Alibaba’s Jack Ma had three pieces of advice yesterday for companies that want to do business in China:
- Show some respect. “Respect the culture, respect the market, respect the consumers.”
- Send great entrepreneurs to lead your business in China, not professional managers. “Those people make the boss happy, they do not make the customers happy.”
- Have patience. “Starbucks was here for 18 years. First nine were horrible; last nine were great.”
Ma was part of an opening day at the Fortune Global Forum, that included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tencent CEO Pony Ma, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver, Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford and Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, among others.
The day also included speeches from a succession of top Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Wang Yang, who laid out China’s economic plans in the wake of the the 19th Party Congress. I’ll spare you the details, but the bottom line is this: China clearly wants to be seen as the new champion of globalization, and replace the U.S. in the leadership role for the new global economy.
You can find more reporting from the Global Forum here. And if you are sorry to be missing this year’s event, stay tuned: we’ll have an announcement on the 2018 Fortune Global Forum tomorrow.
Other news below.
• The Silence Breakers
Our sister publication Time honored those women who have done most to expose the issue of sexual harassment in its 2017 Person of the Year awards. President Donald Trump placed second. The breadth of the problem means that no single person can claim the honor exclusively. Time zeroes in on the work of Harvey Weinstein victim Ashley Judd, Visa lobbyist Adama Iwu, Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler and musician Taylor Swift, among many others.
• Stocks Have Had Too Much of a Good Thing
Global stock markets continued to retreat, after the S&P 500 fell for the third straight session Tuesday amid concerns that the tax-reform-driven rally has gone too far. Unease over the broadening scope of the Mueller investigation, and dismay at disarray in the Brexit talks, have hit sentiment in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. Fears about Chinese deleveraging continue to weigh on Asian markets and on commodities.
• Glorious Things of Thee Are Tweeted
President Donald Trump made waves across the Middle East by signaling the U.S. embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem. The announcement was condemned by Muslim nations including U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Palestinians, who have long hoped to make East Jerusalem their capital under a ‘two-state solution’, are particularly upset, and a violent response from Hamas seems only a matter of time. The move also met with concern in Europe, which will feel the consequences of any upsurge in regional instability more than the U.S. Pope Francis expressed his “deep worry” in a weekly audience, while French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his concern in a phone call to the President.
• Google Escalates Its Spat With Amazon
The rumbling dispute between Alphabet and Amazon over home eco-systems escalated, with a report in Variety that said Google will pull YouTube access from Amazon’s Echo Show speaker device and the Amazon Fire Stick. Variety quoted a Google spokesperson as criticizing Amazon for rigging its own marketplace against Google products, a comment which will raise a smile or two among EU antitrust officials.
Around the Water Cooler
• Drucker’s 250 Best Managed Companies
The Drucker Institute, set up to advance the thought of management guru Peter F. Drucker, put Amazon at the top of its inaugural list of the U.S.’s most effectively managed companies. The methodology is based on 37 different rankings including patent registrations and employee reviews on Glassdoor, which explains why companies in the news for chronically falling revenues (IBM) or poor shareholder returns (P&G, GE) fare surprisingly well in the list.
WSJ, subscription required
• James Murdoch, Disney CEO-in-Waiting?
Could James Murdoch be the answer to Walt Disney’s CEO succession problems? The Financial Times reported that Murdoch junior, currently CEO of 21st Century Fox has been suggested as a potential successor to Disney’s Bob Iger as part of talks between the two companies over Fox’s movie studio and international broadcasting operations. It talked up Murdoch’s experience in international broadcasting, something that Disney will find useful if it closes the deal under discussion.
FT, metered access
• Nestle’s Vitamin Shot
Nestlé said it will buy Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations from private equity group Permira for $2.3 billion. It’s the latest statement of intent from a company intent on escaping the shackles of low-margin mass-market foods and tapping into higher-margin healthier products. The deal reportedly brings Permira a tidy return of some 330% over the five years since it bought the company.
• Steinhoff Slumps on Fraud Probe as CEO Jooste Quits
Shares in Steinhoff, the South African-based retail group whose spending spree in recent years has included Sleepy’s owner Mattress Firm, fell 60% after it said it was investigating suspected accounting irregularities. CEO Markus Jooste has left the company, and it has delayed the publication of its 2016 accounts.
Summaries by Geoffrey Smith; firstname.lastname@example.org