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West grows wary of China’s influence game

“The party under Xi [Jinping] believes it is engaged in a ‘huayu zhanzheng’ — a ‘discourse war’ — with the west, which it thinks enjoys media hegemony and must be challenged,” says David Shambaugh, director of the China policy programme at George Washington University.

He estimates China spends between $10bn and $12bn a year on a wide range of “soft power” efforts — from traditional lobbying and public relations campaigns to more clandestine forms of influence-building.

“The Chinese Communist party is seeking to suppress dissent among its diaspora in countries around the world,” says Rory Medcalf, head of the national security college at Australian National University. “It uses a tapestry of methods to achieve its goals: political donations, control of Chinese language media, mobilising community and student groups; and engaging in coercive activities that involve CCP proxies and even consular officials.”

Defenders of these initiatives say Beijing merely wants to “tell China’s story well” and is acting no differently from western countries. The US government supports organisations that fund pro-democracy groups around the world, while Washington-based think-tanks have international affiliates that promote an American world view.

“The Communist party’s United Front work is very different from western efforts to exert influence — there is a degree of long-term planning and central co-ordination between public and nominally private enterprises that democracies can’t even imagine,”
china  today  politics  debate  strategy  world  competition  democracy 
december 2017 by aries1988
How Retailers Use Personalized Prices to Test What You’re Willing to Pay
The reason why retailers try to offer a personalized price goes back to the downward sloping demand curve highlighted in Economics 101. This fundamental concept illustrates that, for most products, some customers are willing to pay more than others. To exploit that, pricing managers employ techniques that try to discern — and charge — the exact price that each customer is willing to pay. Outsize profits can be extracted from “top of the demand curve” customers, who value the product highly. Meanwhile, if discounts can be discreetly offered to customers with a lower willingness to pay, additional sales (and profit) are reaped. The result is a more profitable customer base, with some shoppers paying more than others.

Personalized pricing can be found at most auto dealerships. The goal of salespeople is to determine how much each customer is willing to pay for a car through individualized negotiation. Prices are tailored by noting each customer’s characteristics and observing their actions. How shoppers dress, the car they currently drive, and answers to seemingly innocuous questions (Where do you live? What do you do for a living?) provide clues. Salespeople also observe actions, such as the other cars people are looking at and how they behave in negotiations (passive or aggressive). Evaluating each shopper’s characteristics and actions creates a pricing profile. Think of a profile as a polygraph test that suggests the highest amount each shopper will pay.
price  commercial  profiling  customer  strategy  online 
october 2017 by aries1988
In China, a Rapid Jump to Mobile Advertising
Next year, companies are expected to spend more money on digital advertising than on TV commercials in China.

Five years ago, marketers could get away with simply using the same ads they used globally and just translating the message, said Shaun Rein, the founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group. Today, they have to speak to the Chinese dream.

“What is happening is that Western brands have to create new aspirations that the Chinese consumer wants,” Mr. Rein added.

Weixin is now the most popular forum in China. Weixin and its international version WeChat together have 468 million active users. Weibo has 167 million active users today.

“I’ve been here four years. In that time I’m now on the third dominant social network — first it was Renren, then Weibo and now it’s WeChat,” said Chris Jones, the executive creative director at the ad agency Wunderman in China.
mobile  china  buy  money  strategy  comparison  today 
december 2014 by aries1988
If you can't choose wisely, pick at random – Michael Schulson – Aeon

Around the same time that Michael Dove was pondering his riddle in a Kantu’ longhouse, activists and political scientists were beginning to revive the idea of filling certain political positions by lottery, a process known as sortition.

to recognise that the judging process is already subjective and always will be. Had a different panel of 12 judges been chosen for the competition, the result would have varied, too. The ISU system simply makes that subjectivity more apparent, even as it reduces the likelihood that certain obviously bad influences, such as corruption, will affect the final result.

Something, somewhere, is always playing dice

Devoid of any guiding mind, it is subject to neither blame nor regret. Inhuman, it can act as a blank surface on which to descry the churning of fate or the work of divine hands. Chance distributes resources and judges disputes with perfect equanimity.
from:rss  essay  randomness  life  strategy  decision  rational  education  concours  uncertainty  idea 
july 2014 by aries1988
In a Digital World, Lego Sticks to Its Bricks
WSJ: Legos are built to exact specifications. That's generally kept competitors' products at a far remove. Will manufacturing advances in the developing world change that?

Mr. Knudstorp: Operating a global supply chain with a global assortment of extremely high quality [toys] with literally zero product recalls and exacting chemical standards that comply with global chemical regulations—even the modern European Toy Safety Directive—is something of a feat. We're very proud that we're capable of that. Our operations are a major competitive advantage. You can copy one brick, surely, but doing 50 billion in the way we do, and also in an economically feasible way, is quite a feat.

WSJ: You've had great success with play themes like "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," and "Lord of the Rings." What are some themes you didn't get right?

Mr. Knudstorp: "Prince of Persia" was one. Another one was "The Lone Ranger," which did OK for us but not as great as we had hoped on the back of the fact that both movies flopped at the box office. This is part of business sometimes.
toy  future  industry  lego  interview  kid  strategy 
april 2014 by aries1988
Why Apple Has Already Pwned the Gaming Market | Cult of Mac
That’s what Apple does with gaming. They’re not going after the console gamer. Just as Starbucks got non-gourmet coffee drinkers to drink gourmet coffee, Apple is getting non gamers to play games.
game  device  apple  starbucks  coffee  market  strategy  comparison 
august 2012 by aries1988
德国弃核,先驱还是先烈? 南方周末记者亲历弃核后的德国
德国弃核九个月后,全世界的支持者和反对者依旧为此争论不休。这个冬天,德国是否会发生电荒?民众能否承受高电价?垄断能源巨头将如何挑战政府?未来四十年,被寄予厚望的可再生能源又能否拯救德国?
http://www.instapaper.com/read/236274583
germany  nuclear  energy  strategy  future  report 
august 2012 by aries1988
Why Apple Has Already Pwned the Gaming Market | Cult of Mac
That’s what Apple does with gaming. They’re not going after the console gamer. Just as Starbucks got non-gourmet coffee drinkers to drink gourmet coffee, Apple is getting non gamers to play games.
http://www.instapaper.com/read/275232418
game  device  apple  starbucks  coffee  market  strategy  comparison 
august 2012 by aries1988

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