Bird Flu Virus Is Capable of Human Spread, Ferret Studies Show

Bird Flu Virus Is Capable of Human Spread, Ferret Studies Show

The bird flu virus that’s killed 36 people in China is capable of human-to-human spread, scientists found in animal studies that highlight its pandemic potential.

Ferrets experimentally infected with the new H7N9 strain passed it to other ferrets occupying the same cage, indicating the virus’s ability to spread via direct contact, researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing and the University of Hong Kong said. Flu transmission in ferrets is a predictor of patterns in humans, the authors said in the study, published yesterday in Science Express.

The research will help health officials tailor their response to the H7N9 strain, which is known to have infected 131 people since March, mostly through contact with virus-laden poultry. No cases have been reported since May 8, weeks after authorities curbed live poultry sales in the eastern cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou. So far, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission — a feature required for flu to spark a pandemic — the World Health Organization said. Read more of this post

H7N9 bird flu found to spread through the air, a team at the University of Hong Kong found after extensive laboratory experiments.

H7N9 bird flu found to spread through the air

Friday, 24 May, 2013, 12:00am

Jeanette Wang

Virus can also infect pigs, say HKU researchers, who warn officials to maintain tight scrutiny even though threat seems under control

The H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted not only through close contact but by airborne exposure, a team at the University of Hong Kong found after extensive laboratory experiments. Read more of this post

Chinese banks barred from sponsoring IPOs; Securities brokerages at centre of China regulator’s crackdown

May 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Securities brokerages at centre of China regulator’s crackdown; Chinese banks barred from sponsoring IPOs

By Simon Rabinovitch

On the first anniversary of its stock market listing last month, Xi’an Longi Silicon Materials Corp served its factory workers steaming plates of simmered fish, an unusual delicacy for the staff canteen. It was to “ensure that all employees would share in the happy occasion”, the company says.

Just over three weeks later, on May 3, Xi’an Longi received a visit from the stock market regulator. The China Securities Regulatory Commission was launching an investigation, on suspicion that the company had violated the nation’s securities law by failing to disclose a steep fall in profits in the run-up to its listing.

The questions surrounding Xi’an Longi, a producer of silicon wafers and semiconductor ingots, are just one front in a much bigger battle being fought over how China polices its financial industry. At the centre of this battle are the securities brokerages that bring companies to the stock market in initial public offerings. Read more of this post

In Indonesia, soccer is kicked around by political parties; “If you can control football, you are half way to controlling Indonesia”

In Indonesia, soccer is kicked around by political parties

Thu, May 23 2013

By Janeman Latul

JAKARTA (Reuters) – As monsoon rains swept the stadium, the chanting grew louder. “Indonesia! Indonesia!” More than 60,000 people packed into Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on a recent Saturday night to see the national soccer team play. Another 100 million tuned in to television to watch the match, underlining the appeal of soccer in Indonesia where attendance rivals the top English and German soccer leagues. Among the fans are two of Indonesia’s most powerful people – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and politically ambitious businessman Aburizal Bakrie. Their parties have long been battling for control over the sport and its huge audience, hoping this could be a factor in elections next year. Bakrie, who leads the Golkar party and has said he will be a presidential candidate, seems to have wrested control of a unified soccer association that was formed in March after almost two years of the two groups running parallel associations and parallel leagues. The association in charge of the sport controls marketing in the stadiums and on television. “If you can control football, you are half way to controlling Indonesia,” said a senior official at the Indonesian national soccer association, or PSSI. Read more of this post

No trespassing: Instituting better property protections is essential to China’s transitioning economy

No trespassing

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Instituting better property protections is essential to China’s transitioning economy, writes Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng

Andrew Sheng, President of the Fung Global Institute, is a former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and is currently an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Xiao Geng is Director of Research at the Fung Global Institute.

Too often, debate about the relationship between the state and the market casts them as opposing forces locked in a zero-sum struggle. But this simplistic approach quickly turns constructive discussion into a casualty of the ideological battle between advocates of both sides. Read more of this post

Party ends for Western Australia’s investment boom

Party ends for Western Australia’s investment boom   2013-05-24 by Christian Edwards

SYDNEY, May 24 (Xinhua) — It’s over. Official figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) show that Australia’s burgeoning resource state of Western Australia is staring down at the now empty barrel of the China- driven investment boom, leaving experts scanning the economic horizon for the next ray of hope. Projects worth over 175 billion Australian dollars, which have already been on the pipeline or under construction, are now slowly being shelved.

New gas projects that have been planned include the 53 billion Australian dollar Gorgon gas project, the 30 billion Australian dollar Browse LNG (liquefied natural gas) project, and the 29 billion Australian dollar Chevron-Wheatstone LNG project, in addition to a range of iron ore, gold and other projects. For more than six months fears have been growing that the party could be over. Read more of this post

Aussie Dollar Is Villain as Ford Ends Mad-Max Land Output

Aussie Dollar Is Villain as Ford Ends Mad-Max Land Output

Ford Motor Co. (F) Falcons, driven by Mel Gibson in Australia’s 1979 movie “Mad Max,” have rolled off a Melbourne production line for 53 years. Now, like Max’s “last of the V-8s,” their days are numbered. Ford, in Australia since 1925, said yesterday it will close its local manufacturing plants in October 2016, resulting in 1,200 job losses. General Motors Co. (GM)’s Holden unit, which traces its roots to 1856 when it started as a saddler business, said on April 8 it will cut about 500 workers as currency devaluations overseas make its operations among the world’s costliest.

The villain has been Australia’s dollar: Up 76 percent versus the yen since October 2008, it has helped send Japanese car imports to a record and sales of domestically made vehicles down 18 percent in four years. Ford’s local President Bob Graziano yesterday said that costs are double those in Europe and four times those of its Asian divisions, and that even twice as much government aid couldn’t make the unit sustainable. Read more of this post

The U.S. and China have struck an agreement giving U.S. accounting regulators access to documents from Chinese accounting firms.

Updated May 24, 2013, 1:08 a.m. ET

U.S., China Set Pact On Auditor Access


The U.S. and China have struck an agreement giving U.S. accounting regulators access to documents from Chinese accounting firms. The deal, expected to be announced Friday, could help U.S. regulators investigate the auditors of U.S.-listed Chinese companies that might have been involved in accounting fraud. The agreement will allow the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to see audit records and other documents held by Chinese audit firms. The China Securities Regulatory Commission and China’s Ministry of Finance will help the PCAOB obtain the documents. More than 100 Chinese companies listed in the U.S. have faced questions about their accounting and disclosure from regulators, auditors and short-sellers, and investors lost billions of dollars when those companies’ shares plunged. Read more of this post

Many investors may not be living in the real world

May 23, 2013 7:39 pm

Many investors may not be living in the real world

By Stephen King

A recovery in the global economy would appear to be hallucinatory, writes Stephen King

No one can be strong when China is weak. That, at least, appeared to be the message from the economic data this week. New data suggest lacklustre growth in China – sparking nervous sell-offs in other countries. A one-day decline of over 7 per cent in the Nikkei stock market index might seem like an overreaction but, last year, China was Japan’s most important export destination, accounting for more than 18 per cent of its goods exports. China now accounts for one-quarter of South Korea’s exports. China is also the third-largest destination for US exports, after Mexico and Canada.

Stock market wobbles cannot be attributed toChina alone. Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, revealed that asset purchases associated with quantitative easingmight be tapered earlier than investors expected, providing another reason for stock markets to lurch down. Meanwhile, rising bond yields in Japan have led to a new sense of unease: financial bets are no longer all one way. Read more of this post

Imprisoned Entrepreneurs and Russia’s Economic Slump

Imprisoned Entrepreneurs and Russia’s Economic Slump

President Vladimir Putin’s popularity throughout much of Russia is founded on an implicit social compact: People have given up some freedom in return for economic prosperity.

Now, Putin’s authoritarian ways could be killing the economic growth that has helped keep him in power.

Time and time again, Russia’s leaders have pledged to restructure the country’s economy, making it less dependent on oil and gas. In an interview this week to mark the first anniversary of his move to the prime minister’s job from the presidency, Dmitri Medvedev effectively admitted failure. “We must change the structure of our economy,” he told the popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. “In the past 13 to 14 years we just did not have enough time to do it.” Read more of this post

Bundesbank chief says ECB has done a lot to fight crisis, can’t solve it

Bundesbank chief says ECB has done a lot to fight crisis, can’t solve it

Filed 13 hours ago

Germany’s federal reserve Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann stands beside the door of a giant safe as he poses for a photograph at the money museum next to the Bundesbank headquarters during a photo shoot with Reuters in Frankfurt May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

By Ingrid Melander

PARIS – Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said on Thursday it was not up to the European Central Bank to solve the euro zone crisis, resisting pressure from other ECB policymakers for the bank to widen its range of policy tools. Speaking in Paris, Weidmann declined to comment on U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s remarks that the U.S. central bank may start to trim its bond purchases at one of its next policy meetings. Focusing on the situation in the euro zone he said: “Monetary policy, that is to say the Eurosystem (of euro zone central banks) has already done a lot to curtail the crisis.” “But monetary policy cannot solve the crisis, we are completely united on that in the ECB Governing Council,” Weidmann, a member of the policymaking body, told a conference. Read more of this post

Primary Dealers Saw Fed’s Confusing Strategy Reducing QE Impact

Primary Dealers Saw Fed’s Confusing Strategy Reducing QE Impact

The 21 primary dealers that trade securities directly with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that confusion about the central bank’s intentions for its bond-buying program is reducing the policy’s effectiveness.

The dealers’ views were shared with the New York Fed in a survey of primary dealers that the Federal Open Market Committee reviewed at their April 30-May 1 meeting. A diversity of Fed speakers expressing different views has left the primary dealers unsure of the central bank’s intentions, according to the survey results released today by the New York Fed.

“Some dealers noted that the dispersion of views expressed by FOMC participants as to how the FOMC would make decisions regarding the future pace of asset purchases has decreased clarity around the program,” the survey said. “Of these dealers, several suggested that the differing views on monetary policy may reduce the policy’s effectiveness.” Read more of this post

Bonds Rigged as Stocks Expensive for Scots Manager Doubling Fund

Bonds Rigged as Stocks Expensive for Scots Manager Doubling Fund

From his view of the world in Scotland, Bruce Stout says investors risk getting burned because optimism is too high for stocks and bond yields are too low. The markets might be proving him right.

The MSCI World Index, a gauge of developed stock markets, sank by the most yesterday since April 15, while Japan’s Topix Index lost 6.9 percent. Stout, whose 1.5 billion-pound ($2.3 billion) Murray International Trust (MYI) at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc (ADN) posted triple-digit returns during the past four years, has been selling shares he reckons are now too expensive, while his fixed-income holdings are the lowest in 25 years.

“The higher prices go the more short-term expectations can distort things and then you can lose your money,” Stout said at his office in Edinburgh. “That’s why we’re in a capital preservation mode to try and not lose money.” Read more of this post

Fears grow over EM sovereign bond bubble

May 23, 2013 9:18 am

Fears grow over EM sovereign bond bubble

By Robin Wigglesworth

As far as financial follies go, tulip mania takes some beating. But future economic historians may look back at the time when investors financed a convention centre in Rwanda as the moment that the rush into emerging market bonds became frothy.

Despite a large chunk of Rwanda’s budget coming from overseas aid – some of which was withheld last year after it was accused of backing rebels in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo – investors rushed to get a slice of the country’sinaugural $400m bond last month. The proceeds are largely to be used to pay for a new conference centre in Kigali, the central African country’s capital. Read more of this post

Delinquent Student Loans Hit Record, 30% Of 20-24 Year Olds Are Unemployed And Not In School

Delinquent Student Loans Hit Record, 30% Of 20-24 Year Olds Are Unemployed And Not In School

Tyler Durden on 05/23/2013 11:37 -0400

Almost a year ago we shared a calculation according to which “Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default“, suggesting that the next credit crisis has already arrived. Since then the topic of the student loan bubble has become a household topic. Sadly, that does not mean it has gotten any better. In fact, according to the latest Education Department data it has gotten as bad as it has ever been. As Bloomberg reports, not only have overdue student loans reached an all-time high but the number of young people aged 20-24 out of school and unemployed is at a record high: not quite astronomic by European standards, but hardly a ringing endorsement of an economy set to transition labor tasks to the next generation, especially with the employment of those 55 and older at all time highs. Read more of this post

As Of This Moment Ben Bernanke Own 30.5% Of The US Treasury Market… And Will Own All By 2018

As Of This Moment Ben Bernanke Own 30.5% Of The US Treasury Market… And Will Own All By 2018

Tyler Durden on 05/23/2013 21:37 -0400

As is well-known by everyone, the Fed monetizes the US deficit on a daily basis, thanks to the 45 minutes of POMO love each day when it buys Treasuries from Dealers. Of course, the Fed monetizes bonds from across the entire curve (mostly the longer end), which is why it is somewhat complicated to express the amount of risk transfer the Fed takes on every time the S&P posts an uptick as a result of yet another bond purchase by the hedge fund with the largest fixed income portfolio in the history of the world. However, one simple way of expressing just this risk is through the use of ten year equivalents: Ten-year equivalents are the amount of 10-year notes that must be held by the Fed in order to remove the same amount of interest rate risk from the market as its current holdings. What this methodology allows is to represent the Fed’s holdings of all marketable securities on a linear continuum, and represent the remainder, or those bonds held by the private sector, on the side. So what may come as a surprise to most, is that as of this week’s H.4.1 update, the amount of ten-year equivalents held by the Fed increased to $1.583 trillion from $1.576 trillion in the prior week, which reduces the amount available to the private sector to $3.637 trillion from $3.668 trillion in the prior week. And also, thanks to maturities, and purchase by the Fed from the secondary market, there were $5.219 trillion ten-year equivalents outstanding, down from $5.244 trillion in the prior week.

Fed holdings 5.23-2_0 Read more of this post

Inside Google’s Secret Lab

Inside Google’s Secret Lab

By Brad Stone on May 22, 2013

covertrail22_v3_304feature_google22__02__inline605Illustration by Rami Neimi“Anything which is a huge problem for humanity we’ll sign up for”feature_google22__03__inline605Illustrations by Rami Neimi“Incremental improvements are not good enough”

Illustration by Rami NeimiAbsurdity is not a barrier to considerationfeature_google22__01__inline605feature_google22__01__950

Last February, Astro Teller, the director of Google’s (GOOG) secretive research lab, Google X, went to seek approval from Chief Executive Officer Larry Page for an unlikely acquisition. Teller was proposing that Google buy Makani Power, a startup that develops wind turbines mounted on unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft tethered to the ground like a kite. The startup, Teller told Page, was seeing promising results, and, he added proudly, its prototypes had survived all recent tests intact.

Page approved Google X’s acquisition of Makani, which was being completed for an undisclosed amount at press time. He also had a demand. “He said we could have the budget and the people to go do this,” Teller says, “but that we had to make sure to crash at least five of the devices in the near future.” Read more of this post

Now this is why I would fork over $1500 and risk looking like a tool to wear a pair of Google Glasses: face recognition.

Google Glass gets face recognition



713a5e36-c3ef-11e2-821c-f7d31f9028fe_Google Glasses--646x363

Updated: Now this is why I would fork over $1500 and risk looking like a tool to wear a pair of Google Glasses: face recognition.

Lambda Labs, a San Francisco-based augmented reality company, says it has developed facial recognition software for Google’s not-so-soon-to-be-released Glasses, that will tell you the name of who you’re looking at. The software will be made available to Google Glass app developers within the week.

The software spots faces in your field of vision, and then puts names to that face, ranked in order of probability, based on a pool of mug shots that you’ve already uploaded to some servers somewhere. Presumably you can turn it off, so it’s not trying to name every passerby as you walk along the street, and you only turn it on when you arrive at a party or a meeting where you’re worried that you’ll forget a name. Read more of this post

IPhone Urinalysis Draws First FDA Inquiry of Medical Apps

IPhone Urinalysis Draws First FDA Inquiry of Medical Apps

An iPhone application that lets users check levels of blood, protein and other substances in their urine is the first target of U.S. regulators seeking boundaries in a burgeoning industry for medical diagnosis on-the-go.

Biosense Technologies Private Ltd.’s uChek system isn’t cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and the agency said it wants to know why not, in a first-of-its-kind letter to a maker of a mobile-device application. The app relies on users, such as diabetics checking their glucose, to dip test strips in urine and use the smartphone’s camera to allow the system to processes and generate automated results. Read more of this post

Is Supercell the Fastest-Growing Game Company Ever?

Is Supercell the Fastest-Growing Game Company Ever?

by Karsten Strauss | May 24, 2013

topimg_21727_ilkka_paananen_600x400IS THIS THE FASTEST-GROWING GAME COMPANY EVER.indd

In less than a year, Supercell has launched two of the biggest apps in Apple’s history. It’s now grossing $70 million—a month

Ilkka Paananen says the best way to make money in mobile gaming is to stop thinking about it. Think about fun instead. Fighting a mild case of flu and jet lag from a San Francisco flight back home to Helsinki, Paananen says companies that place revenue above fun (we’re talking to you, Zynga) will ultimately fail. “It really is that simple—just design something great, something that users love,” says the 34-year-old.

Paananen is CEO of Supercell, a startup that has had astonishing growth almost overnight. It has only two titles in Apple’s App Store—a tower defence game called Clash of Clans and a social-farming game called Hay Day—but it grossed $100 million last year and $179 million in the first quarter of 2013. Supercell netted $104 million in the quarter, after expenses and Apple’s 30 percent cut. Read more of this post

Beijing Shuts Down Taobao’s ‘Take a Number’ Service for Hospitals, But Consumers Cry Foul

Beijing Shuts Down Taobao’s ‘Take a Number’ Service for Hospitals, But Consumers Cry Foul

May 24, 2013 by C. Custer

Chinese hospitals are, to put it mildly, a bureaucratic nightmare. Just checking into one generally involves, among other processes, waiting in line to take a number and often also waiting in another line to pay for taking that number. Monster e-commerce siteTaobao was attempting to take some of the sting out of that with a new service launched earlier this week that allowed customers to book numbers and in some cases also pay online. But yesterday, after just three days open, the service was shut down in Beijing by the city’s health department on the grounds that healthcare is an issue of “public interest” and thus ‘take a number’ services should be non-profit. It also suggested that providing health information to a third party caused a potential information security risk.

That would be a compelling argument, except that many of China’s hospitals themselves aren’t even non-profit, and even in non-profit hospitals there is often a fair amount of under-the-table cash expected from patients if they want to receive good service. Perhaps healthcare in China should be non-profit, but since it very clearly isn’t, why target Taobao for making money off of the convenience of online ‘take a number’ services when for-profit hospitals are profiting daily off of their patients? Read more of this post

Google Copies Amazon’s Playbook

May 23, 2013, 4:56 p.m. ET

Google Copies Amazon’s Playbook



SAN FRANCISCO—Google Inc. GOOG -0.75% co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin say they don’t pay much attention to rivals. But the search company increasingly appears to be following Inc.’s AMZN -0.44% lead.

The latest example involves cable ties, AC-DC adapters, radiation detectors and the like. In April of last year, Amazon rolled out AmazonSupply, an e-commerce site featuring such industrial goods. Google followed suit this January, testing Google Shopping for Suppliers, which also helps shoppers find items tailored for businesses.

Both sites represent a relatively new foray for the technology companies—business-to-business sales—though Google’s doesn’t sell the items directly and its service is limited to suppliers of certain types of electrical equipment. Read more of this post

Amazon Vs. Costco: Which Is Better For Buying In Bulk?

Amazon Vs. Costco: Which Is Better For Buying In Bulk?

Stacey | May 23, 2013, 2:08 PM | 3,685 | 

Saving money is on the minds of most Americans, which is why so many make a special effort to purchase items in bulk and join discount clubs. It’s also the reason so many businesses are creating opportunities for consumers to access those savings. One program to crop up in recent years is Amazon Subscribe and Save, which touts savings of up to 15 percent to members who meet specific criteria. But is this program as amazing as it seems, or is it possible that subscribers are actually losing dollars by committing to make purchases over the long term?

What Is Amazon Subscribe and Save?

If you are not accustomed to purchasing groceries and other household items online, or simply haven’t heard of this program, you may wonder what is Amazon Subscribe and Save? Amazon Subscribe and Save is a program launched in 2007 that offers discounts on items typically sold in bulk. In addition to a reduction in costs, the program offers free shipping. The lower costs are offered in exchange for a subscription agreement that involves having specific items automatically shipped every one, two, three, four, five or six months. But probably the biggest benefit of joining the program is paying no upfront fees to subscribe. Members only need to pay for items when they are shipped. You can probably see the similarities between Amazon Subscribe and Save and memberships to wholesale clubs like Costco with one clear exception: Amazon subscribers don’t have to worry about placing orders as they are placed automatically. With this and other conveniences, one would think there could be no downside to a program like Amazon’s. However, great discount programs are not always as fantastic as they seem.

How Amazon Subscribe and Save Compares to Costco

Individuals trying to decide whether to join Amazon Subscribe and Save or stick with a traditional wholesale membership with a company like Costco have several pros and cons to weigh. But before getting started, here are a few basics to know about Costco. Read more of this post

Twitter pitches to advertisers with system to track TV watchers

May 23, 2013 4:36 pm

Twitter pitches to advertisers with system to track TV watchers

By Emily Steel in New York

Twitter is attempting to secure its position at the nexus between television and digital media, announcing on Thursday a new TV ad-targeting programme along with a flurry of partnerships with media companies including Major League Baseball, Time Inc, Vevo and Vice.

The new ad product taps special technologies to “watch” television and note when a commercial airs. At the same time, it “listens” to Twitter for people posting about the same show. The technology then allows advertisers to target ads on Twitter to people who likely saw their commercials on television.

Twitter also unveiled its Twitter Amplify programme, a series of partnerships with media companies that will introduce into users’ news feeds more video clips as well as real-time sponsorships that link ads on television to promotions on Twitter. Amplify extends Twitter media partnerships beyond television to include magazine publishers, sports leagues and music groups. Read more of this post

CIOs Debate ‘Cockroach Technology’

May 23, 2013, 1:58 PM ET

CIOs Debate ‘Cockroach Technology’

Michael Hickins

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Several CIOs participating in panel discussions at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium here Wednesday said vendors of cloud computing software are making their lives more difficult by selling directly to business users rather than going through traditional IT channels.

CIOs said so-called shadow IT often results in duplicate purchases of similar systems, and makes it difficult for CIOs to use data collected by organizations to best effect. But in a display of disagreement increasingly rare at industry events of this type, one CIO suggested that complexity has always been a way of life for CIOs, and that business users have had to go around IT to purchase cloud computing because IT hasn’t been responsive enough. Read more of this post

Enterprise companies, which sell software and services to businesses rather than individuals, have risen 37 percent, on average, in the two years since their IPOs, compared with 13 percent for consumer companies

ChannelAdvisor soars in debut

2:30pm EDT

By Alistair Barr and Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) – ChannelAdvisor Corp shares soared more than 40 percent in their market debut on Thursday as investors bet the e-commerce software company will benefit from the rapid global spread of online buying and selling. The company’s shares opened up 25 percent, after its initial public offering of 5.8 million shares was priced at $14 per share, the high end of its pricing range. ChannelAdvisor shares were trading up 40 percent at $19.54 on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched an intraday high of $19.73, valuing the company at about $400 million. Other IPOs on Thursday did not perform as well. Global Brass and Copper and Ply Gem Holdings rose less than 20 percent and Constellium declined 5.5 percent. ChannelAdvisor, founded in 2001, helps companies sell via online marketplaces and websites such as Inc, Google Inc and eBay Inc. Customers include Ann Taylor,, J&R Electronics and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. E-commerce is growing at about 15 percent a year and Forrester Research estimates that global online consumer spending will top $1 trillion by 2016. ChannelAdvisor gets fees when its customers generate an agreed-upon volume of sales using its software. When sales exceed those levels, customers pay a little more in what the company calls a “shared-success model.” “We have about 2,000 customers and handled over $3.5 billion in gross merchandise volume last year,” said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor. “That’s really the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot of wood to chop, as these bankers like to say.” ChannelAdvisor generated a net loss of $4.9 million last year, compared with a loss of $3.9 million in 2011 and $4.7 million in 2010. Revenue rose to $54 million in 2012, up from $44 million in 2011 and $37 million in 2010, according to the company’s SEC filings. Read more of this post

Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead

Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead

As technological change accelerates and adoption rates soar, ten pivotal trends loom large on the top-management agenda.

May 2013 | byJacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika

Three years ago, we described ten information technology-enabled business trends that were profoundly altering the business landscape.1 The pace of technology change, innovation, and business adoption since then has been stunning. Consider that the world’s stock of data is now doubling every 20 months; the number of Internet-connected devices has reached 12 billion; and payments by mobile phone are hurtling toward the $1 trillion mark.

This progress both reflects the trends we described three years ago and is influencing their shape. The article that follows updates our 2010 list. (For a more detailed treatment, download the related white paper [PDF–1MB] from the McKinsey Global Institute.) In addition to describing how several trends have grown in importance, we have added a few that are rapidly gathering momentum, while removing those that have entered the mainstream. Read more of this post

What the economists call a market failure, the entrepreneurs call a market opportunity; How Platforms are Shaping Markets Through Market Failures

Firm/Market Equivalency: How Platforms are Shaping Markets Through Market Failures

Denis Lescop TELECOM Ecole de Management

Elena Lescop TELECOM Ecole de Management

May 13, 2013

What the economists call a market failure, the entrepreneurs call a market opportunity. Firms today are the intricate interlacing of interactions, which arise in response to market failures. Market opportunities that emerge as a result are addressed by the firms through market support strategy, i.e. platform creation. Not only do the firms facilitate market activity by providing participants with basic resources, firms also take up a leading role in the regulation of all of its creation’s activities. The purpose of this paper is to explore the phenomenon of concurrent double function of firm: market creation and market support through the concept of firm/market equivalency.

Snapple Guy’s Overnight Success Took Decades; Leonard Marsh transformed a tiny fruit-juice supplier into Snapple, a national brand of fruit-flavored beverages and iced tea powered by quirky marketing and bold flavors

May 22, 2013, 7:41 p.m. ET

Snapple Guy’s Overnight Success Took Decades



Leonard Marsh transformed a tiny fruit-juice supplier into Snapple, a national brand of fruit-flavored beverages and iced tea powered by quirky marketing and bold flavors.

Leonard Marsh launched Snapple with two friends in the early 1970s. So successful was the brand that Snapple inspired dozens of imitators and prompted major soft-drink companies to introduce their own fruit and tea beverages to compete. Mr. Marsh, who died Tuesday at age 80, launched Snapple in New York with two friends in the early 1970s to supply natural fruit juices to health-food stores. After introducing lemonade and fruit-flavored ice tea in distinctive wide-mouth bottles, the company went public in a much-ballyhooed initial public offering in 1992. Snapple became a “New Age” beverage, touted by the company as “Made from the best stuff on earth.” Read more of this post

The Bronze Swan Arrives: Is The End Of Copper Financing China’s “Lehman Event”?

The Bronze Swan Arrives: Is The End Of Copper Financing China’s “Lehman Event”?

Tyler Durden on 05/23/2013 10:06 -0400

In all the hoopla over Japan’s stock market crash and China’s PMI miss last night, the biggest news of the day was largely ignored: copper, and the fact that copper’s ubiquitous arbitrage and rehypothecation role in China’s economy through the use of Chinese Copper Financing Deals (CCFD) is coming to an end. Copper, as China pundits may know, is the key shadow interest rate arbitrage tool, through the use of financing deals that use commodities with high value-to-density ratios such as gold, copper, nickel, which in turn are used as collateral against which USD-denominated China-domestic Letters of Credit are pleged, in what can often result in a seemingly infinite rehypothecation loop (see explanation below) between related onshore and offshore entities, allowing loop participants to pick up virtually risk-free arbitrage (i.e., profits), which however boosts China’s FX lending and leads to upward pressure on the CNY. Since the end result of this arbitrage hits China’s current account directly, and is the reason for the recent aberrations in Chinese export data that have made a mockery of China’s economic data reporting, China’s State Administration on Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on May 5 finally passed new regulations which will effectively end such financing deals. The impact of this development can not be overstated: according to independent observers, as well as firms like Goldman, this will not only impact the copper market (very adversely) as copper will suddenly go from a positive return/carry asset to a negative carry asset leading to wholesale dumping from bonded warehouses, but will likely take out a substantial chunk of synthetic shadow leverage out of the Chinese market and economy. Naturally, for an economy in which credit creation is of utmost importance, the loss of one such key financing channel will have very unintended consequences at best, and could potentially lead to a significant “credit event” in the world’s fastest growing large economy at worst.

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