Competitive horizon

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 11 October 2011



(2011), "Competitive horizon", Strategic Direction, Vol. 27 No. 11.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Competitive horizon

Article Type: Competitive horizon From: Strategic Direction, Volume 27, Issue 11

Significant increase is predicted in demand for silver

By 2020, demand for silver could grow by 6,600 tons per year, according to the latest report produced by ABN Amro and VM Group. The report states that this increase will be mainly fueled by greater need for silver within security, healthcare, clean energy and water purification sectors. Solar panels are expected to provide the largest growth in demand, rising to 2000 tons from the 570 tons recorded in 2010. Much of this will be accounted for by plans to increase solar capacity in China, India and the USA. Silver is also key within radio frequency identification tags used instead of the bar-code system for such as ID cards and passports. Around 367 tons of silver every year will be needed by 2020 in this sector. By the same time, it is anticipated that healthcare will consume 600 tons annually in the manufacture of such as pacemakers, heart valves, catheters and feeding tubes. As reported by the Australian (, silver’s function as an important component of water purifiers will result in annual demand growing to 1,400 tons. Looking further ahead, it is anticipated that silver could become key in the manufacture of wood preservatives.

EU sees continuing fall in counterfeit goods

Statistics published by the European Commission reveal a continuing fall in the number of fake products seized by the European Union (EU). Last year, EU borders confiscated 103 million counterfeit products, as opposed to 117 million in 2009 and 178 million the year before. But a significant increase was reported in the number of counterfeits shipped by post and the growing popularity of online shopping was deemed responsible for this trend. The 80,000 seizures in this respect were almost double the 43,500 recorded one year earlier. A report published by EU Business ( shows that most fakes came in from China, with India, Hong Kong, Turkey and Thailand also identified as sources. EU customs impounded a variety of counterfeit goods, 34 percent of which were cigarettes. Household products were the next highest and accounted for 14.5 percent. This category included shampoo, soap and medicine along with appliances like hair dryers, shavers and computer parts. Significant quantities of office supplies, other tobacco products, clothing and toys were also seized.

US scientists report breakthrough electricity cable

According to a report published by the Engineer (, scientists in the USA have found a method by which electricity can be carried more efficiently over longer distances. At present, the existing copper-based grid loses around 5 percent of current transported every 100 miles. Production of new carbon nanotubes will result in only minimal energy loss, the report claims. Scientists have labeled the quantum wire as “armchair” because of shape of the nanotubes used and have overcome an earlier problem of developing the tubes in sufficiently large quantities. A reduction in temperature during growth combined with certain chemical adjustments provided the breakthrough that has enabled a higher yield.

Horses for courses

Companies which target overseas markets should be careful in how they construct promotional activities, a report published by claims. Techniques proven domestically might be ineffective or potentially even harmful in other markets.

One example would be a focus on the innovative qualities of a product. While this appeal would remain in certain other nations, this is unlikely to resonate within highly risk-averse cultures where familiarity is valued over the unknown. In these cases, emphasizing a product’s reliability and durability represents a much safer approach. It is likewise usual in certain markets to patronize companies regarded as authorities in their respective field. Consequently, an organization would be ill-advised to highlight its product’s versatility and claim it can be adapted for use within other categories. The importance of being aware of language differences when constructing advertising slogans is also pointed out in the report. What is intended can be easily lost in translation to an extent that other meanings with the potential to cause embarrassment or offence might emerge. However, firms are able to protect against such eventualities by hiring a native speaking translator to ensure that things are stated in an appropriate manner.

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