In an earlier issue of the newsletter, we took a look at the methods that Chinese authorities use to curb the production of counterfeit merchandise. For the most part, these measures focused on reporting knockoffs of big names like Nike and Gucci. But combating pirated products isn’t solely the problem of multinational brands. For instance, in 2012 Jeff Sasaki took his iPhone accessory company Element Case to a Hong Kong trade show. When he arrived at the convention, he found Continue reading

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April 26, 2015

As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey is always reshaping the way it does business in order to remain at the top. Technology especially helps the Pennsylvania-based company improve in a number of key areas. For instance, the prevalence of online shopping and self-checkout lines are hurting Hershey’s sales from impulse buyers. To encourage more “unplanned purchases,” the company plans to add small kiosks near self-checkout machines and curbside pickup stations that will give customers one last chance Continue reading

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April 2, 2015

To many amateur investors, a company that brings in more than $1 billion in annual sales would seem like a pretty safe bet. But these numbers didn’t impress Wall Street hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson when he noticed them in a report about Lumber Liquidators. From his professional perspective, this small flooring retailer should not have been enjoying such large profit margins. Suspecting that the company was cutting corners in some way, he advised his clients to sell the company Continue reading

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March 17, 2015

With Detroit officially out of bankruptcy, business leaders and entrepreneurs are looking to the city’s mighty manufacturing past as an example for its future. After all, Detroit is full of old factories that can be fixed up and rented out cheaply. But it’s not just carmakers who are flocking back to the Motor City: over the last several years at least seven bicycle manufacturers have set up shop in the area as well.

Some of these bike builders rent small Continue reading

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March 15, 2015

As a metal products manufacturer for more than 125 years, Alcoa is constantly searching for new ways to improve its efficiency. After all, the New York-based industrial company makes enormous products that can sometimes take years to finish. For instance, Alcoa’s most in-demand items are gas turbines, or the gigantic engines that power planes for Boeing and Airbus. Able to withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the turbines must be developed and tested for more than a year before Continue reading

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February 13, 2015

With a consumer pool of more than one billion people, India has become the next big expansion destination for companies around the world. While some businesses are still working the bugs out of their strategies for the subcontinent, other operations have hit the ground running and quickly grabbed up market share. Domino’s, for instance, now sells more pizza in India than anywhere else besides the U.S. thanks to its savvy combination of local and Western tastes. On the other hand, Continue reading

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February 7, 2015

As the world’s manufacturing superpower, China is home to thousands of factories producing millions of items each day. Keeping track of all that industrial output is far from easy, though. With little oversight to monitor them, some Chinese factories make knock-off or simply poor quality products, and then sell them to retailers as if they were up to standard.

While pirated items are mainly a headache for the company that gets ripped off, products made cheaply or without regard for Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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October 31, 2014

The multi-billion dollar home goods company Procter & Gamble produces hundreds of items, but the iconic business owes much of its success to just one brand. More than 135 years ago, James Norris Gamble led a team that created a vegetable oil-based soap with a distinctly white hue. The color presented the company with the perfect brand name, Ivory, while the item’s ability to float provided a unique selling point. What’s more, Gamble advertised the bar of soap as being Continue reading

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October 28, 2014

For more than 50 years, the Red Delicious has dominated the American apple market. But while no one can dispute the fruit’s famous color, many consumers have begun to take exception to the “Delicious” portion of its name. Even though the U.S. still produces 54 million bushels of Red Delicious annually, production of the fruit has dropped 40 percent since 2000 as demand for other varieties has increased.

The Red Delicious began its ascent way back in the 1870s when Continue reading

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