Device Nags You to Sit Up Straight; LumoBack Sensor Vibrates Whenever You Slouch

Updated August 13, 2013, 6:09 p.m. ET

Device Nags You to Sit Up Straight

LumoBack Sensor Vibrates Whenever You Slouch

KATHERINE BOEHRET

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The LumoBack app tracks and scores your posture, with a stick figure. It compares straight versus slouching time, middle, and measures sitting time, right screen. The sensor and band, at right. The LumoBack from Lumo Body Tech is a $150 sensor that straps around your lower waist to track your posture, sending you a vibrating nudge whenever you start slouching. WSJ’s Katherine Boehret says it might be what some people need to straighten up.

“Sit up straight. Put your shoulders back. Don’t slouch.” Chances are good that you’ve heard nags like these from your mother more than a few times in your life. This week, I tested a gadget that might give mothers a rest. It’s a $150 sensor called LumoBack, from a company called Lumo BodyTech, that straps around your lower waist to track your posture and vibrates whenever you slouch. It also tracks steps while walking and running, standing time, sitting time, sleep positions and sleep time. Read more of this post

IPhone Fingerprint Reader Talk Boosting Biometric Stocks

IPhone Fingerprint Reader Talk Boosting Biometric Stocks

As the technology world buzzes with speculation that the next iPhone will have a fingerprint reader, makers of biometric security devices are bracing for a race among smartphone makers to adopt the technology.

Apple Inc. will unveil a new iPhone next month, according to a person familiar with the plans. ABI Research and KGI Securities Co. are among the industry watchers that say the device will include a fingerprint reader, a prediction bolstered by Apple’s $350 million purchase of fingerprint- sensor maker AuthenTec Inc. last year. Read more of this post

The Developing World Gets Unlimited Digital Storage; Telefornica announced a global partnership with Evernote, a digital archive for things like notes, photos and voice recordings.

AUGUST 13, 2013, 9:00 AM

The Developing World Gets Unlimited Digital Storage

By QUENTIN HARDY

You may have thought it was just everyone you knew. In fact, at least one company is hoping that about 200 million more people worldwide are leading digitally swamped lives, in need of organizing. On Tuesday Telefonica Digital, the London-based international business division of the Spanish telecommunications company, announced a global partnership with Evernote, an online archive for things like notes, photos, Web pages, and digitized voice recordings. In Brazil, where the business is starting, Evernote Premium accounts normally costing $45 a year will be free to customers of Telefonica’s local mobile brand, Vivo. Read more of this post

The Many Internet-Video Options for TVs

Updated August 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m. ET

The Many Internet-Video Options for TVs

Guide to Watching Online Video on a Big Screen

WALTER S. MOSSBERG

Even if you are not a cord-cutter, you most likely want to watch internet video on your TV. But there are so many options for doing it that it can be very confusing for those who are not tech-savvy. Walt Mossberg is here to help. (Photo: Panasonic)

Watching TV shows, movies and other video via the Internet on your big-screen television has become all the rage. But the proliferation of devices and methods for doing so has made the whole thing mighty confusing. Should you buy a “smart TV” to watch, say, Netflix NFLX +1.01% ? Or should you make an older TV “smart” by attaching a box that includes Netflix? Or should you buy an adapter and just beam Netflix wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet? And then, should you stream a movie or download it? Do you have to pay to get TV shows and movies from the Internet, or can you get them for free? Read more of this post

The quiet successes that drive Silicon Valley

The quiet successes that drive Silicon Valley

August 13, 2013: 11:58 AM ET

Not every successful tech entrepreneur wants the limelight.

By Jeff Richards, contributor

FORTUNE — Salesforce.com recently announced the acquisition of EdgeSpring, an emerging player in the business intelligence/analytics market. It was an amazing outcome for the company’s two founders, employees and investors (Lightspeed and Kleiner Perkins). So why didn’t you hear about it? Because the founders want it that way. They represent Quiet Success. And – despite what you may have been led to believe – it happens every day in Silicon Valley. EdgeSpring cofounders Vijay Chakravarthy and Ryan Lange are huge talents. Both have now had repeat entrepreneurial success. Both have created significant value, and will no doubt go on to work magic at Salesforce (CRM). They have a combined 27 followers on Twitter. They aren’t part of the PayPal or Facebook Mafia. They never held a launch party. They didn’t raise money from a hedge fund or a flashmob of notable angel investors and celebrities. They announced the acquisition with a simple change to their web site: Read more of this post

Chinese auto parts maker Huayu Automotive to buy Visteon’s stake in their car-interiors JV and interests in other car-parts businesses for $1.25 billion in cash

August 13, 2013, 10:18 a.m. ET

Auto-Parts Maker Visteon to Receive $1.2 Billion as It Refocuses Its China Strategy

PRUDENCE HO And JEFF BENNETT

HONG KONG—Chinese auto parts maker Huayu Automotive Systems Co.600741.SH +10.05% agreed to buy Visteon Corp.’s VC +6.65% 50% stake in their car-interiors joint venture and interests in other car-parts businesses for $1.25 billion in cash. The sale highlights the continuing global expansion of Chinese auto parts makers. Wanxiang Group won U.S. government approval on Monday to complete its acquisition of advanced automotive battery maker A123 Systems Inc. The company paid $256.6 million for the business trumping a lower offer made by Milwaukee auto-parts manufacturer Johnson Controls Inc. JCI +0.07% Huayu, 60% owned by SAIC Motor Corp., 600104.SH +4.17% China’s largest domestic auto maker, is acquiring Visteon’s share of Yanfeng Visteon Automotive Trim Systems Co. The unit makes car-interior components such as dashboards and door panels, as well as low-end electronics./  Visteon said it would use most of the proceeds to buy back stock until the end of 2015 and its board of directors raised the authorization of Visteon’s remaining share repurchase program by $875 million to $1 billion. Read more of this post

Closer Look: How Best to Manage the Rise of Bad Loans

08.12.2013 16:44

Closer Look: How Best to Manage the Rise of Bad Loans

Creating a market-driven method for dealing with certain debts will mean building the necessary infrastructure and letting investors judge risk

By staff reporter Li Tao

The top three regions where banks’ bad loans increased the fastest in the first half of the year are all in the Yangtze River Delta. This is primarily because of the economic slowdown and excess output capacity in the steel trading, solar energy and shipbuilding industries. To a certain extent, it is good that the risks have been exposed because it implies that we did not choose to continue covering them up by exacerbating oversupply and taking on new debts to repay old ones. The three regions, Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, are among the most market-oriented areas in the country. Their disposal of non-performing loans should thus be handled in a more market-driven manner. Read more of this post

Trust Company Forced to Repay Investors Out of Own Pockets

08.13.2013 16:57

Trust Company Forced to Repay Investors Out of Own Pockets

Shaanxi International forks over nearly 600 million yuan of its own money, then asks court to seize collateral behind failed offering

By intern reporter Liu Zhuozhe

(Beijing) – A trust company says it used its own money to buy a trust product back from investors after the issuing firm fell behind on repayments.  Shaanxi International Trust Co. Ltd. (SIT) said on August 12 it spent 597.9 million yuan acquiring outstanding units of a trust product sold in two phases by Henan Yufeng Compound Fertilizer Co. Ltd. in 2012.  Yufeng started falling behind on payments in December. The final payment of the first phase, which had an interest rate of 18 percent, was due in April. The second phase (16.2 percent) came due in July. SIT said it asked Xian Intermediate People’s Court to seize Yufeng’s assets, including land and office buildings it used as collateral to issue the trust product. It is unclear how SIT will dispose of the assets. Read more of this post

Electronics retail giant Suning aims to enter the e-finance arena after the wild success of Alibaba’s Yu E Bao service

08.08.2013 16:31

Suning Plans to Offer Money Market Funds to Online Shoppers

Retail giant aims to enter the e-finance arena after the wild success of Alibaba’s Yu E Bao service

By intern reporter Li Huiling

(Beijing) – The e-commerce platform of retail giant Suning Commerce Group Co. Ltd. said it will soon add a service to its payment system that allows shoppers to buy money market funds online. This follows Alibaba launching Yu E Bao, which lets users invest in money market funds offered by Tian Hong Asset Management Co. through their payment accounts with Alibaba. Suning’s Yi Fu Bao payment system could offer users more choice because it will provide access to more funds from different companies, said Min Juanqing, executive deputy director of Suning’s marketing department. More importantly, she said, the service will be available to both individuals and companies. Suning may also promote the online investment service in its brick-and-mortar stores. Read more of this post

The Other Chinese Interest Rate Nobody Is Talking About: China 5Y Bond Yield Surges

The Other Chinese Interest Rate Nobody Is Talking About

Tyler Durden on 08/13/2013 18:54 -0400

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While all the attention of the world’s investing public – focused on the short-term repo markets in China – has been ameliorated by the PBOC’s ‘fold’ thanks to ~CNY600bn in liquidity provision (or an equivalent 65bp RRR cut), liquidity concerns remain high (and not so hidden if one knows where to look). Not only has there been a surge in copper imports – based on the cash-for-copper deals replacing short-term funding but concerns raised by investors and the PBOC over duration mismatches (exposed by the recent crisis) has forced Chinese banks to seek longer-term funding. Banks are now raising longer-term deposit rates in order to attract stickier term-deposits and this is causing medium-term Chinese bond yields to surge. While inflation remains ‘under control’ (if one looks at the official data – as opposed to reality), growth hopes and inflation fears may also be impacting Chinese bonds though the timing suggests this remains evidence of a Chinese banking system in distress. And so, in a vicious circular manner, the cost of funding for Chinese firms is rising rapidly; implying (all things being equal) that end-users’ pocket books will be pressured as firms are forced to raise prices (raising inflationary expectations) and driving interest-rates up still further. The margin compression that banks alone will suffer will also mean more PBOC liquidity will be needed as capital floods out on risk-aversion.

 

Luxury-Car Market Shifts Gear in China Ultra-High-End Has Ruled, but Now More-Affordable Is in Fashion

August 13, 2013, 7:20 a.m. ET

Luxury-Car Market Shifts Gear in China

Ultra-High-End Has Ruled, but Now More-Affordable Is in Fashion

ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA

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In recent years, luxury-car makers have been all fired up over China. The likes of Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin rolled out models carrying images of dragons or other auspicious symbols. Lately, though, their fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. China’s economic slowdown and Beijing’s drive against conspicuous consumption are taking a toll. Ferrari’s China sales volume in the first six months of 2013 was down 12.5% from a year earlier. Bentley’s China sales were down 23%. At Lamborghini, sales growth has ground to a stop. While the top end of the luxury-auto market is stalling, though, less pricey cars are faring much better. BMW‘s BMW.XE +1.11% China sales volume for January-June was up 15% from a year earlier. At Jaguar-Land Rover, the increase was 16%; atAudiNSU.XE -0.26% 17.7%. Read more of this post

China Plans Faster Capacity Cuts Even as Growth Slows

China Plans Faster Capacity Cuts Even as Growth Slows

China will push ahead with efforts to cull excess industrial capacity a year earlier than planned even as economic expansion slows, and will promote spending on information products to stabilize growth, an official said.

The government will complete by the end of 2014 its overcapacity reduction plan for the five years through 2015, and will seek to cut further outdated capacity, China National Radio said yesterday, citing Industry Minister Miao Wei. Read more of this post

China Investigates Foreign-Car Pricing; Regulator Asks Dealers Association for Data; on the Lookout for Anticompetitive Practices

August 14, 2013, 12:19 a.m. ET

China Investigates Foreign-Car Pricing

Regulator Asks Dealers Association for Data; on the Lookout for Anticompetitive Practices

SHANGHAI—The China Automobile Dealers Association has been asked to compile prices for foreign cars sold locally so any overcharging can be exposed, the organization said Wednesday. The National Development and Reform Commission wants to see whether foreign car makers are manipulating prices or setting minimum retail prices for dealers, said Luo Lei, the association’s deputy secretary-general, noting that those practices are illegal. Read more of this post

A handful of foreign entrepreneurs have gone into rural China to operate boutique hotels in restored properties with historic or vintage appeal

August 13, 2013

From Outsiders to Innkeepers in China’s Sleepy Countryside

By MIKE IVES

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Brian Linden and his wife, Jeanee, converted a courtyard residential complex in Yunnan Province, built before the Communist revolution, into the Linden Centre hotel.

XIZHOU, China — Brian Linden welcomed the guests to his boutique hotel in one of its courtyards at the end of a cobblestone alley here, surrounded by old stone walls and polished wood balconies. He invited the group, from Greenwich, Conn., to peruse the hotel’s book collection, which he created years ago as a doctoral candidate in Sinology at Stanford University. “And if any of you are light sleepers, what I recommend is, turn on the fan for some white noise,” Mr. Linden said. “Because there’s no white noise here at all.”

The hotel is far from the noise of any major city, which Mr. Linden, an American who first arrived in China in 1984 as a student, thinks is one of its draws. He and his wife, Jeanee, are among a small number of foreign entrepreneurs in rural China who operate boutique hotels in restored properties that have historic charm. They converted a courtyard residential complex in Yunnan Province, built before the Communist revolution, into the Linden Centre. Read more of this post

The pressure on big auto makers to squeeze more miles out of a gallon of gas is powering a surge in profit at U.S. auto-parts makers.

August 13, 2013, 6:34 p.m. ET

Mileage Boosters Give Second Wind to Car-Parts Makers

Engine TurboCharger, Start-Stop Battery Makers Gain New Sales, Profit as Auto Industry Seeks Improved Fuel-Economy

JEFF BENNETT

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—The pressure on big auto makers to squeeze more miles out of a gallon of gas is powering a surge in profit at U.S. auto-parts makers. Once dismissed by Wall Street, companies including BorgWarner Inc.BWA +2.32%Delphi Automotive PLCDLPH +2.01% Federal-Mogul Corp. FDML -0.75% and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. TRW -0.18% are today beating Wall Street’s profit forecasts, hiring workers and making acquisitions. At an industry conference here earlier this month, industry executives said the appetite for fuel-saving technology such as turbochargers, easy-rolling tires and advanced fuel injectors is providing a second wind for companies already benefiting from booming car sales. Read more of this post

YTL’s Francis Yeoh: Key public services have to be opened up to private competition

August 13, 2013 4:32 pm

Why Asia needs a few doses of Thatcherite rigour

By Francis Yeoh

Key public services have to be opened up to private competition, writes Francis Yeoh

Everyone is talking about the incredible economic miracle taking place in Asia. It is true that the continent has made huge strides. But while millions more people move up into the middle classes, huge swaths of its population are being left behind. To realise their full economic potential, Asian nations must free public utilities from the clutches of the governments that control them – often simply for political or ideological reasons. Read more of this post

In Asia, Locals Rise Only So Far at Western Firms; Multinationals Still Rely on Expatriates to Fill Top Jobs Decades After Expanding Into Region

August 13, 2013, 7:52 p.m. ET

In Asia, Locals Rise Only So Far at Western Firms

Multinationals Still Rely on Expatriates to Fill Top Jobs Decades After Expanding Into Region

MARIKO SANCHANTA and RIVA GOLD

HONG KONG—As Western multinationals ratchet up their operations in Asia, there is one glaring omission from the upper ranks of management: Asians. Asians are employed by multinationals in greater numbers than ever before at lower levels, but when it comes to the top roles, companies from food to finance tend to pick Westerners. When Western companies first started expanding to Asia, headquarters sent an executive to Asia to show employees how the business should run. Decades later, not much has changed. In part, that’s because leaders tend to promote people in their own image and culture, perpetuating a cycle of white, male bosses, according to consulting and executive-search firms. Many executive-search firms say their clients would leap at the chance to hire locally, but few firms are taking steps to develop and groom talent. Read more of this post

Foreign beer brands growing fast; Rising popularity poses threat to OB-Hite duopoly who account for over 90 percent of the market

2013-08-13 16:40

Foreign beer brands growing fast

Rising popularity poses threat to OB-Hite duopoly
By Yi Whan-woo
Two local powerhouses ― Oriental Brewery (OB) and Hite-Jinro ― are facing a growing challenge from foreign makers. The two Korean breweries account for over 90 percent of the market, but market observers anticipate the share of foreign alcoholic beverage firms will consistently rise as more consumers become willing to spend money on premium beers.
The market share of foreign firms reached 5.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, up from 4 percent in 2010, according to Korea Alcohol & Liquor Industry Association (KALIA).
Japan’s Asahi tops the list of international beer brands in terms of sales. Its average annual sales in Korea increased by 47 percent from 2005 to 2012. Read more of this post

South Korea’s $15-billion wedding industry is wooing an image-conscious slice of the Chinese jet set seeking a wedding with a South Korean touch

Image industry weds Korean cool to China’s nouveaux riches

BY ELIZABETH SHIM

AP, AUG 13, 2013

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Gangnam-style: A Chinese couple pose during their wedding shoot at a studio in Seoul. South Korea’s $15-billion wedding industry is wooing an image-conscious slice of the Chinese jet set seeking a wedding with a South Korean touch. | AP

SEOUL – Standing by a French château’s window, the bride-to-be glows in the afternoon sun as she gazes into her fiancé’s eyes. This Chinese couple’s fairytale moment, however, isn’t unfolding at a Bordeaux estate. The 20-something Beijing lawyers and fans of South Korean pop idol Rain are part of a small but growing number of affluent Chinese for whom the craze for all things South Korean means flying to Seoul for the weekend to have wedding pictures taken. Read more of this post

Cleanup Attempt At Japan’s Fukushima Plant Could Release 14,000 Times As Much Radiation As Atomic Bomb

After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan’s nuclear clean-up

10:16pm EDT

By Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski

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An aerial view shows workers wearing protective suits and masks work at a construction site (C) of the shore barrier to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea, at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 9, 2013. Highly radioactive water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is pouring out at a rate of 300 tons a day, officials said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up. The revelation amounted to an acknowledgement that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has yet to come to grips with the scale of the catastrophe, 2 1/2 years after the plant was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami. Tepco only recently admitted water had leaked at all.

TOKYO (Reuters) – The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.

Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area. Read more of this post

Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) is under fire for poor management of taxpayers’ money after it was found to have provided pensions worth $51.3 million to unqualified people between 2009 and June this year

2013-08-13 16:42

NPS hit for mismanaging pensions

By Yi Whan-woo
The National Pension Service (NPS) is under fire for poor management of taxpayers’ money after it was found to have provided pensions worth 57.2 billion won ($51.3 million) to unqualified people between 2009 and June this year. According to data released by Shin Yee-jin of the ruling Saenuri Party, the country’s pension fund operator supplied that amount of pension to people not entitled to that money, including missing persons and the dead. Read more of this post

Energy Firm Makes Costly Fracking Bet—on Water

August 13, 2013, 8:09 p.m. ET

Energy Firm Makes Costly Fracking Bet—on Water

For Antero’s Planned Ohio River Pipeline, Payoff Hinges on Rainfall Patterns

RUSSELL GOLD

Antero Resources Inc., an energy company backed by New York private-equity firms, plans to spend more than half a billion dollars on a pipeline. But the 80 miles of pipe won’t transport oil or gas: They will carry water from the Ohio River to fracking sites in West Virginia and Ohio. The project is a costly wager that the hydraulic-fracturing industry’s thirst for reliable sources of water will grow over the next few years. Fracking, an oil-field technique driving the nation’s current energy boom, involves injecting vast quantities of water into the earth, along with other materials, to break up rock formations and unlock trapped oil and gas. Read more of this post

Web Directory Service 2345 Selling 38% Stake at A Valuation of RMB2 billion ($325 million)

Web Directory Service 2345 Selling 38% Stake at A Valuation of RMB2 billion

By Tracey Xiang on August 12, 2013

ZHEFU (SZ:002266), a Chinese hydropower equipment company,  announced to acquire a 38% stake in 2345.com, a Web directory and browser provider, for RMB760 million ($124 mn) (statement in Chinese). Thus 2345 is at a valuation of RMB 2 billion ($325mn). ZHEFU will invest in no more than RMB650 million and its biggest shareholder Sun Yi will input no less than RMB110 million, according to the statement. The stake sold will be from Pang Dongsheng, who currently owns 46.2% of 2345. As of July 2013, 2345 had 30 million users of the directory site and 10 million browser users. The company made RMB139 million in revenue and RMB 15.93 million in profit in 2012. The total revenue for the first half of this year is RMB210 million with RMB33.14 million in profit. 2345.com was once the second largest Web directory site in China, only after Hao123.com which was acquired by Baidu in 2004 for RMB 50 million cash and some Baidu shares. It is believed that Hao123 once drove about 30% of Baidu’s revenues through paid listing and the Baidu search box placed on it. Qihoo’s hao.360.cn later surpassed 2345.com. Qihoo successfully channeled users of its free security service to the browsers developed in house where hao.360.cn is set as the default landing page. Monthly active users of Qihoo 360′s browsers was 332 million and average daily unique visitors to hao.360.cn were 94 million as of March 2013, according to Qihoo’s Q113 financial report. All the revenues of Qihoo’s are generated through the browsers and the landing page. More than a few Chinese companies, such as Sogou and 2345, followed the business model.

Chinese online fashion retailer Vipshop Sinks as Citron’s Post Predicts ‘Major Decline’

Vipshop Sinks as Citron’s Post Predicts ‘Major Decline’

Vipshop Holdings Ltd. (VIPS), a Chinese online fashion retailer, tumbled in New York after Citron Research wrote in a Twitter post that the number of users on the website declined and shares may slump more than 50 percent.

Vipshop traffic “falls off a cliff,” Citron posted on Twitter today, attaching a note from Macquarie Group Ltd., which cited data from iResearch saying users fell 20 percent in June from a month earlier. “Stock should go back to 20’s easy. Scary for shareholders. Major decline,” short-seller Citron said. Read more of this post

Baidu wants in on LBS; spurned by Dianping, it has turned to Renren’s Nuomi

Baidu wants in on LBS; spurned by Dianping, it has turned to Renren’s Nuomi

August 14, 2013

by C. Custer

If you’re wondering why Renren’s stock jumped yesterday, it’s because of this. That’s a Sohu IT report written by Lin Fenglei that suggests that according to Lin’s understanding, Baidu has been in talks to acquire or invest in Renren’s Nuomigroup buying operation for the past couple of months, and that talks are now in the final stages. What’s perhaps more interesting is that Nuomi is apparently Baidu’s second choice. The company reportedly preferred to acquire Dianpoing, but when those negotiations fizzled, it turned to Nuomi, which controls around 6 percent of the daily deals market in China. It’s also hemorrhaging money and market share (in late 2012 it had 8 percent of the market) and has been an albatross around Renren’s neck, so the company would presumably be open to selling it. Baidu has certainly been on an acquisition kick lately; splashing big cash on 91 Wireless and PPS, as well as making a major investment in Kingsoft. An acquisition of Nuomi would presumably not because Baidu wants the sputtering daily deals service itself so much as it wants the service’s users, and a platform through which it can integrate its Maps platform and other LBS-friendly tools into some kind of e-commerce offering. If Baidu does buy Nuomi, I’d expect the site to look fairly different by next year. That said, this is all still a rumor as neither side as confirmed that talks are actually occurring. Baidu doesn’t comment on rumors and declined to comment for a Bloomberg article on this topic.

Mafengwo CEO Chen Gang: Online Customized Tourism Service To Upend Traditional Travelling Industry

Mafengwo CEO Chen Gang: Online Customized Tourism Service To Upend Traditional Travelling Industry

By Emma Lee on August 13, 2013

Different from mainstream tourism services of hotel reservation and ticket booking, Mafengwo.com, a travel guide service provider, aims to offer one-stop and customized products that better satisfy the needs of individual travelers, said the company’s CEO Cheng Gang at an interview held at 2013 China Internet Conference (source in Chinese).

Chen predicted that tourism industry will undergo fundamental transformation with the arrival of customized travelling service. Post-80s and post-90s who esteem individuality and familiar with Internet now constitute the major body of customers. Flight tickets and hotel reservation only will not satisfy their demands. According to data from Mafengwo, tourists who visit the Three George scenic sport in central China in groups slumped 10 percent year-on-year, signaling the customer’s demand for customized service. Read more of this post

High-stakes games: Tencent rolls the dice on mobile

High-stakes games: Tencent rolls the dice on mobile

Tue, Aug 13 2013

By Paul Carsten and Pete Sweeney

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings, China’s largest Internet company by revenue, is betting that one-upmanship between friends playing addictive mobile games will boost revenue from WeChat, a social messaging app used by over half of all Chinese smartphone users. The company, led by billionaire CEO and Chairman Pony Ma, last week released an update to WeChat, or Weixin, hoping the addition of games, paid-for emoticons, or stickers, and a mobile payment system will help it cash in on a client base of more than 300 million people. Tencent doesn’t charge users to download and play WeChat’s ‘freemium’ games such as Tiantian Ai Xiaochu, which is similar to “Candy Crush Saga”, the world’s top grossing app, according to Think Gaming. Instead, WeChat’s social networking features encourage friendly competition between players and their contacts by sharing scores. By paying for in-game upgrades – such as buying extra lives – users temporarily get one-up on their friends, and Tencent gets their money. Read more of this post

Whither China Seen in Australia as RBA Notes Slowdown

Whither China Seen in Australia as RBA Notes Slowdown: Economy

From his Manhattan office, Steven Englander looks to commentary from policy makers and executives in Sydney, not Beijing, for the best take on China’s economy.

“They get a direct, immediate view of China demand for highly cyclical products and have an incentive to give it a close read, so if they are sensing an extended slowdown I would take their views seriously,” said Englander, 58, head of Group of 10 currency strategy at Citigroup Inc. “It may be better to have an accurate view of a limited but important segment of Chinese demand, than an uncertain view of aggregate demand.” Read more of this post

Mall Owners Woo Hispanic Shoppers

August 13, 2013, 8:26 p.m. ET

Mall Owners Woo Hispanic Shoppers

MIRIAM JORDAN

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PANORAMA CITY, Calif.—On a recent Sunday, Spanish-speaking families swarmed the Panorama Mall here in the outskirts of Los Angeles for an afternoon of Latino entertainment. “We come for the mariachi, then we eat something and go shopping,” said Gloria Mesina, visiting the mall with her daughter, Viviana, and her granddaughter, Brisa. That is music to the ears of José Legaspi, a real-estate broker who joined forces with the mall’s owner, MacerichCo., MAC -2.20% to revitalize the shopping center by targeting Hispanics. The partners are among an emerging crop of commercial-property investors responding to the same demographic reality that has rocked the political landscape: the rise of Hispanics.

Hispanics accounted for more than half the population growth between 2000 and 2011; Latinas have more children than non-Hispanics; Hispanic households that earn $50,000 or more are rising at a faster clip than total U.S. households. Their households outspend other groups on beauty products, food and apparel, according to Nielsen Co. Read more of this post

JCPenney’s 100-year bonds swoon amid retailer’s turmoil

JCPenney’s 100-year bonds swoon amid retailer’s turmoil

1:02am EDT

By Dan Burns

(Reuters) – It was a “century” deal, but in hindsight it was hardly the deal of the century. More than 17 years and a dozen credit downgrades ago, JCPenney Co Inc. (JCP.N: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) joined an elite club in capital markets circles by issuing a rare 100-year bond. The deal from Penney, then sporting a mid-range investment-grade rating of “A” from Standard & Poor’s and coming off record holiday-season sales, matched the year’s largest “century bond” deals at $500 million, but the company stood out as the only retailer in the mix. Read more of this post

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