Audi Global Marketing Communication

Title: Audi Global Marketing and Communication Strategy. Audi is an automobile manufacturer based in Germany that distributes, markets, produces, engineers, and designs luxurious vehicles. The manufacturer was founded in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany and is part of the Volkswagen Group. Throughout the globe, vehicles that are Audi-branded are manufactured in nine production facilities. The organisation’s origin dates back to the early 20th-century when engineer August Horch teamed with two other manufacturers in 1932 to form Auto Union. The mid-20th century (the 1960s) saw the commencement of the modern day Audi when Volkswagen acquired Auto Union from Daimler-Benz (Audi, 2019). The Audi brand was relaunched in 1965 by introducing the Audi F103 series to the market. After the relaunch, Volkswagen decided to merge NSU Motorenwerke with Auto Union in 1969 to form the modern day structure of the organisation.

The organisation’s name is a German translation of founder’s surname – Horch. The Audi logo has four rings that signify each of the four automobile manufacturers who merged to establish the organisation’s predecessor, Auto Union. The company’s slogan “Advancement through Technology” implies that the organisation uses the latest technology to manufacture its car (Audi, 2019). In the United States, the organisation’s slogan was “Truth in Engineering” up to the year 2016 from the year 2007. Together with the Mercedes-Benz and the BMW, Audi is among the world’s most sold luxurious automobile brand. The key intent of this report is to look into the global, local and glocal strategies of Audi with regard to price and distribution; additionally, the report will select and discuss the primary target market of the organisation.

Audi marketing mix

Due to the element of globalisation, the concept of marketing has evolved immensely over time, and if companies are not able to keep up with the dynamism, they risk being overtaken by their competitors. One of the major dynamics in the marketing concept evolution is the Marketing Mix strategy that an organisation chooses to adopt (Svend, 2017). Audi being a major player in the automobile industry has managed to keep up with the dynamics in marketing by adopting different strategies in the local, international, and glocal market. It is vital to note that as Audi customers look for relevant and consistent experiences in the organisation’s products whenever and wherever they interact with them, the company is under pressure to find creative and innovative methods of marketing. Additionally, these marketing strategies are supposed to remain relevant locally while they maintain a sense of consistency in owning a global brand.

Glocal pricing and distribution at Audi

Audi recognises the fact that the digital marketing landscape is being taken over by glocalisation. As a result, the organisation has undertaken the initiative of strengthening the global brand of its products with a customised approach and flavour for the global market. However, the organisation faces a major challenge of ensuring that the global marketing campaigns of the organisation are in sync with the tastes and preferences of the local audience (Awan, 2014). In setting the prices for its products and choosing the distribution strategies as relates to glocalisation, the organisation acknowledges the fact that the major customer priorities with regards to these aspects differ from one market to another. Therefore, it is critical that these priorities are taken into consideration to establish an effective pricing and distribution strategy in the glocal market. To effectively penetrate the glocal market, Audi has incorporated hyperlocal and social geo-targeting in its overall marketing strategy.

In employing social geo-targeting in its pricing and distribution strategy, Audi can develop a deeper engagement with its customers, and it can get speedy feedback on its services, releases, and ideas. Through hyperlocal geo-targeting, the organisation can use the most recent mapping and communication technology to deliver the relevant content to their clients across the world. Therefore, this form of geo-targeting has opened up a new world for the organisation’s product pricing and distribution strategies. To ensure that the company’s brand identity is relevant while making certain of the effectiveness and relevance of the local campaigns, the organisation assesses its brand from the customer’s viewpoint, (Feurer, Schuhmacher & Kuester, 2018). This helps in ascertaining whether the company cars and other automobiles are in sync with the local demands. When the brand identity does not resonate with the local demands, the organisation takes the initiative to incorporate these demands in the local brand identity.

In ensuring that the glocal pricing distribution strategy of the organisation is successful, their staffs, working in both the local and the international sphere, has created a close association with the customers and the vision of the brand (Hinterhuber, 2017). The senior leadership of Audi is elevated within the automobile industry, and they are recognised as the face of the brand. Additionally, the staff of the organisation ensures that the local communities get the global concept of the demand, hence, making sure that they recognise with it. This way, Audi creates essential relationships with major local markets in the industry. The Audi brand has done a tremendous job in synching its global brand with local demands by using local ambassadors, sponsorships, and local partners.

Global pricing and distribution

In the global market, Audi cars are considered luxurious by all of its clients. Hence, in cashing its brand in the international market, the organisation uses the premium price strategy. Note that the automobile industry is quite competitive with Audi getting major competition from brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz (Sonderegger, 2011). Therefore, the pricing in the company’s marketing mix strategy is majorly founded on the competitive pricing of other manufacturers of premium cars. The company has high brand equity, and all its showrooms are filled with a variety of high-quality automobiles.

To enable customers to buy their products with ease, the organisation has a global and innovative financing option referred to as Audi Finance. Here, the clients pay for the cars using debt financing but at a cheaper rate. Additionally, the organisation has optional pricing strategies whereby its existing clients in the international market can purchase car accessories such as navigation and sound systems, and Audi Bang separately. Note that, the global prices of the organisation are also depended on the economic conditions of a particular country and geographic locations of certain markets.

In understanding the distribution and placement strategy of the organisation, it is vital to note that Audi is one of the largest automobile brands that provide luxurious cars in the world. Although the headquarters of the organisation are in Germany, its production facilities are situated in nine places across the globe. In distributing its products, the organisation explores other markets that have not been discovered by other major players to increase its customer base. As a result, the organisation has made major investments in countries such as India and its market presence in Asia has grown exponentially over time.

The brand’s presence has been established and maintained by putting up an exclusive dealership network and centres that provide after sale services (Steenkamp, 2017). The distribution channel used by Audi in the international market involves producers who supply to distributors who sell to wholesalers than to dealers and finally to the customer. Since the organisation is driven by the urge to satisfy the requirements of the customers, its production proves uses the latest forms of technology. The global vision of the organisation is to become the most successful premium brand.

Local pricing and distribution

In the UK a new Audi A1 costs roughly 14,000 GBP whereas the same car costs 19lac rupees in India; this indicates that the local pricing strategy employed by Audi is the skimming price strategy. Although the price is high, it is justified by the quality of the cars manufactured and the organisation’s brand image. This pricing strategy in local markets is particularly important for effective brand positioning of Audi (Svend, 2017). The reputation of the organisation is good in the international market, and it is reflected on by the number of cars that are produced annually. However, in recent years, the company has experienced poor performance in some local markets, and this is majorly attributed to the increase in rates of foreign exchange.

Audi Global Marketing Communication
Audi Global Marketing Communication

The local distribution strategy of the organisation is to establish dealerships in various locations. Taking the case of India, Audi has twenty-eight dealerships in eleven states, and this has increased its sales exponentially over the years (Talke, Müller, & Wieringa, 2017). For instance, there was an increase in sales by 81% in 2014 in comparison to 2013. By establishing connections with local dealers, the organisation can push its brand to local customers, and this has enabled it to achieve some of the set long-term objectives.

Audi Target Market

Of the four common bases of market segmentation, Audi utilises three of them, and they include psychographic, demographic, and geographic segmentation. In geographic segmentation, the organisation’s decisions are based on which cars to sell and in which location (Xia, Xiao & Zhang, 2012). For instance, the organisation’s market research shows that Canadians drive larger cars as compared to Europeans. Thus, the cars sold in Europe are smaller in size as compared to those sold in Canada. With regards to countries like India, the organisation geographically segments the market into urban and rural areas. People in rural areas are more likely to purchase the Audi A3 model more than the new Audi A8.

With regards to demographics, the organisation segments its market into age, gender and income. With regards to age, the younger generation is more likely to buy the Audi A8 because it is flashy while the older generation gives little concern to the make or level of technology used in manufacturing the car.

By gender, some Audi models are more preferred by either gender because of their make or design. Income is a major determinant of whether one can afford an Audi car or not due to its prices that are considered to be high; therefore, the organisation has taken the initiative to produce cars for various individuals of different income classes (Xia, Xiao & Zhang, 2012). Finally, psychographic segmentation groups buyers according to personality traits, lifestyle and social status. As an organisation, Audi acknowledges the impact of these aspects on the purchasing decisions that are made by individuals. Since the organisation is famed for making luxurious cars, the major target market based on psychographic segmentation is the upper middle class to high-class individuals.

Conclusion

This report aimed to look into the global, local and glocal strategies of Audi with regard to price and distribution. Also, the report intended to select and discuss the primary target market of the organisation. From the essay, it has been established that Audi was founded in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany and is part of the Volkswagen Group and its slogan is “Advancement through Technology.” Being a major player in the automobile industry, Audi has managed to keep up with the dynamics in marketing by adopting different strategies in the local, international, and glocal market. To effectively penetrate the glocal market, Audi has incorporated hyperlocal and social geo-targeting in its overall marketing strategy.

In the global market, the organisation uses the premium price strategy to keep up to speed with the competitive pricing set by its key competitors. The distribution strategy of the organisation in the global market involves producers who supply to distributors who sell to wholesalers than to dealers and finally to the customer. In the local markets, the organisation uses the price skimming strategy. This strategy helps the organisation in growing and establishing its brand in the market. Locally, the organisation distributes its cars by establishing dealerships in various locations. Finally, with regards to target marketing, the organisation segments its market into psychographic, demographic, and geographic groups.

References

Audi. (2019). About Us.

Awan, M. (2014). International Market Segmentation: Exploring automobile Market of Young Adults. International Journal Of Trade, Economics And Finance, 5(2), 151-154.

Feurer, S., Schuhmacher, M., & Kuester, S. (2018). How Pricing Teams Develop Effective Pricing Strategies for New Products. Journal Of Product Innovation Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpim.12444

Hinterhuber, A. (2017). Implementing pricing strategies. Journal Of Revenue And Pricing Management, 17(1), 1-2.

Sonderegger, S. (2011). Market Segmentation with Nonlinear Pricing*. The Journal Of Industrial Economics, 59(1), 38-62.

Steenkamp, J. B. (2017). Global Brand Equity. In Global Brand Strategy (pp. 243-273). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Svend, H. (2017). Global Marketing. England: Pearson Education M.U.A..

Talke, K., Müller, S., & Wieringa, J. E. (2017). A matter of perspective: Design newness and its performance effects. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(2), 399-413.

Xia, Y., Xiao, T., & Zhang, G. (2012). Distribution Channel Strategies for a Manufacturer with Complementary Products. Decision Sciences, 44(1), 39-56.

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Corporate Tax Avoidance Project

According to Christensen et al. (2015), corporate tax avoidance means using the legal strategies to adjust the financial circumstances of an individual to lower the amount of tax the said individual is owing to the state. Corporate tax is achieved through claiming permissible credits and deductions. Most often, corporate tax avoidance is usually confused with tax evasion. Although the two phrases could sound similar, however, Armstrong et al. (2015) believe that tax evasion applies illegal techniques like under reporting the income of an individual to make him or her avoid paying the taxes. According to Sikka (2010) tax avoidance strategy of a given corporation is an ‘organized hypocrisy.’

Avoidance Strategy as an Organized Hypocrisy

I agree with Sikka’s Term that tax avoidance is an organized hypocrisy. Just to mention, companies tend to excel at speaking on social responsibilities when at the same time they devising structures to enable them evade paying taxes. The tenacity of corporate tax avoidance as well as the evasion lures a devotion to organized hypocrisy which can be properly comprehended as the gaps that exist between the decision, the action and the corporate talk, (Brunsson, 1989, 2003). Corporate tax avoidance is indeed an organized hypocrisy. In particular, a case of WorldCom, which is a US telecommunications organization, collapsed amid of allegations of fraud in the year 2002. Consequently, the second reason why I agree with Sikka’s claim that corporate tax avoidance is an organized hypocrisy is the case of KPMG that was borrowed in 1997 considering the initial fee of three million dollars. Later, KPMG recouped a half a million dollars fee which meant to carter for the feasibility study. Notably, the organization proceeded to earn the bonuses of performance totaling to extra two million dollars.

Main Costs of Tax Avoidance

According to Koester, Shevlin, and Wangerin, tax avoidance will keep on inflicting and results to costly consequences to millions of individuals as long as the leaders of low-income countries are excluded from the tax avoidance solution (2016). Notably, in July 2014 at Los Angeles College, President Obama proclaimed loudly that those who employed creative measures to ensure their taxes were reduced were merely corporate deserters renouncing their citizenship to shield profits. Gaertner (2014) reveals that such strategies by individuals to avoid corporate tax have severe costs. There are five main cost types which are generated by companies and individuals vigorously avoid tax.

First, the authorities handling tax collection attempt to counter ingenious tax avoidance practice and institute new opinions and regulations which in turn become supplementary to the tax code. Although the purpose of this measure is to increase certainty, however, the end results is a convoluted tax which leads to the second cost of tax avoidance which is corporate compliance cost.

The third cost of corporate tax avoidance is increasing the cost of administration. Forth, tax avoidance encourages the formation of lobbyists and tax specialist industries which are created to exploit the system. The last main cost of tax avoidance is the loss of the government revenue. According to Hanlon (1994) and Sikka (2003), the federal government of the United States losses fifty to one hundred and seventy billion dollars annually due to tax avoidance.

Key Issue Surrounding Tax Avoidance

According to the Guardian on 30th March 2009, developing countries often receives approximately one hundred and twenty billion dollars from G20 countries in the foreign aid in which the said developing countries are losing an approximate amount of between eight billion and one trillion dollars from the unlawful financial outflow every year to the countries of the west (Kar & Cartwright-Smith, 2008). As Baker (2005) and Cobham (2005), about five hundred billion dollars is lost over a variety of corporate tax avoidance structures in which a substantial amount is attributed to price practices which shifts profits from the developing countries to already developed countries.

Tax is a major cost to many companies and they formulate strategies which ensure that such costs are minimized thus causing tax avoidance. According to Finch (2004), although rules still remain to be rules, nevertheless, they are prone to be broken and thus no matter which legislations are in place, the lawyers and the accountants will always find a way around the game of tax avoidance. Multinational is the leading case studies of tax avoidance since they have multiple locations which allow them to organize profits in those countries which are favorable tax regimes (Bowler, 2009).

Moral and Economic Implications of Corporate Tax Avoidance

In my own thoughts, corporate tax avoidance has negative moral and economic implications. The company which avoids tax uses the definition of CSR and also relies on a set of moral principles to assess their taxpaying behaviors using the lens of morality and ethics. However, moral reasoning is more complex than one can imagine. Following the thoughts of KMPG (2006), tax payment forms a key responsibility in the contemporary corporation. Some people usually consider paying corporate tax as a moral problem although others find it as being moral while a good portion will find the payment of corporate tax as an immorality. On the other hand, economic implication of corporate tax is that it makes accounting companies be capitalist and thus cannot buck the system pressure to raise their own profits thus creating new tax avoidance schemes and reducing the contribution to the government (Sikka, 2005). When the tax is not collected fully, the accumulated tax compels the government to stop spending in critical areas like welfare and schools which leads to underdevelopment.

Ways in Which Corporate Tax Avoidance can be Restricted

I think that there are ways that can be used to restrict corporate tax avoidance. First is through legislation. Legislation can be achieved through standardizing corporate reporting systems to make the government process information and also compare taxes across firms to see who is avoiding the corporate tax. The legislation should aid in the detection of fraud and strictly monitor a company’s insiders on the matters of tax.

Corporate Tax Avoidance Project
Corporate Tax Avoidance Project

The legislation on the tax avoidance can be enforced through well-functioning courts through playing the central importance of law enforcement of the contracting parties. The other way in which tax avoidance can be restricted is through ensuring proper accounting standards. Leuz et al report that proper accounting standards bring about a global reporting coverage than often thought (2003). Single sets of accounting cannot sufficiently compare reporting and disclose any malpractice.

Harmonization of Accounting Standards- Implementation and Challenges

It is argued that there should be standardization of the accounting policy among nations to fully realize the global economy. Harmonization of accounting standards facilitates international transactions as well as minimizing the costs of exchange through the provision of standardized information to the world’s economy. The harmonization is done by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The said bodies are mandated to implement the accounting standards across the world. However, there are challenges faced during the implementation. First is the challenge of comparability. Comparability can be achieved through like things looking alike as well as unlike things looking unlike (Trueblood, 1966). According to Truebold, “things” in the accounting include the regulatory culture, the culture of auditing, the culture of account as well as the financial and business culture. The other challenge is associated with the problem of interpretation in which language is a problem when translating IFRS from English or to English.

Most accounting standards are limited in bringing convergence. It should be noted that adopting a single set of accounting cannot be sufficient to allow comparability as well as disclose relevant practice even if the said principles are compulsory to all the countries. However, the idea of adopting common sets of accounting standards cause more comparable reporting techniques as well as high-quality accounting standards like the IFRS (Leuz et al. 2003). Adopting IFRS requires that the party countries must have the asset pricing market which provides accounting values.

High accounting standards cause high quality and transparent reporting to most companies. In addition, IFRS causes economic benefits as well as cost saving. When harmonizing the accounting standards, there is a challenge of public versus private owned enterprises which includes the related party transactions. Following the observation above, the issue of comparability in accounting becomes a problem because tricky auditing problems arises (Leuz et al. 2003).

The harmonization of accounting standards requires the implementation guidance. According to Baker (2005), the IFRS have the implementation guidance to the accounting standards either through the non-authoritative guides or being standard themselves. For instance, IFRS issued the share-based guidance which is made up of forty four paragraphs relating to the application guidance. Similarly, the body issued non-authoritative guidance which guides the implementation of IFRS to guide the harmonization of the accounting standards. The IASB body on the other hand created the international financial reporting interpretation committee which oversees the share-based payment guidance. However, Trueblood (1966) believes that the countries and enterprises which apply the IFRS in their accounting standards will become more heterogonous in terms of the size, the jurisdiction, the ownership structure as well as the structure of the capital and there will be an increase the degree of accounting sophistications.

According to Brunsson (1989), the international convergence on the harmonization of standards demands that the implementation of IFRS policies and guidance must be increased in order to achieve the intended accounting standards. The scholar adds that if the IASB committee fails to respond to the demands concerning the detailed implementation guide of the accounting standards, then the preparers of the harmonized standards must look for the implementation guidance from elsewhere. The preparers can turn to EITF consensus to obtain answers to the questions concerning the application of IFRS. On the contrary, the form of convergence generated above is not as a result of cooperative behavior or the joint decision but as a result of auditors and preparers who seek guidance from a non-IASB credible source.

The implementation of the harmonization of the accounting standards exhibits a challenge in which the individual party countries’ financial reporting outcomes which are partly determined by the requirements of the accounting standards and partly by the incentives. The premise of the financial reporting outcome is that the accounting standards requires sufficient judgment by the preparers and auditors so that the figures reported are materially affected by the incentives of the financial reporting outcomes and the requirements of the accounting standards. Nevertheless, the typical relationship between the accounting standards and the incentives of the financial reporting outcomes is not well understood which forms part of the challenges in the implementation of accounting standards.

Leuz et al. (2003) institute that allowing the adoption of the IFRS will allow for the test of incentives that interacts with two or more standard regimes within the accounting standards. Warfield et al (1995) reveals that the financial reporting outcome is majorly affected by the ownership structure of the international accounting structure. The evidence which is available on the above claim reveals the marked specific jurisdiction differences in the ownership structure that affects the harmonization of the accounting standards.

La Porta et al. (1999) have analyzed the ultimate ownerships of the mid and large size firms in the twenty seven wealthy countries and identified four types of ultimate owners who play a key role in the accounting standards. The types include the public held non-financial institutions, the public owned financial institutions, the families and individuals as well as the state. The ownership structure of an enterprise needs to be considered before making implementations on the harmonization of the accounting standards.

Harmonization of the accounting standards requires the globalization of the trends involving the technology as well as globalization of finance. In the United States comparability of the financial data is one of the major driving forces behind the accounting standards. The comparability has been within the companies of the United States until 1980s where they began focusing on the capital markets. Some countries prefer comparability while others do not (Leuz et al. 2003). In 1991 the FASB board was challenged to become more actively involved in globalizing trends and the internationalization of the accounting standards. The plan published by FASB instituted the objectives for achieving comparability between the accounting standards of the United States and the major national standards-setting bodies.

References

Armstrong, Christopher S., Jennifer L. Blouin, Alan D. Jagolinzer, and David F. Larcker. “Corporate governance, incentives, and tax avoidance.” Journal of Accounting and Economics 60, no. 1 (2015): 1-17.

Avoidance: Some Evidence and Issues. Accounting Forum, Vol. 29(3), 325-343.

Baker, R.W. (2005), Capitalism‘s Achilles Heel, New Jersey: John Wiley.

Beresford, D.R., Katzenbach, N. and Rogers Jr., C.B. (2003). Report Of Investigation by The Special Investigative Committee of the Board Of Directors Of WorldCom, Inc. Washington DC.

Bowler, T. (2009, February). Countering tax avoidance in the UK: Which way forward? Institute for Fiscal Studies. Discussion Paper No. 7.

Brunsson. N. (1989), ―The Organization of Hypocrisy: Talk, Decisions and Actions in Organizations‖, John Wiley, Chichester.

Christensen, D. M., Dhaliwal, D. S., Boivie, S., & Graffin, S. D. (2015). Top management conservatism and corporate risk strategies: Evidence from managers’ personal political orientation and corporate tax avoidance. Strategic Management Journal36(12), 1918-1938.

Christensen, J. and Murphy, R. (2004), ―The Social Responsibility of Corporate Tax Avoidance: Taking CSR to the Bottom Line‖, Development, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 37-44.

Cobham, A. (2005). ―Working Paper 129: Tax Evasion, Tax Avoidance, and Development Finance‖. The University of Oxford Finance and Trade Policy Research Centre.

Gaertner, F. B. (2014). CEO After‐Tax compensation incentives and corporate tax avoidance. Contemporary Accounting Research31(4), 1077-1102.

Hanlon, G., (1994). The Commercialisation of Accountancy: Flexible Accumulation and the Transformation of the Service Class, London: Macmillan.

Kar, D. and Cartwright-Smith, D. (2008). Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002—2006. Washington DC: Global Financial Integrity.

Koester, A., Shevlin, T., & Wangerin, D. (2016). The role of managerial ability in corporate tax avoidance. Management Science63(10), 3285-3310.

KPMG, (2005). ―KPMG International Annual Review 2005, KPMG.

La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., Shleifer, A. and Vishny, R. (1998) Law and finance, Journal of Political Economy, 106, pp. 1113–1155.

 La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F. and Shleifer, A. (1999) Corporate ownership around the world, Journal of Finance, 54, pp. 471–517.

Leuz, C., Nanda, D. and Wysocki, P. (2003). ‘Earnings management and investor protection: an international comparison’. Journal of Financial Economics, 69: 505– 527.

Sikka, P. and Hampton, M.P. (2005). The Role of Accountancy Firms in Tax.

Trueblood, R.M., 1966. Accounting principles: the board and its problems, in Empirical Research in Accounting: Selected Studies 1966, The Institute of Professional Accounting, Graduate School of Business, The University of Chicago, Chicago, pp. 183–191.

US Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York, (2004). Third and Final Report of the Insolvency Examiner: In re WORLDCOM, INC., et al, Chapter 11, Case No. 02-13533 (AJG), Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP, Washington DC.

Werther Jr., W.B., and Chandler, D., (2005). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment. London: Sage.

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Huawei Operations Management Concepts

Huawei Operations Management Concepts and Practices and their Application in Real Business

Huawei – Operations management has been expanding to a broader notion of service and production management hence signifying the principalities of operations management concept in the transformation of raw materials to finished good ready for delivery to the consumer. The increasing recognisability and importance of operations management in organisations have led to growth and exploration of techniques and concepts fundamental in production and service delivery. Therefore, the effectiveness and efficiency of operations and service delivery in organizations are determined by how well they apply operations management concepts and practices in their endeavor.

Operations management scope ranges across various enterprises where people are involved in production and service delivery activities such as product and service design, technology selection and management, system design, process selection, quality improvement etc. (Kunchala). These concepts and functions entail many interrelated activities including scheduling, quality assurance, inventory management, capacity planning etc. fashioned toward effective and efficient production and delivery of goods and services.

Huawei Technologies Corporation, being among the leaders in the production and sale of mobile devices, they need to maintain a high-end operations management through the application of the latest and best operations concept in operations management. Besides, various factors necessitate the organization to facilitate streamline operations management. These factors include the quantity and quality of production, market diversity, change in technologies, competition, and the ecosystem.

Huawei, for instance, is inculcating the user-centric operation initiative which is aimed at digitizing their product while improving quality and user experience. This, therefore, entails the use of market research in their quest to deliver quality products which are user-friendly and well-paced with trend and technology (Huawei). Since the organisation uses make to deliver production approach, their market research should involve an in-depth analysis of the consumer preference and inculcate them during the planning, design, and production of various products.

The organization applies a generic and multistep product development process where they are technologies pushed product and platform products. For instance, the production of the Huawei GR5 product was a platform product as it was built around the pre-existing technology subsystem of the Huawei GR3. Besides, the Huawei Y series is built along a product platform where they use already pre-existing technology. Due to the overly increasing enormity and complexities due to technologies advancement, Huawei, therefore, enhances management transformation as they resort to a lean operation to accommodate customer requirement to improve production efficiency while controlling costs.

To cope with the competition and rapidly changing technologies, the organization applies the quick-build products which entail the rapid modelling and prototyping. To achieve a seamless and quality production, the organization integrates the operations and management organisation with the resources, platforms, and expertise through centralized processes. (Mingwei, Yaling & Feixiang) This highlights the importance of the effective layout decision within the organization.

Facility layout is essential in the realization of a seamless and lean production process in the Huawei Corporation. This entails determining of the arrangement and placement of workgroups, workstation, departments, inventory etc. to reduce possibilities of waste such as motion, movement, inventory, and quality accruing. It is worth noting that Huawei implements a Quality First strategy as they seek to enhance sustainability in materials and suppliers through performance appraisal.

As a contract manufacturer, Huawei has a high-end procurement decision-making team aimed at strengthening customer and supplier’s sustainability. For instance, the organisation has posited a procurement quota to enhance supplier sustainability hence minimizing the risks in supply while facilitating customer satisfaction hence boosting supply chain a competitive advantage. The organizations evaluate supplier eligibility based on compliance with the established supplier Huawei Supplier Sustainability Agreement, laws and regulations.

Further, the procurement process in Huawei is value oriented which entails adhering to the supplier’s regulations, transparency, and scientific procurement which is aimed at building a seamless and healthy s(secure, reliable, and competitive) supply chain. Besides, to facilitate the procurement process, Huawei facilitates a joint innovative, strategic cooperation with a win-win and benefit sharing process. This is achieved by enabling and encouraging mainstream partners to engage in the initial stages of product research and development to assure supply and competitiveness during the process (Tao).

Huawei Operations Management
Huawei Operations Management

Being a contract manufacturer, the organization needs to outsource various parts and or services and maintain robust industrial relations to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. This is critical as it enhances reasonable profit distribution within the industry thus ensuring key partners and suppliers gain sizeable and reasonable profits hence enhancing a success shared, competitive, and sustainable supply chain. A comment by Huawei’s Consumer Business Group chief, Yu Chengdong, “We are laying out plans for all our key smartphone parts. Huawei might not manufacture these components directly, but it does not mean we do not own technology to manufacture them ourselves” indicates the commitment and appreciation by Huawei to outsource their non-core competencies and dwell on competency for efficiency and effectiveness in their operation after the flash memory incident (Tao).

Additionally, while the organization seeks to facilitate lean manufacturing which is eco-friendly and sustainable, the organization should conduct regular value analysis and sensitivity analysis. These analyses are essential as they enhance the better performance while adhering to customers’ requirement. Lastly, Huawei has prioritized quality as the quality control department is fashioned to make the products synonymous with high quality. The objective is Huawei to win on quality through provision of high quality services and products consistent with their requirements.

MI global started operating in an already competitive market across China and the world. Various challenges culminated which had led to the organization to fall to a ‘unicorns’. Initially, the organization faced a slump supply chain associated with the rapid organizational growth which made the organization to retreat from overseas markets. Additionally, Mi had several organizational challenges that critically influenced their operations hence overall performance.

The organization has facilitated their design and manufacturing process through the application of an innovative business model which differentiate itself from other manufacturers at every phase of the customer journey. First, the organization has facilitated the production and development process of their products as depicted by their CEO, Lei Jun as “Mission Impossible.” Their manufacturing process is unique as they do not have a single physical factory as compared to Huawei which indicates a radical shift from the traditional approach in inventory management. This is vital toward the achievement of lean manufacturing as wastes are reduced in the production process. Xiamo’s make to stock production process inculcates customer requirement as depicted by the research and development process (Wang). The organization adopts a different strategy to reach client which entail cloud sourcing and application of social community to create awareness while at the same time gather information from the customers.

Different organizations have varying strategies and operations in their manufacturing and distribution. In comparison with MI, both organizations applied quick bound product development process where sample and prototypes are designed which includes the mix of the shape and the identity of the line design while depended on the outsourcing various components. Therefore, Huawei and Mi can be described as contract manufacturers.

Mi started operating in an already volatile and competitive market which necessitated differentiation. First, the organization MI Global prompted to restructure their operations through the adoption of more seamless and effective operation management practices. For instance, they restructured their smartphone hardware, supply chain, quality management as well as Research and Development initiative. Besides, the marketing of the end product and delivery to the consumer was exclusively online which made it inaccessible to many less tech-savvy clients (Kline). The organization had to implement therefore a unique and multistep production system which was more platforms based to facilitate production and supply. After their fall, the organization has become one of the super houses in tech in China competing with Huawei. In contrast, Huawei’s also invested greatly in research and development but they had a different marketing strategy which was both through outlets and online platforms.

 Besides, the production design and development entail outsourcing of various components including processors, casing, or camera from other organization for profound and seamless manufacturing. This process culminates with detailed quality tests which are critical in value and sensitivity analysis. Each phase of product development is closely monitored, and any mishap is remedied accordingly before mass production and supply of the product to the final consumer.

Additionally, Xiamo has been a market leader in terms of competitive prices on high quality products. This has been enhanced by sustainable and value-based procurement of components facilitated by quality controls and value analysis. For instance, the Mi3 has a Sony Camera with a sharp LG display and Phillips flash. The organization, however, is purposed toward zero inventories as they only manufacture based on orders hence inventory holding cost is automatically reduced. They procure components only when they get orders (Ghong). This has enhanced the effective alignment of their business model and operations hence meteoric rise.

Huawei Strengths

Huawei had various strengths as compared to Mi in terms of and manufacturing and distribution. For instances, their approach on stock-to-order was favourable in term of logistic and inventory management. Mi implemented a zero inventory management practice where they solely depended on customer orders to procure components. Although this method can save a lot of inventory cost, it can be constraint in case of inventory shortage or delays in delivery. In addition, Huawei had a clear procurement and tendering scheme which facilitated the selection of supplier hence facilitated suppliers’ involvement in the manufacturing process.

Adoption and implementation of seamless and profound operation management concept in the production and delivery of goods and services is a blueprint to the organizational success. They main operations management principles and knowledge adopted by the company included; the principle of reality where Huawei didn’t focus only on lean management or total quality management but rather focused on tools and time-based approaches to provide nearly universal successful operations management.

Besides, the principle of organization is clearly highlighted in the case study. Both organizations had organized their production process coherently as manufacturing, marketing, and distribution are interconnected set of processes. Other principles addresses in the study were the principal of variance, change hence the manufacturing and distribution must be bound with struggles with regulations, benefits, and wages to facilitate competitive advantage. Besides, the concept of lean manufacturing and inventory management are greatly highlighted in the Huawei and Mi manufacturing process. Additionally, the quality assurance and research and development are critically addressed. For instance, these principles enhance the process of procurement through manufacturing to delivery of the final product to the customers.

First, the organization is able to achieve or move toward lean production hence facilitating reduction of wastes which in return results in the eco-friendly operation and competitive advantage in the market (Onwuka, Ugwu & Ndife). For example, Xiamo was able to cut the cost of its products through inventory management and quality control initiatives. Reduced inventory costs and effective supply chain strategy enhances more competent, faster, and accessible products (Francis). To sum-up, adoption of operation management concepts and practices will enhance organizational efficiency, effectiveness, quality, lead time, capacity utilization, and cost objectives through value creation and value addition when transforming inputs to outputs.

Works Cited

Feixiang, Mao et al. “Making Manufacturing Productive Again With Iot – Huawei Publications” Huawei, 2018.

Francis, Abey. “Operations Management – Definition, Objectives and Functions”. MBA Knowledge Base, 2018.

Ghong. “Xiaomi: China’S Threat To Apple And Samsung – Technology And Operations Management”. Rctom.Hbs.Org, 2015.

Kline, David. “Behind The Fall And Rise Of China’s Xiaomi”. WIRED, 2017.

Onwuka, Ebele Mary et al. “Evaluation of Operations Management and Its Impact on Improved Logistics Control”. International Journal Of Economics, Commerce And Management, III, no. 5, 2015, pp. 591-602.

Tao, Li. “Huawei To Improve Supply Of All Key Smartphone Components”. South China Morning Post, 2018.

Wang, Lucy. “Xiaomi – Mobile Disruptor from China – Technology And Operations Management”. Rctom.Hbs.Org, 2018.

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Fiscal Policy Effectiveness within the European Union

The issue of monetary and fiscal policy within the EU is strongly debated at this moment in time. This is particularly true with the unconventional monetary policies being put in place for the first time by the European Central Bank such as quantitative easing; as the economy looks to recover from the sovereign debt crisis of 2008. This dissertation seeks to answer the following research questions: (1) Was the lack of a fiscal union a key contributing factor to the crisis? (2) Can a monetary union be effective without a unified fiscal policy to support it? (3) Has there been increased conformity in these key indicators since the crisis?

With these questions in mind, a literature review is undertaken to discuss and analyse the key issues within the European Union and beliefs and approaches regarding fiscal and monetary policy, including the heavily debated topic of whether or not a fiscal union is required. This dissertation also carries out a study of income and corporate taxation rates and expenditure figures for seven key EU countries in order to answer the above research questions.

A clear pattern of convergence is seen in the taxation rates and allows us to conclude that there has been increased conformity in key fiscal indicators since the sovereign debt crisis of 2008. We then link these findings back to the literature review and show that they fit with the beliefs of a large amount of previous academic work in the field. Our findings suggest that there has been increased fiscal conformity since the crisis and also that the lack of fiscal conformity (not necessarily achieved through the presence of a fiscal union) was a key contributing factor to the crisis.

Finally we also find that there can be an improved level of fiscal conformity without a fiscal union within a monetary union however we are unable to say conclusively that a monetary union can be effective without a unified fiscal policy.

This finance dissertation aims to establish the answer to a number of questions that stem from the 2008 European sovereign debt crisis:

  • Was the lack of a fiscal union a key contributing factor to the crisis?
  • Can a monetary union be effective without a unified fiscal policy to support it?
  • Has there been increased conformity in key fiscal indicators since the crisis?
Fiscal Policy EU
Fiscal Policy EU

Fiscal Policy Dissertation Contents

1 – Introduction
Overview of Research Aims and Strategy
Research Motivation
Introducing Monetary and Fiscal Policy
The Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact
Overview of Structure

2 – Literature Review
Can a monetary union be effective without the support of a fiscal union?
A monetary union can be effective without the support of a fiscal union
A monetary union cannot be effective without the support of a fiscal union
Was the lack of fiscal union a key reason behind the 2008 sovereign debt crisis?
The lack of a fiscal union was not a key reason behind the crisis
The lack of a fiscal union was a key reason behind the crisis
Shortcomings in the literature: Has there been increased fiscal conformity since the sovereign debt crisis hit?
Changing Role of the European Central Bank
Summarising the Literature
Anti Fiscal Union
Pro Fiscal Union
Lack of Fiscal Union was not key to Sovereign Debt Crisis
Lack of Fiscal union was key to Sovereign Debt Crisis

3 – Research Methodology
Sample Selection Criteria
Hypotheses Development and Reliability
Data
Top Band Personal Income Tax Rates (%)

4 – Findings
Income Tax Data
Corporate Tax Data
Total Tax Data
Government Expenditure Data
Implications of Findings

5 – Conclusion
Summary of the Results and their Implications
Limitations
Suggested Areas for Future Research

References

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Nanotechnology Application Neuroscience

Introduction

Nanotechnology is defined as the technology and manufacture of small non-biological or biological objects that involve individual molecules or atoms, or are manipulated on the scale of 10 -9 meters (less than 100 nanometers) (Veloz-Castillo, West, Cordero-Arreola, Arias-Carrión, & Méndez-Rojas, 2016). These materials are usually designed to perform particular tasks, and the technology is being utilized in scientific disciplines like tissue engineering, molecular imaging, molecular biology, surface science, and microelectronics (Mattei & Rehman, 2015).

Due to the small size of nanotools and nanoparticles, medical applications of nanotechnology support the possibility that interventions of better control, higher precision, and minimal invasion can be done at the subcellular level, and provide more accurate control of intracellular networks than is currently in existence.

In neuroscience, a field that is involved in the understanding of nervous system functions and information processing, and the application of knowledge to treating neurological disorders, nanotechnology can be used to recognize cellular-level diseases during diagnosis, and deliver therapeutic compounds in the treatment of these conditions.

Historical Timeline and Predecessor Assessment

K. Eric Drexler (1986) wrote the first book in nanotechnology and credited technology for people’s ability to arrange atoms and manipulate them to create specific forms or perform particular functions. He recounted the progress that engineers were making in microelectronic technology and spoke of molecular technology, a new invention that will change the world by enabling people to handle individual molecules and atoms with precision and control. Regarding medicine, Drexler (1986) observed that genetic engineers were already paving the way for molecular technology by using modern gene synthesis machines that built orderly polymers with a level of precision that microelectronic engineers of the time could not achieve.

Before Dexter’s work, other scientists had seen the possibility of nanotechnology being real in the future, and after him, engineers invented devices that transformed theories into reality.

Year Milestones in Nanotechnology
1959 R. Feynman initiated the thought process.
1974 Taniguchi used the term nanotechnology for the first time.
1981 IBM invented the Scanning Tunneling Microscope.
1985 “Bucky Ball”
1986 K. Eric Drexler published the first book on nanotechnology.
1989 IBM made its logo using individual atoms.
1991 S. Iijima discovered the Carbon Nanotube.
1999 R. Freitas published the 1st book on nano medicine.
2000 Launching of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
2001 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology was awarded for developing theory of nanometer-scale electronic devices and for synthesis and characterization of carbon nanotubes and nano wires.
2002 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology was awarded for using DNA to enable the self-assembly of new structures and for advancing modeling molecular machine systems.
2003 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnolog was awarded for modeling the molecular and electronic structures of new materials and for integrating single molecule biological motors with nano-scale silicon devices.
2004 First policy conference on advanced nanotech was held. First center for nano mechanical systems was established, Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology was awarded for designing stable protein structures and for constructing a novel enzyme with an altered function.
2005-2010 Preparation of 3D Nano systems like robotics, 3D networking and active nano products that change their state during use.
2011 Era of molecular nano technology started.

Source: Nikalje A. P. (2015, p.82).

Before the 20th Century

Nanoporous ceramic filters were being used to separate viruses. Albert Einstein and Max Planck (1900 cited in Krukemeyer, Krenn, Huebner, Wagner, & Resch, 2015) produced evidence that there had to be a series of tiny particles that obeyed their own laws although there were no instruments at the time to make these elements visible.

20th Century

In 1902 Richard Zsigmondy and Henry Siedentopf developed an ultramicroscope that used ruby glasses to detect structures that were smaller than 4 nanometers (Krukemeyer et al., 2015). Zsigmondy created an immersion ultramicroscope in 1912 which investigated the behavior colloidal solutions. After that, scientists got better resolutions with the transmission electron microscope (TEM), the filed ion microscope (FIM), and the voltage clamp so that they were able to understand DNA and RNA by the 1960s (Krukemeyer et al., 2015). In 1980, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer created the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), and future applications of their methods made it possible to demonstrate nanoscale structures accurately, and to position and manipulate them in a controlled manner (Krukemeyer et al., 2015). It opened up the possibilities of new scientific disciplines including nanomedicine.

By the time Drexler (1986) wrote his book, biochemists were using gene machines to write DNA tapes so they could direct cells and build designed proteins. However, they could not design chains that fold up to create proteins of the correct shape and function. Drexler (1986) believed the problem was that the scientists were focused on predicting the fold patterns of natural proteins instead of taking on an engineering challenge and designing proteins so they can fold predictably. He was certain that the protein-folding solution would allow biotechnologists to deal with individual atoms, which is central to nanotechnology.

Social Impact of Nanotechnology

There has been a lot of interest in nanotechnology and its applications since the idea was coined in 1959, and the investments that companies and countries put in the process are expected to increase drastically in future. Currently, carbon nanotubes and graphene are the most followed nanomaterials on Facebook, and most users are interested in the nanotechnology (58,188) and nanomedicine (5,366) pages (Sechi, Bedognetti, Sgarella, Van Eperen, Marincola, Bianco, & Delogu, 2014).

Graphene, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dots are the most liked nanomaterials on Facebook (2,683, 1,433, and 160), have the most number of groups on the site (16, 7, and 5), and the highest number of members in those groups (288, 414, and 170) respectively (Sechi et al. 2014). However, the public and international institutiona are concerned that nanomaterials have negative effects on the environment and human health so they advocate for industry regulations.

Campbell, Deane, and Murphy (2015) believe that people think of nanotechnology as a frontier culture, and that is why it has excited their cultural imagination. Since nanotechnology is being used in outfits, medicine, and numerous services, it affects everyone. Analyzing the development of nanotechnology in the society using Piaget’s theory of cognitive development:

Developmental Stage Nanotechnology
Sensorimotor stage Scientists learn about the basics ofnanotechnology, how to use the scanning tunneling microscope and they discover the first carbon nanotube as the pioneer authors on the topic publicize the concept (Nikalje, 2015).
Preoperational stage IBM create their logo using individual atoms, and the simplified feature help people to grasp the physical impact of nanotechnology and star building devices for storage, biosensors, and computer chips (IBM, 2009).
Concrete operations Nanotechnologists realize that they can implement the new technology in both the service and product industries like food nutrition, social security, renewable energy, quality education, communications, neuromedicine, health care services, and advertising (Aithal & Aithal, 2016).
Formal operations Scientists play the first nano guitar even though its sound cannot be conceived by the human ear, and create usable revolutionary sports equipment and outfits, and successful drug delivery systems used to treat neurodegenerative disorders (PRI, 2014, McNamee, 2011, Taylor, 2008, Nikalje, 2015).

Table 1: Analysis of nanotechnology’s development using Piaget’s theory.

Cultural Impact of Nanotechnology

According to a report published by Seear, Petersen, and Bowman (2009), between 1997 and 2004, the United States of America spent more than the European Union (EU) did on R&D for nanotechnology. In 2004 alone, the US spent $1 billion more than EU countries, and America leads in the field since it has world class universities that pioneer research. For example, the first nano guitar was built at Cornell University, New York in 1997 (McNamee, 2011), and in 2015, researchers at Berkeley Lab US developed an ultra-thin invisibility cloak which hides 3D objects from detection (Dockrill, 2015). Words that were introduced into the English language through such research include nanoparticles, bionanotechnology, and silver nanoparticles, and artists and musical groups were using variations of these terms on Facebook (Sechi et al. 2014).

In 1989 when Don Eigler and his team at IBM realized that they could use the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to arrange individual atoms on a surface with precision, Eigler used 35 xenon atoms to write the company logo (IBM, 2009). The exercise was a nanoscience and technology breakthrough, so IBM took some credit for Eigler’s work and the invention of the STM, as its scientists continued working on more nanotechnology inventions (IBM, 2009).

The images of this logo taken by Eigler pioneered the work of California-based scientist and artist Cris Orfescu who uses a scanning electron microscope to get nanoscale images of landscapes he calls ‘nanoart’ (PRI, 2014). Orfescu prints these electron scans on canvas and uses the creations to inform people about nanotechnology in the 21st Century while using his online nanoart contest to encourage nanotechnologists to embrace the new science as an art form (Feder, 2008).

NanoTubes
Engineering Professor at Michigan University, John Hart, used 150 million vertically positioned carbon nanotubes to create each face in this image called Nanobama in 2008. (PRI, 2014)

Nanotechnology has also been used to design ultra-lightweight swimwear that absorbs water to only 2% of fabric weight compared to previous materials which absorbed 50%, and to create tennis racquets that are 22% more powerful than conventional ones, and twice as stable (Taylor, 2008). Nanotechnology helps designers to make athletic shoes since they are able to use molecular-sized particles to achieve maximum durability and comfort. During the 2008 Olympic Games, Jeremy Wariner used such a shoe designed by Adidas, and it was called ‘Lone Star spike’ because it was said to provide Wariner with increased flexibility, safety, better torsion, comfort, and more stability even as it reduced energy loss (Taylor, 2008).

Economic Impact

The industries that are utilizing nanotechnology include food, drinking water, energy, cosmetics, medicine, sport, automobiles, construction, banking, mass communication, retailing, hospitality, and entertainment (Aithal & Aithal, 2016). With the increase in the nanotechnology patents applied for in different industries across the world, it is expected that the StatNano database will expand substantially over the next five years.

Nanotechnology-Dissertation
Global Value of nanomaterials, pessimistic view (a) and optimistic view (b) (USD billion)

Source: Inshakova & Inshakov, 2017

According to this data published by Inshakova and Inshakov (2017) shows that NN-related publications have increased from 16,397 in 2000 to 128,436 in 2014. Both developed and developing industries are participating in the development of nanotechnological applications, with China leading (233,250) in the number of articles it has published between 2000 and 2014, followed by the USA (201, 203), and then Japan (81,516) (Inshakova & Inshakov, 2017). This number also indicates the amount of resources that these countries are dedicating to the advance of nanotechnology in their respective areas, and their willingness to regulate the industry while taking advantage of the opportunities available in science.

Nanotechnology Environmental and Political Impact

The development of specific applications for each field in the business world has made it easier for regulators to measure the actual effect that nanotechnology has in different areas. The industrial prototyping and commercialization of nanotechnology started back in 2000 with the first generation nanostructures being passive, the second generation being active, the third generation being systems, and the fourth generation being molecular nanosystems (Seear, Petersen, & Bowman, 2009).

By 2008, analysts had not yet seen the harmful effects that would have arisen due to exposure to nanotechnology in terms of ecological damage or harm to humans (Seear, Petersen, & Bowman, 2009). However, they were of the opinion that it is best to address the expected risks of nanotechnology by tightening the regulations that govern nanotechnology and its applications across the globe. Those who participated in the study held by Sechi et al. (2014) also felt that it would be safer for the environment if the international community came together to ensure that governments did not create anything related to nanotechnology that will endanger people and their surroundings.

References

Aithal, P. S., & Aithal, S. (2016). Business Strategy for Nanotechnology based Products and Services. Munich Personal RePEc Archive, MPRA Paper No. 71766.

Dockrill, P. (2015). Watch: Nano:sized invisibility cloak can make small objects disappear. Science Alert.

IBM (2009). IBM celebrates 20th anniversary of moving atoms. IBM News Releases.

Inshakova, E., & Inshakov, O. (2017). World market for nanomaterials: structure and trends. In MATEC Web of Conferences (Vol. 129, p. 02013). EDP Sciences.

McNamee, D. (2011). Hey, what’s that sound: Nano guitar. The Guardian.

PRI (2014). Scientists are becoming artists, thanks to ‘NanoArt’. Public Radio International.

Sechi, G., Bedognetti, D., Sgarrella, F., Van Eperen, L., Marincola, F. M., Bianco, A., & Delogu, L. G. (2014). The perception of nanotechnology and nanomedicine: a worldwide social media study. Nanomedicine9(10), 1475-1486.

Seear, K., Petersen, A., & Bowman, D. (2009). The social and economic impacts of nanotechnologies: A literature review. Final Report Prepared for the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Monash University Victoria, Australia. Taylor, D. (2008). Nanotechnology in sports. EE453 Project Report.

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