Mattonomy

Finance, Technology and everything in between

Flower

The Race is On


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With Nexus, Google’s own Android smartphone, being released tomorrow, Google is once again trying to threaten the dominance of the Apple iPhone.  Even though Apple has taken a commanding lead in the smartphone market, this threat should not be taken lightly.

According to the latest research by ChangeWaveResearch, the number of respondents who are looking to buy an Android smartphone in the next 90 days has jumped from 6% in September to 21% in December.  Meanwhile, the number of  respondents who are looking to buy an iPhone in the next 90 days has decreased from 36% in September to 32% in December. Now this could all be a temporary blimp due to the marketing and hype surrounding the Motorola Droid and the soon-to-be-released Google Nexus.  However, Google’s stance is clear.  It wants to take its dominance of the web  to the mobile world.  Now it’s time for Apple to respond.

It remains to be seen how Apple will step up to the plate, but we can probably find some clues in the release of the much anticipated Apple iSlate (tablet) later this month.  Stay tuned.

Your New Year Resolutions are Doomed


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Another Year has gone by.  So far, I am pretty excited about 2010 and what 2010 will bring.

When it comes to New Year, everyone comes up with a list of resolutions and HOPING to accomplish them, but the success rate is quite disappointing.  Last year’s studies have found that only 22% of the participants were able to accomplish their goals in 2009.  Of the 78% who failed, the majority tried to achieve their goals simply by fantasizing about their success, relying on will power alone and mimicking a role model.

Even though people know that the odds of accomplishing their new year resolutions are slim, they still make a list year after year.  It’s not surprising though.  I mean people need to live on hope.  There is nothing much to look forward to in the next few months.  It is still the middle of a cold winter (at least for those who live in the northern hemisphere).  There is no long weekends or holidays.   There is a hangover from all the fun parties and celebrations.  There is a pile of credit card bills to pay from overspending for Christmas presents, boxing day shopping or other festive celebrations.  There is also the dreaded tax bill.

Let’s look at the bright side though, your odds of accomplishing your goals are still a lot higher than winning the lottery.  So Stay positive.  Happy new year everyone.

Creature from Jeckyll Island


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Ben Bernanke has been on the hot seat lately because the US senates were debating on whether to support him for a second term as the Federal Reserve Chairman.  He eventually got enough support but there were clearly a lot of senators who oppose the idea.  One of whom was Senator Bunning.

In his remark, he used some very strong words.  I am not going to discuss whether I agree with what he said.  I will leave that to your own judgement.  One thing that is interesting about what he said was at the very end where he described the Fed as the creature from Jeckyll Island.  I took the liberty to do some more additional research and here is what I found out.

Jeckyll Island is a little private island off Georgia.  It is known as the birthplace of the Federal Reserve.  The island itself used to be a vacation spot for the most powerful and the wealthiest in America.  The list included powerful bankers from JP Morgan and First National Bank of NY.

The concept of Federal Reserve was to form a new central bank.  It was to be controlled by the Congress but a majority of its members had to be selected by the private banks that would own its stock.   The board and chairman were to be selected by the President but the board would have full control of its policy which included the power to expand or contract credit.

Now I know what you are thinking.  I thought the Fed is supposed to represent the interest of the government and the people.  They do in a way but it seems like there is also a hidden agenda which is to represent the interest of the private banks that own it.   No wonder all the big banks were deemed too big to fail.

Asianconomics


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Today I finally set foot in a shopping mall hoping to finish my Christmas shopping.  I definitely picked the wrong time.  The mall was jam packed with shoppers loaded with money/credit.  There were long line ups at cashiers.  Some high end retailers even have line ups outside their stores and it’s not even Boxing Day yet.  This begs some questions.  Are we back in the good old days?  What has changed since the financial crisis?  Our manufacturing sector is still in a limbo.  The financial industry, although has stabilized, has not really return to its hiring spree.   There are still 1.5 million unemployed Canadians out there which is a historically high number.

As I look closer though, I realize that many of these people in the mall are Asians.  Can this be the reason why Canada has been doing a lot better than our neighbour?  As a kid growing up in a traditional Chinese family, I have always been taught to save money for the rainy days and not to spend more than I can afford.  This believe is deeply rooted in the Asian culture and it is the main reason why the savings rate of Asian countries is generally higher than that of Western Countries.

Asians also like tangible hard assets such as gold, oil and commodities.  In fact in the past several months, Chinese farmers have been mimicking the action of their government and have been stockpiling on copper, nickel and other scrap metals.  They are taking the cheap credits offered as part of the government stimulus package and are speculating on metals.

Some of this cheap money has also spilled over into the Real Estate market.  Asians have always had a very special bond with the real estate market.  In the Asian culture, home ownership is a symbol of one’s ability to support the family and this is why Asians are strong believers of the real estate market.

I have no doubt that some of this cheap money has made it into Canada.  Otherwise, how else can you explain the red hot Canadian real estate market?  If you were recently in the market selling your house and you received multiple offers.  Most likely, they are coming from Asians.

Are we in danger of anther bubble created by Asians? It‘s way too early to tell but just remember there is always a bubble somewhere.

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