It was a pleasure participating in The Asia Group’s Tea Leaves podcast. I sat down with Kurt Campbell to discuss my experience building businesses in both China and Japan, as well as my perspective on China-Japan relations and U.S.-China trade challenges.
Tea Leaves is hosted by The Asia Group’s Dr. Kurt M. Campbell and Ambassador Richard Verma. These guys know Asia. Dr. Kurt M. Campbell is CEO and Chairman of The Asia Group, and served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian & Pacific Affairs from 2009 to 2013. Richard Verma is Vice Chairman and Partner at The Asia Group, and served as the United States Ambassador to India from 2015 to 2017.
The podcast regularly presents interviews with policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and artists and explores critical issues in the Asia-Pacific, the most dynamic and consequential region in the world. I encourage everyone to tune in to the episode and subscribe to Tea Leaves!
Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Founding a business is a lot like raising children, it takes a great deal of care and nurturing, and the time passes quickly. When I co-founded the company in 1998, Acorn’s business was originally focused on direct sales of various consumer products in Beijing, and soon expanded to cover all of mainland China. Acorn has a strong track record of developing and promoting trusted brands in China, including its widely popular Babaka posture correction products, Youngleda oxygen generating products, Yierjian fitness products and Aoya cosmetics.
Through much of its history, Acorn focused on the marketing and branding of its branded products through TV direct sales, and at one point was the largest TV direct sales operator in China. Following a downturn in the TV direct sales business which began in 2014 and was precipitated by regulatory changes in China, Acorn has been focusing on turning around the business. It has been focused on profitably growing certain of its legacy brands, with an emphasis on e-commerce, while streamlining operations, reducing overhead expenses and selling non-core assets as it shifts towards an asset-light model. Today, Acorn is incubating new business units such as Acorn Fresh and Acorn Entertainment, which target attractive addressable markets in China. We have successfully steered our Company through a number of challenges and are continuing to make progress in reinvigorating the business.
Under the deft leadership of Jacob Fisch, President and CEO, we are shaping Acorn for the future while remaining true to our past by leveraging our key strengths in marketing and branding, insight into the needs of Chinese consumers and delivering desirable, high quality brands and products. Jake and his team are working hard on expanding our core businesses and are optimistic about the prospects for our new business units, Acorn Fresh and Acorn Entertainment. We continue to emphasize our mission statement, which is displayed prominently in one of our main conference rooms: ‘Bringing the best of the world directly to the Chinese consumer.’”
Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) recently announced that it has begun offering high quality seafood to Chinese consumers through its newly established Acorn Fresh business. As Executive Chairman of Acorn and a co-founder of IS Seafood, I am extremely excited about this partnership. IS Seafood employs a network of industry-leading cold chain logistics specialists and uses state of the art processing and packaging techniques to deliver the finest, all-natural seafood.
And now, Acorn Fresh will bring safe, wild, and healthy premium seafood direct to consumers in a market where food safety and supply chain integrity remain significant problems. Acorn Fresh will be available on major and niche third-party e-commerce and digital media platforms in China, as well as Acorn’s official websites and own proprietary platforms.
Acorn Fresh’s seafood products are primarily sourced from Iceland and feature single-frozen, sustainably caught wild seafood, through IS Seafood, a seafood wholesaler that provides seafood to some of China’s leading hotels and restaurants. Acorn also separately engages one of China’s leading cold-chain logistics operators with a reach that covers over 70% of China’s population to deliver its products directly to consumers at a constant temperature of maximum minus 18 degrees Celsius.
Food safety is a real problem in China and consumers are willing to pay a premium for high-quality products. Acorn Fresh is tackling the vast seafood market in China, which is expected to drive more than half of global seafood consumption growth over the next decade according to industry reports. Early indications are that Acorn Fresh is being very well received by Chinese consumers looking for safe and healthy sources of protein for their families.
Of course, I have always recognized Sand Hollow Resort as the perfect location for outdoor recreation, golf, and relaxation, but it’s rewarding to see the resort gaining public recognition as well. Last week, Sand Hollow Resort was featured on Salt Lake City’s KUTV Summer Road Trippin’ and Fresh Living segments. Resort Operations Manager Adam Jasperson hosted KUTV’s Caitlin Hansen and showed off the resort’s Clubhouse, accommodations, amenities, and award-winning Championship golf course!
The Road Trippin’ segment features the best spots for southern Utah adventures and tourism. “The resort offers something for everyone with a top-ranked golf course, boating, motor ports, biking and hiking,” stated Hansen. “Guests have unlimited recreation right at their fingertips.” Click here to view the coverage!
For those of you who haven’t visited Sand Hollow, there’s never been a better time. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Sand Hollow is offering special events and promotions throughout the summer, including the Skills Sprint 5K/Cross Fit, 2 Man Shamble 100-Hole Golf Tournament, and live music every weekend. And, when you book a stay for three nights, the third night is just $10.
Visit www.sandhollowresorts.com for more information!
“Trusting my gut became life or death. If you read nothing past this line, you must take this in: We absolutely can live or die by our convictions.”
For entrepreneurs, gut instincts can often be the difference between success or failure. Every leadership book ever published includes at least one chapter on trusting your instincts. But truthfully, leading with your gut somewhat challenges human nature . . . it’s much more natural to second-guess ourselves and turn a deaf ear to our inner voice.
A couple weeks ago, one of my colleagues sent me an article, “Here’s the Real Cost of Ignoring Your Problems.” It was written by Jason Saltzman, an acquaintance of my colleague. I asked him to share it with my leadership team, and I wanted to share it here on my blog as well. Many of the people I know are entrepreneurs and have become successful by following their convictions. Many have also likely put their professional success ahead of their personal interests. This article serves as a critical wake up call. We all need to work as hard on our health as we do on our business!
I hope you take a moment to read and become inspired by this article.
I am proud to announce Cachet Hospitality Group’s global participation in the “Strawless Ocean” movement, organized by the Lonely Whale organization. We are thrilled to support Adrian Grenier and his team at Lonely Whale in their efforts to bring attention to the plastic pollution issue. All CHG properties will commence to switch from plastic straws to paper straws in support of the cause.
Most people just do not think about the effects a simple plastic straw can have on the lives of generations to come. By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans, and we are eager to do our part and start to make a difference. The hospitality industry has an obligation to get behind this cause and begin reducing the amount of plastic waste it generates, and this initiative is perfectly aligned with Cachet’s mission to be the leading innovative and socially responsible hospitality company in the Asia Pacific and North America.
I encourage everyone to do their part. To learn more about the Strawless Ocean movement and the Lonely Whale organization, please visit their websites.
“We are likely to see more change in the next 15 years than in the last hundred. But who will run that world? Who will hold the keys? Are you ready?”
I wanted to share a link to a TedxBrussels presentation, “Brave New World Relations,” presented by retired U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman. The former Ambassador is a sought-after speaker throughout Europe and the United States and a thought leader of our time. His presentation examines the sometimes-conflicting roles and objectives of government, business, and technology and challenges us to think about what the “Brave New World” of tomorrow will look like.
I found this fascinating and encourage everyone to take 12 minutes out of your busy day to watch this!