Disney Uses Child Labour? (Re: Exploitation of the Poor)

One of Mannat Cheema’s blogs was on the “exploitation of the poor”. This has been a very serious ongoing issue in developing countries because of the lack of regulations and the enourmous supply of cheap labour. She mentions how big companies such as Nike and Gap are treating their workers very harshly. They are obviously nowhere near the concept of business ethics.


Probably most people would have guessed they are involved in such unethical practices but for example, I was surprised to see American Eagle down the list as well. So I did some research and found an article saying that Disney, the heaven and dream of children, uses child labour in some factories in China. The article states they “force staff to do three times the amount of overtime allowed by law. ” Isn’t that just ironical? Using children to make toys for children? Child labour in my opinion is the most cruel and unethical part of exploiting the poor. Just because they don’t have money doesn’t mean that they can be treated like slaves, especially children. So I totally agree with Mannat that this “inhumane unethical practice needs to be stopped.” Why can’t companies make profits and be socially responsible as well?




Blog: https://www.vista.ubc.ca/webct/urw/tp0.lc5116011/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct






Doesn’t Matter What Starbucks Sells-India Loves it!


I came across this blog on CNN.com on Starbucks entering the Indian market last month. The world famous coffee company has established a very strong brand position in people’s mind, including myself. I personally love Starbucks coffee, even though I know that I can just get the same thing at Tim Hortons or any another coffeeshop, likely for cheaper.


India does not even have a coffee culture, but “cafes are particularly popular with India’s youth.” as the author states. Moreover, “Cafes are actually a place where people go to meet,”. And I think that is a really big part of the reason why Starbucks is so popular. It’s not only their product but more of the  atmosphere and the way tables and couches are arranged that just really make you want to go there; it simply feels nice. Starbucks has made their company become more than a coffe shop. The environment is highly differentiated from other places.

However, many people want to expand their markets into the growing Indian economy with a “market of a billion people.”Companies such as Costa and Dunkin Donuts can count as rivals of Starbucks. But thanks to the strenght of their brand and consumer loyalty it has established, Starbucks is more than able to compete with them.

Sources: http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/09/starbucks-versus-tea-in-india/

Pictures: http://www.stableinvestor.com/2012/10/starbucks-in-india-choose-between.html

UrtheCast: “View the Earth in a New Way”


Wade Larson, the Director, Co-Founder and Vice President of UrtheCast was a guest speaker presenting to us in last week’s lecture. The company installs HD cameras in space that shows videos live of certain parts of the Earth at different times. When he first introduced the company I was so amused by how he can have such a big idea and that his company is actually working with national space agencies such as Energia from Russia.


UrtheCast, as Mr. Larson explained, has four main focuses for the future: media content sales, Earth observation sales, application platform sales and web advertising. Out of these, the last one is where they see the most potentials. Web advertising is definitely a great marketing strategy I think because with technology constantly developing, internet and the web are going to be people’s primary sources. It is where people will get information the fastest and most convenient way.  The company also has a great advantage of being the ones  having the first HD video camera in space and they are also highly differentiated. This strength will help the company a lot against other competitiors and in the process of implementing their plans.


Source: http://www.urthecast.com/ and Comm 101 Class 19.





Northern Gateway Pipeline-Sustainable?

I was reading through some blogs and found Ravjot Sandhu’s blog on  the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project that Enbridge is trying to build, which caught my attention. I was just doing some research on it for my English paper on the employment side of the project, which I can now connect to last week’s lecture on sustainability.


Ravjot says how it would benefit British Columbia and have a positive impact on the Canadian economy however, it could also cause environmental damage if things went wrong. Responding to the economy side of the blog, it will boost Canada’s GDP but will have  trade-offs in other parts of the economy such as the manufacturing sector. Some scholars have addressed their concerns on the Dutch Disease connected to this project and how actually there will be many job losses in the manufacturing sector. Enbridge claims their project is sustainable but I don’t think it is because their estimates are so vague and ignore many relevant factors. It is important to look at the overall effect in the long-run. They don’t caculate how many jobs their project is putting at risk and how many jobs an oil spill might destroy. Enbridge really emphasizes the job opportunities but most of them would actually only be in the short-term and are greatly overstated.



Blog: https://blogs.ubc.ca/ravisandhu/


Picture: http://www.happeninghamilton.ca/environment/23rd-anniversary-of-the-exxon-valdez-oil-spill-demonstration-march-24th/attachment/enbridge-no-pipeline-red


Starting Her Own Company After Graduation… Wow

During last week’s lecture, I was lucky to have met Janice Cheam, CEO of Energy-Aware, and listen to her experiences of starting a company of her own. I think her story is really impressive and motivating. After graduation, she had an idea and she could actually turn that into reality, now having an expanding company of her own… wow!

With the expanding population and increased demand for energy it is important that we find ways to conserve it. One of the her company’s products is the Power Tab In-Home Display, which shows your power consumption and rates in the house. You can put it anywhere you want, its quite convenient to move around. It gives instantaneous information about the elecricity use this way people will see if they are using too much. It is very useful as Janice said because you only receive the bill at the end of the month to see your consumption level, but this way people are able to track it every day. It saves a lot of electricity and money, it is especially useful for people living in areas where energy is more expensive. Innovation really makes our lives more comfortable and convenient.

Source and picture: http://www.energy-aware.com/

New Tablet Fight: Apple vs. Amazon


Video: iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire

Apple has a new competitor in the tablet market: the large online retailer Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. With Amazon’s release of the new device at $199, it seems like Apple’s new Ipad Mini entering at $329 is loosing competitiveness. However, this is decepting.

Apple has a really smart marketing tactic. The new Ipad Mini compared to the old Ipad is a lot cheaper but the function is very much the same. It seems like “cannibalization” of the previous Ipad but with this comaprison, Apple is dragging a lot of customer’s away from Amazon. Analysts say that Amazon might not generate a lot of revenue on hardware, instead they are relying on apps and ebooks. And Apple is quite good with apps, so if they were to start “eating in that”as well, it might force Amazon to lower their prices.

Old Ipad sales are dropping and revenue from the Ipad Mini is relatively lower but it can at least handle competition with Amazon and other tablets that are flooding the shelves for holiday season. “Incremental sales at slightly reduced margins are far preferable to lost revenue.”

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/tech-news/apple-serves-notice-to-amazon-with-ipad-mini/article4632700/

Picture: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/398749/20121026/apple-ipad-mini-amazon-7in-kindle-fire.htm

Dollar Stores Threatens Canada’s Retailers

Retaling giants like Target Corp., Wal-Mart Canada Corp.or Canadian Tire Corp are now facing pressing threats: the fast-growing dollar strores. They have been a serious concern for years but are becoming a “bigger force” such as Dollarama Inc. and US Tree Stores Inc. who have been “expanding aggressively”.

Why is that, that “Dollar store sales are rising by about 9 per cent annually – more than three times the average annual uptick in the overall retail sector over the past five years”?   They are definitely a special type of business that has its own unique strategy. Its not as big as a Wal-mart but still offers an enourmous range of products so customers can get what they want for cheaper, and they can do all this without having to walk into a huge hipermarket; this is very convenient and saves a lot of time. And time can mean a lot for certain people.

Dollar stores “draw customers with low prices, convenience and simplicity” That could be their points of difference or brand positioning and what makes them a seriuos competitor. Is that all that has made these dollar stores have such a large influence now, that even retail giants find them threatening?

source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/how-canadas-retailers-discounted-the-rise-of-the-dollar-store/article4596897/


Sony Mobile Targets New Market-Rival for Apple

Sony Mobile Communications AB is targeting the Chinese smartphone market becoming a major rival for Apple. The industry is extremely competitive having many international companies, as well as a number of active domestic brands. But Sony Mobile will gain huge opportunities if it “focuses on the right products, is quick to respond to market demand and is speedier in innovation”(Shen)

Sony Mobile seems to have a very optimistic future if they can come up with strategies (long-term) suited for the fast growing Chinese market. Meaning, if Sony wants to bring the most out of the worlds biggest smartphone market, they have to know the market and target their consumers very well. This implies that marketing research on China’s smartphone market is now Sony Mobile’s fundamental focus and base.

The company is already ahead of the game for having already established itself in the Chinese’s customers’ minds and having its points of differences,it now has to take it the next stage. “Sony is a rare, comprehensive entertainment company, with operations in movies, music, gaming and financial services. If it integrates well, those resources would quickly make Sony devices stand out,” said Wang Ying, an analyst at Analysys International.

source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-09/24/content_15777457.htm

Picture: http://www.giantrobot.com/random-musings/a-blurb-on-jobss-international-legacy/attachment/sony-vs-apple/

China is again accused of dumping… “EU: Anti-dumping probe into China solar panels”

China as one of the world’s largest  manufacturing country, is again accused of dumping products on the international market, which means selling it below the production price.

This time, 25 solar gear producers in Europe have filed complaints to the E.U. about Chinese companies selling the products to other markets at a lower price than they charge in China; rather making losses just to drive out competitors out of the market. The US has also been taking similar actions against Chinese solar panel producers.

But why can’t China just simply have a comparative advantage in manufacturing products, thus being able to sell them at a lower price? Dumping or not is very hard to determine but its seems like China is blamed every time they have an advantage in competing on the international market. Labour is cheap in China, and I think its very reasonable for them to be able to produce something at a lower cost. If China is capable of competing by selling products cheaper, even if it means making loss, why can’t they? Its not the problem of China or Chinese companies that firms in other countries are not able to do the same.


Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21484201/eu-anti-dumping-probe-into-china-solar-panels

Picture: http://www.renewablepowernews.com/archives/3212


“Employees Sue Wal-Mart for Overtime”


Paying workers, especially when they are working overtime seems like a very natural thing, but seems like Wal-mart has a different view on it.  As one of the biggest retailers and companies in the World, Wal-mart does not have a good reputation when talking about  salaries and working hours.

According to abc News, former Wal-mart employees has filed a suit against against the firm for forcing them to work overtime without actually paying them. Maria Gamble says that when she worked there, she and other workers would be regularly locked in the store to restore merchandise and count out the cash registers that could take up to two hours.

Wal-mart is also charged for making workers to work during breaks, meaning working more than 10 consecutive hours daily for only one additional hour of minimum wage pay.

Wal-mart’s spokesman Bill Wertz does not give specific information about the suit’s allegations. He says : “This is directly contrary to our policy, and any supervisor who violates our policy is subject to disciplinary action, including termination,”

Looks like at Wal-mart, not only prices are low but wages too. What could be their managers’ view on stakeholder theory?

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87844&page=1#.UFD02rKTtD0

Picture: http://shs.umsystem.edu/historicmissourians/name/w/waltons/index.html


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