Global Family Business News Q1 2018: Walmart, H&M, and More

Global family business news from all around the world in the quarter ending on February 2018, from Donald Trump’s impact on Walmart to H&M’s racism scandal.

01 China – China revealed to have the most public family businesses

According to the Credit Suisse’s “CS Family 1000” report, China was revealed to have the highest number of publically listed family owned businesses in the world, with 167 such companies, followed by the US with 121 and India with 108. It was also found that over the last decade, the annual return of family firms was on average 5% higher than non-family companies

02 United States – Walmart increases pay, but thousands lose jobs

American retailer Walmart has announced that it will raise its starting wage to $11 per hour and give employees bonuses of up to $1,000, crediting Donald Trump’s tax cuts for the move. On the same day, the family owned company confirmed that it was closing 63 Sam’s Club stores around the country, leaving up to 11,000 employees without work.

03 India – Billionaire brothers wage war in mobile business

Reliance Communications, owned by billionaire Anil Ambani, announced that it will exit the mobile industry and sell its mobile business to rival Reliance Jio. Reliance Jio, owned by Ambani’s older brother Mukesh, sparked a frenzy in the telecom industry by offering customers free 4G internet for six months, winning more than 150 million subscribers and leaving competitors such as Reliance Communications struggling to keep up.

04 Sweden – H&M faces backlash over ‘racist’ advertisement

Family-run fast fashion retailer H&M is scrambling to contain the fallout stemming from a controversial ad that has been condemned as racist. The ad, which features a black child wearing a hoodie that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’, resulted in H&M stores across South Africa being vandalized and forced the chain to apologize and pull down the listing for the item.

05 South Korea – Samsung, LG protest against US tariffs

Family-owned electronics giants Samsung and LG condemned steep import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels imposed by US president Donald Trump, accusing the move as a “textbook case of protectionism”. The decision has triggered an official WTO complaint by South Korea against the US, while China and the EU said they would also react should the move hurt their exporters.

06 UK – Regulators temporarily block Rupert Murdoch’s Sky takeover.

Rupert Murdoch’s $15 billion takeover bid for Sky broadcasting network could be blocked after competition regulators said the deal would give his family too much control over British news media. The Competition and Markets Authority warned that the takeover by the Murdochs’ 21st Century Fox was bad for the country and would give the family “too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”

07 Japan – Toshiba finally sells nuclear subsidiary

Troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba has agreed to sell assets related to its bankrupt subsidiary Westinghouse Electric to a US hedge fund for $2.16 billion. The sale of the nuclear power company will help Toshiba avoid a second year of losses, allowing it to remain a publically listed company. Westinghouse liabilities had thrown Toshiba into crisis, forcing it to sell its prized memory chip business for $18 billion last year.

08 Denmark – Maersk, IBM to form global blockchain venture

Family-owned shipping giant Maersk announced plans to create a joint venture with IBM to develop a trade digitalization platform using blockchain technology. The Danish company explained that the venture intends to help shippers, ports, and customs offices to keep track of freight through digital records powered by blockchain, which would make it resistant to hacks and do away with paperwork.