Monthly Archives: August 2014

Amazon: Shanghai e-commerce pact

amazon parcel
US ecommerce giant Amazon is boosting its presence in China

Amazon has stepped up its presence in China with a strategic partnership with the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

Amazon’s branch in China has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Shanghai FTZ and Shanghai Information Investment Limited (SII).

The deal paves the way for Amazon to bring millions of its e-commerce product offerings from around the world directly to Chinese customers.

It comes as Amazon celebrates 10 years of operations in China.

Amazon has declined to comment on how much it will spend to set up business in the Shanghai FTZ.

In a statement emailed to the BBC, Doug Gurr, president for Amazon China said: “We seek to be the most customer-obsessed on-line shopping platform with vast selections, competitive price and most convenience in China.

“Today’s partnership announcement with FTZ and SII will help Amazon further realise our vision.”

Under the pact, Amazon will open its new cross-border e-commerce platform in the free trade zone.

The online retailer will also establish a logistics and warehouse centre in the FTZ, whereby imported goods will enter China via the zone’s cross-border e-commerce platform.

Also as part of the deal, products from small and medium-sized enterprises in China can be sold to Amazon customers across the world.

China’s e-commerce market is heavily dominated by home-grown names Alibaba and

Sign reading "China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone"

Shanghai Free Trade Zone

  • Established in September 2013
  • FTZ covers an area of 29 sq km (11 sq miles)
  • Restrictions on foreign investment will be eased inside the area

Future growth?

The partnership comes as Amazon looks to diversify its revenue source.

The company posted a loss in the second quarter, which amounted to $126m (£76m), partly due to higher costs associated with developing digital content including computer games and TV shows.

Amazon has said producing its own TV shows would cost $100m in the third quarter.

The US firm has also been spending money on improving its delivery systems which includes expanding Sunday delivery to 18 cities in the United States.

And it continues to look to Asia for growth opportunities too.

Last month Amazon said it will invest a further $2bn (£1.2bn) to boost its operations in India.

India’s total e-commerce market was worth $13bn in 2013.

But online travel accounted for more than 70% of the transactions.



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H&M: top of certified organic cotton user list

H&M has topped the rankings of the largest users of certified organic cotton in the world. The Swedish textile giant, which took first place in 2010 and 2011, is followed by C&A, which topped the podium in 2012, and Puma, which cracked the top three for the time this year.

H&M, still among the biggest users of certified organic cotton.

These are followed by Nike, Decathlon, Tchibo, Coop Swiss, Target, Willams-Sonoma and Inditex (Zara).

This year’s ranking demonstrated no major changes as compared with 2012, except for the arrival of two new players: Decathlon (5th) and Tchibo (6th) at the expense of Carrefour and Anvil Knitwear, which is not among the ten largest users of certified organic cotton in the world for the first time in five years.

Also noteworthy: the fall of Inditex to 10th place. The Spanish brand had held 8th place in 2012 and fourth in 2011 and 2010.

Meanwhile, in terms of growth of consumption by value (not volume) compared to last year, the Belgian organic cotton t-shirt specialist Stanley & Stella, Target and Coyuchi, the American label specializing in home linens, occupy the top spots. They are followed by Puma, G-Star, Kowa, Williams-Sonoma, H&M, C&A and Inditex.

As regards this second ranking, the biggest changes have been for C&A. Indeed, while the German textile brand occupied the top spot in 2012, it only came in at 9th place in 2013.

H&M also lost a place (8th). As for Nike, didn’t even make the list, a sign that there are important new market players, such as G-Star and Coyuchi. That could well change in the coming years.



Michael Phelps Launches Swim Brand with Italian Aqua Sphere


Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated swimmer, has teamed up with Italian swimwear manufacturerAqua Sphere to develop a new global swim brand.

Phelps will work in partnership with his coach, Bob Bowman, to develop products that are accessible to a broad range of swimmers, from professional to recreational, with a focus on comfort and performance.

In addition, the new product line, which will carry the swimmer’s name, will also expand Aqua Sphere’s product offering to the competitive swimming community, as currently it only produces swimwear and accessories for triathletes, open-water, and fitness swimmers, this partnership will mark its debut into racing suits.

Phelps is expected to compete in his new Aqua Sphere racing suit from next January, once it has been approved by the swimming world governing body FINA. Until then he will wear Aqua Sphere goggles and cap when he swims as part of his endorsement deal, which runs until 2022.



Tod’s : joins other luxury brands in registering declining growth


Tod’s Group SpA on Thursday was one of many luxury brands to register declining or slowing growth as the Italian firm reported a 26% drop in net profits in the first half to 56.1 million euro, or 76.9 million dollars, as sales slowed due to a challenging environment in China, the continued rationalisation of its Italian distribution network and the temporary closure in the U.S. of two key stores.

The performance of its core Tod’s brand suffered across the board, with sales falling at both its own stores and at wholesale.

In a statement released after the close of trading in Milan, where the company is listed, Tod’s said total turnover in the six months to the end of June fell 2.7%, to 477.7 million euro, or 654.4 million dollars. At constant exchange rates, the decline would have been 0.5%, to 488.6 million euro, or 669.4 million dollars, the company said.

Tod’s joins the likes of LVMH, Kering and Richemont in being hit by the tougher market in China, which stems from the crackdown on corruption being taken by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Major luxury and fashion brands also are struggling against currency headwinds, which are unlikely to calm in the near future.

Tod’s chairman and CEO Diego Della Valle was optimistic, commenting on how the group’s decision “to give priority to the midterm development of our group is correct and will bear fruits in the nearest future.”

Italy registered a 7.8% fall in group sales, compared with the year-earlier period.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, at 21.6% of sales, was 21% lower, at 103 million euro, or 141 million dollars, reflecting the “strategic decision to continue the investments in the distribution network, in communication and in human resources, which are necessary to support the mid-term growth potential of the group,” Tod’s said.

At constant exchange rates, EBITDA would have been 109.5 million euro, or 150 million dollars, the company said.


Jumia: eCommerce in Africa

Le détaillant en ligne Jumia, l’aspirant Amazon du continent africain financé par la firme allemande de capital-risque Rocket Internet, s’installe sur trois nouveaux marchés, l’Ouganda, le Ghana et le Cameroun, a indiqué l’entreprise lundi dernier selon Reuters.

Jumia, lancé en 2012, est déjà présent au Nigéria, au Maroc, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Egypte et au Kenya, avec une offre de plus de 100 000 articles.

L’entreprise a récemment ouvert un bureau local en Ouganda après le lancement de son offre commerciale en février, dont les livraisons étaient jusque-là faites depuis le Kenya. Les ouvertures au Cameroun et au Ghana sont prévues dans les semaines qui viennent, selon un porte-parole de l’entreprise.

“Nous savons que nous arrivons en avance. Nous nous installons sur des marchés qui ne sont pas mûrs quant à la pénétration et à l’acceptation d’Internet mais il y a tout de même un grand intérêt pour ce service”, a déclaré à l’agence de presse Sacha Poignonnec, co-fondateur de Jumia.

Rocket Internet, basé à Berlin, a fait le pari de créer l’empire commercial sur Internet le plus important en-dehors des Etats-Unis et de la Chine, cherchant ainsi à reproduire le succès de Amazon et Alibaba sur des marchés comme l’Afrique, l’Amérique latine et la Russie.

La firme de conseil McKinsey estime que 16 % des habitants de l’Afrique sub-saharienne, ou juste un peu plus de 160 millions de personnes, ont accès à Internet, contre 75 % en Europe et 32 % en Asie.

Pourtant, la forte hausse attendue des connections mobiles devrait changer la donne à moyen terme, et les ventes de e-commerce en Afrique pourraient représenter 75 milliards de dollars d’ici 2025, selon McKinsey.

Jumia, dont les principaux investisseurs sont les opérateurs mobiles MTN et Millicom ainsi que le suédois Kinnevik, promet de livrer des produits allant de la mode à l’électronique grand public dans un délai de un à cinq jours, y compris dans les villages reculés.

Sacha Poignonnec a mis en avant les opportunités de synergies avec MTN et Millicom, lesquels sont les acteurs dominants de la téléphonie mobile dans chacun des nouveaux marchés de Jumia : “Cela aide à la création d’une activité plus solide”, a-t-il déclaré.

Rocket Internet a déjà lancé des activités en ligne moins gourmandes en investissement sur ces mêmes marchés, par exemple le service de livraison de restaurants Hellofood, la marketplace immobilière Lamudi, et l’application de réservation de taxi Easytaxi.

“Nous entrons avec une très bonne connaissance du marché”, a déclaré Sacha Poignonnec, qui est aussi co-directeur général d’Africa Internet Holdings (AIH), un partenariat entre Rocket Internet, MTN et Millicom qui gère ces activités.

AIH ne communique pas les ventes ou les hits pour ses sites Internet, mais la compagnie a déclaré à Reuters en novembre dernier que la croissance de Jumia atteint les 20% par mois et que les commandes ont augmenté de 50-100 dollars par jour à plusieurs millions de dollars par mois quelques mois après son lancement.

Au Nigeria, le plus grand marché d’Afrique de par sa population, Jumia est le site de shopping sur Internet le plus visité, selon l’entreprise de mesure du trafic web SimilarWeb.

Globalement, Jumia est le 23e site le plus visité au Nigeria depuis un ordinateur, devant ses rivaux Amazon, Konga et la AliExpress, la filiale de distribution d’Alibaba, lesquels sont respectivement au 29e, 30e et 31e rang.

Jumia, qui a déjà plus de 1 500 employés, espère créer 100 emplois supplémentaires grâce à cette expansion, avec une équipe initiale de 30 personnes dans chaque pays, pour le support client, l’emballage, la distribution et la livraison.

Des sources ont indiqué à Reuters que Rocket Internet envisage une introduction en bourse à Francfort plus tard dans l’année, qui pourrait représenter jusqu’à 5 milliards d’euros.


Calvin Klein fragrance bottle Reveal

Calvin Klein Reveal

NYC based agency Established has designed the new Calvin Klein fragrance bottle Reveal.

“The bottle is a blend of the strict, minimal, geometric proportions synonymous with Calvin Klein and a femininity expressed through curves that feel pillow like and sensual. The cap is a high polished finished in soft gold which combines nicely with the warmth of the juice color and cool of the glass.” – Established




Julep’s newest product, which hits stores this month, began when CEO Jane Park spotted a market potential in women’s complaints. Just look at these tweets, and see if you can spot what she did:



Got it? “Women have a sucky tool for polishing their nails,” Park says, “but they blame themselves, thinking they are just bad at using it.” It’s a common female response, according to reams of social science: Although men blame their circumstances when something goes wrong, women often assume they’re the ones at fault.

Jane Park and other Julep Employees trying out the Plié Wand

Park decided there must be a better way to design a nail polish applicator, and hired design firm Ideo to help figure it out. They began considering the classic bottle: a squat, glass base with a short screw-on cap. Unscrew the cap, and you pull out a little brush already doused in polish. This design hasn’t changed for generations–but when companies like Revlon and Cutex started mass-producing nail polish in the 1930s, the bottles’ caps were slightly longer. That history seemed to reveal today’s design flaw.

“Every tool that requires dexterity has length to it,” says Park. “Think about how difficult it is to write with a pencil the size of a stub. It’s so much easier to write with a tool that can rest in the crook of your hand to counterbalance the weight.” Bottles in the 1930s were created with dexterity in mind, but likely shrunk so that they’d be more efficient to package and ship.

Ideo and Julep started designing new, taller bottle caps. Earlier this year, they tested more than 200 prototypes with consumer focus groups. The winner: a long handle that snaps onto a nail polish bottle cap, and bends at a hinge so that it can rest between fingers and offer more control. Interchangeable brushes and dotting tools enable fancy designs, rather than just one color per nail. They called it the Plié Wand.

Plié Wand

Rather than invest upfront in manufacturing and promoting the new handle, though, Park wanted to gauge consumer interest first. So in January, Julep launched a crowdfunding campaign with a $75,000 goal; by the end, it brought in $140,000 from 6,200 backers. The first round of products went out in May, and this month, the Plié Wands are available at Sephora and other retail outlets.

Now there’s a different sentiment on Twitter. Rather than blaming themselves for being bad at painting nails, some women are giving Julep the ultimate compliment: They’re talking about mastering a new tool.



Milan Fashion Week ‘Revolutionises’ the Fashion Calendar














Milan Women’s Fashion Week is scheduled for September 17 to 22: Giorgio Armani will no longer present his collections on the last day of the event, but rather his show is scheduled to take place on Saturday 20 September.

Emerging talents such as Angelos Bratis, Giorgio Armani’s next guest designer, Stella Jean, Andrea Incontri and Fausto Puglisi will all show on Wednesday 17 September, Fashion Week’s opening day.

On Sunday 21 September Salvatore Ferragamo will unveil his collection at 11am, Trussardi is scheduled at 4pm and Msgm at 7pm.

The N.u.d.e.-New Upcoming designer fashion showwill take place on Monday, September 22, which, this year, will feature Leit motiv and Alberto Zambelli, as well as Grinko and Heowan simulation, Paola Frani, and Mila Schön, one of the most anticipated shows since it was acquired by Japanese Itochu.

However, two of the most anticipated new entries at Milan Fashion Week concerns Antonio Marras and Giambattista Valli. On Saturday, Rodolfo Paglialunga the creative guidance of Jil Sander will unveil his first collection.



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Gisele highest earning model

Resta Gisele Bundchen la modella più pagata al mondo, con una fortuna stimata in 47 milioni di dollari. A incoronare la super bellezza brasiliana è la rivista americana Forbes nella classifica annuale delle modelle più pagate, di cui Bundchen detiene il titolo da otto anni consecutivi.

Gisele Bundchen è la modella più pagata al mondo (Foto: Ansa)

Medaglia d’argento è, a distanza, la modella di Victoria Secret Doutzen Kroes con 8 milioni di dollari. Al terzo posto l’altra brasiliana Adriana Lima, sempre con 8 milioni di dollari.

Bundchen ha guadagnato negli ultimi 12 mesi 16 milioni di dollari più del marito. ”Bundchen, con i suoi 2,7 milioni di follower su Instagram, ha incassato 386 milioni di dollari da quando ha iniziato a fare la modella nel 2001”, afferma Forbes.

La modella Kate Moss è fra quelle che guadagnano di più ma lontano dalla vetta con i suoi 7 milioni di dollari.




Made in Italy

“Il 29 agosto lanceremo il più grande piano per il Made in Italy mai varato in Italia. Con obiettivi chiari e misurabili: 50 miliardi di esportazioni in più entro il 2016, 20.000 aziende esportatrici in più, 20 miliardi di investimenti diretti esteri in più all’anno”. Ad annunciarlo è il viceministro dello Sviluppo Economico, Carlo Calenda, in occasione della pubblicazione dei dati sulle esportazioni italiane all’estero nei primi 5 mesi dell’anno.

Il viceministro dello Sviluppo Economico Carlo Calenda

“Secondo Eurostat nel periodo gennaio-maggio 2014 l’Italia ha segnato il più forte miglioramento in valore assoluto in Ue della bilancia commerciale con l’estero rispetto all’anno precedente. Le imprese italiane che si sono internazionalizzate corrono”, commenta Carlo Calenda, che in un’intervista recente al Sole 24 Ore già dichiarava: “La crescita può arrivare solo dalle imprese che vanno messe nelle condizioni di essere più competitive per intercettare quella domanda internazionale di Italia che già c’è e non bisogna creare dal nulla”.

“L’Italia è il Paese con il maggior potenziale di crescita inespresso. Per non far perdere questo treno alle imprese servono riforme”, affermava ancora il viceministro.

Per accelerare l’internazionalizzazione delle aziende italiane e attrare maggiori investimenti esteri, il governo di Matteo Renzi si appresta a lanciare un piano straordinario chiamato “Sblocca Export”. Quest’ultimo si inserisce nel progetto “Sblocca Italia” che sarà approvato con un decreto e un disegno di legge nel consiglio dei ministri in programma per fine agosto.

Il piano prevede un pacchetto di misure e un intervento straordinario di circa 130 milioni di euro che andrà ad aggiungersi ai fondi già sbloccati. “Questo ci metterebbe nelle condizioni, per la prima volta nella storia, di essere allo stesso livello degli altri Paesi europei”, spiegava all’inizio dell’estate Carlo Calenda.

Le misure mirano soprattutto ad aiutare le medie imprese che hanno prodotti eccellenti ma che non riescono ad andare all’estero. Saranno quindi proposti dei voucher da 10.000 euro per le Pmi che intendono utilizzare dei manager temporanei che si occupano di internazionalizzazione. Sono previsti 25 milioni di euro per coprire 2.500 imprese. C’è la volontà inoltre di investire per lavorare con le catene della grande distribuzione.

Sono previste poi una piattaforma e-commerce per le Pmi e delle iniziative di promozione per attrare più media e buyer in alcuni eventi, come è stato fatto lo scorso giugno a Firenze durante l’ultima edizione di Pitti Uomo. Ispirandosi al modello Pitti di giugno sarà potenziato il sistema fieristico per rafforzare 15 grandi eventi con Expo 2015 come punta di diamante. Sarà scelto un evento fieristico per settore di riconosciuta rilevanza internazionale su cui concentrare le risorse.

L’ultimo punto del piano tocca l’Ice. L’Agenzia per la promozione all’estero e l’internazionalizzazione delle imprese italiane dovrebbe, infatti, essere ulteriormente riformata per adottare una struttura più snella.