World’s largest plane makes first flight over California

The world’s largest aircraft took off over the Mojave Desert in California on Saturday, the first flight for the carbon-composite plane built by Stratolaunch Systems Corp, started by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, as the company enters the lucrative private space market.


Reuters: Technology News

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Why New York hasn’t contained the largest and longest measles outbreak in decades

Thousands of previously unvaccinated people are now immunized, but health officials are running into pockets of resistance within certain New York communities and they are taking drastic measures.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Health

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Why It Doesn’t Seem To Matter That Amazon Will Soon Be The Largest American Clothing Retailer

Amazon, the all-seeing eye atop the pyramid of modern American capitalism, made a lot of news last year as it prepared to take over the top spot in American clothing retail. Hands were wrung on behalf of brick-and-mortar shops (that is, stores with physical retail locations) everywhere. It seemed logical that what Amazon had once done to book retail, and arguably in many other categories, it was doing again with clothing — that is, put nearly everyone out of business.

And Amazon’s business model indeed seems to spell trouble for many traditional clothing stores. Choices as far as you can scroll; an effectively limitless stock room; free 2-day shipping. Low prices, in part due to economies of scale. Instant, accessible ratings and reviews for products from other shoppers (because we trust them as much as our own friends).

The knee-jerk defenses of traditional clothing retail sound familiar. Online, you can’t replicate the experience of browsing casually through a shop and finding something rad via serendipity. Online, no sales associate can provide expertise or guide you to something you might like. Online, you’re not shopping. You’re just buying.

And it seems to be true that people are more comfortable buying from large online stores than most people expected a decade ago. On a recent episode of Jeremy Kirkland’s podcast Blamo!, Mr. Porter Managing Director Toby Bateman said that even in 2010, “There was a perception that guys were never going to do that [buy luxury clothing online], they needed to touch things, they needed to try things on.” Mr. Porter’s parent company, Yoox/Net a Porter, has grown sales annually and was taken over by luxury group Richemont in 2018.

And there’s the rub, really. Amazon isn’t coming for your favorite menswear shop (although Mr. Porter might be). Amazon’s top selling items in apparel are underwear and socks — the fashion equivalent of commodities. Amazon seems to be soaking up the sales of everyday goods lost by stores that were already losing, and where you, likely, don’t shop much, even if much of America does: for years, the top clothing retailers have been Macy’s and Walmart.

Plus, some of those benefits that bring shoppers to Amazon? They’re hollow. Amazon’s search results are often a disastrous list of not-quite-what-you’re-looking-for. Many products on the site are sold by third-party sellers that don’t necessarily have the capacity or logistical mastery of Amazon proper. Amazon’s customer reviews remain polluted with bogus content.

And their prices can be good, but are variable, and in some cases go up when a product is scarce — it’s always worth looking around. Lastly, unlike a place like Mr. Porter, Amazon doesn’t have a brand — it’s an infinite, crowded bazaar where weirdly specific print tshirts sit on the rack next to (used?) $ 5,000 Kiton suits.

It’s a tech truism that markets are disrupted when someone figures out how to remove friction from the customer experience — make it easier to get a ride, for example. Or maybe remove the need to actually interact with a sales associate. But for now, Amazon’s clothing market has too many friction points to attract customers who care much about what they’re buying.

 

 

The post Why It Doesn’t Seem To Matter That Amazon Will Soon Be The Largest American Clothing Retailer appeared first on Put This On.

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Why Ctrip, China’s Largest Online Travel Agent, Will Be Celebrating Chinese New Year

The largest annual human migration is underway. China’s 1.7 billion population will make 3 billion trips around Chinese New Year on February 5, according to government officials. It’s a logistical nightmare, clogging China’s airports, train stations and highways with traffic. But, for China’s leading online travel agent Ctrip.com International, it’s also a giant pay day.

The $ 20 billion Nasdaq-listed travel agent occupies 60% of China’s online travel industry and is the world’s second-largest online travel agent (OTA) after Priceline Group in terms of gross merchandise value, which measures the total value of services sold through a company’s platform. The Shanghai-based Ctrip, which bought flight comparison site Sky Scanner in 2016 and operates in the U.S. as Trip.com, expects to service 390 million domestic and seven million outbound trips by Chinese tourists this Chinese New Year.

According to Ctrip, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia will be the most popular overseas destinations for China’s tourists this New Year. The U.S. ranks number seven on that list, the same place it held in 2017. Ctrip co-founder and executive chairman James Liang said in January that he doesn’t expect China’s ongoing trade war with the U.S. to affect Chinese travel plans.

Liang founded Ctrip as a travel comparison site in 1999 after working eight years at Silicon Valley software company Oracle. Neil Shen, now founder and managing partner at Sequoia Capital China, joined as Liang’s co-founder along with Ctrip president Min Fan and board director Qi Ji.

The company’s first revenues came from hotel bookings, into which Ctrip expanded after the dotcom bubble burst and investor capital dried up. Two years later the company added flight reservations to its portfolio of services, then package holidays, corporate travel, bus tickets, train tickets and travel logistics.

Since 2003, when the company listed on Nasdaq, its market cap has swollen to 40-times its pre-IPO value and annual revenues have surged from $ 40.3 million in 2004 to $ 4.1 billion in 2017.

“The buying power is there, in China,” says CEO Jane Sun, who joined the company as CFO in 2005 after spending 12 years working in Silicon Valley finance. “In 2017 we offered 22 high-end tour packages priced at $ 200,000 each. It only took us 17 seconds to sell them all.”

According to McKinsey & Company, Chinese tourists made 131 million trips overseas in 2017 and spent a total $ 250 billion. The consultancy expects those figures to grow to 160 million and $ 350 billion by 2020. With only 5% of Chinese citizens owning a passport, outbound travel has exceptional room for growth and is one of the reasons why Ctrip was included amongst Fortune’s list of “Future 50” companies with strong growth prospects.

Ctrip’s tech prowess is one of its strengths. Sun says the company invests heavily in ABC – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing – and uses its proprietary data analytics to do things like push targeted adverts towards customers and help business partners such as hotels predict peak periods.

In 2017 Ctrip created a credit rating system – ever more the vogue in China – based on customer’s booking history. In a letter to shareholders, Sun explained that customers with higher credit scores will enjoy perks, such as deferring payment until arrival, and the system also allows service providers to “get a better sense of what kind of customers they will serve.”

However China’s two most formidable tech titans, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, are both invested in the travel market too. Alibaba’s travel unit Fliggy, launched in 2014, has chipped away at Ctrip’s share in flight sales and, according to analytics company Trust Data, Tencent-backed Meituan Travel surpassed Ctrip in hotel bookings by volume last year.

Ctrip’s executives have routinely dismissed the idea that Meituan or Alibaba poses a threat to their own business and maybe that’s fair. With China’s outbound travel market still so unsaturated, there’ll be room for more than one player.

Fortune

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A multibillion-dollar deal is creating one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers

Asian real estate developer CapitaLand said it will acquire Ascendas-Singbridge, which would create one of the world's largest real estate investment managers.
Real Estate

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‘It’s Been a Rout’: Apple’s iPhones Fall Flat in World’s Largest Untapped Market

Global smartphone sales are flattening, which is why Apple and others are looking to India and its millions of newly minted consumers for growth. Yet the tech giant’s market share is falling, revenue is coming in well below expectations and its top leadership ranks are in turmoil.
WSJ.com: WSJD

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Republican Who Was Considered By Trump For UN Ambassador Role Has One of the Largest Black-Owned Businesses

John E. James just lost his senate run in Michigan, but he is a major up-and-comer in Republican circles, and is part of BLACK ENTERPRISE’s BE100s – its annual listing of the nation’s largest, most-successful black-owned businesses.

President Donald Trump was reportedly looking at James to replace departing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, according to some media outlets and sources acquainted with the situation. That has not come to fruition as media outlets are reporting former Fox news alum Heather Nauet is Trump’s pick for the next UN ambassador.

James’ Backstory 

A Republican and Iraq War veteran, James was not successful in his bid to unseat Senator Debbie Stabenow in the November 6, election. James lost to the Democrat incumbent senator 46% to 52%.

James was reportedly in Washington, D.C. in the latter part of November to interview with Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton, a source said. Bloomberg News first reported that James was being examined for the position of United States ambassador to the United Nations.

James is president of James Group International Inc., a Detroit-based supply chain management company. The business was No. 27 on BE’s 2018 BE 100s Top Companies list, raking in $ 119 million in revenue last year.

He is the son of James Group International founder and chairman John A. James, a seasoned and eminent black businessman in Detroit. James Group International, the parent company for several management and logistics companies, has been ranked as a BE 100s company, an annual listing of the nation’s largest black businesses for many years.

A West Point graduate, James holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and Systems (Industrial) Engineering.  He earned a master’s of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems from Penn State University Smeal School of Business in 2014, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 2015.

According to the company’s website, he currently serves on the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) Board of Directors, the Detroit Workforce Development Board and as a Member on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility Board of Trustees.  Personal accolades include The Michigan Chronicle’s Class of 2014, “40 Under 40” and DBusiness magazine’s “30 in Their Thirties” in 2012.

James joined James Group International in 2012, and became its president in 2014. Since his arrival at James Group, its workforce has climbed notably, and revenue grew by $ 100 million. It estimated 2016 revenues of more than $ 130 million.

The post Republican Who Was Considered By Trump For UN Ambassador Role Has One of the Largest Black-Owned Businesses appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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UK’s largest housebuilder calls on lawmakers to move forward with Brexit and stop the uncertainty

Brexit uncertainty is "unhelpful" for those seeking to buy a home, the CEO of the U.K.'s largest housebuilder by volume told CNBC Thursday.
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Maya Gabeira Breaks GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ For The Largest Wave Surfed Unlimited (Female)

WSL PRESS RELEASE

Nazaré, Portugal (Monday, October 1, 2018) – Today, the World Surf League (WSL) proudly announced that Maya Gabeira (BRA) has claimed the inaugural Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award and set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Largest wave surfed unlimited (female).

The 31-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil successfully surfed a wave measuring 68 feet / 20.72 metres from trough to crest at the infamous big-wave break known as Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.

“To set the world record has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Gabeira. “But of course, after the accident in Nazaré 2013, it felt like a very distant dream. It took a lot of work to have a season like last year, to be 100% again, and to complete it with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title is quite special.”

Gabeira’s incredible feat did not come without its challenges. In 2013, Gabeira suffered a serious injury at Nazaré, but her unwavering determination brought her back to the monstrous and dangerous wave to not only surf again, but set the women’s world record.

“It’s been quite a journey, but I can honestly say that in 2013 when I first came to Nazaré my life changed like never before,” continued Gabeira. “Of course, there was an accident, injuries and so on, but also I moved to Nazaré to be closer to the wave. I dedicated most of my time to the spot and I had years to focus on improving, on safety and on being around the best people to get where I wanted to be. That time was priceless, it taught me a lot and slowly I got back to my feet. Back to surfing at 100% and in a spot that I honestly consider the biggest and most challenging wave I ever surfed.”

“Congratulations to Maya Gabeira for her outstanding achievement,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO. “Maya exemplifies the courage, commitment, and progression of female athletes around the world and we are so proud to celebrate her today as the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title holder for the Largest wave surfed unlimited (female).”

The achievement was announced at a special ceremony upon the grounds of the famous lighthouse that stands watch over the waves of Praia do Norte. An official Adjudicator of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS presented Gabeira with a certificate declaring her as the current record holder for the Largest wave surfed unlimited (female).

Contenders for the women’s world record dated back through surfing history, but the frontrunners featured two-time Big Wave Tour Champion Paige Alms, big wave standouts Justine Dupont, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, and surfing icon Bethany Hamilton.

Normally, the WSL’s Big Wave Awards declare the biggest and best waves of the year during the annual Big Wave Awards show in April.  As this was a special determination of the largest wave ridden to date – spanning the history of the sport – it was awarded in a unique setting at the start of the winter big wave season, and will now set the bar in the category going forward. The 2019 Big Wave Awards in April will now award two new categories: Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award (where jet skis maybe be used) and the Women’s Biggest Paddle Award (wave caught with only arm power).

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

The post Maya Gabeira Breaks GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ For The Largest Wave Surfed Unlimited (Female) appeared first on .

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