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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When the stock market collapsed in 2008, the government deemed Wall Street’s ailing banks “too big to fail” and provided them with a multi-billion dollar bailout. The emergency loan ultimately saved the banks, but has provided no shortage of controversy ever since. To the financial sector’s critics, many of the problems caused by these banks stemmed from their enormous size. In fact, nothing much has changed since the financial collapse: the same five banks that dominated bond underwriting and 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 24, 2015

Although business-class seats only take up a few rows on an airplane, the money they bring in accounts for 30 percent of global airline revenues. As a result, many upscale air carriers have upgraded their premium cabins with increasingly posh amenities. Emirates’ double decker Airbus, for instance, has a bar onboard where first-class passengers can meet and mingle. And on Singapore Airlines premium customers have a menu of more than 60 gourmet dinners available to choose from.

But while the 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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February 2, 2015

From the first colonists to the heyday of Ellis Island, the U.S. has largely been built upon the backs of people who were not born here. But the economic impact of immigrants is more than just a matter of history. Even today, immigrants are the entrepreneurial engines that power the nation. From 1996 to 2011, the business startup rate for immigrants grew by more than 50 percent. In contrast, the number of companies started by U.S.-born citizens dropped by 10 Continue reading

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January 29, 2015

In mid-December 2014 President Obama shocked the world by announcing that the U.S. would reestablish a diplomatic relationship with Cuba. Reversing more than six decades of American foreign policy, the decision is expected to have an enormous impact on Cubans living both on the island and abroad. Diplomats are even discussing lifting the trade embargo that the U.S. imposed in the 1960s in response to Cuba’s hostile Communist regime.

Besides opening up channels for travel and trade, the easing of Continue reading

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January 23, 2015

Jeff Oberholtzer, a plumber from Texas City, TX, thought he had seen the last of his old pickup truck when he sold it in October 2013. Unfortunately for him, the Ford F-250 he offloaded popped up more than a year later in a place he never would have expected. In mid-December 2014, a terrorist Twitter account from Syria posted a picture of two extremists firing a homemade anti-aircraft gun from the bed of a truck. While the picture normally would Continue reading

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January 11, 2015

For decades the brand name Timberland has been synonymous with rugged outdoor footwear. At least, that’s how some people see the iconic boot company. If you’re a hip hop fan, you may associate “Timbs” with the dozens of rappers who have name-dropped the brand over the years. And if you happen to be Italian, you’re more likely to wear Timberland boots for a fashionable stroll about town, not a long hike in the woods.

All these overlapping interpretations of Timberland’s Continue reading

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