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Mike Redwood is the spokesperson for the LeatherNaturally! programme being developed by the world's top tanneries to promote leather as a high quality sustainable material. He is the Visiting Professor for Leather at the University of Northampton and is a Teaching Fellow in Marketing at Bath University. Originally a leather chemist he has spent his career in tanneries, footwear and sports companies moving through technical and general management to eventually focus on marketing and innovation. He has held senior positions in companies such ADOC, Pittards, FootJoy and ECCO working in Italy, The Netherlands and Latin America before returning to his home in the UK.
The accepted back story of the leather industry is that the supply of leather cannot grow to meet demand because the livestock – bovine, ovine, caprine or porcine – that provide the hides and skins are never kept for making leather, only for meat and milk.
In June of this year Google paid half a billion dollars, yes $0.5 billion, for a 1% share in JD.com. Walmart already owns 11%. I imagine that a good proportion of readers of this article will not know who JD.com actually is or what they do. It is China’s second largest on-line retailer and functions in some ways like Amazon.
We hear a lot about the fact that the Chinese economy is in transition, which more than anything means that the relentless growth of manufacturing has eased off. Growth slows so the double digit figures we saw for a long time are a thing of the past. But the key switch of transition is a move from manufacturing to services.
Back in the 1990s after the Soviet Union had broken up and China was well on the way with the “reform and opening up” of its economy begun under Deng Xiaoping there was, in many parts of the world, a quiet assumption that what is loosely defined as “western” capitalism and democracy was going to soon predominate around the world.
As exhibitors and visitors left the platform heading to the airport at the end of the 38th APLF show there were rather too many non leather sneakers on display.
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