Tag Archives: pricing

Unilever bows to Beijing pressure: a new regulatory risk in an inflationary climate


From “Financial Times
Original Title: Unilever bows to Beijing pressure by putting off planned price increases
By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai, Robin Kwong in Taipei, Alexandra Stevenson in London

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group, has bowed to pressure from Beijing to delay planned price increases, highlighting a new regulatory risk in an inflationary climate.

While Chinese authorities routinely force state-owned enterprises to place the public interest ahead of commercial concerns, Unilever’s confirmation of the government’s request signals that large foreign multinationals are not immune to such pressure.

A Unilever spokeswoman in London said, “I can confirm that Unilever China received a request from the National Development and Reform Commission and has chosen to comply with it, and postpone price adjustments previously scheduled for April 1.”

Chinese consumers, increasingly alarmed at the rising cost of living, cleared supermarket shelves earlier this week of shampoos, soaps and detergents after state media said four consumer goods companies – including Unilever and Guangzhou Liby Enterprise Group – would raise prices by 5 to 15 per cent.

Alarmed by the reaction, Beijing is understood to have contacted companies to urge price restraint. China’s consumer price index rose 4.9 per cent year-on-year in February.

“When you wake up and see photos of old people rushing into supermarkets in a panic, that is a signal to government that this is a serious problem,” said Shaun Rein of China Market Research in Shanghai.

Alongside Unilever, Liby – another leading detergent producer – and Tingyi, which produces half of China’s instant noodles, agreed to delay planned price rises.

Tingyi said it acted “in alignment with the policy of the state for maintaining the stability of commodity prices”. Wei Ing-chou, chairman and chief executive, had spoken of the need to “watch which way the [political] wind blows”, when announcing the rise but, explaining the delay on Friday, the company pointed to signs that raw material prices were stabilising.

Luo Zhiping, analyst with Business Information Research, a Shanghai-based consulting firm with close ties to government, said the goal was to “prevent consumer chaos” after widespread panic-buying of salt, which was viewed as an antidote to potential radiation from Japan’s earthquake-crippled nuclear power station. By firing this shot across the bows of companies whose planned price increases were widely publicised, Beijing should be able to convince a wide range of companies to contain most prices, at least temporarily, he said.

Unilever would not say how long it would postpone the price rise.

Liby said that after being contacted, it had decided “to take the whole situation [of the market and consumer reaction] into account” and delay or even rescind price increases that had already been put in place.

From “Financial Times
Original Title: Unilever bows to Beijing pressure by putting off planned price increases
By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai, Robin Kwong in Taipei, Alexandra Stevenson in London

iPad 2: lowest price in US, highest price in DK

Original title: US buyers get lowest price for Apple’s iPad 2, Denmark most expensive
From “AppleInsider” by Sam Oliver
Was published at 01:05 PM EST, Friday, March 25, 2011

Apple’s pricing and international exchange rates make the least expensive place to buy the iPad 2 the U.S., while Denmark — where the tablet went on sale Friday — is most expensive.

Using Apple’s prices and current exchange rates, Reuters calculated the breakdown of who’s paying what for the second-generation iPad. While the 16GB entry-level iPad 2 costs $499 in the U.S., that translates to $702 in American dollars in Denmark.

Throughout Europe, the iPad 2 costs 479 euros, or $678 U.S. in most countries. It’s slightly more expensive in France, where it costs at 489 euros, while residents of Luxembourg get a discount with 455 euros.

Britons who get their hands on the iPad 2 today will pay less than the rest of Europe as well. The entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi-only model costs 399 pounds in the U.K., or $642 U.S.

The report noted that in the U.S., sales tax varies by state, with some pay as little as zero, while the highest is 13.725 percent. In America, the $499 iPad with tax has a maximum price of $567 and an average price of $547.

International lines for the iPad 2 began to form this week in anticipation of the Friday launch. As with the U.S. launch, brick-and-mortar stores were the only place to get an iPad 2 on day one.

Apple began taking online orders from international buyers on Thursday, but those aren’t scheduled to ship for at least a few weeks. American shoppers who buy online from Apple’s store must also wait up to a month before their order is estimated to ship.

The iPad 2 is now available for sale in 25 new countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. Originally scheduled to be a part of Friday’s launch was Japan, but that was pushed back indefinitely following the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The iPad 2 will also be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries in April, and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced by Apple at a later date.

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