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H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (23 February 2019) – Uniqlo’s quest to become the world’s top e-tailer/retailer; Having built the brand, Yanai’s focus now switches to digital strategy + Quants Learn a Tough Lesson on Their Limits From Kraft Plunge; Dividend, low volatility and value ETFs all own the stock

H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (23 February 2019) – Uniqlo’s quest to become the world’s top e-tailer/retailer; Having built the brand, Yanai’s focus now switches to digital strategy + Quants Learn a Tough Lesson on Their Limits From Kraft Plunge; Dividend, low volatility and value ETFs all own the stock

Companies

  • Uniqlo’s quest to become the world’s top e-tailer/retailer; Having built the brand, Yanai’s focus now switches to digital strategy (Nikkei)
  • En-Japan announced that it has acquired India-based IT staffing firm Future Focus Infotech (SI)
  • Netmarble, Kakao, global PEFs bid for Nexon takeover (Investor)

BATTSS – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, TSMC, Samsung, Softbank

  • Beneath Baidu’s positive results lie brand, trust burdens (Technode)
  • Tencent’s WeChat super app focuses on offline services to address changing needs of its 1 billion users; The number of people using WeChat to pay their medical expenses saw a 2.9-times year-on-year increase (SCMP)

FAANNMG – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Nvidia, Netflix, Microsoft, Google

  • You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook. (WSJ)
  • YouTube’s Ad Revolt Seen Fleeting. Brands Just Can’t Quit Google (Bloomberg)
  • Personalizing Learning with Data: Microsoft’s latest acquisition shows how combining pedagogy and technology can dramatically improve learning outcomes. (Medium)
  • Gamers Could Have the Final Say on Nvidia’s Stock (Barron’s)

Asia Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Beijing turns to facial recognition to deter scalpers who sell hospital appointments; To help cure the woes of China’s medical system, Beijing has turned to facial recognition technology as part of its latest effort to snare unscrupulous (SCMP)
  • Korean unicorn buys Vietnammm, turning up the heat in Vietnam’s food delivery sector; Vietnammm, Grab Food, Now by Foodie and Go-Viet’s Go-Food are currently the leading players in the industry (KRA)

Global Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Zillow Stock Soared Because Change Is Good (Barron’s); Zillow just told us what the future of buying a home looks like (TBP)
  • Reinvention is key for small tech companies; WANdisco, CentralNic and Forbidden seek to keep pace with industry (FT)
  • TechStyle hits 5 million members for its retail empire (TC)
  • Zoom, the video conferencing company, may be a public company as early as April (TC)
  • The decline of Monster.com from HR leader to follower (TN)
  • Some planes have cameras on seat-back screens; American Airlines and Singapore Airlines say systems are inactive but could allow seat-to-seat video conferencing in the future (JT)
  • Why Investors Should be Wary as the Unicorns Finally Seek IPOs (Barron’s)
  • Tech Companies Want to Be Banks (Bloomberg)
  • Wayfair Can’t Relax on the Easy Chair of Sales Growth; The online home-goods retailer’s operating expenses continue to climb, and it’s still spending a lot on marketing. (Bloomberg)
  • Everybody Makes Podcasts. Can Anyone Make Them Profitable? The industry generates a lot of enthusiasm and little revenue, but that could be changing. (Bloomberg)
  • Drive for Instacart and you could make $29.05 for an hour’s work-or $2.74 (FastCo)

Life

  • Warren Buffett’s Big Consumer Bets Bite Back (Bloomberg); Warren Buffett’s Kraft Heinz Bet Dragged Down Berkshire Hathaway in 2018; Conglomerate swung to a $25.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter due to an unexpected write-down at Kraft Heinz and unrealized investment losses. (WSJ); It Shook the Food Business by Snagging Burger King, Kraft and Heinz. Now 3G Is Reeling.; The Brazilian investment firm cut costs relentlessly but failed to spend on new ideas when consumer tastes changed (WSJ); Kraft Heinz Faces Existential Crisis After $16 Billion Rout (Bloomberg); Kraft Heinz’s Financial Recipe Turns Sour; The cost-cutting and debt-driven acquisitions leave investors with a bad taste. (Bloomberg); Quants Learn a Tough Lesson on Their Limits From Kraft Plunge; Dividend, low volatility and value ETFs all own the stock (Bloomberg)
  • High Glassdoor Ratings Can Lead to Better Stock Returns, But There’s a Catch (Barron’s)
  • Pizza Hut – How Lock-In Causes Growth Stalls, Irrelevancy and Bad Results: “Most management teams don’t think their problem is a market shift. Instead react by trying to do more of the same. They treat this situation like it’s an operational problem. Undertake more quality campaigns, more money spent on advertising, more promotions, asking employees to work a little harder, more product for the same (or lower) price – more, better, faster, cheaper. But this doesn’t work, because the problem lies in a market shift away from the company “core” Success Formula. Only by now management is so far removed from market trends that it has no idea how to regain relevancy. In Pizza Hut’s case, leadership is undertaking what they’d like to think is a brand overhaul that will change its position in customers’ minds. But, unfortunately, they are doing the ultimate in defend & extend management to try and save the old Success Formula, and not really doing anything “new,” or innovative, at all.” Forbes – November 12, 2014 (Forbes)
  • China Minsheng Investment Group: debt-fuelled ‘aircraft of private businesses’ took off – and then the tank ran dry; Investment group facing debt crisis after splurging on US$46.3 billion in assets from Bermuda to London (SCMP)
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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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