Ford to Shift Production of Focus to China

Ford’s production of its Focus compact for the U.S. market is now headed for China—not Mexico—as the car maker seeks cost savings globally even as the Trump administration works to keep automotive jobs at home. Last year, Ford said it would move its once-hot Focus to Mexico in 2018.

.. The auto maker, which already makes Focuses in China, said building the next-generation Focus there rather than in an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, would save the company $500 million. Ford said relocating the Focus wouldn’t result in any job losses at the Michigan plant.

Why ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Soared in China While ‘Lego Batman’ Flopped

A Dog’s Purpose” wasn’t even going to be released in China, where few American dramas without special effects or A-list stars are successful. But Amblin last fall, seeking a Chinese investor to give its movies better play in China, sold a minority stake in the studio to Alibaba. Shortly after, Ms. Wei, of Alibaba Pictures, saw “A Dog’s Purpose” and its potential.

.. Alibaba promoted the movie alongside pet adoption agencies and held special screenings for people and their dogs, Ms. Wei said. It plumbed its online movie-ticket service to target pet owners, families, women and others it believed would like the movie. Alibaba representatives traveled to theaters to persuade exhibitors to allocate screens, bringing the e-commerce data to support their pitch.

.. Alibaba lobbied the state-run distributor to extend the movie’s run to eight weeks, twice as long as most imported films.
.. A combination of Chinese regulations and the unpopularity of state-run television don’t allow the kind of large-scale TV ad campaigns used in U.S. marketing.
.. China requires a few million dollars in digital advertising and a local, hands-on touch as simple as lobby displays.
.. “It really is an enormous market in terms of how much you need to do to reach beyond the biggest cities,” said Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, Warner Bros.’ head of international distribution. “Having a local partnership is really helpful in maximizing the scale and scope of your campaign.”

Manafort still doing international work

Trump’s former campaign chairman is under FBI investigation, but some say he is touting access to the president to prospective business partners.

.. that hasn’t stopped him from doing business with international figures and companies, partly by claiming continued access to Trump

.. Manafort quietly consulted on a proposal under which the Chinese fund — the China Development Fund — would invest $30 billion or more in the Puerto Rican government’s bond debt and possibly the island’s critical infrastructure

.. Manafort indicated that he could convince the Trump administration to support any resulting deal, because he’s remained in contact with Trump’s team, and that he played a role in helping to soften Trump’s tough campaign rhetoric on China.

.. he has narrowly interpreted legal provisions dictating the circumstances under which individuals are required to disclose lobbying or public relations work

.. scrutiny of his work in Ukraine — which is currently under investigation by the FBI and congressional intelligence committees as part of their Russia probes — led to Manafort’s ouster as Trump’s campaign chairman

.. The idea that Manafort would market his access to Trump to clients and prospective clients interested in influencing government decision-making — without registering as a lobbyist — deeply bothers Trump’s allies.

.. he’s carved out a lucrative niche representing businessmen and politicians in parts of the world where real or perceived ties to a U.S. president tend to outweigh negative press in the U.S.

.. Manafort also are working with Shanghai billionaire Yan Jiehe to help his company, Pacific Construction Group, win contracts to build infrastructure around the world.

.. “The bulk of infrastructure development right now is going on in Africa, not in the U.S.

.. “Is he friends with Russian oligarchs? Yeah, the same way he’s friends with Argentinian and Mexican oligarchs. There are oligarchs around the world, but the fact that he’s friends with Russian oligarchs doesn’t mean that he supports or even likes [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”

World Coal Output Fell by Record Amount in 2016

Coal accounted for 28% of energy production last year in a ‘marked shift toward lower-carbon fuels,’ BP says in annual energy review

 Global coal production saw its largest decrease on record in 2016, as China and the U.S. dug up less of the commodity and burned less of it for electricity
.. U.S. output declined 19% and Chinese production fell almost 8%.
.. Renewables such as wind and solar power were the fastest-growing energy sources in 2016, BP said, increasing output by 12%. Renewables now provide just under 4% of the world’s energy, up from 2.8% of global energy consumption in 2015
..BP said oil consumption continued to rise at a strong pace in 2016, up 1.6% in 2016, which was above the 10-year average. The company sees a peak in oil demand around 2040, when consumption will begin to fall globally.