A Brief History of LinkedIn

A Brief History of LinkedIn
by  on May 05, 2013

From a handful of guys in a living room to 225 million members around the world. Join us for a look back at where we’ve been over the last decade. Thanks to our amazing members for being a part of our journey.

Why Productive People Have Empty Schedules; Lessons on guarding your time by Warren Buffett, Peter Drucker, Charles Dickens, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, and others. Nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation

WHY PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE HAVE EMPTY SCHEDULES

WHAT’S THE ONE RESOURCE YOU CAN’T BORROW, INVEST, OR RECOVER? TIME. LESSONS ON GUARDING YOURS BY WARREN BUFFETT, PETER DRUCKER, CHARLES DICKENS, REDDIT CEO YISHAN WONG, AND OTHERS.

BY: DRAKE BAER

Back in 1991, Warren Buffett met Bill Gates, though as he tells Levo League, neither of them were excited to see one another. But it turned out they had a great time talking–and during the course of the conversation, Buffett pulled out the little black date book that he carries in his pocket. He flipped through it: the pages were practically empty. “You’ve gotta keep control of your time,” Buffett says, “and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.” Read more of this post

Berkshire CEOs Spend Quietly, Match Buffett on Heinz Deal; “Warren’s not a manager,” Iscar’s Wertheimer said. “He’s a teacher for all of us.”

Berkshire CEOs Spend Quietly, Match Buffett on Heinz Deal

Warren Buffett stole headlines when he committed $12.1 billion in a deal to take ketchup maker HJ Heinz Co. (HNZ) private this year. Managers at his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) spent as much in 2012 while attracting less attention.

Executives who gathered last week for Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, said in interviews that they plan to spend even more this year as they upgrade a rail network and energy utilities, expand manufacturing capacity and hunt for additional acquisitions.

Buffett, 82, relies on chief executive officers of the operating units to make deals and invest in plant and equipment to build the businesses and widen their competitive advantage. That helps slow the accumulation of cash and reduces the need for Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and CEO, to find other uses for the money.

“If I don’t take my own cash flow and reinvest, all I do is add to his problems,” said James Hambrick, CEO of chemical maker Lubrizol, which Berkshire bought in 2011.

Hambrick’s unit plans to spend about $1.4 billion over the next three years as it replaces equipment and adds capacity to manufacture products like chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, a plastic that’s used for pipes in buildings. Even after similar spending and acquisitions in recent years, Lubrizol has still sent money to Omaha for Buffett to allocate, Hambrick said. Read more of this post

Bernanke Warns of ‘Important Risks’ in Wholesale Funding Markets

Bernanke Warns of ‘Important Risks’ in Wholesale Funding Markets

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said risks persist in wholesale funding markets used frequently by Wall Street brokers to finance securities trading.

“Important risks remain in the short-term wholesale funding markets,” Bernanke said today in the text of a speech at a Chicago Fed banking conference. “One of the key risks is how the system would respond to the failure of a broker-dealer or other major borrower.”

Bernanke outlined how the Fed has overhauled risk monitoring since a collapse in mortgage finance triggered a crisis in 2008 that led to the worst recession since the Great Depression.

“More work is needed to better prepare investors and other market participants to deal with the potential consequences of a default by a large participant in the repo market,” Bernanke said. He said that the “possibility of a run” on money-market funds remains. Read more of this post

Correlation between S&P 500 and Initial Jobless Claims

The Most Beautiful Correlation In The Market Continues To Work Perfectly

Joe Weisenthal | May 10, 2013, 4:52 AM | 6,664 | 18

We’ve been posting this chart for ages, and been marveling forever at how beautiful it is, and it just never ceases to amaze us. The relationship between initial jobless claims (red line) and the S&P 500 (blue line) has held remarkably strong for years now. Initial jobless claims hit a brand new post-crisis low yesterday, and of course, the S&P 500 is making brand new highs. Showing this chart is the perfect counterpoint to anyone saying that this is all a “Fed-driven” market and that there’s no real-economy improvement to back it up.

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No Free Shop: Why Target Companies in MBOs and Private Equity Transactions Sometimes Choose Not to Buy ‘Go Shop’ Options

No Free Shop: Why Target Companies in MBOs and Private Equity Transactions Sometimes Choose Not to Buy ‘Go Shop’ Options

Adonis Antoniades Columbia University – Department of Economics

Charles W. Calomiris Columbia University – Columbia Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Donna M. Hitscherich Columbia Business School – Finance and Economics

April 30, 2013
Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-25

Abstract: 
We study the decisions by targets in private equity and MBO transactions whether to actively “shop” their initial acquisition agreements prior to the shareholders’ approval of those contracts. Specifically, targets can insert a “go-shop” clause into their contracts, which permits them to use the agreement to solicit offers from other would-be acquirors during the “go-shop” window, during which the termination fee paid by the target is temporarily lowered. We consider the “go-shop” decision from the theoretical perspective of value maximization under asymmetric information, and also consider conflicts of interest on the parts of management, bankers, and attorneys that might affect the decision. Empirically, we find that the decision to retain the option to shop an offer is predicted by various firm attributes, including larger size, more fragmented ownership, and various characteristics of the firms’ legal advisory team and procedures. These can be interpreted as reflecting a combination of informational characteristics, litigation risk, and attorney conflicts of interest. We employ legal advisor characteristics as instruments when analyzing the effects of go-shop decisions on target acquisition premia and value. We find, as predicted in our theoretical framework, that go-shops are not a free option; they result in lower initial acquisition premia, ceteris paribus. Our theoretical framework has an ambiguous prediction about the effects of go-shop choice on target firm valuation. Consistent with theory, we find no significant effect on abnormal returns from choosing a “go-shop” option.

Air Pollution Raises Risk of Diabetes Precursor in Kids

Air Pollution Raises Risk of Diabetes Precursor in Kids

Exposure to air pollution raises the risk of resistance to insulin, a typical warning sign of diabetes, according to a study of almost 400 German children.

Insulin resistance climbed by 17 percent for every 10.6 micrograms per cubic meter increase in ambient nitrogen dioxide and by 19 percent for every 6 micrograms per cubic meter increase in particulate matter in the study of 10-year-olds. The findings were published today in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The study adds to previous research that showed a link between traffic-related air pollution and the development of diabetes in adults. Those studies have shown that exposure to fine pollution particles that invade the breathing system and get into the heart and blood vessels increases inflammation, which may be linked to insulin resistance, said Joachim Heinrich of the German Research Center for Environmental Health, one of the study authors.

“Given the ubiquitous nature of air pollution and the high incidence of insulin resistance in the general population, the associations examined here may have potentially important public health effects,” Heinrich said in the published paper.

Diabetes occurs when blood-sugar levels are too high. In the Type 1 form of the disease, the body is unable to produce insulin, the hormone used to convert blood sugar into energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the body either can’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to its effects. Read more of this post

Swiss Watches Unworn as China Tackles Graft: Chart of the Day

Swiss Watches Unworn as China Tackles Graft: Chart of the Day

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China’s love affair with glitzy Swiss timepieces is ending, as President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption makes targets of wearers.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows Chinese imports of Swiss-made watches tumbled 24 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier for a third straight decline, while shipments to Hong Kong sank 9.3 percent, according to trade data from Switzerland. The lower panel compares shares of Hengdeli Holdings Ltd. (3389) and Emperor Watch & Jewellery Ltd. (887), the biggest watch retailers traded in Hong Kong, versus the Hang Seng Index, Swatch Group AG and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand. Read more of this post

Vietnam’s Star Is Dimming; the strategy that got Vietnam this far — a China-like heavy reliance on state-owned enterprises and top-down planning — is now holding the nation back

Vietnam’s Star Is Dimming

Like other would-be tiger economies, Vietnam faces a trifecta of new threats: a crisis-paralyzed Europe, a faltering America, and a newly spendthrift Japan. Yet the biggest risk to the nation’s future may be old-fashioned nostalgia.

It has been 27 years since Hanoi launched the “Doi Moi” reforms that allowed privately owned companies to participate in the economy and opened key sectors, such as agriculture. The rapid growth that followed propelled Vietnam toward the realm of middle-income nations, transforming the onetime war zone into a case study for development and poverty reduction. Now, though, Vietnam’s 1986 blueprint for a “socialist-oriented market economy” is looking dated.

Recent data show the strategy that got Vietnam this far — a China-like heavy reliance on state-owned enterprises and top-down planning — is now holding the nation back. Vietnam is losing ground on global competitiveness league tables while growth has slowed to about 5 percent, the lowest rate since 1999. To recover, the country needs to do precisely what it has avoided doing thus far: build a truly vibrant and innovative private sector that can diversify growth and create prosperity. Read more of this post

Apple Bonds: How Much Could Happen in 30 Years?

Apple Bonds: How Much Could Happen in 30 Years?

By Nick Summers on May 03, 2013

One of the more remarkable things about Apple’s (AAPL) record debt sale on April 30 was that $3 billion of it came in the form of 30-year bonds. That’s a common duration in such sectors as financials and health care—but not so much in technology, where fortunes are made and destroyed by the constant churn of innovation. Just think of all the things that the last 30 years have brought. The Macintosh. Windows. The Internet. Google (GOOG). The iPhone and iPad. The rise, fall, rise, and fall of Apple itself. Now try to envision what might change in the tech industry between now and 2043—the same year that Ali Lohan, younger sister of Lindsay, becomes eligible for membership in AARP. (Also, try to envision how investors will feel about having lent to Apple at a rate just 1 percentage point higher than virtually riskless U.S. Treasuries.) For some context, here’s a sampling of tech-related 30-year bonds that were issued 30-ish years ago:

Recognition Equipment
Issued: April 3, 1986
Which is the same month as: the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Maturity: April 15, 2011

How’d that work out?: REI, which made optical character recognition technology, lost a big U.S. Postal Service envelope-scanning contract, and its chief executive was indicted. (The charges were dismissed.) “After the scandal, corporate raiders took over and sold” the company, according to D magazine. The bond was called in 1997.
Crazy Eddie
Issued: July 1, 1986
Which is the same month as: the first video footage of the Titanic wreckage is shot
Maturity: June 15, 2011

How’d that work out? The electronics retailer, with its iconic advertising (“his prices are insaaaaaaaane”), declared bankruptcy in 1989. Founder Eddie Antar served hard time for fraud. Read more of this post

The Right Way for a CEO to Deliver Bad News

The Right Way for a CEO to Deliver Bad News

By Claire Suddath on May 09, 2013

How do you tell 400,000 people they’re terrible at their jobs? Do you hold a meeting? Send a mass e-mail? Tell only a few people and wait for your criticism to circulate, middle school-style? Or do you follow IBM (IBM) Chief Executive Officer Virginia “Ginni” Rometty’s example and record a video message, post it to your company’s internal blog, and then share it with the entire workforce?

After the disappointing earnings report on April 18, Rometty released a video to all 434,000 employees in which she admitted that IBM hadn’t “transformed rapidly enough.” She called out the sales staff for missing out on several big deals. “We were too slow,” she said. “The result? It didn’t get done.” The press got wind of her message, and Rometty’s now accused of the corporate equivalent of yelling at her children in public. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, called the outburst a “rare companywide reprimand.” IBM declined to comment on the video. Read more of this post

Innovator: Dor Givon Gives Computers and Tablets 3D Powers

Innovator: Dor Givon Gives Computers and Tablets 3D Powers

By Olga Kharif on May 09, 2013

Imagine turning a smartphone into a full-body motion controller similar to the Microsoft (MSFT) Kinect or Nintendo’s (7974) Wii remote. Dor Givon, 41, has developed software that enables a device equipped with a standard 2D camera to register movement in three dimensions. “Every camera in the world today can be transformed to 3D,” says Givon, chief technology officer of Israeli startup Extreme Reality.

Givon’s software, Extreme Motion, uses a running video feed from the 2D cameras built into most laptops and tablets to map a person’s body and recognize his movements. Its algorithms calculate angles of limbs and joints to interpret the 2D images in 3D, adding depth to them frame by frame. On a camera-equipped laptop or TV, users can adjust the volume, move the cursor, and play games with a set of hand gestures the software recognizes from across the room. On a smartphone or tablet, the software lets developers add motion commands to mobile games. Read more of this post

Netflix, Reed Hastings Survive Missteps to Join Silicon Valley’s Elite

Netflix, Reed Hastings Survive Missteps to Join Silicon Valley’s Elite

By Ashlee Vance on May 09, 2013

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On a normal weeknight, Netflix (NFLX) accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes. That’s more than YouTube, Hulu,Amazon.com (AMZN), HBO Go, iTunes, and BitTorrent combined. Traffic to Netflix usually peaks at around 10 p.m. in each time zone, at which point a chart of Internet consumption looks like a python that swallowed a cow. By midnight Pacific time, streaming volume falls off dramatically. As prime time wound down on Jan. 31, though, there was an unusual amount of tension at Netflix. That was the night the company premièred House of Cards, its political thriller set in Washington. Before midnight about 40 engineers gathered in a conference room at Netflix’s headquarters. They sat before a collection of wall-mounted monitors that displayed the status of Netflix’s computing systems. On the conference table, a few dozen laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices had the Netflix app loaded and ready to stream. When the clocks hit 12 a.m., the entire season of House of Cards started appearing on the devices, as well as in the recommendation lists of millions of customers chosen by an algorithm. The opening scene, a dog getting run over by an SUV, came and went. At 12:15 a.m., around the time Kevin Spacey’s character says “I’m livid,” everything was working fine. “That’s when the champagne comes,” says Yury Izrailevsky, the vice president in charge of cloud computing at Netflix, which has a history of self-inflicted catastrophes. Izrailevsky stayed until the wee hours of the morning—just in case—as thousands of customers binge-watched the show. The midnight ritual repeated itself on April 19, when Netflix premièred its werewolf horror series Hemlock Grove, and will again on May 26, when its revival of Arrested Developmentgoes live.

Netflix has more than 36 million subscribers. They watch about 4 billion hours of programs every quarter on more than 1,000 different devices. To meet this demand, the company uses specialized video servers scattered around the world. When a subscriber clicks on a movie to stream, Netflix determines within a split second which server containing that movie is closest to the user, then picks from dozens of versions of the video file, depending on the device the viewer is using. At company headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., teams of mathematicians and designers study what people watch and build algorithms and interfaces to present them with the collection of videos that will keep them watching. Netflix is one of the world’s biggest users of cloud computing, which means running a data center on someone else’s equipment. The company rents server and storage systems by the hour, and it rents all this computing power from Amazon Web Services, the cloud division of Amazon.com, which runs its own video-streaming service that competes with Netflix. Read more of this post

Grateful Leadership: Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results

Grateful Leadership: Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results[Hardcover]

Judith W. Umlas (Author)

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Publication Date: October 23, 2012

Go Grateful–have the courage to learn, the vision to lead, and the passion to grow.

When employees are engaged, they are passionate and feel a deeper connection to their work. Grateful Leadership is an essential approach for leaders who want to achieve the bottom line and foster a valuedriven workforce to build stronger professional relationships with customers, stakeholders, and employees.

Grateful Leadership shows how to create a more positive and meaningful connection between you and the people you lead. These skills are a catalyst for making immediate positive changes in your workplace that will enhance productivity, reputation, and overall performance.

Leadership training expert Judith W. Umlas provides the rationale, tools, and methodology to build a company culture based on the free expression of gratitude, and she reveals simple but remarkably effective ways for leaders to build a culture in which each individual employee possesses:

Courage to make important decisions

Willingness to take initiative

Trust in the organization and fellow employees

Motivation to strive for continuous improvement

Acknowledgment is a basic human need and a powerful motivator–people want to make a difference. In a culture of gratitude, employees stay; unappreciated employees leave.

Your company will benefit from the many Grateful Leadership stories from leaders such as Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, that attest to the fact that when you appreciate, acknowledge, and affirm the essential contributions of employees, you unlock their potential to deliver superior results and enable your business to meet stakeholder expectations and outperform.

Grateful Leadership is a best-practices guidebook to employee engagement, staff retention, and increased productivity. Motivate and inspire your team, your organization, your customers, and, yes, yourself by following the book’s actionable next steps for implementing a culture based on acknowledgment, appreciation, and gratitude. Read more of this post

LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman: Founding A Startup Is Like ‘Throwing Yourself Off A Cliff’; Elon Musk: “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

Reid Hoffman: Founding A Startup Is Like ‘Throwing Yourself Off A Cliff’

Julie Bort | May 9, 2013, 8:23 PM | 1,480 | 2

To hear successful entrepreneurs talk about it, founding a startup sounds like something no sane person should try. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman says that starting a company is like “throwing yourself off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” So he just told Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. This is a similar view to how his friend Elon Musk describes it. In 2010, Tesla and SpaceX founder Musk famously said, “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

Reid faced his almost-crash moment with LinkedIn shortly after it launched. He had hoped that people would simply see how useful it was and that the site would grow fast virally. But it didn’t. LinkedIn saw just “a trickle” of tech early adopters and not “an explosion,” he said. “So, I sat down with the team and said, if we don’t solve this, we’re dead.” He had only one idea to try: Allow people to upload their email address books to see if their friends had joined. If that failed, he would have, maybe, one more shot to get people interested in LinkedIn, but he didn’t know what else to try. Fortunately, the address book thing worked and growth spiked. This month, LinkedIn celebrated its 10-year anniversary. As of January, it had 200 million members in 200 countries.

The new, aggressive pathogens in China and Saudi Arabia may or may not carve a deadly path to the West. But sooner or later, you can be sure, one will

May 9, 2013

The Next Pandemic: Not if, but When

By DAVID QUAMMEN

TERRIBLE new forms of infectious disease make headlines, but not at the start. Every pandemic begins small. Early indicators can be subtle and ambiguous. When the Next Big One arrives, spreading across oceans and continents like the sweep of nightfall, causing illness and fear, killing thousands or maybe millions of people, it will be signaled first by quiet, puzzling reports from faraway places — reports to which disease scientists and public health officials, but few of the rest of us, pay close attention. Such reports have been coming in recent months from two countries, China and Saudi Arabia.

You may have seen the news about H7N9, a new strain of avian flu claiming victims in Shanghai and other Chinese locales. Influenzas always draw notice, and always deserve it, because of their great potential to catch hold, spread fast, circle the world and kill lots of people. But even if you’ve been tracking that bird-flu story, you may not have noticed the little items about a “novel coronavirus” on the Arabian Peninsula. Read more of this post

Celltrion, Korea’s largest manufacturer of biosimilars, plunged on news that its chief is under investigation for alleged involvement in stock price manipulation

013-05-09 16:53

CEO scandal hits Celltrion stocks

By Yi Whan-woo

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The price of stock in Celltrion plunged on news that its chief is under investigation for alleged involvement in stock price manipulation.

The country’s largest manufacturer of biosimilars closed at 27,950 won per share on the tech-laden KOSDAQ, Thursday, down 2,000 won or 6.68 percent from the previous day. It closed at 53,900 on March 29. The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) is investigating the company and its chairman Seo Jung-jin for allegedly having ties with speculative investors who have been engaged in short-selling the firm’s shares. Read more of this post

The London market only needs transparent and ethical companies; A continuing flow of bad news from former FTSE favourites, ENRC and Bumi, is raising significant questions about London’s future as stockmarket to the world’s leading growth companies

The London market only needs transparent and ethical companies

A continuing flow of bad news from former FTSE favourites, ENRC and Bumi, is raising significant questions about London’s future as stockmarket to the world’s leading growth companies.

In the eyes of some, recent developments at ENRC and Bumi are symptomatic of the LSE being too aggressive in its efforts to attract foreign companies Photo: AFP

By Dr Roger Barker

5:05PM BST 09 May 2013

The London Stock Exchange’s ambitious vision has been to attract dynamic enterprises from emerging economies onto the London market, where they can benefit from the UK’s respected corporate governance regime. This combination of growth and good governance should, in theory, represent a compelling proposition for investors.

But in the eyes of some, recent developments at ENRC and Bumi are symptomatic of the LSE being too aggressive in its efforts to attract foreign companies. Perhaps inevitably, there has been a call for tighter regulation. In contrast to most UK-listed firms, emerging market enterprises typically have large controlling shareholders rather than dispersed ownership. Such shareholders can potentially use their voting power to overrule the board of directors and disadvantage minority shareholders, particularly through related party transactions which may favour their wider business interests. This type of conflict has been at the heart of recent boardroom disputes at ENRC and Bumi. Read more of this post

The Life of Germany’s Own Walt Disney

05/09/2013 12:59 PM

Animated Success

The Life of Germany’s Own Walt Disney

By Oliver Klatt

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Asthma forced Hans Fischerkoesen to spend most of his childhood in bed, but this period also ignited his imagination. In time, “Germany’s Walt Disney” would go on to become an animation legend. But his career almost became derailed by World War II — until Hitler stepped in. Read more of this post

How Rachel Riley built a childrenswear brand fit for David Beckham’s kids – now in its 20th year

How Rachel Riley built a childrenswear brand fit for David Beckham’s kids

With the expected arrival of a royal baby this summer, Rachel Riley’s childrenswear business – now in its 20th year – is well-placed to grow stronger, writes Emma Sinclair in her latest Biz Idol.

Rachel Riley’s shop customers have included David Beckham and Madonna.

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By Emma Sinclair

12:56PM BST 07 May 2013

May is a month of milestones for Rachel Riley, owner of the eponymously named children’s fashion brand. She’s just celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of her first shop on London’s Pont Street, and next week she celebrates her 50th birthday.

A smart child with a photographic memory, Rachel went to a girl’s comprehensive school in London.

She grew up “making stuff” for her dolls and teddies and was competent at knitting, embroidery and sewing. “I love using my hands,” she told me last week, when we caught up a few doors up from her second store, on Marylebone High Street.

She loved needlework and dress making but demonstrably intelligent, the school preferred that she focused on more academic subjects. She juggled academia and crafts, leaving school the first pupil ever to have secured a place at Cambridge University.

At the end of her first year a friend offered to lend her an apartment in Paris for the summer. Needing a job, she walked into a model agency who signed her on the spot. This was 1981 and she featured in over 20 television commercials and remembers how much she loved working with Sarah Moon, responsible for the infamous Cacharel and Anais Anais 80s adverts. Read more of this post

Too Much Trust in Local Finances: It would seem Chinese local governments didn’t get the memo about reining in credit risks

May 9, 2013, 5:57 PM

Too Much Trust in Local Finances

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It would seem Chinese local governments didn’t get the memo about reining in credit risks.

According to data issued Wednesday by the China Trustee Association, a government-backed industry body, trust companies funneled 461 billion yuan ($75.2 billion) worth of new funding to infrastructure projects in the first three months of 2013 (here in Chinese http://www.xtxh.net/sjtj/15547.html)–-more than in the preceding six months combined.

In the third and four quarters of 2012, trusts — a type of wealth management company common in China – provided a total of 458.3 billion yuan worth of new infrastructure financing.

The massive expansion in lending to infrastructure projects – most of which likely went to investment platforms backed by local governments – comes as Beijing grows increasingly uneasy about the level of local government debt. Read more of this post

China’s Fiddled Figures: It’s hard to reform an economy you don’t fully understand

May 9, 2013, 12:49 p.m. ET

China’s Fiddled Figures

It’s hard to reform an economy you don’t fully understand.

Trade data released Wednesday painted a rosy picture of the Chinese economy. But the closer everyone looks, the more doubts emerge.

Officially, exports picked up enough to create a trade surplus worth $18.2 billion, compared to a deficit of $900 billion in March. Total exports supposedly increased 14.7% compared to April 2012, up from the 10% year-on-year growth notched in March. This sparked hopes in some quarters that disappointing GDP growth in the first three months of the year was a blip.

Yet China’s export data don’t match what other countries report they import from China. That’s because Chinese exporters overstate the value of goods to conceal the repatriation of earnings stockpiled overseas. Firms are circumventing capital controls to speculate on the rising yuan, and also to seek higher returns on risky wealth management products offered by banks at home. This inflow shows up as artificially inflated exports. Read more of this post

$58Bln Hot Money Channeled into Mainland From Hong Kong Disguised as Trade Payments

Analysis: $58Bln Hot Money Channeled into Mainland From Hong Kong Disguised as Trade Payments

05-10 13:18 Caijing

Details of April trade report and anecdotal evidence have prompted many to believe that China’s trade data was significantly inflated by companies fiddling their invoices to bring funds onshore to chase yield.

Alleged distortions on China’s export data may have dented hopes for markets starved for upbeat Chinese data, with analysis showing speculative capital inflows disguised as trade payments could hit 58 billion U.S. dollars. Details of April trade report and anecdotal evidence have prompted many to believe that China’s trade data was significantly inflated by companies fiddling their invoices to bring funds onshore to chase yield. Official data showed Wednesday that April exports grew by 14.7 percent from a year earlier, beating a market consensus of 9.2 percent gain and March’s 10.0 percent increase. Exports to Taiwan rose 49.2 percent to $4.26 billion in April, the customs said, while Taiwan data indicates imports from the Chinese mainland fell 2.7 percent year-on-year to $3.57 billion.

Read more of this post

China Should Ditch Shanzhai or the culture of knock-offs

China Should Ditch Shanzhai  

Economic Observer Online – In-depth and Independent

By EO’s Editorial Board
Issue 618, May 6, 2013
After a five-year court battle, Adidas has finally settled with Adivon (阿迪王), a Chinese sportswear company with a name and logo that is very similar to that of the global brand. Adivon has agreed to transfer its Chinese trademarks and triangular logo to the German multinational and has agreed to never use them again.

Meanwhile, another unfinished lawsuit has aroused even more attention. This one is between Qiaodan Sports Company Limited (乔丹体育) and former NBA basketball player Michael Jordan. The pronunciation of the two names in Chinese is the same. The Chinese sportswear company maintains that is has not infringed upon the Air Jordan trademark and isactually now suing Jordan for suing them two years ago just as Qiaodan was set to debut on the stock market. Qiaodan Sports argues that the Chinese name Qiaodan (乔丹) is only a translation of the common surname “Jordan.” The company also argues that the brand actually chose the name because it means “plants in the south” (南方之草木) in Chinese. As one online commentator put it, Qiaodan’s attempts to justify their use of the brand was “ridiculous” (神解释) or to put it another way, the company was “speaking blindly with eyes wide open” (睁着眼说瞎话). This kind of explanation shows both a lack of respect for the facts and is also an insult to the intelligence of consumers. For most people familiar with sport, the Chinese word “qiaodan” is clearly linked to Michael Jordan. That a Chinese company can be so bold as to claim that there is not relation is connected to the fact that up until now, Chinese culture has given too much leeway to a culture of knock-offs or shanzhai (山寨) as it’s referred to in Chinese. Read more of this post

China’s bond market regulator closed off a loophole that allowed banks that sell high-yielding wealth management products (WMPs) to evade regulatory requirements by moving money between the WMP accounts they manage and their own prop accounts

China issues new rules targeting wealth management fund pools: sources

2:30am EDT

By Yong Xu and Pete Sweeney

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s bond market regulator closed off a loophole on Friday that allowed banks that sell high-yielding wealth management products (WMPs) to evade regulatory requirements by moving money between the WMP accounts they manage and their own proprietary accounts, bond traders at four Chinese banks told Reuters. The four traders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media, told Reuters the China Government Securities Depository Trust & Clearing Co Ltd (CDC) and the Shanghai Clearing House had jointly notified commercial banks they could no longer trade bonds between their own proprietary accounts and the WMPs they manage for clients. The rules will go into effect Friday afternoon, the sources said. “Yesterday we could do it, today everybody has to undo it; it’s new regulation after new regulation,” said one of the traders. Read more of this post

Why Pay More? When Radosław Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, went to Ukraine for talks last month, his Ukrainian counterparts reportedly laughed at him because he was wearing a Japanese quartz watch that cost only $165.

Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is the author ofPractical EthicsOne World, and The Life You Can Save, which is also the name of an organization that he founded.

Why Pay More?

09 May 2013

PRINCETON – When Radosław Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, went to Ukraine for talks last month, his Ukrainian counterparts reportedly laughed at him because he was wearing a Japanese quartz watch that cost only $165. A Ukrainian newspaper reported on the preferences of Ukrainian ministers, several of whom have watches that cost more than $30,000. Even a Communist member of Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, was shown wearing a watch that retails for more than $6,000.

The laughter should have gone in the opposite direction. Wouldn’t you laugh (maybe in private, to avoid being impolite) at someone who pays more than 200 times as much as you do, and ends up with an inferior product?

That is what the Ukrainians have done. They could have bought an accurate, lightweight, maintenance-free quartz watch that can run for five years, keeping virtually perfect time, without ever being moved or wound. Instead, they paid far more for clunkier watches that can lose minutes every month, and that will stop if you forget to wind them for a day or two (if they have an automatic mechanism, they will stop if you don’t move them). In addition, the quartz watches also have integrated alarm, stopwatch, and timer functions that the other watches either lack, or that serve only as a design-spoiling, hard-to-read effort to keep up with the competition. Read more of this post

Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will officially step down today as CEO

Jack Ma to step down as Alibaba CEO today

2013-05-10 02:40:42 GMT2013-05-10 10:40:42(Beijing Time)  SINA English

Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will officially step down today as CEO, according to Chinese media reports. He will be succeeded by his right-hand man Lu Zhaoxi. Alibaba was one of the earliest entrants into the Chinese online sector and has benefited hugely from its growth. A former English teacher, Ma set up Alibaba in 1999, convincing friends to fund him with $60,000 and picking a recognisable name with the aim of helping small firms find treasure by selling through the internet. Ma has inspired a generation of young Chinese with his open, no-nonsense and humorous personality. Both Taobao and Alibaba are owned by Alibaba Group, a private company based in the eastern city of Hangzhou. For many in China, life just wouldn’t be the same without Taobao, the country’s largest online shopping platform. In late April, Alibaba Group announced it will pay US$586 million for an 18 percent stake in Sina Corp’s Weibo microblog service.

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Ten-year-old Taobao,China’s largest online shopping site, shaping Chinese lifestyles: The platform has also benefited more than 30,000 disabled, who would otherwise have more difficulty in finding a job

Ten-year-old Taobao shaping Chinese lifestyles

Updated: 2013-05-09 23:46

( Xinhua) Read more of this post

While most cable networks are off chasing the next Honey Boo Boo, Scripps Networks thrills investors by sticking close to home

Scripps Networks Interactive Staying True to its Roots

by Dorothy Pomerantz | May 10, 2013

While most cable networks are off chasing the next Honey Boo Boo, Scripps Networks thrills investors by sticking close to home

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The home of cable channels Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel is tucked between the old Brown Squirrel Furniture Store and the Dead Horse Lake Golf Course at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee. The building curves around a lake where, on pleasant days, employees take meetings in paddle boats. You know you’ve found the right place when you see the big mural of the squirrel. Manhattan media this ain’t, and the folks at Scripps Networks Interactive are just fine with that—as are their investors. Scripps ranks No 1,572 on our Global 2000 list, jumping up 159 spots from last year, and is the best-performing media company on the list based on long- and short-term sales growth, profitability and shareholder return. Over the past five years, revenues at Scripps Networks have increased an average 11 percent per year and net income has increased 50 percent annually. The stock is currently trading at an all-time high of $68 per share. “Food Network has a 57.7 percent cash flow margin,” says Derek Baine, senior analyst at SNL Kagan. “That’s pretty impressive for any company.”
Read more of this post

Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen

Updated May 9, 2013, 7:02 p.m. ET

Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen

New Gadgets, Including Audio-Only Device, Is Bid to Expand Beyond Kindle Fire

By GREG BENSINGER

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Amazon is expanding beyond its range of Kindle devices as it aims to compete more directly with Google and Apple. Photo: Associated Press.

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +0.57% is expanding beyond its range of Kindle devices as it aims to compete more directly with Google Inc. GOOG -0.25% and Apple Inc.AAPL -0.87%

The Seattle e-commerce giant has recently been developing a wide-ranging lineup of gadgets—including two smartphones and an audio-only streaming device—to expand its reach beyond its Kindle Fire line of tablet computers, said people familiar with the company’s plans.

One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said. Read more of this post

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