in In The News

In-The-News2Hi everyone! Simply CSOFT is back to bring you up to speed with news stories making the headlines this week in the business world. Chinese Customers Return to KFC and Seoul-based LG and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi recently announced their ambitious plans to expand overseas. While the two companies are hopeful about their prospects for growth, Wal-Mart, on the other hand, is pessimistic about its business in the overseas markets. Read about some of its challenges abroad and the latest research news on graphene—sheets of carbon just one atom thick which is often referred to as the ”miracle material.”

  • LG Eyes Cosmetics Giant Elizabeth Arden

South Korea’s LG Household & Healthcare said it plans to acquire cosmetics giant Elizabeth Arden as part of its efforts to expand overseas business. “Elizabeth Arden is one of the firms we are seeking to buy,” an official representative from LG Household & Healthcare said. “Mergers and acquisitions have been a big part of our business. We will grow our business through M&As.” Since it acquired the Face Shop in 2010, LG Household & Healthcare has rapidly increased its presence in the overseas cosmetics market with the aim of growing as a global brand such as the Body Shop or L’Occitane. (The Korea Times)

  • Chinese Customers Return to KFC

Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC and Taco Bell restaurant chains, said that first-quarter profit rose 18 percent as sales rebounded in China. Sales at stores open at least 12 months jumped 9 percent in the Asian nation after falling for five straight quarters. The results show that the damage done by an avian flu outbreak and an investigation into the company’s supply chain last year has begun to fade. Yum! Brands is also working on new foods and marketing to entice Chinese customers. (Bloomberg)

  • Wal-Mart’s Everyday Low Prices Fail to Stir Brazilians
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Wal-Mart’s low-cost strategy doesn’t seem to be working in Brazil. The retail giant is still losing money two decades after entering South America’s biggest market, acquiring two local chains in the mid-2000s and opening more than 500 stores. The company is battling competition from Carrefour SA (CA) and Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA, French chains that have embraced Brazilians’ penchant for shopping around for the best deals. This isn’t the first time Wal-Mart has stumbled overseas. The company sold both its German and South Korean units in 2006, following years of disappointing results. (Business Week)

  • Xiaomi Set to Expand into 10 New Countries

Xiaomi, the Chinese handset maker that nabbed former Google VP Hugo Barra, has announced its plans to begin selling devices in the wider international market. Kicking things off will be an expansion into 10 markets, none of which are the United States, unfortunately. Xiaomi is a popular smartphone maker in China, and boasts very high sales numbers in the nation. Countries set to get access to the maker’s phones include Russia, India, and Brazil. (Slash Gear)

  • Scientists Create Graphene in Kitchen Blender

In a piece on Simply CSOFT two weeks ago, we shared the news of a large-scale graphene production process pioneered by Samsung but, as is technology’s trend, a new article published this weekend in the New Scientist’s Physics & Math edition details an even simpler, cheaper method for creating this wonder material. A team at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, using a kitchen blender, graphite powder, and Fairy Liquid (a U.K. brand of dishwashing liquid), has managed to make 5 grams of high-quality graphene an hour. The team’s calculations suggest that this technique could be used on an industrial level: using the right motor and mixer attached to a 10,000 liter vat, some entrepreneurial first adopter could be producing 100 grams of graphene per hour.

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Here are our summaries of noteworthy news events of the week. Today, we turn the spotlight on Japan as the country braces for its first sales tax hike in 17 years. To offset its impact, Japan’s biggest banks have agreed to raise salaries for the first time in 19 years. The world’s third largest economy also anticipates a rise in travel demand when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020. Find out what its biggest airline is doing to prepare for the big event.