Our heads of retail and manufacturing operations are back in Asia locking down logistics for upcoming launches. Here are a few tidbits from China and Hong Kong, courtesy of our own Tom Krysiak:
- The Asian business climate is tentative and uncertain. Makers are afraid the U.S. slowdown will force the closures of weaker, undercapitalized factories throughout China – a concern that's supported by Hong Kong newspapers’ reporting that as many as 30% of all South China factories could go bankrupt by January 2009... which could eliminate several million factory jobs.
- In these times of such uncertainty, the factories themselves are more interested in innovative products because they see innovation thriving even in times of difficulty.
- In the wake of multiple safety issues – ie: lead in toys and tainted milk products – the best Chinese contract manufacturers are touting their product safety compliance as a key part of their sales pitches. In the past, safety was not such a key part of their selling equation.
- Finding and partnering with solid and stable China companies will be especially challenging in this conflicted business climate.
- The seasonal delicacy – Shanghai Hairy Crab – tastes sweeter this year than in years past. (I’m tempted to ask Tom to bring us a doggie bag, but....)
- Baseball enthusiasts take note: there are a few bars that show the MLB playoffs in the morning... assuming you survived the previous night's Shanghai Hairy Crabs.