Monthly Archives: September 2013

Hiring an IT Company

Almost every business today requires an IT team or external IT company. Choosing the right company can be a hassle, but it is extremely important.

Joanna Sobran of MXOtech, Inc. lists ten things to look out for while searching for the right tech support in an article on the Huffington Post:

1. They own all the IT problems.

2. They conduct periodic test restores of your backups.

3. They offer a TRULY all-inclusive support plan.

4. They provide you with a monthly report of your network.

5. They monitor your network 24-7-365.

6. They consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance instead of waiting until you have a problem to make recommendations.

7. They avoid “geek-speak.”

8. They have a written, guaranteed response time to your calls.

9. They answer their phone live.

10. They will offer to complete a FREE audit of your network.


Price of Cocoa Butter Threatens Holiday Chocolate Market

According to recent reports, high demand and tight supplies of cocoa butter may increase the price of chocolate this holiday season.

The Huffington Post explains that “Increased demand from Asia’s expanding middle class and a turnaround in sales in big consuming countries have seen butter prices nearly double to more than $7,000 a tonne from $4,000 a tonne six months ago.”

Although chocolate makers claim that hiking prices is a last resort, some may have no choice by to pass the additional expenses on to customers. Some smaller companies are already doing just that.

“We have increased our chocolate prices by 30 to 40 percent since January and most of our customers are not happy about it,” said Richard Lee of Aalst Chocolate, a chocolatier based in Singapore. “With the festive season just around the corner, the price of (cocoa butter) will rise even further and surely hit the bottom line of chocolate makers,” he said.

Learn more with Fred Katayama of Reuters:


Investors Prepare for Apple’s Newest Device and Asian Breakthrough

Later today, Apple will unveil its newest iPhone. Investors have high hopes for the new device, and many are building bullish share and options positions.

The unveiling will take place at a media event in Cupertino, California. Apple’s newest models include he iPhone 5S, and the cheaper version, the iPhone 5C. Experts also expect the company to reveal that it has, at long last, penetrated the largest wireless carrier in the world- Chine Mobile Ltd.

Brian Colello, an analyst with the Morningstar, explained: “Apple is effectively only selling to half the Chinese market today. They can essentially double their sales in China quickly with China Mobile. So it’s a big deal.”

Canalys analyst Nicole Peng adds: “It’s a very good direction that Apple is launching its latest model so soon in China when its brand attraction is on the decline. It is a sign that they value the Chinese consumers. The bright colors of the new iOS 7 software, shown off to Apple developers in June, are expected to be popular with Asian customers. But another Asian trend- towards larger screens dubbed ‘phablets’ because they are a cross between a phone and a tablet- is unlikely to be followed. While Aple is reported to be testing iPhones with larger screens, and developer sources say that the iOS 7 software is suitable for larger screens, and nobody is expecting an Apple ‘phablet’ on Tuesday.


Baker & McKenzie on Successful Joint Ventures

Baker & McKenzie, a global law firm specializing in multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation with Marnin Michaels, recently released an analysis of joint ventures in property developments. Known for its deep understanding of the language and culture of business, the firm presents several points to consider in the current market.

Baker & McKenzie’s Sebastian Busa explains that “a successful joint venture, like all healthy relationships, will be centered around compatibility, trust and a shared vision and resolve.”

Key elements to consider are:

  • What is the vision of each party? What is each party seeking from the relationship? For instance, for one party it may be a final developed product and for the other, the development work pipeline- a perfect match!

  • Can you grow the relationship with future developments?

  • Are there cultural synergies?

  • Can you leverage the relationship of the specific entities of divisions across the broader corporate group?

“These are only some of the many pertinent matters that potential joint venture suitors may need to consider during the ‘flirting stages’ of their relationship,” Busa explains.