Posted by Abe Sauer on October 23, 2013 12:06 PM
Starbucks has been suffering a beating from China's press regarding its high prices lately. The state-run media outlets, including a special CCTV report, accused Starbucks of discriminating against Chinese consumers by selling coffee at much higher prices than in other nations.
But this week, everyone else dropped the hammer on CCTV, calling out China's official news organization for frothing up of nationalist disgust with foreign enterprises in China. (A fate also suffered this year by, amongst others, Apple.) In fact, CCTV's attack on the coffee giant says a lot more about CCTV in modern China than it does about Starbucks.
While Apple eventually folded and apologized, even though a significant portion of Chinese consumers were on Apple's side, Starbucks has online personalities to thank for coming to its defense against CCTV, with no 'apology' in sight. Instead, Starbucks' responded to the charges, saying, basically that CCTV was right. The chain, noting that its margins were the same, pointed to several realities of its China business that make production more expensive. This reasoning got a boost from other online media such as news clearinghouse 163.com—the "Huffington Post of China"—which published a special section dedicated to the Starbucks case, examining and explaining the perfectly normal economic practice of price discrimination.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 03:51 PM
If you're going to trade punches with Uncle Sam, you'd better be able to pack a wallop. It isn't clear yet if Standard & Poor's Ratings Services will prove to bring a haymaker in its new action against the federal government, but it clearly is engaged in a heavyweight fight.
To wit: S&P has sued the government because the feds filed a $5 billion lawsuit against S&P in what S&P is calling "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011. The United States had accused S&P of misrepresenting its rating process in the years before the financial crisis to federally insured banks and credit unions that were buying debt, a charge that S&P has called "meritless."
Now S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos., alleges that the governent's suit amounts to an attempt to breach free speech, which a Justice Department spokeswoman called a "preposterous" charge, according to the Wall Street Journal. So the sides can be considered even in their "well-I-never" rhetoric.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 4, 2013 02:38 PM
It’s been more than 40 years since Big Tobacco aired a commercial on television, but they're back with their billions to convince consumers to try a confounding new product: e-cigarettes.
But the industry's answer to public smoking bans may not have that long to sell themselves on televison. USA Today reports that the US government is making moves towards regulating the devices, which are purported to be a better alternative to regular cigarettes.
The battery-powered devices made to resemble real cigarettes use nicotine but don’t create smoke or ashes that can be offensive to others. The devices are predicted to bring in $1.7 billion in revenue this year and at least $10 billion by the end of 2017.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 12:41 PM
The old adage about mail being delivered whether there is rain, sleet or snow doesn't cover whether the letter carrier makes appointed rounds if the Postal Service is losing billions of dollars.
The USPS, of course, has announced that as of August, Americans won’t be getting deliveries on Saturdays, due to the service losing $1.3 billion in the final quarter of 2012. (Holiday mailings were expected to stave off such massive losses.) and $16 billion in its previous fiscal year. (Esquire has an expansive piece out this month looking at the service's wide-ranging woes.)
No hint of the service's troubles seems apparent on its Facebook page, which announces "6-Day Package/5-Day Mail Delivery" in a manner that almost seems to suggest it's an improvement. It also calls itself "the largest, most efficient postal company in the world" (with a retail network that is "larger than McDonald's, Starbucks and Wal-mart combined") and reminds Americans that a stamp that costs 46 cents in the U.S. is priced at an average of 93 cents elsewhere in the world.Continue reading...
name that _______
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 25, 2012 04:03 PM
Everybody is looking for cash these days, but how to drum it up when everybody is also paying extra close attention to where a wallet’s contents are disappearing to. Cities are no different. Government services are hurting for cash and there are only so many ways to generate more dough.
So cities are getting creative, the New York Times reports. Baltimore is currently trying to sell space on its fire engines to raise some extra pennies. And why not? The city’s current budget has made the elimination of three city fire companies necessary this summer.
Philadelphia is selling ad space on its subway fare cards and one of the city’s main train stops is now named for AT&T. Chicago is selling naming rights to its eleven "L" subway stations. As for the Times' hometown, the naming rights for the Atlantic Avenue subway station at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn were sold in 2009, and the MTA implemented the Barclays name change in May.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 18, 2012 01:56 PM
In the latest update of its Transparency Report, Google says it has received more than 1,000 official requests from governments to take down content from search results or YouTube in the last six months of 2011.
"It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship," stated Dorothy Chou, Google’s senior policy analyst, in a blog post. "Unfortunately, what we've seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it's not."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2012 02:35 PM
There is a worldwide battle against cigarette marketing going on and the British government has doubled up on rulings in order to keep them out of the eyes of consumers.
Starting April 6th, the UK government stipulates that retailers that runs stores larger than 280 square meters must keep cigarettes hidden from consumers and only expose them while making the sale or cleaning off the shelf that they are on, according to FreshBusinessThinking.com. “Price lists and posters, necessary because customers will not be able to see the products, have to be in a specified font and font size,” according to the Dec. 2011 tobacco display guidelines.
The effort to hide the smokes will cost retailers an estimated £15.6 million ($20.6 million), but there has been an outcry from the British Retail Consortium because the government is also “considering the possibility of plain packaging for tobacco products.”Continue reading...
Posted by Laura Fitch on September 14, 2009 04:59 PM
China’s upcoming 60th national day celebrations are an exercise in public perception.
Last year, the government focused on showing China’s best face to the world during the Olympics, with friendly volunteers assisting hapless tourists an increased press freedom (at least officially, if not in practice). Ads featuring smiling athletes and television commercials espousing world peace and harmony. This year, however, the message is a little different, as the Associated Press reported. Continue reading...