If vibrant colors, sights and sounds were rated as indicators to attract business and foreign direct investment, Marrakech and Morocco in general would win that competition hands down. Entering the giant market square Jemaa El Fna a half hour before sunset takes one to a bygone era. Traders, craftsmen and the odd purveyor of black magic potions are all too willing to do a deal.
Thirty minutes outside the central square, we all gathered for the World Economic Forum regional meeting on the Middle East. The distance from the Gulf - a full nine hours from Dubai before a transfer from Casablanca - served as a deterrent for many. In fact, not one political leader decided to make the journey to a place where caravans would spend weeks crossing the Sahara to sell their goods.
Even the King of the host country, Mohammed VI decided to leave this global event to others, which many attending saw as a sizable mistake.
(CNN) – Earlier this week, HSBC economist Frederic Neumann sent out a research report noting the similarities between what is happening in the world economy now, and what was happening in late 2007:
“The Fed is about to engage in another round of easing, the dollar is weakening, soft commodity prices are rising, growth in emerging Asia is rising and equity markets are on a roll.
What’s missing, so far, is a more convincing push-up in oil prices. Still, the parallels are striking. Will it all end in another bust?
What’s the quiz topic for Q&A this week? That’s up to YOU! Last week Quest and Ali went head to head over the impact of China’s surprise rate hike. They’re back and ready to answer your questions. What business topic would you like to see on our Q&A-style news quiz this week? Share your requests in the comments section (below) and then see it unfold on air Thursday on Quest Means Business.
I was sitting staring out the big windows in my 15th floor office, looking at the Johannesburg skyline and admiring the bursts of purple Jacaranda trees dotting the cityscape when my phone rang.
It was Chris Karanja, who is corporate communications manager from Kenya Airways. He phoned to point out that one of the recent interviewees on Marketplace Africa misrepresented the airline industry in Africa. The guest said that you couldn’t fly across Africa from west to east or east to west and that if you wanted to travel across Africa you would have to fly to Europe and back.
(CNN) - When I woke up to the news that Sony was discontinuing its storied Walkman cassette line in Japan, my first thought was: Sony still makes cassette Walkmans?
At age 19 I formed a close bond with my cassette Walkman, which kept me awake and sane working a midnight shift at an Indiana factory. I got the Discman when it came out, but used it less frequently as the player hopped and skipped with my stride, and put away portable music for a decade until I purchased my first iPod.
My evolution mirrors the arc of the Walkman line – its popularity ebbed with compact discs and waned with digital downloads. The cassette Walkman changed the way the world listened to music, and now an icon bites the dust.
Or does it?
Interesting in Sony’s plans to stop Japanese production of Walkman cassette is the caveat that limited production will still continue out of China to serve cassette fans in some markets, primarily in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“In terms of popularity, the Mp3 and Mp4 is the most popular around the world, including Asia and developing countries,” Sony spokesperson Yuki Kobayashi told me. “Although the demand is minor (for the cassette player), the demand is still there.
Kobayashi is quick to point out that the Walkman brand isn’t going anywhere (a misimpression that concerns the company in the current crush of press – the Walkman line, primarily digital players, is expected to sell 7.3 million units this year).
“I would guess that people who still have cassette media would like to use the players, and those are the people who want to buy (the cassette Walkman),” she said.
Sometimes old brands get new life in developing markets. Volkswagen’s Beetle slid into novelty status in the 1980s, yet remained popular and in production in Mexico The company relaunched the line with the “New Beetle” in 1998. The Ford “Falcon” only flew a decade out of Detroit, but is celebrating its 50th year of production in Australia.
“Friendster,” that pioneer of social networking, faded in the wake of MySpace, then Facebook, but still remained popular in Southeast Asia; Malaysia’s MOL Global purchased the site last year.
Perhaps the cassette Walkman will find a second life yet.
The creator of Twitter is on Quest Means Business today @ 2000 CET. Will talk about Twitter’s path to profitability and his new company’s product Square – a credit card reader for mobile phones. Here's a sneak peek:
(CNN) – This week I wrestled with a thorny ethical dilemma. I was given an iPad for my birthday which triggered a great deal of soul searching.
Many people might say I was lucky to be given one at all. That my wife was thoughtful and generous. The sleek Apple design was certainly enticing and I am apparently a typical iPad user, consuming various types of books, media, video and music.
But as I opened the present, I felt a great sense of unease sweep over me. I knew it was expensive – $700 for a 3G version – and while we could obviously physically afford to pay for it, it seemed excessive. Could I really justify keeping it?
For days I toiled with the burden of trying to decide: Was I ready for a lifestyle change that would embrace the world of tablets? I’m a huge fan of the iPod, but would I really get that much use out of a portable internet console with a few trendy apps?
But ultimately it came down to this: In this economic climate, was I comfortable with an extravagant toy? Consumer confidence in the United States remains low and this is greatly hindering economic recovery. And those staying away from the shops are not just the millions of unemployed, but people with jobs who are affected by the same sense of unease as me.
I took it back.
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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.