EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 104, Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: Perhaps the most critical trend today is discussed in the “Regulate AI? How US, EU and China Are Going About It” article. Perhaps the second most important trend is McDonalds winning over French villages – seriously! Third is probably the fact that cocoa has surged to record prices and that means hot chocolate’s price will soar. The world’s economy has a growing chance of a soft landing and why inflation will drop in 2024. KFC surpasses 30,000 restaurants worldwide.

Reshoring, nearshoring, and friend shoring back into the United Kingdom. Chinese goods flow into Mexico to eventually enter the USA. The global sporting goods industry growth stand out for 2024 (pickleball??). Africa’s population to hit 2.5 billion by 2050. Better days for Australian wine exports ahead. Where are the obesity capitals of the world and why.  Japan’s workers secure their highest annual pay raise in 30 years.

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CEO & Global Advisor, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), Irvine, California, USA, +1 949 375 1896

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources plus our network of 20+ in-country Associates to update our global readers on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad. We subscribe to about 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

Some of the information sources that we provide links to require a paid subscription for our readers to access.

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others For These Times

“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react”, George Bernard Shaw

“When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare”, Coach John Wooden

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”, Peter F. Drucker

Highlights in issue #104:

  • Brand Global News Section: Jollibees®, Haidilao®,  KFC® and McDonalds®


Interesting Data, Articles and Studies

Regulate AI? How US, EU and China Are Going About ItGovernments don’t have a great track record of keeping up with emerging technology. But the complex, rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence raises legal, national security and civil rights concerns that can’t be ignored. The European Union passed a sweeping law that would put guardrails on the technology; in China, no company can produce an AI service without proper approvals. The US is still working on its regulatory approach. Already at work in products as diverse as toothbrushes and drones, systems based on AI have the potential to revolutionize industries from health care to logistics. But replacing human judgment with machine learning carries risks.”, Bloomberg, March 13, 2024

Mapping Population Growth by Region (1900-2050F)In fewer than 50 years, the world population has doubled in size, jumping from 4 to 8 billion. China was the main source of Asia’s population expansion, though its population growth has slowed in recent years. That’s why in 2023, India surpassed China to become the world’s most populous country. Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have also been big drivers of Asia’s population boom to this point. Africa to hit 2.5 billion by 2050. Three countries—Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Egypt—will account for roughly 30% of that 2.5 billion population figure. A century ago, Europe’s population was close to 30% of the world total. Today, that figure stands at less than 10%.” Visual Capitalist and Our World In Data, March 10, 2024

What types of meat does the world consume? Here’s an approximate breakdown of the percentages of beef, fish, chicken, and pork consumed globally each year:

  • Pork: 36% (Most consumed meat globally)
  • Chicken: 35%
  • Beef: 22%
  • Fish: 7%”

Our World In Data, December 2023

The obesity capitals of the worldA new study shows that waistlines are widening almost everywhere. It was not that long ago that more of the world’s people had too little to eat than ate too much. Now the scales have tipped. A study published on February 29th in the Lancet, a medical journal, shows that more than 1bn people were classified as obese in 2022. The analysis finds higher obesity rates in low- and middle-income countries than in many high-income ones. More than 60% of adults in Polynesia and Micronesia were living with obesity in 2022—the highest rate in the world. This is likely to be a result of changing diets and a culture that puts a value on size.”, The London Economist, March 1, 2024

Sporting goods industry trends for 2024As the world continued its uneven progress in 2023, the sporting goods industry faced familiar challenges. Economic headwinds, persistent inflation, and regional conflicts undermined consumer confidence, while companies continued to struggle with inventories—mainly overstocking, because anticipated demand failed to materialize. But the industry demonstrated its resilience again. Revenue growth in 2023 was 6 percent (compared with 2 percent in 2022) amid stronger performance across geographies.As we begin 2024, this report highlights a renewed sense of optimism among industry leaders. This reflects opportunities arising from an improving market environment and new consumer preferences. More people are choosing sports that are quicker to pick up, require less commitment, and are more social, rather than organized sports with fixed time commitments or requirements for teams or high levels of skill.”, McKinsey & Co., January 30, 2024


Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

World Economy Has Growing Chance of Soft Landing, G-20 SaysFinance ministers in Sao Paulo will finalize closing statement Draft cites ‘faster-than-expected disinflation’ as upside risk. The global economy has a growing chance of pulling off a soft landing, finance chiefs said in a draft of the G-20’s closing statement at this week’s meeting in Brazil, citing faster-than-expected disinflation as one of the upside risks. ‘We note that the likelihood of a soft landing in the global economy has increased,’ said the draft communique dated Feb. 23, seen by Bloomberg News. ‘Risks to the global economic outlook are more balanced. Upside risks include faster-than expected disinflation.’”, Bloomberg, February 27, 2024

Global inflation and interest rates trackerCentral banks around the world are expected to lower borrowing costs as global inflation eases from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries over the past two years. Some institutions, particularly in emerging markets, have already started cutting rates, but many more are forecast to follow this year, including the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. The FT global inflation and interest rates tracker provides a regularly updated visual narrative of consumer price inflation and central bank policy rates around the world.”, The London Financial Times, March 12, 2024

Your Sweet Tooth Is Getting Expensive – Prices for cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, have surged to records. Cocoa prices have climbed past a record set nearly a half-century ago, costing chocolate makers, bakers and aficionados alike.  The sharp climb in price for chocolate’s main ingredient started with bad weather in West Africa, where much of the world’s cocoa is grown. Speculators piling into one of the hottest trades outside of artificial intelligence have added fuel to the rally.”,  The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2024

Inflation Projections by Country, in 2024Global economic prospects hang on a delicate balance, largely hinging on the path of inflation. While inflation looks to be easing, there remains the risk of a second wave of price pressures driven by geopolitical conflicts and supply disruptions in the Red Sea. Adding to this, a stronger than expected labor market could drive consumer demand, pushing up higher prices.  n 2024, global inflation is projected to decline to 5.8%, down from a 6.8% estimated annual average in 2023.  Tighter monetary policy and falling energy prices are forecast to dampen price pressures alongside a cooling labor market.”, Visual Capitalist and the International Monetary Fund, February 28, 2024

Global BEV Market Share: Tesla Retains its #1 Spot for 2023Global BEV market share for the full year 2023, based on figures compiled by TrendForce. BEV refers to “battery electric vehicle”, also known as fully electric. This differs from PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), which still have a combustion engine. Analysts expect China’s BYD to surpass Tesla in BEV sales for 2024, given that BYD already outsold Tesla in the fourth quarter of 2023 (526,000 compared to 485,000).” ,Visual Capitalist, February 29, 2024

Global Fuel Prices Are Surging With Supply Risks AheadUS pump prices 60% higher than 2020, when Biden was elected. Global oil demand and refinery runs are both forecast to rise. US gasoline futures have jumped sharply in recent weeks and are now up by more than a fifth so far this year, while diesel in Europe has risen 10%. Disruptions on the world’s major trade routes, refinery closures and resurgent demand are pushing up global fuel prices and making forecasts difficult in the run-up to a US presidential election in which inflation will be a key issue. Interruptions to fuel production — a combination of scheduled work, unplanned outages and drone attacks on Russian facilities — have been lifting prices. They’ve come on top of higher shipping costs caused by Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and drought at the Panama Canal, as well as the supply-chain ructions spurred by Western sanctions on the Kremlin.”, Blomberg, March 12, 2024


Country & Regional Updates


China-Australia wine trade barriers seen falling as (Chinese) foreign minister Wang Yi confirms trip down underBeijing is widely expected to reduce some trade barriers that were imposed in the past few years as relations deteriorated following Canberra’s call for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. Australia’s largest wine producer, Treasury Wine Estates, has been informed that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce had issued a draft interim decision outlining the cancellation of additional tariffs on Australian wine, according to a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange on Tuesday.”, South China Morning Post, March 14, 2024


Companies must design offices people want to come to76 per cent of Canadian companies are partially or fully mandating a return to the office. Offices are not currently designed to meet employees’ needs for collaboration. Companies can make thoughtful design updates that foster connection and support hybrid work so everyone wins. Data from Cisco Canada’s new Reimagining Workspaces Survey shows that there is a gap between what workers are looking for when they return to the office – collaboration – and what companies are currently offering – mostly solo work spaces.”, The Global and Mail, March 17, 2024


On Eve of Elections, India Secures Pivotal $100bn Trade Agreement – India has successfully brokered a comprehensive free-trade pact with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), consisting of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, injecting a staggering $100 billion investment into the Indian economy. The pact is designed with the objective of curtailing tariffs, simplifying investment frameworks, and enhancing the trade of goods and services. This move is expected to forge a dynamic economic alliance. Finalized after persistent negotiations spanning over a decade and a half, the deal entails India’s agreement to abrogate most import tariffs on industrial products from the EFTA countries, who, in turn, are set to make significant investments in Indian industries, including pharmaceuticals, machinery, and manufacturing, over the next 15 years.”,, March 12, 2024


Japan’s Blowout Wage Result May Spur BOJ March Rate IncreaseJapan’s workers secured the largest pay hike in more than 30 years. Largest union group says annual deals hit 5.28% in first tally Biggest gains in more than 30 years may prompt Bank Of Japan (BOJ) move. The stronger-than-expected result may be enough to convince the BOJ to end the world’s last negative rate on Tuesday instead of waiting until April. The central bank has long pursued a goal of achieving sustainable 2% inflation.”, Bloomberg, March 14, 2024

Latin America

Catalysts of Change: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Latin America – In 2021, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) was the fastest-growing region in the world for venture capital (VC) investment, reaching an all-time high of $15.7 billion. At the close of that year, a total of 47 Latin American companies had secured the requisite valuation to be considered a unicorn. Of these 47 companies, a total of 10 had gone public or been acquired in 2022.  The start-up ecosystem in LAC is having a considerable impact in the region, catalyzing a generation of innovators to increase competitiveness and economic growth.”, Center for Strategic & International Studies, March 8, 2024


China Goods Flood Into Mexico, Making It Top Global Trade Route – China-to-Mexico containers surged 60% in January, Xeneta says At that rate, Mexico volumes may pass US West Coast by 2031. Global goods trade is struggling to accelerate in most corners of the world economy this year — with one big exception: Chinese goods flowing into Mexico.  After jumping almost 35% in 2023 from a year earlier, the number of containers shipped to Mexico from China surged 60% in January, according to a blog post Thursday by Oslo-based Xeneta, which analyzes ocean and air freight markets. ‘This is probably the strongest-growing trade in the world right now’, Xeneta chief analyst Peter Sand wrote. The reason, he suggested, has more to do with tariff avoidance than a growing demand from Mexican consumers and businesses to purchase Chinese products.”, Bloomberg, March 14, 2024


Singapore bumps up 2024 GDP forecast on manufacturing growth – lowers headline inflation outlook. GDP is expected to grow at 2.4% in 2024, up from 2.3% forecast in the previous survey, while CPI is estimated to be lower at 3.1%, compared with 3.4% expected earlier. The city-state’s economic growth is expected to increase to 2.5% in 2025. Singapore’s manufacturing sector — which makes up over 20% of the country’s GDP — is now expected to grow at 4% in 2024, up from 2.3%.”, CNBC, March 13, 2024

United Kingdom

Why firms are bringing their manufacturing back home (to the UK) – Reshoring is when a company decides to stop getting its manufacturing done overseas, such as in China, and instead returns the work to its home country. More than half of UK manufacturers are now reshoring, according to one study at the start of this year. Other firms are “near shoring”, which means that while they are still getting their manufacturing done overseas, they are moving it to a nearer country. And then there is so-called “friend shoring”, whereby you keep your manufacturing abroad, but move it to a country that has friendlier relationships with your own.”, BBC, March 12, 2024

Increase in UK Jobs for Window Cleaners, Gardeners and AuthorsThere has also been a growing demand for translators, fashion designers and data entry administrators. The biggest fall in vacancies included those for delivery drivers and couriers, optometrists and prison officers, said the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).”, Bloomberg, March 16, 2024

United States

SOCi’s 2024 Consumer Behavior Index – SOCi’s Consumer Behavior Index (CBI) asks U.S. consumers to weigh in on their practices and preferences when interacting on and offline with local businesses. The survey asked1,002 consumers across the U.S. about:  The sites and apps they use to research and discover local businesses; The peer feedback about businesses that consumers both use and provide; The importance of open lines of communication between customers and local businesses; and Consumer feelings about AI in local marketing. Our U.S. consumers told us that they search online for local businesses online quite a bit, with 80% saying they do so at least once
a week and 32% searching every day or even multiple times a day.”, SOCI and the International Franchise Association, February 14, 2024

Small businesses employment and job vacancy growth by regionMonthly employment growth rates and levels for small businesses with 1-9 employees (seasonally adjusted), showing the number of people employed in each region by businesses of this size and the monthly change in employment. National sample: almost 333,000 small businesses that run payroll with QuickBooks. The Index uses QuickBooks anonymized data to create aggregated data outputs which are normalized against official statistics to reflect the general population of small businesses, rather than the QuickBooks customer base. Regions are defined by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.”, Intuit, February 2, 2024


Brand & Franchising News

KFC surpasses 30K restaurants globallyKFC is opening a new restaurant somewhere in the world every 3.5 hours on average. KFC’s newest restaurant in Rome, Italy, marks the company’s 30,000th global location.  In 2023, KFC opened nearly 2,7000 restaurants across 96 countries, a 10% development pace and setting a brand development record. More than 80% of unit growth came from 15 publicly traded franchisees. KFC accounts for nearly 50% of parent company Yum Brands’ divisional operating growth.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, March 12, 2024

“Why has Haidilao opened its franchise business and catering chain franchises become so popular?  In recent years, many catering brands have opened up franchises, and China’s catering chain process has accelerated. On March 4, Haidilao announced the opening of a franchise model to further expand. According to the company’s financial report, as of June 30, 2023, Haidilao had a total of 1,382 stores in Greater China, of which about 17% were located in first-tier cities, about 40% were opened in second-tier cities, and another 40% were opened in third-tier and below cities.”, Caixin, March 4, 2024. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto.

Why McDonald’s is winning over French villagesDespite years of protests the chain is expanding in rural France — and as traditional cafés close, young people are embracing the fast-food giant. The local café used to be a focus of social life in French villages, a place to enjoy a leisurely coffee, catch up on gossip or savour an aperitif after work. Some 70 per cent of village cafés have been forced to close, however, as rural populations have dwindled and habits have changed. Now, an unlikely newcomer may be replacing them as a place for young people to socialise in small communities: McDonald’s. Long popular in French towns and cities, McDonald’s is expanding into rural areas. Surprisingly perhaps, it appears to be welcome.”, The Sunday Times of London, March 14, 2024

Jollibee Targets Exponential Growth in China to Triple ProfitCompany allots up to 23 billion pesos (US$415,00,000) for capital spending It plans to sell preferred shares to raise 8 billion pesos. With 6,885 stores at the end of 2023, the company plans to open another 700 to 750 outlets this year and boost its network in multiple lower-tier cities in China as it ramps up franchising to expand globally. Aggressive expansion plans in China of the food chain known for its crispy fried chicken and sweet spaghetti comes as the Philippines’ assertive stance in the South China Sea has made some businesses cautious.”, Bloomberg, March 11, 2024


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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development, and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant since 2001 taking 40+ franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.

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