Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nervous US meetings industry

Two separate things have caught my eye today which show just how nervous everybody is in the US meetings industry these days:

  1. Firstly, I received notice from the social network (slightly embarrassing name, but quite an interesting site based on the Ning platform) that members are starting up a petition called "Keep America Meeting". They want to get 1 million signatures from people who think that the meetings industry is getting a bad press. Whether it's AIG sales people taking multi-thousand dollar spas at the taxpayers' expense or (inaccurate) reports of huge declines in visitors to shows like CES, the chattering classes are deemed to be giving business meetings and events a bad rap.
  2. Now, the Mayor of Las Vegas is, according to the Economist's Gulliver travel blog, feeling aggrieved at President Obama. Oscar Goodman is reportedly upset that, when Barry told bankers "You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime", people may have missed the last four words and decided that it's generally bad to go to Las Vegas. As one of the commenters on the blog rightly said "What part of "on the taxpayers' dime" did the mayor not understand?" and the blogger himself was certainly on the money when noted "Yes, Las Vegas's convention business will suffer during the recession—but that won't be Mr Obama's fault".

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

And the next China is?

Well, the general consensus last year was that the "new China" (i.e. the place where you can manufacture crap for US consumers at the lowest cost) would be China....meaning inland parts of China which are still substantially cheaper than the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta areas.

Hmmm. Well Black & Decker, while perhaps not manufacturers of crap, are reknowned as being amongst the most aggressive cost cutters and I noted, then, with interest this snippet from their Q4 conference call on Seeking Alpha:

We’ve seen cost increase recently in China and therefore we continue to look at India and Vietnam and other places. As you recall when we put those plants in these low costs areas we put them in such a way where we wouldn’t have the dramatic costs of shifting our manufacturing from one facility to another or even to lower costs countries.
I'm not yet convinced that those who think the next China is China are wrong. However, those planning the location of the next series of B2B trade fairs, web sites and other media services may want to take note and start hedging their bets a bit more. Some, I know, already have been.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Is 2009 the year for mobile B2B?

I have asked this before quite a few times, wondering in particular why the B2B world has been so slow to catch on to mobile. But, I'm thinking this really might be it. Three things have caught my eye (and my delicious bookmarks) in the just the past few days:

  1. On 30th January, Marketing reported that "The Financial Times has added mobile as a new channel through its website aimed at reaching out to a younger demographic". That must be me then, "younger", as I immediately bookmarked the new site at The killer duo of iPhone and Crackberry are obviously the key drivers here. The piece goes on to note "The site works for all phones but is optimised for the iPhone and BlackBerry which together account for over 60% of mobile traffic. A dedicated iPhone application will follow, incorporating more sophisticated graphics and charts and the ability to quickly share FT content with the integration of the address book".
  2. On the same day, MinOnline featured Steve Smith's Top Five B2B Mobile Sites. He also mentions the FT site, as well as those from WWD, AgProfessional and Mining Weekly. But, he particularly highlights the Bloomberg site (although claims their iPhone app is spectacular). I looked at it and he's right. It's the clearest and quickest I've seen. Much better than either the FT or Reuters' offerings.
  3. Finally, yesterday exchange4media in India reported that "If 2007 was the year of broadband penetration in India then, 2009 could well be the year of the mobile Internet. This year is set to see high usage of Internet via mobile". It quotes Star India’s Viren Popli saying, “The trend to watch out for will be far more content and services on the mobile platform. Second trend will be the launch of newer products and services on the mobile platform.”
Let's who, if anybody, in Asia picks up on this. The big players have, so far, been suprisingly quiet about all this.