Thursday, June 30, 2005

Will China Float the Yuan?

In Graziadio Business Report

The yuan floats! On Friday, April 29, 2005, foreign exchange markets were rocked as the Chinese currency -- the yuan -- appreciated in value against the dollar. The climb took place over a 20-minute period and the movement was not spectacular. Instead of 8.276 yuan needed to buy a dollar, only 8.270 was needed -- an appreciation of 0.07 percent! Such a small movement in the exchange rate between two currencies would not normally be noticed, and certainly would not cause so much discussion and reaction. The dollar immediately fell in value against the euro and yen, and the price of gold increased. It should be noted that market watchers are not even certain what caused the appreciation. Was it a test of China’s ability to control a rising yuan, or a mistake by the Chinese central bank?

Read this fascinating paper written by two professors on whether China will float the Yuan.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Country Correspondent Report: China

Welcome from China ... from Doug Wang

When going global, Chinese SMEs prefer B2B websites.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese SMEs want to become global players, but, after years of effort, most of them have made little progress. Are Chinese products qualified for the international market? The answer is: "no."

At present many Chinese products are well accepted in international market. I have to say though that many Chinese companies are not ready for international market. Let me tell you what they are doing now to sell their products abroad. Most Chinese SMEs depend on B2B websites, like and, to go global. They also believe that if they obtain business leads from B2B websites, they will succeed. But they ignore the fact that business leads do not guarantee orders and that product performance, support and service are also very important to customers.

What's more, many buyers on B2B websites only want to buy cheap products from China. In general, they bargain with dozens of suppliers at the same time to get the cheapest products. Even though you may get the order, you make almost no margin. And the websites of many SMEs are terribly simple and rough. If I were the international customer, I would doubt the strength of the company, the performance of the product, and the service of the company, and would not risk buying their products at all.

What's worse is that some companies do not even have independent websites. They have only a couple of pages on a B2B website to introduce their company, products and service. It is a pity that, at present, most Chinese SMEs have no idea how to perform international market research, how to build an international distribution channel or how to compete with international competitors.

Dong Wang reporting from China.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Instantly International

In Inc. magazine (Page 44)

John Buckman had never run a global business. But that didn't stop him from launching one -- right out of the box.

[Laurel here ... Up next week is Country Correspondent Report from China -- watch for it! Have a good weekend and stay cool for in Chicago it is a blisteringly hot -- 95 degrees F.]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Country Correspondent Report: India

Welcome from India ... from Jayanthi Iyengar

When Laurel first invited me to blog on India for Global Small Business, my immediate reaction was one of being overwhelmed. However, now that the first piece is done, I do wish to thank Laurel for making it happen. Writing on modern India and the new business environment in which the small businesses have to survive is a challenge. Had it not been for this blog, I would not have paid the subject the kind of attention that it merits.

The main reason why I felt overwhelmed when asked to write about India is the vastness of the subject. However, if I were asked to summarize India, I would describe the country as “unity in diversity”. This is not necessarily original. Yet, understanding this Indian trait could make a difference between success and failure while dealing with India.

Simply explained, it means that India is many countries rolled into one. This is the way that experts describe China too. However, there is a difference. China is held together by a cogent glue called socialism. With 1 billion population, India is the world’s largest democracy. That makes it move ahead at its own pace, unlike the disciplined march of Leninist China.

India has 28 states and 7 union territories. One would assume these are administrative divisions, which are irrelevant to global companies wanting to do business in the country. However, that is not the case. Each of these states is a country by itself. It has a distinct language, religion, culture, cuisine, dress code, and an administrative structure, which is independent of the Central or the federal government for purposes of governance.

To an outsider, this should sound both formidable and confusing, particularly if one comes from a country with a single government, or one with a single language. However, this is where the unifying factor comes in. Despite such diversity, what holds India together is a federal democratic structure, a 50-year legacy of a single party government, despite the existence of a strong Opposition, the English language, once consider the yokel of the British, but a major unifying factor today, which makes it possible for foreigners to navigate through most parts of India without mishap, a friendly people, who are used to outsiders and demonstrate a high level of comfort working with them, a young population, an affluent middle-class, a strong bureaucracy committed to modernization and globalization as well as educating the political leadership, and of course, the now-so-famous pool of skilled manpower.

I have intentionally not mentioned small businesses yet. The main reason is that the word itself needs an involved explanation, which will be taken up in the forthcoming pieces.

Jayanthi Iyengar

Some resources for general reading on India:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ICSB 2007 World Conference

International Council for Small Business (ICSB)

The ICSB 2007 World Conference was awarded to ECSB and will be hosted by the Turku School of Economics and Business Administration in Turku, Finland.

The School and especially its team working on entrepreneurship and SME issues -- Small Business Institute -- is excited about the opportunity and will do it utmost best to organise an interesting and entertaining event in June 2007! Mark your calendars now.

The theme for the conference is: "At the Crossroads of East and West: New Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Small Business."

[Note from Laurel ... tomorrow we will feature our Country Correspondent Report from India -- watch for it!]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Country Correspondent Report: Australia and New Zealand

Welcome from Australia & New Zealand ... from Stuart Ayling

It’s great to be part of the Global Small Business Blog. Thanks Laurel for making it possible.

This is my first post. Future posts will look at a range of issues important for small businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Recent statistics show that home-based businesses made up 67% of all Australian small businesses. And over recent years the credibility of home-based businesses has increased dramatically.

I think this has a lot to do with the availability of easy-to-use technology. Now any business can present themselves professionally and communicate globally.

To think that only a few years ago a small business owner would feel ashamed to admit they were working from home. But not any more. In fact, after many years of corporate life, I have been running my marketing consulting business from home for the last 5 years. It’s great!

Here in Australia one of the key export assistance agencies is Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission).

The Austrade web site has stacks of good information -- especially mini-case studies about successful exporters. Most of these stories feature small businesses. Make sure you sign up for the Trademark newsletter. Follow the “newsletters” link from the Austrade home page.

On the financial front the Australian dollar is set to fall against the US dollar. This will make things a bit easier for exporters, although the domestic economy shows signs of slowing. For current financial news check out The Australian Financial Review.

Stuart Ayling
Marketing Nous

Monday, June 20, 2005

Country Correspondents: China, India, Australia & New Zealand, U.K. and Japan

We are about to launch a country correspondent feature to our blog. Five correspondents, found through Borderbuster readership, will report on practical and relevant global small business information from their respective countries: China, India, Australia and New Zealand, U.K. and Japan.

There’s no set schedule as yet but first up is our Australian and New Zealand correspondent Stuart Ayling. Watch for his report tomorrow.

If you are interested in serving as a country correspondent, please email us (see right side panel) and submit information about yourself along with a brief description on why you are qualified to serve as a country correspondent on global small business.

This is our way of broadening The Global Small Business Blog's coverage, making it more vibrant and sharing more powerful knowledge with the world. Let us know how you like it.

Many thanks,

Training, Trig, Teriyaki: What Do They Have In Common?

Going Global. And they are all franchises.

The hardest thing about franchise training for Kathy and Michael Serls of York, Pa., was getting there. Last May, the new franchisees of Cartridge World spent 21 hours on airplanes to reach the company’s headquarters and training facility in Adelaide, Australia.

To read the complete article, visit:
Training, Trig, Teriyaki: Franchises Go Global.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fight Against China's Currency Manipulation

U.S. Newswire

U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship said: "Small business owners in Maine and across our nation are fighting to remain competitive with countries such as China that often disregard international laws established to ensure fair trade. Unfortunately, unfair trade practices are exacerbated by illegal currency manipulation, which keeps Chinese goods at artificially low prices, distorting the marketplace and threatening the ability for American goods to be sold at a competitive price. Now is the time for Congress to act to put a stop to China's currency manipulation -- without a response, American jobs will continue to be in jeopardy."

[Laurel here ... Rather than focus on how many American jobs are lost to exports, I am inclined to agree with C.K. Prahalad, Harvey C. Fruehauf professor of Corporate Strategy at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan who stated so eloquently in his June 8, 2005 Opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal: "We are not exporting jobs, but importing competitiveness."]

To read the brief U.S. Newswire release, visit Snowe Continues Fight Against China's Currency Manipulation.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Abridged Borderbuster 6/6/05


If you are not a subscriber to Borderbuster, here's a glimpse of what you missed this month:

1. Welcome From The Publisher
2. Feedback From Our Readers
3. Thomas Friedman on Globalization*
4. Business and Cultural Tips: Have Some Fun!*
5. A Show of Support*
6. How I Went Global: Ongoing Series //*
7. A Reader Asks: Q&A*
8. Everybody Loves a Freebie -- repeat: FREE OFFER*
9. Managing Brands in Global Markets
10. Think Global: Bio-prospecting*
11. A Global Good Neighbor Ethic for International Relations*
12. On Foreign Soil*
13. Laurel’s New e-Book: “GODZILLA Global Marketing!”
14. Take A Walk On The Wild Side (TAWOTWS)*
15. Wind Behind Your Sail*
16. Miscellany*

*Indicates exclusive to Borderbuster subscribers only.

Sample section:

*Subscriber Exclusive*

Globe-trotting In Tunis
By Laurel Delaney

I am honored to have been invited to serve as a U.S. Envoy for The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a Presidential initiative founded to support economic, political, and educational reform efforts in the Middle East. The three-day forum took place in sunny Tunis, Tunisia (North Africa) from May 24-26, 2005 featuring practical business training for more than 200 women entrepreneurs from 16 countries and territories in the Middle East and North Africa. My role was to lead an expert roundtable discussion on [global] Internet Marketing.

The U.S. delegation also included Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs Patricia Harrison; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth Cheney; and Vice Chair, Export-Import Bank, April Foley. The American businesswomen provided training under the auspices of WE, Inc., an American nonprofit business association advocating policy solutions that encourage business ownership by women, and assist entrepreneurs at all stages of their business development. I serve as the Global Markets Advisor for this organization and report directly to the CEO and President Karen Kerrigan, who is a remarkably gifted and passionate global entrepreneur.

The forum organizer was The Beyster Institute at the Rady School, University of California, San Diego, which continues to implement the Middle East Entrepreneurship Training in the U.S., also a Middle East Partnership Initiative. Dr. Ray Smilor is the Executive Director of this enterprise and also a passionate advocate to entrepreneurs worldwide.

The purpose of the forum was to build peer networks, learn from regional and American experts, and find new venture partners. As business owners and executives, attendees had an opportunity to recognize their leading role in economic reform through business expansion, entry into international trade, and dynamic joint ventures to take advantage of the opportunities offered by reformed economic systems and trade agreements.

I strongly believe the forum will help reshape the economic, political, educational and cultural landscape for businesswomen worldwide.

Internet Marketing plays an instrumental role in global expansion for small business owners. Why, just look at this e-newsletter! It accelerates the process of globalization as people worldwide research products, look for new markets, seek customers and manage their international supply chain. If a business is successful on the home front, then it is ready to become borderless. Any business today with a web site or blog is instantaneously global.

One of the goals I had set for myself during the Summit was to make going global accessible to everyone. In that vein, the mission was accomplished. I’ll explain how.

Within 48 hours after returning to Chicago, I received an email from Doaa Saber, a businesswoman from Qatar, who sat in on the Internet Marketing workshop. She proudly announced she had created her very first Information Architecture World blog. How’s that for progress? How’s that for pure entrepreneurship? I’d say it’s awesome. And in case she is reading this, “Congratulations Doaa!” We need more entrepreneurs like you in the world.

It’s clear to me that American women entrepreneurs are held in great respect and admiration by women throughout the world and that we have much more to offer in terms of advice and counsel. But I also believe the same holds true for the extraordinary and soulful Middle-Eastern and North African business women on what they can teach us. Let us not forget that it is not our similarities but dissimilarities -- and the sharing of those dissimilarities in a meaningful and productive manner -- that provide our greatest challenges and growth opportunities, both personally and professionally.

As I write this, there is a steady stream of messages flowing through my e-mail inbox with names popping up like Ahlem, Najwa and Sameera. And they all say the same thing: What a wonderful Summit and I am honored to have met you and so many other vibrant businesswomen. I feel exactly the same. The women (and men!) I met were generous, kind, and smart – all characteristics that lead to success. Serving as role models for one another and working together, we make a powerful difference in the world of business. See for yourself: The Global Small Business Blog.

All the very best to you, my readers, and all my new friends through the MEPI.

P.S. For more information about women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa, please visit the work of the Freedom House.

Ms. Laurel Delaney is CEO and founder of, and can be reached at 773-381-1700 or


-> Got a story to share? We’d love to hear from you. Email and put “Got a story” in the subject line and then let us know what you have in mind. We cannot guarantee your tale will be published, but we’ll do our best!

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Going Global: Photos from Tunis!

A night out with the MENA conference attendees:

Photo courtesy and with permission:  Ahlem Ben-Othman
(L-R above): Sarian Bouma, Principal, Bouma's Consulting Services, Laurel Delaney, CEO & Founder,, Beverly Holmes, Senior Vice President, Retirement Services, Strategic Relationship Management, Mass Mutual Financial Group, Sheila Liao, President, Pointe International, Mary Cantando, President, Cantando & Associates, LLC and Julie Lenzer Kirk, President & CEO, Applied Creative Technologies.

Breakfast with a MENA attendee and U.S. Delegation:

Photo courtesy and with permission:  Ahlem Ben-Othman
(L-R above): Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Women Entrepreneurs, Inc., Ahlem Ben-Othman, Chief Executive Officer, World Network (Consulting Services), Mary Cantando, President, Cantando & Associates, LLC, Julie Lenzer Kirk, President & CEO, Applied Creative Technologies and Laurel Delaney, CEO & Founder,

Photos are complimentary of MENA attendee Ahlem Ben-Othman, Chief Executive Officer, World Network, Tunisia (