FT Wednesday 4th of June 2014

  1. A Social Strategy


Book review of a text looking at the strategies that businesses are implementing in their attempts to harness the power of social media. Previously, businesses did not truly understand the best way to utilise social media and merely looked to acquire a greater number of “likes” or “retweets”. The book argues that today some businesses have become increasingly sophisticated in the way that they use social media platforms, and have used innovative strategies to extract profit from their online presence.


  1. Renminbi use rising fast in home of greenback


The amount of trade between the US and China conducted in Renminbi has tripled over the past year. Whilst the amount of trade conducted in the Chinese currency remains at less than 5% of the total between the two nations, the growth rate is seen as a signal of the future. China’s reliance on the US dollar as a way of storing its reserves meant the value of its holdings were drastically lowered by the US response to the 2008 crisis. The renminbi has been emerging as an alternative reserve currency, and an increasing number of renminbi-denominated financial instruments have arisen in the past few years. The increased use of the renminbi for overseas trade could free the Chinese from reliance on the US dollar zone, increasing its financial independence.


  1. Berlin paves the way for fracking


Germany looks set to join the shale gas revolution as the Government has decided to yield to pressure from business to reverse a ban on the controversial process. Hydraulic fracturing in banned in Germany on environmental concerns that the chemicals involved in extracting shale gas could pollute the water supply of the densely populated country. German manufacturers have complained that the ban on fracking has put them at a disadvantage vis a vis their US competitors who have benefitted from the supply of cheap gas. Part of the German decision can be attributed to the reliance that the country has on Russia for its energy. Russia currently provides around a third of Germany’s energy needs, something that has become a more pressure issue in lieu of Russia recent action in the Ukraine.


  1. Tesco: the end of empire


The UK giant Tesco is in trouble after a fall in sales. Emerging trends in how consumers purchase groceries has threatened Tesco’s status and CEO, Phil Clarke, could be in line for removal if he is unable to quickly turn around the stagnating business. Tesco’s model of hypermarket stores is threatened by the fact that customers today can purchase virtually anything they want via their smartphones. There is a possibility that the company’s entire structure may be altered by a new CEO as Tesco looks to adapt to changing modes of consumption. 


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