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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Competitive horizon From: Strategic Direction, Volume 28, Issue 3
Giant strides for mobile commerce in Africa
The latest Global Trends Report released by the World Travel Market points out that Africa has become a world leader in mobile commerce. Statistics suggest that 60 percent of the continent’s 489 million phone users purchase goods through this medium. Indeed, mobile commerce has become an established way to shop for Africans who do not have bank accounts. Mobile commerce has become especially significant within the travel industry, where close links have been forged between the continents major airlines and telecommunications providers. By using mobile travel apps, consumers are able to search for and book flights, accommodation and car rental. The report, as published by All Africa (www.allafrica.com), also credits the M-PESA mobile payment system for this growing trend. Africa’s vast potential for tourism has enticed major players to help build a mobile commerce network that is likely to prove advantageous to other sectors too.
Increased demand for diamonds predicted in Chinese market
Rising prices are not expected to quell China’s steadily growing demand for diamonds, a report published by China Daily (www.china.org.cn) claims. This assumption is fuelled by statistics released by Angola’s national diamond company showing that the last three to five years have seen around 40 percent of its products being exported to the Chinese market. Leading jewelry retailers in China believe that new couples will drive future diamond consumption. Equally significant is the growing purchasing power for the precious stones among inhabitants of China’s second-tier cities. The report also notes that Chinese companies are being encouraged to partner Angola’s national diamond company and become involved with exploration, production and distribution processes. Although many companies possess the necessary exploration technologies, Chinese industry experts believe that investment in Africa’s diamond industry poses both political and financial risks. They cite Angola’s recent civil war and the substantial cost involved in exploring mines as key factors.
Researchers in Munich have developed a system whereby sensors are embedded within car steering wheels to monitor the health of drivers. According to a report published by the Engineer (www.theengineer.co.uk), the sensors effectively provide a minor health check and may even be optimized to detect the onset of fainting or even heart attacks. The system incorporates two sensors to monitor different aspects of human health, with lights measuring heart rate, oxygen saturation and the level of electricity conducted. Data is transported to a micro-controller which can then display results via the vehicle’s information system. The report claims that sensors are more effective than existing systems that involve attaching wires to drivers. Scope also exists to include additional sensors to monitor such as blood pressure. Another objective is to develop the system further so that the detection of health problems will trigger various safety devices in the vehicle. Mass market appeal is a future goal, although challenges that include effective embedding of sensors and programming them to display the results must be overcome first.
When charity can help at home
According to an article published by Business Owner (www.news.com.au), small firms can benefit significantly if they donate to charity or engage with causes in their area. By supporting local communities, the company’s profile receives a boost with one outcome being valuable publicity that can be gauged by monitoring local media. The report additionally suggests that any benefits can be maximized when charitable contributions are appropriately targeted. The ideal strategy is to focus on causes most relevant to the firm’s core activities. A beauty salon supporting something close to women is one example. Care in the type of contribution made is also recommended. Even though companies are normally able to offset charity donations against tax expenditure, any sponsorship connected to such as sports teams might need justifying in order to be similarly rated.