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BTS Honored Korean War Sacrifices. Some in China Detected an Insult.

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It seemed an innocuous remark from a wildly popular boy band known more for its open-armed inclusiveness than for any overt provocation.

But when the leader of the Korean pop group BTS acknowledged the shared suffering of Americans and Koreans during a recent ceremony commemorating the Korean War, internet users in China wasted no time registering their offense.

Chinese social media filled with outrage that the BTS leader, Kim Nam-joon, who performs under the stage name RM (formerly Rap Monster), did not also recognize the sacrifices of the Chinese soldiers who fought on the side of North Korea.

Then came a familiar dance for multinational companies doing business in China: Two prominent brands removed any trace of their collaborations with the band on Chinese websites.

First, a glossy special-edition purple smartphone made for BTS disappeared on Monday from Samsung’s Chinese website and other e-commerce platforms in the country.

Hours later, posts mentioning BTS appeared to have been scrubbed from the official Weibo account of Fila, the sportswear company. BTS has been a brand ambassador for Fila since 2019.

Their moves seemed intended to head off the potential for the kinds of boycotts and other angry steps that Chinese consumers have taken against brands deemed to have run afoul of patriotic sentiment.

The events began during a virtual awards ceremony on Oct. 7, when the Korea Society, a New York nonprofit organization, presented BTS with an award that recognizes advancements to U.S.-Korean relations.

During the ceremony, RM said in reference to the Korean War, which began 70 years ago: “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”

While perhaps 200,000 or more South Korean soldiers and about 37,000 American soldiers died in the war, in addition to millions of civilians, 180,000 Chinese soldiers also perished, according to China’s accounting.

After the social media storm over the band’s perceived slight, Zhao Lijian, China’s deputy director of foreign affairs, weighed in.

“I’ve noticed related reports, and also the reaction of Chinese netizens,” he said when asked by reporters about the issue at a news briefing on Monday. “We should learn from history and look toward the future by cherishing peace and advancing our friendship.”

The Global Times, a fiercely nationalistic Chinese state tabloid, reported extensively about the BTS backlash, saying the group’s members should have recognized even the losses by an ally of their native country’s longtime enemy. The band’s comments, the tabloid said, reflected a “one-sided attitude” and “negated history.”

The hashtags “there are no idols that come before my country” and “BTS humiliated China” were trending in China.

Jolly Liu, a 21-year-old medical student in Guangzhou, said she was reconsidering her support of the band. In a phone interview on Monday, she said she was angered by its comments, which she had learned about after watching a live-streamed video of a BTS concert on Saturday.

“We can’t force them to have the same political views as us, but since you get our money and support over here, then you should take note of that and respect every country,” she said.

Others said they felt that the band members, as South Koreans, were entitled to their own views, though they perhaps should have kept quiet about it.

Qin Xiaxin, an internet user in Wuhan, said in a phone interview on Monday that she felt proud that her grandfather had fought in the war against Americans and found BTS’s comments inappropriate, believing they should have avoided political issues.

“We are from two countries, so we will have our differences when we encounter issues involving the sovereignty of our respective countries. That is for certain,” she said. “Because there isn’t anyone who doesn’t love their country, right?”

Some said they had trouble seeing what was so offensive. One Weibo user, going by the name “I Am the Catfish,” suggested that it would be unnatural to mention historical enemies during a war tribute.

“China and South Korea fought on opposite sides. Surely there wouldn’t be a single South Korean who would commemorate the war by thanking the Chinese,” the user wrote on Sunday. “If the whole world has to care about the feelings of the Chinese, couldn’t we also try to understand how Koreans feel?”

Samsung representatives in China and South Korea did not immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment. Fila representatives in China could not immediately be reached for comment. Big Hit Entertainment, the agency that manages BTS, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

The controversy comes just days before Big Hit is set to go public in Seoul in an initial public offering that is expected to value the company at up to $4 billion.

BTS is just the latest in a long line of international celebrities and brands that have found themselves on the wrong side of China’s government and consumers.

Chinese state broadcasters stopped showing NBA games for a year after a team executive posted support on Twitter for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

After Dolce & Gabbana released an ad containing stereotypes many found racist and offensive, Chinese social platforms were flooded with videos of consumers burning and destroying the fashion brand’s products.

Companies have also pulled products after state news outlets reported that they had hurt national pride. The luxury brands Coach, Givenchy and Versace apologized in 2019 for T-shirt designs that appeared to show Hong Kong as a separate territory, interpreted as undermining Chinese sovereignty.

Gap apologized in 2018 after a T-shirt with a map of China did not show Taiwan, parts of Tibet and islands in the South China Sea that, in Beijing’s view, belong to China.

Coral Yang, Su-Hyun Lee and Claire Fu contributed research.

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What 5 Top Execs Think About the Prospect of More Economic Stimulus

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October 19, 2020 5 min read

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

With earnings season officially underway, executives are weighing in on the stimulus stalemate that’s gripped the US economy for months.

The chance of a pre-election relief deal faded through the week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doubled down on his opposition to a major bill. The senator indicated Thursday that he plans to bring only a smaller measure to a vote, dashing hopes for the $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion package currently being negotiated by Democrats and the White House.

Several indicators suggest the pace of economic recovery slowed into the fall as previous support programs dried up. Here’s what five executives had to say about the lack of new stimulus and the challenges it presents.

JPMorgan: ‘We’ll probably see delinquencies tick up’

The March CARES Act played a major role in keeping Americans from defaulting on their debt, JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak said in a Tuesday earnings call. The “extraordinary support” played a major role in the initial economic bounce-back through the spring, but the bank is already preparing for a dire start to the new year.

“We’ll probably see delinquencies tick up in the early part of 2021. We’re not assuming further stimulus beyond the end of this year and how we think about reserves,” Piepszak said, according to a transcript provided by Sentieo.

She continued: “I think future stimulus would give us more confidence in the economy delivering on the base case.”

Bank of America: ‘Stimulus coming in would move us further’

A new relief bill would help struggling businesses and unemployed Americans, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan highlighted in a Wednesday call. Aid for state and local governments would also help prevent layoffs of government employees, he added.

Most major banks decreased their loan loss reserves through the third quarter as the economy rebounded. Still, Bank of America allocated $1.4 billion for potential credit losses. 

“Stimulus coming in would move us further” toward lowering the loss provision, Moynihan said.

“You’d see the reserves come out further because the lifetime expected loss would be lower. That’s kind of the way it works.”

PNC: ‘We’re going to see an acceleration’ in charge-offs

As Congress nears its deadline to pass another relief measure, firms are bracing for more loans to sour. Such charge-offs will likely begin in pandemic-sensitive industries earlier in the year and trickle down to consumer debt in the second half of 2021, PNC CEO William Demchak said Wednesday.

“The consumer number in my view is going to be highly dependent on whether they provide more fiscal stimulus, which I think they absolutely need to do,” Demchak added. “With PPP effectively running out and with the CARES Act having run out, we’re going to see an acceleration [in charge-offs.]”

The CEO cited a survey of small businesses as further evidence that new stimulus is needed. Roughly 60% of respondents expect to be out of business should the legislative deadlock last another year, Demchak said.

Wells Fargo: ‘Future credit performance may deteriorate’

The US’s unprecedented fiscal and monetary response to the pandemic helped the economy improve significantly, but slowed reopenings and the expiration of some stimulus programs “are presenting headwinds,” Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf said Wednesday. 

For one, “future credit performance may deteriorate” as Americans receive less help from relief payments and expanded unemployment benefits, the CEO said. A recent study from Federal Reserve researchers found Americans used the majority of their stimulus checks on paying down debts and bolstering savings.

In separate comments made during a Friday virtual panel, Scharf warned the nation is “not out of the woods” despite enjoying a steady climb from virus-induced lows.

“The consumer has been extraordinarily strong through this crisis, and it’s not luck, and it’s not because they weren’t affected. It’s because of the CARES Act, specifically the unemployment assistance,” Scharf said, adding the bank is seeing signs of Americans’ cash balances “starting to go away.”

United Airlines: ‘We will continue … to urge them to act’

The airline industry in particular hinges on the prospect of more aid. Carriers began laying off tens of thousands of workers earlier this month to cut costs and weather the slowdown in travel activity.

House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal would allocate $25 billion to airline relief, the same amount set aside in the CARES Act. While Senate Republicans have balked at the measure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has opposed a standalone bill for airlines without a larger stimulus bill.

As Congress continues to deliberate on fresh aid, United Airlines is pushing for an extension to the Payroll Support Program established in the CARES Act.

An extension “would allow us to bring back US team members we had to furlough upon expiration of the CARES Act support on September 30,” Brett Hart, chief administrative officer at United Airlines, said Thursday. “We will continue to engage leaders in both parties in Congress and in the administration to urge them to act.”

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Infonavit Law: What you should know about the reform

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The changes will generate new markets and modify the way of operating of various sectors.

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October 19, 2020 5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Alto Nivel

By Antonio Sandoval

This weekend, the Morena legislators in the Chamber of Deputies assured that they will try to authorize via fast track , that is to say quickly, the modifications to the Law of the Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit) , sent some ago weeks by the holder of the executive power.

If authorized, major changes will be made in the way Infonavit has operated so far. Above all, there are two transcendental changes that have caused some confusion, because the full text of the reform proposals is not known, but with the data we have, some of the great changes can be anticipated and how it will impact or benefit Mexican workers.

The two major changes

1. From triangulation to “inverse triangulation”

Until now, a worker chose the house or apartment he wanted to buy and initiated a series of procedures either with the construction company, a real estate agency or directly between individuals. Once the series of legal requirements had been covered, Infonavit paid on behalf of the worker to whom it sold so that it would grant possession to the new owner.

The worker bought his house or apartment, but in fact he never had the money in his possession, he was only aware of his debt and commitment to Infonavit to pay.

With the new law, all kinds of intermediaries in the matter were ended. The legal requirements are maintained and deepened in some cases, but Infonavit will no longer pay any company or person the resources derived from the operation . Once the credit is authorized, Infonavit will deposit the authorized amount of the loan directly into the worker’s bank account, and the worker in turn will be free to choose the house he wanted or another.

It is still somewhat confusing because, if the worker has already made a commitment to a real estate agency or company, then he is supposedly obligated to pay; that is, for Infonavit to lend the resources, there must already be at least some document that supports the purchase that the worker will make, otherwise, the fear of some analysts revolves around the possibility that the beneficiary is going to spend money on other things.

As the reform is planned, the change basically consists of a kind of “inverse triangulation”. That is to say, now instead of Infonavit paying the builder on behalf of the worker, it will give the money to the worker and he must pay the builder, supposedly the rest does not change or does not change much.

2. Before only house or apartment, today land and self-construction:

This is perhaps the most relevant change in the federal Executive’s proposal, a truly far-reaching, far-reaching change.

Until now, the credits granted by Infonavit are used only for the acquisition of houses and / or apartments, they are limited to the purchase of housing, of units already built.

This is, of course, a limitation for the expansion of other markets and for the needs of the workers and even their tastes. The amendment indicates that these credits may also be used for the acquisition of land . However, it is very important to note that there are specifications on what type of land, places and characteristics and services. The foregoing demolishes any expectation that has been generated that it will be possible to buy anywhere, that will not be the case. In addition to the purchase of land, the infonavit credit may also be used for the construction of housing on the acquired land or on some other property owned by the worker.

Other adjustments include the possibility of paying a home purchase loan with the infonavit loan, and acquiring a second loan after the first has been paid. The changes could be authorized shortly, as expressed by lawmakers . This will surely mean a different way of operating in some sectors such as construction, which now must not only go out to find the client, but also compete with more quality. Likewise, a market for the sale of land financed with loans from Infonavit opens, something practically non-existent until now.

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How PR Helps Startups Attract VCs Remotely

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Launching a thoughtful PR campaign can help startups connect with VCs.

October 19, 2020 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Take away face-to-face meetings and events, and it can be extremely difficult for startups to establish trust with a new investor. While deals are still happening, many investors are refocusing efforts on existing portfolios and growing more cautious about starting new relationships under the current circumstances. The current remote environment is drawing out the due diligence stage for new investments and making it difficult for startups to find opportunities beyond their existing networks. So how can startup founders get in front of new VCs and raise funding remotely? 

Related: VCs Consider This Trait Most Important When Choosing Entrepreneurs to Invest In

One way is with a strategic public relations campaign. Securing media coverage can help startups get on the radar of new investors no matter where they are located. A public relations campaign is also the perfect way to showcase any new traction, especially if founders have reached out to a potential investor in the past and conversations stalled. Sharing fresh press coverage can put a startup back on the radar, and help build credibility to land new meetings. Here’s a look at how startup founders can use public relations to drive investor interest.

Figure out the right publications to target

Many startups make the mistake of focusing only on the mainstream tech and business publications. Unfortunately, this means they might be leaving out other publications that investors are reading that may be more relevant to their industry. Startups should build a list of publications to target that includes high profile outlets, local press, and key industry or trade publications. This list could also include any outlets that have covered similar companies at the same stage, or that covered funding stories similar to the startup’s goal. 

Some investors only invest locally, and others will only support startups at certain stages or in specific industries. It’s important to remember this when starting a public relations campaign with the goal of getting in front of investors. 

Write thought leadership articles

There will be times when startups don’t have anything “newsworthy” to share, so having the company CEO write thought leadership articles can be a great alternative to stay in the media. Having a consistent presence in the right publications is one of the best ways to showcase industry expertise and can even help turn a startup’s founder(s) into valuable sources for larger publications, panels, or speaking engagements. Writing for these publications allows startups to speak directly to their target audience and any potential investors. 

Go more in-depth or technical

While securing a story in a mainstream news outlet can provide startups with a credibility boost, these publications are not usually a good opportunity to delve into technical aspects of the business. Startups should compliment general media coverage with opportunities that allow them to go more in-depth on the business model or any technical aspects that may interest potential investors. 

Related: How Startups can Utilise Public Relations to Attract Investors

Webinars or podcasts are great platforms for this type of PR. Startup founders can look for popular podcasts in their industry or invite any industry acquaintances, partners, or other experts to get together and discuss the specific problem the technology addresses via video stream. With lockdowns and travel restrictions, everyone is spending a lot more time online and tuning in to these virtual events.  

Share press mentions everywhere

Once a story goes live, startups shouldn’t just leave it up to the reporter and publication to spread the word. The startup must also make an effort to spread the article as far and wide as possible. Any press coverage should go on all of the company’s social media channels and be shared by all critical team members. Startups should also share the story in any company newsletters as well as with any partners or existing investors, and link to the article on the company website.

Once a startup has secured some press coverage, it’s a good idea to create a “Press” or “As Featured In” section on the website. Press logos and links rarely go unnoticed, and they are a good way to showcase the company’s authority. Any media mentions should also be included in company presentations and pitch decks as a way to confirm the market is taking notice. 

PR and fundraising can work together

Launching a public relations campaign can be challenging, but it’s one of the best ways for startups to build credibility early and fast. Startups need to keep in mind, however, that public relations shouldn’t be used to stretch the truth about numbers or traction just to secure investment. If founders aren’t transparent about the business or oversell their capabilities, both reporters and investors will see right through it. 

Related: What Startups Should Do Differently When It Comes to PR

Instead, public relations should be used to give potential investors a way to learn more about the company when they do a quick search online and create a sense of trust when they flip through a pitch deck. On average, five to seven brand impressions are necessary before someone will remember a brand. By securing consistent media coverage in relevant publications, startups can ensure that more people, including investors, will remember them.

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