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Archive for October, 2011

Newly rich Chinese investors buying French vineyards, gaining recognition

With the growing economy of China making many citizens into upperclass consumers, they are increasingly consuming fine wines and enjoying other pleasures of the “high life”.

Some have even bought up French vineyards. In fact, according to this article on BBC News, “Chinese investors have bought six estates over the last three years.” But their activity is not limited to France, as China has been developing its own wine industry that is gaining recognition. It’s also well known that Hong Kong is a developed wine hub.

Excerpts from the article are below. Click on link above for full article.

For those of my readers with personal experience in winemaking and/or China, and how do you see this development?

Chinese buy their favourite Bordeaux by the vineyard
By David Chazan
BBC News, Bordeaux, France
26 October 2011

With its fairytale turrets and a 15th-Century tower, Chateau Latour Laguens is surrounded by vineyards in a region steeped in European tradition.

But this chateau, south-east of Bordeaux, is also at the cutting edge of Asia’s growing economic might.

The staff who tend the vineyards and make the wine are still French, but this is now a Chinese-owned domain.

It has been taken over by the Longhai group based in eastern China, which has created a subsidiary to run it called Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

The Chinese are developing a new taste for French wines these days.

And in addition to buying them by the bottle or the case, the Chinese have also started buying the vineyards where their favourite Bordeaux vintages are produced.

Chateau Latour-Laguens was the first estate in Bordeaux to be bought by Chinese investors three years ago, but at least five others are now also Chinese-owned.

“We’re looking for the know-how, French technology and culture,” said Yilain Xu of Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

“Bordeaux is a famous place to make high-quality wine and in China we have more and more people who drink wine, as lifestyles are changing.”

The new owners of Chateau Latour-Laguens have invested in the latest wine-making technology, and are renovating the chateau itself, which was somewhat run down before they took over.

But they have been careful to keep the French workers, and have hired an experienced French oenologist, or expert in the science of winemaking, to manage the operation and improve the quality of the wine…

Parlez-vous MBA? A look at languages in MBA programs

October 26, 2011 1 comment

The Economist has a long-running column “Which MBA?” and a recent post talks about something with which you are all likely well acquainted: the role of foreign languages in education. The article features two French schools: INSEAD and Grenoble School of Management.

Do you think that learning foreign languages is an important factor in deciding an MBA program?

Parlez-vous MBA?
Oct 18th 2011, 16:32 by S.H.

SPEAKING three languages wasn’t enough for Lenka Menden. When it came to choosing where to study for an MBA, she wanted a chance to absorb a new culture and learn yet another tongue. “My first language is Czech, I studied for a degree in business administration in Germany and I went on to take an MSc in Prague,” she explains. “I then worked for three-and-a-half years as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in Canary Wharf.”

Ms Menden turned down the chance of studying at London Business School, instead choosing IESE in Barcelona, because she thought it would open new doors. “Staying in London I would have been in the same environment and there wouldn’t be that many challenges. So I learned a new language alongside my MBA because Spanish is a very important language of business. I have extended my personal network to include people from Mexico, Spain and the Philippines. I can now work anywhere in Europe or in an emerging economy,” she says.

High-profile business schools still teach primarily in English. But many, especially in Europe, are beginning to realise that language tuition is a big selling point. The attraction of learning a language is two-fold. With so many alumni on the market, bi-lingualism distinguishes the exceptional MBA from the run of the mill. And in a global business, the ability to speak languages and understand cultures is vital.

INSEAD, which has campuses in France and Singapore, has a three-language requirement. Students joining its MBA programme must be fluent in English and proficient in at least one other. A third language of a student’s own choice is taught alongside the MBA. Facility in that language is a condition of being awarded an MBA. “It’s about developing a cultural sensitivity and is a way of becoming a global citizen,” says Leila Murat, the school’s assistant director of MBA admissions.

Chinese whispers
Mandarin is popular on both campuses. A quarter of students are of Asian origin and many Westerners come to the business school specifically to gain insight into doing business in China. Other emerging markets are shaping interest too: Portuguese and Russian are also becoming more popular, says Ms Murat.

Despite Anglophones’ reputation for lazyness in this area, such stringent language requirements don’t seem to be putting off English-speaking students. INSEAD has seen applications from America more than double in the past five years. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks. For one, teaching languages is expensive. The most effective method is face-to-face. That means recruiting native speakers.

But how easy is it to find a native Chinese speaker in a provincial city? At Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France, they can call on the university’s renowned languages department. But responding to students’ demands is not always easy. Japanese teachers are particularly hard to source, says Carol Gally, the school’s language co-ordinator. She says she often has to rely on the partners of people employed on the campus coming forward to teach.

Grenoble’s students are given 72 hours of language tuition over two semesters, with classes running into the early evening after the MBA teaching finishes. Compulsory French classes expose students to everyday situations, official documents and radio and television. Beginners start with the basics, such as how to shop, eat and drink. Other languages are then taught in the medium of French.

At IESE, learning Spanish is a big attraction for international students such as Ms Menden. Although the MBA is taught in English, some second-year modules are in Spanish. The school’s aim is to graduate students fluent in both languages. Ninety per cent of students pass the Spanish element and qualify for what is known as a bi-lingual MBA.

Students are advised to come to Barcelona to attend a summer language school before joining the programme. This makes them more employable, according to Javier Munoz, IESE’s admissions officer. The internships arranged through the business school demand fluency in Spanish; without considerable language skills the offers from Spanish banks, engineering firms and car manufacturers would not be forthcoming. Given the current economic situation in the country, they need all the advantages they can get.

Paris networking event on e-Reputation and Online Marketing tonight

Tonight at 7:30pm at the Victoria Cross, I encourage you to come to this event which could interest many of you, organized by the Paris Power Networking group. I’ve been before, great opportunities for professional learning and networking, over wine and cheese in a classy Parisian bar.

Here is the info (talk subject, address, etc) below. Registration necessary online. Hope to see you there!

“e-Reputation, Online Marketing and the Laws of Attraction”

By Julie Vetter, Founder of HoiMoon Marketing

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 – 7:30pm
Victoria Cross, 23 Avenue Victoria, 75001 Paris: MAP

Featuring a Special Wine Tasting by Miss Vicky Wine! Discover a range of wonderful wines from Beaujolais and Provence.

REGISTRATION: €40 ONLINE MEMBERS: €20 ONLINE

Select “Business Reception”

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND:

In her much-anticipated presentation, Julie Vetter, also known as the Google Goddess and SEO Sage will provide you with new tools to build a successful online brand:
-understanding the shift from pursuing to attracting business
-e-Reputation management
-inbound marketing best practices
1)image-building activities
2)monitoring
3)how to measure impact and damage control

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER:


Julie Vetter, also known as the “Google Goddess”, has over fifteen years experience working with the online presence of over 50 clients in various industries such as travel & leisure, luxury hotels, transportation, Hi-tech, wine, real estate, medical, health and beauty. This has entailed a range of services including branding, SEO, Web site development, Social Media management, digital marketing strategy, training and online crisis management.

Although she calls Paris home, Julie hails from California where early in her career she opened a restaurant in the beautiful Mendocino County. The path from Gourmande to Google Goddess started in 1998 when she built the site and developed the online identity and branding for her restaurant. She fell in love with the Internet and went on to assist other businesses with their online identity management including the Golden Gate Bridge, a client since 2002. From Web 1.0 to 3.0 and beyond, Julie hasn’t skipped a beat in terms of keeping up on the trends and services businesses need to have an effective online presence. Wearing many hats, she is a Web Site Developer, Certified Google Adwords Specialist, Social Media Manager and Inbound Marketing Agency Representative. Clients range from Android App developers, Silicon Valley tech companies to a host and range of entrepreneurs. Julie recently co-founded Hoi Moon Marketing, a global team of digital professionals — designers, copywriters and strategists.

Julie Vetter: julievetter@hoimoonmarketing.com

www.HoiMoonMarketing.com

Paris Power Networking’s mission is to offer professionals an exclusive platform to:
-connect in person through networking events at luxurious venues around Paris
-access the international network of 400+ Power Networking members
-communicate with business leaders and entrepreneurs via Social Media
-promote their business to a fast growing community around the world
-meet inspirational guest speakers
-participate in exclusive initiatives (business, art, travel, etc..) that involve members from all Power Networking chapters

How long is the average French lunch break? 22 minutes

This just in…taken from the Local’s website.

How long do your lunches last during the work day?

French lunch breaks fall to just 22 minutes
Published: 29 Sep 2011 10:51 GMT+1
Despite the widely-held view that French workers while away long lunch hours over three-course lunches with wine, a new survey shows that most grab lunch in just over 20 minutes.

A survey by insurance company Malakoff Médéric found the shortening of the lunch break has been dramatic. While workers twenty years ago took 1 hour and 30 minutes at lunchtime, the average has now fallen to just 22 minutes.

“The lunch break has become the flexible part of the working day,” said Anne-Sophie Godon of Malakoff Médéric, reported Le Figaro. “The content of the day has become more dense, while the distance between home and work has tended to get longer. Given this, workers have no other choice than to trim their lunch break.”

The way workers eat is also changing. Just one in ten now go outside to restaurants and around one in five eat in the company canteen. Almost a third of workers go home at lunchtime and 14 percent reach for a sandwich, up 2 percent over two years.

Doctors believe that rapid eating can have negative effects.

“When we eat quickly, we don’t have the time to feel satisfied,” Doctor Patrick Serog told Le Figaro. “When we eat in front of a computer, it’s even worse: we don’t pay attention to what we’re eating. The result is a tendency to snack in the afternoon.”

“Taking a proper break of about three-quarters of an hour is the best,” said fellow doctor Odile Renard. “Without this break, stress can accumulate.”

A final incentive to get out of the office and into a restaurant or canteen could come from a survey conducted by job site Monster, which found that the average office can contain 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.

French Socialists Primaries: François Hollande comes out on top in first round

Bonjour!

A brief French news update….

The French Socialist Party held the country’s first general political primary in order to choose their party’s candidate for the Spring 2012 Presidential election. François Hollande came out on top, with Martine Aubry coming in at a close second. The second and final round will take place next Sunday Oct. 16. You can read more about the election here and here (in French). For coverage from a left-leaning paper, check out Libération

They had a very heavy turn-out and more politically liberal voters generally seem quite happy with the primary system. Now the question is who losing candidates will support in the run-off next week, and more importantly, who presents the best case and chance to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in the elections. Sarkozy is very unpopular, and there is a wave of frustration with his administration and its policies and a sense that people are tired of having him in power. This could well be an omen for any chances he may have at a second term. Only time will tell.

Francois Hollande is thought to appeal to a wide cross-section of the electorate (BBC News)

U.S. Embassy in France cautions Americans abroad

The U.S. State Department, via the U.S. Embassy Paris in France, has just issued this travel warning below. There are several warnings per year, but it’s always better to be cautious. You don’t have to cancel your trip, just be aware of your surroundings. Safe travels!

U.S. Embassy
Paris, France

Travel Alert
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Worldwide Travel Alert
October 1, 2011

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for retaliation against U.S. citizens and interests following the deaths of key figures in the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on September 30. This Travel Alert expires on November 30, 2011.

On 30 September, U.S. and Yemeni government officials confirmed that dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, the external operations leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in Yemen. Open source information also indicates that U.S. citizen and AQAP propagandist Samir Khan was killed along with him. Awlaki played a key role in advancing AQAP plots targeting the United States.

The death of Awlaki, in the near term, could provide motivation for anti-American attacks worldwide from individuals or groups seeking to retaliate against U.S. citizens or interests because of this action. In the past Awlaki and other members of AQAP have called for attacks against the United States, U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Awlaki’s standing as a preeminent English-language advocate of violence could potentially trigger anti-American acts worldwide to avenge his death.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html

French news: Eurozone crisis, Socialists and Islam

I wrote up a piece for Bonjour Paris covering this diverse topics. You can read the article here.

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