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News Digests

Stay abreast of what’s happening internationally with developments in corporate public affairs. Here is news that you may find useful and interesting:

Sector still faces threat of regulationND

Vesna Poljak, Australian Financial Review, 4 November 2010

An increase in banking profits for the recent financial year has reduced investor pressure, yet not regulation pressure on the sector. The new government regulation could force Australian banks to adopt new credit and liquidity standards. The regulation will depend on new international standards adopted by the Basel committee. It is undeniable that the regulatory changes will sweep through all aspects of the business. The banks’ future growth and competitive advantage will depend on how they respond to the new regulations. For more information see

Be wary of web smear publicity, firms toldND

Lian Mo, China Daily, 3 November 2010

An emerging trend of online smear campaigns is strengthening in China, with negative online publicity posing a serious threat to business, and affecting even major corporations. The smear campaigns can result in heavy financial losses for its victims and is widespread, with an e-PR company estimating that 10-20 per cent of their clients have receive malicious content each year. The prominence of online smear campaigns has lead to an emerging business, in which public relations companies are hired to polish the online image of their employer, as well as deleting any unfavourable comments. For more information see

Malaysian Budget 2011: some green trends to get you startedND

Jayanthi Naidu Desan, CSR Asia, 3 November 2010

The 2011 Malaysian Budget is underpinned by a green development strategy that the government believes is key in driving competitiveness. The budget provides for a number of green incentives, including tax breaks and soft loans, and aims to inspire CEOs by framing green development as a ‘win- win’. Four trends are identified to assist a company in becoming green: investing in green innovation, providing related information on products such as energy usage and the carbon footprint, the need to provide green products without an associated premium, and the usefulness of adopting green living in everyday life. For more information see

China fuels: The plug-in planND

The Economist, 2 November 2010

With the release of its latest Five-Year Plan, the focus of China’s government is clearly on developing a low-carbon economy. China arguably already leads the world when it comes to several areas of green energy, such as wind power and solar water heaters. It looks as if the electric vehicle market could be next. In 2009, China overtook the US to become the largest global market for wind power, housing nearly one-third of the world’s total installed capacity. China has targeted the sale of 1 million ‘clean energy’ cars by 2015. While ‘clean energy’ encompasses a wide range of technologies, Chinese authorities are focussing on electric vehicles. The government has been promoting these technologies through subsidies and trial recharging points (but only to domestically produced vehicle models). For more information see

Five secrets of charismatic leadershipND

Nick Tasler, Bloomberg Businessweek, 2 November 2010

Recent research has demonstrated that a more reserved, introverted style of leadership may be more beneficial for employees than an extroverted style, as introverted leaders are more likely to engage in team approaches to solving issues. Charismatic leadership is still however useful in engaging employees, especially when the employees are more reserved. Five means of increasing charisma are outlined, these being; ensure the subject matter of your speech is interesting, describe positive outcomes, recognise that the path to achieving these outcomes may be difficult, outline the actions necessary to achieve outcomes and use positive emotional language. For more information see

NZ wine first in world to come with carbon footprint labelND

Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian, 2 November 2010

Wine consumers will soon be able to assess the environmental impact of a New Zealand wine brand. The labels will display carbon emissions for the making and transporting of products tailored to individual export markets. The particular brand has been pursuing sustainable management within the New Zealand wine industry for a long time. Price continues to be the dominant factor, whereas ethics and environment are lower priorities. By choosing products that carry the labels, consumers are supporting companies that are working towards a more sustainable future. For more information see

China’s economic tightropeND

Jonathan Fenby, BBC News, 1 November 2010

China’s original economic model based on ‘cheap labour, cheap capital and a benign export market’ is no longer sufficient to ensure continued economic growth and a strong international presence. The Five Year Plan starting in 2011 hence proposes new economic strategies, including increasing energy efficiency, ensuring an equal distribution of wealth, boosting domestic consumption and developing more environmentally friendly equipment. The Plan also proposes social reforms; including developing an effective health service and improving education and pension provisions. While these proposals reflect a shift in economic policy, they are unlikely to result in a fundamental economic structural change; which may potentially be damaging to China’s economic future. For more information see

Consumers at the wheel of IT strategy developmentND

Michael Bayer, Financial Times, 1 November 2010

Consumer-driven demands, the emergence of new cultural attitudes to work and advances in mobility-enabling technologies have allowed consumers to directly influence IT strategy development. Technology companies are increasingly recognising the dynamics that connect business and the consumer, and are harnessing this dynamic as a business opportunity by framing their products as ‘business productivity tools’, for example the iPad. Companies that recognise this dynamic and take advantage of the connection between business and the consumer will experience positive benefits. For more information see

Green marketers are still sinningND

Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review, 29 October 2010

The green marketing research firm Terrachoice recently conducted a study of products claiming to be green, and counted how many of them had committed any of seven ‘sins’ as defined by Terrachoice. The sins include making vague claims such as being ‘all natural’ without providing any proof as well as stating irrelevant details. Amongst the findings, Terrachoice discovered that although there are a rising number of green products, the vast majority of them are committing at least one ‘sin’. The study also found that categories of products that have a longer history of green certification tend to commit less ‘sins’ than products in categories that have only recently been subject to green certification standards. For more information see

Bet on India, not ChinaND

Raghav Bahl, Forbes, 27 October 2010

China is today investing nearly half its GDP, something that is unprecedented in modern history. It is important to understand that China has strong investment in infrastructure; these life-enhancing assets actually empower people. India is also a country that is investing heavily, yet it has a very attractive mix of services and manufacturing. India saves a great deal of its GDP and is mostly built from private enterprises (with state-owned corporations accounting for less than a tenth of output). Finally, India is in a sweet demographic spot with half a billion Indians being less than twenty-five years old. For more information see

Shaky foundations to China’s growthND

Dalibor Rohac, Asia Times Online, 21 October 2010

Although much research has been done concerning the macroeconomic aspect of China’s economic development, little attention has been paid to the microeconomic aspect. A survey conducted by the Legatum Institute has uncovered some underlying problems in the microeconomic aspect of China’s rapid economic growth; namely the fact that China’s entrepreneurs function in and are hence largely dependent on state-run mechanisms to support their economic success, as opposed to personal or familial support relied upon by entrepreneurs in India. This state reliance could be a source of fragility for entrepreneurs, who may encounter difficulties in the wake of a major crisis where the government’s capacity to provide support is lessened. For more information see

Macau job rules don’t workND

Muhammed Cohen, Asia Times Online, 19 October 2010

The Macau government has recently introduced tighter regulations for hiring non-residents, signifying a crackdown on foreign workers and forcing employers to give precedence to local employees. The regulations have however faced strong opposition, with employers arguing that they now have difficulty finding qualified employees, as well as delaying existing construction projects and thus slowing potential economic growth. The regulations are criticised for not adequately addressing the underlying problems in Macau, which require better qualification of the local workforce and increased inflows of labour. For more information see

India: the future of management education?ND

Tim Westerbeck, Bloomberg Businessweek, 17 September 2010

India has recently witnessed a huge growth in demand for management training, which has consequently led to growth and innovation in its business school sector. Currently, India is in a position to become a global leader in management education, learning from the mistakes of the West to create an innovative business education sector. There are six ideas that India needs to follow to reinvent management education and become a global leader; these being the need to introduce cross-disciplinary education programs, to design their business schools as global institutions, to create strong ties with businesses, to utilise technology-based learning, to ignore the established ranking criteria and to use innovation to deliver all forms of management training. For more information see

Moving women to the topND

McKinsey Quarterly, 15 October 2010

As more women move into leadership roles, their potential impact on business increases. While the majority of executives acknowledge the link between better financial performance and gender equality, few companies take actions to support women. Diversity is not a high priority within the majority of strategy decisions and the financial crisis has not changed this view. Among the common actions taken to support women are implemented support programs for reconciling work and family life, as well as programs to encourage female networking and role models. A more diverse range of activities are undertaken by larger firms and commonly senior executives are encouraged or mandated to mentor junior executives. For more information see

Carbon footprint labelsND

Martin Hickman, The Independent, 13 October 2010

In the UK it is estimated that by the end of 2010, a carbon footprint ethical label will become the second most commonly used standard for leading food brands. It shows that producers are working to reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming by the use of their products. In some cases the labels display the CO2 generated by each product and providing an insight into the level of pollution for each product. Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of carbon footprints for products and are trying to do something about it. For more information see

Geolocation services: find a smartphone, find a customerND

Kermit Pattison, New York Times, 6 October 2010

Marketing executives have been adopting social media in greater numbers with impressive results. Geolocation services are being used by businesses that depend on customer traffic. Location-based services are used to broadcast rewards programs or reward client loyalty as well as gathering important information about customers. It is important with these services that you set clear goals, offer specials to entice customers. Once customers have used the services or purchased the product it is important to reward customers to make sure they will come back. Finally, Geolocation services offer analytical tools that can help track important aspects of demographics relating to customers. For more information see

Give more power to your peopleND

Ravi Mattu, Financial Times, 6 October 2010

Shared visions across companies promote better employee engagement. It is even better when these ideas do not come from management since this is a truly employee embedded idea. Many companies wait for major crises before changing their employee engagement. This is the case because the biggest problem for companies is breaking down trust between management and staff. This is important both as an empowering exercise but also because communication relies on telling a story that resonates with employees. For more information see

Workspace design: Will aesthetics give your business the edge?ND

Knowledge@ASB, 5 October 2010

Many employees work in spaces that are poorly suited to the tasks at hand. This can hamper productivity. Workers want a comfortable office, a sufficient amount of work surface area in the office, the option to put a computer in the most suitable location and the capability to keep work within arm's reach, to contain sounds within the office, to keep out distracting noises from outside the office and to have ‘visual privacy’. A more relaxed atmosphere for an office can involve something as simple as adopting casual dress codes. Many things can affect employee productivity, even lighting and artwork. For more information see

Schools ignore sustainability revolutionND

David Grayson, Financial Times, 3 October 2010

Many businesses agree that sustainability is a critical issue for future business success. Business schools that educate future managers remain surprisingly slow to adopt this thinking. Sustainability and corporate responsibility require cross-disciplinary work and greater interaction with businesses. Business should use its leverage over schools to promote these issues. Businesses should specify what mindset they require of graduates and place greater emphasis on demands for sustainability expertise. For more information see

Why companies are watching your every facebook, youtube, twitter moveND

Tim Weber, BBC News, 3 October 2010

Companies are tracking the social media scene for hints about their products and clients. Many cannot envision marketing or their communications without social media. This is because the reactions and impact of a message through social media is immediate. Also social media can act as a warning signal when things go wrong. Good use of social media can reduce complaints and costly calls to service centres. One of the key aspects of effective social media is identifying the most influential people online. These may not be necessarily the people with the most friends but the most impact. For more information see

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