Thursday 17 May 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 17/5/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Fighting talk

In Mexico, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the second presidential TV debate this Sunday, ahead of the general election on 1 July. The theme for the evening’s discussion, broadcast from the frontier town of Tijuana, will be “Mexico in the world”; it’s pertinent subject matter given the ongoing renegotiation of the Nafta accord and President Trump's divisive characterisation of the country. The consensus is that second-placed Ricardo Anaya won the first debate, which took place on 22 April. Yet the leftist former mayor of Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is still the clear frontrunner, meaning the other four candidates are likely to gang up on him again. The format of Sunday’s debate will also mark a first in Mexican electoral history: there will be a live studio audience present, made up of 42 voters. Alas, only six of them will be allowed to ask questions.

Image: Getty Images


Welcome bid

The gradual process of Myanmar opening up to the world has taken another step forward this month: the government has announced that foreign-owned retailers will be allowed to set up shop in the Southeast Asian country. Overseas companies previously required approval from the Ministry of Commerce (a rarity) and were limited to a number of industries, such as hospital equipment and construction materials. Naypyidaw is cutting red tape to boost falling rates of foreign investment, which it relies upon to fund its development strategy; annual income in this country of 53 million averages €960 and more than a third of the population live near or below the poverty line. But this new open-door policy (with a caveat or two) is unlikely to see international businesses queuing round the block until the government extends a similarly warm welcome to its minority Rohingya population.



New York giants

The US design market is burgeoning and international companies are trying to find their way in via NYCxDesign, which runs until 23 May. Warehouses, showrooms and public spaces across the city have been snapped up by designers attempting to make their mark at the event, which coincides with the ICFF furniture trade fair. It’s NYCxDesign, however, that best intersects with New York’s own design pedigree, even if the international firms are the ones that are drawing the crowds. Japanese furniture brand Kamarq launched what’s being dubbed the “Netflix of furniture” – a subscription service for bright, colourful and recyclable pieces that’s perfect for a generation of urban dwellers who move home regularly. A yearly crowd favourite, Sight Unseen Offsite, opens to the public today and will bring the focus back on New York’s talent base: it is curated by ‘Sight Unseen’ co-founders Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, who’ll showcase the best of both homegrown and international design.


Far-from-comic timing

Japanese manga comics are grappling with their toughest story to date: digital sales overtook print for the first time last year. Digital revenue soared more than 17 per cent to reach ¥171bn (€1.3bn); print sales experienced a double-digit drop. This shift to reading manga on mobile devices has, inevitably, been accompanied by a huge rise in online piracy. One website, Mangamura, allowed users to read unauthorised copies of some of the genre’s biggest sellers; it was pulling in more than 100 million visitors a month before it was finally shut down in April. Now police are investigating the defunct website after four publishers – including Shueisha Inc, behind Japan’s top-selling manga, One Piece – accused it of copyright infringement. Government legislation is also expected to be in place by next year.

Image: Thomas Smith

Wish you were here?

This week we are taking a closer look at company culture and what it takes to build a thriving environment where people want to work. We’ll meet the entrepreneurs behind growing businesses who are leading by example.

Monocle Films / Bodrum

Boat builders of Bodrum

Monocle takes a trip to Turkey's Bodrum shipyards to watch the century-old skills that are still right at the heart of the peninsula's revered boat-making businesses.


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