Dubai, Oct 14 (AP/UNB) — From a humble start of leaving the world of finance to write a beauty blog, Huda Kattan now has become one of the most recognizable names in makeup around the world.
The 36-year-old Iraqi-American now runs her eponymous empire Huda Beauty, a makeup line valued at $1.2 billion that has fast become a favorite among A-list celebrities and artists around the world.
Her personality has been key in connecting to the public via social media, a major driver for her makeup known for its vibrant color and contouring popular among Arab women. She's part of a growing vanguard of lines built around personalities, an expanding business model as more-established brands face slower sales.
"I do think the idea of makeup as a form of self-expression will just grow even more," Kattan told The Associated Press in Dubai. "I don't think it's going to be about beautifying anymore."
Kattan reaches customers through a YouTube channel where she uploads all her makeup tutorials. Her brand's Instagram account boasts more than 39 million followers, along with her seven million followers on Facebook. Her beauty line has found success globally, and especially across the Mideast and Persian Gulf, where Huda's business model has been particularly successful.
So-called "beauty influencers" are seeing strong growth in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms home to Dubai. They also play an important role in showcasing beauty and personal care products in Saudi Arabia, which has the highest number of active users in the region on social media platforms.
According to Euromonitor International, big brands in the UAE such as Mac, Bobbi Brown and Estee Lauder "saw slight declines in their value shares in 2018, due to the stronger competition from smaller brands" like Huda Beauty, singer Rihanna's brand Fenty Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury.
As makeup sales slow in Europe and the U.S., they continue to grow in the Mideast. From 2018 to 2023, Euromonitor predicts a 7.2% growth in the color cosmetics industry across the Mideast, with a 2.9% growth across the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This year alone, the color cosmetics market is valued at $2.3 billion in the Mideast, growing to $3.1 billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor.
Kattan said her business remained strong because of her focus on the Mideast. Unlike in many Western countries where more natural makeup looks are in vogue, women across Arab Gulf countries often lean toward bright, eye-catching makeup trends and accessories that offset the utilitarianism of black veils and abayas. That complements the bold colors of Kattan's lines.
"I feel like it's very normal in a cosmetic business to go after the No. 1 beauty business or the industry, which is the U.S.," she said. "Of course, I do want to go for the U.S., but I still feel like there's so much to do in this part of the world."
That focus has served her well so far. With a net worth of more than $600 million, Kattan was named one of the "10 most powerful influencers in the world of beauty" in 2017 by Forbes magazine and was named by Time as one of the 25 most influential people on the internet.
Kattan's makeup line includes lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, foundation and highlighters among other products. She now is expanding her empire with a newly launched perfume line headed by her business partner and sister, Mona. Huda Kattan has also started a reality web show on Facebook's Watch service.
"I think there's a buzz of the beauty brands that have boomed and created billion-dollar brands like Huda Beauty, Kylie, so many other brands. But in reality it's becoming super competitive and sales are dropping for almost every beauty brand out there," said Mona Kattan while sitting beside Huda at their office in Dubai. "And the only way you can survive is if you have a really purposeful mission and a strong identity and you're trying to be different and that's what we've always tried to do."
Huda Kattan also plans a soon-to-come skincare line.
"You know, I never really had great skin and I always wanted to feel comfortable not wearing makeup, and I finally feel like that for the first time in my life," she said.
"So makeup shouldn't be a need, it should be like a want. Like men!" she added with a laugh.
Kathmandu, Oct. 12 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The weeds, cornstalk and rice hulls that Nepali farmers once burned as waste can be exported to earn cash. The farmers had previously wondered how their waste can be exchanged for wealth, and later found an answer through cooperation across the Himalayas.
When learning about a project proposed by a Chinese company, Yegya Raj Kharel, communication officer with Nepal's Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, became excited and said "it is a very good project, from which many Nepali farmers could benefit."
"The Nepali weeds and agricultural waste could be turned into something useful for Tibetan cattle and sheep, bringing economic benefits to farmers and herdsmen from both China and Nepal," said Dong Qijun, technology expert of Xigaze Qomolangma Agriculture and Husbandry Investment Group Co. Ltd.
Nepal is traditionally an agricultural country. According to Nepal's Ministry of Finance, the agriculture sector contributed about 30 percent to the country's gross domestic product in the fiscal year 2017-2018. However, local farmers are struggling with troubled waste disposal.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Himalayas, herdsmen in China's Tibet Autonomous Region have another problem -- shortage of hay and fodder.
"In Tibet, the grassland is green for only three months a year," Dong said. "This means that cattle and sheep wouldn't have enough indigenous feed most of the time."
The Chinese city of Xigaze bordering Nepal has an annual demand of 1.47 million tonnes of hay and fodder, and local farmers have to buy feed from other provinces.
Li Chen, chief executive of Xigaze Qomolangma Agriculture and Husbandry Investment Group, told Xinhua that the hay transported from adjacent Qinghai Province is sold at 2.8-4 yuan (about 0.39 to 0.56 U.S. dollar) per kg, whereas the price for quality barley is only 4.6 yuan (about 0.65 dollar) per kg.
"Given such a price, the future for the husbandry here is hopeless," he said.
Some people see Nepal as a better option, since the shipment distance between Nepal and Xigaze is only 600 km, considerably shorter than that between the city and other regions in China. Therefore, the logistics cost could be at least halved.
To assess the feasibility of the idea, Dong flew to Nepal in March and found that sugarcane bagasse, canola seeds waste and elephant grass here are all good fodder.
"With enough hay and fodder, cattle and sheep could grow quickly and their quality be improved," he said.
The company has built a factory in Chitwan District in south-central Nepal, and is expected to build more factories in the neighboring country, with the aim of providing up to 70 percent of fodder and hay for herdsmen in Xigaze in three years.
Zhang Jinxiang, head of the Nepali project with the Chinese company, said one factory may help at least 800 households increase their income by 70 percent.
He also said that the project may help increase Nepal's exports to China. "While in full swing, all the planned factories could generate 300,000 tonnes of hay and fodder exports to China, of which revenue could top 43 million U.S. dollars."
Parbati Shah, deputy mayor of Bharatpur City in Chitwan, sees the project as pioneering in Nepal.
"Local farmers are quite excited about it," Shah said. "They are hopeful of getting benefits in the future. We need technology and investment. Therefore, we welcome Chinese projects as such."
New Delhi, Oct. 12 (Xinhua/unb) -- With its rapidly growing economy and geographical advantages, India is now becoming an important destination for Chinese investors going global.
Unlike traditional China-India cooperation, which was mainly in the field of import and export trade, industrial synergizing has come to the fore as a new trend of cooperation between Indian enterprises and their Chinese partners.
The development of Paytm, now India's largest mobile e-commerce platform, is an epitome of the emerging trend.
According to Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Paytm, just three years ago, his company was only a mobile payment company with just 25 million users and limited application scenarios.
Now, strategic cooperation with Ant Financial Services Group, a major Chinese e-commerce company, has made quite a difference.
Based on the similarities between the Chinese and Indian markets in population structure, consumer habits and business scenarios, Ant Financial Services brought Paytm a development strategy already proved effective in the Chinese market.
Paytm has now become one of the world's most popular e-wallet applications with over 300 million users, covering a wide business scope including online recharge, ticket booking, bill payment and entertainment.
Paytm has become a powerful e-payment platform in the daily life of the Indian people, who can enjoy the benefits and convenience of this digital time, said Sharma.
Such a new trend of China-India cooperation has also emerged in the manufacturing of home appliances.
After a process of localization, New Delhi-based Haier India, a subsidiary of Chinese home appliances maker Haier Group, now produces products designed for Indian consumers.
"At the earlier stage, we imported home appliances products from China and sold them to local customers, and it was a failed strategy," recalled Huang Decheng, product director of South Asia of Haier Group. "The Indian market is different from the Chinese one; just import and sell is not enough."
In 2007, Haier India shifted its business model from being a trader to becoming a localized manufacturer. Based on its strong research and development capacity, Haier India has succeeded in producing home appliances tailored for the Indian market.
In 2015, Haier India started making air conditioners featuring rapid refrigeration. In 2017, it introduced the intelligent inverter air conditioner into India. In 2018, Haier India added the self-cleaning function to the air conditioners sold to its Indian customers.
"Such a chain of manufacturing is tailored for India, and our products are quite popular with local customers," Huang said.
Enhancing synergy between research and development on one end and manufacturing on the other plays a decisive role in enabling the new form of cooperation to yield positive results.
In 2012, Kingfa Science & Technology Limited, a Chinese company focusing on research, production and sales of high-performance materials, established Kingfa India, after acquiring a modified plastics manufacturer in the southern Indian city of Chennai.
By combining the local manufacturing capacity and the Chinese material technology, Kingfa India has now turned an insolvent company into a leading material manufacturer in the local market and has expanded its business to New Delhi and Pune.
The key to the success is to converge the strengths of both sides, said Bai Jingen, general manager of Kingfa India. "The combination of advantages helps the company grow strong in the Indian market."
London, Oct. 11 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced Friday that it has fined inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon (Europe) Limited 15.4 million pounds (about 19.34 million U.S. dollars) over the firm's failed management.
Tullett Prebon's Rates Division had "ineffective controls around broker conduct" between 2008 and 2010, according to a statement issued by the watchdog.
"Lavish entertainment and a lack of effective controls allowed improper trading to take place, including 'wash' trades (a 'wash' trade involves no change in beneficial ownership and has no legitimate underlying commercial purpose) which generated unwarranted and unusually high amounts of brokerage for the firm," said the FCA.
The regulator stated that the firm's senior management "wrongly believed sufficient systems and controls were in place," while systems and controls "were not used or directed effectively."
The serious failings would "undermine the proper function of wholesale markets," the FCA noted.
Mark Steward, executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said "The market performs important public functions and is not a private game of self-enrichment."
"While these trades did not mislead the market, nor amount to market abuse, the wash trades were entirely improper, undermining the proper function of the market," Steward said.
"Senior management and compliance were cocooned from seeing the misconduct, and systems and controls failed to probe broker conduct, even when warning signs were visible," Steward added.
According to the FCA, Tullett Prebon also breached Principle 11 of the FCA's Principles for Businesses by "failing to be open and cooperative with the FCA" between August 2011 and October 2014.
Tullett Prebon is one of the world's leading inter-dealer brokers, mainly operating as an intermediary in the financial, energy and commodities markets, with offices in 24 countries and regions worldwide.
Beijing, Oct. 11 (Xinhua/UNB) -- China has set a clear timetable for allowing full foreign ownership of financial service companies, the country's securities regulator announced Friday.
Foreign ownership limits on fund management firms will be lifted starting April 1 next year, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in an online statement.
Shareholding caps on foreign investors currently faced by brokerages will be scrapped from December 1 next year, the statement said.
In July, the country announced a move to end foreign ownership limits on brokerages, fund management firms as well as futures companies in 2020, a year earlier than originally planned as the country speeds up its financial opening-up.