EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 79, Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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

Introduction: In this issue, inflation falling around the world, AI spreading, EV adoption spreading, oil rising again, Middle East IPOs are up, UK house prices are down and post pandemic western food & beverage brands are once again on the rise in China as Chinese consumers are heading back to stores and restaurants.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“Take risks. Failure is a stepping stone to success.”, Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

“The road to success is always under construction.” , Lily Tomlin, actress and comedian

This issue’s quotes are compliments of

Highlights in issue #79:

  • Brand Global News Section:  BurgerFi®, Dominos®, Haidilao®, KX Pilates®, Popeyes® and Starbucks® China


Interesting Data and Studies

Artificial intelligence has advanced despite having few resources dedicated to its development – now investments have increased substantially. In the past, relatively few researchers were working on AI technology and there was little commercial interest and funding. Now, the available resources have increased substantially. We should expect that the field continues to advance rapidly.”, Our World In Data, March 29, 2023

The World’s 25 Richest Countries by GDP per Capita – Measuring GDP per capita is a common measure of the economic wealth on a per person basis. This article sorts countries according to the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections on GDP per capita for 2023. Currently this metric is at $13,920 globally in 2023, up from $13,400 in 2022 and $11,160 in 2020, all nominal figures, not accounting for inflation.”, Visual Capitalist, March 29, 2023

Actions the best CEOs are taking in 2023 – Corporate leaders are addressing the risks while finding the opportunities in digital disruption, the economy, and geopolitical uncertainties. the torrent of trends, ideas, and information that leaders now face makes knowing what matters more difficult than ever…….McKinsey conducted its latest CEO Excellence Survey, to take the pulse of leading CEOs’ evolving priorities and the actions they’re taking in response. We started by asking a group of the world’s top-performing CEOs which trends will have the biggest impact on how they lead their business in 2023 compared with past years. Their answers suggest that three “true signals” matter most: digital disruption, the economy, and geopolitics.” McKinsey, March 15, 2023


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

Data explorer: consumer price inflation – Annual % change in consumer price index

Global inflation tracker – Inflation has started to show signs of easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. High inflation remains geographically broad-based, even if it is lower in many parts of Asia.”, The Financial Times, March 31, 2023

Oil Prices Jump as Saudi-Led Group Plans Output Cuts – Potential U.S. recession and China’s demand will help determine whether crude pushes even higher. Tallying up Sunday’s commitments by Saudi Arabia, Iraq and others, OPEC producers say they will cut daily output by more than 1.1 million barrels from May, according to Natasha Kaneva, head of commodities research at JPMorgan Chase.”, The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2023

Electric vehicles are forecast to be half of global car sales by 2035 – EV sales will soar to about 73 million units in 2040, up from around 2 million in 2020, according to forecasts by Goldman Sachs Research. The percentage of EVs in worldwide car sales, meanwhile, is expected to rise to 61% from 2% during that span. The share of EV sales is anticipated to be well over 80% in many developed countries.”, Goldman Sachs, February 10, 2023

The global rice crisis – Rice feeds more than half the world—but also fuels diabetes and climate change. Asia accounts for 90% of the world’s rice production and almost as much of its consumption. Asians get more than a quarter of their daily calories from rice. The un estimates that the average Asian consumes 77kg of rice a year—more than the average African, European and American combined. Hundreds of millions of Asian farmers depend on growing the crop, many with only tiny patches of land. Yet the world’s rice bowl is cracking.”, The Economist, March 28, 2023


Global & Regional Travel Updates

Flights at Cathay Pacific budget carrier HK Express ‘back to pre-pandemic levels by Friday – Airline seeks 500 staff as it ramps up services. Low-cost carrier took delivery of the first of 16 narrow-body Airbus A321neo aircraft on Wednesday… the carrier’s service frequency would return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the month with more than 400 flights per week and 500 by the summer to around 22 destinations. HK Express is looking to expand network and aims to hire 180 pilots and more than 300 cabin crew by the end of the year.”, South China Morning Post, March 29, 2023


Country & Regional Updates


IMF approves next tranche of emergency loans to Argentina – The $5.4 billion set for disbursement brings the total lent to the Latin American country under the Extended Fund Facility to $28.9 billion. Argentina is the target of the IMF’s largest assistance program. The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved late on Friday the disbursement of $5.4 billion (approximately €4.97 billion) to Argentina, as part of a $44 billion loan program to the Latin American nation struggling with an ailing economy.”, Deutsche Welle, March 31, 2023


Canada’s Population Grows by Over 1 Million for First Time – Annual expansion of 2.7% is fastest among advanced economies. Rush of newcomers strains housing market, health-care system. International migration accounted for 95.9% of the growth — a testament to Canada’s decision to counter the economic drag of an aging populace by throwing its doors open to newcomers.”, Bloomberg, March 27, 2023


China’s Consumers Extend Economic Rebound From Pandemic – A gauge of activity in China’s services sector reached its highest level in more than a decade in March, a sign that Chinese consumers are heading back to stores and restaurants, powering an economic recovery following the end of almost three years of strict Covid-19 controls.”, The Wall Street Journal, Mach 31, 2023

Eurozone & European Union Countries

Eurozone inflation lower than expected, as energy costs drop – Inflation in the Eurozone slowed sharply to 6.9% in an unexpected turnaround after months of steady increases. The 20 countries that make up the Eurozone recorded slowed inflation rates, although food prices rose with energy prices falling official, European Union’s statistics agency revealed on Friday. -Consumer prices in the Eurozone rose by 6.9% in March, but that represented a decrease from 8.5% in February, the data showed.”, Deutsche Welle, March 31, 2023


From fast food to autos, India’s digitally connected users lure investors – China saw a jump in consumption from 2006 when, as per World Bank data, its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) crossed $2,000. India crossed that threshold in 2021, according to the bank’s latest available data, which could put it on a similar growth trajectory even though weak job growth and income inequalities in the country pose a risk to this outcome.

With the cheapest mobile data rates in the world, thanks to intense competition among telecoms providers, and the explosive growth of social media and personal entertainment, Indian consumers are going digital at a breakneck pace.”, Reuters, April 2, 2023

India Offers Rupee Trade Option to Nations Facing Dollar Crunch – New Delhi has been pushing to internationalize the rupee Central bank unveiled plans for rupee settlement last year. India will offer its currency as an alternative for trade to countries that are facing a shortage of dollars in the wake of the sharpest tightening in monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve in decades. Facilitating the rupee trade for countries facing currency risk will help “disaster proof” them, Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said during an announcement on India’s foreign trade policy Friday in New Delhi.”, Bloomberg, March 31, 2023

India’s Emerging Foreign Policy – India’s economic rise has validated its historical efforts to maintain a diverse set of foreign relations. Russia’s war in Ukraine is both an opportunity and a challenge for New Delhi’s foreign policy approach. While managing pressures from Western governments to help isolate Moscow, the Indians have also been trying to assert themselves on the world stage. The South Asian powerhouse will not content itself with being merely an ally of the West and instead will maintain its policy independence, with implications for the U.S.-Chinese rivalry.”, Geopolitical Futures, March 29, 2023


Nickel Revolution Has Indonesia Chasing Battery Riches Tinged With Risk – A wave of new supply from the Southeast Asian nation, key for climate goals, is challenging metal markets and a pristine environment. Within two years, Indonesia could supply 65% of the world’s nickel, up from 30% in 2020, Macquarie Group Ltd. estimates. With so much metal outside the London Metal Exchange and the Shanghai exchange, Indonesia threatens to upend even nickel pricing benchmarks.”, Bloomberg, March 28, 2023


ChatGPT banned in Italy over privacy, data collection concerns – Calls have grown in the United States to stop development of the AI technology. The Italian Data Protection Authority said it is blocking OpenAI from processing the data from American users, and has opened an investigation into the organization. The order lasts until OpenAI respects the EU’s privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”, Fox Business, March 29, 2023


Tokyo Inflation Slows Ahead of BOJ Leadership Change to Ueda – Production, retail sales improve in more positive sign Labor market worsens slightly in challenge for wages outlook. Consumer prices excluding fresh food in the capital rose 3.2% from a year ago, following a sharp deceleration in the previous month that was mainly driven by government subsidies for electricity costs, according to the ministry of internal affairs Friday.”, Bloomberg, March 30, 2023

South Korea

Five trends that will define South Korean grocery in 2023 – South Korean consumers are increasingly shifting from cooking from scratch to eating out or more conveniently. What does “convenience” mean? According to our 2021 South Korea grocery survey,1 45 percent of consumers prefer prepackaged and partially cooked fresh meals that require some preparation (compared with 34 percent of the world), and 41 percent order prepared foods for delivery (versus 24 percent of the world).”, McKinsey, March 22, 2023


Mexico Sees Inflation Slowing to 4% in 2024 as Economy Grows 3% – Finance Ministry released preliminary budget plan for 2024 The country’s economy expected to grow 3% this year and next. Inflation in Latin America’s second-largest economy is expected to slow to 5% by the close of this year and reach 4% by the end of 2024, from the most recent level of 7.12% in early March.”, Bloomberg, March 31, 2023

Middle East Region

Middle East on ‘radar’ of global investors as it enjoys IPO boom – Frenzy of activity across the region contrasts sharply with Europe’s moribund market.  The 51 IPOs across the Middle East and north Africa last year was a record, according to EY. They raised $22bn, a 179 per cent increase on 2021, the advisory firm said, adding that this year’s market looked “healthy”. Financial regulatory reform, a privatisation push amid political stability and oil and gas prices that have risen significantly from their Covid-19 pandemic lows are driving both the IPO frenzy and private deals, bankers said.”, The Financial Times, March 27, 2023

United Kingdom

Joining this trade partnership opens up a world of opportunity – The UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a significant milestone for UK trade. This landmark deal will help the UK enhance its trading links in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthen its ties with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. It is a marker of the UK’s strong position on the global stage that we are the first country from outside the Pacific Rim to join this bloc — and our presence will enhance its total value from 13 per cent of global GDP to 15 per cent, making it worth £11 trillion.”, The Times of London, April 1, 2023

House prices see biggest annual fall since 2009 – House prices fell in March at their fastest annual pace for 14 years, according to the latest figures from the Nationwide. The lender said prices were down 3.1% compared with a year earlier, the largest annual decline since July 2009. The Nationwide said the housing market reached a “turning point” last year, after the financial market turbulence which followed the mini-budget. Since then, “activity has remained subdued”, it added.”, BBC News, March 31, 2023

Businesses in battle to find skilled staff – Most British businesses are struggling to plug gaps in their workforces amid a shortage of skilled talent. About 80 per cent of companies reported difficulty filling jobs, according to the latest talent shortage survey by ManpowerGroup, the American recruitment giant. That marks the highest percentage since 2006, while the proportion of businesses reporting difficulties with recruitment has jumped from 13 per cent a decade ago.”, The Sunday Times of London, March 27, 2023

United States

Remote work gains momentum despite return-to-office mandates from high-profile CEOs – In some major US cities, the number of job postings for remote-friendly roles is hitting record levels — and trending up. That’s the latest finding of researchers including Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom who’ve been gathering data on remote work since the early days of the pandemic. Data from security firm Kastle Systems show that office occupancy in major US cities is only about half of the pre-Covid level.”, Fortune, March 25, 2023


Brand & Franchising News

2023 Franchising Economic Outlook Predicts Industry Will Stay Strong – Despite economic uneasiness from ongoing inflation, labor shortages and supply chain problems, the franchise industry remained healthy last year and most sectors are expected to grow steadily in 2023, according to the 2023 Franchising Economic Outlook Report by FRANdata. In 2022, total franchised units grew 2% to a total of 790,492. The report projects that franchisee-owned businesses will increase by 15,000 units, to a total of roughly 805,000 this year. Franchising will grow by about 254,000 jobs, a 3% increase over 2022.”, FranchiseWire, March 22, 2023

Study Finds 2 Out of 3 Restaurant Franchise Operators Feel Optimistic – Yet another survey has confirmed that restaurant operators are most concerned about inflation as they operate in 2023. But TD Bank’s Restaurant Franchise Finance Group’s new survey also finds people in the restaurant industry optimistic about the future and finding opportunities to invest. The poll surveyed 300 restaurant franchise operators and other finance professionals at the 2022 Restaurant Finance and Development Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to identify restaurant franchise finance trends.”,, March 30, 2023

The Franchise in Spain 2023 Report Shows Post-Pandemic Resilience – The data shows that the turnover (revenue) figure grew by 2.9%, from €26,154 million at the end of 2019 to €26,929 million at year-end 2022. In 2022 franchising in Spain provided jobs for 303,595 people, compared with 294,231 employed in 2019, an increase of 3.18%. The number of networks that make up the country’s franchise system fell slightly, from 1,381 at the end of 2019 to 1,375 at year-end 2022, a decline of 0.5%. The number of open establishments also fell slightly (0.7%), from 77,819 operational premises at the end of 2019 to 77,426 at the end of 2022. Of Spain’s 1,375 franchise networks, 1,137 (82.6% ) are of national origin. The remaining 238 brands (17.4%) come from a total of 24 countries.”,, March 28, 2023

BurgerFi Predicts Growth Despite Financial Woes And Closures – BurgerFi closed 15 stores in 2022 and 17 in 2021, on top of many other pandemic-related closures in 2020 (via QSR Magazine). As of 2022, the chain has 114 total remaining stores, all located exclusively in the U.S., 11 of which it opened in 2022. The chain cited the previous store closures as the result of staffing shortages, lack of capital, and inadequate operational knowledge. Looking forward, BurgerFi expects to opens 15 to 20 stores in 2023, including airport restaurants…..”, Tasting Table, March 25, 2023

Chinese top hotpot chain’s overseas unit sees profit this year – The overseas unit of China’s biggest hotpot chain Haidilao expects to return to profit this year, after posting almost 80% year-on-year growth in revenue for 2022 late on Thursday. Originally founded in Sichuan Province of China in 1994, Haidilao now operates more than 1,300 stores across China……Haidilao currently has 114 stores overseas, including a new store opened in Dubai this month, its first venture into the Middle East market.”, Reuters, March 30, 2023

Domino’s (China) Pizza Franchiser DPC Dash Looks to Tap Hong Kong IPO Market – The pizza chain operator has set a price range of HK$41.4 to HK$55.0 a share. The latest offering is higher than its earlier plan to raise up to HK$567.50 million. The Shanghai-headquartered company began managing Domino’s Pizza outlets in China in 2010, and now operates more than 450 of the restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and eight other cities across the country.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2023

KX Pilates (Australia) eyes global expansion as it celebrates 100 studios – Founded by fitness entrepreneur Aaron Smith, KX Pilates opened its first studio in Melbourne in 2010 and now spans across 100 studios in Australia and the broader Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Indonesia, China and Taiwan, and is soon to launch in Singapore.  It counts six international studios and 94 Australian-based studios in its franchised network, with Noosa taking the title as the 100th location.  In 2023, a further 15 new studios are on the cards, and 2024 is forecasted to be bigger than ever for the global business.”, Smart Company AU, March 14, 2023. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

Popeyes to Accelerate Growth in China  – Roughly $90 million is being poured into growth and development efforts. Tims China, the master franchisee rapidly growing Tim Hortons across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, announced Thursday that it will spearhead growth for Popeyes as well. The company purchased PLKC International (Popeyes China), which holds exclusive rights to develop and sub-franchise Popeyes in mainland China and Macau.”, QSR Magazine. March 31, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Starbucks braced for price war in China as rivals pile into coffee market – Chains backed by private equity bet consumers will turn social pastime into daily routine. The US chain plans to open a store in China every nine hours to reach 9,000 locations by 2025, up from just over 6,000 currently. As with many consumer brands in China, Starbucks’s expectations of a big rebound rest on projections for a huge market opportunity, but they are tempered by increased competition from international and domestic rivals and often fickle consumer habits.”, The Financial Times, March 22, 2023


To receive this biweekly newsletter, click here :


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, 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 – 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 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.

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking