The Week That Was: China leads the way with “smart” restaurants and luxury watches

By Nick Lambe – Group Managing Director, Links International

As we approach the mid-point of the first month of the year, here is my next issue of The Week That Was, including my top picks of business news from around the world that I came across this week. Part of my role as Group Managing Director of our award-winning recruitment and HR outsourcing company in Asia involves keeping up to speed with what’s going on around the world, particularly if the news affects the job market in Asia. Apologies, but AI is getting a look in again this week…

Smart Restaurants… Really?


KFC China have developed facial recognition software with Baidu that can recommend menus based on the customers’ estimated age and mood. They have revealed that a male customer in their 20’s would be offered a set meal of a chicken burger, wings and a Coke, whereas a female customer in her 50’s would be recommended porridge and soybean milk for breakfast. So, if you are in a bad mood, will it know you want the extra spicy burger?

Growth for the Chinese luxury watch sector…


Richemont (the Geneva-based owner of brands such as IWC, Piaget, Cartier and Vacheron Constantin) has said that the 10% growth in sales in Asia Pacific have been reflected in strong performances in China and Korea, which has offset declines in Hong Kong and Macau. The question is, is this due to the weaker RMB and reduction in tourism to Hong Kong and Macau, or due to consumer spending on the mainland?

Asia’s smallest economies are the fastest growing, but count on China…


Southeast Asia’s frontier nations, namely Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, of which the combined economies are less than $100bn, are stepping up their infrastructure drive to boost growth and diversify their economies. These actions have led to sustained growth rates of close to 7% and are going a long way to shed their backwater statuses. Their role model is certainly Vietnam, which transformed itself into an exporter of electronic goods, but they are heavily reliant on China’s investment in everything from railroads to real estate. It will definitely be interesting to see the development of these economies over the coming five to 10 years.

Disclaimer: This column is designed to be a light-hearted weekly update on the global business news that I enjoyed reading.  We would welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Read previous editions of The Week That Was:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4
issue 5
issue 6
issue 7
issue 8
issue 9
issue 10
issue 11
issue 12