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E-commerce and crowdfunding: why are they the same in China?

Industries April 18th, 2016, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

As long as laws and regulations are not changed to promote further diversity in crowdfunding, the industry will very likely focus on products that have already proven their feasibility. This is unlike in the West, where platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo can promote projects even before their first proof of concept. Entrepreneurs in China can therefore see in crowdfunding an alternative to venture capital in scaling up, or use it as a way to test their markets.

Staying one step ahead at Pixar

Industries April 17th, 2016, Ed Catmull / President, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios

The cofounder of the company that created the world's first computer-animated feature film lays out a management philosophy for keeping Pixar innovative.

With the emergence of new, often disruptive, forms of personal mobility, the automotive industry is facing a drastic change in its role and its relationship with consumers, end-users and society in general. New forms of partnerships are also emerging. Innovation and technology are crucial drivers for these changes, while automotive suppliers are its key actors, alongside OEMs, new industrial players and service providers.

American unconventional oils against the backdrop of falling prices

Industries April 7th, 2016, Thierry Salmona / Vice-President, Innovation, Research & Technology, Business Support, Imerys

The current price of 50-60 dollars per barrel limits the number of new wells that can be drilled at an economically reasonable price. As a consequence, the drilling activity in the United States collapsed by 50%. Now that OPEC has stopped playing its regulatory role, American unconventional oils may well be the main balancing factor on the market. At the same time, the industry has already begun to adapt very quickly and the possibility of lower costs will play a very important role in this evolution.

Overcoming the pessimism that permeates many visions of the future of the news media, today we find ourselves in a period of intense activity, i.e. in the “creative” phase of a Schumpeterian moment. Many startups no longer rely on advertising and are refocusing on the service provided to the reader. Crowdfunding has freed up initiatives and is allowing for experimentation. Brief.me, a daily newsletter launched in 2014, was born of such experimentation.

Payment Service Directive II – A glimpse at the EU’s FinTech regulation effort and its implications

Industries March 17th, 2016, Tobias Pfuetze / FinTechs Entrepreneur, Senior Business Consultant, Mediaman Shanghai

Regulating FinTechs? Better say forcing their way into the market. Revolution ahead in the European banking business! Since the pressure on banks is high on different grounds, it is very likely that PSD II levels the field and FinTechs will profit disproportionally over traditional payment stakeholders and potentially win the race.

A brief history of Autolib’

Industries March 3rd, 2016, Sylvain Géron / CTO, Canal+, co-funder and former manager, Polyconseil

Autolib' is a technical, operational and commercial success. This electric car-sharing service which started in Paris and operates in several French cities is now going global: the latest city where the scheme has been adopted is Indianapolis. This rather risky venture was made possible by the alliance between a giant and a startup. Here is its story.

Agriculture and the food industry are quickly entering the era of platform economics. The rapid development of digital interfaces is not exclusively a matter of matching supply and demand. Collaborative platforms have emerged alongside marketplaces, some dedicated to finance, others to exchanging services. Professionals are reinventing and rediscovering older forms of solidarity. Finally, private individuals are also getting in to the game, radically overhauling everyday practices and rewriting codes.

A pocket-sized multinational

Industries November 10th, 2015, Georges Jobard / Chairman, F2i, Innovation and Strategy Consultant

Clextral is an engineering company located in Firminy near Saint-Etienne, France. It employs 275 people including 80 engineers, sells its machines in 88 countries and has subsidiaries and offices on every continent. What's the secret?

Tesla’s computer on wheels

Industries October 25th, 2015, Philippe Chain / Former Vice President Quality, Tesla Motors

With the Model S, Tesla offers not only “the best car in the world,” but also an object from the Silicon Valley, closer in its architecture to a mobile electronic device than to a car, in the conventional sense. The electronics and system architecture but also the streamlined user experience: everything is designed in a framework where models are smartphones and tablets. The result is a car that draws its attractiveness from its own features, including its mechanical performance, and from the enchanting experience it promises, more than from simply rational, technical and economic features. Electronics and automotive technology, the best of both worlds, and beyond! This performance owes much to the personality of Elon Musk and to the culture of the company, which shares both the qualities and defects of a start-up. Will this culture survive to a change of scale?

From weightlifter to genius: what changes await car makers

Industries October 17th, 2015, David Allard / Head of Open Innovation and Advanced Research Manager, PSA Peugeot Citroën - Asia Business Unit

Automakers are facing four changes that will altogether change the automotive experience in the few years to come. These four innovations, brought from the consumer electronics industry, include Connectivity, Artificial intelligence, Sensors, and Interface. Each of these four disrupting factors, taken independently, is a powerful wave on its own. When combined, they will redefine the industry.

Tesla’s Powerwall: sustainable or not?

Industries July 10th, 2015, Vincent Champain & Vincent Schächter / COO France, General Electric & Vice-President R&D, Total New Energies

Tesla's PowerWall is the first mass-produced individual electric storage solution to hit the market. But does it offer any true ecological benefit? Is it cost-effective enough to be sustainable? Two specialists discuss these issues.

The spread of civil drones in China: an industry was born… and the killer app is expected soon

Industries May 27th, 2015, PENG Zhongren / Professor, Center for ITS and UAV Application Research, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University

China has joined the race. The rapid development of civil uses, such as monitoring pollution and transportation flow, has allowed new players to emerge, aside from large military programs. Applications will drive the growth of this industry, along with technology advances and falling prices. It is still too early to say whether UAVs can be applied on a large scale and overhaul the traditional industries. But some companies are already valued at US$10 billion. Shall we expect consolidation? What is going to be the killer application?

It is a paradox: despite huge oil reserves supporting their wealth, Norwegians have become, in a few years, the first users of electric vehicles. These represent 18% of new registrations since the beginning of 2015! The key to this unprecedented growth, nowhere else to be found, is their convincing policy of incentives... so convincing, in fact, that its designers have been overwhelmed by its success: the model is bound to evolve.

As crowdfunding becomes more accepted, it's moving into new areas. One with a lot of promise: commercial real estate, where deals under $10 million are not worth the efforts of big investors, says Dan Miller, co-founder of Fundrise. These large investors do not want to have a lot of $1 million investments, they won't be able to manage it. That has left an opening for crowdfunding firms like his.

In February Elon Musk boldly predicted Tesla motors would go where no car company has ever gone before, to a $700 billion market valuation by 2025. To put that in perspective, Apple became the most valuable company in history when it reached a $700 billion market valuation in November 2014. Compared to the automobile industry, $700 billion dwarfs the market value of the five biggest public automobile companies. Together, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and Honda have a market cap of just $522 billion. Is Elon Musk crazy? Or is he planning something only he can see?

Energy transition Series – Will renewable energy sources soon be profitable?

Industries April 24th, 2015, Michel Cruciani / Program Manager, Centre of Geopolitics of Energy and Raw Materials (CGEMP, University Paris-Dauphine)

Wind turbine and solar power sources now represent a significant fraction in the electricity generation mix of industrialized countries. How did they achieve such a breakthrough successfully? European countries use differing models, which all show their limits, for transition from a subsidy-intensive economy to a market-driven logic is complex. The question remains: will renewable energy sources soon be proven profitable?

Competitiveness in the industry: let’s talk about services

Industries April 7th, 2015, Vincent Champain / COO France, General Electric, Co-chairman, Observatoire du long terme

Today, manufacturers operate in a harsh competitive environment. How can they maintain and develop their competitive edges? What kind of industrial policy can help them when facing this challenge?

A slew of new product introductions indicate virtual reality technology is coming into its own - but it's a sector that is still waiting for a breakthrough product to win over consumers.

Industrial and technical challenges in the nuclear power industry

Industries March 20th, 2015, Hervé Machenaud / Vice President Asia-Pacific, Electricité de France (EDF), Former Group Senior Executive Vice President of Generation, EDF

In an industrial facility, the key-concept is reliability. It is all the more true in utilities such as electric power companies, since one must be able to trust the electricity provider 24/7, year in, year out. It is even crucial when it comes to nuclear power production, where one should expect high sustainability and total safety. In this industry, rigorous mastering of the production tool is thus a necessary condition for the technical and economic performance. The heart of this industrial model is engineering.

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