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  • Mary Kay Follows Avon's Lead into China
  • Developing Nations Compete to Comply with International Environmental Standards
  • CPC Grows Business in Spain Through Starlux Acquisition
  • Rising Chocolate Prices in Europe
  • Russian Tea Consumption May Be on Decline
  • Prodigy's China Launch Delayed
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  • CHINA -- Mary Kay Cosmetics, the largest direct seller of skin-care products in the USA, has launched its products into China. Their key competitor, Avon, has been marketing its products there since the late 1980s. Avon's success in China can be attributed to several factors, including their direct-selling approach. Moreover, Avon's growth and expansion in the market reflects savvy global business tactics which include localizing management and operations in order to reduce cost of goods and exposure to foreign exchange regulations. In addition, Avon has offered regional products that appeal to local needs. Among a population of over 1.2 billion consumers, with rising disposable incomes, there is an increasing demand for quality consumer goods. The retail trade in China has been growing at an annual rate of more than 10%. And China continues to enact measures that open the retail sector to foreign investment.

    Establishing brand identity today among Chinese consumers can yield important results, since the Chinese tend to be brand-loyal customers. In fact, Avon nearly doubled its sales in China between 1994 and 1995 and they rank it among their leading expansion markets.

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    EMERGING NATIONS -- Emerging countries are caught in a bind that pushes and pulls them to catch up with developed nations, while keeping labor and other production costs at bay. To this end, many companies from developed nations are providing resources and expertise to help emerging countries meet the world's growing demand for goods manufactured abroad.

    Financial pressures and foreign demand for goods produced in emerging countries is forcing local governments and local companies to address these issues -- of technology and environmental standards that comply with international agreements -- despite insufficient resources.

    Many companies from advanced countries are requiring ISO certification from companies bidding on contracts. In response, emerging nations like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have agreed to manufacture according to international specifications with the stipulation that developed nations (i.e. Japan and the USA) provide them with the new technology. As a result, some local companies are complying with the international agreements ahead of schedule. (International agreements required advanced nations, for example, to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as of 1995 and developing nations by 2010.) In fact, Thailand was the first developing country to ban the use of CFCs in the Asia/Pacific region. Nevertheless, only eight Thai organizations have ISO certification.

    Noncompliance with these international standards has resulted in significant losses for some companies. For example, the International Monetary Fund suspended a US$20 million loan to Cambodia last year because of concerns about deforestation. Later that year, the Cambodian government banned timber exports to Thailand.


    ...Environmental Standards
    Despite intent to comply with international standards, developing nations simply do not have the resources. According to Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Japanese Industry, the countries of China, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and India combined would have to spend US$139.1 billion to develop an infrastructure for pollution-control safeguards similar to Japan's, in addition to substantial operating expenses.

    Companies from developing countries seeking international contracts will find it increasingly important to invest in environmental measures that comply with international standards due to market demands and pressure from international organizations.

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    SPAIN -- CPC International Inc. (with a US$3.7 billion European business) announced the acquisition of the Starlux business in Spain from Groupe Danone and Findim Investments S.A. early this month. CPC demonstrates its commitment to growth in that market as this move triples their business in Spain. And it supports their strategy to build sales and profits within their core packaged foods businesses abroad.

    Starlux products are marketed in both the retail and foodservice sectors; had sales of $160 million among its product lines that include: Starlux bouillons and Nocilla chocolate hazelnut spreads. Both are leading Spanish brands in their categories. Starlux' portfolio also includes tomato products and Suenos de Oro herbal teas, among others. These products strengthen CPC's core brands which include the Knorr line of soups, sauces, bouillons and mealmakers; Hellmann's mayonnaise; Maizena corn starch and desserts; and Horniman's teas.
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    LONDON, UK -- Consumers in Europe may see the price of chocolate go up by year-end while European confectionery companies are keeping an eye on ingredient prices. The industry anticipates that prices may increase by as much as 15%. Industry experts anticipate that buying cocoa beans will be more expensive this year due to Britain's strong currency.
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    RUSSIA -- Russia is expected to enforce an increase in import duties on tea this month. This could have serious ramifications on consumption there. Some estimates indicate that tea consumption could decline by 7 - 12% if the increase is imposed.
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    SHANGHAI, China -- Prodigy's announcement to launch in China has been delayed due to regulatory "snags." It is expected to be running locally, in Shanghai, by July. This 80% Prodigy-owned joint venture with the China North Industries Corp. (Norinco) Group (which owns the other 20%), competes head-on with the country's main internet provider, Chinanet, a subsidiary of China's telecommunications ministry. Prodigy plans to invest US$50 million in this venture over the next 3 years. In anticipation of running "live" by next month, Prodigy has signed up "thousands" of customers at the approx. rate of US$30 for 30 hours/month.
    (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 round-trip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    From Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to:

  • US$200 -- Monterrey, Mexico (MTY)

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  • US$450 -- Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
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    From New York Kennedy (JFK) to:

  • US$304 -- Caracas, Venezuela (CCS)

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

    To take advantage of these fares, you must depart on Thursday or Friday, July 3-4, 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.

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