The Chinese Century: Is China-Brazil relationship a proxy of a new global governance?

Nature hates the vacuum, so do superpowers. Therefore, the geopolitical space allowed by the United States is seemingly being filled by China [1]. For instance, the Asian giant became Brazil’s most important trade partner in 2009 and Chinese investment in Brazil began around 2010 [2] as part of a state-led directive to increase China’s food and energy security through overseas acquisitions. Brazil plays an important role locally given the country´s economic weight and regional influence; therefore, a partnership with China changes the regional geopolitical landscape. The increase of interest in…

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WhatsApp Business: a powerful weapon for startups in emerging markets

It seems that all dreams came through for WhatsApp users in emerging markets. WhatsApp Business, a stand-alone app different from the usual WhatsApp, was rolled out in a few countries in February 2018. What was WhatsApp really for? Messaging? Well, people in emerging economies countries – specially small and medium businesses – took WhatsApp one step further. About two years ago I wrote the article – “WhatsApp for business: the secret weapon of Brazil” – telling about how Brazilian businesses are using WhatsApp to build a rapport with their customers…

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This Is How China Is Feeding Itself

While there is much ado about China’s not-so-subtle efforts in the South China Sea to expand its borders, and to attain a level of influence that extends far beyond its own shores, the emerging superpower’s international strategy goes well beyond military objectives. China’s population may not be growing at a huge clip, but its rising middle class is responsible for an uptick in consumption habits as protein gobbles up a larger share of the country’s diet. While this may not seem so ominous, there are reasons for seeing it as…

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Forget Black Friday: Emerging Markets eCommerce thrives with other ideas

In emerging markets, Black Friday is present in a lesser scale – different countries have bigger and better sales days. Here is a quick round-up. India Black Friday in India is taking its first steps – the main shopping date still is Diwali. However, some eCommerce sites are investing on Black Friday. We can’t talk about Indian eCommerce without mentioning local marketplace site Flipkart. As internet penetration growth accelerates web sales, Flipkart is giving Amazon India a run for its money. Flipkart beat Amazon India in the latest festive season…

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China is investing big in Brazil but not how you’d imagined

Brazil and China are the world’s foremost emerging markets. Brazil’s political turmoil and the economic downturn in the last to years didn’t seem to change China’s will to invest into the largest South American economy. China’s investments varies from region to region. In on of my previous posts I mentioned how China is investing in Africa, not only in infrastructure projects e.g. building highways in Tanzania and electricity projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also financing the first African metro system in Addis Abba in Ethiopia. With Brazil there is a…

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Social Gaming: How China became the games industry of the world

It was recently announced that the games company Zynga, most famous for Farmville, has donated an undisclosed amount to the University of Southern California (USC) so that courses in social mobile gaming can be developed. The university gets to access best practice from leading industry practitioners and companies like Zynga can influence how students learn about producing better social mobile games. This is an interesting move from a company that is already known for their innovation in social mobile gaming. But it may also be a wise long-term move as…

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Banking the unbanked in emerging markets

As countries progress, citizens migrate from remote villages to large cities and foreign countries. Their economic power rises and they participate in the global economy. People need to purchase food, pay electricity bills, top up transportation cards, arrange online services, buy overseas goods, repay loans, and send money to relatives. Unlike the U.S., however, where 93% of peoplehave banking options, many in developing markets do not. Globally, an estimated 2 billion adults lack access to formal financial services. The services that are available are typically cumbersome and expensive. To address this gap, fintech startups…

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Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Who’s winning in emerging markets?

As internet penetration is growing exponentially in some emerging economies, particularly Brazil and India, the two biggest video streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are going all in. Amazon Leading the Way, Netflix Trailing Behind Amazon came to India in 2013 and has already caught up with India’s biggest eCommerce site Flipkart in only 3 years. The numbers were impressive, from 2015 to 2016 Amazon grew its business 120%. In December 2016, Amazon launched its Prime Video service there. The price was an important factor in attracting new subscribers: charging only $15 per…

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A Focus on Ageing in Emerging Markets

The developed nations in the West are often described as ageing and trying to focus on solutions for the challenges that come with it, while emerging nations are characterized as young, energetic and full of opportunity for the youthful population. Rapid advances in wealth, healthcare, nutrition and less physically intensive labour also impacts longevity. More people are living longer in developing countries and this is definitely a reason to celebrate, however this new reality also brings challenges that will need to be addressed. According to Helpage and The World Bank,…

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The Impact of “Big Tobacco” on Emerging Markets

Smoking has always been a divisive subject. While in developed countries, health awareness, high taxes and advertisement restriction might have been the factors contributing for the decrease in number of cigarette sales, in emerging economies, tobacco companies seem to be cashing in more and more. Economic development means more disposable income and more wiggle room in regulations, and tobacco companies are well aware of that. Smoking in Numbers In 2015, global cigarette sales closed the year with $685.5bn, which amounts to 5.6 trillion cigarettes consumed, and 20.4% of the world’s…

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