decrepit infrastructure.

Easy global liquidity and investors’ eagerness to tap one of the world’s few fast-growing regions should create a sweet spot for the region to fill the $600 billion in infrastructure needs the Asian Development Bank identifies over the next decade.

But infrastructure experts say a shortage of projects offering compelling returns, coupled with stifling bureaucracy and regulatory uncertainty, threatens to undermine the ambitious plans of Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Read more of this post

South Koreans in Farm U-Turn as Chaebol Era’s Rapid Growth Ends

South Koreans in Farm U-Turn as Chaebol Era’s Rapid Growth Ends

Lee Geun Hong is a rare example of wealth in South Korea’s countryside, known for its shrinking population and decades-long farming slump. Driving a Mercedes rather than a Hyundai, the former Samsung Heavy Industries Co. executive says that may soon change.

“The future for farmers is very bright,” the 60-year-old Lee said while pruning trees in a greenhouse at his farm in Sangju, overlooking the Nakdong River about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Seoul. “But those who stick to conventional ways will remain poor.”

Lee moved to Sangju from Seoul in 2007 after 18 years at the world’s second-biggest shipbuilder and a stint running his own cafeteria. He earns about $180,000 a year, more than six times the average rural income, selling blueberries online to cut out the middleman, and grows organically to appeal to Korean consumers he calls “the pickiest in the world.”

The number of people leaving cities for rural areas is at a record high in South Korea, as government subsidies to boost agricultural production coincide with slowing economic growth. The most successful bring investment and skills that are boosting margins — the number of farmers and agricultural associations earning at least 100 million won ($90,000) rose for a fourth year to 17,291 in 2012, the farm ministry said.

“The trend may help the national economy by re-channeling surplus labor to rejuvenate farming areas,” said Jun Kwang Hee, a professor of sociology at Chungnam National University. “We now live in an era where the economy is growing without creating many jobs. Your career at companies ends at 50, but you are very young at 50 and even at 60 in the countryside.” Read more of this post

Saudi Riches Don’t Reach Entrepreneurs as Bankers Shun Startups

Saudi Riches Don’t Reach Entrepreneurs as Bankers Shun Startups

When Saleh Al-Zaid decided it was time to expand, the Saudi Arabian entrepreneur figured it wasn’t even worth trying to get a bank loan.

“Saudi banks don’t want to take the risk with early stage startups,” Al-Zaid said over coffee and donuts in Riyadh. Instead, the 28-year-old obtained 1 million riyals ($267,000) from an investor in local venture-capital group Oqal, financing a trip to Silicon Valley for training. He left his part-time job, and now his website, which helps Twitter users share e- mails, has 400,000 visitors on a busy day.

The banking blind-spot may be an obstacle for King Abdullah’s efforts to create jobs and diversify the economy away from oil, which brings 90 percent of government revenue. The kingdom, the world’s biggest crude exporter, is investing $500 billion on industry, transportation and housing, a program Abdullah expanded after watching revolts sweep across other high-unemployment Arab countries two years ago.

The Saudi plan is for private business to take over the growth baton from government spending. Smaller companies may struggle to play their part so long as they’re constrained by a lack of financing. Just 2 percent of Saudi bank loans go to small and medium-sized businesses, compared with an 8 percent Middle East average that’s itself low by global standards, according to the International Finance Corp., the World Bank’s private lending arm.

“In a country like Saudi Arabia, where relationship banking is very important, there has been a tendency for banks to focus on big corporates,” said James Reeve, an economist at Samba Financial (SAMBA) Group in Riyadh. “Some observers feel the needs of small and medium-sized businesses have been overlooked.” Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: