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GraceKennedy Opens US$5M Grace/La Fe Facility in New Jersey

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The GraceKennedy Group took another step towards realising its  vision of becoming a Global Consumer Group on Monday, October 7, when it officially opened its brand new Grace/La Fe facility in Woodbridge, New Jersey. The facility, which cost the company some US$5M, will drive increased operating facilities and reduce costs, while having the teams centrally located under one roof.

At the opening event, GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby noted the company’s 97 year history and its global aspirations. “To realise this vision of becoming a Global Consumer Group, we determined that we needed to have our own company in the US, because of the size and potential of this market. In doing our due diligence we recognized that there is a closeness and many similarities between the Jamaican and other Caribbean islands, and the Latin American cultures. Both have a unique spirit and passion that translates to every aspect of our lives. Family values are paramount and we share a real passion for good food. In fact, food is an integral part of all our celebrations. We were able to find a great match in the La Fe brand being a strong Hispanic brand and this journey started in 2013. Since then, both the Grace and La Fe brands have experienced significant growth year on year,” he said.

GK International Foods CEO, Mrs Andrea Coy, advised that the US$5M invested, facilitated the   construction of a custom-built 125,000 square foot facility, which she said, boasted a modern layout, and was fully compliant with all health and safety requirements. “This facility will enable us to better serve our loyal partners and customers, which is of paramount importance to us,” she added.

In stating his confidence that the investment would pay off, GraceKennedy Chairman, Professor Gordon Shirley noted how happy he was to see the team in their new, modern and efficient space. “We have the best and brightest young persons working to grow the Grace and La Fe brands, and I am confident we will see the returns on our investment, achieved through our most important investment – human capital,” he said.

The breakfast event saw some 70 guests in attendance, among them GraceKennedy Directors Gina Phillipps Black and Everton McDonald, Chief Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel, Mrs Gail Moss-Solomon, CHRO, Mrs Naomi Holness, CFO, Mr Andrew Messado and GraceKennedy International Foods Business CEO, Mrs Andrea Coy. GKUS CEO, Derrick Reckord served as the event’s emcee, with Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Mrs Alison Roach-Wilson, bringing greetings.

Mr Wehby told the attendees that he firmly believed that GKUSA had the potential to be the number one or two Hispanic brand in the USA. “If we stay the course, increase our efficiencies and focus on innovation, together we can achieve this goal. This business is of critical importance to our vision of becoming a Global Consumer Group.  We have operated this company for over five years and since inception, I have said that our GraceKennedy USA operations, through our Grace and La Fe brands, will be a game changer for the GraceKennedy Group. Standing here today at the opening of this great facility, seeing the team sitting here before me, I feel that more strongly than ever. And I am very proud,” he said.

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TELSTRA Officially Acquires DIGICEL PACIFIC

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TELSTRA, Australia’s leading telecommunications and technology company, today announced it has officially acquired Digicel Pacific in partnership with the Australian Government. Telstra will continue to invest in and operate the business across its six South Pacific markets – Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Oliver Camplin-Warner, Telstra International CEO, said the deal was an exciting milestone for the Digicel Pacific business and its customers in Papua New Guinea.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Digicel Pacific into the Telstra family. The Digicel Pacific team in PNG have amazing local expertise and are leaders in digital experiences for their customers. Together, we’ll work to ensure Digicel Pacific remains the top provider in PNG,” he said.

Mr Camplin-Warner confirmed there would not be any local job losses in the Pacific as part of the acquisition and the current Digicel Pacific team would continue the day-to-day running of the business.

“Digicel Pacific will still have the same people and products that their PNG customers know and love today,” he said.

“Telstra will add to these strengths with our more than one hundred years’ experience building and operating the largest mobile network in Australia, and our operations in more than 20 countries world-wide.”

“As part of our commitment to building a strong and sustainable PNG, Digicel Pacific will invest in an additional 115 towers which will be built across PNG over the next two years,” Mr Camplin-Warner added.

“This investment will mean continued improvements to 4G coverage, particularly in rural areas, which will bring with it opportunities to improve health, education, agricultural, commerce and cultural outcomes through the use of technology.”

Colin Stone, CEO, Digicel Papua New Guinea, said Telstra’s expertise in rolling out world-class networks and connecting remote communities would greatly enhance the work to date of Digicel and benefit the people and businesses of PNG.

“Telstra has experience connecting regional and remote customers in challenging geographies across mountains, deserts, rainforests and coastlines,” Mr Stone said.

“We’re looking forward to Telstra applying its network experience as well as its innovation and technology solutions to PNG to continue increasing connectivity in the region as Digicel has been doing for the past 14 years.”

Mr Camplin-Warner said the values of both Telstra and Digicel Pacific were a natural fit, with the companies committed to working together to build a connected future for everyone.

“We strongly believe we are “better together”, and this includes how we both work to support some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” he said.

“Telstra strongly supports Digicel Pacific’s grass roots community investments through the Digicel Foundation, and we are committed to seeing this work continue.”

Photo: Collin Stone, Digicel PNG CEO

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Tiktok’s Battle-Tested Business Model, Unconventional In The West But Well-Practiced By Its Chinese Parent Bytedance.

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“There are several ways to measure TikTok’s success: It took just four years to reach 1 billion monthly users; its average user in the US spends more time with the service than with Facebook and Instagram put together; and its most popular video, an 18-second clip of someone flying on a magic broomstick, has claimed 2.2 billion views.

But what of TikTok’s moneymaking power? I wrote about the ways that the app’s operators are turning its popularity into a huge business in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. To rival and outdo social and ad giants like Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, TikTok relies on a battle-tested business model that’s unconventional in the west but well-practiced by its Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd. Here’s a look at the ingredients.

At the core of TikTok’s appeal is Its Algorithm, the ability to discern a user’s likes and dislikes from their activity on the platform, picking up on how long you watch, say, a cat video or a cooking tutorial. The same model of content distribution is now being used on ads and sponsored content, helping TikTok serve more appealing ads and triple its ad revenue to an estimated $12 billion this year. Even Meta is now trying to rewrite the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram, so its services can surprise and delight people with videos they didn’t know they wanted to see. It’s a departure from Meta’s old approach of filling a user’s feed based on their social connections.

The other key thing is Branding. TikTok’s most lucrative ad accounts feature companies more interested in building their brands than stimulating direct sales. McDonald’s Corp., for instance, won’t count on TikTok to sell burgers, but it will likely want to use the platform to woo the young people using it. TikTok connects brands with influencers and helps them create viral challenges, goofy camera effects and immersive full-screen videos. That’s why its motto goes, “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”

On top of all that, TikTok is jumping into E-Commerce in ways that could challenge Amazon.com Inc. It’s rolled out an in-app marketplace in regions like Southeast Asia and the UK, where users can jump from live streams and short videos to shopping portals without friction. The idea is to create a closed loop where TikTok handles each and every step from a user discovering something to actually purchasing it — instead of directing them to an Amazon listing or a Shopify Inc.-powered web store.

To be sure, TikTok and ByteDance still have enormous challenges ahead. For one thing, commercial success across the globe demands navigating fragmented markets that don’t share the same culture, user preferences, regulations or tech infrastructure. And politics remains a big risk, even after TikTok survived President Donald Trump’s attempted ban. The perceived security threat from TikTok’s handling of US user data probably won’t go away as long as Beijing and Washington keep tussling in the geopolitics arena.”

Source: TikTok Turns On the Money Machine By Zheping Huang

 

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India Is Fast Emerging As A Global Leader In A New Type Of Online Retailing: Quick Commerce.

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Big investors including Google, Reliance Industries, and SoftBank Group have poured billions of dollars into startups promising to bring that next order of curry-ready chicken, cat food, or crunchy aloo bhujia chickpea snacks within minutes, rather than hours or days. Relying on discounts and free delivery to woo customers who make purchases through mobile apps, the companies fill orders at neighborhood warehouses called dark stores, then use algorithms to send drivers on the fastest routes through the crowded roads of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), and other cities.

Although groceries sold online account for just 2% of all grocery retail sales in India, they’re one of the fastest-growing segments of commerce and are considered essential for anyone dreaming of dominating e-commerce. And in a country where food and daily necessities—categories tailor-made for get-it-now delivery—make up about two-thirds of the $1 trillion in annual retail spending, startups are wagering that quick commerce can change grocery shopping habits and make them rich in the process.

Source: Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-22/swiggy-zepto-power-india-s-ultrafast-grocery-delivery-boom?cmpid=BBD062322_TECH&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=220623&utm_campaign=tech

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Amazon Launches Buy with Prime, A Direct Threat To Shopify

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In April, Amazon unveiled the service, called Buy with Prime, currently available on an invite-only basis. It extends the familiar Prime brand to third-party websites and offers shipping through Amazon’s logistics network—exactly the piece that Shopify’s service is missing. It also threatens to supplant Shopify’s popular payment tool, Shop Pay, and undercut one of the company’s strengths in the eyes of Wall Street. “Buy with Prime is about the brand, and the price of that brand is Amazon Payments,” wrote Ben Thompson in his daily newsletter, Stratechery.

Source Brad Stone @ Bloomberg

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Shopify’s Lack Of Fulfilment Support Leaves Merchants On their Own

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Among the many issues now weighing on Shopify, is the matter of fulfilment.

Shopify helps merchants make online sales, but when it comes to storing and shipping their products, it either brokers deals with third-party warehouses and transportation companies or leaves the last mile entirely to the seller. When asked about this, founder-CEO Lütke admitted logistics “is a tough nut to crack for byte companies” and suggested Shopify would shy away from owning and operating Amazon-style warehouses.

But he’s in a tricky position. Shopify merchants need help delivering parcels quickly and reliably. At the same time, investors tremble at the massive expense of operating fulfillment centers and delivering packages.

Shopify merchants need help delivering parcels quickly and reliably.

Last month, the company said it was buying a fulfillment company called Deliverr Inc. for $2.1 billion, and merging its capabilities with a robotics company it had previously acquired, 6 River Systems.

Shopify’s stock is down 30% since news of the acquisition talks broke last month, far exceeding market-wide declines. Whatever it does, Shopify risks antagonizing either its customers or investors.

Source Brad Stone @Bloomberg

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