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Global Business magazine

Mexico Taxes: Breaking the Code [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
September 2000

MEXICAN ELECTORAL OFFICIALS HAD BARELY finished tallying up the votes late in the night of July 2 when executives across Mexico began a different sort of calculation—as they prepared to ask President-elect Vicente Fox for tax breaks and other pro-business measures. Few in the business community had bet beforehand that Fox would be able to end the 71-year rule of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party. Yet most quickly grasped the significance of the fact that a businessman—rather than a career politician —would set the economic tone for the
next six years. “Because Mr. Fox comes from the private sector, he knows how painful the tax system is,” says Mauricio Monroy, tax partner at the Deloitte & Touche office in Mexico City. “Mexico has burdensome rules and a high tax rate that doesn’t promote investment at all.”

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Solutions for the Masses [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
July 2000

INDUSTRY EXPERTS PREDICT THAT U.S. companies will spend $4.5 billion this year on supply chain management solutions, but the universe of firms that actually do so will likely remain quite small. One consultancy reports that some 7.4 million small to mid-size suppliers around the world—some with yearly sales well above the $1 billion mark—can still be characterized as “electronically challenged.” “Companies are either fully exploiting supply chain improvement opportunities or have not even begun to initiate a program,” says Robin Palmer, partner-in-charge of KPMG’s Supply Chain Management Practice. For the many companies that are lagging behind, the growing gulf between their technological capabilities and those of their more advanced competitors—and often with their customers—is ever more disturbing. Increasingly, there is a sense that power is shifting to the firms that can better manage the basic information that moves through the average supply chain and manufacturing process.

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High Wireless Acts [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
June 2000

WALK THE STREETS OF SAO Paulo, Buenos Aires or Santiago, and it’s easy to believe you’ve dropped into the center of the global telecom revolution. Mobile phones are everywhere, giant billboards tout ISP services and new satellite dishes yawn up from atop apartment buildings and office towers. Yet a decade after the sell-off of the region’s telecom companies began, the slice of society served by the latest communications technologies remains very shallow. As the e-commerce juggernaut powers across North America and Europe and parts of Asia, in much of Latin America more than half the population still await their first phone lines. Finally, however, the process that began in the early 1990s is picking up speed. A few of the world’s biggest telecom companies are making big plays in the region, and hundreds of others of all sizes are making smaller plays, using all sorts of technologies. “The telecommunications industry went through a rapid boom and a series of privatizations in the early 1990s,” says Charles Dusseau, a partner with Miami-based Meridian Capital Markets LLC. “Now, a highly competitive shake-out is going on, with various players vying for market share in each country.”

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Canada Headquarters: Facing Off [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
April 2000

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, THE SWEDISH telecommunications company Ericsson was presented with a tempting opportunity to move to Canada to be closer to one of its biggest customers, Cantel (now Rogers AT&T). Ericsson jumped at the chance, and came smack up against the challenge of deciding where to set up its regional headquarters. “It came down to Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa,” says Lionel Hurtubise, chairman of the board of Ericsson Canada. “After considering all the pros and cons, we chose Montreal because of the large number of software engineers based here.” The move certainly panned out for Ericsson. After starting off with 10 engineers in its research and development center, the company today is the sixth largest investor in R&D in Canada and is outfitted with a staff of more than 1,600 engineers. Hurtubise says Ericsson remains very bullish on Montreal. Labor is very stable, with turnover of 4% per year compared to nearly 25% in its Dallas facility. The total cost of taxes and office space, meanwhile, seems minimal when compared to Ericsson’s home base in Sweden, Hurtubise says. “The Canadian government provides a tax credit for 40% of our employees’ salaries and we get a direct refund from the Province of Quebec.”

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Americas Online: The United Markets of the Americas [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
February 2000

THE SPANIARDS COULDN’T DO IT, despite their 300 years of often-brutal rule. Bolivar organized a valiant effort, and died a disillusioned man. Che Guevarra rallied a hemisphere’s left around the idea, before being shot down in the jungles of Bolivia. The unification of Latin America’s disparate lands has baffled conquerors and rebels for nearly half a millennium. And that’s just the Spanish-speaking half of the hemisphere. Brazil, where the dominant language is Portuguese, is another story altogether. But now another campaign to unify the region is underway, this time led by an invading army of techies and mass marketers. Following trails blazed in recent years by multi-nationals like McDonalds and IBM, using marketing techniques honed by media companies like MTV and Univision, empowered by cheaper and better telecommunications and new trans-national tools such as call centers and express package delivery, a slew of the world’s top internet companies are scrambling to tie together vastly bigger communities of Spanish and Portuguese speaking consumers than ever before. Their efforts are already paying off.

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Global Website Planner: Taking Global Local [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Contributing Editor
Global Business magazine
December 1999

IN 1988, ROBERT SPRUNG GLIMPSED the future. He saw linguists, lots and lots of linguists. Demand was so high, in fact, that corporations were willing to pay top dollar for their services.
Anyone who remembers the translations industry a decade ago knows just how optimistic such a vision seemed. At the time, translation and interpretation services tended to be mom and pop operations, conjuring up images of tweed jackets, electric typewriters and long coffee breaks made even longer by lack of work. But Sprung represented a new generation of translators, one accustomed to computers and word processing systems. And even though widespread use of the Internet lay years away, he was convinced computers would change the translations business. With that in mind, the Harvard grad, who boasted undergrad degrees in German and the Classics, and a masters in modern languages, founded Harvard Translations Inc. of Cambridge. “These are heady times for the language industry,” Sprung says. “Riding the wave of globalization, companies are finding that to sell beyond their borders, they must communicate in their customers’ languages.” And since there are many languages around the world—and many more language combinations—there is little sign that the growth in Sprung’s business will do anything but accelerate in the years to come.

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Canada High Tech: After Taxes, What’s left? [Global Business magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Global Business magazine
November 1999

TAKE ONE LOOK AT THE net income line on the average pay stub in Canada and it isn’t difficult to understand why a highly educated worker there might opt to move to a similar job in the United States. Take, for instance, a skilled engineer in Ontario who earns the equivalent of US$94,000 per year. After federal, provincial and local taxes, he will take home roughly US$56,000. Compare that to the salary of an engineer in, Austin, Texas who earns the same base of US$94,000. Her take-home pay is about US$72,000. The difference—$16,000—equals nearly 30% of the total take-home wage in Canada. And, apparently, it is finally starting to have a real effect on workers. The Conference Board of Canada reports that between 1995 and 1997, as many as 12,500 Canadian engineers immigrated to the United States. This number roughly equals half the total number of engineering students who graduated from Canadian universities over that same three-year period. This pay envy may soon be over, however.

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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