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THE GRANITE CITY SPARKLES AS BUSINESS TOURISM DESTINATION

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Visit Aberdeen

Aberdeen has long been known for its golf courses, maritime heritage, and of course, the booming oil and gas industry, yet there is another reason to choose Aberdeen for corporate meetings, conferences and events. With a variety of venues and unusual locations to choose from, Aberdeen is becoming the destination for corporate meetings and events. The City of Aberdeen remains one of the UK’s top destinations for hosting conferences, events, board meetings and incentive trips, and with new flight routes landing on a regular basis including Frankfurt and Kristiansund, there is no better time to choose Aberdeen as the destination for your corporate event.

Visit Aberdeen

Visit Aberdeen

Conference facilities are not in short supply in Aberdeen thanks to high demand for such facilities from the buoyant oil and gas industry, coupled with two Universities, both of which boast extensive conference and events facilities. Attracting international events such as Offshore Europe, the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) is well suited to host large conferences with a capacity for up to 250 conference delegates and smaller meetings can be held within the 20 smaller meeting rooms available on site.

For something out of the ordinary to inspire delegates, choose one of the exclusive use castles surrounding Aberdeen. Haddo House on the outskirts of Aberdeen, where Georgian architecture meets Victorian interiors, is situated within easy reach of Aberdeen city centre and provides flexible packages to meet the needs of all organisations. The grand Canadian Hall can be utilised for a number of events including Champagne receptions, gala dinners and conferences.

Crathes Castle is an enchanting 16th Century castle located within easy reach of Aberdeen city centre and Aberdeen International Airport. Hosting an array of facilities for corporate events, Crathes castle makes the perfect alternative to a stuffy board room. Both day and evening events are catered for at Crathes castle, from champagne receptions, sumptuous banquets and barbeques, to recitals, concerts and cultural events. Delegates can take time out to enjoy their surroundings by playing croquet on the lawn, or enjoy a local tipple and take part in whisky tasting in the Great Hall.

Haddo House

Haddo House

As well as conference and event facilities, Crathes Castle also offers something to get the delegates’ blood pumping with a high octane Go Ape tree tops adventure. Not for those of a fragile disposition, Go Ape encourages business to take their ‘tribes’ out of the board room to conquer this floating assault course. Other packages are available which include forest Segway treks with a forest BBQ, African drumming, and mountain biking.

Back in the city centre, Transition Extreme offers corporate packages which make fantastic team building days for the adrenaline junkies in the team. Situated next by Aberdeen’s beach, colleagues, clients and friends are encouraged to work through physical challenges together. Transition Extreme is equipped with TX Trekking aerial assault course, extreme drop and zip wire so this teambuilding day is not for the faint hearted. The venue is also a youth charity, dedicated to educating young people in extreme sports, art and music activities.

Go Ape tree tops adventure

Go Ape tree tops adventure

Aberdeen is not short on golf courses, so why not book a corporate incentive trip to Aberdeen and visit some of the best golf courses in the world? Ranging from the historic Royal Aberdeen where the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will take place in July 2014, to the impressive Trump International Golf Links located just north of the city. Whether looking for an intimate venue for an important meeting, or a team building day, tailor-made packages can be put together at your request.

New hotel developments within Aberdeen city will add to the already well-established business tourism offering. The new 194 bedroom Courtyard by Marriott at Aberdeen Airport which opened in August, along with the Premier Inn and the forthcoming opening of the Ibis and Novotel will bring an additional 500 rooms to the area.

A £25 million luxury De Vere Village Urban Retreat Resort with 148 bedrooms is set to improve the offering to both leisure and business visitors to Aberdeen within the new Prime Four Business Park at Kingswells.

Aberdeen is the ideal cosmopolitan location for corporate meetings and events with a host of venues and activities to inspire delegates. The City is also very accessible – located just seven miles from the city centre, Aberdeen International Airport enables visitors to fly from over 50 world-wide destinations, ensuring the city has never been more connected. To find out more about the business tourism offering in Aberdeen, contact VisitAberdeen on 01224 900490 or for further information on any of these venues, visit www.visitaberdeen.com

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 1

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 2

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes

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Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes 3

By Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Packaged food giants including Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Kellogg are pushing sales of their products to consumers directly via their own online channels, in a quest to gather more data about shoppers’ purchasing habits.

Velveeta-cheese maker Kraft Heinz saw its e-commerce sales double in 2020, now representing more than 5% of its global sales, Chief Executive Miguel Patricio said at the virtual Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference this week.

The company sells Heinz baked beans and tomato soup by subscription or in bundles directly to consumers on a “Heinz To Home” website in the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.

Sales on the site are “giving us valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling us to quickly test and learn from innovations,” Kraft’s head of international business, Rafael de Oliveira, said at the conference.

Kraft would continue to use the site as a channel to generate strong sales in developed markets, he said.

The company also counts sales of its products through marketplaces such as on Amazon.com and Walmart.com as part of its e-commerce sales.

U.S. shoppers spent on average $1,271 buying groceries online last year, 45% more than they did in 2019 as the pandemic spurred shopping online, according to market research firm Earnest Research. In contrast, the average dollars spent in stores rose only about 7% to $3,849.

PepsiCo sells products including Doritos, Quaker oats and Gatorade directly to consumers through two websites, pantryshop.com and snacks.com, both launched in 2020.

Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said that more than 45% of the company’s capital investments over the next few years would be dedicated toward manufacturing capacity, automation, and a “ramping up of investments in our e-commerce channel.”

As major online retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart.com continue to gather valuable data on shoppers, many packaged food manufacturers are keen to gather their own data on shoppers, too.

“COVID (has) simply accelerated our digital growth and has provided us with yet another source of data and insight,” Monica McGurk, chief growth officer at breakfast cereal maker Kellogg Co., told the conference.

Kellogg, producer of Corn Flakes as well as Pringles chips, said on Wednesday it had launched a direct-to-consumer website focused on digestive wellness. The group plans to sell its new Mwell Microbiome Powder for gut health via the site to gather data on customer interest before it launches the product more widely.

E-commerce sales have doubled in the past year and now represent about 8.5% of the group’s $13.77 billion in annual sales, Kellogg said.

Pillsbury dough-maker General Mills also sees the benefits of tracking consumer habits more closely.

“We’re aggressively investing in data and analytics. We are gathering unparalleled insights from the first-party data we collect through our brand websites,” General Mills’ Chief Executive Jeffrey Harmening said at the conference.

On its Bettycrocker.com website, General Mills provides hundreds of recipes using Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting. The site leads people to the closest store or an online retailer where they can purchase the products, thereby generating data for General Mills on what a particular customer from a certain zip code is buying. The company does not sell the food products directly on its website.

Consumers, however, may have to shell out more if they shop directly from brand websites.

Prices on the two PepsiCo sites, for example, were generally higher than those on Walmart.com or Amazon.com, Reuters checks show. On Walmart.com, for example, a 10 oz pack of Doritos Nacho Cheese was on sale for $2.50 compared to $4.29 on Pepsico’s website.

Kraft Heinz offers tins of soup, beans, pasta and baby food bundled into packs ranging from six to 25 items and costing between 10 and 20 pounds ($14.01-$28.03) on its UK website. It told Reuters the relatively higher prices of items and bundling of packs than on some other online marketplaces was to be able to eke out a margin after including delivery costs.

“Longer term, we see real value in this channel to be an insight and data channel for us,” Jean-Philippe Nier, head of e-commerce for Kraft Heinz’s business in the UK and Ireland, told Reuters. People are more prepared to order directly from manufacturers than they were before. The time is now.”

Graphic: Direct online sales to cross $20 billion in 2021 – https://graphics.reuters.com/PACKAGEDFOODS-ECOMMERCE/rlgpdexngvo/chart.png

($1 = 0.7137 pounds)

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Susan Fenton)

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