EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 98, Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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

Introduction: In this issue, my latest article, “Doing Global Business In These Times”, which global economy did best in 2023, the most used AI tools in 2023, the best and worst global airports, how KFC became Japan’s preferred Christmas food (really!), Turkey raises its interest rates to 42.5%, McDonalds’ new brand and the USA is seeing the lowest inflation in years.

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 For These Times

“Cheers to another year and another chance to get it right.”, Oprah Winfrey

“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.”, Abraham Maslow

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”, Hal Borland

Highlights in issue #98:

  • Brand Global News Section: CosMc’s®, Greggs®, KFC®, Luckin Coffee®, Tim Hortons® and YUM China


Interesting Data, Articles and Studies

Doing Global Business in These Times – Doing business cross border has significantly changed due to the pandemic.  This article looks at changes in doing global business in recent years from a practitioner’s perspective, specific trends and factors that impact successful brand entry into a new country and how several countries where you might take your business are expected to do economically in 2024. What has changed and what is the picture for doing cross border business in 2024? Below are some factors to keep in mind when planning your 2024 new country marketing budget.”, Momentum Magazine, December 15, 2023. This article is by your newsletter editor, William (Bill) Edwards

Here Are The Most Used AI Tools Of 2023 – Artificial intelligence was all the rage in 2023. From writing assistants to generative media tools, hundreds of millions — scratch that, billions — of users have incorporated artificial intelligence into their workflows in unprecedented ways…..the top 50 AI tools generated 24.3 billion visits between September 2022 and August 2023, with traffic increasing by an average of 236.3 million visits per month.”, Slash Gear, December 23, 2023

Big tech and geopolitics are reshaping the internet’s plumbing – Data cables are turning into economic and strategic assets. Submarine cables used to be seen as the internet’s dull plumbing. Now giants of the data economy, such as Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft, are asserting more control over the flow of data, even as tensions between China and America risk splintering the world’s digital infrastructure. The result is to turn undersea cables into prized economic and strategic assets.”, The Economist magazine, December 20, 2023


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

Annual % change in consumer price index

Global Inflation Tracker – Inflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, December 11, 2023

These are the world’s most expensive cities – EIU’s cost-of-living index shows where prices are highest. Tied in first place this year were Singapore and Zurich. Western European cities, including Copenhagen, Dublin and Vienna, take around half of the top 20 spots. The three biggest climbers were Santiago de Querétaro and Aguascalientes in Mexico, and Costa Rica’s capital, San José. Beijing was one of four Chinese cities among the ten biggest decliners in the ranking.”, The Economist, November 29, 2023


Global & Regional Travel Updates

The World’s Best and Worst Airports for 2023 Offer Plenty of SurprisesAccording to an annual ranking by AirHelp, US airports continue to miss the mark—as do hubs in many of the most-visited cities around the world. The results say that the world’s best airport is Oman’s Muscat International. In second and third place, respectively, are Brazil’s Recife-Guararapes International Airport and South Africa’s Cape Town International Airport. Japan and Brazil generally dominate in airport performance, with each counting three locations on the Top 10 list of best global airports. Of US hubs, only three made it onto the world’s Top 50 list: Minneapolis-St. Paul International (No. 13), Seattle-Tacoma International (No. 34) and Detroit Metropolitan Airport Wayne County (No. 38). European airports didn’t do much better, with just nine making it into the Top 50 best airport experiences of the world, according to AirHelp. Bilbao Airport in northern Spain took the No. 1 spot in Europe.”, Bloomberg, December 19, 2023


Country & Regional Updates


Milei Unveils Broad Reforms to Liberalize Argentina Economy – Plan will face opposition in congress and from labor unions Measures come after deep budget cuts, sharp peso devaluation. President Javier Milei announced sweeping reforms to reduce the hand of the state in Argentina’s economy, including steps to privatize companies, facilitate exports and end price controls, in a bold political move that’s likely to face pushback in congress and courts.The libertarian leader listed 30 initial points of his plan in a televised address Wednesday night, adding they’re part of a broader package containing over 300 measures. He presented the all-around reforms as an attempt to free Argentines from the “oppression” of the state and its bureaucrats, in line with his campaign pledges.”, Bloomberg, December 20, 2023


China’s Yuan Overtakes Yen to Rank Fourth for Global Payments – The yuan overtook the Japanese yen to become the fourth-most used currency by value in global payments for the first time in almost two years, according to a monthly tracker of the Chinese currency released by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).”, Caixin Global, December 22, 2023

China’s Foreign Direct Investment Drops to Near Four-Year Low – A measure of foreign investment into China fell to the lowest in nearly four years in November, underlining how geopolitical tensions and a slowing economy have combined to convince foreign companies to slow their expansion. New actually utilized foreign capital received by the country was 53.3 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) last month, down 19.5% from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data published by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday. That’s the worst number since February 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit.”, Bloomberg, December 21, 2023


Which economy did best in 2023?Another unlikely triumph. The Economist has compiled data on five indicators—inflation, “inflation breadth”, gdp, jobs and stockmarket performance—for 35 mostly rich countries. We have ranked them according to how well they have done on these measures, creating an overall score. The table shows the rankings, and some surprising results. Top of the charts, for the second year running, is Greece—a remarkable result for an economy that was until recently a byword for mismanagement. Aside from South Korea, many of the other standout performers are in the Americas.”, The Economist, December 17, 2023


How KFC Became Japan’s Hallmark Christmas FoodAh, Christmas food. Maybe you go for a large, typical spread of roast this and roast that with various vegetables and sauces, rolls, and apple pie. Or maybe you live in Japan and queue up outside of a KFC waiting for a deluxe Christmas meal pack of crispy fried chicken like your artery-clogging parents before you. Hold on, you say: “Folks eat KFC for Christmas in Japan?” Yes, indeed. Feel free to peruse a Japanese-language KFC Christmas menu online; it doesn’t matter if you don’t read Japanese because everything has a picture.”, Grunge, December 20, 2023

South Korea

S.Korea banks pledge $1.5 bln for small businesses amid push to share profits – South Korea’s commercial banks will provide 2 trillion won ($1.53 billion) to support small businesses, the organisation representing the lenders said on Thursday, amid political and regulatory pressure to share more of their profits with society. The Korea Federation of Banks, which represents 23 financial institutions including Kookmin Bank and Woori Bank, said of the total, 1.6 trillion won will be used as cash refund for interest payments borrowers made, to help them cope with the rising costs of living as interest rates climb.”, The Daily Mail (UK), December 20, 2023


Turkey raises rates to 42.5%, nearing end of cycle – Some analysts said one more rate hike was on the cards after seven straight months of tightening. The central bank has lifted its one-week repo rate by 3,400 basis points since June, when President Tayyip Erdogan appointed former Wall Street banker Hafize Gaye Erkan as its governor to conduct a sharp pivot toward more orthodox policies. It had raised rates by 500 basis points in each of the last three months but last month said tightening would soon end.”, The Daily Mail (UK), December 21, 2023

United Kingdom

UK economy on brink of recession after growth falls – Gross domestic product revised down to -0.1% in the third quarter. The downgrades mean that the economy has expanded by 0.3 per cent so far this year, down from economists’ projections of 0.6 per cent, and the economy overall is 1.4 per cent larger than pre-pandemic levels.”, The Times of London, December 22, 2023

Britain’s cost-of-living squeeze will leave an enduring mark – Britons are going to the discounters more and going out less. Those habits may stick. The worst of Britain’s most sustained period of high inflation since the 1970s is coming to an end. The headline rate of consumer-price inflation in November fell to an annual pace of 3.9%, its lowest reading in more than two years. Such a prolonged squeeze is likely to reshape consumer behaviour. The most persistent shifts will probably be in food. Along with energy, food was a major cause of the spike in goods prices in 2021 and 2022….. Unlike energy bills, food prices are still rising at a fast clip. They were up by 9.2% in the year to November.”, The Economist, December 22, 2023

United States

How has the structure of American households changed over time? In 2022, more than half of American households were childless: 29% were married households without children, and 28.9% were single households without kids. More than a quarter of households included parents — 17.8% were married households, while 8.1% were single-parent households. In 1960, households with married parents represented over 44% of all American households, while slightly over 13% were single with no children. Today, that’s inverted — in 2022, single people living alone and married couples without children outnumbered married-parent households.”, Voronoi – USA Facts, December 12, 2023

The US Inflation Fight Approaches Victory – The US Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of underlying inflation barely rose last month and—by one measure—even trailed the policymaker’s 2% target. That marks the first time in three years the Fed has achieved its definition of price stability after waging war on inflation triggered by the pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine and various other things. Americans can now look ahead to a likely reduction in interest rates next year and more affordability of almost everything (though savers may grumble).”, Bloomberg, December 23, 2023


Brand & Franchising News

East Lothian Greggs: ‘Huge milestone’ as 500th franchise shop opens in Monktonhall outside Edinburgh – The new shop is a partnership between Greggs and the UK’s largest independent forecourt operator MFG. The landmark opening comes one year after Greggs launched their 400th shop and is one of 71 franchised units that opened in 2023, with these locations now accounting for approximately 20 per cent of the retailer’s total estate.”, Edinburgh Evening News, December 15, 2023

Yum China’s CEO on Chinese consumers’ incredible hunger for foreign brands – On a recent episode of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, co-host Alan Murray talks with Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. The company, which is listed on both the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges, was spun off from Yum! in 2016. Wat, who started working at age 9 in a factory in Hong Kong, oversees 14,000 stores across brands including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Little Sheep, and Huang Ji Huang. About 90% of the restaurants are company-owned, with just 10% run by franchisees. In 2024, Yum China will open more than four new stores per day.”, Fortune, December 20, 2023

Luckin Coffee (China) in dispute with Thai company over trademark – China’s Luckin Coffee might be facing overseas trademark infringement compensation after a Thai group reportedly filed for 10 billion baht (US$290 million) compensation. Thailand’s 50R Group formally submitted a lawsuit to the local court requesting China’s Luckin Coffee compensate for economic losses. China’s Luckin Coffee, founded in 2017, said in August last year that the Thai stores bearing the same name were counterfeit.”,, December 12, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons to open 150 outlets in Korea within 5 years – Tim Hortons has decided to enter the Korean market, which has a vibrant coffee market where coffee consumptions per person is almost threefold the global average, the company said in a statement. Korea will be the seventh Asian country to have a Tim Hortons shop following China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, it said. The Ontario-based coffee chain, founded in Canada in 1964, currently operates more than 5,700 stores in 17 countries around the world, including the United States and China.”, The Korea Times, December 12, 2023. Compliments of Stephen Armstrong, MAPLE U.S.-Canada Business Council, Irvine, California

A Trip to CosMc’s, McDonald’s New Space-Themed Takeout Chain – Expect sweet drinks—and plenty of quality time in the car—in the first few days for the new offshoot. The space-themed brand is the fast-food giant’s first new U.S. restaurant concept in its more than 60-year history, designed to deliver a beverage-heavy menu through takeout-focused locations built with multiple drive-throughs.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2023


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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 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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