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American business targets the high-spend potential of the Middle East

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Dubai by night

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Here’s a couple of insights which should have any self-respecting entrepreneur checking their business credit card limit before flying off into the blue yonder on a fact-finding mission. Official estimates put the number of Americans living abroad at just over six million, a large but mainly untapped market. And something like 95% of consumers are to be found outside the borders of the United States. Yes, it’s a big, wide world of opportunity out there and there are no bigger buyers of American luxury goods than the citizens of the Gulf States of Qatar and Bahrain in the Middle East.

The American Express Middle East Luxury Spending Tracker surveyed a random sample of 1,000 residents a year or two back, drawn from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And it found Qatari citizens were the biggest buyers of luxury goods across the Middle East, closely followed by consumers in Bahrain. Qataris, the survey found, spent up to $5,000 a month on luxury goods, while consumers in Oman and Jordan were the most conservative shoppers, spending less than $250 per month.

And they preferred luxury products such as cars, high-end electronic goods and fashion accessories as opposed to holidays and spa treatments, with quality and brand name influencing purchasing decisions.

Mazin Khoury, Chief Executive Officer, American Express Middle East, said at the time, “Quality is by far the biggest driver of luxury purchases among consumers, though the brand name also remains a key deciding factor. Those surveyed said that the brand name was key in determining spend, in addition to sales, price reductions and advertising. It is only in the UAE that a friend’s recommendation carried the greatest weight.”

Winding forward to today, it’s perhaps little surprise to find the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with more than 300 business leaders and government officials from nearly 20 countries, has just launched a new initiative aimed at promoting the business potential of the Middle East.

Called the Middle East Commercial Center (MECC), the private sector-led alliance intends to promote greater trade and investment to address economic challenges and opportunities across the region. The MECC mix includes business and trade organizations, American Chambers of Commerce abroad, national chambers of commerce and industry, and major companies.

“Through the MECC, we are taking a new approach in this region and looking for those things that bring us together,” said Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber’s executive vice president and head of International Affairs. “We are overcoming obstacles and building a more economically integrated Middle East.”

During two days of meetings last month in Jordan, the group identified concrete steps to guide the organization moving forward. As a “coalition of action,” the MECC aims to advance projects and promote public policies that will contribute to more regional economic integration and increased foreign investment.

The group will initially focus on a limited number of pressing economic and strategic issues through task forces focused on movement of goods and market access, national resource cooperation, special economic zones, and entrepreneurship development. More broadly, it will address a number of key sectors in a regional context, including finance and development, health care, education, regional tourism, and women in business.

Further details about the MECC and its aims are available here.

Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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SkyBridge Receives “Exporter of the Year” award from Global Chamber Phoenix

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The SkyBridge air logistics project received the “Exporter of the Year, Services” award, granted by the Phoenix Global Chamber within its annual Grow Globally Fair, which brings exporters and importers together, along with international investors.

The award was presented to SkyBridge, a company chaired by Ariel Picker and directed by Felipe Monroy. The effort to position www.skybridgeaz.com as one of the leaders in the international logistics sector within the business community in Arizona has been coordinated by Marco Lopez, president of Intermestic Partners.

SkyBridge is planned to become the first international air cargo hub to house Mexican and US Customs in the United States.

Its operations are based at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and will allow e-commerce companies and manufacturers, among others, to do business in Mexico and throughout Latin America, with a more efficient and profitable transport of goods between countries, thorough inspections and adequate security controls.

The development of this project will create 17,000 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as more than 3.5 million SF of development which will include industrial, aeronautical, office and commercial real estate.

The construction plan will detonate other benefits in the border region. Arizona’s proximity to Mexico and its surroundings are highly favorable for business, and they make the state a natural center for air cargo companies, large and small, eager to see their businesses grow on both sides of the border.

In this sense, Grow Globally Fair gives global business leaders the opportunity to see what’s new, who is new and how they can grow better.

With that purpose, the Phoenix Global Chamber awards prizes in honor of the success achieved in international markets and in the United States, whose categories are: Exporter of the year, product; Exporter of the year, services; Importer of the year; Landed Company to see; Cross-border consulting; Transcendent leader of the community; International banking; International commercial law; Immigration lawyer; Diplomat of the year; Translation and localization; International logistics; International accounting and taxes; International finance and insurance; International Emerging Risk; International Talent and Payroll: International Real Estate Leader; International wealth management; International business training and discourse; International IT services; International market; International education; Collaborating Organization; International nonprofit; International business city; an Elected leader with global mentality; Young Global Leader, and Global Leaders of the tribe of the year.

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Axel Andorff and Carsten Isensee, new SEAT Vice presidents for R&D and Finance

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The Spanish car company, SEAT is betting on the future by hiring two prestigious new executive vice presidents. The company hired Axel Andorff as the new executive vice president of R&D (research and development), and Carsten Isensee has been appointed as the new executive vice president for finance. With both appointments, SEAT is focusing on Innovation and securing the company’s record profit and investment figures.

Who are Axel Andorff and Carsten Isensee

Research & Development and Finance are two of the most important areas on a car company. The new vice presidents of these areas, are both executives with international experience and extensive knowledge on the car market. Axel Andorff will be replacing Dr. Matthias Rabe (who will run the technical development operations area at Volkswagen), and Carsten Isensee, who is taking over for Holger Kintscher (who will be working as head of IT and finance at Volkswagen).

Let’s see who are these two new incorporations to the SEAT executive staff. 

Axel Andorff (R&D Vice president)

Axel Andorff is a German economic and mechanical engineer (from the German University of Kaiserslautern), with 20 years of experience at the car market, where he worked for Mercedes and held various positions in the research & development area of that company.

New responsibilities at SEAT

The new R&D vice president will be in charge of the company’s innovation projects, especially those involving connectivity and car electrification, developing technologies and new forms of mobility. He is in charge of the SEAT Technical Centre, who is focused on R&D. It has an area of 43,000 square meters, prepared and equipped (of a total area that covers a surface of 200,000 square meters). More than 1000 qualified engineers work on this center, using advanced technology (simulations, virtual reality…) to create modern and reliable cars, and developing new car technology.

In 2018 SEAT allocates 862 million euros on total investments and R&D expenses, 47% more than in 2017.

Carsten Isensee (Executive Vice-President for Finance)

Carsten Isensee has a degree in business management from the German University of Wilhelmshaven, and he has made his entire career in the Volkswagen company. His last charge was in China as an executive vice president for finance.

2018 was a historic year for SEAT. Sales have grown by over 10%, increasing from 468,400 sold vehicles in 2017 to 517.600 in 2018. With the incorporation of Carsten Isensee to the company, they expect to continue increasing their sales along 2019 and the next years.

New responsibilities at SEAT

The Finance vice president joins the Spanish car company with the objective of reinforcing the company’s profit record and investment figures, and to strengthen its financial basis for future Automotive (LINK NOFOLLOW) projects.

The car market is a very competitive sector. Last years SEAT increased its figures on sales, profits and investments. With the new vice presidents incorporations, the company is focusing on increasing these figures and securing its position on the market.

As SEAT president Luca de Meo said: “It’s time to look to the future with the ambition to grow”.

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Gutemberg Dos Santos and Robert Kiyosaki share their vision of leadership

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Gutemberg Dos Santos is a Brazilian-American entrepreneur and one of the main promoters of the use of Blockchain technology and crypto economy.

Gutemberg Dos Santos and Robert Kiyosaki

Gutemberg Dos Santos a couple of years ago sponsored an event in which the Guinness Record broke with the largest number of people playing Cash Flow, a game developed by Robert Kiyosaki. Today, Dos Santos shares some reflections that emerged on that occasion about what a good leader is. 

A good leader is an excellent guide to reach common goals. If I want my team to work successfully I must share my skills and offer the best tools for their performance. I am also committed to strengthening the capabilities of each of the members and never assume that we all work the same as diversity enriches and complements the unit. 

Sharing experiences. If I share my experiences with the rest of my team regarding the success and failures I have had in some projects, I will empathize with my team and together we will be able to reach the goals proposed for the company.

Listening. This part is essential for a business to prosper, if I do not listen to my people I will be walking towards darkness. I must always remain alert to the doubts and questions that my team may have, in this way I will know if we are all on the same frequency and we are walking towards the same course.

Motivating my team. I take my time to know my team, how old they are, what is their educational and socioeconomic level; what goals they pursue in the short and long term. This will help me find keywords that guide me to be empathetic with them and be able to have better communication. 

Being proactive. When facing a difficult situation, I try to get the best out of it, without falling into frustration and rather detect alternative solutions. Trusting and being flexible. I am attentive to the capacities and strengths within my work team, this way I trust people in order to delegate tasks, likewise I am open to listen to proposals and suggestions that lead us to strengthen our project. 

For more information, please visit : www.gutembergds.com 


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