Boardroom briefing: exchange rate traps, world’s most valuable brands and megatrends


Don’t let retailers decide the exchange applied to your purchases, top 10 world’s most valuable brands and megatrends shaping the next few decades. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

The world’s most valuable brands

Forbes has released its annual survey of the world’s most valuable brands; and Apple, once again, is king—this is the ninth year in a row that the tech giant tops this list.

Although Apple has some serious competition, particularly in China, its products still dominate the market. The company is worth $205.5 billion, 12 per cent more than last year.

Google holds the second spot. It’s worth $167.7 billion, 23 per cent more compared with 2018. And it comes as no surprise, according StatCounter, Google has 92 per cent of the global search engine market—its competitors Bing and Yahoo have less than 3 per cent of that market.

The top 10 world’s most valuable brands according to Forbes are:

  1. Apple $205.5 billion
  2. Google $167.7 billion
  3. Microsoft $125.3 billion
  4. Amazon $97 billion
  5. Facebook $88.9 billion
  6. Coca-Cola $59.2 billion
  7. Samsung $53.1 billion
  8. Disney $52.2 billion
  9. Toyota $44.6 billion
  10. McDonald’s $43.8 billion

To pay or not to pay in your currency

‘Would you like to pay for that in Euros or Australian dollars?’, says the shop assistant in the European capital.

That’s nice of them, isn’t it? But they worked out from your credit card that you are from Australia and they are giving you the chance to pay in your currency, not theirs.

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Except it’s a rip-off, according to Chris Chamberlin at the Australian Business Traveller. He says you should always pay in the currency that the item you are purchasing is priced in.

In a nutshell: if you do not then you are letting the retailer decide the exchange rate to apply, rather than your own credit card company (who is, at least to some degree, accountable to you).

He claims it’s a deceitful practice as there is no upside for the unsuspecting traveller but it is increasingly widespread.

Megatrends that will shape the future

Connection lines around the Earth.

Research firm Fitch Solutions has released its Towards 2050: Megatrends in Industry, Politics and the Global Economy special reportwhich identifies the major developments likely to affect business and society. The report argues that the four most important megatrends for the next few decades are:

  • New generations of consumers becoming more conscious of their individuality and conscientious in their choices, which ‘will drive everything from energy efficiency initiatives to personalised healthcare and a new generation of genetically modified micro-food.’
  • Population expansion and urbanisation, which will shape how infrastructure and transport are conceived and designed.
  • Internet and connectivity proliferation, which will be at the very heart of every industry.
  • Climate change, which will impact regulations and public perceptions of everything from extractive industries to driving the future patterns of new food production.

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