Arabic food marketers are expanding in the West and elsewhere. Abu Dhabi's Just Falafel and Saudi Arabia's Bateel are among those opening eateries and claiming supermarket shelves in the U.K., Europe, U.S., Australia and Russia. They are positioning Arabic fare like dates, falafel and shawarma as healthier alternatives to conventional fast foods. However, they must shed a "street food," image, focus on quality and create a base of loyal consumers, Wharton faculty and industry players tell Arabic Knowledge@Wharton.
Published: April 30, 2013 Luxury Resurfaces in India, Cutting a Wider Swathe
Branded luxury has always existed in India. The fashion houses of Europe had regular customers in the many hundreds of princes and princelings of British India. Independence brought austerity and a socialist mindset. Today, however, with newfound prosperity -- even in the rural heartland -- luxury is making a quiet comeback.
Published: April 30, 2013 In Alhoush.com, Fledgling Arab Artists Find an Online Ally and a Receptive Market
Art Dubai's latest festival demonstrates the growing interest in Arab art. Indeed, providing an online platform for up-and-coming Arab artists has helped develop a viable business and also boost the region's creative economy, according to the founders of Alhoush.com, Ehab Shanti and Rashid Abdelhamid. "Part of our mission is to tell this story of the incredible treasure of creativity that we meet every day," note Shanti and Abdelhamid during an interview with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton.
Published: March 19, 2013 Vijay Mahajan: The Middle East Is not Just Dubai
There are a number of opportunities in the Middle East that are missed by following popular stereotypes, says Vijay Mahajan, author of The Arab World Unbound. For instance, the region boasts booming retail and media industries, he tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. But companies would be making a mistake to look at the most wealthy and modern parts of the region and expect every Middle Eastern market to be like that, Mahajan notes.
Published: March 05, 2013 Emirati Filmmaker Seeks Support for the Region's Burgeoning Movie Industry
The path to become the first Emirati female film director was not easy for Nayla Al Khaja. But despite the adversities she faced and the sacrifices she made to pursue her career, Al Khaja is full of optimism for the Gulf's film industry. She sees the potential for her native United Arab Emirates to become a regional film hub, and cites examples in Europe the country could emulate. She tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that regional governments should lend support to aspiring movie directors and producers.
Published: March 05, 2013 Vijay Mahajan: Understanding the Potential and Power of Arab Consumers
The regular media images of the Middle East miss much of the truth about the region, and marketers would do well to avoid such stereotypes, says Vijay Mahajan, author of The Arab World Unbound. Mahajan tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that a culturally sensitive and regionally grounded approach is a better strategy to reap the opportunities presented by Arab consumers.
Published: February 19, 2013 Mexican Multinationals Target China's Most Adventurous Consumers
In recent years, Latin American multinationals have attracted attention for expanding across borders, especially within Latin America and Europe. With less fanfare, some leading Mexican multinationals have been jumping into markets in China, offering everything from baked goods to cement to tile bathroom fixtures. Although their presence in China's huge economy remains modest, Mexican companies invested a cumulative total of US$921 million in China between 1996 and 2010, according to a report. Two firms in the baked goods sector -- Grupo Bimbo and Grupo Maseca -- are leading the way. What lessons have they learned so far?
Published: February 19, 2013 Devout, Yet Fashionable: A Designer Who Modernizes Islamic Dress
Dana Al Taji loved fashion, but when she decided to don the draping abaya, she found that traditional Islamic dress designs didn't reflect her personal style. So Al Taji started making her own abayas, which she describes as trendy yet modest. She realized other Muslim women wanted the same and launched her own line of Islamic couture called Layal, offering everything from abayas for expecting mothers to eveningwear ensembles. "You are presenting; you're representing your religion," she says. "You chose to dress in a certain way, so let it be nice and trendy and clean and appeal to other people."
Published: January 22, 2013 Spray Can Messenger: Aerosol Arabic Brings Ornate Islamic Graffiti to Urban Walls
Mohammad Ali sees graffiti as a medium of art that anyone can understand, and uses it to deliver a rarely heard message about Muslims around the world. Calling himself Aerosol Arabic, Ali incorporates Islamic script into his spray paint artworks. Though some officials consider graffiti a public menace, Ali's work has garnered him invitations to perform even from Middle East governments. He tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that graffiti art has mushroomed in the Middle East, particularly after the Arab Spring revolutions: "People have found their voices in the street art."
Published: November 27, 2012 Estee Lauder's New Skin Care Brand in China: The Potential for High-risk, High-reward
Following a trend among luxury retailers, Estee Lauder Companies will offer a new high-end brand, Osiao, tailored specifically for Chinese women. But the New York-based manufacturer of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products already faces competition from other Asian skin care products. Additionally, its success depends partly on continuing strength in the high-end luxury market, despite weakening in the Chinese economy overall. And some observers question whether such a hybrid product will appeal to Chinese women. Wharton faculty familiar with the Chinese market are generally optimistic about Estee Lauder's venture, while also noting the challenges that any new brand faces.
Published: October 16, 2012 Have Global E-tailers Missed the Bus in India?
The online retail space in India is at an inflexion point and poised for tremendous growth in the coming years. Indian firms are gearing up to make the most of the opportunity. But global players are waiting on the sidelines because of the Indian government's restrictions on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail. Experts tell India Knowledge@Wharton that the industry is still young. If the global players come within the next 12 to 18 months, the field is wide open for any of them to ride this wave.
Published: September 18, 2012 Cheeseburger Pizzas, Designer French Fries and a Post-war Cinnabon: Fast Food's Booming Middle East Market
The Arab World's love for Western fast food is seemingly bottomless. In the region's wealthiest countries, high-end fast food restaurants offering $US40 meals cater to a willing clientele. Even post-civil war Libya welcomed its first Cinnabon in July, which also happened to be the first U.S. franchise of any kind to ever open in the country. Despite their relatively small populations, Gulf countries are fast food markets worth billions, and franchises have hastened their entry into the region, bringing along ambitious expansion plans. But doing business there requires localized partners and products, and maintaining a novelty factor to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
Published: September 04, 2012 Haute Is Hot in the Middle East, Despite Eurozone Fears and Arab Unrest
The most exclusive and expensive fashion brands have found a robust market in the Middle East, and Dubai acts as a regional hub, offering a local market of wealthy Emiratis and expatriates and a regular churn of free-spending, deep-pocketed tourists. The Arab Spring had little impact on the Gulf, and Dubai is now second only to London as the most attractive city for international retailers. Luxury retail has been growing at a rate between 10% and 12% in the Middle East in recent years, according to analysts. And in the past year, the market has increasingly attracted a number of customers from Asia.
Published: June 26, 2012 Nasser D. Khalili: 'Contemporary Art Has Become Like Buying Shares'
Nasser D. Khalili has built a renowned art collection that has been exhibited around the world, including in London and New York. Khalili says he has maintained a passion to show his treasures -- not merely amass them -- because of the power art has to connect and educate people. In an interview with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton at the recent Festival of Thinkers conference in Abu Dhabi, Khalili shares his insight into art collecting and how the market has changed with an influx of money. He also discusses the development of arts and culture in the Middle East and North Africa.
Published: June 12, 2012 Arab Filmmakers See Opportunity as Revolutions Draw Interest to Middle East Cinema
A new direction for Middle Eastern cinema has evolved with the Arab Spring. The revolutions have provided filmmakers with fresh narratives and wider global interest in Arab film, which has dovetailed with an appetite in the Arab Gulf to invest in culture and become a new hub for the industry, one long dominated by Egypt. Interest in filmmaking in the Arab world is also driven by newfound economic potential, both in domestic production and financing international films. Hajer Ben Nasr, a Tunisian documentarian, speaks to Arabic Knowledge@Wharton about the opportunities and challenges for Arab filmmakers.
Published: March 05, 2012