1分快三玩法

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Life of Leisure


1分快三玩法From e-sports to the expansion of a Chinese hot-pot restaurant in London, recreation is now a full-time global lifestyle for all

Life of Leisure


1分快三玩法From e-sports to the expansion of a Chinese hot-pot restaurant in London, recreation is now a full-time global lifestyle for all

People > Business Insider


 

Life of Leisure

October 30, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

David Bell is the director of international leisure at London-headquartered property developer Savills, specialising in leasing, development consultancy and asset management. In the leisure property sector, he’s involved with major mixed-use schemes, and is currently overseeing the roll-out of China’s Haidilao restaurant group in London and throughout Europe, as well as the capital’s first e-sports arena in Wembley, Greater London. CDLP recently caught up with Bell on his whirlwind tour to meet clients with global aspirations in Hong Kong and across the Mainland.


What’s the biggest change in new-generation habits when it comes to leisure? 

When you look at the retail and residential divisions, it’s all about amenities that add value. Millennials and Gen-Z are always looking for an experience, and in my world, they’re prepared to pay for it. They want a good experience – and if they don’t get it, they will move onto the next thing. I also think that big experiential leisure space is really moving right now.

Speaking of experiential spaces, your firm is closely involved with China’s League of Legends and the e-sports phenomenon. 

1分快三玩法In China, its size and scale is quite extraordinary. Savills has just set up a digital and culture team – we’re the only developer to have that right now. That’s because we’re in the process of creating what we call an “ecosystem” in Wembley, on behalf of Quintain. We’re doing a purpose-built e-sports arena and we’ve also done a joint-venture partnership with ESL, a leading e-sports company – so from our perspective, that works on a different level. 

1分快三玩法Not only do we look at it from a real-estate perspective, but as an entirely different lens to look through. E-sports in China is on another level and I’m still trying to get my head around it. One of our videos shows a stadium in China, with 80,000 people watching these kids play League of Legends. The audience is very different to traditional sport, as it’s a totally different demographic. It’s still a really immature market in the UK and Europe, but the influence from China is huge. So many people want to know more about e-sports. You can’t ignore it. It’s on a global level, too, crossing different demographics. The gamers are young, but the audience is usually late 30s. 

So we’ve seen this early and are working in collaboration to hone our skills. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be on such a massive scale. You could have different sizes – a 10,000sqft box or a smaller entity still. League of Legends almost becomes like a multifunctional space, where you’ve got your F&B and your live music, meaning that operators can be flexible morning, afternoon or night. And this is where play becomes more than just people. When you make it a destination, when you bring all those things together, people want something different. 

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Tell us about the major Asian food-and-beverage operators moving into the London market. 

One of my big clients is global hot-pot chain Haidilao. I’m seeing them in Shanghai on this trip and we’ve just done the first site for them on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, between Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown – it’s an 8,000sqft to 9,000sqft restaurant. We’ve also just agreed to deals with them in Toronto and Frankfurt. Ultimately, we’re hoping to roll out to Holland, Spain and Switzerland. So that’s taking up a lot of our time at present. 

There’s another group I’m working with now called Happy Lamb; we haven’t done much with them yet, but we are in talks. Tonight I’m also having dinner with another operator here in Hong Kong; they’ve been over two or three times and we’re hopeful they will go to London. There is such a huge Asian population now in London, so it’s about these groups that understand local retail spaces and the demographic. These places tend to be hugely popular. They focus on high-profile, high-footfall locations – so the likes of Covent Garden, Piccadilly, et cetera. If they get it right in London, then that’s a springboard to a host of big regional cities. 

You visited K11 Musea yesterday. What did you make of it? 

Adrian Cheng must have spent an absolute fortune! I’ve seldom seen anything like it. It’s all very upmarket and it does feel special when you’re in there, but in terms of location, it feels a little bit out-on-a-limb. It’s a very interesting tenant mix. I think they probably threw a lot of money in some tenants’ direction to get them over and to create international interest. 

Savills is also involved in fitness, beauty and wellness. What trends are you seeing in those sectors? 

1分快三玩法The beauty and fitness market in London is incredibly buoyant right now. In terms of consumers, what you find with millennials, and no doubt Gen-Z following, is that 25% are teetotallers. Back in the day, vertical drinking was part of the scene, but that doesn’t happen to the same degree now. The young crowd today is so focused on how they look and how they feel. For them it’s not about hangovers, but yoga classes early in the morning; it’s within their make-up. What tends to happen is that New York and LA always set the trend, and then there’s a ripple effect, which can take three or four years before it gets to London and rolls out. I’ve never seen so many requirements in that space right now. 

That operates at different levels, too. It’s what I call the “squeeze middle” – it’s not premium, it’s not budget, but it’s somewhere in-between. In many cases, it’s about finding out your identity for these operators now. One big trend is the movement for one-on-one fitness and wellness classes. If you look at well-established brands in the States like Barry’s Bootcamp, which is now in London, you can’t even get a class – it’s fully booked. I can’t see the wellness trend changing anytime soon.

And that’s all pointing the way of veganism, or what we’re now calling “flexitarianism”. America has been like this for a long time in places like San Francisco, with its organic barns that allow customers to know where everything is coming from. We talk about such things in London, but we don’t really focus on it to the same extent. But that’s now changing, too. 

Sounds like leisure’s a busy business. 

I think recreational, leisure, sport and fashion are all crossing over into one entity now. The definition of leisure is much wider than it’s ever been and, as a result, starts to attract a different audience. We’re also working on an art project for London right now; it’s not art for the masses exactly, but it has some of those Team Lab-esque elements and you begin to see the same people who buy athleisurewear gravitating to something like this. I can’t tell you more about it just yet, as it’s also in discussion, but watch this space.

Image provided to China Daily

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Natural Fit


For more than a century, the US-based magazine National Geographic has captured the imagination of generations of readers with its depictions of nature, science, cultures and people from around the world. Editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg discusses how the title has evolved since she took the helm in 2014

Natural Fit


For more than a century, the US-based magazine National Geographic1分快三玩法 has captured the imagination of generations of readers with its depictions of nature, science, cultures and people from around the world. Editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg discusses how the title has evolved since she took the helm in 2014

People > Business Insider


 

Natural Fit

April 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

As a 130-year-old magazine, it seems like you’ve covered every imaginable subject – what’s left? What impact does the publication want to make today? 

At National Geographic, we believe in the power of storytelling to change the world and the magazine has been doing just that for generations. Our yellow border is a portal for curious, engaged people to get new insights about cultures, ideas and discoveries. We want to continue to tell the stories that matter, that people care about and that make a difference.

Has the magazine’s editorial focus changed over time?

National Geographic1分快三玩法 has been igniting the explorer in all of us for almost 130 years; the magazine has been publishing groundbreaking storytelling from the best scientists, explorers and photographers since the very beginning. We believe that great storytelling can spark curiosity, help solve big problems and push the boundaries of what we already know. Furthering the knowledge and understanding of our world is, and always has been, our core purpose. 

Can you give us an example of an engaging topic you’ll be featuring in an upcoming issue?

In April, we’re publishing a special issue on race. We’ll look at everything, including why it is that humankind, since the dawn of time, has this need to categorise somebody else as “the other”. We’re going to look at race through a global lens and we will look at the science of race. Our hope is to remind people that about 99% of our genetic make-up is all the same.

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What other current hot-button issues have you explored recently?

1分快三玩法In January 2017, we released our single-topic issue on gender and featured the very first transgender person on the cover of the magazine. It turned into one of our best-selling issues of the year. Within the first month of the publication, we had 370 million readers come to our gender content on our digital platforms, allowing us to create a global conversation that’s clearly relevant to today’s readers.

What’s been your editorial strategy for the magazine since you took up your position? 

One of my biggest goals is moving the magazine from reverence to relevance. Everyone loves the National Geographic1分快三玩法 brand, and we’re showing people every day that we produce timely content on hot topics – race, climate change, gender, species preservation, scientific innovation and more. 

How would you describe the difference between your online and print strategies?

When an ancient, lost city was discovered deep in the jungle of Honduras, we broke the story online, in real time. It was a major hit. A few months later, in National Geographic magazine, we published a deeper story on how that city and other ancient sites across Central America are being uncovered and explored through mapping technology. The magazine story had the rich photography, illustrations and explanatory writing that are our hallmarks. So we’re giving people the best of both worlds: breaking news when events our readers care about happen, followed by deep, contextual coverage in the magazine about what it all means. 

What are three of the magazine’s cover stories you find most impressive?

First, the famous Afghan Girl cover in 1985. The photo of Sharbat Gula and her piercing green eyes brought attention to the refugee crisis. Next, I’d cite the cover we did in January 2017, called Gender Revolution. The cover photo of 9-year-old Avery Jackson, a transgender girl from Kansas City, is incredibly powerful. Finally, I hope our special race issue in April will be a third example we can point to.

Image: Mallory Benedict/National Geographic

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Drive to Thrive


The president and CEO of Volvo Cars, Håkan Samuelsson, shares his thoughts on why the traditional Swedish automaker is flourishing under the ownership of the Zhejiang-based Geely Holdings Group.
The company's XC40 compact SUV was named European Car of the Year at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the first time Volvo has won the prize.

Drive to Thrive


The president and CEO of Volvo Cars, Håkan Samuelsson, shares his thoughts on why the traditional Swedish automaker is flourishing under the ownership of the Zhejiang-based Geely Holdings Group.
1分快三玩法The company's XC40 compact SUV was named European Car of the Year at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the first time Volvo has won the prize.

People > Business Insider


 

Drive to Thrive

March 2, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Volvo struggled under the ownership of Ford, but has been enjoying record sales since the Geely takeover in 2010. What’s been the difference?

During the Ford era, Volvo was a division of a bigger company and before that it was a division in the larger Volvo Group, which included trucks, buses and so on. Under Geely, Volvo has the freedom to act as a stand-alone company – to develop its own architecture, engine family and design language, which has made us a true premium competitor. Geely has been a very good owner for us.

How do the Swedish and Chinese corporate cultures mix?

We have our headquarters in Sweden, but also a big presence in China, with several thousand people working there in areas from sales to R&D and design. We find that the teams complement each other very well.

Your sales in China increased 25% in the year to 2017 – how do you account for this big increase?

In recent years, Volvo has been renewing its product line-up and has increased its manufacturing presence in China. This has helped bring attractive cars to the Chinese market quickly. The high demand for our cars in China helped us to a new record year of sales, both in the country and globally.

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China is now the world’s biggest market for cars. What are the main characteristics of the Chinese car market?

China is very competitive and a very important market for us, being both our single biggest market while also growing at a rapid pace. In recent times, we’re seeing that the country is at the frontline of electrification and internet-connected cars.

Volvo has announced that all-new models from 2019 will be powered by electricity. This would make the brand one of the first major car manufacturers to phase out the internal combustion engine. What technological and financial challenges does this mean for the company?

1分快三玩法Being a “smaller” carmaker, we have to be more focused in where we spend our resources. We see electrification as the future and therefore we’re investing in this technology. Volvo has had plug-in hybrid vehicles for sale since 2012 and has also had a fleet of fully electric cars on the streets, providing us with valuable insights for the new products we are now developing. Developments in battery technology and electric motors are moving rapidly, so deciding on what to use is perhaps the biggest challenge, as well as understanding the customers’ needs.

How do you plan to develop the electric model range? 

1分快三玩法We will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, beginning with the Polestar 2 in 2019. Our recently unveiled XC40 will also be available as a fully electric car in future and there will be larger fully electric cars built on SPA [the company’s scalable product architecture platform] as well.

As a premium brand, how is Volvo catering to the demand for a luxury lifestyle experience in its cars?

We have, in recent years, renewed our product line-up, taking the brand into the premium segment. The interior design direction Volvo has taken, led by former Bentley designer Robin Page, is something completely different from what you see in our competitors’ cars. For those customers that want something even more luxurious, Volvo also offers the S90 Excellence and the XC90 Excellence, the designs of which are led by our team in China. 

Electric cars are more expensive than conventional cars to buy, but cheaper to run. Will this always be the case or will costs come down?

As technology develops, costs for electric vehicles will come down and will at some point cross over with the price for combustion-engine vehicles, which today are seeing increasingly strict legislative requirements. 

You’ve talked about changing the traditional culture of car ownership towards a subscription format. Can you explain how that would work?

1分快三玩法The thought behind Care by Volvo is to offer customers a single, flat-fee, no-hassle subscription. You pay once a month, like you would for a mobile phone plan, and get a car. Added on top would be concierge services such as fuelling, cleaning and service pick-up, depending on regional availability, as well as the option to borrow a larger or smaller car for a day if you need to. Care by Volvo will be launched in China in the future. 

What is the company’s strategy for introducing self-driving cars and how do you see their future?

1分快三玩法We are investing in the development of self-driving cars to give people their valuable time back, to help the driver with the part of the commute that may not be the most enjoyable and to make cars safer. We believe that in future, autonomous cars will be safer than cars driven by people. Volvo is committed to bringing a fully autonomous car to the market by 2021. To achieve this, we are working together with Uber to develop a base car for autonomous driving; we are developing software for this in a joint venture with Autoliv, called Zenuity; and we are also learning how people interact with autonomous technology in a project on the streets of Gothenburg called Drive Me. 

As the CEO of an auto manufacturer you have to be able to predict how the market will develop far into the future – where do you see cars, and the industry, in ten or even 20 years?

In the future, we think that many cars will be electrified, autonomous and connected. We also think that car sharing and services that offer it will take off to a greater degree.

Image: Volvo Cars

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Cora the Adventurer


The largest buyer of Chinese films outside China, Fox Networks Group Asia has also been creating its own original Chinese-language content for a few years now – among recent successes is the miniseries Trading Floor. Senior vice-president Cora Yim heads up the network’s Chinese channels and content businesses 

Cora the Adventurer


The largest buyer of Chinese films outside China, Fox Networks Group Asia has also been creating its own original Chinese-language content for a few years now – among recent successes is the miniseries Trading Floor. Senior vice-president Cora Yim heads up the network’s Chinese channels and content businesses 

People > Business Insider


 

Cora the Adventurer

January 26, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

About three years ago, Fox Networks Group Asia embarked on a mission to develop more Chinese content. Though Fox has American roots and there’s recently been a flood of high-quality shows from the US and other countries, what has your regional strategy been? 

1分快三玩法From a global perspective, we’re one of the biggest entertainment producers. In Asia, especially in China, there’s a new trend in which every platform has been producing its own content – no matter if that’s media, OTT [over-the-top streaming media] or social media platforms. Thanks to SVOD [subscription video-on-demand], which a lot of global brands are using – from America’s Netflix and Hulu to China’s Tencent and Alibaba – there has been a huge demand for these video-streaming platforms. So we’re standing at the junction of East and West. Previously, we mainly aggregated content, but now we produce our own original and premium content. 

You just launched FOX+, the new entertainment app; what can it bring to the Hong Kong audience?

1分快三玩法We launched FOX+ first in the Philippines, followed by Singapore, Taiwan, then Hong Kong. If you like sports, you can turn it on to Fox Sports; if you want to watch a National Geographic Genius documentary, you can also go there. It’s like carrying many TV sets. You don’t need to install so many apps, you only need one FOX+.

How do you define “original” and “premium” content? 

For original, we want to provide content that’s viewed as the first window. For premium, it definitely equals quality and high standards. Previously, we kind of said that we want to introduce the American TV series production system to Chinese cinema and television. China has been really active and aggressive in producing plenty of shows. Take our miniseries Trading Floor1分快三玩法 as an example – we spent 18 months to develop the script and two years to produce it. It’s also more expensive than the usual TV production, as we employed film actors [the series was produced by Andy Lau]; I’d say it’s more like a cinematic experience. 

Introducing the American way to Chinese television productions – does that mean you will also shoot pilot episodes?

1分快三玩法Honestly, for Chinese TV productions, we don’t have the luxury to do pilots; it’s very difficult. Even if you ask the actors to do one pilot for you, they’ll charge the full scale of cost. But we’re trying to do that by working on something similar – some directors produce a short film and, if it’s good, it can be developed into a full series. 

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What are the other challenges?

1分快三玩法The cost of production has increased a lot. We’re different from the newcomers; we’re very careful about how to spend our budget efficiently. The other challenge is finding good content, with good talent, stories and scriptwriters. I wouldn’t say “content is king” anymore – it should be “good content is king”. 

Can you be more specific about what makes good content today? For example, do you look for a particularly popular genre or a topic in the scripts? 

When we first started planning the genres of our miniseries in 2015, we thought financial thrillers and psychological thrillers would be hits. We also did projects like American sniper stories and military action. Today, all those genres have become a hit in China – look at Wolf Warrior 21分快三玩法 in 2017. So I felt very encouraged that we were heading in the right direction.

What do you foresee as the next trend for Chinese cinema?

When one thing becomes successful in China, everyone tries to do that. But for us, we’re moving on. I can foresee in the next two years that there’ll still be a lot of similar genres. I won’t share exactly, because it’s kind of a secret, but I think the coming trend is something that can touch people’s hearts – emotional connections. 

What are the most popular shows on Chinese OTT platforms right now? 

Definitely original Chinese shows; that’s why we produce them. China has been producing very good period dramas, but modern dramas are picking up too. We’re one of the major distributors of the mainland’s most popular ones – such as the period dramas Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace and Nothing Gold Can Stay, and the modern drama The First Half of My Life. So our ambition is getting all those premium shows. I believe Chinese content will definitely be the driver for audiences in Asia. 

What’s the current television trend in Hong Kong? 

Lighter content that’s related to people’s lives, such as comedies – because in order to produce a popular variety show such as [the Chinese version of Korean series] Running Man, you need more than RMB 100 million for one season. It’s hard to afford that kind of show in Hong Kong; you have to have really big-scale advertisers. Hong Kong audiences don’t really appreciate mainland-made movies, but for variety shows and drama series, they’ve started to appreciate them a lot. 

What else are you working on right now? 

Besides our original Chinese productions in the pipeline, I’m also trying to get more quality content from non-Chinese countries in Asia, such as Korea. The Thai film Bad Genius and the Indian film Dangal were very popular as well. 

In each of the past three years, there’s been a blockbuster Chinese film that was a huge success at the box office – Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), The Mermaid (2016) and Monster Hunt (2015). What do you think of these films?

We’re the biggest buyer of Chinese films in the world outside China, buying about 70% of Chinese-made films every year for our television and OTT platforms. I think these films are a good try – and technically, a huge improvement. They’re not the best yet, but they caught the Chinese audience’s tastes. They’re all very commercial. 

What are your recommendations for a film and TV series of 2017 we might have missed? 

29+1 is a Hong Kong film adapted from the director’s one-woman show in 2005 that was performed in little local theatres. One of my co-producers from the film Sara asked me to make a film version; it was released in 2017 – a very girly movie about a woman turning 30 years old. Another one is the TV series Nothing Gold Can Stay, about how a woman can take care of a whole clan.

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In Full Bloom


Founded 60 years ago in Hong Kong, the United Chinese Group has become a global leader in the manufacture of artificial flowers and Christmas decorations, with an annual business turnover in excess of US$100 million. Winston Koo, the vice-president of design and product development, represents the third generation of this family-owned company

In Full Bloom


1分快三玩法Founded 60 years ago in Hong Kong, the United Chinese Group has become a global leader in the manufacture of artificial flowers and Christmas decorations, with an annual business turnover in excess of US$100 million. Winston Koo, the vice-president of design and product development, represents the third generation of this family-owned company

People > Business Insider


 

In Full Bloom

December 1, 2017 / by Albert Pommier

How did United Chinese Group transform from a small-scale manufacturer to one of the global leaders in its category? 

Our company was started 60 years ago by my grandfather and grandmother. Afterwards, their three sons – my father and my uncles – inherited it. At that time, they produced only artificial flowers made of plastic. Floral components were manufactured in a small facility in Hung Hom and then distributed to families of the then-abundant labour force in Hong Kong for final assembly. In the early ’80s, they converted to polyester flowers. This was a different type of product and it experienced a boom. Eventually, of course, we went into Christmas trees and other Christmas items. 

Because of rising costs, especially labour, we moved our manufacturing to Taiwan. After Taiwan became too expensive as well, we went into China. It was more than 20 years ago when China first opened, and we immediately went in and set up factories there. Our head office and showroom are in Hong Kong, and we also have offices in China and the United States, along with many owned and joint-venture design centres and production bases in China.

This industry has been good to our family; it’s small and niche. Around 10,000 people are working for us and our annual turnover is more than US$100 million. But we’re pushing further and we believe we can double that within less than a decade. Today, we work with the majority of the big players in the industry. 

How good is the holiday season for the business? 

Christmas has always been a good time for our company. Whatever problems there may be in the world, Christmas is a time of peace, of celebration, of families coming together. For our company, Christmas decorations are a market that keeps growing every year. Our collection comprises nearly 100,000 products, 80% of which are updated every year. We’ve just presented our Christmas 2018 collection.

How do you manage to update 80% of your collection every year? 

We have a wonderful and very talented creative team on staff, and they travel all around the world after the customer season ends in mid-November. Everybody, including me, travels to Germany, the UK, France, even Japan – and of course to the US – and we look at what all the department stores and small fairs are doing. We look at how Christmas is being celebrated and we try to bring that back, reinterpret it and share it with the world. I think that helps us a lot and that’s why we never run out of ideas.

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Who are your main customers?

Our major customers are IKEA, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target and the Williams-Sonoma group in the US, and there’s Pottery Barn and the Michaels stores… It’s very US-heavy, but with IKEA we have global distribution and coverage.

Is it very challenging to be a supplier for IKEA?

1分快三玩法It is. They have very high and exacting standards, but they’ve really helped us become a better manufacturer and a better company. It’s like growing up – when you have strict parents or a strict teacher, they make you a better student, a better person. And we really appreciate that. All our customers continually challenge us to manufacture more efficiently and to provide the best value for their customers. That’s why we’ve had such great working relationships and have survived the ups and downs of the industry.

What has changed and what’s remained the same over 60 years?

Our first value has always been people – both our staff and our customers – and designing and delivering beautiful, thoughtfully designed products that inspire people to celebrate every day of their lives. These values haven’t really changed.

Design-wise, there has absolutely been change. Thanks to the sophistication and availability of technology, we’ve made leaps and bounds in efficiency, treatments and finishes. I think the appearance of our floral and botanical products has become so lifelike we sometimes even fool the customer. There’s still a very artistic aspect to it, from the dyeing to the colouring, and to the painting and the assembly – every flower has been touched by 12 to 16 people from beginning to end.

Does that lifelike nature mean that artificial flowers could eventually replace fresh ones?

1分快三玩法I don’t think our products are ever going to replace fresh flowers. But we have always believed that artificial botanicals can work together with them; they don’t require much care. The upcoming generation also doesn’t want to have to fuss – and they’re probably not as green-fingered as the older generation. So they rely on us or on our customers to tell them what is beautiful. Our products are elegant, classy and beautiful, and there are people who are appreciative of this.

What’s the next step for the company?

Our next challenge is to maintain the growth and success that we’ve been very lucky and blessed to have – it’s to become more modern as a company in how we embrace the whole subject of greenness and sustainability. How do we convert from being very reliant on plastics, and how do we explore ways that are better for the world, better for our workers and better for the customers and consumers who buy our products? This is our next step.

Image: Parker Zheng

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Rise and Shine


Poilâne bread is served by chefs at Michelin-starred establishments and in Paris’s neighbourhood bistros. A favourite of Hollywood stars (and Salvador Dali), the round loaf has captivated culinary enthusiasts on every continent since the 1970s, largely thanks to the efforts of Lionel Poilâne. Since his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 2002, his eldest daughter, Apollonia, has carried on the tradition begun by her grandfather in 1932. She continues to ensure that the Poilâne brand remains a symbol of unique, top-quality bread

Rise and Shine


Poilâne bread is served by chefs at Michelin-starred establishments and in Paris’s neighbourhood bistros. A favourite of Hollywood stars (and Salvador Dali), the round loaf has captivated culinary enthusiasts on every continent since the 1970s, largely thanks to the efforts of Lionel Poilâne. Since his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 2002, his eldest daughter, Apollonia, has carried on the tradition begun by her grandfather in 1932. She continues to ensure that the Poilâne brand remains a symbol of unique, top-quality bread

People > Business Insider


 

Rise and Shine

October 27, 2017 / by Philippe Dova

In tragic circumstances in late 2002, you took over as the head of Poilâne. Was this the career you had in mind for yourself? 

At the time of my parents’ death, I was taking a year off before starting university. I was 18 years old and had just finished secondary school. I was working in the bakery, finishing up my training. When my parents died, everything changed from one day to the next. I went from working downstairs in the bakery to upstairs in my father’s office. I always knew that I would take over from him one day, but I certainly never thought it would happen so soon. 

Fifteen years on, you’ve just opened Poilâne’s fourth shop in Paris. What’s your development strategy, both in France and internationally? 

1分快三玩法Since I’ve been in charge, we’ve opened two new shops in Paris, one in London and one in Belgium. Where development is concerned, I prefer to go for quality over quantity. This is to guarantee that our products always live up to the standard for which they were originally known, and so that we retain our integrity in terms of our values and the vision I have of my profession, which is making bread – whether physically, when I’m working in the bakery, or metaphorically, when I’m running the company. I try to give meaning to what I do.

Are your shops franchises? 

No, the shops all belong to us. Each of our bakeries is an exact reproduction of our original bakery, with its wood-fired oven whose bricks heat up to cook the bread. Our company employs 170 people, including some 60 bakers who are members of the Compagnons Boulangers federation. We have 40 people in London and seven in Belgium. But I feel I’ve not yet found the right way to do things – maybe I’m too attached to my profession… 

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What do you mean by that?

I represent the third Poilâne generation and we’ve been perpetuating tradition ever since my grandfather founded the company in 1932, with the first bakery at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris. He had a way of seeing things then and we still work to these same specifications today, especially with regard to the flours we use. Even before there were all the different quality labels we know today, my grandfather insisted on using pesticide-free flours and firing his oven with salvaged wood. 

Nothing has changed. It takes six hours to make a loaf of sourdough bread and it takes nine months to train a baker. In an average week, we use 4,500 kilograms of flour, stone-ground from organic wheat, and 65 cubic metres of untreated scrap wood – so when we bake our bread, we are not harming the environment in any way. 

How is your daily production schedule organised? 

Our ovens are fired up round the clock. We make around 5,000 loaves of bread a day – and not only the big batches of sourdough with which the Poilâne brand continues to be associated. Historically, we’ve worked with two kinds of flour: wheat and rye. We’ve added maize flour and today we offer half a dozen different breads – original wheat bread, wheat bread with walnuts, original rye bread, rye bread with raisins, sandwich loaf, brioche, maize bread and pepper bread, which I created ten years ago. We produce bread in our bakeries for local customers and for the restaurants who serve Poilâne bread as a mark of quality. Our production unit in Bièvres, south of Paris, makes bread for the rest of France and for other countries, where between 15% and 20% of our breads are consumed.

What’s unique about the Poilâne factory compared to other bakeries? 

In 1983, my father, Lionel, and my mother, Ibu – who was an architect – designed a decisively contemporary structure. It was designed to respond to the growing demand for Poilâne loaves, in France and internationally, and at the same time to reflect a respect for the men who move between the oven and the kneader in the artisan baker’s profession. The factory is built in a circular shape, with a vast wooden circle at the centre to supply the 24 baking stations arranged around it in a star shape, where the bakers craft the sourdough loaves. The baking stations overlook the outdoors, so the bakers can enjoy the views of the surrounding greenery and gardens. 

Do you have any plans to open any shops in Asia? 

1分快三玩法The export business is tempting, but complicated. Thanks to FedEx, with whom we’ve been working for many years, our breads – which keep for a week – are delivered to clients in Europe and North America within 24 hours; for Asian countries, it’s 48 hours. Our non-business customers mainly order online from our website, and shops in Japan and Hong Kong go through French food importers for the Asian market. China could be the next country for us. One of our company’s medium-term objectives is to develop our sales to Asian consumers, who show an increasing interest in gourmet foods. 

What’s the nicest compliment you’ve received since you took over the business?

The best thing is when customers who have been with us since forever greet new products like my spoon biscuits, my maize bread or my pepper bread as if they’d always known them. It’s great to see your products succeed – that’s when you say to yourself that you can keep on moving forward.

Image: Bruno Comtesse

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Now Hear This


1分快三玩法Devialet is a rapidly growing start-up focused on innovative sound technology and high-end audio products. Based in Paris and with all products manufactured in France, the company says its ultimate goal is to change the way everyone in the world perceives music. Devialet’s chief technology officer, Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel, reveals why, with more than 100 patents in its pocket, the tech firm is still eager for further breakthroughs  

Now Hear This


1分快三玩法Devialet is a rapidly growing start-up focused on innovative sound technology and high-end audio products. Based in Paris and with all products manufactured in France, the company says its ultimate goal is to change the way everyone in the world perceives music. Devialet’s chief technology officer, Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel, reveals why, with more than 100 patents in its pocket, the tech firm is still eager for further breakthroughs  

People > Business Insider


 

Now Hear This

September 29, 2017 / by Ruiqi Jiang

Can you explain what Devialet’s core technologies are?

We’re a start-up in the audio industry; we’re also a tech company. We began with ADH [analogue-digital hybrid] in 2003. It’s a patented technology that allows us to reproduce all the details in music. It’s very important, because when you have such good amplification technology, you need the acoustics to be as good. That’s why we have this specific round shape for our connected speaker, Phantom, which is the best possible shape to reproduce the sound evenly into the room. Then about ten years after ADH, we developed SAM – speaker active matching, which adapts the signal of the amplifier to a specific speaker. 

And how does SAM work? 

1分快三玩法All speakers are different – there are small speakers, huge speakers, some have only one transducer, some have five or six – but people always send the same signal to them. With SAM, we’ve adapted the signals to the specificities of each speaker in order to get the best possible sound. It’s like selecting a kind of driver.

How surprising can the effect be?

French pianist Frédéric D’Oria-Nicolas was listening to Phantom, and he noticed the moment he made the left and right inversions when he was in front of the piano. It was the first time that had happened to him. 

Read More

Coming back to Phantom, with the claim that it’s able to replace all existing systems, what exactly makes it so special?

For Phantom, we have specific acoustic technology. We’re the only ones able to design and manufacture this speaker with such a long stroke capability. In fact, when we designed Phantom at the beginning, we didn’t plan to manufacture
the transducer ourselves – but we couldn’t find any factory that could do it for us. When they saw the specs, they thought we were crazy.

The Gold Phantom has 4,500W of power – eight times more powerful than the original. With Phantom, we were able to divide the size of an equivalent system by 30 times. To get what a pair of Gold Phantoms is able to do on an equivalent system, you’d need loudspeakers at two metres high, with 200kg of weight, and with many, many amplifiers to drive them. Our goal is to miniaturise the sound system and give volume without any noise distortion and without destroying the music’s emotion. We’re still working on making it even smaller. 

With a degree in engineering and ten years working as an engineer, when did music come into the picture for you? 

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a music fan – and I was interested in electronic engineering then, too. I made my first audio amplifier when I was 14. Then, after ten years in the telecommunications industry, I had the idea to combine an analogue and a digital amplifier. The former usually enables good sound quality, but the latter takes up less space. The research and development took me three years. In 2006, I met my two partners – one is a designer and the other comes from a business background – so I think the three of us make a perfect fit. From the very beginning, I knew I didn’t want to be the “genius in the garage” – that person who may have wonderful ideas, but fails in terms of commerce. 

You raised €100 million last year from some eminent investors, including Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn and Groupe Renault in France. How has that affected your worldwide expansion plans? 

With the fundraising, we want to expand in North America and Asia by focusing on ten cities. The traditional audio market – amplifiers and speakers – is 100 million units a year. But the market for devices that have sound capability is 3.5 billion units a year, which includes cars, TVs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, earphones, et cetera. Our goal is to put our technology in all the products that have sound capability. 

Since the beginning, we’ve worked on putting our ADH technology into a chipset and we’re still working on that, with generation after generation of chipsets. For example, we’ve put that into Phantom. One day, everyone will own a Devialet – not necessarily by owning our products, but also by using our technology, which we’ll do through licensing.

The emotions of music are very important for Devialet – how do you define them?

I’d compare music with painting or photography. If you see a picture in a book, it’s beautiful, but when you’re in front of the original painting, you feel the emotion of the painter by seeing the brushstrokes, the texture… Similarly, when you’re listening to someone playnig the piano, you hear the surrounding noise, the pianist breathing, the fingers hitting the keys, the feet on the floor. All the tiny details bring the emotions and the reality of what you’re listening to. 

Music is probably the most universal thing on earth. You always have to translate the dialogue in movies, but you don’t have to translate the music. We have so many feelings associated with music – it’s a strong link between people, between the present and memory; it can go through time from the moment the music is playing to centuries ago, when it was written. 

Image: Devialet

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Opportunity Knocks


Sandeep Sekhri left his homeland of India 27 years ago to move to Hong Kong – an entirely new city to him – as a young restaurant manager. Today, as the CEO of F&B group Dining Concepts, he’s the man behind 28 quality restaurants, bars and lounges across Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. According to Sekhri, the optimist always sees tremendous opportunities

Opportunity Knocks


1分快三玩法Sandeep Sekhri left his homeland of India 27 years ago to move to Hong Kong – an entirely new city to him – as a young restaurant manager. Today, as the CEO of F&B group Dining Concepts, he’s the man behind 28 quality restaurants, bars and lounges across Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. According to Sekhri, the optimist always sees tremendous opportunities

People > Business Insider


 

Opportunity Knocks

August 25, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

What made you decide to come to Hong Kong in 1990? 

I grew up in Delhi, India. After I had graduated from hotel school, I realised I had chosen the wrong profession – because in hospitality, your income is never commensurate with your input. So I said to myself, “Why don’t I try to go overseas? At least I’ll get paid more.” The company I worked for in India had a position available for a restaurant manager in Hong Kong. I was 24 years old and had never flown to other countries prior to that. There was no internet in those days – I had no idea about where I was going or what I was going to be doing. But I was definitely prepared for the real world.

When did you decide to start your own business? 

In 2002. I had just been promoted to managing director and became a partner of the group I was working for. But I saw a lot of opportunity in Hong Kong; it’s a very entrepreneur-friendly city. So I left the company abruptly in 2002 and decided to do something on my own. The first restaurant was Bombay Dreams – named for a musical playing in London those days. Then I found investors and opened a second Bombay Dreams in March 2003. 

The business of the Hong Kong food industry is seen to be tough for non-Chinese cuisine – be it Italian, American, Indian or Thai – because it needs to be adapted to local patrons.

The most popular restaurants in Hong Kong are Cantonese; the second most popular cuisine is Japanese. Expats are only about 10% of Hong Kong. For the 90% who are Chinese, they travel a lot – they go to Europe or the US, they know the latest food trends and they’re very aware. I would say Hong Kong is probably one of the best places in Asia to be in the restaurant business. But of course, I do have to adapt for the local market, too. 

Can you give an example? 

One thing that’s very important is that when you read a menu, you should be able to relate to the dish. You can’t overcomplicate dishes. Also for example, for Indian food, we don’t cook as heavy as we do back in India, so we make it a lot lighter and a lot less spicy here. 

How do you deal with the high rental costs in Hong Kong? 

When you negotiate in real estate, the key is to get a longer lease. You make sure that for the option for the renewal period, you have a maximum cap agreed upon when you initially sign the lease. Otherwise, the landlord can double or even triple the rent. We’re linked to the mercy of our landlords, but at the same time you need to protect your own interests. 

What is the most exciting part about running a food group?

1分快三玩法Some weird study says 95% of people in this world have thought of opening a restaurant, cafe, bar or club at some stages of their lives. Everybody thinks they can open a restaurant, but they forget it’s a 24/7 job. In this business, you’re dealing with people – and many emotions. That’s what makes it enjoyable. And you have to be passionate about what you do. 

Having opened a few themed bars and lounges as well, what would you say are the biggest differences between restaurants and nightlife spots?

Restaurants finish by 10.30 to 11pm, whereas bars start at that time. Serving drinks versus serving a three-course meal is very different – bars aren’t uptight. The people who run the bars are also of a different breed. So you need more pleasant people who are more outgoing and extroverted. If you’re miserable and unhappy, you go out drinking; if you’re really happy, you go out drinking, too. 

What do you think is required to succeed in the industry? 

You have to be creative – you have to be above-average in order to succeed in Hong Kong. Value for money is very important. I have a very simple way of looking at it, which I tell my team: if a customer doesn’t remember how much he paid for the meal when he leaves the restaurant, then it means you’ve done a good job. 

Since many F&B groups in Hong Kong have opened restaurants in the mainland, would you consider eyeing the mainland as your next business frontier? 

1分快三玩法I’d never say no, because one of our shareholders is one of the top property groups in China – Prometheus Capital, owned by Wang Sicong [the son of Dalian Wanda Group founder Wang Jianlin]. But I would have a partner to do that instead of operating on my own, as I don’t understand the market there.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received? 

What I’ve learned over the years is to under-promise and over-deliver. There’s no shortcut to success. 

Sometimes youth are told that the key to success is working hard, but there are certainly many other factors in life that can determine the results…

Absolutely. I did five restaurants from the second half of 2012 to the end of 2013 – and all of them didn’t work. But I take setbacks in a very positive way. I just want to keep moving forward – so I don’t give up. Have an eye for opportunity, grab it and make the most out of it. When the opportunity isn’t immediately apparent, then you need to seek one out.

What do you do outside of running the group? 

I go to the Chinese University of Hong Kong or City University to give lectures and special series. They ask me to inspire and motivate the kids. I love doing that.

Image: Dining Concepts

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