- Doing business in India might be different on September 1, 2010, because the more than one million BlackBerry users there may be without messaging and e-mail. The Indian government is threatening to ask mobile phone operators to block those BlackBerry services until Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM) provides access to data transmitted over the handset. India joins the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the first country to suggest blocking the BlackBerry services, Lebanon, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in citing “national security risks” for their demands.
UPDATE: Two government officials have stated that RIM has agreed to give government agencies access to messenger services by September 1.
- Japanese whisky distillers eye the U.S. market (whiskey is spelled without the superfluous “e” in Japan) … albeit a slow and steady expansion. According to the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council, total whiskey sales in the United States was 46.5 million cases in 2009 . In 2009, Suntory, a major Japanese whisky producer, launched the Hibiki brand in Europe and the United States with sales of 6,000 cases and hopes to sell 8,000 cases of Hibiki, a whisky blend, and 31,000 cases of Yamazaki, single malt whiskies, this year.
- Meanwhile, Northwest U.S. wineries in Washington and Oregon are eyeing Hong Kong and mainland China with a similar slow and steady strategy. The elimination of an 80 percent excise tax in Hong Kong in 2008 will likely make any strategy easier to implement. Wine imports to Hong Kong reached a record $491 million last year. The U.S. accounts for $40 million, or 8 percent of those imports, making Hong Kong the fourth-largest export market for U.S. wines. Most of the wine, 90%, though, came from California.
- While we are on the subject of wine, Middle East winemakers strive for recognition, as they, too, are looking to expansion, targeting international buyers. Omar Zumot, an organic wine producer near the Syrian border, relies on specially cultivated sheep to ward off pests, their saliva serving as an anti-bacterial and sterilizing trunks, and nitrates produced by fish from a nearby pond to fertilize his vineyard.
- Lastly, a couple of interesting articles on labor in Cuba, Japan, Bangladesh, and globally, here and here. Why not?