Amazon Curtailing Business Operations in China

Amazon says it is curtailing business operations in China, the world’s biggest retail market, after struggling against better entrenched local players for more than a decade.

The company announced recently that as of July 18, it will no longer provide services through its Chinese website, Amazon.cn. The decision means Amazon will stop selling goods from China-based vendors to domestic consumers on the portal. Although it is moving out of the e-retail business in China, Amazon will continue with its cross-border business, bringing foreign brands and goods to China, the company said.

“Their demand for high-quality, authentic goods from around the world continues to grow rapidly, and given our global presence, Amazon is well-positioned to serve them,” the company said.

The announcement has raised questions about the extremely thin presence of foreign companies in internet-related businesses in China, while Chinese companies like Alibaba create market space for themselves across the world.

Amazon’s market share in China has fallen from about 15 percent a decade ago to about 6 percent. Alibaba and another local company, jd.com, account for nearly 75 percent of the Chinese market. Online shopping site eBay earlier moved out of China as it could not make a profit.

China is considered by many as a difficult market for foreign players even without taking into account hindrances caused by government policy. In the case of Amazon, however, analysts said the reasons for its poor performance lie in its not being able to localize to meet the requirements of the market.

Shaun Rein, managing director of Shanghai-based China Market Research Group (CMR), said Amazon’s Chinese platform could not survive because it did not have a strong and stable management team. He does not think Amazon was hampered by government policy.

“I don’t think it is a problem of government protectionism,” he said, adding, “They (Amazon executives) didn’t have the necessary relationship in China and were unable to build the right ecosystem for people to sell on Amazon.”

Getting a large number of local sellers is crucial for an e-commerce platform to provide goods at competitive prices and in sufficient variety to customers.

Jacob Cooke, chief executive officer of consulting firm Web Presence in China, explained that Amazon could not compete with a gigantic local player like Alibaba.

“Alibaba has in-country experience, low costs that are passed on to consumers and unique knowledge of counterfeits / fake items. Additionally, they have market data in China that is superior to Amazon’s,” he said.

Cross-border

Analysts said Amazon has been concentrating on cross-border commerce since realizing that it cannot effectively compete in the “local to local” business of selling Chinese goods to Chinese customers, which accounts for the bulk of e-commerce activity.

“Our belief is that the cross-border business suits Amazon much better, as the “local to local” model is filled by large companies who operate on very low (virtually non-existent) margins,” said Cooke. “We feel that cross-border is exactly where Amazon should focus their efforts in China, based on their strengths.”

Fallout

Foreign internet-based businesses have very little presence in China, which has the biggest number of web users in the world. This is partly because a large number of U.S.-based sites including Google, YouTube and Twitter are banned, while e-commerce companies have walked away. Amazon’s departure will likely only make it harder for other foreign retail companies to succeed there.

“I think it would be very hard for large e-commerce players from foreign countries to build in China. It is still possible for niche players like there are opportunities in luxury space and cross-border trade,” Rein said.

American and European brands will have to depend heavily on local e-commerce companies like Alibaba and jd.com to see their products, analysts said. Although Amazon will continue to sell foreign-made goods, its reach is limited in China because local companies dominate the cross-border trade as well.

“Unfortunately, Alibaba is almost a monopoly in some ways and they have way too much power because they control the eyeballs,” said Rein, adding, “They (Alibaba executives) control traffic so they are able to force Western brands to discount even if Western brands do not want to,”Rein said. “Alibaba controls the relationship with the customer rather than the brand controlling the relationship with the customer.”

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Amazon Curtailing Business Operations in China

Amazon says it is curtailing business operations in China, the world’s biggest retail market, after struggling against better entrenched local players for more than a decade.

The company announced recently that as of July 18, it will no longer provide services through its Chinese website, Amazon.cn. The decision means Amazon will stop selling goods from China-based vendors to domestic consumers on the portal. Although it is moving out of the e-retail business in China, Amazon will continue with its cross-border business, bringing foreign brands and goods to China, the company said.

“Their demand for high-quality, authentic goods from around the world continues to grow rapidly, and given our global presence, Amazon is well-positioned to serve them,” the company said.

The announcement has raised questions about the extremely thin presence of foreign companies in internet-related businesses in China, while Chinese companies like Alibaba create market space for themselves across the world.

Amazon’s market share in China has fallen from about 15 percent a decade ago to about 6 percent. Alibaba and another local company, jd.com, account for nearly 75 percent of the Chinese market. Online shopping site eBay earlier moved out of China as it could not make a profit.

China is considered by many as a difficult market for foreign players even without taking into account hindrances caused by government policy. In the case of Amazon, however, analysts said the reasons for its poor performance lie in its not being able to localize to meet the requirements of the market.

Shaun Rein, managing director of Shanghai-based China Market Research Group (CMR), said Amazon’s Chinese platform could not survive because it did not have a strong and stable management team. He does not think Amazon was hampered by government policy.

“I don’t think it is a problem of government protectionism,” he said, adding, “They (Amazon executives) didn’t have the necessary relationship in China and were unable to build the right ecosystem for people to sell on Amazon.”

Getting a large number of local sellers is crucial for an e-commerce platform to provide goods at competitive prices and in sufficient variety to customers.

Jacob Cooke, chief executive officer of consulting firm Web Presence in China, explained that Amazon could not compete with a gigantic local player like Alibaba.

“Alibaba has in-country experience, low costs that are passed on to consumers and unique knowledge of counterfeits / fake items. Additionally, they have market data in China that is superior to Amazon’s,” he said.

Cross-border

Analysts said Amazon has been concentrating on cross-border commerce since realizing that it cannot effectively compete in the “local to local” business of selling Chinese goods to Chinese customers, which accounts for the bulk of e-commerce activity.

“Our belief is that the cross-border business suits Amazon much better, as the “local to local” model is filled by large companies who operate on very low (virtually non-existent) margins,” said Cooke. “We feel that cross-border is exactly where Amazon should focus their efforts in China, based on their strengths.”

Fallout

Foreign internet-based businesses have very little presence in China, which has the biggest number of web users in the world. This is partly because a large number of U.S.-based sites including Google, YouTube and Twitter are banned, while e-commerce companies have walked away. Amazon’s departure will likely only make it harder for other foreign retail companies to succeed there.

“I think it would be very hard for large e-commerce players from foreign countries to build in China. It is still possible for niche players like there are opportunities in luxury space and cross-border trade,” Rein said.

American and European brands will have to depend heavily on local e-commerce companies like Alibaba and jd.com to see their products, analysts said. Although Amazon will continue to sell foreign-made goods, its reach is limited in China because local companies dominate the cross-border trade as well.

“Unfortunately, Alibaba is almost a monopoly in some ways and they have way too much power because they control the eyeballs,” said Rein, adding, “They (Alibaba executives) control traffic so they are able to force Western brands to discount even if Western brands do not want to,”Rein said. “Alibaba controls the relationship with the customer rather than the brand controlling the relationship with the customer.”

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Vietnam to Encourage Environmentally Friendly Building Design

Consider that buildings can be designed, in relation to the sun, depending on whether occupants want to maximize the amount of natural light their windows let in, or to minimize the heat absorbed by the building.

Or that they can be built with sensors to detect water leaks, thus reducing the chances that water will be wasted from the start.

More and more architecture students across Vietnam are learning these and other concepts as the country rolls out curriculum on environmentally friendly design. The Southeast Asian nation is still an emerging market, so it has time to build the economy on green standards and to avoid some of the inefficient construction mistakes of older industrialized nations. And as construction is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions around the world, Vietnam has the chance to adopt a sustainable approach to the industry that could decrease its exposure to the threats of climate change, which is a key concern for the tropical country.

Emphasis on Green education

“Although there have been several seminars and workshops, there are no well-rounded courses on green building for students in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Cong Thinh, who is the vice director of the science, technology, and environment department at the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction. 

But in February his office started working with the Swiss government and the World Bank’s lending agency the International Finance Corporation, bringing exactly these kinds of courses to college campuses. They began with what they call a “training of the trainers,” who learn resource efficiency principles that they can then go on to teach the next generation of builders in Vietnam.

“We are delighted to introduce this course to future architects and engineers in an internationally recognized format that offers a global perspective and a local context,” Thinh said.

For example the participants study ways that structures can be planned to save electricity and water, as well as to be “bioclimatic,” which means that they adapt to the surrounding environment. In the northern capital of Hanoi, it is more useful to firm up insulation and conserve heat to keep people warm in the winter. But in contrast in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City there are just two seasons — rainy and dry — and not much need to heat buildings. Instead designers can consider how to position southern buildings to take advantage of wind tunnels, which bring natural ventilation in the humid climate, or to soak up sun rays to generate the most solar power possible.

 Environmentally vulnerable

Vietnam counts itself among the top five countries in the world that would be devastated if global warming gets even more severe, especially with its 3,000 kilometers of coast along the South China Sea. As it works to implement an action plan under the Paris Climate Change Accord, the country is looking for ways to mitigate the environmental toll of the fast-growing construction industry, which consumes a lot of sand for cement, electricity, and other building supplies. The construction and industrial sectors expanded 8.8 percent in 2018 versus the year earlier, higher than the overall economy’s expansion of 7 percent, according to data from the property developer Jones Lang Lasalle Vietnam.

Other methods that students are learning to increase design efficiency include use of modeling software, so they can experiment with different eco-friendly technologies before any physical construction begins. They are also studying building codes and standards, as well as the types of construction materials that do the least harm to the environment. 

“In recent times, we have integrated green building into the curriculum of nearly all faculties. However, this course will further help students to become familiar with green building modeling software and present ideas clearly and quantitatively to future clients,” said Dr. Le Van Thuong, who is the rector of the University of Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City.

There are other ideas to improve efficiency whether at the office, the factory, or the home. Increasingly people are installing dual flush toilets, which allow users to choose how much water is dispensed at a time, and shower systems that warm up water before it is released, so they don’t have to let water go to waste as it heats up. And you don’t have to be an architect to add these technologies to a building. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Vietnam to Encourage Environmentally Friendly Building Design

Consider that buildings can be designed, in relation to the sun, depending on whether occupants want to maximize the amount of natural light their windows let in, or to minimize the heat absorbed by the building.

Or that they can be built with sensors to detect water leaks, thus reducing the chances that water will be wasted from the start.

More and more architecture students across Vietnam are learning these and other concepts as the country rolls out curriculum on environmentally friendly design. The Southeast Asian nation is still an emerging market, so it has time to build the economy on green standards and to avoid some of the inefficient construction mistakes of older industrialized nations. And as construction is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions around the world, Vietnam has the chance to adopt a sustainable approach to the industry that could decrease its exposure to the threats of climate change, which is a key concern for the tropical country.

Emphasis on Green education

“Although there have been several seminars and workshops, there are no well-rounded courses on green building for students in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Cong Thinh, who is the vice director of the science, technology, and environment department at the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction. 

But in February his office started working with the Swiss government and the World Bank’s lending agency the International Finance Corporation, bringing exactly these kinds of courses to college campuses. They began with what they call a “training of the trainers,” who learn resource efficiency principles that they can then go on to teach the next generation of builders in Vietnam.

“We are delighted to introduce this course to future architects and engineers in an internationally recognized format that offers a global perspective and a local context,” Thinh said.

For example the participants study ways that structures can be planned to save electricity and water, as well as to be “bioclimatic,” which means that they adapt to the surrounding environment. In the northern capital of Hanoi, it is more useful to firm up insulation and conserve heat to keep people warm in the winter. But in contrast in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City there are just two seasons — rainy and dry — and not much need to heat buildings. Instead designers can consider how to position southern buildings to take advantage of wind tunnels, which bring natural ventilation in the humid climate, or to soak up sun rays to generate the most solar power possible.

 Environmentally vulnerable

Vietnam counts itself among the top five countries in the world that would be devastated if global warming gets even more severe, especially with its 3,000 kilometers of coast along the South China Sea. As it works to implement an action plan under the Paris Climate Change Accord, the country is looking for ways to mitigate the environmental toll of the fast-growing construction industry, which consumes a lot of sand for cement, electricity, and other building supplies. The construction and industrial sectors expanded 8.8 percent in 2018 versus the year earlier, higher than the overall economy’s expansion of 7 percent, according to data from the property developer Jones Lang Lasalle Vietnam.

Other methods that students are learning to increase design efficiency include use of modeling software, so they can experiment with different eco-friendly technologies before any physical construction begins. They are also studying building codes and standards, as well as the types of construction materials that do the least harm to the environment. 

“In recent times, we have integrated green building into the curriculum of nearly all faculties. However, this course will further help students to become familiar with green building modeling software and present ideas clearly and quantitatively to future clients,” said Dr. Le Van Thuong, who is the rector of the University of Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City.

There are other ideas to improve efficiency whether at the office, the factory, or the home. Increasingly people are installing dual flush toilets, which allow users to choose how much water is dispensed at a time, and shower systems that warm up water before it is released, so they don’t have to let water go to waste as it heats up. And you don’t have to be an architect to add these technologies to a building. 

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5 Algerian Billionaires Arrested in Anti-Graft Investigation

Five Algerian billionaires, some of them close to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who quit over mass protests, have been arrested as part of an anti-graft investigation, state TV said on Monday.

They were later brought to court to face charges from the general prosecutor’s office, private Ennahar TV channel said, a legal requirement after an arrest. Further details were not immediately available.

The five are Issad Rebrab, considered the richest businessman in the energy-rich north African nation who is especially active in the food and sugar refining business, and four brothers from the Kouninef family, it said.

Rebrab is chairman of the family-owned Cevital company, which imports raw sugar from Brazil and exports white sugar to Tunisia, Libya and other destinations in the Middle East.

The Kouninef family is close to Bouteflika, who ruled Algeria for 20 years. Bouteflika stepped down three weeks ago, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations by mainly younger Algerians seeking change.

There was no immediate statement from those arrested.

The move came after Algeria’s army chief, Lieutenant General Gaid Salah, said last week he expected members of the ruling elite in the country to be prosecuted for corruption.

An Algerian court has already summoned former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia and current Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal, two close associates of Bouteflika, in an investigation into suspected misuse of public money, state TV said on Saturday.

Mass protests, which began on Feb. 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued after Bouteflika’s resignation as many want the removal of the entire elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962. They also want the prosecution of people they see as corrupt.

Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election is held on July 4.

Hundreds of thousands protested on Friday to demand the resignation of Bensalah and other top officials.

Bensalah invited civil society and political parties on Monday to discuss the transition to elections but several parties and activists said they would not participate.

The army has so far patiently monitored the mostly peaceful protests that at times have swelled to hundreds of thousands of people. It remains the most powerful institution in Algeria, having swayed politics from the shadows for decades.

Salah said on April 16 that the military was considering all options to resolve the political crisis and warned that “time is running out.”

It was a hint that the military was losing patience with the popular upheaval shaking Algeria, a major oil and natural-gas exporter and an important security partner for the West against Islamist militants in north and west Africa.

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Підозрюваних у замаху на вбивство активіста в Кам’янському арештували

Поліція затримала двох підозрюваних у стрілянині в центрі Кам’янського, внаслідок якої постраждало троє людей, повідомили Радіо Свобода 22 квітня в прес-службі Кам’янського відділу поліції.

За даними поліції, двоє підозрюваних на авто були затримані в Дніпрі. Ними виявились жителі Дніпропетровської та Харківської областей. Їм вже обрали запобіжний захід – тримання під вартою.

За даними поліції, кримінальне провадження відкрите частиною 2 статті 15 та частиною 2 статті 155 Кримінального кодексу України – замах на вбивство. У поліції вважають, що замах на вбивство був скоєний щодо 33-річного жителя Кам’янського. Ще двоє людей постраждали випадково.

«Мотиви будуть встановлені під час проведення досудового розслідування», – сказали в поліції.

Правоохоронці даних про особу постраждалого 33-річного жителя не дають. За даними джерел Радіо Свобода, це – громадський активіст Євген Найда, який на виборах 2015 року балотувався мери від партії «УКРОП».

Загалом, як уточнили в поліції, нападники здійснили чотири постріли.

За даними поліції, усі троє постраждалих ще перебувають у лікарні, але їхній стан стабільний.

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Підозрюваних у замаху на вбивство активіста в Кам’янському арештували

Поліція затримала двох підозрюваних у стрілянині в центрі Кам’янського, внаслідок якої постраждало троє людей, повідомили Радіо Свобода 22 квітня в прес-службі Кам’янського відділу поліції.

За даними поліції, двоє підозрюваних на авто були затримані в Дніпрі. Ними виявились жителі Дніпропетровської та Харківської областей. Їм вже обрали запобіжний захід – тримання під вартою.

За даними поліції, кримінальне провадження відкрите частиною 2 статті 15 та частиною 2 статті 155 Кримінального кодексу України – замах на вбивство. У поліції вважають, що замах на вбивство був скоєний щодо 33-річного жителя Кам’янського. Ще двоє людей постраждали випадково.

«Мотиви будуть встановлені під час проведення досудового розслідування», – сказали в поліції.

Правоохоронці даних про особу постраждалого 33-річного жителя не дають. За даними джерел Радіо Свобода, це – громадський активіст Євген Найда, який на виборах 2015 року балотувався мери від партії «УКРОП».

Загалом, як уточнили в поліції, нападники здійснили чотири постріли.

За даними поліції, усі троє постраждалих ще перебувають у лікарні, але їхній стан стабільний.

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Один військовий поранений на Донбасі в день виборів – штаб

Один український військовий поранений на Донбасі в день другого туру виборів президента України, повідомляє штаб української воєнної Операції об’єднаних сил.

Загалом 21 квітня підтримувані Росією бойовики двічі порушили режим припинення вогню.

В угрупованні «ДНР» не повідомляють про бойові дії на Донбасі. В угрупованні «ЛНР» заявляють про п’ять порушень «режиму тиші».

На Донбасі від 8 березня діє новий режим тиші, про який домовилися на засіданні Тристоронньої контактної групи в Мінську. Цього разу, як і раніше, перемир’я не дотримується і порушувалося відразу в перші години після проголошення.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За даними ООН, станом на кінець грудня 2018 року, за час конфлікту загинули близько 13 тисяч людей, майже 30 тисяч – поранені.

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