September 1998


  • World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • Russia in Financial Crisis
  • Coke Wins Cola Battle at the Wendy's Chain
  • US PC Market is Strong Among the Age 60+ Group
  • Japanese PC Consumers Become Price-Sensitive
  • Wella to Buy Out Partnership with Dong-A Pharmaceutical Company
  • China Reviews New Unified Contract Law
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  • MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia's financial crisis, an economy on the verge of runaway inflation, could wipe out the gains of seven years of tough economic reforms. This financial crisis and talks of political upheaval reaches beyond Russia's borders, sending tremors throughout emerging markets, reaching worldwide. In fact, world financial markets reacted wildly to the news, expecting further fallout. The Dow Jones average fell below 8,000 after the news from Russia, wiping out the year's gains. European stocks responded similarly. Japan's market dropped significantly. Gold is now at a 19-year low. Analysts said the repercussions of economic and political crisis in Russia could rock the foundations of post-Communist Europe's economic transformation. But Bundesbank directorate member Edgar Meister said the international reaction to the Russian crisis was exaggerated and its impact on Europe more psychological than real.

    US President Clinton urges Russia to resist a return to a Soviet-style command economy and said the West should support Russia if it pursues market reforms.

    Meanwhile, in Russia, banks have run out of rubles and the currency exchange rate continues to fluctuate. Store shelves are being stocked with locally manufactured goods, replacing imports, to keep prices down -- at least among those stores that stayed open. Businesses tread to keep up with rising prices. At the same time, consumers are buying up durables, in cash, at an unprecedented rate in an attempt to stabilize the value of their money, before the ruble declines further. Even real estate (r.e.) sales have risen sharply as onlookers see r.e. prices up by more than 25% in just a few weeks.

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    OHIO, USA -- US-headquartered Wendy's fast food hamburger chain signed a 10 year agreement with Coca Cola last month. Coke will be sold exclusively in Wendy's chains within the next 2 years. And Coke has agreed to spend US$42 million on Wendy's US advertising during their first year. Presently, 85% of Wendy's restaurants serve Coke, yet Pepsi Cola plans to counter-offer.

    The fountain drink franchise is a significant (25%) share of the soft drink market. In fact, Pepsi spun off its fast-food chains (Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell) last year in order to compete in the the fountain drink market. Coke's competitive advantage, until recently, was their assertion that selling Pepsi in a fast food restaurant was tantamount to helping their PepsiCo-owned competitors. Coke continues to dominate the restaurant market, representing a 65% share vs. Pepsi's 25% share.

    McDonald's and Burger King chains both serve Coke. Pepsi has exclusive contracts in its former fast-food outlets.

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    SOUTH DAKOTA, USA -- Despite technophobic stereotypes of senior citizens, a recent study conducted by Gateway, the PC manufacturer, indicates that the age 60+ market, in fact, embraces technology. More than 33% of US households headed by adults over the age of 60, own a PC. According to the research, nearly two-thirds of this group of PC-owners access the internet for more than two hours per week. And half the target group say they watch less TV now that they are online.

    How is this target group using the internet? They are online

    • researching such topics as healthcare, finance and travel (82%)
    • emailing friends/relatives (78%)
    • exploring the www (44%)
    • participating in support groups (32%)

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    TOKYO, Japan -- Japanese consumers have become noticeably price-conscious when purchasing new PCs, following the trend of US consumers who popularized the under US$1000 computer last year. According to a recent Dataquest market study, nearly 50% of all consumer PC purchases in Japan were priced below US$1400; 10% of PC purchases were priced below US$1050.

    While the consumer market for PCs has become price-sensitive, the business market, which represents 70% of PC sales in Japan, has not followed suit.

    The PC industry outlook continues to be optimistic, despite the gloomy economic climate in Japan. Double-digit sales growth is expected for PCs.
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    DARMSTADT, Germany -- In an effort to sustain double-digit growth in South Korea, Wella, the German maker of haircare products, cosmetics and perfumes, will buy out its S. Korean partner, Dong-A Pharmaceutical Co., to own 100% of their joint venture, Myungmy Cosmetics. Myungmy will operate under the new name of Wella Korea Co.

    Despite economic instability in S. Korea, the market continues to look strong for Wella's line of personal care products, particularly in the hair color sector. In fact, S. Korea represents Wella's 2nd largest market in Asia, behind Japan. In total, turnover rose more than 67% in S. Korea in recent years.

    Wella operates in 123 countries.
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    BEIJING, China -- China's present contract laws provide conflicting guidelines to local and foreign businesses. Today's laws on the books are inconsistent and are not comprehensive, making both the laws and the resulting contracts nearly impossible to enforce. In late August, China's Legislative Affairs Committee began reviewing a proposed new set of unified contract laws which will govern how contracts should be written for all forms of economic and civil agreements. This proposed set of laws would also define the legal parameters for contracts drawn between foreign and Chinese individuals in an effort to stop contract fraud, which is widespread throughout China today.

    The proposed set of new laws would be the first unified contract code of its kind and took five years to complete. As China moves to a market economy the need for such standards becomes increasingly important.
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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver and 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 the USA, 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 Wednesday for the week's destinations!

    From Chicago O'Hare, IL (ORD) to:

  • US$289 -- London Heathrow, England (LHR)

    From Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to:

  • US$339 -- London Heathrow, England (LHR)

    From Miami (MIA) to:

  • US$149 -- Providenciales, Turks/Caicos Island (PLS)
  • US$179 -- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
  • US$291 [Business Class] -- Providenciales, Turks/Caicos Island (PLS)

    From New York Kennedy, NY (JFK) to:

  • US$350 -- Lima, Peru (LIM)
  • US$248 -- London Heathrow, England (LHR)

    From San Antonio, TX (SAT) to:

  • US$149 -- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)

    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines or our travel service group for details and confirmation. Not responsible for typographical errors.]

    International flight departures leave on Thursday or Friday, September 24 - 25, 1998. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday.

    To take advantage of these last minute bargains, or any travel needs, Call 1-800-715-4440 and ask for a Net SAAver Domestic or International Fare. Be sure to give the agent this PIN#: 27035 to book your flight. Or send e-mail to, include your name and telephone number, please.

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

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    Updated 9/22/98