Diageo battles to overcome China’s taste for fiery ‘white spirit’ baijiu

The bad news is that, for now at least, the Chinese love their homegrown liquor – a fiery grain spirit called baijiu (which literally translates ‘white spirit’ and to a foreigner can taste pretty much the same) – a great deal more than fancy foreign brands like Black Label or Smirnoff.

China imported just 4m cases of foreign spirits in 2009 – equating to a near-negligible 1.4pc of the global trade, according to the drinks industry’s research consultancy International Wine & Spirits Record (IWSR).

As so often with a China “growth story” it is the potential size of the prize that keeps foreign businesses interested, which perhaps explains why Jeff Chau, general manager of Diageo China, retains a glass-half-full attitude despite the still-modest sales.

“It is true that international branded spirits are still only 1pc of the total alcohol consumed in China,” he said, “but that’s why we see such massive potential here. Ninety-nine per cent of Chinese are still drinking baijiu or beer and we hope to change that.”


China is a nation that loves its liquor – and that’s the good news for international drinks companies like Diageo hoping to tap into what is a potentially massive market for fine cognacs and malt whiskey in the years to come.

By Peter Foster in Beijing

Baijiu made locally in Haikou, Hainan - love of the homegrown alcohol has made it hard for Diageo's Vodka to make inroads in China.

Baijiu made locally in Haikou, Hainan – love of the homegrown alcohol has made it hard for Diageo’s Vodka to make inroads in China.

The bad news is that, for now at least, the Chinese love their homegrown liquor – a fiery grain spirit called baijiu (which literally translates ‘white spirit’ and to a foreigner can taste pretty much the same) – a great deal more than fancy foreign brands like Black Label or Smirnoff.

China imported just 4m cases of foreign spirits in 2009 – equating to a near-negligible 1.4pc of the global trade, according to the drinks industry’s research consultancy International Wine & Spirits Record (IWSR).

As so often with a China “growth story” it is the potential size of the prize that keeps foreign businesses interested, which perhaps explains why Jeff Chau, general manager of Diageo China, retains a glass-half-full attitude despite the still-modest sales.

“It is true that international branded spirits are still only 1pc of the total alcohol consumed in China,” he said, “but that’s why we see such massive potential here. Ninety-nine per cent of Chinese are still drinking baijiu or beer and we hope to change that.” Leer más “Diageo battles to overcome China’s taste for fiery ‘white spirit’ baijiu”

Which e-reader should you choose?

“E-readers are fantastic. You can increase the text size, on some you can even change the background. Some even have the ability to turn text into voice.

“They could open up a whole new world of reading for blind and partially-sighted people. Increasing the print size is important, but also you need to be able to change the contrast and background colour.

“Some people can read better, for example with yellow text on a black background or white on a black screen.

“Most people find that their eyesight does get worse as they get older, even if it is just difficulty in reading.”

At first using an e-reader is slightly disconcerting. Clutching a piece of metal does lack the tactile satisfaction offered by a dog-eared, coffee-stained paperback. But the advantages are overwhelming for those of us of a certain age and this seems to be born out by American research which shows that two-thirds of people investing in the technology are over 40.


Choosing an e-reader isn’t easy.
Here is how to get the best out of the wealth of options available.

By David Millward

Apple iPad running iBooks

Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley

iPad owners can get Apple‘s iBooks ebook software free and buy books using the iBookstore.

In common with many other “baby boomers”, my eyesight is getting worse. Up until now, thanks to the wonder of contact lenses, I had managed to at least deal with being short-sighted. But then life threw another googly at me, the need for reading glasses.

But even they don’t always work, especially by the end of the day when even even tackling a normal font size becomes somewhat challenging. However, rescue appears to be at hand in the form of the e-reader, a portable device which can contain hundreds of books.

Before e-readers came on the market only around four per cent of books were accessible to to the partially sighted – either in braille, large print or audio. According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) they have proved a godsend for people with failing eyesight:

“E-readers are fantastic. You can increase the text size, on some you can even change the background. Some even have the ability to turn text into voice.

“They could open up a whole new world of reading for blind and partially-sighted people. Increasing the print size is important, but also you need to be able to change the contrast and background colour.

“Some people can read better, for example with yellow text on a black background or white on a black screen.

“Most people find that their eyesight does get worse as they get older, even if it is just difficulty in reading.”

At first using an e-reader is slightly disconcerting. Clutching a piece of metal does lack the tactile satisfaction offered by a dog-eared, coffee-stained paperback. But the advantages are overwhelming for those of us of a certain age and this seems to be born out by American research which shows that two-thirds of people investing in the technology are over 40. Leer más “Which e-reader should you choose?”

Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight

A solar-powered plane has become the first to complete a 24-hour flight, using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft overnight.
Pilot Andre Borschberg had flown over the Jura mountains west of the Swiss Alps since daybreak yesteray Photo: EPA

The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down on runway at Payerne airfield, Switzerland at exactly 8:00am.

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn’t touch the ground and topple the craft….


A solar-powered plane has become the first to complete a 24-hour flight, using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft overnight.

Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight

The Solar Impulse at sunrise Photo: AP
Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight

Solar Impulse Photo: REUTERS
Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight

Pilot Andre Borschberg had flown over the Jura mountains west of the Swiss Alps since daybreak yesteray Photo: EPA

The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down on runway at Payerne airfield, Switzerland at exactly 8:00am.

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn’t touch the ground and topple the craft…. Leer más “Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight”

Mozilla unveils Firefox 4 beta

Firefox 4, the latest version of the popular internet browser, has been released as a public beta, and adopts some of Google Chrome’s features

By Matt Warman
Firefox has released the first public beta of version 4 of its popular web browser
Firefox has released the first public beta of version 4 of its popular web browser

Browser maker Mozilla has released the first public beta version of Firefox 4. The major upgrade includes support for a range of new web technologies, imporoved performance and a new interface.

The new version is available for Mac, Linux and Windows, but only Windows users are offered the new interface automatically. In other versions, however, it can be switched on manually.


Firefox 4, the latest version of the popular internet browser, has been released as a public beta, and adopts some of Google Chrome‘s features

Firefox has released the first public beta of version 4 of its  popular web browser

Firefox has released the first public beta of version 4 of its popular web browser

Browser maker Mozilla has released the first public beta version of Firefox 4. The major upgrade includes support for a range of new web technologies, imporoved performance and a new interface.

The new version is available for Mac, Linux and Windows, but only Windows users are offered the new interface automatically. In other versions, however, it can be switched on manually. Leer más “Mozilla unveils Firefox 4 beta”

Google adds World Cup extensions to Chrome

Google has also optimised its search service to deliver the information people want, no matter how cryptic the search terms. Googling, for instance, “World Cup”, “World Cup Spain”, or even “World Cup Group G” will pull up live scores, team news and player profiles for the relevant sides.


Fifa plug-in brings latest scores, news headlines and match statistics straight to Google‘s browser

Google's World Cup site

Google and Fifa have teamed up to offer World Cup Chrome extensions Leer más “Google adds World Cup extensions to Chrome”

The Takeover Panel has publicly criticised Kraft Foods

The Takeover Panel has publicly criticised Kraft Foods over the handling of its takeover of Cadbury in a shock move that has cost the US company’s leading adviser his future job at the City regulator.

By Jonathan Sibun
The company logo of Kraft Foods Inc. and a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk are arranged for a photo in London, U.K

The Panel criticised Kraft, saying it “did not know” the details of the planned factory closure Photo: Bloomberg

Peter Kiernan, a banker at Lazard, which advised Kraft on its controversial £11.7bn takeover, has withdrawn his candidacy to become director general of the Panel.

His withdrawal follows the Panel’s first public criticism of a company in nearly three years after it rebuked Kraft for suggesting it would reverse the planned closure of Cadbury’s factory in Somerdale, near Bristol.

The Panel criticised Kraft, saying it “did not know” the details of the planned factory closure. “Kraft’s belief, no matter how well-intentioned, was… not a belief which Kraft had a reasonable basis for holding.”


The Takeover Panel has publicly criticised Kraft Foods over the handling of its takeover of Cadbury in a shock move that has cost the US company’s leading adviser his future job at the City regulator.

By Jonathan Sibun

The company logo of Kraft Foods Inc. and a bar of Cadbury's Dairy  Milk are arranged for a photo in London, U.K

The Panel criticised Kraft, saying it “did not know” the details of the planned factory closure Photo: Bloomberg

Peter Kiernan, a banker at Lazard, which advised Kraft on its controversial £11.7bn takeover, has withdrawn his candidacy to become director general of the Panel.

His withdrawal follows the Panel’s first public criticism of a company in nearly three years after it rebuked Kraft for suggesting it would reverse the planned closure of Cadbury’s factory in Somerdale, near Bristol.

The Panel criticised Kraft, saying it “did not know” the details of the planned factory closure. “Kraft’s belief, no matter how well-intentioned, was… not a belief which Kraft had a reasonable basis for holding.” Leer más “The Takeover Panel has publicly criticised Kraft Foods”

10 tips to beat Capital Gains Tax before the budget

David Cameron was willing to offer racing tips to radio listeners today but little comfort for savers who fear coalition government plans to raise Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in next month’s emergency budget.

While the Prime Minister said he would “listen” to concerns about what could amount to retrospective taxation on long term savings and investments, he made no promises about what will happen to CGT on June 22.

So, people with substantial gains should consider taking action before then. Here are 10 tips for owners of second homes and buy to let landlords on how to minimise CGT liabilities under the current rules.


Assorted international currency notes.
Image via Wikipedia

David Cameron was willing to offer racing tips to radio listeners today  but little comfort for savers who fear coalition government plans to raise Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in next month’s emergency budget.

While the Prime Minister said he would “listen” to concerns about what could amount to retrospective taxation on long term savings and investments, he made no promises about what will happen to CGT on June 22.

So, people with substantial gains should consider taking action before then. Here are 10 tips for owners of second homes and buy to let landlords on how to minimise CGT liabilities under the current rules. Leer más “10 tips to beat Capital Gains Tax before the budget”

Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound

“We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines,” he said.

The Waverider was built for the Air Force by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing Co.

Joe Vogel, Boeing’s director of hypersonics, said, “This is a new world record and sets the foundation for several hypersonic applications, including access to space, reconnaissance, strike, global reach and commercial transportation.”


An aircraft has set a record for hypersonic flight by flying more than three minutes at Mach 6 – six times the speed of sound.

Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound
The Waverider was built for the Air Force by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing Co Photo: US Air Force
Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound

The X-51A Waverider

The X-51A Waverider was released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern California coast and its scramjet engine accelerated the aircraft to Mach 6, and it flew autonomously for 200 seconds before losing acceleration. At that point the test was terminated.

The Air Force said the previous record for a hypersonic flight was 12 seconds. Leer más “Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound”