EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 19, Monday, December 14, 2020

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

“The true test of leadership is how well you perform in a crisis”, Brian Tracy

“When life gives you a hundred reasons to break down and cry, show life that you have a million reasons to smile and laugh. Stay strong”, contributed on LinkedIn by Erik Premont and Paul Segreto

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Our biweekly newsletter focuses on what is happening around the world that impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment and travel. A few highlights in issue #19:

  • The USA and United Kingdom approve the Pfizer vaccine and distribution starts while the EU is close to approving 1 or 2 vaccines. Bloomberg maps vaccine contracts
  • A number of sources see rapid economic growth from the middle of 2021. But resurgence of the COVID virus in some parts of Asia, Europe and in the USA means global vaccines are crucial
  • Over 900 cars paid for each other’s meals at a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Minnesota
  • Australia is seeing good economic growth as it reopens
  • Nearly a third of workers don’t want to ever return to the office in Fortune magazine survey

For our biweekly newsletter, we 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 covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.

Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

First, a few Personal Comments 

The approval of the first vaccine for distribution in the USA and United Kingdom is very good news. A second vaccine may be approved this coming week. The actual distribution will take months. But this is very positive news for the world, for businesses and international business travel. In this issue, in addition to country and travel updates we will share charts from excellent sources that tell us what about the world today.

Interesting Data to Start

“Global Economic Forecasts, Q4 2020: The Global Economic Forecasts report focuses on quarterly macro changes for the world’s key economies and what these mean to our view of the likely, optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the global economy.”, Euromonitor International, December 2020

This very interesting list is from the ‘Future of business: 2021 and Beyond” McKinsey webinar on December 9th. It generated lots of conversation in my Vistage group’s monthly meeting.

“U.S. Approves First Coronavirus Vaccine to End the Pandemic: We’re tracking the nine most promising shots from around the world. Bloomberg is tracking nine of the most promising vaccines around the globe, from national procurement deals to shots in patients’ arms. By our count, 7.95 billion doses have already been allotted.”, Bloomberg, December 11, 2020

Our company’s fourth quarter 2020 GlobalVue™ country ranking chart was issued last week and clearly shows countries that managed the CVID crisis better are doing better economically.

Source: Visual Capitalist, December 11, 2020

Light at the End of the COVID Tunnel: Light at the End of the COVID Tunnel: While a Winter COVID19 wave in Europe/U.S. is the late 2020 focus, vaccine approval and rollouts will dominate 2021. This should allow a reduction in official and voluntary social distancing – but how will it impact consumption and business investment, and hence growth and inflation? Meanwhile, will policymakers withdraw temporary fiscal measures or undertake some additional fiscal and monetary policy stimulus?” Find out the answers at the Continuum Economic webinar at this link:

Travel Updates

“Delta and KLM’s Pre-flight Testing Program Will Allow Americans to Travel to Amsterdam Without Quarantine: The program starts Dec. 15 and is for travelers heading out of Atlanta, Ga. Travelers to Amsterdam may be able to skip The Netherlands’ quarantine when Delta Air Lines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines start their COVID-19 testing program on flights to the European city next week. This latest flight testing program, set to start on Dec. 15, will allow passengers on select flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam to participate in multiple tests before and after the flight, according to Delta. If passengers continually test negative, they will be exempt from quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands.:, Travel and Leisure magazine, December 7, 2020

Cruises and Covid-19: When U.S. Sailings Could Restart and What Safety Precautions Are Expected: Carnival, other operators are looking to resume trips next year, but health officials say cruises are high risk and require changes first. The timing for U.S. voyages ultimately depends on receiving a permit from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is requiring operators to conduct mock sailings and apply for a certificate at least 60 days before offering passenger cruises.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2020

Singapore, Hong Kong Postpone Travel Bubble Until 2021: Singapore and Hong Kong have again postponed the launch of the much-awaited travel bubble that would connect the two Asian hubs without the need for a quarantine period. The quarantine-free travel corridor launch was delayed two days before it was due to begin as Hong Kong saw a new hike in the number of COVID-19 cases begin on Nov. 21.”, Airline Geeks, December 3, 2020

Delta Resumes Only Nonstop Flights to China by U.S. Airlines: Delta Air Lines Inc. resumed nonstop flights to China on Wednesday, even as its major U.S. competitors continue to stop first in South Korea. The change extended Delta’s rebuilding of China service since U.S. airlines suspended flights in February because of the coronavirus pandemic.”, Caixin, December 3, 2020.

Taiwan and New Zealand show business travel’s future: The real boom will be in face-to-face training and sales — as you can’t close deals on Zoom. Companies also feel pressure to limit flying for environmental reasons. Travel will be subdued for some years, but business is a social activity, and memories of this pandemic will fade. ‘We’re wired to forget,’ said Darrin Grafton, chief executive of Serko, a travel technology company. Business travel will be down, he said, but not by 50 percent.”, The Financial Times, November 29, 2020

“Airlines scrap international ticket change fees as demand crumbles in pandemic: Delta and United are joining American Airlines in scrapping international change fees. The measure is an effort to drum up demand for air travel abroad, which has suffered more than domestic trips in the coronavirus pandemic.”, CNBC, December 9, 2020

“ India domestic air travel 65% back to pre-COVID levels:

American Airlines starts offering $129 at-home Covid tests for U.S. travel to avoid quarantines: American will start offering the tests on Wednesday. The tests are meant to help travelers avoid quarantine requirements that could preclude them from booking. The at-home tests are $129 and ordered online.”, CNBC December 8, 2020

Hong Kong temporarily blocks some airlines’ routes in Covid-19 prevention measure: Hong Kong has put a temporary ban on four international airlines flying specific routes into the city under a new law aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19, the Hong Kong government told CNN Friday. In a blow to potential holiday travelers, British Airways passenger flights from London into Hong Kong have been banned from December 12 to December 25, authorities said.”, CNN Travel, December 11, 2020

La Compagnie to Resume Operations in December: French airline La Compagnie (B0) will resume operations in December with three services between Paris Orly (ORY) and New York Newark (EWR). Intending to capture some holiday season travel, the innovative transatlantic business-class-only airline has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with operations on hold since March 18, 2020.”, Airways, December 6, 2020

Asia Pacific Countries

“Developing Asia’s projected 2020 contraction to be less severe than expected, ADB says: Developing Asia is on course to contract this year, but probably less than previously thought as China recovers faster than expected, although the prolonged pandemic remains a risk to the outlook, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Thursday.”, Reuters, December 9, 2020

Covid-19 Surge Hits South Korea and Japan, After They Had Contained Virus: Uptick in outbreaks among Asia’s coronavirus success stories comes after life had been restored to pre-pandemic levels. Some Asian countries that have been among the world’s most successful at containing Covid-19 are now struggling to beat back a winter resurgence, a sign of how elusive sustained progress can be until a vaccine gets rolled out widely.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2020


“Australia consumer sentiment hits 10-year high: A measure of Australian consumer sentiment climbed for the fourth straight month in December to a 10-year high as the country further relaxed virus restrictions and states opened their borders to each other. A measure of Australian consumer sentiment climbed for the fourth straight month in December to a 10-year high as the country further relaxed virus restrictions and states opened their borders to each other.”, Reuters, December 8, 2020


Knocked down (but up again): Brazil’s economy: In the three months to June, Brazil’s economy shrank by a record 9.7%, quarter-on-quarter. Most forecasters expect that today’s third-quarter figures will show a rebound of more than 8%. Big stimulus spending—including 265bn reais’ ($51bn) worth of monthly “coronavouchers” for 68m poor Brazilians—have boosted consumption, helped by an easing of social-distancing rules. The stronger-than-expected recovery has prompted the government to project a smaller contraction of GDP in 2020: 4.5%, rather than 4.7%.”, The London Economist, December 3, 2020

Mainland China

“China Car Sales Rise Again, Cementing Pandemic Recovery: To boost sales, government has been easing purchasing quotas and giving subsidies to car buyers. Car sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, rose for a fifth straight month in November, as strong demand and policy stimulus continued to cement the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2020

China Business – Opportunity or risk? A smarter approach: Pursuing business in China has never been easy, and now after a trade war, pandemic and other unfavorable conditions, it has become even more tricky. Yet, opportunities still abound for companies able to approach China smartly and employ the latest approaches to business…”, a YouTube® video on doing business right in China today, Chris Wingo, China Sage Consultants, Shanghai

“‘Made in China,’ Once a Badge of Derision, Finds New Fans—in China: After decades of lagging behind foreign rivals, domestic brands are increasingly competitive.”, Bloomberg Businessweek, December 2, 2020

Goldman Sachs shifts to full ownership of China securities joint venture: Goldman Sachs Group Inc has signed a pact to buy out its China joint venture partner to make it the most advanced foreign bank to take full ownership of a mainland securities business.”, Reuters, December 7, 2020

Chinese exports grow 21% amid global appetite for pandemic products:  China’s exports grew at their fastest pace this year in November, with rising global demand for the country’s goods pushing its trade surplus to the highest monthly level on record.”, The Financial Times. December 6, 2020

Trending in China: Starbucks Latest Expansion Leaves Netizens Unimpressed, as Some Still Show Love for Luckin: Starbucks has announced that it will open 600 new stores in China in its coming fiscal year. The news seems to be even more popular than an iced guava passionfruit apple latte topped with whipped cream – if such a thing exists – and is trending on Weibo with 90 million views and over 2,000 comments. Starbucks announced at an investor day event on Wednesday that it plans to expand its global footprint from the current 33,000 stores to 55,000 by 2030, focusing on what it calls “walk-thru” locations in busy metropolitan areas where customers can pick up their orders after placing them online using their smartphones.”, Caixing Global, December 11, 2020

European Union

“Europe Relaxes Covid-19 Rules For Christmas: France, Spain, the U.K. and parts of Germany will ease restrictions to let families get together, despite still-high contagion. Many European countries are planning to relax restrictions on travel and social contacts for the Christmas and New Year period despite still-high levels of coronavirus infections, bowing to public pressure to allow more family gatherings.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2020

“Ski resorts are closed in most of Europe, but not in Switzerland: France and Italy are keeping ski resorts closed through the holidays, but Switzerland’s share of the Alps is already open.”, Axios, December 4, 2020

“ECB gives euro zone new shot in arm to fight pandemic: The European Central Bank rolled out yet more stimulus measures on Thursday to lift the currency bloc out of a double-dip recession and provide support to the economy while its 350 million people wait for coronavirus vaccines to be deployed.”, Reuters, December 9, 2020


India Domestic Air Travel 65% back to pre COVID-19 Levels:  According to Indian Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola. nearly 65% of domestic air travel has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. The Secretary also said a strategy to bring the tourism industry back to its feet now needs to be established. According to, Kharola also said that air travel had become a favored mode of travel as a secure means of transport during the pandemic.”, Airways Magazine, December 1, 2020


Israelis Flock to the Gulf, Undeterred by Government Warning of Iranian Attacks: Israeli concerns come in the wake of the killing of a top Iranian scientist last month. Israelis are traveling in droves to the United Arab Emirates for work and pleasure, filling up the first-ever direct commercial flights between the two countries in pursuit of new opportunities in the Persian Gulf despite heightened tensions in the region.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020


Japan’s third quarter GDP revised up to annualised 22.9% growth: Japan’s economy grew an annualised 22.9% in July-September, better than the initial estimate of a 21.4% expansion, revised data from the Cabinet Office showed on Tuesday, as it rebounded from a COVID-induced recession.”, Reuters, December 7, 2020


South Korea to allocate 72.4% of 2021 fiscal outlays in first half: South Korea plans to spend most of its annual fiscal budget in the first half of 2021 to shore up growth hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.”, Reuters, December 7, 2020

As South Korea’s economy rebounds, small businesses struggle with tighter coronavirus curbs: Official figures show the country’s economy rebounding from its pandemic slump, with exports rising and growth data coming in stronger than expected. But all that means little to the small business owners hit by a slew of new Covid-19 restrictions in the wake of surging infection rates.”, South China Morning Post, December 4, 2020


“Peru economy minister sees room to upgrade 2021 growth forecasts: Peru expects to raise its economic growth projection for 2021 from the current forecast of 10% as coronavirus cases fall from this year’s devastating peaks, reinvigorating the world’s No. 2 copper miner, Economy Minister Waldo Mendoza told Reuters.”, Reuters, December 7, 2020

“Peru Will Reopen Its Borders With Europe On December 15: On Dec. 15, Peru will take a definitive step in its process of reopening tourism, with the government again allowing flights more than eight hours long to its territory. As announced, since Oct. 5, and as part of phase four of an economic reactivation plan, international operations with neighboring countries were authorized. And since early November, international flights lasting up to eight hours long have been allowed into and out of the country.”, Airline Geeks, December 10, 2020


“Thailand to reopen to the outside world next year, minister says: Thailand’s economy should rebound from the shock dealt by the coronavirus pandemic and be ready to reopen to the outside world by the second half of 2021, the kingdom’s finance minister told the Financial Times.”, The Financial Times, December 9, 2020

United Kingdom

U.K. Allows Banks to Resume Dividend Payments: Regulator says it isn’t necessary to extend precautionary action taken as the pandemic began. U.K. banks can resume paying dividends next year after regulators ended a ban introduced in March to make lenders conserve capital during the coronavirus pandemic.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2020

Brexit: UK and Singapore sign free trade agreement: Singapore and the UK signed a free trade deal in the Southeast Asian city-state on Thursday. The deal will cover a trade relationship worth more than $22bn (£17bn). The agreement largely mirrors an existing deal between Singapore and the European Union (EU).”, BBC News, December 10, 2020

United States

“CDC advisory panel recommends COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use: A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Saturday recommended the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, helping clear the way for public health authorities to begin the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history.”, Reuters, December 12, 2020

“U.S. expects to have immunized 100 million against COVID-19 by end of March: The United States expects to have immunized 100 million people with the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March, the chief adviser for the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine program said on Sunday.”, Reuters, December 13, 2020

Small business owners’ optimism ticks up, still trails pre-pandemic levels: The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey reveals an uptick in optimism from some owners regarding the pandemic’s impact on their livelihood, though overall positivity remains far below pre-pandemic outlooks. Results from the fourth quarter survey show small business owners are notably more optimistic about the future compared to responses in April and slightly more hopeful than in July.”, The Hill, December 8, 2020

U.S. economy to slow in first-quarter but reach pre-COVID-19 levels in a year: Reuters poll: U.S. economic growth will lose momentum this quarter and next but expand faster than previously thought after that, according to a Reuters poll of economists, a firm majority of whom now expect the economy to reach pre-COVID-19 levels within a year.”, Reuters, December 9, 2020

Amazon Wants to Train 29 Million People to Work in the Cloud: New programs seek to help people from Montana to Nigeria attain roles ranging from tech support to machine learning. Amazon announced an effort Thursday aimed at helping 29 million people world-wide retrain by 2025, giving them new skills for cloud-computing roles as the pandemic upends many careers. The online giant committed $700 million last year to reskilling 100,000 of its own workers in the U.S. The new effort will build on existing programs and include new ones in partnership with nonprofits, schools and others.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2020

More Americans Are Becoming Their Own Bosses in the Coronavirus Economy: To adapt to pandemic-related job loss, Americans are becoming entrepreneurs. Emerging entrepreneurs have found success by offering services to people who are faring better economically. Interest in freelancing has also increased during the pandemic….”, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2020

Brand News

Health and Fitness Trends in Asia”, Sean Ngo, VF Franchise Consulting, December 9, 2020

Over 900 cars paid for each other’s meals at a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Minnesota: What started as a random act of kindness from one man paying for the car behind him in a Dairy Queen drive-thru resulted in over 900 cars also taking part in the pay it forward chain.”, CNN, December 9, 2020

“3 actionable insights with… Denny’s brand chief John Dillon: ‘America’s Diner‘ has managed to beat earnings estimates thanks to some smart, speedy and soul-searching adjustments throughout the year. Denny’s 1,700 locations dialed up four key guest-centric themes: reassurance, value, comfort and convenience. Changes have included a greater emphasis on its Denny’s on Demand curbside offering, value deals like free pancakes delivered and a thoughtful programs honoring US veterans – with more on-deck for this challenging holiday season.”, The Drum, December 3, 2020

“You won’t be able to get Popeyes in this country anymore: The fast-food restaurant business is growing fast in South Korea (via Statista), but Popeyes won’t be part of that wave. The Korea Herald reports the chicken chain will close all of its South Korean locations at the end of this year.”, Mashed, December 9, 2020

Starbucks chief bullish as crisis engulfs smaller coffee shops: Kevin Johnson targets market share gains as rivals falter and customers return to the office: The global pandemic will only briefly interrupt Starbucks’ industry-beating growth, Kevin Johnson told the Financial Times, as he overhauls cafés, deploys artificial intelligence and raises wages to sharpen the competitive advantage of the world’s biggest coffee chain. ‘People will be back in Starbucks stores at a rate far beyond what they were pre-pandemic,’ he said in an interview on the eve of a biennial investor day.”, The Financial Times, December 8, 2020

5 Popular Fast Food Restaurants That You Won’t Even Recognize Next Year: Recent innovations inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically changed several brands’ image.”, Eat This, Not That!, December 9, 2020

At InXpress, Covid Has Shortened the Time from Signing to Opening”,, December 2020

Articles and Charts About Doing Business in The Times Of COVID-19 and Beyond

“Worldwide Cost of Living 2020: How is Covid-19 affecting the prices of consumer goods?”, The Economist Intelligence Unit, December 2020

Nearly a third of workers don’t want to ever return to the office: To get an eye on the future of work, Future Forum by Slack conducted a three-month survey of over 9,000 knowledge workers or skilled office workers around the world—something they used to build their Remote Employee Experience Index. Future Forum by Slack gave Fortune Analytics exclusive access to that raw data.”, Fortune, December 6, 2020

Speeding up to become even more consumer-obsessed: An interview with GSK’s Keith Choy: The leader of GlaxoSmithKline’s Asia–Pacific Consumer Healthcare group describes how his organization is speeding up to serve consumers, despite the heightened uncertainty of COVID-19. The massive uncertainty around COVID-19 has fixed some companies—and managers—in place, making them unable to react quickly to the changes affecting their business. But for others, it’s been a catalyst for change and an opportunity to gain new insights about their customers’ needs and to demonstrate their agility to adapt and grow.”, McKinsey, December 9, 2020

Grading Our 2020 Annual Forecast as 2021 Approaches: Every December here at Stratfor, we sit down and do the critical work of self-assessment, taking the forecast we made the previous December and seeing how it stacked up against actual world events. Even with the pandemic throwing the world a little askew, we still had a strong 2020 forecast with quite a few hits and just a handful of misses.”, Stratfor, December 11, 2020

“Rethinking Supply Chains”, Council on Foreign Relations, December 10, 2020

Who We Are and What We Do for Companies ‘Going Global’?

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for U.S. businesses Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving. around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.

Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) takes U.S. businesses global and currently has activity in 25 countries.  Our Clients are all consumer-faced brands.  Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence

Find out more about the services we provide U.S. companies Going Global at:

Download our 4th quarter 2020 GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking chart at this link:

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William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He has 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  Mr. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.



For market research, operations and development support on taking your business global, contact Mr. Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.