Edward Bell

As we've all no doubt heard by now, China is retooling its economy. In a case of 'what got you here won't get you there', declining global demand for manufactured goods combined with a desire to climb up the IP food chain has meant that China has hitched its wagon to the innovation train.
Across North Asia, the murky, semi-closeted 2D world of ACG (Animation, Comic, Game - and now also 'N' for short novel) is aggressively taking territory from the 3D world of traditional culture by breaking down the walls that have kept them apart.
Stephen Hawking, among others, has said that artificial intelligence (AI) is the beginning of the end.
Arguably the most public face of China's e-marketing juggernaut is Singles' Day. One can't help but be in awe of the sheer scale of it: 278 million orders for 30,000 brands offering everything from smartphones to smart-looking underwear were placed in the 24-hour window, resulting in over US$ 14 billion changing hands.
In mid-2014, this column talked about the troubles of China's sports brands in getting Chinese to put down their smartphones and do a bit of exercise.
We just don't trust like we used to, it seems. According to a recent study, two-thirds of the world's countries fall into the 'distruster' category.
When I was back in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, I saw a new Victoria Bitter beer ad on TV. Only that it wasn't.
In some respects, the insurance industry in Asia seems to think it is 1976. The industry is dominated by hoards of insurance agents, as it was years ago.
Last month, China eCommerce giant Alibaba announced that it will invest US$4.5 billion in bricks-and-mortar retail Goliath Suning.
There's a lot of talk about the 'new normal' in China. And with the slowdown now percolating every corner of Chinese life, one is left with a palpable sense that, from consumers, the 'new normal' calls for 'more value'.
If you step back from the buzz of the day to day, there is a palpable sense of things 'tightening up' across China.
If only young Chinese women had taken to sports with the same enthusiasm as they have for public square dancing, China's sport brands would have saved themselves a lot of heartache and been a lot more successful in inspiring participation.
You have to feel sorry for the big luxury brands. Encouraged by years of explosive growth and projections of China becoming the world's largest luxury market, they expanded like crazy, opening dozens of new outlets every year and ever-larger flagship stores.