Is Japan in trouble? Problems with quality may hurt

Kobe Steel, a major Japanese vendor of fabricated industrial metal, has admitted it falsified data about the quality of its aluminium and copper products. Manufacturers including General Motors, Ford, Boeing, and others, are now investigating whether this will cause problems in their product lines. If they have relied on Kobe metal to meet quality standards, recalls may be needed. This is yet another blow to Japan’s reputation for quality. Nissan recently recalled over a million cars due to a quality control issue, and problems with Takata airbags led to tens of millions of car recalls around the world. When I was younger, “Made in Japan” meant quality you could count on. The winds are shifting fast. Another industry dealing with shifting winds is financial services. In Premium today you can hear Alec Hogg talk to a couple of young South Africans who have made a big splash in investment research in London. These entrepreneurial folks have some interesting things to say about the future of fintech. You can also find five things to consider when comparing retail giants Amazon and Alibaba in today’s Worldview.