Friday, January 29, 2010

What impact Walmart direct sourcing deal on B2B media?

The FT today leads its Companies and Markets section in Asia with a story headlined "Walmart reveals supply deal". If you're struggling to get over-excited about how Walmart buys cheap t-shirts and skirts in Asia, sit up and listen.

Products and services which support consumer merchandise sourcing dominate B2B media in Asia in terms of dollars earned. Companies such as, Global Sources and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (OK, not really a company, but bear with me) make most of their money out of exhibitions, web sites, directories, magazines and other services which support this huge activity.

So, when Walmart, the colossus of global buying, announces a tie-up with Li & Fung, the 300lb gorilla of the sourcing middle men world, it's worth wondering what impact this will have on the supporting media. The FT quotes Walmart's Eduardo Castro-Wright saying that the company could save up to $12 billion a year if it meets its goal of sourcing 80% of what it purchases directly from manufacturers, cutting out middle men at every step of the way.

Is this good news, bad news, or indifferent news for the Asian B2B media industry?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bullish on exports

Much of South China's B2B media is still driven by exports, so it was interesting to see two of the key players making bullish noises about the prospects for 2010 this week. In a review of the prospects for the Hong Kong economy, the Bangkok Post says that Hong Kong Trade Development Council is forecasting 5% export growth this year.

The article quotes Subrina Chow, director of the HK government's Economic & Trade Office in Singapore saying that the relative improvement in China's external trade should augur well for better performance in Hong Kong's trade.

The surge in China's investment has directly and indirectly benefited Hong Kong's exports of capital goods to China. The trend is likely to continue in the coming months, she said.

"China's strong domestic demand has buttressed Hong Kong's exports of goods to China, which is its largest trading partner, accounting for about 48% of our total trade value," she said. "The declines in exports experienced by Hong Kong since the latter part of 2008 have been slower than those in many other Asian economies."

Meanwhile, JLM's Pacific Epoch quotes CEO David Wei saying that Chinese exports could surge as much as 20% this year:

Online trading has bounced back faster than the traditional markets, Wei said.'s fourth quarter statistics demonstrate that consumption of developed markets like the U.S. has recovered more quickly than expected