Alibaba is the beginning of a new global trade system

Interesting article here that sees Alibaba not simply as another ecommerce company like Amazon or ebay but as a trading platform for any business, and hence a strategic tool for China to take over world trade and banking. The platform not only provides a front end for customers to interact with businesses, the businesses deliver products […]

Increasing issuance of corporate green bonds

French utility giant EDF this week set a new high in the market for corporate ‘green bonds’, issuing £1.2 billion (euros 1.4 bn) worth of bonds tied to returns from its renewable assets. Although the bond is only a small fraction of the total market, the fact that the issue was two-times over-subscribed suggests there is […]

Big Picture — December 2011

When the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, issues warnings like this: “There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating.” [Source] it is time to take stock of where we are […]

Sir Stelios sets up short term car hire club

Depending which way you want to look at it, a new entrant to the car hire industry, or a substitute for buying a car, has just been announced by Sir Stelios Haji-Iaonnou and Brent Hoberman (co-founder of lastminute.com). Their new service, called Zipcar, will rent cars by the hour and will be test launched in spring 2012. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68d4cba2-249d-11e1-bfb3-00144feabdc0.html

Innovation in money and music (and agriculture)

In the third quarter this year, as prices fell, central banks made their largest purchases of gold for 40 years. The buying was led by the central banks of emerging countries such as Thailand, Mexico, and South Korea. The value of foreign currencies and government debt at the moment are volatile at best, so it […]

Crowdfunding shows principles for disruptive business models

Self-publishing used to be called ‘vanity publishing’. But the arrival of the Internet, the ability to sell e-books, and the technology to cost-effectively produce small print-runs, made it increasingly popular. Now an online publisher unbound.co.uk has taken the model one step further. Interested readers can visit their website and review potential books being proposed. If they find […]

Daily snapshot

A eurozone recession “looks almost inevitable before the end of the year, even if the debt crisis does not intensify further”. A Treasury select committee is calling for a “radical overhaul” of the accountability and governance of the Bank of England, through the establishment of a supervisory board that would reduce the power of the governor […]

India launches $35-$60 tablet computer

The ultra-low cost tablet is designed to make e-learning available to more of India’s population. It will sell to students for $35 and to retail customers for $60. It is the same size as Amazon’s latest kindle, which costs $199 with more functionality. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/9e714b34-ef53-11e0-918b-00144feab49a.html