Global Business Development

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 48, Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Trends in this issue:

The reinvention of company culture, an explosion of new small businesses, venture capital grew 111% worldwide in 2021, falling shipping rates may mean an end to the global supply chain crisis, working from to be a permanent part of how jobs are done. And a zoom cartoon to reduce stress!

First, A Few Words of Wisdom

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”, Maya Angelou

“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.”, Mark Sanborn

“People begin to be successful the minute they decide to be.”, Harvey Mackay

Highlights in issue #48:

  • Brand Global News Section: Checkers & Rally’s®, Denny’s®, KFC China, McDonalds®, Phenix Salon Suites®, Starbucks®, TGI Friday’s®,  Tropical Smoothie®

Bolded article titles are live links, if the article is available without subscription

Interesting Data and Studies

State Of Venture 2021 Report – It was a record year for global & US venture funding, exits, unicorns, and more. Global venture deals and dollars reached record highs in 2021. Funding more than doubled year-over-year as startup investment soared across sectors and geographies.”, CB Insights, January 12, 2022

GDP is growing fastest in these countries – what it means – Countries including India and Turkey saw strong GDP growth in the third quarter of 2021. While other countries, including China, Australia and Japan, saw their GDP slow or fall. The OECD says GDP growth in half the G20 major economies is still below pre-pandemic levels.”, World Economic Forum, January 17, 2022

Inflation: Seven reasons the cost of living is going up around the world – From buying groceries to heating our homes, the cost of living is rising sharply – not just in the UK but around the world. Global inflation – the rate at which prices rise – is at its highest since 2008. Here are some of the reasons why.”, BBC News, January 20, 2022

The knot around the global economy from intractable supply networks is still holding tight at the start of the new year as the omicron variant complicates recovery efforts. According to fresh IHS Markit data, U.S. supplier delivery times lengthened slightly in early January. Still, there’s reason for optimism. Europe’s factories were able to lift output as shipping delays and materials shortages eased somewhat. German businesses expectations for the coming months improved recently. In the U.S., the ISM’s index of future manufacturing output climbed to the highest level in more than a year.”, Bloomberg, January 25, 2022

The Global Risks Report 2022, 17th Edition – In some societies, rapid progress on vaccination, leaps forward on digitalization and a return to pre-pandemic growth rates herald better prospects for 2022 and beyond. Others could be weighed down for years by struggles to apply even initial vaccine doses, combat digital divides and find new sources of economic growth.”, World Economic Forum, January 2022

Global Supply Chain & Trade Update

“Omicron, Supply-Chain Troubles to Slow Growth, World Bank Says – Bank forecasts 4.1% growth in 2022, down from 5.5% last year. The global economy is poised to slow down in 2022, the World Bank forecast Tuesday, citing the effects of the Omicron variant, supply-chain disruptions, labor shortages and the winding down of government economic support. Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are among countries expected to strengthen in 2022. The report projects growth to slow further, to 3.2%, in 2023.”, Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2022

Falling shipping rates point to end of the great supply chain crisisThe Baltic Dry Index……….measures the price of shipping bulk materials around the world and as such is used as a proxy to measure the stability and efficiency of worldwide supply chains. In times of market dislocation, it rises sharply to reflect the difficulties in transporting goods — and during the pandemic it has done little else but rise, peaking at more than 5,700. That peak in the Baltic Dry was hit on October 7. Since then, the index has fallen sharply, halving within a month. Though it jumped in the run-up to Christmas, it has dropped back again since. Yesterday it fell further, its tenth consecutive daily decline, to 1,570.”, The Times of London, January 21, 2022

Race to Measure Supply Chain Snarls Draws a Crowded FieldJumping in this month were logistics giant Kuehne+Nagel, economists at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, and researchers at the New York Fed.  Analysts at Bloomberg, Flexport and the White House have already launched such data points and are making refinements as the crisis drags on.”, Bloomberg, January 24, 2022

Challenges at ports, bad weather conditions or vessel issues can impact your shipments and cause disruptions in your supply chain. Currently, more than 561 vessels of the major carriers are anchored off ports, as many ports on every continent are facing disruptions in their operations.”, Sea Explorer, January 25, 2022

Canada Faces Empty Shelves as Trucking Snarls Hit Food Supplies – About $45 billion worth of goods crosses the border every month, and Canada is the top export market for 32 U.S. states, according to the Department of Commerce. Most trade between Canada and the U.S. travels by truck.”, Bloomberg, January 21, 2022

Global Energy

Europe’s Energy Shock Rattles ConsumersWholesale gas prices are up almost 300% in the past year because of unusually low storage levels, increased demand from economies emerging from the pandemic and capped flows from Russia. That has driven inflation higher, and analysts at Bank of America estimate that household energy costs will rise 50% this year, and aid from governments to shield households will only offset about a quarter of that.”, Bloomberg, January 12, 2022

Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates

A Brighter Outlook For Airlines In 2022?Airlines are on the cusp of facing their third year dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. The challenges have continued relentlessly, ranging from new variants of the virus, to shifting government policies on travel restrictions and testing. The impact on customer confidence and on airlines’ ability to plan and operate predictable schedules has hit revenues and finances severely.  However, compared with the outlook when I reviewed the landscape 12 months ago, there are reasons for cautious optimism for 2022.”, Forbes, January 23, 2022

When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery. The emergence of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus created upheaval on an international scale……Many countries also changed their entry requirements over the last weeks of 2021, with some decreasing the number of days allowed for pre-travel testing and others once again requiring fully vaccinated travelers to present pre-travel negative test results.”, The Points Guy, January 22, 2022

The biggest travel trend of 2022: Go big, spend big – If 2021 was about domestic travel, 2022 may be the year of the ‘bucket list’ trip. This is one of the biggest trends that travel insiders expect this year, despite 2022’s tumultuous start as the omicron Covid-19 variant snarled the industry.”, CNBC, January 20, 2022

How China’s Zero-COVID Goal Is Impacting The Aviation Industry – Inbound international flights to China are operating at a fraction of comparable 2020 numbers and don’t look like recovering any time soon. If anything, capacity may further tighten. Among many industries, the aviation industry is a casualty of China’s zero-COVID policy. China closed its international borders to nearly all foreigners in March 2020, shutting down the inbound tourism and business markets. China has not relaxed that policy since. If anything, they’ve become tougher on who they award the few visas they grant to.”, Simple Flying, January 14, 2022

Global COVID & Vaccine Update

Europe Slowly Starts to Consider Treating Covid Like the Flu – New metrics are needed as Covid becomes endemic, Spain PM says Hospitalization rates remain manageable despite surging cases. Spain is calling for Covid-19 to be treated as an endemic disease, like the flu, becoming the first major European nation to explicitly suggest that people live with it.”, Bloomberg, January 11, 2022

Country & Regional Updates


Chicken shortage to continue for weeks to come, Australian Chicken Meat Federation warns – The continued supply chain strain of Omicron and a national shortage means Australia’s most popular protein will remain off the menu for weeks yet to come.”,, January 20, 2022


Ontario restaurants take pragmatic approach as they come out of yet another lockdown – As restaurants in Ontario prepare to reopen from the fifth wave of the pandemic, business owners say they’re going to be more cautious this time by bringing in measures such as smaller menus and limited operating hours to ensure they don’t suffer large losses in the case of another lockdown.”, The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2022


Beijing Winter Olympics Will Spotlight a Richer, More Confident China – The country is richer, more confident, and more assertive than it was when the 2008 Summer Games were held in Beijing.”, Bloomberg, January 21, 2022

Starbucks to widen online reach in China through new alliance with Meituan ending coffeehouse chains partnership with Alibaba – Seattle-based Starbucks said the collaboration with Meituan, which operates China’s largest online food delivery platform, will enable more consumers across the mainland to make reservations at its stores and get their coffee delivered, according to a statement published on Tuesday on the American firm’s official WeChat account.”, South China Morning Post, January 19, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

The Philippines

Philippines Sets Vaccination Mandate For Unrestricted Air Travel – As of January 17th, only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to take public transportation to, from, and within the national capital region of the Philippines. While there are exceptions to this policy provided, the blanket policy will apply to air travel as well, which would appear to cover a large portion of flights since Manilla is the country’s largest air hub.”, Simple Flying, January 15, 2022


Poland’s Biggest Convenience Chain Overtakes Amazon In European Race For Autonomous Stores – Using contactless, AI-powered computer vision technology from U.S. tech player AiFi—a system similar to Amazon’s Just Walk Out set-up—the concept enables shopping to be checkout-free and fast.”, Forbes, January 18, 2022


Spain’s tourist sector seen reaching 88% of pre-pandemic size in 2022 – Spain was the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic. Holidaymakers flocked to its beaches and historic buildings while trendy cities like Barcelona and Madrid were popular for short breaks. Industry association Exceltur expects Spain’s tourism gross domestic product to be worth 135 billion euros ($155 billion) in 2022, 88% of pre-pandemic levels, versus 57% in 2021, when a partial recovery of domestic tourism didn’t offset a contraction in international travellers.”, Reuters, January 13, 2022

United Kingdom

Britain ‘will be among first’ to emerge from Covid pandemic – Hospital admissions have stopped rising across most of England. The northeast and Yorkshire is the only part of England where admissions are still clearly rising, with London seeing falls and the rest of the country broadly level or starting to decline, adding to confidence in weathering the Omicron wave.”, The Times of London, January 11, 2022

United States

How Much Are You Willing to Pay for a Burrito? The pandemic has led to the largest price spikes at fast-food restaurants in two decades. The pandemic has led to price spikes in everything from pizza slices in Manhattan to sides of beef in Colorado. And it has led to more expensive items on the menus at fast-food chains, traditionally establishments where people are used to grabbing a quick bite that doesn’t hurt their wallet.”, New York Times, January 21, 2022

The flip side of the ‘great resignation’ — a small-business boom. From January through November, just under 5 million new businesses were launched, a jump of 55 percent over the same period in 2019. “This time has been really fertile. We’ve seen a huge increase in new businesses since the pandemic started,” said Julia Pollak, the chief economist at ZipRecruiter. ‘There are more opportunities out there.’”, NBC News, December 30, 2022

Starbucks, McDonald’s, more are cutting hours due to staffing shortagesStarbucks reached out to customers about shortened hours, halt on features and products as omicron cases surge; McDonald’s also announces shorter hours. With a double whammy of surging omicron cases and continued labor shortages, several major restaurant chains are cutting back on hours and services to deal with the challenges, including Starbucks, and Chipotle.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, January 14, 2022

Brand News

2021 Reflections, 2022 Predictions for Franchising – Naturally, hiring and retention will be crucial in 2022, as will all relationship “soft skills,” from development teams nurturing candidates to FBCs supporting franchisees to being attuned to customer desires. So what else does the future hold for 2022? See what these franchising pros are predicting.”,, January 2022

Checkers and Rally’s hope to serve up turnaround and debt refinancing – Checkers and Rally’s, backed by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, “hopes” to refinance its debt within a year, conditioned upon stable markets, CEO Frances Allen told Axios. Why it matters: The beleaguered burger chain is making headway under Allen, who was brought in to turn around the business in early 2020.”, Axios, January 13, 2022

Denny’s Fuels Growth with Innovative Development Initiatives – The chain is rolling out an upfront cash incentive development program to help domestic franchisees capitalize on market opportunities. The incentive ranges from $50,000 to $400,000, with more money going toward underpenetrated markets.”, FSR Magazine, January 14, 2022

Phenix Salon Suites Signs 8-Unit Development Deal in Sweden – Phenix Salon Suites, the nation’s leading salon suite brand turned international trailblazer, has announced another global development deal. Randa Shebly-Cobb, who opened the brand’s 300th salon location in Atlanta earlier this year, will soon bring Phenix Salon Suites’ brand to Sweden.”,, January 22, 2022

TGI Fridays launching new format – TGI Fridays is launching Fridays on the Fly, a small-format restaurant concept that is designed to meet rising consumer demand for delivery and takeout. At approximately 2,500-sq. ft., the new format will be focused on filling delivery and takeout orders.  It will also offer in-door dining, but with a smaller dining space than a traditional TGI Fridays.”, Chain Store Age, January 21, 2022

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Considers Going Public – Coming off a record year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is reportedly planning to go public later in 2022, according to Bloomberg. The red-hot fast casual could be valued at at least $1 billion, sourced told the media outlet. Tropical Smoothie is said to be working with Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Financial Group.”, QSR Magazine, January 11, 2022

Cartoon Of The Week: Recent Zoom Call!

Articles & Studies For Today And Tomorrow

“European sales of electric cars overtake diesel models for first time – Switch to battery-powered vehicles enjoys record growth on back of government subsidies and emissions regulations.  More than a fifth of new cars sold across 18 European markets, including the UK, were powered exclusively by batteries, according to data compiled for the Financial Times by independent auto analyst Matthias Schmidt, while diesel cars, including diesel hybrids, accounted for less than 19 per cent of sales.”, The Financial Times, January 16, 2022

Work From Home Is Becoming a Permanent Part of How Jobs Are Done – Data show we can expect 30% to 40% of workdays to be remote, long after the pandemic is over. In the second-to-last week of December, 42.4% of U.S. workdays were worked from home. Before the pandemic, WFH accounted for about 5% of U.S. paid full workdays.”, Bloomberg, January 18, 2022

79% of baby boomers want to keep working, but with more flexibility. Is this the end of retirement? Baby boomers nearing retirement age don’t want to kick up their feet and relax through their sunset years. Instead, most of them want to continue working, but just fewer hours or in less demanding roles, according to a new survey.”, Fortune, January 12, 2022

2022 Global Talent Trends – The Reinvention of Company Culture. Because of the pandemic, employees are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. They’re seeking flexible work arrangements and more work-life balance. They want to work for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being. And they’re ready to walk away from those who don’t.”, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, January 2022

Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the world that impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.  Please feel free to send us your input for the biweekly report.

To sign up for our biweekly newsletter click on this link:

William (Bill) Edwards, Your Newsletter Editor, has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill Edwards has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill is known as an international Problem Solver and Advisor. Over the years, Bill has made and/or seen most of the mistakes companies make when going global. In Bill’s role as a Global Advisor to ‘C’ level executives, his objective is to impart the wisdom he has learned over time to help them minimize costly mistakes.

With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey and has worked on projects in over 50 countries.

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for companies Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working around the world. Our Team on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.  EGS has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our Latest GlobalVue™ Country Ranking

For advice on doing business successfully across 40+ countries, contact Bill Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.  Click here to schedule a call with Bill Edwards to discuss how to solve challenges as you grow your company around the world.

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 47, Monday, January 11, 2022

Welcome to 2022, the Year of the Tiger! We are changing our biweekly global business update newsletter to every other Tuesday. It seems lots happens every Monday so we want to be providing our readers around the world – 20 countries – the latest information.

Going forward, we will also include a cartoon in each issue!!

First, A Few Words of Wisdom

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”,  George Lucas

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”, Michael Altshuler

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”, Winston Churchill

Highlights in issue #47:

  • Brand Global News Section: Little Caesars®, Papa John’s®, Popeyes®, Sweetgreen®

Interesting Data and Studies

5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About 2022 – Start the new year on a bright note: Here are five things to be excited about. There was a lot of hope at the start of 2021: COVID-19 vaccines had just arrived, an end to the pandemic seemed on the horizon, and a fresh start for the global economy was ahead. By now, it feels like much of January’s optimism was as inflated as today’s prices. But in the spirit of starting the new year on a bright and positive note, here are five things to look forward to in 2022 that prove it’s not all doom and gloom.”, Foreign Policy, December 27, 2021

“Has Inflation Peaked? At the risk of being premature so early in 2022, some are starting to wonder if the worst of inflation is now behind the world economy.”, Bloomberg, January 7, 2022

Bulls, Bears And Buffaloes: What Investment Strategists Are Telling Advisors And Investors To Expect In 2022. As 2022 approaches, markets continue to be powered by strong earnings growth as advisors and investors price in inflation and expected interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. Forbes spoke with several investment strategists about what to expect from 2022.”, Forbes, January 3, 2022

Prediction Consensus: What the Experts See Coming in 2022 – Even at the best of times, it’s human nature to want to decode the future. During times of uncertainty though, we’re even more eager to predict what’s to come. To satisfy this demand, thousands of prognosticators share their views publicly as one year closes and another begins. In hindsight, we see varying levels of success at predicting the future.”, Visual Capitalist, January 6, 2022

We are entering a new market regime unlike any in the past half century. What will this mean for markets? Learn more in our 2022 Global Outlook. We see another year of positive equity returns coupled with a down year for bonds. The powerful restart of economic activity will be delayed – but not derailed – due to new virus strains, in our view. Central banks will start to raise rates but remain more tolerant of inflation. We see inflation settling above pre-Covid trends – we’re going to be living with inflation. We favor equities over fixed income as a result, but have dialed back our risk-taking given the wide range of potential outcomes in 2022.”, Blackrock, January 6, 2022

The global normalcy index – Is the world returning to pre-pandemic life? Find out with our interactive tracker. The Economist has devised a “normalcy index” to track how behaviour has changed, and continues to change, because of the pandemic. Our index comprises eight indicators, split into three domains. Our index covers 50 of the world’s largest economies which together account for 90% of global GDP and 76% of the world’s population.”, The Economist, December 16, 2021

Global Supply Chain & Trade Update

Ningbo port clogged by lockdown measures – Truck entry into the port area remains restricted while some container freight stations have halted operations due to blocked roads and other lockdown measures. World’s third-busiest box port is trying to unclog the cargo traffic by establishing a whitelist for truck drivers and increasing barge and rail services among other efforts.”, Lloyd’s List, January 4, 2022

U.S. on Sidelines as China and Other Asia-Pacific Nations Launch Trade Pact – The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will eventually eliminate more than 90% of tariffs on commerce among 15 member countries. China joins U.S. allies including Japan and Australia in a new Asia-Pacific trade agreement that launches Saturday—with the U.S. watching from the sidelines. It will also give China a more prominent role in setting rules of trade in the Asia-Pacific region at the expense of the U.S., according to some analysts.”, The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2022

Global supply pressures may be nearing peak, New York Fed index shows – The Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) surged early in the pandemic when China imposed lockdown measures. Pressures eased as production resumed but picked back up during the winter of 2020 as COVID-19 infections jumped. ‘More recently, the [index] seems to suggest that global supply chain pressures, while still historically high, have peaked and might start to moderate somewhat going forward….’”, Reuters, January 4, 2022

U.S. manufacturing cools but globally factories take Omicron risks in their stride for now – Elsewhere, manufacturing activity in the euro zone remained resilient at the end of 2021 as factories took advantage of some easing in supply chain bottlenecks and stocked up on raw materials at a record pace, a survey showed on Monday. In Britain, manufacturing activity grew slightly faster than originally thought last month, another survey showed on Tuesday.”, Reuters, January 4, 2022

Global Energy – New Section!

European Energy Bills to Rise 54% From 2020 Level, BofA Says – Households in Europe are set to pay an average of 54% more for energy than they did two years ago, due to soaring natural gas and power prices across the region, according to Bank of America Corp. The average residential consumer will spend 1,850 euros ($2,095) on energy this year, up from 1,200 euros in 2020, analysts at the bank said in a research note. The biggest increases will be in Italy and the U.K., where bills will jump by about 950 euros.”, Bloomberg, January 5, 2022

Global flow of liquefied natural gas – Biggest exporters and importers. Tons (m), 2020.  Mapping Europe’s gas network also enabled us to show readers the physical complexity of the “connected world” — a reminder that supply chains, trade routes and pipelines remain vital to maintaining the global economy regardless of technological advancements.”, The Financial Times, December 29, 2021

Opec and its allies roll out more barrels for new year – The planned increase from February will mean that the alliance is still withholding about three million barrels per day from the market, which is due to be restored by September. RBC Capital Markets said: ‘Though Omicron cases continue to climb in key geographies, the absence of widespread lockdown restrictions will likely keep near-term demand concerns in check.’”, The Times of London, January 5, 2022

China Overtakes Japan as Top LNG Importer – China imported 81.4 million tons of LNG in 2021, up 17.8% from a year earlier. Japan’s imports rose 0.2% to 75 million tons. Japan lost its crown as largest LNG importer for the first time since early 1970s, according to the report. South Korea ranked third with 46.4 million tons. Australia was the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2021, selling 83 million tons of the clean energy. But the United States is likely to jump to the top place in 2022, surpassing Qatar and Australia, according to IHS Markit.”, Caixing Global, January 7, 2022

Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates

The world’s safest airline for 2022 revealed, and it’s largely influenced by COVID safetyWhen people are traveling, the safest airline – according to the annual list – is Air New Zealand. monitors 385 airlines from across the world, measuring factors that include crash and serious incidents, age of aircraft and, most notably, COVID-19 protocols.”, USA Today, January 5, 2022

Airbus keeps top planemaker spot with 8% delivery rise – The numbers gave Airbus an unassailable lead on revenue-generating deliveries – the industry’s main yardstick – after Boeing handed over 302 jets in the first 11 months. After slashing production due mainly to the pandemic, planemakers are seeing more demand for medium-haul passenger jets and freighters, despite global concern over Omicron.”, Reuters, January 10, 2022

Goldman Says China Border Curbs Likely to Last Most of 2022 – China could retain its tight border restrictions for the whole of the year as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics and a series of political events in 2022, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said. Reports that vaccines made by domestic firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd. offer limited protection against the omicron variant will likely reinforce China’s resolve to stick with its Covid Zero strategy, analysts led by Andrew Tilton wrote in a note Tuesday.”, Bloomberg, January 3, 2022

Aeromexico passenger traffic reaches highest post-pandemic level –  Passenger traffic at Grupo Aeromexico (AEROMEX.MX) in December reached its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mexican airline said on Thursday. Aeromexico transported 1.74 million passengers last month, or 98.9% of the 1.76 million people it moved in December 2019, the company said in a statement.”, Reuters, January 6, 2022

Israel reopening to all vaccinated, recovered international travelers next week – Shortly after announcing plans to reopen its borders to most countries, Israel announced Thursday that it would allow all international travelers – including those from the United States – to enter next week. The new rules go into effect Sunday and will allow fully vaccinated and recovered travelers to enter so long as meet pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements.”, USA Today, January 6, 2022

How Short-Haul Flight Bans Are Transforming European Travel – A growing number of E.U. countries have proposed bans on regional flights where a train route exists to reduce carbon emissions. Short-haul flights between European cities have become increasingly common over the last few decades, popularized by the cheap, quick, and convenient offerings from low-cost regional carriers like EasyJet and Ryanair. But that will start to change this year. In an effort to shrink the region’s carbon output, governments across the European Union are imposing bans on short-haul flights, with new legislation taking effect as early as this spring.”, CNN Traveler, January 6, 2022

Global COVID & Vaccine Update

Vaccine Access and the Recovery – Access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical for economic recovery. We’re two years into the pandemic, but in many ways the start of 2022 feels very similar to the start of 2021. A holiday-induced wave of COVID-19 is picking up across the globe; restrictions on social activity are in place in many places to varying degrees; and supply chains are suffering from missing or damaged links. One notable difference, however, is the global administration of vaccines against the virus.”, Geopolitical Futures, January 7, 2022

The Times of London cartoon, December 27, 2021

Country & Regional Updates


China’s Economic Recovery Hits Road Bump in 2021 Amid Policy Tightening – As it stuck to its zero-infection policy, China kept new Covid-19 cases to a relatively low level, so manufacturers were able to smoothly deliver overseas orders amid strong global demand. But strict measures subdued domestic consumer spending, especially in the services sector. Meanwhile, rapidly increasing factory-gate inflation had an impact on some businesses’ profits. In addition, China launched a series of regulatory actions this year against industries including property, private tutoring, big tech, and high carbon-emission factories and mines, which piled pressure on supply and demand as well as on market entities’ confidence.”, Caixing Global, December 31, 2022

China’s Services Industry Growth Accelerates, Caixin PMI Shows – Activity in China’s services sector expanded at a faster pace in December as total new business orders continued to grow, a Caixin-sponsored survey showed. The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, which gives an independent snapshot of operating conditions in the sector, rose to 53.1 from 52.1 the previous month, according to the survey report released Thursday.”, Caixing Global, January 6, 2022

China Launches Digital Yuan App in Pilot Cities Nationwide – China has launched a smartphone app for making payments and transfers with the digital yuan, as the country plows ahead with tests of its central bank digital currency. The e-CNY app became available on app distribution platforms for Android and iOS users in China on Tuesday. The app is now open to users in 12 cities and regions including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai, as well as the hosts for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, Beijing and Zhangjiakou.:, Caixing Global, January 5, 2022

Nordic Countries

The pandemic delivered a surprise to Nordic countries: a baby boom – The long, dark winters may be great for making babies, but financial incentives play a bigger role. the Nordic countries—Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—all have maintained their birthrates, and some are puzzled to find themselves in the midst of a pandemic baby boom.”, National Geographic, December 27, 2021

Electric cars hit 65% of Norway sales as Tesla grabs overall pole – While Norway, with a population of 5.4 million, has the world’s highest proportion of electric vehicles, China with its 1.4 billion people is by far the biggest overall car market. Oil-producing Norway has encouraged the switch to zero emission cars by exempting battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from taxes imposed on internal combustion engines (ICE).”, Reuters, January 6, 2022

United Kingdom

Jobs that offer hybrid working and flexible hours are on the rise The government is being urged to change the law so large companies make all vacancies available on a part-time, job-share and flexible basis. Research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and labour market analysts Emsi Burning Glass show that 25% of jobs advertised in December last year mentioned hybrid or flexible working, which also includes job shares and working irregular hours. That’s up from 19% before the pandemic.” , Sky News, January 7, 2022

Manufacturing activity rises as supply bottlenecks ease – Output and jobs in the manufacturing sector continued to grow at the end of last year as supply chain disruptions began to ease. The rise in the output index to 53.6 in December, from 52.7 in November, showed that the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant had not yet hit the sector’s recovery. The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for UK manufacturing measured 57.9 in December. The figure, a slight drop from a three-month high of 58.1 in November but above the flash estimate at 57.6, is thought to have been weighed down by a clearing of production backlogs.”, The Times of London, January 5, 2022

United States

“Small businesses growing more optimistic, survey finds – 83% of midsize businesses and 71% of small businesses “are optimistic about their own performance in 2022,” according to JPMorgan Chase’s 2022 Business Leaders Outlook Survey out today. That’s up from 77% and 63% at the dawn of 2021, respectively.”, Axios, January 5, 2022

Record 4.5 Million Americans Quit Jobs In November As Employers Struggle To Retain Workers – The quit rate increased to 3%, matching the series high in September, with large upticks in several industries, including food services (up 159,000), healthcare (up 52,000) and transportation (up 33,000). Meanwhile, there were about 10.6 million open jobs at the end of November, down 529,000 from a month prior, when openings nearly matched the record 11.1 million set in July.”, Forbes, January 5, 2022

Brand News

Interview: Arthur McColl, CEO of Express Employment Professionals Australia and New Zealand – Employers the world over have struggled to retain talent as the pandemic has brought about a shift in consciousness, but employment professionals have seen all kinds of shifts in thinking and are well-placed to advise companies on how to negotiate this issue.”, Global Franchise, January 10, 2022

American pizzeria chain Little Caesars opens in Moscow – The company plans to open over 50 points in Russia.  The first Russian establishments of the American Little Caesars pizza chain will start operating in Moscow at the end of December, the company’s development director Jeremy Vitaro told Vedomosti.”,, December 24, 2021. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Papa Johns in Deal With FountainVest Partners to Expand China Footprint – Papa John’s International Inc. said Friday it has struck a deal with private-equity firm FountainVest Partners to open more than 1,350 new stores across China by 2040. The franchise development agreement is the largest in Papa Johns history as it accelerates store openings across its markets, the Louisville, Ky.-based pizza company said.”, Market Watch, January 7, 2022

Popeyes Will Open Hundreds of Restaurants In This Country – RBI International, the parent company of Popeyes, will be partnering with franchisor Silla Group to bring hundreds of the chain’s locations to Korea in the coming years. The first one, according to the press release, is slated to open later this year.”, Eat This, Not That!, January 5, 2022

Will customers subscribe to Sweetgreen’s plan to make pricey salads less pricey? With the company’s new Sweetpass program, customers can buy a $10 pass which rewards them with a $3 credit daily for 30 days. There is a minimum order requirement of $9.95. The offer is available for customers at the chain’s 140 stores who place orders on its website or through its mobile app. Discounts are not available for orders placed on DoorDash, Uber Eats or other third-party apps.”, Retail Wire, January 5, 2022

Fast food chains adopt subscription models – The subscription economy is expanding into the drive-thru lane….Subscriptions offer a source of dependable revenue, loyalty and data — the same elixir that fuels streaming services like Netflix and exercise powerhouses like Peloton. The subscription economy grew nearly sixfold from 2012 to 2021, according to subscription management company Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index.”, Axios, January 9, 2022

Articles & Studies For Today And Tomorrow

Which economies have done best and worst during the pandemic? We rank 23 rich countries along five measures. THE SPEED of the economic bounce-back from the enormous recession of 2020 has taken many forecasters by surprise. Output across the 38 mostly rich OECD countries combined probably surpassed its pre-pandemic level a few months ago. The average unemployment rate across the club, at 5.7%, is in line with the post-war average. And aggregate household income, adjusted for inflation, is above its pre-covid level.”, The Economist,  January 1, 2022

How Tech Will Help Restaurants Offset Labor Shortages, Reduce Inefficiencies and Tackle Other Challenges in 2022 – Restaurant operators once again find themselves refocusing priorities and altering their plans for 2022. A pandemic-induced and tumultuous 2020 for restaurants was followed by a puzzling 2021. Although sales are up from this time last year, so too, is the scramble to adequately staff restaurants and retain those workers. While many restaurants are offering hiring incentives like higher pay or signing bonuses, some are forced to reduce the number of hours they’re open to the public because of lack of staff. In 2022, restaurants are turning to technology for help.”, Restaurant Technology News, December 17, 2021

The 50 Most Visited Websites in the World – Together, the top three websites (Google, YouTube and FaceBook) rake in 152 billion visits monthly, outpacing the next 47 websites combined. What’s more, as the pandemic transformed everything from the way we work, learn, communicate, and shop—a majority of these activities migrated online. In this new visualization, we look at the most visited websites around the world, drawing data from SimilarWeb (as of November 2020).”, Visual Capitalist, 2021

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