Political Incentives to Suppress Negative Financial Information in China? Moat Report Asia: Bamboo Innovator Insight

The following article is extracted from the Bamboo Innovator Insight weekly column blog related to the context and thought leadership behind the stock idea generation process of Asian wide-moat businesses that are featured in the upcoming monthly Moat Report Asia. Fellow value investors get to go behind the scene to learn thought-provoking timely insights on key macro and industry trends in Asia as well as benefit from the occasional discussion of potential red flags, misgovernance or fraud-detection trails ahead of time to enhance the critical-thinking skill about the myriad pitfalls of investing in Asia at the microstructure- and firm-level.

  • Political Incentives to Suppress Negative Financial Information in China? Sep 4, 2013 (BeyondProxy, Moat Report Asia)

Political Incentives to Suppress Negative Financial News

China Cash Crunch 2: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Markets

September 5, 2013, 2:15 PM

China Cash Crunch 2: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Markets

Could June jitters in China’s money market be followed by a September shudder? The causes of the June cash crunch that pushed short-term borrowing rates close to 30%, triggering a sell-off in the mainland’s equity and bond markets, were complex. But analysts break it down into five main factors. Some of them look set to return.

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How to Let 999 Flowers Die: For innovation to flourish, variation must go hand in hand with selection

August 27, 2013

How to Let 999 Flowers Die

For innovation to flourish, variation must go hand in hand with selection.

by Freek Vermeulen

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Illustration by Sam Brewster

When it comes to innovation, most executives place a high value on variation. They set up formalized systems that encourage employees to generate ideas and submit them to their superiors. Even firms without a formal mechanism frequently empower their people to experiment without fear of punishment for failure. This approach is based on the knowledge that innovation is often a bottom-up process: Managers should cultivate many promising seeds to let a thousand flowers bloom. Read more of this post

Five Principles to Turbocharge Innovation

Posted: August 2, 2013

Eric McNulty is the director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and writes frequently about leadership and resilience.

Five Principles to Turbocharge Innovation

Why do some teams consistently come up with great new ideas while others languish with little to show but time around a table? How do some organizations operate nimbly in the face of fast-evolving markets while others freeze like deer in headlights? What can you do, as a leader, to build positive, productive energy that fuels creative thinking and breakthrough innovation? I recently had the pleasure of spending two days at The City Resilient, a conference and design charrette hosted by PopTech, an organization known for convening in-person gatherings of innovators, along with the Rockefeller Foundation and others interested in resilience. As PopTech founder Andrew Zolli noted, every person present in the diverse, hand-picked group had great expertise and could be a keynote speaker at most conferences. However, the members of this group hadn’t been convened to lecture, but rather to tackle a vexing problem in short order: creating cities that could survive the stresses of the 21st century, from extreme weather to income inequality. They were charged with working together to actually get something done. Read more of this post

Bill Gross latest monthly: “Why invest in financial or real assets if bond prices could only go down, and/or stock prices could no longer be pumped up via the artificial steroids of QE?”

September 2013

Seventh Inning Stretch

William H. Gross

They say that reality is whatever you wish it to be and I suppose that could be true. Just wish it, as Jiminy Cricket used to say, and it will come true. Reality’s relativity came to mind the other day as I was opening a box of Cracker Jacks for an afternoon snack. That’s right – I said Cracker Jacks! I can’t count the number of people who have told me during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game to make sure I sing Cracker Jack (without the S) because that’s what the song says. I care not. No one ever says buy me some “potato chip” or some “peanut.” How about a burger and some “french fry?” In all cases, the “s” just makes it flow better. My reality is a box of Cracker Jacks, and I think little sailor Jack on the outside of the box would be nodding his approval if he could ever come to life, which maybe he can if the stars are aligned and reality is whatever we wish it to be. Read more of this post

New Hampshire Hospital May Have Exposed Patients To An Incurable, Terrifying Brain Disease; This disease-causing protein isn’t killed by standard sterilizing methods. Even sterilized tools can still transit the disease

New Hampshire Hospital May Have Exposed Patients To An Incurable, Terrifying Brain Disease

JENNIFER WELSH SEP. 4, 2013, 7:58 PM 4,951 6

There’s a small chance that thirteen patients in and around New Hampshire were exposed to an extremely rare, terrifying, and deadly degenerative brain disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, according to  a state health official announcement Wednesday. The potential contamination was announced after a patient that “likely had the disease” underwent brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., and later died from the disease.  The surgical instruments were washed using standard washing techniques and reused between May and August on eight other brain surgery patients at the center, and possibly five elsewhere. This disease-causing protein, however, isn’t killed by standard sterilizing methods. Even sterilized tools can still transit the disease. Read more of this post

Cheap Diving Lures Singaporeans as Ringgit Falls: Southeast Asia

Cheap Diving Lures Singaporeans as Ringgit Falls: Southeast Asia

The ringgit’s descent to a 15-year low against the Singapore dollar is luring tourists and property-buyers from the city-state, providing relief as Malaysia’s economic growth slows.

In the past three months, the ringgit has lost 5.8 percent against the greenback and 4.1 percent versus the currency of Singapore, which accounted for 52 percent of overseas visitors last year. Malaysia’s current-account surplus shrank 70 percent in the second quarter, while Singapore’s widened 28 percent, helping fuel a selloff in the nation’s assets by overseas investors preparing for the Federal Reserve to reduce stimulus. Read more of this post

Money Fund Lehman Moment Lurks as New Protections Stall

Money Fund Lehman Moment Lurks as New Protections Stall

A year ago, when opposition from the asset-management industry killed her plan to make money-market mutual funds safer, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro looked to Timothy Geithner, then the Treasury Secretary, to tackle “one of the pieces of unfinished business from the financial crisis.” It remains unfinished.

As Schapiro and Geithner prepared to leave government toward the end of 2012, the effort started anew to make the $2.6 trillion money-fund industry less likely to disrupt global financial markets. Norm Champ, a Harvard University-trained lawyer and the SEC’s top regulator of mutual funds, canvassed the remaining four commissioners, seeking to find common ground on which new rules could be built after Schapiro failed to corral enough votes to push her plan forward. Read more of this post

Australia Gold Coast Homes at 50% Below 2010 Lure Buyers

Australia Gold Coast Homes at 50% Below 2010 Lure Buyers

After sitting on the sidelines for two years watching home prices plummet, Rina Poke bought her ninth investment property in Australia’s Gold Coast for A$121,000 ($110,388), beating another buyer after a frantic round of bidding. “This is definitely the time to buy,” Poke, a 44-year-old sales manager at World Gym in the Gold Coast suburb of Ashmore, said after the auction on Aug. 8 at which 16 properties were offered. “Interest rates are at an all-time low, it’s the bottom of the market and prices are on their way up.” Read more of this post

The Big Bite of Small Brands: Upstarts are gaining market share across consumer packaged goods categories. Here’s how incumbents can respond

August 27, 2013

The Big Bite of Small Brands

Upstarts are gaining market share across consumer packaged goods categories. Here’s how incumbents can respond.

by Elisabeth Hartley, Steffen Lauster, and J. Neely

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Small consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in the U.S. are steadily gaining market share these days, often at the expense of larger competitors. Booz & Company recently analyzed the food and beverage industry and found that small players (those with sales of less than US$1 billion) are outperforming the competition in 18 of the top 25 categories, including the largest and most consolidated ones, such as bakery, dairy, snacks, and ready meals (see Exhibit). From 2009 to 2012 in packaged foods and from 2008 to 2011 in beverages, small players grew revenue about three times faster than the overall category. Specifically, in packaged foods, small players ex-perienced a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent, and gained 1.7 percent of market share. Meanwhile, large players increased sales by just 1.6 percent CAGR and saw their market share decline 0.7 percent. Read more of this post

Xiaomi Beats Apple to Smart TV With $490 Set Coming Next Month

Xiaomi Beats Apple to Smart TV With $490 Set Coming Next Month

Xiaomi Corp., the smartphone maker that outsells Apple Inc. (AAPL) in China, has beat it on another front. The Chinese company will soon offer a TV that connects to the Web and runs on the Android operating system. The 47-inch (119-centimeter) TV costs 2,999 yuan ($490) and will be available next month, Lei Jun, founder and chief executive officer of the three-year-old company, said at a press conference in Beijing today. Lei also introduced a new handset he said would be the world’s fastest smartphone. Read more of this post

Watch LG Terrify Job Applicants Into Thinking Their Flat Screens Are Really Office Windows

Watch LG Terrify Job Applicants Into Thinking Their Flat Screens Are Really Office Windows

AARON TAUBE SEP. 4, 2013, 5:17 PM 9,531 9

What better way to demonstrate the life-like quality of your televisions than by using them to scare the bejesus out of people? That’s what LG Chile did in a prankvertisement promoting its 82-inch “Ultra HD” TVs. The commercial, which surfaced Monday on YouTube, shows the LG team rigging up the TVs to look like windows. Then, they sat job applicants across from the televisions under the premise that they were being interviewed for a position with the company. When the tranquil cityscape displayed on the televisions erupts into a series of explosions, hidden cameras capture the applicants’ outrageous reactions: The stunt is not the first time advertisers have launched prankvertisements aimed at job applicants. LG has previously been accused of faking its stunts. In February, we told you about a Heineken campaign in which the company subjected internship hopefuls to a variety of bizarre behaviors, ranging from excessive hand-holding to feigned medical emergencies. That treatment pales in comparison to the comically austere accommodations  Brussels ad agency Mortierbrigade told interns they’d be getting in the agency’s basement. LG’s latest take on the genre seems to be a success. The video already has more than 500,000 views on YouTube.

 

Why are good managers such a rare species?

September 4, 2013 4:57 pm

Why are good managers such a rare species?

Review by Stefan Stern

Becoming a better boss: Why good management is so difficult, by Julian Birkinshaw, Wiley, RRP£18.99

How likely is it that you would recommend your line manager to a colleague as someone they should work for in the future? This is the question that senior executives at the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche started asking in staff surveys three years ago. The idea was to spot which managers were really good at building engaged, higher performing teams. It is not just about the feelgood factor. According to a Wharton business school study, money invested in America’s 100 “best companies to work for” over a 25-year period would have generated returns 3.5 per cent a year higher than those achieved by the average fund manager. Read more of this post

The four stages of life every successful startup must go through

The four stages of life every successful startup must go through

BY GIRISH SHENOY 
ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2013

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If you’ve ever been to a startup event, you’d be awed by the intriguing ideas entrepreneurs come up with — revolutionary jumps that change the way we think about the world, or small incremental ideas that make us relearn everything we know about friends, work, or even coffee. It’s pretty hard not to be awed. But for all their brilliance, most startup entrepreneurs have distorted ideas about customer service, and what it means to their seedling ventures. After all, when you are a garage startup trying to change the world, the first and most important thing you need is traction, and the second: staying alive. Most startups procrastinate on servicing customers to keep them happy until they have gone mainstream. No surprise that a good chunk of these startups don’t survive very long.

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Games we play make us better at work; Plenty of ways to hone the entrepreneurial edge but none compares with the real experience

September 3, 2013 4:47 pm

Games we play make us better at work

By Luke Johnson

Plenty of ways to hone the entrepreneurial edge but none compares with the real experience

This summer my elder son and daughter (six and eight respectively) became obsessed by the board game Monopoly. I saw it anew through their eyes and was reminded that games can be a useful introduction to the world of business. As with life, success in Monopoly is down to a combination of luck and skill. Players learn to handle money, make investments and plan for the future. They find out about strategy, winning and losing, trading and leverage. Read more of this post

The insecurities that torment some people at work and render them risk-averse need to be understood

September 4, 2013 5:01 pm

That fear of being found out

By Naomi Shragai

Many people wear a mask at work – of competency and of being in control. But sometimes behind this lies the anxiety that they are incapable of doing their job and a fear of being found out. As a result they go to unhealthy extremes to ensure they get things right in an effort to avoid what they imagine could be a catastrophic outcome if exposed. Most people will have experienced these feelings in their working lives, and such self-doubt can be healthy. Reflecting on one’s strengths and limitations is essential and makes people strive harder at work. Furthermore, the damaging consequences of the extreme opposite characteristics – stubbornness, arrogance and denying one’s limitations – have been seen in the chief executives who led their companies to irresponsible risk-taking and ruin. Feelings of insecurity are particularly common when people are promoted to a leadership position. Read more of this post

Could This New Technology Destroy The Value Of All Famous Art?

Could This New Technology Destroy The Value Of All Famous Art?

MEGAN WILLETT SEP. 4, 2013, 3:39 PM 6,112 16

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Relievo of Van Gogh’s “Wheatfield under Thunderclouds” (1890).

A new 3D printing technique in Europe could threaten the value of the world’s most prized works of art. The proprietary technique is being used by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which has partnered with Fujifilm to produce three-dimensional reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces. Called “Relievos” by the museum, the replicas are of extremely high quality and will set you back £22,000, or just under $29,000. The museum is planning to sell 260 limited edition copies — all numbered and stamped — for both collectors and educational purposes. Read more of this post

Bezos to Washington Post: ‘Don’t be boring’

Bezos to Washington Post: ‘Don’t be boring’

4:14pm EDT

(Reuters) – Jeff Bezos, the soon-to-be owner of The Washington Post, does not plan to cut his way to profitability and says the only path to success is growth, according to an account in the Washington Post on Wednesday. The Amazon.com chief executive is visiting the newspaper for the first time this week since he agreed to purchase the Washington Post Co newspaper unit for $250 million on Aug 5. Read more of this post

James Dyson says engineering can boom if government backs sector; Dyson said that 50% of his company’s £1.2bn sales in 2012 came from recently invented technologies

James Dyson says engineering can boom if government backs sector

Engineering industry creates far more jobs than ‘silicon’ sector, claims British entrepreneur as Dyson unveils 19% profit rise

Terry Macalister

The Guardian, Thursday 5 September 2013

James Dyson

Dyson says UK industry cannot get enough engineers, with 88% of postgrad students being from outside the EU and taking their skills abroad. Photograph: Dyson/Rex

The government should stop talking up the opportunities for the UK digital sector and the “silicon roundabout”, and concentrate more on the employment opportunities in engineering, according to the entrepreneur Sir James Dyson. The industrial designer made the comments as the company he founded under his own name announced a 19% increase in annual profits to £364m and announced plans to recruit 650 new engineers, 250 of whom would be found in Britain. Determined to push for even more innovation, Dyson said he was increasing the company’s spending on research and development (R&D) by 25% this year. The company already spends £1.5m a week. Read more of this post

Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting; Parents Who Yell at Teens Can Increase Risk of Depression and Aggression

September 4, 2013, 7:21 p.m. ET

Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting

Parents Who Yell at Teens Can Increase Risk of Depression and Aggression

ANDREA PETERSEN

Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would, including increased risk of depression and aggressive behavior, according to a new study. A good, warm relationship with Mom and Dad doesn’t protect teens from the negative effects of parents’ yelling, cursing or lobbing insults, such as calling teens “lazy” or “stupid,” the study found. Conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, the study was published Wednesday on the journal Child Development’s website. Read more of this post

Mapping The 7 “Risk” Horsemen Of The Sept-ocalypse

Mapping The 7 “Risk” Horsemen Of The Sept-ocalypse

Tyler Durden on 09/04/2013 21:50 -0400

Ahead of September, historically the worst month for stocks, Deutsche Bank notes that volatility has picked up and corporate bond issuance has slowed. There are several possible risks over the next few weeks that could trigger a further escalation in market volatility

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Via Deutsche Bank,

1. Emerging markets could become more vulnerable as the Fed tapers QE and capital outflows from EM intensify

20130903_DB7_2_0 Read more of this post

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch; Electronics Giant Opens New Front in Tech Battle Over ‘Wearable’ Devices

Updated September 4, 2013, 7:18 p.m. ET

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

Electronics Giant Opens New Front in Tech Battle Over ‘Wearable’ Devices

JONATHAN CHENG And MIN-JEONG LEE

Shin President and CEO head of IT and Mobile Communication division of Samsung presents the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch at IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin

Samsung have launched their much anticipated Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Ben Rooney assesses whether the device will simply become a fashion accessory or an essential piece of technology as ubiquitous as the smartphone. Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.87% planted its flag in the battle over wearable devices Wednesday, unveiling a digital watch that can run apps and interact with its own family of smartphones. Samsung, which raced ahead of AppleInc. AAPL +2.07% last year to become the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, is attempting to shake off long-running criticism that it has been a follower rather than an innovator in the competitive market for high-end devices. Read more of this post

Twitter CEO accused of ‘playing God’ in stoush with Australian start-up ManageFlitter

Twitter CEO accused of ‘playing God’ in stoush with Australian start-up ManageFlitter

September 5, 2013 – 1:18PM

Ben Grubb

The chief executive of Twitter has been involved in an online stoush with an Australian start-up founder after disabling a feature the start-up relied upon in a product it markets mostly to big-name brands. ManageFlitter, founded by 39-year-old Sydney-based African entrepreneur Kevin Garber, allows Twitter users to manage whom they follow in a way that many have found much easier to use than Twitter. It has amassed nearly 2 million users who either access the website’s services for free, with limited functionality, or upgrade to the professional or business versions for a fee.

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The ManageFlitter interface. Photo: ManageFlitter Read more of this post

Thorny Side Effects in Silicon Valley Tactic to Keep Control

SEPTEMBER 3, 2013, 5:16 PM

Thorny Side Effects in Silicon Valley Tactic to Keep Control

By STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF

The gods of Silicon Valley have repeatedly sought to take the companies they founded public while retaining control as if they were still private. Recent events at Google and other technology companies show that perhaps this control may be bad not only for the companies but also for the founders, who are increasingly living in a world bereft of checks and balances. Silicon Valley has for the most part held public shareholders in mixed regard. Preferring to keep them on the sidelines is not a new development. Read more of this post

Tesla has stolen a march on rival electric car makers but can it make the vehicle affordable?

September 4, 2013 6:31 pm

Automobiles: Electric shock

By Henry Foy and Richard Waters

Tesla has stolen a march on rival electric car makers but can it make the vehicle affordable? Move over PorscheAudi and Jaguar. In the world’s most cutting-edge car market, Tesla Motors has the fastest-growing luxury sedan. And it has no exhaust pipe. Barely a year after its launch, the company’s electric Model S is California’s third most popular luxury car. It is a must-have for Hollywood superstars and technology titans, a serious challenger to established premium marques and an answer to the biggest question in the automotive industry: can green cars sell?

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Qualcomm jumps into ‘wearables’ fray with Toq smartwatch

Qualcomm jumps into ‘wearables’ fray with Toq smartwatch

5:25pm EDT

By Noel Randewich

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc has unveiled the Toq, a smartwatch that can play music and handle phone calls and messages, and said it would start selling the device in the fourth quarter, marking the chipmaker’s entry into the emerging arena of wearable computing. The company, which dominates the global market for applications processors for smartphones and tablets, introduced the device on Wednesday in a bid to showcase its own technology to manufacturers as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its own much-anticipated “Galaxy Gear” in Berlin. Read more of this post

Social commerce in Korea to surge sixtyfold over three years

Social commerce to surge sixtyfold over three years

Kim Gyu-sik, Sohn Dong-woo, Won Yo-hwan

2013.09.04 18:12:36

The social commerce market is growing and evolving rapidly due to cheap price chasers, who go for lower prices, and its edge in the mobile environment. Social commerce has recently started diversifying its product line-up from intangible goods including tickets for dining at restaurants and watching performance to electronics, cars and food, seizing on the areas that have been reserved for other online shopping malls. The social commerce market in its infancy totaled 50 billion won ($45.6 million) in terms of the value of total transactions in 2010. Now the number is projected to exceed three trillion won this year. All of the three biggest social commerce players in Korea, Ticket Monster, Coupang, and We Make Price, are confident that their respective transactions would surpass one trillion won this year.  Read more of this post

Passwords will become obsolete when you can log-in with your heartbeat

Passwords will become obsolete when you can log-in with your heartbeat

By Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic 10 hours ago

Nearly all of computer security boils down to one question: How can a device know that you are you? Passwords are the most basic tactic for confirming your identity. If you can come up with your secret string of numbers and letters, you must be you. But everyone knows that passwords are pretty weak barriers, in part because people are bad at choosing them (tending to use innovative combinations such as “password” and “123456″) and because computers are good at breaking them. Other than passwords, there are a host of other tricks, all with that same goal in mind: verifying that you are you. Two of the most common are security questions (silliness) and two-step verification such as Gmail’s, which involves a secondary code that only you have access to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUO7Qnmc8vE Read more of this post

A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger

September 4, 2013

A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger

By MATT RICHTEL

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Findings on video games published in the journal Nature are a significant development in understanding how to strengthen older brains.

There may be a new market for video games: octogenarians. Brain scientists have discovered that swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game can improve the short-term memory and long-term focus of older adults. Some people as old as 80, the researchers say, begin to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s. Cognitive scientists say the findings, to be published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature, are a significant development in understanding how to strengthen older brains. That is because the improvements in brain performance did not come just within the game but were shown outside the game in other cognitive tasks. Read more of this post

Dish, Disney Gird for Showdown Over ESPN

Updated September 4, 2013, 8:56 p.m. ET

Dish, Disney Gird for Showdown Over ESPN

AMOL SHARMA And SHALINI RAMACHANDRAN

Dish Network Corp. DISH +0.13% chairman Charlie Ergen has long railed against the high cost of sports on TV. Now he has a chance to do something about it. Dish’s agreement to carry ESPN, the highest profile and most expensive of the national sports channels, expires at the end of September. Dish and ESPN’s majority-owner Walt Disney DIS +0.30% Co are now in negotiations on a renewal for the agreement, which dates back to 2005. The talks will also address the fees Dish must pay to carry Disney’s other channels, including ABC broadcast stations. As a result, the negotiations will likely revolve around some the pay-TV industry’s most contentious issues—broadcast fees and sports costs—even more than Time Warner Cable Inc.’s TWC +0.60% battle withCBS Corp., CBS +2.06% which ended just Monday after a monthlong blackout. Read more of this post

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