Vipshop’s Blowout Quarter

If there are any left who doubt the strength of the Chinese e-commerce sector, they must be very few indeed. Report after report has shown staggering growth for online retailers in the Middle Kingdom, as the country’s burgeoning middle class has an increased amount of money to spend. The most recent piece of news appeared with a blowout report from online discount retailer NASDAQ: Vipshop ( ) which competes with the US-based Best Offer local rival Alibaba, in which Yahoo! ( YHOO ) holds a stake. What propelled this massive growth?

Distinctive business model
Vipshop differs slightly from most online retailers in the way it does business. Employing a flash-sale format in which it limits inventory on discounted items in order to drive sales from deal-hungry consumers, Vipshop was recently forced to defend its business model and methods of counting customers after a bearish article from Greenwich Research Group. In any case, the company seems profitable enough after looking at the figures.

Vipshop’s fourth-quarter earnings more than tripled to reach $0.49 per share excluding items to surpass the consensus estimate of $0.41. Quarterly revenue showed equally impressive growth of around 117% year-over-year to $651 million, which smashed the $560 million consensus estimate. Moreover, margins expanded and all of this good news sent the stock up more than 20% in after-hours trading following the report.

The company’s flash-sale model sets it apart from other, more traditional business-to-consumer models such as that of Alibaba. Partly owned by Yahoo!, Alibaba has also been delivering some strong growth recently, although its numbers are not as impressive as Vipshop’s results. Valued at some $153 billion earlier this year, the e-commerce giant reported a sequential rise of 12% in earnings with its most recent report, with revenue surging 51%. The owner of websites such as Tmall.com and Taobao may be looking for a US IPO fairly soon, and it could become the biggest tech IPO since Facebook went public.

Comparing US growth
Although comparing Vipshop to Amazon may be difficult because Amazon has a different geographic distribution and a more traditional business model, Amazon’s growth figures may shine some light on the break-neck growth that is currently taking place in China. In Amazon’s most recent report, the US clearly drove its revenue growth as its domestic business was up 26% year-over-year while international sales increased by ‘only’ 13%. In any case, the report was a bit of a flop as Amazon missed on both the top and the bottom line.

While Amazon does do business in China, it does not have anywhere near the footprints of Alibaba and Vipshop. In 2012, two of Alibaba’s e-commerce websites had turnover of $170 billion, more than eBay and Amazon combined. Operating in over 45 countries, Amazon will have to expand its global footprint if it is to come anywhere near the growth figures posted by Chinese online retailers.

One way in which Amazon is looking to expand its Chinese business is a recent deal with China Net Center that will allow it to provide Amazon Web Service through the Chinese company’s extensive network. China Net Center currently serves some 3,000 clients across a range of industries, and together with Amazon it will be able to provide a comprehensive set of cloud services to corporations and small businesses.

The bottom line
So far, it seems that the Chinese e-commerce market isn’t slowing down. In fact, the growth figures coming out of some Chinese online retailers are simply staggering. Vipshop’s most recent report showed triple-digit earnings and revenue growth which easily beat the analyst consensus. While the company faces stiff competition from rivals such as Amazon and Alibaba, it still seems to be growing faster than the overall industry and as such it may be a solid bet to capitalize on the Chinese consumer market.

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NEW YORK (AP) &; Jason Collins spent part of his off day on Sunday shopping at Costco.

He was wise to stock up, since he’ll be staying with Brooklyn for at least a little while longer.

The Nets plan to sign Collins to a second 10-day contract, a person with knowledge of the situation said Monday.

Collins signed his original Best Deals on Feb. 23, becoming the NBA’s first openly gay player, and it expires Tuesday.

The Nets then will re-sign him for another 10 days on Wednesday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the plans haven’t been made public.

After that, the Nets would have to sign him for the rest of the season if they wanted to keep him.

Collins said before the Nets’ game against Chicago on Monday that he wasn’t aware of any deal, leaving those details up to his agent. Coach Jason Kidd said those discussions were between management and Collins’ agent, but said his former teammate has been “great, on and off the court.”

"Twin is a good friend of mine and he’s a basketball player, but he’s a great person and so that’s why we wanted him on this team and we felt he could help us win," Kidd said, referring to Collins by the nickname he had during his original stint with the Nets from 2001-08.

The Nets still practice in New Jersey even after moving to Brooklyn before last season, so that’s where Collins was Sunday after the Nets got back from their road trip that ended Saturday night in Milwaukee.

"It’s kind of funny. Yesterday on my day off I’m driving around Jersey on Route 17 and bringing back a lot of memories from when I was here before," Collins said.

He’s much more famous now after revealing he was gay in a Sports Illustrated article last April. He had been out of the NBA from then until signing with the Nets.

Collins said he had plenty of ticket requests from family and friends for Monday’s game, and also saw a number of familiar faces from the old days. The pregame press conference and the overall media attention are new, and Collins believes it won’t last, but understands that for now his sexuality makes him a big story.

"Over time it will go down, but as far as doing interviews and talking about it, I’m getting comfortable with the microphone or the camera on me," he said.

He’s more comfortable on the court, even in the limited minutes he gets. Finally finished with his lengthy list of pregame obligations, he was looking forward to helping the Nets in whatever way he could.

"Now that that’s all settled, I’ll go out there and just try to focus as much as I can on the game," Collins said.

Two Worcester navy men honoured

Two Worcester navy men honoured

10:40am Saturday 22nd February 2014 in News

TWO senior Royal Navy sailors from Worcester have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the service.

Chief Petty Officer Tony Scripps, a Royal Navy medic who has served for more than 25 years, has been awarded the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal.

The 47-year-old navy careers, who is now also a Reservist, was praised for going above and beyond the call of duty during his career and was awarded the medal by the Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral David Steel on board his flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

CPO Scripps now works as a Naval Service careers advisor at the Gloucester Armed Forces Careers Office where he is responsible for the recruitment of all elements of Naval service across Worcestershire Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

"I am extremely proud to receive the MSM," said the father-of-two, who lives in St Peter’s, Worcester. "I really enjoyed my career with the Royal Navy and all the opportunities it presented me with."

CPO Scripps was deployed twice as a medic to Afghanistan and across the world on various submarines and surface ships.

Warrant Officer Stephen Haidon, 49, who was brought up in St John’s,Worcester and whose parents still live there, was also presented the Meritorious Service Medal for serving for more than 33 years.

The father-of-two works as the Weapon Engineering Officer at the Commodore Portsmouth Flotilla Fishery Protection Squadron based at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Part of his job is to provide assurance that the three fishery protection platforms in the UK, and HMS Clyde in the Falkland Islands, are ready to undertake tasking as required by the Commodore.

"This award was totally unexpected and a very pleasant surprise as I enter the twilight years of my Royal Navy career," he said. "Amongst the numerous messages I received was one from the original RN rating who signed me up in the Worcester career office as an artificer apprentice in September 1980."

WO Haidon has numerous decorations including Air Operations in Iraq and clasp (1999), NATO medal with clasp for Kosovo (1999) and the Iraq medal with clasp (2003).

"I am exceptionally honoured to present these Meritorious Service Medals to an outstanding group of personnel," said Admiral Steel. "These awards are given to those who, in 20 years or more of service to the Royal Navy, have maintained the highest, unbroken standard of conduct and proved themselves to be truly remarkable individuals in their line of work.

"They set an incredible example for others to follow and should be extremely proud of all they have achieved."

Following the presentation to 23 personnel on board HMS Victory on Wednesday, the recipients and their families were offered a tour of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard before an invite to lunch in Admiralty House, the Second Sea Lord’s official residence.

Just 52 Meritorious Service Medals are presented each year and only Royal Navy personnel who have completed 20 year’s of service.

The medal dates back to January 14, 1919, just two months after the end of the First World War, and was originally intended to reward either specific acts of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy, or for meritorious service performed by petty officers and ratings.

Students get a digital lesson in English at Holy Rosary Regional Catholic School in Plymouth

Sixth-grade English teacher Jennifer Crawford helps students research examples of literary devices to reinforce the day’s lesson with a picture collage. 21st Century Media photo / BRENDAN WILLS

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With children being exposed to computers in the classroom at increasingly younger ages, subjects traditionally reliant on reading books and utilizing verbal communication skills could easily get lost in the shuffle.

For Holy Rosary Regional Catholic School sixth-grade English teacher Jennifer Crawford, iPads serve as creative new platforms to pique children’s curiosity and reinforce real life skills crucial to a career in a technological society.

"It exposes them to higher forms of literature that they, as sixth-graders, may not have had the opportunity to see before, such as Shakespeare, Donne and Dickinson," Crawford said, referencing a research project her students were working on.

Crawford spent the first half of the double class period assigned for English lecturing her students on eight different literary forms. Aside from the students who opted to take notes on their iPads, the classroom had the look of a traditional English class.

Once the lesson was complete, however, the students entered the digital world. The students used Google to research famous examples of the literary devices they just learned.

For the next hour students could be heard saying, “I found a metaphor in Shakespeare” or asking, “Does Poe use personification?”

Using graphics and photos in conjunction with the quotes they found on the Internet, the students made printable posters on an app called PicCollage - replacing the traditional posterboard, Elmer’s glue and coloring utensils with just an iPad hooked up to a wireless printer.

"Allowing the students to choose their own examples gives them the opportunity to make the content their own," Crawford said. "It allows them to insert their own personality into the project by picking things that reflect their interests."

"The students have the opportunity to see the importance of class material because it is and will be used outside the school walls."

Though Crawford described herself as “technologically fluent,” she admitted that when she was in college learning how to teach English, she was not taught how to weave the iPad into a lesson plan. Continued…

After a weeklong technology academy through Archbishop John Carroll High School this past summer, Crawford had more than enough material to start laying the framework of an iPad friendly classroom.

"Each day at the Connelly Tech Academy, we learned about a specific topic area: Flipped Classrooms, iMovie, Google Drive and iPad implementation in the classroom," Crawford said. "We learned the theory behind these topic areas, then practical implementation techniques per our content area and grade level."

So far Crawford said she had the opportunity to use iMovies, Educreations, LearnZillion, Keynote, Edmodo, QR Codes, Explain Everything, Prezi and Knowmia to reinforce specific English topics.

"On Halloween, I used a Prezi for Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ that talked about the content and poetry techniques employed in the poem," Crawford said about the app that gives students different tools to create presentations. "And for a book report, the students turned a summary of the book into a QR Code and made a Amazon Deal poster for their book.”

These types of projects expand students’ skill sets beyond reading and writing, according to Crawford. Not only do the students learn critical research skills for high school and college but also learn about vocations that require communication and creativity.

"Technology gives my students a new platform to express themselves creatively in class," Crawford explained. "It allows them to immediately see the benefits of their work by giving them the opportunity to publish their work by printing, posting, sending or blogging. It also creates an entire world of inspiration that they have at their fingertips."

The practical side of the iPad classroom has not been lost on Crawford. The iPads function as the grammar textbook and workbook.

"The grammar eBooks, VOCES by Teacher’s Discovery, allow the students to have 24-hour access to grammar. They do not have to worry about bringing books or notes home," Crawford said. "It also gives the kids video and picture prompts to apply the grammar that they learn in the lessons. For example, one prompt was to choose your favorite song and find all the pronouns in it."

Crawford said the added avenues for feedback are crucial to an English class.

"I’m there with the thinking process. I can get my fingers in there during the process and not just when they’re done writing," Crawford said. "The grammar books are made of interactive activities that give students immediate feedback, which allows the students to see their errors and make corrections." Continued…

Crawford predicted that as she sees students interact with iPad-centered lessons, she will be able to adapt and make better lesson plans based on those experiences.

"I can’t wait for the second round of the Tech Academy," Crawford said, looking forward to the coming summer when she will get a more in-depth look at the methodology behind teaching with technology.

One thing Crawford said she has learned for certain is that biweekly creative writing has gone a long way to improving her students’ entire skillset.

"Creative writing ignites the students’ imaginations. It gives them the chance to align their interests with their school work and bring their own topics into my classroom," Crawford said. "Creative writing lets them think ‘outside the box.’ It challenges them to create an entire world out of nothing but their ideas and a blank page, instead of just responding to a prompt."

One thing parents can be sure of: their children no longer just write on the page; they build them.

With children being exposed to computers in the classroom at increasingly younger ages, subjects traditionally reliant on reading books and utilizing verbal communication skills could easily get lost in the shuffle.

For Holy Rosary Regional Catholic School sixth-grade English teacher Jennifer Crawford, iPads serve as creative new platforms to pique children’s curiosity and reinforce real life skills crucial to a career in a technological society.

"It exposes them to higher forms of literature that they, as sixth-graders, may not have had the opportunity to see before, such as Shakespeare, Donne and Dickinson," Crawford said, referencing a research project her students were working on.

Crawford spent the first half of the double class period assigned for English lecturing her students on eight different literary forms. Aside from the students who opted to take notes on their iPads, the classroom had the look of a traditional English class.

Once the lesson was complete, however, the students entered the digital world. The students used Google to research famous examples of the literary devices they just learned.

For the next hour students could be heard saying, “I found a metaphor in Shakespeare” or asking, “Does Poe use personification?”

Using graphics and photos in conjunction with the quotes they found on the Internet, the students made printable posters on an app called PicCollage - replacing the traditional posterboard, Elmer’s glue and coloring utensils with just an iPad hooked up to a wireless printer.

"Allowing the students to choose their own examples gives them the opportunity to make the content their own," Crawford said. "It allows them to insert their own personality into the project by picking things that reflect their interests."

"The students have the opportunity to see the importance of class material because it is and will be used outside the school walls."

Though Crawford described herself as “technologically fluent,” she admitted that when she was in college learning how to teach English, she was not taught how to weave the iPad into a lesson plan.

After a weeklong technology academy through Archbishop John Carroll High School this past summer, Crawford had more than enough material to start laying the framework of an iPad friendly classroom.

"Each day at the Connelly Tech Academy, we learned about a specific topic area: Flipped Classrooms, iMovie, Google Drive and iPad implementation in the classroom," Crawford said. "We learned the theory behind these topic areas, then practical implementation techniques per our content area and grade level."

So far Crawford said she had the opportunity to use iMovies, Educreations, LearnZillion, Keynote, Edmodo, QR Codes, Explain Everything, Prezi and Knowmia to reinforce specific English topics.

"On Halloween, I used a Prezi for Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ that talked about the content and poetry techniques employed in the poem," Crawford said about the app that gives students different tools to create presentations. "And for a book report, the students turned a summary of the book into a QR Code and made a promotional poster for their book."

These types of projects expand students’ skill sets beyond reading and writing, according to Crawford. Not only do the students learn critical research skills for high school and college but also learn about vocations that require communication and creativity.

"Technology gives my students a new platform to express themselves creatively in class," Crawford explained. "It allows them to immediately see the benefits of their work by giving them the opportunity to publish their work by printing, posting, sending or blogging. It also creates an entire world of inspiration that they have at their fingertips."

The practical side of the iPad classroom has not been lost on Crawford. The iPads function as the grammar textbook and workbook.

"The grammar eBooks, VOCES by Teacher’s Discovery, allow the students to have 24-hour access to grammar. They do not have to worry about bringing books or notes home," Crawford said. "It also gives the kids video and picture prompts to apply the grammar that they learn in the lessons. For example, one prompt was to choose your favorite song and find all the pronouns in it."

Crawford said the added avenues for feedback are crucial to an English class.

"I’m there with the thinking process. I can get my fingers in there during the process and not just when they’re done writing," Crawford said. "The grammar books are made of interactive activities that give students immediate feedback, which allows the students to see their errors and make corrections."

Crawford predicted that as she sees students interact with iPad-centered lessons, she will be able to adapt and make better lesson plans based on those experiences.

"I can’t wait for the second round of the Tech Academy," Crawford said, looking forward to the coming summer when she will get a more in-depth look at the methodology behind teaching with technology.

One thing Crawford said she has learned for certain is that biweekly creative writing has gone a long way to improving her students’ entire skillset.

"Creative writing ignites the students’ imaginations. It gives them the chance to align their interests with their school work and bring their own topics into my classroom," Crawford said. "Creative writing lets them think ‘outside the box.’ It challenges them to create an entire world out of nothing but their ideas and a blank page, instead of just responding to a prompt."

One thing parents can be sure of: their children no longer just write on the page; they build them.

Nikki … Err, Nathan Deal Wants Dredging Now!

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley … err, sorry … Georgia Gov. Nathan Best Offer wants dredging to begin immediately on the Savannah River as part of his state’s taxpayer-funded expansion of the Port of Savannah.

"In the budget I am submitting to you, I have included $35 million for the deepening of the Port of Savannah," Deal told Georgia lawmakers this week. "If approved, we will have $266 million, which will represent Georgia’s share of this important project. I intend for us to start dredging the project this year!"

"We have studied and planned long enough," Deal added. "It’s time to start moving dirt!"

Ah, yes … the Port of Savannah expansion, which was aided and abetted by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley - who sold her own state’s interests down the river for campaign contributions and a prime time speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

In November 2011 Haley - who came into office saying she was sick of being beaten by Georgia - convinced her appointees on the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) board of directors to overturn the agency’s prior rejection of a water quality permit.

This was done at Deal’s request … and stands to benefit some pretty powerful interests.

The governor’s betrayal was unanimously rebuked by the S.C. General Assembly - and the S.C. Supreme Court - but the damage was done.

Not only is Georgia’s government-subsidized project moving forward, but it has killed any chance of a private sector port being constructed on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.

That’s tens of thousands of jobs down the drain, people …

Best Buy holiday sales fall, weakness in US

Best Buyp>Posted:

Posted in National on Thursday, January 16, 2014 4:23 am.

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Snow alert for NYC as icy weather looms on Friday

NEW YORK (PIX11) - The Department of Sanitation has placed the city under a snow alert for Friday, with icy weather com nyc possible during the morning.

While nearby New Jersey is under a freezing rain advisory, the city is not, but Mr. G warns some of that icy weather could affect the city, with temperatures hovering around 32 overnight. The precipitation will turn to all rain later in the day.

READ THE FULL SNOW ALERT

The snow alert, which takes effect at 3 a.m., triggers sanitation crews to get trucks and other equipment ready for wintry weather.

Watch Mr. G’s forecast for the latest.

Espanhóis exaltam Fernanda Lima e dizem que ela

Foto: AP

Depois de virar sensa&;&;o mundial ao apresentar o sorteio dos grupos da Copa do Mundo, em dezembro, fernanda lima e rodrigo hilbert Lima j&; gera expectativa antes de ser protagonista de um novo evento da Fifa: a cerim&;nia da Bola de Ouro, nesta segunda-feira. Tanto que a modelo e apresentadora teve um extenso perfil publicado pelo jornal El Pa&;s, um dos mais tradicionais da Espanha, neste s&;bado.

"Outra partida para a musa da Fifa", diz o t&;tulo da reportagem, que faz quest&;o de deixar claro em v&;rios momentos do texto que a brasileira n&;o &; apenas "um decote bonito" - em alus&;o ao vestido ousado que Fernanda utilizou no evento na Costa do Sau&;pe e que fez at&; o sorteio do Mundial de 2014 ter a transmiss&;o paralisada no Ir&;.

O El Pa&;s destaca que a modelo e apresentadora &; formada em jornalismo e atualmente est&; no segundo ano da p&;s-gradua&;&;o em filosofia, “esfor&;ando-se para n&;o faltar a nenhuma aula &;s ter&;as e sextas” mesmo com os compromissos profissionais - ela &; contratada da TV Globo e seu programa mais recente foi a &;ltima temporada de ‘Amor e Sexo’.

O di&;rio, por&;m, n&;o deixa de valorizar as caracter&;sticas f&;sicas da ga&;cha de Porto Alegre. “Loira, 36 anos, 1,76 m, vestiu da cabe&;a aos p&;s um justo vestido dourado na cerim&;nia da Fifa, parecendo uma top model estilo Gisele B&;ndchen”, afirmou, acrescentando que Fernanda &; gremista, casada com o tamb&;m belo modelo e ator Rodrigo Hilbert e m&;e de g&;meos.

Os f&;s que esperam que a musa volte a exalar sensualidade nesta segunda-feira na Bola de Ouro, por&;m, podem se decepcionar. O El Pa&;s cita que Fernanda chegou at&; a pedir desculpas ao Ir&; pelo mal-estar criado no pa&;s de r&;gidas normas durante o sorteio e diz que a brasileira promete “resguardar-se” na premia&;&;o em que ser&; conhecido o melhor jogador do mundo de 2013.

O argentino Lionel Messi, o franc&;s Franck Rib&;ry e o portugu&;s Cristiano Ronaldo est&;o na briga e, al&;m da honraria mais nobre do futebol mundial, j&; ter&;o a certeza de que receber&;o o trof&;u das m&;os da linda ga&;cha.

Christmas cards from famous face critics

[ View the story “Christmas cards from famous face critics” on Storify]

Online commentators scrutinize Christmas cards sent by dignitaries, artists, public figures and celebrities.

Storified by AJAMStream &; Tue, Dec 24 2013 09:19:12

Banksy’s Christmas card is absolute genius http://t.co/IXR8QGAaiVJolyon Rubinstein

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, one of the most highly-compensated executives in the United States, released the following card, which was bashed for its lavishness.

Love it.Damn the torpedos.Paid $15B+ in extortion payments.RT Jamie Diamond’s Christmas card.Via @cschweitz http://t.co/h2gz8j45oTJohn Moore

Some argued that the card is proof of the extravagance of Dimon’s home, while others said that the family appeared fairly normal.

They forgot to mention that is a Jackson Pollock painting in the back ground. That painting that he is tossing tennis balls around is probably worth more than 99.7% of all homes in the U.S.business.time.com

While no fan of the financial laws that propel CEOs into such great wealth relative to the average citizen, I think picking apart his X-Mas card is a little silly. I don’t know how much those paintings cost, but beyond that I see a family in jeans that have created an artsy set of photos.business.time.com

This panorama-style comparison contrasts the Dimon Christmas card and the Kardashians’.

Who did it better, Christmas card edition: JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon or the Kardashians? http://t.co/R734U1oitV http://t.co/mRuyBftydaAbha Bhattarai

World leaders’ Christmas cards also face a great deal of scrutiny.

This year’s White House Christmas card featured a pop-up of President Obama’s residence. Noted conservative commentator Alex Jones tweeted his displeasure about the card not including “Christ” or “Christmas.”

Obama Family Christmas Card: No Mention of Christ or Christmas - http://t.co/i08p8Bn24q http://t.co/W8P1KMZhWeAlex Jones

Some recipients of the Obama card are selling them for between $150 and $175.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent out a card featuring the family’s pet chinchilla, leading to jokes about how the chinchilla is just a distraction from the country’s Senate expenses scandal.

.@pmharper is on the ball this year. Got my Christmas card over a month early. http://t.co/Ojnd2hNtZCKiran Rhines

David Cameron and Nick Clegg, coalition leaders of the United Kingdom, released dramatically different Christmas cards. Cameron’s featured a black lab christmas cards-and-white ‘retro’ (“or austerity?” joked one critic, referring to measures proposed by the PM) image of Cameron with his wife Samantha and youngest daughter Florence.

Clegg’s card featured the Liberal Democrat party leader and his wife, Miriam Gonz&;lez Dur&;ntez, in an image doctored on the family iPad by Clegg’s three sons. One blogger joked that the image could serve as an inspiration for anyone.

The Spanish royal family release an annual card and photos. This year’s card featured traditional religious imagery.

Other celebrities participated in the tradition, some sharing cards at the request of fans. Blake Shelton tweeted this Christmas card.

"@yayatinag: RT This is my son’s Christmas Card w/his family this year since he is deployed to Afghanistan. http://t.co/yz7JiDM8sH"Love it!Blake Shelton

However, with all the cards shared online this year, few compare to the 2011 card by former San Juan mayor Jorge Santini, taken with his family at the San Juan Wildlife Museum in Puerto Rico.