Global Business Development

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 106, Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Some Introductory Comments For This 106th Issue:  A definition of artificial intelligence (AI). Brazil will require bank statement to get a visa next year. An awesome quote from Yoda! The size of the rapidly growing global senior population. China’s Foreign Direct Investment is drying up. Global tourism continues to recover, but….Who runs the ‘Global South’? U.S. consumers are growing pessimistic about their economy while U.S. CEO are more optimistic (??). Private equity investment is about to massively change the U.S. franchise industry.

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CEO & Global Advisor, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), Irvine, California, USA. Contact Bill with any questions, comments and contributions., +1 949 375 1896

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources plus our network of 20+ in-country Associates to update our global readers on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad. We subscribe to about 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others For These Times

“Do or Do Not, There Is No Try.” – Yoda

“Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

Highlights in issue #106:

  • Brand Global News Section: Body Fit®, Body Shop®, Jessey Mikes®, Little Chef® and Subway®


Interesting Data, Articles and Studies

Global Smartphone Market Share: Apple Steals the Crown by Less than 1%. Apple and Samsung nearly tied. The two companies are the dominant names in the global market, holding a 20.1% and 19.4% market share. In terms of growth from 2022, though, Apple managed +3.7%, while Samsung shrank by -13.6%. Chinese firms round out the top five.”, Visual Capitalist and International Data Corporation’s (IDC), April 10, 2024

Semiconductor Companies by Industry Revenue Share – Did you know that some computer chips are now retailing for the price of a new BMW? As computers invade nearly every sphere of life, so too have the chips that power them, raising the revenues of the businesses dedicated to designing them. But how did various chipmakers measure against each other last year? We rank the biggest semiconductor companies by their percentage share of the industry’s revenues in 2023, using data from Omdia research.”, Visual Capitalist and Omdia Research, April 9, 2024

What is AI (artificial intelligence)? – Artificial intelligence is a machine’s ability to perform some cognitive functions we usually associate with human minds. AI is a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment, problem-solving, and even exercising creativity. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that can adapt to a wide range of inputs, including large sets of historical data, synthesized data, or human inputs.”, McKinsey & Co., April 3, 2024

Visualizing the Size of the Global Senior Population – The growth of the senior population is a consequence of the demographic transition towards longer and healthier lives. Population aging, however, can pose economic and social challenges. The data is from the World Social Report 2023 by the United Nations. Currently, population aging is most advanced in Europe, Northern America, Australia, New Zealand, and parts (of) Eastern and Southeastern Asia.”, Visual Capitalist and United Nations, April 4, 2024

Economic conditions outlook, March 2024Executives’ latest views on the global economy and their countries’ economies lean much more positive than they did at the end of 2023. In the latest McKinsey Global Survey on economic conditions, the outlook on domestic conditions in most regions has become more hopeful, despite ongoing shared concerns about geopolitical instability and conflicts. In a year brimming with national elections, respondents increasingly see transitions of political leadership as a primary hazard to the global economy, particularly in Asia–Pacific, Europe, and North America. Furthermore, respondents now view policy and regulatory changes as a top threat to their companies’ performance, and they offer more muted optimism than in December about their companies’ prospects.”, McKinsey & Co., March 29, 2024

Space: The $1.8 trillion opportunity for global economic growth – The space industry is approaching the next frontier, with each week bringing news of a major development somewhere in the world. Be it a test of a new rocket system, the launch of an innovative satellite, or a robotic exploration mission safely landing on the moon, activity in space is accelerating. We estimate that the global space economy will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2035 (accounting for inflation), up from $630 billion in 2023.”, McKinsey & Co., April 8, 2024


Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation, Taxes & Trade Issues

World coal capacity growth jeopardises peak emissions forecasts – Global fleet increases in 2023 as China brings on new plants and the pace of closures slows in EU and US. The global coal fleet grew by 2 per cent last year, mainly driven by new capacity additions in China and a slow down of closures in the EU and the US, the latest data shows. The new data found that coal capacity outside of China increased for the first time since 2019, according to the non-profit research group Global Energy Monitor, as less coal power was retired than in any single year of the past decade. Outside of China, new coal power was brought online in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Greece, and Zimbabwe.”, The Financial Times, April 11, 2024

Businesses bank on Narendra Modi election win to ease India’s bottlenecks – World’s most populous country is emerging as key market for investors but many companies remain tangled in red tape. But in private many businesses still complain about India’s complex tax regulation, difficulties in acquiring land, rigid labour laws, weak intellectual property enforcement and clogged courts. It takes almost four years to enforce contracts in business disputes, among the slowest globally, according to the World Bank. “Is the country better managed than it was decades ago? Undoubtedly so,” said a London-based executive with business in India. “Modi is a great marketer, but the ease of doing business is still not that easy at all.”, The Financial Times, April 15, 2024


Global & Regional Travel

Travel and Tourism Industry Poised to Break Records This Year – The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is predicting that 2024 will be a record-breaking year for the global travel industry, with an all-time high in global economic contribution and employment. The industry is expected to generate one in every 10 dollars worldwide, contributing $11.1 trillion to the global economy, according to WTTC’s 2024 Economic Impact Research. That’s $770 billion higher than its previous record.”, Travel Pulse, April 4, 2024

This country will require Americans to show their bank statements to visit – If you want to travel to Brazil next year, you’ll need to share your bank statements with the South American nation first. Travelers from the U.S., Canada, and Australia will need to obtain a visa before entering the country, beginning April 10, 2025, according to a Brazilian government-authorized website. To complete the visa application, visitors must provide proof of income for travel by showing their last three checking or savings account statements or their six previous pay stubs.”, The Hill, April 14, 2024

The World’s Top Flight Routes, by RevenueIn 2024, a record 4.7 billion people are projected to travel by air—200 million more than in 2019. While revenues surged to an estimated $896 billion globally last year, airlines face extremely slim margins. On average, they made just $5.44 in net profit per passenger in 2023. Today, the industry faces pressures from high interest rates, supply chain woes, and steep infrastructure costs. This graphic shows the highest earning flight routes worldwide, based on data from OAG.”, Visual Capitalist and OAG, April 9, 2024

Global tourism is recovering, but for Asia it’s a mixed bag at best Talk to the UN world tourism organisation – since January rebranded as UN Tourism – and the message is that international tourism is well on the road to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. But talk to tourism officials in Hong Kong, South Korea, mainland China or Thailand and the story is: not so fast. According to the UN’s Tourism Recovery Tracker, global tourism last year recovered to within 12 per cent of the pre-Covid level, and is forecast to fully recover this year. In Europe, by far the world’s largest tourism market, it is a story of strong recovery. Across Asia, the story is anaemic at best. And it is a story of new tourism markets and travel patterns, with much excitement focused on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf economies.”,  South China Morning Post, April 6, 2024


Country & Regional Updates


RBA won’t cut interest rates until 2025 – Australia is expected to be almost the last major advanced economy to deliver an interest rate cut, after hot US inflation caused professional investors to push out bets for a local monetary easing until early next year. The deferral of an expected rate reduction until February is later than the Albanese government had hoped as a federal election approaches.”, Australian Financial Review, April 12, 2024


Canada Unveils Billions for Artificial Intelligence – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday said his government would spend nearly $2 billion to help fuel growth in the country’s domestic artificial-intelligence sector, the latest in a series of multibillion-dollar announcements the Canadian leader has vowed won’t stoke a fresh round of inflation…..Trudeau said Canada would spend C$2.4 billion that would, among other things, help build data centers and servers and ensure access to the computer power required to conduct research in the AI field. A report from consulting firm Deloitte & Touche’s Canadian unit said venture-capital investment in Canada’s AI sector reached C$8.6 billion in 2023, adding Canada ranks third among Group of Seven countries in terms of per capita venture-capital AI investments, trailing the U.S. and U.K.”, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2024


 “China Regrets Fitch’s Downward Revision of Its Outlook – The revision from stable to negative — regarding the rating outlook on China as a long-term foreign-currency debt issuer — was based on rising risks to the country’s public finances amid economic uncertainties and ‘a transition away from property-reliant growth to what the government views as a more sustainable growth model,’ Fitch said in a Tuesday commentary. ‘Wide fiscal deficits and rising government debt in recent years have eroded fiscal buffers from a ratings perspective,’ Fitch said. It maintained an ‘A+’ rating for China as a long-term debt issuer.”, Caixin Global, April 10, 2024

China’s Mammoth Effort to Help Foreigners Spend, Spend, Spend – Regulators have been pushing banks and nonbank payment platforms, such as Alipay, owned by Ant Group Co. Ltd., and WeChat Pay, operated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Tenpay Payment Technology Co. Ltd., to improve services for international visitors and make it easier for them to spend money. The campaign is part of a broader strategy to boost China’s attraction as a destination for overseas visitors and reverse a slump in foreign investment.”, Caixin Global, April 9, 2024

Southern Europe

Southern Europe is the continent’s new economic growth engineSouthern European economies that were long sneered at by their richer northern neighbors have turned the tables as they cement their role as growth drivers in the sputtering euro area.Business surveys by S&P Global released this week showed Spain and Italy beat economists’ expectations with faster expansion in March. A manufacturing gauge for Greece indicated a similar trend. A tourism surge since the pandemic, booming exports, and lower energy prices thanks to renewables and limited reliance on Russian gas, have given so-called periphery countries on the Mediterranean the edge in the euro area. But the region’s relatively strong growth is mainly due to the fact that after many years, southern European countries have ‘corrected their imbalances, so now they are developing at a healthy rate without macroeconomic imbalances.’”, Fortune, April 9, 2024

Global South

Who’s the big boss of the global south? In a dog-eat-dog world, competition is fierce. The simplest working definition (of Global South) is that it refers to most, but not quite all, non-Western countries. Its use also denotes how emerging economies want more power over global affairs and often have a critical view of Western policy. Narendra Modi has suggested India could be its “voice”. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula), the president of Brazil, reckons his country could be, too. Our conclusion is, counterintuitively, that America still has more influence than any other country over the global south, but that within the grouping itself China has become the most powerful member—giving Mr Xi the strongest claim to leadership.”, The Economist, April 8, 2024


How fast is India’s economy really growing? – Statisticians take the country’s figures with a pinch of salt. Today India again appears to be at the start of an upswing. In the year to the fourth quarter of 2023, GDP growth roared at 8.4%. But such figures tend to be treated with a pinch of salt. Economists inside and outside the government are debating just how fast the economy is growing—a question that has particular piquancy ahead of a general election that begins on April 19th. Since December 2019, real GDP has grown by 4.2% at an average annual rate, meaning that India, like many other countries, has not recovered to its pre-pandemic trend. Corporate and foreign investment remain weak.”, The Economist, April 11, 2024

United States

US Inflation Refuses to Bend, Fanning Fears It Will Stick – Consumer prices rose in March amid stronger services inflation. Report reorders bets on Fed easing, dashing hopes for June cut. A key US price gauge topped forecasts for a third straight month on gains in rents and transportation costs, spurring concerns that inflation is becoming entrenched and likely further delaying Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts., Bloomberg, April 10, 2024

Consumers are getting more pessimistic as inflation refuses to fallConsumer sentiment about the U.S. economy has ticked down but remains near a recent high, with Americans’ outlook largely unchanged this year.The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, released Friday in a preliminary version, slipped to 77.9 this month, down from March’s figure of 79.4. Sentiment is about halfway between its all-time low, reached in June 2022 when inflation peaked, and its pre-pandemic averages. The survey has been conducted since 1980.Consumers are reserving judgment about the economy in light of the upcoming election, which, in the view of many consumers, could have a substantial impact on the trajectory of the economy,’ said Joanne Hsu, director of the consumer survey.”, Fortune, April 12, 2024

87% of CEOs confident in the U.S. economy, says KPMG – After years of uncertainty facing the economy, from the pandemic to supply-chain challenges to multiple wars, America’s CEOs feel confident in the country’s economy.  And chief executives are basking in the sunshine, overjoyed to be out from under the black clouds of economic uncertainty. The survey featured responses from 100 CEOs from companies with at least $500 million in revenue and 70% of which had at least $1 billion.”, Fortune, April 11, 2024


Brand & Franchising News

Body Fit Training Opens Studio in Spain – Body Fit Training (BFT) announced today the opening of its 300th global studio in Barcelona, Spain. The Barcelona studio opening expands the brand’s presence in countries around the world, including its birthplace of Australia, along with New Zealand, Singapore, the U.K., the U.S., and Hong Kong, among others, as the demand for group strength training workouts continues to surge.”,, April 4, 2024

Little Chefs: What happened to roadside diner chainWith 439 restaurants on major routes across the UK, Little Chef once enjoyed a near monopoly on roadside dining. So, why did the restaurant chain disappear? Little Chef was started in 1958 by catering boss Peter Merchant and caravan manufacturer Sam Alper. The business’ decline was “gradual” according to Becky Parr-Phillips who started working for Little Chef as a waitress in the 1990s, rising through the managerial ranks to become head of operations around 15 years later.  The owners were keen to reduce costs and maximise profits as the chain still enjoyed something of a monopoly on roadside dining. ‘There were closures, the prices were hiked, you know the guests did start to call it Little Thief rather than Little Chef’, says Becky.”, BBC News, April 12, 2024

“The Future of The Body Shop and its International Franchisee Network – In February of this year, skincare and cosmetics retailer The Body Shop began appointing administrators across its operations in the UK and certain European territories. The Body Shop Canada and USA have since followed suit. While the future of one of the UK’s most well-known high street brands remains uncertain, we consider what went wrong, what impact this may have on The Body Shop’s international franchise network and intellectual property rights portfolio, and the potential impacts on the Asia-Pacific market….In mainland China, The Body Shop is still selling through cross-border e-commerce platforms but does not have any bricks and mortar stores.”, Bird & Bird, April 10, 2024. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

The Franchise Industry is on The Verge of Massive Change With Private Equity’s Potential $8 Billion Acquisition of Jersey Mike’s. Two iconic brands, Subway and Jersey Mike’s, may sell to private equity after years of being closely held. Heavyweight PE firms are an increasing force within the franchising sector, marking a strategic shift and altering the industry landscape. Private equity has successfully cherry-picked most top franchise brands with enough scale to attract professional investors. Jersey Mike’s and Subway are two high-profile holdouts.” Entrepreneur, April 11, 2024

Luckin Challenger Pushes China’s Coffee Price War Toward Boiling PointChina’s coffee market is in the midst of a price war, and it’s showing no sign of abating as the country’s leading affordable brand Luckin Coffee Inc. faces down challenger Cotti Coffee, the upstart launched by Luckin’s disgraced co-founders Lu Zhengyao and Qian Zhiya. Forced out of Luckin for their role in perpetrating a $300 million fraud, Lu and Qian returned in late 2022 with a new venture and promptly went to battle with their former brainchild. They adopted the same low-price strategy, at one point undercutting Luckin’s best discount. As of early March, Luckin had opened over 17,800 stores in China — significantly outstripping Starbucks’ 7,770 locations and Cotti’s close to 6,800, according to food and beverage industry information provider Canyan Data.”, Caixin Global, April 2, 2024. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, 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. And our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant since 2001 taking 40+ franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, click on the QR code or contact Bill Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.

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