January 24th, 2012
03:06 PM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – Snow, snow and more snow.

Overnight and all morning the flakes have been falling, causing havoc with the final preparations for the WEF. Swiss police are looking on in amusement as city-dwellers negotiate the slippery streets. Locals here have looks of resignation as they dig themselves out of drifts - or maybe their weariness is because the Forum is about to start, streets and shops are closed and Davos is about to become a high-security nightmare.

And yet there is a childlike appearance to those of us who have escaped offices and newsrooms to come here. We may huff, puff, complain and struggle in the drifts, but we are secretly like children released from classrooms to play in the snow.

All this snow helps take Davos back to its origins. After all, what was Davos originally, but a remote, isolated, elite meeting where the problems of the world could be solved? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

January 24th, 2012
12:07 PM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) - Four years ago, the halls of Davos buzzed with excitement nine short months before the near-collapse of the Western banking system. Oil was above $100 a barrel, while sovereign funds from China to the Middle East started to flex their muscles on the global stage of the World Economic Forum.

There is now a bitter aftertaste that lingers after the recent upheaval of that financial crisis. The debt burdens in Europe and the U.S. still need to be reckoned with, giving those from the emerging markets the space to bask in the limelight here at this now fabled mountain retreat.

The central theme at the gathering of power brokers is transformation. That could simply be defined as the rise of the developing world – which is clearly transforming business as we know it today.


January 24th, 2012
11:46 AM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – For more than forty years, Klaus Schwab has been inviting elites to the Davos mountains. Now he admits things are "very difficult."

On Monday, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive director, told me he was disappointed with the progress made by leaders during 2011. He had been "hopeful that the economy would grow again. That is not the case." Schwab admitted he was "irritated by an increasing lack of willingness to deal with global issues."

Klaus Schwab is not a man noted for hyperbole or exaggeration. So when he told me of his worries about a "bunker mentality" or "burnout" in voters who "cannot cope anymore," then it’s probably time to worry.

The reason this is so worrying is that there are still so many problems to be solved. Some, like Greece, are in danger of getting worse. There is still no solution, and the politicians are miles away from agreeing on the future direction for the euro crisis. FULL POST

January 24th, 2012
09:38 AM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – Multinationals are becoming increasingly aware of the need to investment in innovation, education, and R&D in emerging economies, says John Quelch, dean of China Europe International Business School.

“If you look at China at the moment, (there is) a tremendous amount of multinational funds coming in from the West investing in R&D centers in China,” says Quelch.

“That’s partly to get closer to the huge local China market, but it’s also a reflection, I think, of the understanding that there’s a lot of talent in China in terms of science and engineering that can be tapped successfully by the multinationals through these R&D centers.”

He adds that if Western multinationals want to truly understand emerging economies as markets, they will have to invest more in human capital in those countries.

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