Archive for December, 2009

China’s longs market continues to fluctuate

SteelOrbis – Over the past week China’s domestic long products market has retained its fluctuating trend,with a minor slide observed in market prices in most regions and a small climb in some individual markets.

Affected by poor market demand,longs prices in the eastern China market posted an overall declining trend in the past week,which was also caused by the decrease in the steel futures market in the first half of the week. Nevertheless,given the support of high cost levels,the market has not fallen sharply. By the end of December 10,rebar inventory in Shanghai reached 460,000 mt,neutral week on week; meanwhile,wire rod inventory in Shanghai stood at 98,000 mt,up by 5,000 mt week on week.

Driven by the Shanghai market as well as by the decrease in the steel futures market,long product prices in the south registered a minor decline on the whole during the first half of the week; subsequently,however,the market began to see a certain improvement following the recovery of the steel futures market. (Alibaba Group,6 Dec 2009 02:53:24 PST)

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December 17, 2009 at 8:00 am

Global Technology Companies Protest Chinese Procurement Law

Global technology, service and manufacturing companies are raising concerns to the Chinese government over new rules they fear could restrict or block foreign vendors from selling high-tech gear to China’s government agencies. More than two dozen major industry groups from North America, Europe and Asia — representing most of the world’s major technology companies — sent a letter Thursday to Chinese ministries saying they were “deeply troubled” by the Chinese requirement.

The new rule requires vendors to gain accreditation for their products before they can be included in a government procurement catalog of products containing “indigenous innovation.” Companies that aren’t listed in the catalog will theoretically be allowed to bid for government contracts. But those that are listed will apparently be given preference.

At stake are billions of dollars of Chinese government spending on personal computers and application devices, communication products, office equipment, software and energy-efficient products. (By LORETTA CHAO, The Wall Street Journal, DECEMBER 11, 2009)

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December 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

Payment Options for International Transactions

You and your customer will assess many factors as you negotiate the payment term that will be used for your international transaction. They include, but are not limited to:
Value of the transaction;
Your relationship with your customer, new or long-standing;
The country where the goods are destined;
The buyer’s country’s rules about how money will be released to you, the seller; and
Whether the product being shipped is customized, built to specification, or off the shelf.
The global economy is fluid; firms will benefit from regularly examining its own customer base and assessing political, credit and foreign-exchange risks to determine which payment term best suits the situation. There are several sources that provide background information on the buyer’s country and their economy. Options that are available on the internet include:

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December 8, 2009 at 8:00 am

European Commission Welcomes the Entry into Force of the Treaty of Lisbon

Today – December 1, 2009 – sees the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which provides the European Union with the legal framework and the institutional tools necessary to meet the challenges of the future.

The European Commission believes that the new treaty provides significant new benefits for its citizens. “The Treaty of Lisbon puts its citizens at the center of the European project,” said European Commission President Barroso. “We now have the right institutions to act and a period of stability so that we can focus all our energy on delivering what matters to our citizens.”

The EU will now be better equipped to meet expectations in the fields of energy, climate change, cross-border crime and immigration. And with greater coherence given to the different strands of its external policy, and with the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton to the new posts of EU President and of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, it will also be able to speak with a stronger and clearer voice internationally.

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December 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

EU Delegation Marks Historic Name Change

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States today became the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. To mark the occasion, European diplomats were joined by representatives from Congress, the State Department and the District of Columbia when a new name plate was unveiled for the Delegation’s offices in Washington, DC.

“This marks an important moment in the history of the European Union,” said Angelos Pangratis, Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. “The Lisbon Treaty allows the European Union to be more democratic, more open, more accountable and effective. And externally we become more coherent – we will speak with one voice. Our name change today is a direct manifestation of this.”

The Lisbon Treaty provides for the creation of a new European External Action Service (EEAS) – effectively a diplomatic corps for Europe.

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December 4, 2009 at 8:00 am

China’s Big Brands Tackle Web Sales

Li Ning, founded nearly 20 years ago by a former champion gymnast of the same name, opened its first Web site for selling direct to consumers last year. While still a small share of total sales, traffic on the site has grown so quickly that Li Ning has hired International Business Machines Corp. to help it build a new site, expected to launch in March, that will be able to handle more volume and will include a new features like wireless services.

China has the largest population of Internet users in the world, with 338 million at the end of June. But until fairly recently, they didn’t spend much buying things on the Web. That is starting to change.

Online transactions accounted for 1.2% of total retail sales in China last year, compared with more than 5% in the U.S., but they are growing much faster: the value of goods sold online is likely to grow 89% this year to $35.6 billion,estimates Credit Suisse. (By AARON BACK, The Wall Street Journal, NOVEMBER 30, 2009)

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December 3, 2009 at 8:00 am

Something Borrowed… Chinese companies succeed by taking an existing technology and then tweaking it for a local audience

BEIJING—Baidu Inc., owner of the most popular Web site in China, isn’t known for ground-breaking innovation. From the Google-esque look of Baidu.com’s main page to its Wikipedia-like encyclopedia to a question-and-answer service that’s similar to Yahoo Answers, the Chinese Internet search company has long been tarred by critics as unoriginal.

But Baidu also is an example of how many Chinese technology companies manage to outfox foreign competitors by tailoring existing technologies to China’s growing and fast-changing market. While that may not earn them respect as global innovators, their understanding of the Chinese consumer has allowed many of them to beat bigger foreign rivals at their own game in China, home to the world’s largest number of Internet users.

Baidu dominates China’s Internet search market, holding a 61% share of industry revenue in the second quarter, compared with 29% for Google Inc., its biggest Internet-search competitor.(By LORETTA CHAO, The Wall Street Journal, NOVEMBER 16, 2009)

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December 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

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