• World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • Economic Transition Fosters Personal Growth and Professional Development
  • Mini Massages to Combat Stress
  • Audits & Surveys' USA Retail Census -- Winners and Losers
  • US Companies Plan Their Move to Asia
  • Thailand May Become 3rd Largest Auto Maker in Asia
  • Merger Creates World's Biggest Financial Services Company
  • Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber Plan Agreement
  • General Motors Plans Integrated Global Market Strategy for Success
  • PepsiCo's Global Strategy Focus is on Core Beverage Business
  • Deutsche Telekom to Distribute Netscape Software in Germany
  • Declining Russian Population
  • Mickey Mouse vs. the Young Chinese Genius
  • Take the Marketing Insights POLL
  • Share Your Thoughts About the NEWS
  • Last Minute Travel Bargains -- Discounted Air Fares
  • check back for more news this month!
  • .....check back for more news this month!
  • Part I

    WORLD -- Sparked by a list of the top 10 best-selling non-fiction hardcover books in the US in 1995 which was dominated by self-help and personal development titles, followed by the observation of the small (valued at over US$8 mil), but growing demand for practical advice books in France, furthered by the emphasis on productivity and efficiency-oriented consulting services in Mexico and Eastern Europe, we wanted to explore this potential trend.

    The world economy is in transition -- many countries are either experiencing high unemployment and/or an economy that is striving to compete on a global footing. The Japanese employee may not be assured lifetime employment; Mexican executives are no longer able to compete globally based on inexpensive labor; the high unemployment level (over 12%) in France makes it necessary for job seekers to learn new skills from English to business management; and the US$4.7 billion Australian market for vocational training has been growing by more than 20% a year for the last 3 years. In light of nearly 9% unemployment, this is not surprising. [continued]

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    JAPAN and USA -- A vast majority (nearly 82%) of Japanese employees exhibit symptoms of stress, according to a 1992 study by the Japanese Ministry of Labor. In both the US and Japanese markets, at train stations, airports or street corners, consumers can stop for a 15-minutes massage. While the ambiance and selection of services at the salons may differ between Japan and the US, the message is clear. We are looking for a little relaxation and peace of mind in an otherwise hectic day.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    Part II:

    Personal/Professional Growth
    -- Winners and Losers --

    An uncertain business climate, downsizing, threatened job security, global competition on local soil and new technology are transforming the working environment and the worker mindset. There is greater competition at the workplace to retain jobs and for newcomers to bring new skills. Employees are taking charge of their career development, re-training and honing their skills while they manage their own careers. According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), US companies spent 2.19% of their payroll on employee training and development, and this doesn't even begin to tap into consumers' own spending in this area. In Japan, householders spent an average of US$1,764 in 1992 on education; while French households spent approximately US$202 on education in 1994.

    On the personal front, we see the Baby Boom generation seeking a simplification -- returning to natural fibers, natural medicines and homeopathy, retreating to escapist activities from theme parks such as Disney in the USA, France and Japan to aromatherapy which may manifest itself in burning scented candles at home or bathing in relaxing, stress-reducing aromas.

    These may be more visible retreats of our introspective focus on 'self' -- a luxury afforded the developed economies and middle to upper class groups around the world. But this is not necessarily the selfish pursuit of the "me" generational era of the 1960s/70s. We suggest this is, rather, an emphasis on the skills and expertise needed to combat:

    • Aging (looking and feeling one's best)
    • Stress (coping), and
    • Survival (supporting one's family)
    in an ever-more competitive business and social environment. These are the tools required to help rationalize the stress of downsizing, the fear of AIDs and other diseases and the skills to redefine one's goals as the world around them advances at cyberspeed.

    As the world becomes more interactive (linked economies, linked cultures, linked allies) and we move through this simultaneous transition, admittedly with different manifestations in each country, people will continue to try to redefine themselves and refine themselves to fit in better, to prosper and succeed, in this evolutionary climate. There is likely to be a growing demand for personal growth and development materials and books as the world economy rebounds into the 21st century -- both in the workplace and at home.

    Reader's Comments

    USA -- The US retail environment is dynamic, reflecting changes in consumers' tastes, lifestyles and values as well as the trade's ability and foresight to respond to these changes. Audits & Surveys Worldwide recently released the results of their 1996 National Retail Census which reports information on the number and kinds of stores in the US market that sell various products and specific brands. It is based on a national probability sample of 35,000 outlets of all kinds throughout the USA in over 800 geographic locations. Data is collected through on-site, personal store visits, making ASW's Retail Census the largest annual, personal sample census in the country.

    According to the study, over the last 26 years, fast food restaurants have demonstrated the most growth and staying power, with a 97% increase in retail outlets, followed by sporting goods stores (83%), radio/tv/stereo/electrical equipment stores (75%), discount stores (60%) and finally auto and home supply outlets (43%). Those that lost the most ground were variety stores (with 66% fewer retail outlets in 1996 vs. 1970), rivaled by new car dealerships (-65%), followed by household appliance stores (-57%), taverns/bars (-54%) and finally cigar and tobacco stores (-53%). But don't let these long-term trends persuade you to forego your plans to export cigars to or open a cigar shop or bar in the US market. An eye on consumer trends reveals the return of cigar smoking, even among women, with new magazines targeted to this audience as well as smoking bars (in a virtually non-smoking country). Cigar shops are opening new outlets at a faster pace than nearly any other sector reviewed by the ASW survey; there is a noted recent 0.6% increase in the number of cigar/tobacco stores, over the past year -- among the five fastest growing sectors.

    This month, PANGAEA.NET features a summary of this report:

    Table of Contents

    Full Summary

    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    ASIA -- Asia has been noted as a "hot" market on many fronts -- featuring emerging markets, inexpensive labor, rising incomes -- all spelling o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y. Not only are US multinationals interested in selling to Asia, but now they want to move there. 72% of surveyed companies said that Asia is a likely location for expansion of existing offices or plants or new operations, according to the Koll National Real Estate Index, produced in conjunction with E&Y Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group. This survey was conducted among 194 companies, most of which (150) employ at least 1000 people. Of the top 10 cities cited as prospects for major US companies looking to establish a new foreign presence, 6 were in Asia. While Asia was the most likely candidate for relocation, Europe was ranked likely for expansion by 37% of respondents, followed by Latin America (33%), Canada (7%) and Australia/New Zealand (7%). To keep this in perspective, 66% of those surveyed already have a presence in the UK, for example.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand is targeted to become the third largest automobile exporter in Asia by the Year 2000, with exports exceeding 200,000 vehicles a year, and total production to increase to over 1 million. Japanese and US automakers are planning to increase local production in Thailand as well as export capacity from Thailand to other Southeast Asian rising stars in addition to Australia and Japan. Production rates in Thailand are projected to fall behind only Japan and South Korea. In 1995, Thailand's auto production was the highest in Southeast Asia (590,000 vehicles). Toyota, Mitsubishi, General Motors, Ford and Mazda all have plans for stepped up production in Thailand over the next few years.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    USA -- Today's (2/5/97) confirmed US$10.2 billion stock swap merger of two leading US securities firms -- investment powerhouse Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter's retail brokerage services -- is the biggest merger in the securities industry, forming the world's largest financial services firm. Together, they will manage more than US$270 billion in assets. Dean Witter shareholders will own about 55% of the new company and Morgan Stanley holders about 45%. The combined value of the two companies was US$21 billion prior to the merger just yesterday; but today's stock prices jumped to US$22.9 billion after the deal was announced.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    USA and JAPAN -- US market leader, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries announced plans to sign an agreement this month to manufacture tires for each other in their respective countries.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    USA -- Last month, General Motors, the largest US automaker, unveiled its intent to implement an integrated global market strategy to leverage the company's diverse manufacturing, distribution and general industry strengths. They plan to integrate the company's, until now, decentralized functions in order to maximize efficiency and profitability on a worldwide basis. Furthermore, North American profitability is expected to improve for GM in 1997 with the introduction of new car brands.

    GM maintained its leading position in the US with auto sales in excess of 4.79 mil vehicles (vs. 3.84 mil for Ford and 2.45 mil for Chrysler) in 1996. Overall, last year's US auto sales improved. Total 1996 sales were reportedly 15.1 million vehicles vs. 14.8 million in 1995.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    PURCHASE, USA -- PepsiCo, the makers of Pepsi, are planning important corporate changes in an effort to re-focus on their core beverages business. PepsiCo has announced plans to spin off their restaurant businesses, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell into a separate company. This decision was announced following a significant (85%) decline in 4Q profits from their international beverage business. Despite anticipated short-term declines, Pepsi plans to continue investing in fast-growing international markets.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    GERMANY -- Web designers, publishers and users around the world must grapple with different web browser standards. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Netscape battle it out for popularity. Let's tally another vote for Netscape. The German telecommunications giant, Deutsche Telekom AG, (DT) will begin distributing Netscape Communications Corp. software to its main business customers this month. Through their agreement, Deutsche Telekom will be able to offer the full range of Netscape products, including web publishing software, in addition to the Netscape browser, which DT began distributing in 1995 to customers of their online service.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    RUSSIA -- Pakistan's population is expected to exceed Russia's by the Year 2000. Russia, now ranking the sixth largest country in the world, with a population of 147 million, is expected to decrease rapidly over the next 33 years -- to 123 million people -- according to The Population Reference Service (PRS). Demographers attribute this to Russia's pessimism -- gloom about the economy, and the citizens' personal gloom about the future. Russia is not alone, however, declining birth rates are also evident in other former republics of the Soviet Union, including Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. According to the PRS statistics, the birth rate in Russia has fallen from about 17 births per 1,000 people in 1985 to nine per 1,000 in 1996, with an average of only 1.3 children per female -- the lowest birth rate in Russia's history. (By comparison, the United States has a birth rate of about 15 births per 1,000.)
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    BEIJING, PR China -- In an effort to educate the nearly 300 million children in China with proper Chinese values and morals, the Chinese government plans to create 15 new cartoon characters that will appeal to children and help combat the bad influences of foreign comic book characters now widely sold in China. Reportedly, 80% of children's books sold in China are based on foreign cartoons.

    In this one-child culture, parents are particularly concerned about educating and providing for their child's success. But children are children, and they want what's popular. They want the characters they see on TV. As a result, parents in China are buying up to 180,000 copies of Disney's Mickey Mouse -- or "Mi Laoshu" -- magazine each month. To help domestic cartoons compete with foreign cartoons, the Chinese government announced a plan to pay bonuses to television networks that broadcast Chinese-made cartoons, while they will tax the networks for broadcasting imports, some of which are even provided to broadcasters for free.

    Chinese-made cartoons will be based on local culture, promoting communist values and morals, such as obedience and teamwork. While Disney's comics appear to meet the Chinese officials' stringent requirements, the core concern is aimed at cartoons and comic books from Japan and other countries which depict too much violence, sex and other "immoral" values. Since the introduction of the "Young Chinese Genius," a Confucius-based character, more than 200,000 copies have sold, netting publishers US$120,500 in profits.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver International offers last minute travel bargains for travelers departing from the USA. You can schedule a last minute meeting or a weekend getaway to selected destinations throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Central America or South America each week and benefit from these discounted rates.

    Through this program, you can fly at discounted rates, as long as you can plan to travel on short notice. These low roundtrip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    From Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to:

  • US$109 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)

    From Miami (MIA) to:

  • US$189 -- Barbados, Barbados (BGI)
  • US$165 -- Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (CUR)
  • US$217 -- La Paz, Bolivia (LPB)
  • US$263 -- Panama City, Panama (PTY)
  • US$104 -- Port Au Prince, Haiti (PAP)
  • US$247 -- Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
  • US$109 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
  • US$217 -- Santa Cruz, Bolivia (VVI)
  • US$205 -- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU) Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)

    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines for details.]

    To take advantage of these fares, you must depart on Thursday or Friday, March 6-7, 1997. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday. Call 1-800-344-6702 and ask for Net SAAver International Fares to book your flight. Or subscribe to their mailing list for more information.

    You can also read the latest news about Travel & Tourism.

  • .....check back for more news this month!

    For more information about any of these topics in any foreign market, or if you would like an in-depth market study, contact PANGAEA, International Consultants. With an extensive network of marketing consultants, attorneys, ad agencies, research companies, logistics experts and more around the world, PANGAEA is uniquely qualified to offer hands-on, local marketing and management consulting services.

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    Updated 2/27/97