Bacteria for piglets and Chinese infants spur Li Ka-shing’s gut instinct to put his money behind this US biomedical firm

  • Infants increasingly lack beneficial gut bacteria due to Caesareans, formula feeding, antibiotics
  • Piglets have a hard start in life, and trial will get under way in China to see if product can toughen them up

A company backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing has reintroduced a missing beneficial gut bacteria to more than 10,000 American babies. Now it is eyeing China’s babies – and piglets. This Week in Asia Get updates direct to your inbox E-mail * By registering you agree to our T&Cs & Privacy Policy

Evolve BioSystems, a California probiotics products developer, is in talks with Zhejiang University to conduct clinical trials on more than 4,000 pigs this year in the province to improve stock survival rates and cure gut diseases in piglets, said chief executive Timothy Brown.

Continue reading “Bacteria for piglets and Chinese infants spur Li Ka-shing’s gut instinct to put his money behind this US biomedical firm”

Why Are All Apple Products Photographed at 9:41 a.m.? An Apple Insider Reveals the Answer

It’s something we can all learn from.

I hadn’t noticed it myself. Maybe you hadn’t either. But every single Apple product in every promotional photo is set to 9:41 a.m. MacBook, iPad, iPhone, it really doesn’t matter. With one big exception (which we’ll get to), for every Apple product in the world, it was exactly 9:41 a.m. at the time of its photo shoot.

Continue reading “Why Are All Apple Products Photographed at 9:41 a.m.? An Apple Insider Reveals the Answer”


(早报讯)联合国框架下首个以新加坡命名的公约《新加坡调解公约》(Singapore Convention on Mediation)已在联合国大会通过。公约将促成国际商业和解协议的执行,从而促进国际商业发展和跨境贸易。




De Beers is fighting ‘fake’ diamonds from China, but who’s the real fake?

Source :

Yonden Lhatoo rubbishes the ‘natural’ diamond market as a rip-off, built on lies about the worth of stones that are now being mass-produced in laboratories to offer much cheaper and better alternatives

So the mighty diamond market manipulator and monopolist De Beers is worried about its bottom line being eroded by manufactured stones being mass-produced in China.

After spending decades trying to suppress and ostracise the synthetic diamond industry, it did a complete U-turn and jumped on the bandwagon this year, although marketing its own lab-grown stones as a more “casual” alternative for “birthdays and fun”, rather than for weightier occasions.

Continue reading “De Beers is fighting ‘fake’ diamonds from China, but who’s the real fake?”

Middle Kingdom meets Magic Kingdom


A Western media company offers a product the Chinese can’t resist: education

Welcome, future mouseketeer

ON A Tuesday at 6pm, children begin arriving at a bland commercial building just as the office workers are leaving. A small storefront leads to an English-language school run by Disney. It is not much of an entrance, squashed between a dusty drugstore and a fast-food joint. This being China, many passers-by assume it is a fake. But word is spreading through the pushy-parent network: this is the real thing.

Continue reading “Middle Kingdom meets Magic Kingdom”

Competitive Strategy Chapter 4 New Market Entry

Attractivenss of new market entry => Choice of market => Choice of entry type => Entry strategy
Structural Entry Barriers
Factors that allow incumbent firms to earn positive economic profits, while making it unprofitable for newcomers to enter the industry
Structural & Strategic barriers.
1. Control over natural resources.
2. Supplier capacity.
3. Location
4. Economies of scale, economies of learnings.
5. Marketing advantages of incumbents.
6. Customer Loyalty
Strategic Entry Barriers
Maket Entry
Types of commitment
1. High sunk cost investments.
     Production Capacity.
2. Exit from other strategic market segments and focus on entry.
e.g. Bloomberg
a. Innovators enter the market with inferior products which appeal to price-sensitive buyers.
b. Incumbents ignore the threat since mainstream customers don’t want those products.
c. Over time the products improve and take large chunks of the market from the incumbents.
d. market leaders can hardly respond because they find it difficult to replicate entrants’ low-cost business models.
Judo Economics
can only work when it is better for the incumbent to lose some market share to the entrant rather than to start a price war and fight back the market share for the entrant.
This is only the case if
a. The entrant has a production capacity that can serve a limited portion of the market only and the incumbent does not fear that the entrant wants to take over bigger portions of the market.
b. The incumbent has a big share of the market and would lose lots of profit when reducing the own price for all of its customers to undercut the entrant’s price.
c. The difference between the price of the entrant and pre-entry price of the incumbent is high, so that it hurts the incumbent to lower prices for all of its customers.
Limit Pricing/Predatory Pricing
     * low demand
     * low cost incumbent

Competitive Strategy Chapter 2 Soft Cooperative Commitment

Reputation building is a form of cooperative commitment. ( With soft commitment, companies try to build a reputation as a fair and cooperative player – in the hope that the competitors treat the company in a fair and cooperative way.)
Implementing a most favoured customer clause is a form of cooperative commitment: With such a clause you cannot easily reduce prices in a specific market segment or region in order to fight for market share with a competitor. Once you reduce prices in a specific market segment or region, you have to offer the same price to every other customer and refund the price difference to those who have bought your product earlier on. This is they price wars become very costly and hence less likely. Because the other market participants do no suffer from implementing such a  clause. It is a soft rather than an aggressive commitment.
A self binding commitment is another form of cooperative commitment: You make a binding decision such as particular investment that eliminates those moves/actions which would lead to fierce competition. The other market participants do no suffer from this decision.
The most favored customer clause says that every customer gets the same price. If the company decreases its price, customers who bought the product previously at a higher price get refunded. Hence, if the company decreases its price, e.g. to fight back a certain group of customers with heavy price cuts, the company has to reduce its price also for all the other customers and refund previous buyers. This makes price cuts very expensive and reduces the likelihood of a price war.

Competitive Strategy Chapter 6 Designing products wisely

Bertrand paradox.
   a model prediction in which two firms in the same market reach a Nash equilibrium where both firms charge a price equal to marginal cost. If either firm were to lower its price it would gain the whole market and substantially larger profits. Since both companies know this, they will each try to undercut their competitor until the products are selling at zero profits. There paradox is that firms usually make positive profits in reality.
Differentiation is beneficial if consumer preferences are heterogeneous.
* Technical features.
* Durability
* Resale value
* Taste/Image
* Location
Horizontal differentiation/ Vertical differentiation. (Color/Mileage)
* Given equal prices, some consumers would choose product A whereas others would choose product B.
* Given equal prices, every consumer would choose product A over product B.
(i3, i5, i7 cpus <-> OEM makeer; economy, business, first class seats)
Hotelling Bertrand model. Highly relevant for analysing product differentiation.
* Three generic strategies for creating a defendable position and outperforming competitors in an industry.
* These required different organisational arrangements, control procedures, incentive systems and resources.
Cost – Leadership
* Low-cost relative to competitors as strategic main theme
* Central elements of the strategy
     * Efficient-scale facilities
     * Rigorous cost reductions from experience.
     * Avoidance of marginal customer accounts.
* Differentiating the product or service, offering something that is perceived industry-wide as being unique
* Exemplary forms of differentiation
     * Design or brand image
     * Technology
     * Customer service
* Differentiation along multiple dimensions
* Focus on particular buyer group, segment of the product line or geographic market.
* Central rationale: Serving narrow strategic target group more effectively or efficiently than competitors.
* Lower costs or more differentiation with regard to single niche.
Stuck in the middle.
Firms that fail to develop their strategy in at least one of the three directions are in poor strategic position
* Firms lack the market share, capital investment, and resolve to “play the low-cost game”.
* Firms lack industry-wide differentiation to obviate the need for a lost cost position.
* Firms lack focus to create differentiation or low-cost position.
* Stuck in the middle does not mean that firms cannot pursue multiple strategies simultaneously.
* The pursuit of hybrid/ambidextrous strategies might lead to better results that following pure strategies.
* But tensions within organization need to be managed.