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Mike Redwood is the spokesperson for the LeatherNaturally! programme being developed by the world's top tanneries to promote leather as a high quality sustainable material. He is the Visiting Professor for Leather at the University of Northampton and is a Teaching Fellow in Marketing at Bath University. Originally a leather chemist he has spent his career in tanneries, footwear and sports companies moving through technical and general management to eventually focus on marketing and innovation. He has held senior positions in companies such ADOC, Pittards, FootJoy and ECCO working in Italy, The Netherlands and Latin America before returning to his home in the UK.
It is not long until the next APLF (13-15 March 2019, Hong Kong) and you can expect to see all the key individuals there looking to decipher all the market signals they can identify.
The leather trade is a tough business environment these days and a lot of commentators are getting quite worked up. The industry has decided who are the enemies – synthetic makers with false claims and animal rights fanatics who misrepresent the facts about both livestock and leather processing – who are pulling customers away from leather.
The accepted back story of the leather industry is that the supply of leather cannot grow to meet demand because the livestock – bovine, ovine, caprine or porcine – that provide the hides and skins are never kept for making leather, only for meat and milk.
In June of this year Google paid half a billion dollars, yes $0.5 billion, for a 1% share in JD.com. Walmart already owns 11%. I imagine that a good proportion of readers of this article will not know who JD.com actually is or what they do. It is China’s second largest on-line retailer and functions in some ways like Amazon.
We hear a lot about the fact that the Chinese economy is in transition, which more than anything means that the relentless growth of manufacturing has eased off. Growth slows so the double digit figures we saw for a long time are a thing of the past. But the key switch of transition is a move from manufacturing to services.
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