Telling and retelling stories is one of humanity’s most durable characteristics: Harvard linguist Michael Witzel has argued that most of the world’s mythologies grew out of a single set of stories first told in Africa 130,000 years ago. Yet what is the future of corporate storytelling? Although our penchant for storytelling may not change any time soon, the storytelling used inside the corporation does seem to be shifting in two ways. First, storytelling is becoming recognized as a trainable skill. Second, and possibly more importantly, the Internet is making it increasingly difficult for companies to control a single version of their own story.
Theme parks are normally a place to enjoy a nice day out with your friends or family. However, in mainland China, theme parks may soon turn into a battleground. Wanda Group, a conglomerate that has opened several amusement parks across China over the last few years, has warned Disney about its theme park operations in China. It’s certainly not easy, if possible at all, for Wanda to make Disney unprofitable. Will lowering price at the cost of lowering its own profit help, or improve the quality and service is more practical? Maybe the best solution is to get along with the competitor.
As a seller, you may often encounter a situation like this: your customers gather and discuss the product they want to buy and one day they come to you and form a group, bargaining. As a result, you have to offer them discounts and other benefits. Harvard economist Michael Porter formalized this idea, called “buyer power,” in 1979. “Buyer power” is separate from the competition that you face and you should be careful to distinguish the two. Even if you face little competition, if your buyers are powerful then you are in trouble. Read our article to find out a solution.
The battle for car hailing market share has ended with Uber merging its Chinese business with local rival Didi Chuxing. The merger deal gave Didi a market share of nearly 90%. There are many worries and questions following the deal: will government consider it to be an absolute monopoly? Will passengers pay more and drivers being paid less? How will Didi manage to operate Uber China afterwards? To answer those questions we need to understand the history of Didi Chuxing—how it operated in ‘grey area’ and managed to beat so many other local competitors before it merged with Uber China—find the answer in our article.
Yidao Yongche was the first car-hailing business in China. At first, the company was badly affected by opposition from local authorities—but later on was hit by the rise of Didi and Uber China, which became popular through subsidies and low prices. In July, Chinese authorities finally legalized car-hailing apps and stipulated that unfair competition, such as steep discounts and subsidies, should stop. So will Yidao seize the opportunity and grow? Zhou Hang, CEO and founder of Yidao, talks about his company and the future of the “internet of cars”.
Technology has helped demolish walls between different industries and many tech giants are investing in different sectors. LeEco stands out amongst its peers for its ambition and audacity, its ultimate ambition is to build an ecosystem through quick—and diversified—acquisitions and investments. The company has transformed from one focusing on just video content to one that makes smart TVs, smartphones and even cars and virtual reality headsets. Although many people doubt its capabilities, the company seems to be doing well financially. But what does the future hold? Will its audacious plans succeed?
The writing is there on the wall for all to see: the era of personal computers is over and this is the age of smartphones. Lenovo, a giant PC maker, seems to be late to the party. The hotly contested Chinese smartphone market already has strong global players like Apple and Samsung, and aggressive domestic brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE. How can Lenovo gain a foothold in such a competitive market? Will selling in overseas markets help? Will its Motorola acquisition be of use? And finally, can Lenovo become the proverbial dark horse that catches up from behind and ultimately wins the race?
We make assumptions all the time. Think of the time when you met someone new. Or when you had to negotiate a deal with a company. That’s just how our mind works. We only have a certain amount of hours in a day, but we more crucial decisions to make, with more unknowns. And so we start using assumptions as short-cuts in decision making. Andy Cohen, propagator of the ‘Assumpt! Strategy’, believes that assumptions are neither good nor bad. We must acknowledge their existence and learn how to leverage them.
Over the past 30 years Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin has led the company through several path-breaking business model changes, which have helped the company build a strong brand, grow both organically and through acquisitions, globalize and “get close to the customer”. Zhang is now leading the company through yet another transformation to make it what he calls an “internet-based platform company” made up of extremely responsive micro-enterprises. For the closest parallel, think of a Silicon Valley within a company. In this rare interview, he talks about his management philosophy.
Anil K. Gupta, the Michael Dingman Chair in Strategy, Globalization and Entrepreneurship at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, questions the logic behind Haier’s giant leap towards its new platform strategy. What’s at stake for Haier if it doesn’t embark upon this ambitious plan? According to Gupta: Haier now faces a major conundrum. Unless the company can find other growth opportunities fast, it faces years of potentially very slow growth. It is in this context that one can understand why CEO Zhang Ruimin has embarked on this new strategy.