Forget Supersonic. This Hypersonic Jet Can Fly From NYC to London in Under an Hour.

J. George Gorant

Supersonic flight is arriving—in a hurry. In the last 18 months, Boom has successfully tested its XB-1 demonstrator aircraft and pre-sold 15 of its still-in-development 30-seat Overture models to United Airlines. Virgin Galactic and Rolls Royce rolled out a partnership to develop a 19-seater. Even the Russian Federation revealed plans to build a supersonic jet for commercial use.

Then there’s the Hermeus Quarterhorse. Think supersonic or Mach 1—the speed of sound—multiply by five and you have the hypersonic Quarterhorse.

More from Robb Report

Last week, the Atlanta-based company announced a $60 million award from the US Air Force to finance testing of the aircraft. Like the Greek god Hermes, this Hermeus is designed to travel seamlessly between worlds, with a projected top speed of Mach 5.5—or 4,219 mph. That makes it the fastest reusable aircraft on the planet, so a New York-to-London flight will take less than an hour.
Belly of the beast: The Quarterhorse’s engine is based on the GE J85 turbo jet, but has been modified to reach hypersonic speeds. – Credit: Courtesy Hermeus
Belly of the beast: The Quarterhorse’s engine is based on the GE J85 turbo jet, but has been modified to reach hypersonic speeds. – Credit: Courtesy Hermeus
Courtesy Hermeus
The speed will come from a unique engine set-up, a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system. Such systems use a standard jet engine for launch and landing and to build enough speed in flight to feed air into a second turbine—known as a ramjet or scramjet—which produces more power, but requires high-speed air flow in order to ignite. The difficulty is managing the transition between the turbines and achieving the necessary aerodynamics.

Hermeus is off to a good start. In nine months, it designed, built and tested its engine, which is based on GE J85 turbo jet, and it has two advantages when it comes to testing. The Quarterhorse will fly autonomously, so the development team can get prototypes in the air and learn from them without risking pilots’ lives.

Strange 3D-printed shapes test 150-year-old mathematical theory

A strange shape described by mathematician Lord Kelvin in 1871 and predicted to behave unusually in a fluid has finally been fully studied in the real world thanks to 3D printing – and it seems Kelvin may have been wrong. The behavior of the shape, called an isotropic helicoid, has been described in fluid dynamics textbooks, but it hadn’t been directly measured until now.

An isotropic helicoid must experience the same amount of drag from a fluid regardless of its orientation, like a sphere, but also rotate as it moves through the fluid. So if you dropped an isotropic helicoid into a tank of a viscous liquid, it should spin as it sinks, similar to the way a propeller turns.

Greg Voth at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and his colleagues 3D printed five different shapes that should be isotropic helicoids, each a little more than a centimetre across, and dropped them into a tank of silicone oil. They were unable to detect rotation in any of them, meaning the predictions for an isotropic helicoid may be wrong.

“You’ve got to guess that somebody else has tried this in 150 years – in Kelvin’s original paper, it even sounds like he tried it,” says Voth. “I suspect that people have tried to fabricate these particles, but they were limited by defects in the fabrication so they simply didn’t publish, so the hypothesis of this behaviour has stayed with us.”

Upon delving into the hydrodynamic effects in play, the researchers calculated that there was almost certainly a link, or coupling, between the movement and rotation of their particles, meaning they fulfilled Kelvin’s criteria. But this was far too small to have any detectable effect.

“The coupling is tiny, but it still exists,” says Voth. He and his team are now working on building an isotropic helicoid where that coupling could be measurable, which would finally vindicate Lord Kelvin’s idea.

The World’s Oldest Bottle of Whiskey Just Sold for $137,500

Carbon dating says the spirit was likely bottled between 1763 and 1803.

A bottle containing what is believed to be the world’s oldest whiskey just sold for way more than anyone was expecting.

The handle of Old Ingledew Whiskey went for a staggering $137,500 on Wednesday following a spirited round of bidding overseen by Skinner Auctioneers, reports CNN. The gavel price absolutely shatters the $20,000 to $40,000 the spirit had been expected to sell for before the sale.

So why did this bottle, go for nearly $100,000 more than its high-end estimate? One reason: its age. Though the whiskey was long thought to date back to 1850, a recent laboratory test conducted by the University of Georgia and University of Glasgow revealed it’s actually much older. A sample of liquid was taken from the bottle and carbon tested; the results revealed an 81.1 percent likelihood that the whiskey was actually bottled between 1763 and 1803, putting it in the historical context of the Revolutionary War and Whiskey Rebellion.

This particular bottle of Old Ingledew also has an interesting backstory. It once belonged to Wall Street financier John Pierpoint Morgan, the founder of what would eventually become JP Morgan Chase & Co., who obtained the whiskey on a business trip to Georgia, according to Barron’s. But he was far from the bottle’s only famous owner. His son Jack gifted the bottle to future US Supreme Court justice and South Carolina governor James Byrnes in the early 1940s. Jack also gave two other bottles to Franklin D. Roosevelt (they were distant cousins) and Harry S. Truman. Skinner’s rare spirits expert, Joseph Hyman, said that the bottle that sold this week is only one that survives.

As shocking as the bottle’s final price may be—it’s not often that a lot sells for more than three times its pre-auction estimate—it doesn’t make Old Ingeldew the world’s most expensive whiskey. Far from it, in fact. That title currently belongs to a bottle of Macallan Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 that sold for $1.9 million in 2019. But the title of world’s oldest? That belongs to this bottle and this bottle alone.

It seems the patent office wanted number 11 million to be special, not soy

The US Patent Office issued utility patent number 11 million today, granting the milestone number to a patent entitled “repositioning wires and methods for repositioning prosthetic heart valve devices within a heart chamber and related systems, devices and methods.”

Even without understanding exactly what that means, it just screams progress, doesn’t it? Prosthetic heart valves? Surgery? This truly is the future that the patent system enables.

There have, however, been accusations that the patent office cherry-picked which invention would get the most notable number in years (patent 10 million was awarded back in 2018), aiming to give it to something exciting, rather than bland like, say, a soybean.

Could it really be true? To see if that was the case, I looked at the patents that were granted before and after it, to see if they really were as boring as Twitter alleged. And I found that they absolutely were. The prosthetic heart valve-related patent is, in fact, c-c-c-combo-breaking what would otherwise be a string of six soybean-related patents.

That’s not all, though. I looked back at patents 10,999,990 through 10,999,999, and before the soy starts, there’s a string of patents about corn, sorghum, and cucumbers. Yeah, it’s not a lot sexier. Going the other direction, patent 11,000,005 is for an edible (non-soy) bean called COWBOY, and 11,000,006 is about a tomato variant. Then things just start getting weird, with pet doors and farm equipment.

Whether the patent office purposefully stole soy’s thunder probably isn’t something we’ll ever know for sure, but to me the evidence is pretty compelling. The Patent Office sure made a big deal about 11 million on Twitter, tweeting about it more than a few times. Surely it must’ve known it wouldn’t have been as exciting if the celebrated patent had been one of six soybeans.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for any funny business around patent number 11,111,111 as this is, obviously, a very serious issue.

Taking an invention from idea to the marketplace

When Dr Fransisco Velasco started work on a Covid ward, he found himself commuting to work with his laptop and notes in a bin bag.

His brand new rucksack was made of canvas and could not be sterilised at the end of each day.

The doctor, based in Mexico, decided to contact the British company behind the bag and tell them about the problem. His girlfriend told him not to bother, as they probably wouldn’t care. Undeterred, Dr Velasco wrote a lengthy message.

Sarah Giblin, the owner and designer of RiutBag, responded immediately.

She told him: “I’m the designer, and I am so heartbroken you can’t use your backpack. Please give me half an hour of your time to tell me what you need.”

Dr Velasco spoke of the difficulties of his job, sharing details he had kept from his family, not wishing to worry them.

“He needed a stranger to listen,” says Sarah, who was contending with worries of her own.

Sarah’s bag company is a microbusiness that she runs herself from Manchester. She keeps in touch with a loyal customer base through social media and runs Kickstarter campaigns to fund her new designs.

But when the pandemic struck, with no way to travel for fun or commute to work, people had stopped buying bags and Riutbag was struggling.

  • However, after speaking to Dr Velasco, Sarah hunkered down with her sketchpad to design a rucksack that could be sterilised.
  • After researching ambulance bags and speaking to first responders, she chose a material similar to tarpaulin, found on lorries. On the sides of the bag, she added mask and hand sanitiser holders.
  • And there it was: RiutBag’s first Covid-era product line.
  • Sarah isn’t alone in having found inspiration in adversity.
  • Lockdowns have presented unique opportunities and challenges for many product designers and inventors.

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Made in Britain, a non-profit organisation representing the UK’s smaller manufacturers, told the BBC its membership jumped 130% this year compared with before the lockdown. By March 2021, the number of patent applications registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office increased by 6% from the previous year to 4,295. Time to reflect, changing job circumstances and anticipation of new products consumers may want to buy after lockdown have proved a fertile ground for British inventors.

Why did these people start businesses in a pandemic?

But like many product designers working during Covid, Sarah has also faced new administrative challenges.

For the last seven years, she has travelled with her designs to the warehouse she works with in south China. Normally she’s there at the end of production to make sure that every bag has the right fit, sturdiness of the zips, and matching seams.

Now, stuck in her Manchester studio, Sarah was unable to give her merchandise the in-person inspection.

My production manager in China is my eyes and ears when I’m not there and we really trust each other,” says Sarah.

After seven product attempts, or prototypes, the warehouse made the newest version of a RiutBag. Dr Velasco gave feedback on each of the samples. And the laptop backpack was released to the market in April.

“I could have kept designing that bag for the next 10 years, but we called time,” she says.

Tom Pellereau won the BBC show The Apprentice in 2011. He agrees with Sarah’s sentiment: the hardest part of inventing is deciding when to stop fiddling and start selling.

“I’m never happy to bring a product to the market until I know it’s fantastic,” he says.

Luckily, Lord Sugar, who is a director at Tom’s company STYLIDEAS, helps push his products to market.

“He’s quite terrifying and also he really knows what he is talking about,” Tom says.

This autumn Tom will release a new product to follow up his make-up brush cleaner. His invention, which took four years to develop, is currently confidential and the details of its release will be announced soon.

At one point, he ordered plumbing parts off the internet and cut them to size to improve a part of one of his cosmetic inventions. He admits that his house has cupboards full of make-up brushes and beauty tools.

The most important piece of advice he offers to inventors is to ask for feedback.

“You really have got to listen to what people think, otherwise you don’t actually know if you’ve got something that people would be interested in buying.”

Another piece of advice from Tom: don’t quit your day job. It can take a product 10 years to come to market and make money. During that time, inventors need to plan on how they will stay afloat financially.

“You need to try to be in the game for as long as you can,” he says.

Tom moved back in with his parents for five years while he developed the curvy nail file that made him famous.

He remembers how fellow engineering grads had taken up jobs with investment banks, bought houses and went on lovely holidays.

“And I was living with my parents and seeing their photos on Facebook.”

One technology that might have hastened Tom’s journey, had it been available when he was starting out and developing product prototypes, is 3D printing.

When inspiration struck John Docherty, it cost him just £70 to send his designs to Torus Technology, a company near his home in Shropshire.

The boxing and martial arts teacher had learned from his sensei that if he needed to throw a punch, it was good form to wrap his hand round an object of some sort, rather than use a tightly clenched fist.

Boxing gloves typically feature a bit of foam that performs this purpose. But after 30 years of combat and countless injuries to his hands and wrists, John started to question whether the design might be improved.

Then, when lockdowns hit, he was furloughed.

“I was at home with my partner and my little boy. There was a fun atmosphere that felt creative. And I suddenly had time to focus on this little invention,” he says.

He drew and got printed a grenade-shaped cone of silicone rubber meant to be stuffed into a boxing glove. It maintains the structural integrity of the hand when it lands a punch.

Another local production company called Protolabs agreed to manufacture his Boxing Hand Grenade.

John’s invention has garnered the attention of professional boxers and influencers on social media.

Filippo Di Nardo, considered the Ferrari of boxing glove makers, has agreed an exclusive deal to build John’s “grenades” into his gloves.

“I pinch myself every day and wonder why nobody else has done this,” says John.

How to Make Money on YouTube

How to Make Money on YouTube (Without a Million Subscribers)

YouTube stars are today’s self-made celebrities—people who have earned an audience by creating content geared toward teaching, entertaining, reviewing, and being awesome on the internet.
Most of these small-screen celebs do what they do just to do it, to scratch an itch for creating things and being in front of an audience.
Making money might not be your reason for starting a YouTube channel, but the opportunities to earn are a pleasant surprise once you realize how many of them there are.

  1. Who makes the most money on YouTube?
  2. Who’s going to watch your YouTube Channel?
  3. How to make money on YouTube
  4. How to “sell” without annoying your audience
  5. Are you ready to monetize your YouTube channel?

Who makes the most money on YouTube?

According to Forbes, these 10 channels were the top earners on YouTube from June 2017 to June 2018:
  1. Ryan’s World, $22 million (22.4 million subscribers)
  2. Jake Paul, $21.5 million (19.7 million subscribers)
  3. Dude Perfect, $20 million (47.1 million subscribers)
  4. DanTDM, $18.5 million (22.3 million subscribers)
  5. Jeffree Star, $18 million (16.5 million subscribers)
  6. Markiplier, $17.5 million (24.5 million subscribers)
  7. VanossGaming, $17 million (24.9 million subscribers)
  8. Jacksepticeye, $16 million (23 million subscribers
  9. PewDiePie, $15.5 million (102 million subscribers)
  10. Logan Paul, $14.5 million (19.9 million subscribers)

This list might leave you with a lot of questions about how these YouTube stars earned their fortunes. Let’s explore some of those questions.

Do you get paid for uploading videos on YouTube?

Content creators aren’t paid by YouTube for the videos they upload. Neither are videos monetized by default. For you to start making money on YouTube, you have to enable monetization in your YouTube account settings. From there, you have options to join the YouTube Partners Program or have your videos listed on YouTube Premium.

How do you make money from YouTube?

There are a few takeaways from Forbes’ list, putting aside the millions of dollars made and subscribers gained.

First, YouTube channels can be monetized even if they don’t have millions of subscribers. Your earning potential isn’t determined solely by the number of subscribers and views you have, but also by the level of engagement you generate, the niche you cater to, and the revenue channels you explore. That’s not to say subscriber count doesn’t matter—check out our tips to get more subscribers on YouTube.

Second, this list of top 10 earners might give you the impression that the millions of dollars made comes directly from YouTube. In fact, each of these channels has its own line of merchandise. These channels found and built their audiences first, before launching their own merchandise. If making money on YouTube is in your marketing plan, the first step is the same for everybody: have a clear understanding of your target audience.

Who’s going to watch your YouTube channel?

Building your own audience puts you in a great position to monetize content in a variety of ways. But you’ll only be able to take full advantage of the opportunities you have if you understand the makeup of your audience.

For many YouTubers looking to monetize, the more niche your channel, the better position you’ll be in to work with brands looking to target specific audiences (more on that later).

You’ll want to pay close attention to:
  • The gender of your audience, to see if its skews toward one particular group.
  • The age range most of your audience falls into.
  • The geographic location—countries or cities—where your videos are being watched.
  • Your audience’s overall engagement, or “watch time.”

With this demographic information at hand, you’ll have a better understanding of your own audience and be able to work better with brands. All demographic insight can be pulled from your YouTube analytics, but to compare your own channel against others try a tool like Social Blade.

With that out of the way, we can start talking about the different ways your YouTube channel can make money.

How to make money on YouTube

Like learning how to make money on Instagram or via blogging, your audience might unlock your YouTube channel’s earning potential. But when you create multiple revenue streams, through side side hustles or businesses, it’s easier to monetize. Luckily, there are several ways to accomplish this—let’s take a deeper look at each of these streams.
  1. Become a YouTube Partner and earn money from ads.
  2. Sell products or merchandise.
  3. Crowdfund your next creative project.
  4. Let your audience support your work through “fan funding.”
  5. License your content to the media.
  6. Work with brands as an influencer or affiliate.

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program and earn money from ads

The first revenue stream you’ll likely explore is ads. Whether you want to earn money on YouTube without creating videos or as a content creator, joining the YouTube Partners Program and setting up monetization is a vital step. You can apply for monetization once you’ve hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year.

How to enable monetization on YouTube

  1. Sign in to the YouTube account you want to monetize.
  2. Click the icon for your account in the top right corner.
  3. Click YouTube Studio.
  4. In the left menu, select Other Features > Monetization.
  5. Read and agree to the YouTuber Partner Program terms.
  6. Create a new AdSense account or connect an existing one to your channel. (You need an AdSense account to get paid.)
  7. Set your monetization preferences.
Once that’s done, head back to the dashboard and click the Analytics tab on the left side. From there, you’ll need to choose Revenue from the tabs at the top, then scroll down to the chart Monthly Estimated Revenue to get an idea of your predicted revenue.

How many views do you need to make money?

The number of views you get doesn’t correlate to revenue earned. If your video gets thousands of views but no one watches or clicks the ad, you won’t make any money. This is because of YouTube’s criteria for billing advertisers: a viewer must click an ad or watch the ad in full (10, 15, or 30 seconds) for you to get paid. However, with the release of YouTube Premium, you no longer need to rely on advertisers to create engaging or enticing ads to earn revenue.

Check out YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium is a paid membership program that allows fans to watch and support their favorite content creators without ads. For creators, not much changes, as they will get paid for content consumed by non-members on YouTube along with content on YouTube Premium.

Creators are paid for YouTube Premium based on how much members watch their content. Consider revenue earned from YouTube Premium as a secondary revenue stream in addition to what you’re already earning through ads.

While it’s easy to set up, earning money through advertising as a YouTube Partner is far from the most lucrative revenue stream you can create for yourself.

Why you should look beyond ads for revenue

YouTube recently received a lot of backlash due to its decision to be more transparent about advertising on the platform and what qualifies as “advertiser friendly” content. Essentially, many creators feared that, due to the nature of their content, they would lose out on the ad revenue that helps support their channel. According to YouTube, your content could get excluded from ad revenue if it includes:
  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
  • Violence, including displays of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity, and vulgar language
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use, and abuse of such items
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters, and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown
But the reality is that YouTube has been demonetizing content that it doesn’t deem advertiser-friendly since 2012 via an automated process, without warning and without the content creator’s knowledge. Now, the situation is actually better, as creators are notified when their content is flagged and can contest any time they feel a video was mistakenly excluded from YouTube’s advertising network. Advertising might be a common means of generating passive income for creators, but the trade-off is that YouTube gets to keep around a 45% share of ad revenue. In short, YouTubers should explore other revenue streams to sustain their creative hobby. Below, we’ll share how to earn money from YouTube without AdSense.

2. Sell products or merchandise

There are plenty of products to sell that can help you make money through your YouTube channel. Making and selling merchandise—t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, snapbacks, you name it—has a benefit beyond revenue. Merchandise increases your exposure by putting your online brand and personality out into the offline world and deepens the relationship between you and your fans as they literally “buy” into what you’re doing.

How to “sell” without annoying your audience

Many of the above strategies for monetizing involve promoting products or campaigns (e.g., crowdfunding a video series). But you’ll want to make sure your promotions don’t sabotage the integrity of your content. “Selling out” is a real concern for a lot of creators. But if you never ask, you’ll never get. There are a number of “placements” you can choose from for promoting products or campaigns.

Record a call to action in your videos

“If you liked this video, then hit the Like button and subscribe.”

Many YouTubers include a call to action along those lines at the end of their videos to grow their viewership. By suggesting the intended action you want them to take, your audience is more likely to take it.

You can adapt this approach to direct your audience’s attention to a revenue-generating opportunity.

Add well-timed YouTube cards to your videos
Whether it’s part of your deal with a brand or you’re promoting your own products, YouTube Cards offer an eye-catching way to get the attention of engaged viewers.

You can set them to pop up at just the right moment, when they’re most relevant and least distracting to increase their impact.

Add links in your video descriptions
You can funnel viewers to your store, Patreon page, Kickstarter campaign, or other revenue-focused part of your online presence by adding links to your video descriptions.

If you’re a video creator who wants to focus on generating revenue as an affiliate marketer, look at Unbox Therapy. Unbox Therapy specializes in product reviews, and it uses affiliate links in their video descriptions to make money via YouTube audiences. The channel is signed up as an Amazon affiliate. It places these unique links—pointing to the reviewed product on Amazon—in video descriptions. If the viewer purchases the item via clicking that link, the affiliate will earn a small percentage of revenue share paid to them by Amazon.

Promote your offer on other platforms

Just because your content is hosted on YouTube doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking advantage of all the other distribution channels out there. Spread the word about new campaigns or discounts on Twitter, Facebook, and any other profiles you own. The more places your message lives, the greater the chance it’ll be seen. So it’s always a good idea to grow your following beyond YouTube with social media marketing.

Are you ready to monetize your YouTube channel?

What compels most creators to create is rarely money. It’s the thought of making something for the world to enjoy. But ironically, that puts them in a great position to actually make money in a content-obsessed world. While the hard part for many businesses is getting and keeping their audience’s attention, YouTubers have already figured that bit out. All that’s left is to get creative—to channel the entrepreneurial drive to explore ideas—with how you choose to monetize your passion.

Frequently asked questions about making money on YouTube

There are several ways you can make money on YouTube:
  • Become a YouTube Partner and earn money from ads.
  • Sell products or merchandise.
  • Crowdfund your next creative project.
  • Let your audience support your work through “fan funding.”
  • License your content to the media.
  • Work with brands as an influencer or affiliate.

You need 4,000 watch hours to join YouTube’s Partner Program to make money from ads. However, the number of views you get doesn’t correlate to revenue earned. If your video gets thousands of views but no one watches or clicks the ad, you won’t make any money.

You need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year to join the YouTube Partner Program and earn money from ads.

What is digital influence and influencer marketing

How To Launch A Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

I constantly have to remind my members and subscribers that utilising a good influencer platform should not be an option. Celebrity and influencer association should be part of every company’s marketing plan. In today’s world celebrities and influencers dominate social media, news headlines, TV channels and people’s conversations, with celebrities gracing the cover of every magazine and getting a stronger online presence than ever through their social media following. Using social media as their online currency, brands can be made or broken through as little as a tweet or a social media post.
But does influencer outreach really work?
The answer is yes.
The truth is people don’t buy a product based on how great it is, they buy it based on the power of the brand and that power of the brand is based on the person endorsing it. Now more than ever before the power of digital influencers , influencer marketing and celebrities endorsing your brand are key to exponential growth.
Have you ever been SERIOUSLY frustrated as you truly believe in your product and business.
You know what I am talking about.
You see the vision
You know the product is amazing
You know exactly where it should be
You know it can change the world
But
You’re stuck!….
You don’t know how to get it out there, you don’t know to get press, you don’t know how to get media attention it deserves as people no longer trust brands in the way they used to, they trust people.
Take buying a new phone for example. When looking for a new phone we’ll search up reviews online, but there are so many models out there… Apple, Samsung, Sony, Huawei and more. Product reviews begin to contradict one another with a huge amount of information overload.
Instead, we reach out to friends or family to gauge their opinion, or we might look at what others on social media are using, with a strong influencer coming from…yes, you guessed it. Influencers themselves!
Big corporations want you to think you need enormous venture capital to align yourselves with these big influencers. BUT it’s not true.

So Let me ask you a question……
If someone offered you the opportunity to exponentially grow your brand through endorsement would you take it?
If someone gave you every contact imaginable to scale your business would you take it?
If someone then gave you the influencer outreach tools to use this would you take it?
If someone offered the email templates to get a response from these contacts would you be interested. Our incredible new platform gives you all of this, but first I want to show you how to use it and why you need to use it.

Three years ago, the average person needed to see an advert six times before they responded to it, that number has now risen to an average of 16 exposures, because of this the world of marketing, advertising and media has undergone an enormous power shift in recent years, driven by consumers’ demand for more authenticity from brands. The rise of digital influencers and celebrity influencers has gone through the roof. One of the main drivers of influencer marketing is the fragmentation of consumer attention but also we are no longer just interested in watching television, our attention is spread across various digital channels, with a major focus on social networks. Other huge platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are currently seeing a lot of the influencer marketing spend but platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are also on the rise every day.

With the emergence of this new type of marketing, technology is being developed to improve the effect and reach of influencers. Existing influencer platforms are becoming more sophisticated in matching brands to influencers. People come to our site for influencers’ insights now almost as much as celebrities. As well as providing the influencers’ contact details, users are now equally interested in the demographic data which allows companies to determine the influencers that are right for their brand. You might think a set influencer is perfectly suited to your business, but actually what is key is how relevant their audience is to you, so, providing the user with clear data on the interests of the audience, their location, their spending habits and social status is of equal importance.

What is influencer marketing

Digital influence is the ability to create an effect, change opinions and behaviours, and drive hopefully measurable outcomes online. Digital influence is largely a phenomenon of social networking. The everyday internet user is subject to a barrage of noise and content. Many digital influencers are famous for just being themselves, documenting their lives as normal people. In a sense being famous for not being famous. Or at least this is what it looks like on the surface. Wrong! Nobody is an overnight success, they just weren’t famous before. It takes years to create a successful brand and following. Unlike traditional celebrities, they may not have a team of people behind the face that makes it all happen.

The advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing

Advantages
Targeted Posts at a specific audience– Influencer marketing allows users to target a particular audience. Fashion, travel, fitness, lifestyle, etc are e-commerce rich categories with plenty of Instagrammers and other influencers doing amazing work in these areas. Patent 2 Product VIP also allows you to break down their audiences by location and demographics, making sure that your targeted buyers get the message to the right audience . Make sure you target influencers that know how to talk to their audience in the correct way.

Creators of content – Influencers are creative people who know exactly what their followers want to hear and see. They can be an integral part of the campaign creation and execution processes.

Trust amongst followers- Influencers have great trust amongst their followers, and anything they promote is often more authentic , also if you promote your product to someone that is an expert in the field you are promoting then you may get a better response than just promoting with a celebrity

Reach and micro influencers- The one thing that marketing teams are after is reach. They pay influencers with enormous followings to promote their products. The truth is you will show up in your family and friends feeds way more than Kim Kardashian ever will. Because that’s the way the algorithms on Facebook and Instagram work. Because of this micro influencers get an average of two to five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers. According to Chris Gonzalez CEO of social ad platform Gnack ‘Their content will be organically performing better on the platform due to the inherent superior engagement.

Disadvantages

New Industry – No one has much of an idea how any of this is supposed to work. The workflows are still experimental, and the processes are far from optimized. But marketers have seen tremendous results working with influencers, and that’s why we continue the struggle, fine-tuning our strategies as we go along.

Difficulty searching for The Perfect Influencer – Influencers can have anywhere between 5000 to a few million followers on social media. They might be right for Instagram and not be so active at Snapchat or vice versa. They can have a massive following of precisely the kind of people you want to appeal to and live right outside of your brand’s peripheral vision.

Hard to evaluate the effectiveness and influencers may have fake followers.

Taking a chance on the influencer. Often influencer marketing involves taking chances on people that aren’t quite as established as celebrities yet, but it is a world which is harder to ignore.

Find the right celebrity suited to your brand, here’s how to do it

The key thing is to identify the celebrities and influencers that are likely to be most suited to your brand. Patent 2 Product VIP allows you to identify the celebrities and influencers that fit with your brand through allowing you to search by profession but also to identify the celebrities audience, who are these people that are searching for a ‘set celebrity’ what are their interests, where do they live. If for example you are a travel business or travel brand, and you are interested in a set influencer you ensure that influencers audience is also interested in travel. Patent 2 Product VIP gives you this detailed break down by key demographics.

The more celebrities and influencers you write to, the better your chance of a productive outcome. If you have not heard back, you can always follow up – doing this via phone conversation or even a handwritten letter generally yields the best results. Remember that celebrities and their agents are being constantly bombarded with PRs.

1) Get to know the celebrity or influencer

This is one of the key things I would always suggest anyone does when gifting to a celebrity or influencer. Actually get to know what the celebrity likes and the sort of things they are likely to promote. As well as what they like, look at what their problems are and how your brand can solve them. When Estée Lauder first started out she gifted celebrities – the company is now worth $5 billion with Kendall Jenner the current face of it. Other smaller brands, such as Rodial, gifted to Kylie Jenner. She Instagrammed the product to her millions of followers, and sales went through the roof, from just the cost of one product. We’ve just launched a really unique tool where you can compare the social following of different celebrities, in the form of growth charts, so you can see which celebrities have risen the most that week in terms of following. You can also compare celebrities in terms of social rank and brand influence. Influencers now represents new opportunities for brands to reach consumers through channels that they trust. Consumers attitudes have changed. However the celebrity pull is also still strong and represents some of the most memorable campaigns and adverts. I believe both areas need to be explored , there is no set rule as to which is more effective, as they both do different things and will create different results amongst different businesses. The key is in identifying the correct ambassadors and endorsers for you your business. For those that are serious about exponential growth from celebrities or influencers, I encourage you to try our recently launched Handbook PRO which allows you to reach thousands of celebrities and influencers very quickly through targeted campaigns.
Top celebrities (and influencers) get approached by hundreds of people and companies weekly, wanting their support to endorse their product, support their charity or attend a high profile event. This means that being able to successfully communicate with the celebrity of your choice is crucial. If you’ve been concerned in the past that you can’t grow your brand through endorsement, or maybe you’ve not felt your product is good enough, then let me tell you, it is possible, you can do this and get incredible results. You just need the right person to show you how to do it. Big corporations want you to think you need a lot of venture capital or some enormous brand, but this is not true. Whether you have a big brand, or have recently set up your own small brand at home with just you, whatever situation you’re in we can help and we really want you to fulfil your dreams. So that is what I am here for today: I know you have a ideas for big reach for your brand or service, and I want to help you fulfil this through influencer alignment.

2) Outline the goals of your influencer campaign

You’re basically using someone else’s platform to increase your own platform. Before you create the content, before you find an influencer, and before you do anything, you need to clearly outline the goals of the influencer campaign , so you have clear goal , focus and vision of what you’re trying to achieve.
You need to carefully consider
  • The social media platform you choose
  • the influencer you partner with and the level of engagement you are likely to get from that influencer
  • The type of content they will create — all of these factors will come into play once you’ve clearly defined your goals.
The goal should focus on 4 parts the influencers demographic data, the average engagement you are needing to get from that influencer, what the influencer will help you achieve and how they will achieve it. All of this information is available here

3) Customise your product for a celebrity or influencer.

Juicy Couture is another great example of a brand that grew from noting they set up the company with $200 and grew it into a multi million pound business with the likes of Madonna and Paris Hilton frequently wearing their products. The owners Gela and Pamela turned it into a multi million pound business, and the growth was largely down to celebrity gifting and sending out personalised gifts. They sent out a personalised hoodie to Madonna and it went all around the world, so they then sent them to Cameron Diaz with ‘Cameron’ on, and one to Drew Barrymore with ‘Mrs Green’ on, as she was married to ‘Tom Green’ at the time. Any time someone got married the business women sent them personalised tracksuits.

3) Create a niche product

Some of you may feel you’re a real expert in skin products, or dating or weight loss. But the money is not in the submarket. To make your product stand out and get noticed you might want to consider choosing a niche. What can you offer people that is special and different? The goal is to carve out a unique spot. The mistake people often make is they start looking at niches in their field and a good one and go with that. The problem is they are jumping into an existing niche, and if they are the fifth or sixth person in that niche its the waters are already muddy. I suggest you choose your own new niche product. Carve out your new spot, and offer them something really different no one else is likely to have given them or spoken to them about.

4) Approach a celebrity or influencer in person.

This can be a tricky one and may sound scary- the last thing you want is to be taken away by security. Be respectful and know your boundaries! Just being photographed with a celebrity or influencer can do wonders for your reputation even if it’s not directly related to the product. Find out where celebrities and influencers will be appearing, for example club nights, book signings or charity events. It is possible to find out where celebrities and influencers may be from Patent 2 Product ‘What’s On’ page, here.

5) Product placement at gifting suites or product placement at high profile events.

These gifting suites are often organised by PR or gifting companies and you will have a ‘booth’ at the event or place your products in attendee gift bags. These often require hefty fees (thousands of pounds) to participate and anyone who walks into the gifting suite can pick up a free sample of your product. This means you can often get a photo of a celebrity or influencer holding or using your product, but the disadvantage is that you don’t have control over who that is. While celebrity gifting can be great for PR, not all products are suited for this. In order for your efforts to pay off, here are the types of products that are a good:
  • Apparel (clothing, jewellery, etc.) that the celebrity can be photographed wearing
  • Beauty Products
  • Handbags
  • Footwear
  • Perfumes
  • High end Liqueurs
  • National chains dealing in spas, massage, manicures and beauty treatments.
  • Children’s items, like toys and clothes
Additionally, get your product into goody bags, such as The Glamour Woman of the Year Awards. More often than not, if you provide products, you get invitations to attend the event. You can view all high profile events in our diary.
What’s the cost and lead time? To get your product at a gift suite or event there’s a range in cost, anywhere from £500-£3000 per each gift bag item or basket. If you want to appear inside the gift suites where you can have a booth display and a representative on hand to interact with the celebrities the cost can run anywhere from £5,000 and up. The cost of main sponsorship is considerably higher at around £50,000 and up.
When is the best time to get in touch with vendors?
If you’re interested in say the Academy Awards, then March is a good time to start getting in touch with vendors. The Golden Globes takes place in January, and most of these spots are sold out by the Summer time.
Why is it worth getting my product in gift bags?
Having your items selected can really boost business in the following ways:
  • The chance of a high profile celebrity or influencer being photographed using or wearing the product.
  • Have celebrities becoming future customers
  • Posting on social media relating to your product at the event
  • Mentions in media releases
  • Mentions in the press that your product was selected to be in the gift bag
  • Opportunity for celebrity spokesman or endorsement and to engage the celebrity with our products you may have e.g. you could include a note with your product such as ‘We would love to introduce you to the other lines in our collection, please do drop me an email and we would love to send you some more products.

What sort of events work?
There are loads of different events that would work, our events section has a ton of great awards, all which generally have gifting. Key events include BAFTAS, Emmy awards, Grammy awards, Actors Guild Awards, Toronto lm festival and the Oscars. Don’t do just one event and then give up if you don’t get the exposure you want. The better the product and the more suited it is to the event the greater the chance that you will get the response you are after. Patent 2 Product features all celebrity events for branding here
What sort of products work in goodie bags?
If you want to get free PR then your product should have a novelty factor that piques press interest. This year’s Vampire Breast Lift® cream in the bags of Oscar attendees is a case in point. Admittedly, it’s difficult to come up with a bizarre plastic surgery procedure at home. However you can always take a common household object and sell it at a 2,000% mark-up. This year’s goodie bag also included a roll of $275 luxury loo paper. This year’s Oscars gift bag also contained personalised M&M’s; perhaps appealing to narcissism – this could be a worthwhile strategy.

What sort of events work?
There are loads of different events that would work, our events section has a ton of great awards, all which generally have gifting. Key events include BAFTAS, Emmy awards, Grammy awards, Actors Guild Awards, Toronto lm festival and the Oscars. Don’t do just one event and then give up if you don’t get the exposure you want. The better the product and the more suited it is to the event the greater the chance that you will get the response you are after. Patent 2 Product features all celebrity events for branding here
What sort of products work in goodie bags?
If you want to get free PR then your product should have a novelty factor that piques press interest. This year’s Vampire Breast Lift® cream in the bags of Oscar attendees is a case in point. Admittedly, it’s difficult to come up with a bizarre plastic surgery procedure at home. However you can always take a common household object and sell it at a 2,000% mark-up. This year’s goodie bag also included a roll of $275 luxury loo paper. This year’s Oscars gift bag also contained personalised M&M’s; perhaps appealing to narcissism – this could be a worthwhile strategy.

6) Gift your products to celebrity and influencers or event their assistants.

Sometimes taking the indirect route can work – contact the celebrity’s assistant. It’s the assistant who is likely to write back via email etc – these people are the gate keepers and the celebrity communicates with them every day. Some celebrities even end up in personal relationships with their assistant, for example, Kristen Stewart and her assistant Alicia Cargile.

Grab their attention; this is usually the first thing the celebrity and agent will read. It’s important to get them interested and get them out of their current environment or activity. For example:

Relate it to them early on.

Who/position: Who are you? Introduce yourself very briefly. Show/tell why they should they listen to you.
What: What do you have? Introduce your product or offer briefly. It’s important not to just go on about the opportunity; show how you deliver value.
Why: Why do you need it? Explain the benefits of your offer and ideally relate it to them.

I read your interview in xxx magazine, where you said you have dry skin, or you don’t wear make-up, If you’re struggling with ‘dry skin’ then I would love you to try this because it will help …

I read your great interview in xxx on xxx and I’ve got a question for you

I’ve got this great face cream that’s going to really radiate your skin

I read your interview in [xxx] magazine, where you said you have dry skin, or you don’t wear make-up. If you’re struggling with ‘dry skin’ then I would love you to try this because I think it will help.

Call to action: Ask for something small – If you like it let me know and I would love to keep sending you more.

The process is about sending a great product that’s going to add great value to someone. So instead of screaming for attention, you attract attention by giving value before there is a hint of asking for anything in return. Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers. Giving something as a whole is a lot easier than trying to pay for promotion, throughout this entire sequence you’re layering in all the mental triggers. Since you’re sending a free gift, you will hit the reciprocity trigger and by showing your knowledge of the topic and your position, therefore you hit the authority trigger. The more you reach out to them, the trust will become stronger between you and that person resulting in more feedback and hopefully their thank you’s will help build a community and endorsement.

Patent 2 Product PRO platform allows you to send targeted campaigns to numerous celebrities and influencers in one go, and customises the campaign so the email seems personalised to the person you are contacting even if you are reaching out to lots of people in one instance.

7) Use celebrity and influencer testimonials

If you’re struggling to get your product off the ground and noticed, or perhaps people are visiting your website and interacting with your content, but they aren’t actually buying your products . Or maybe people are getting halfway through your checkout process and then leaving. If this is the case, then consider celebrity and influencer testimonials to seal the deal. If the potential customers favourite people are using the product, then the potential customer will be more likely to buy as well. Search for celebrities and influencers who would be interested in your brand and then send them free sample of your product (preferably customised) and ask them for a testimonial if they like it, and if they do you can feature this on your website.

8) Offer the celebrity or influencer a discount with your product

Influencers won’t want to market your products to their audience it they’re really expensive, and they will also want your audience to feel that they’ve got a great deal through following them, therefore offer a discount to their members , thus making the offer as appealing to the audience as possible. Not only will the influencer get a better response from the post but you’ll generate a lot more potential customers

9) Run a competition

We run competitions the whole time on Patent 2 Product and they are always seriously popular, you can use this exact same principle , get in touch with influencers and offer a giveaway of your product to their followers, and then get them to announce the winner to their followers, not only do competitions create great hype, but it’s an amazing way of getting influencers to align themselves with your brand, get your product seen by their followers, and reach loads of people for nominal output , hopefully you will also reach loads of new customers, who haven’t won the product, but you know they are interested in the product, and so you could follow up with an offer to them. We do this on Patent 2 Product and it works amazingly well.

It’s an automatic win for all:

  • The influencer gets to please his/her audience by giving away something for free
  • You get seen by the influencer’s audience
  • Your product or brand gets the awareness it deserves without having to pay big collaboration fees

Contact any celebrity or influencer now

How a 30,000-member Facebook group is helping Hong Kong navigate one of the world’s longest quarantines

Hong Kong — I woke to the sound of my fiancée muttering "f*@!" under her breath on Christmas Eve.

While we were sleeping, the Hong Kong government had announced that all residents of the city returning from abroad must now spend three weeks in hotel quarantine instead of two, at their own expense — effective Christmas Day.

We were supposed to return to Hong Kong from the United States in fewer than 48 hours. We had booked a hotel for two weeks to comply with the government’s regulation — which required travelers like us to purchase a hotel room even if they owned or rented a home in Hong Kong — but this new hiccup could prevent us from getting back.
What if our hotel couldn’t extend our reservation before our flight? Were exceptions being made for people who were about to hop on a plane? And, could we even afford to spend 21 days in a hotel room — financially, physically and mentally?
We needed answers. The Hong Kong government’s coronavirus website had basic information, but not advice and guidance from people who had already started dealing with this new reality.
So we turned to the HK Quarantine support group on Facebook, where people were already posting about their plans to deal with the new rules.

Borne of necessity

Since its inception in March 2020, the support group has become an invaluable resource for Hong Kongers who travel overseas during the pandemic and must navigate the city’s stringent Covid-19-related travel restrictions. What started as a simple idea to connect people in quarantine with volunteers who could get them groceries has grown into a massive, crowdsourced platform with resources on almost every aspect of the arduous journey, such as advice on where to get the right nucleic acid tests abroad and detailed reviews on quarantine hotels. Those summaries often have vital information for such a long stay — if windows open, where you can rent exercise equipment or whether a hotel refuses outside deliveries. The group also offers a sense of community for those struggling in isolation. People regularly post about their experiences and how they’re coping. Some vent for catharsis. Others share jokes and funny videos to pass the time. Some of them get creative, like Leo Cheung, who created his very own Angry Birds-like game with gloves and paper bags.

And Jessica Chong used the paper bags her meals were delivered in to make masks. 

Nearly all who post get positive support — and that’s in large part due to the group’s meticulous organization by a handful of dedicated volunteer moderators.
Behind the scenes, they curate and organize posts on the group, ensuring it is not marred by hostility, a reputation other Hong Kong Facebook groups have developed. The moderators organize a “buddy program” for pairing up lonely souls via email and schedule food deliveries for those who can’t get groceries. They’ve also supported people in unique but unimaginably difficult situations, such as those grieving friends and loved ones remotely.
The group, which is private, has exploded in popularity in recent months. It started with few hundred members, but is now closing in on 30,000.
“Never in a million years did we think it was going to be like that,” said Farah Siddiqi, one of the group’s co-founders.

A helping hand

Siddiqi created the group with another volunteer, Kunj Gandhi, almost a year ago. It was March 2020, as the pandemic was going global — forcing authorities in Hong Kong to quickly write up new rules for people returning to one of the world’s most important financial centers.
Siddiqi said the duo were both frustrated that fellow Hong Kongers were criticizing and ostracizing people returning from abroad because they might bring back the virus. She said that she and Gandhi, who did not know one another at the time, both wanted to make it easier for people to stay in quarantine and keep their neighbors safe rather than simply criticize those who did not stay overseas.
In March, returnees had to spend 14 days in home isolation — a tough task in Hong Kong, where space is a luxury most can’t afford. At the time, the city did not offer the same wide selection of same-day services as other major metropolises. One of the most popular grocery stores, ParknShop, could take days to deliver. At the beginning of the pandemic, its website was so overwhelmed that grocery shoppers would have to wait in a virtual line.
So Siddiqi set up a buddy system via email to connect those doing home quarantine who needed help with volunteers, and Gandhi established the Facebook group. Someone on Facebook connected the two after noticing how similar their two projects were. They joined forces and out put a call out for volunteers to help deliver groceries and moderate the Facebook group, and they had about 800 in the first week, Siddiqi said.
Tess Lyons was one of those first to sign up. Lyons has lived in Hong Kong since 1997, but she comes from a small town in Canada where she remembers people were always offering to lend a hand. That ethos motivated her to volunteer as one of the group’s moderators and to shop for people in quarantine.
Lyons said she would take requests from people online, and when she went to the grocery store pick up her own shopping, she’s add some extra items for people in quarantine and deliver them.
Siddiqi envisioned the group would fizzle out last summer when the warm weather came, which some predicted would end the pandemic. Lyons thought that people would join the group before quarantine and then leave once they were done. Instead, people stayed — often to pay it forward.
“What I find extraordinary is that even after people have left quarantine, or have finished traveling, they still aren’t exiting the group, whether it’s because they have the fear that they’re going to have to travel again, or because they recognized how valuable it was for themselves when they were traveling,” Lyons said. “They want to impart wisdom and tips to make it easier for incoming travelers.”
“The worst of times bring out the best in people,” she added.

The thread of the year

Hong Kong’s rules became tighter as the pandemic got worse.
At the end of March, non-residents were banned from entering. Testing requirements for returnees were tightened in April, and as cases ticked up over the summer, the city mandated that people coming from certain “high-risk” countries needed to do a two-week quarantine either in a hotel or at a government facility.
As the rules got tougher, more people sought help from the group.
One of them was Jameson Gong.
His mother, 83-year-old Anna, splits her time between Hong Kong and the United States. She was due to return to Hong Kong last summer to see her son and his family, but when the government announced in late July that anyone arriving from the United States would have to do a two-week quarantine at a hotel, the Gong family convinced her to push her trip up so she could quarantine at home.
Gong doesn’t own a cell phone so her son asked the Facebook group if there would be anyone on her flight who could look out for her. They hadn’t told her that she was required to get a Covid-19 test and wait for the results after landing because they thought it would panic her. She was already anxious because of the last-minute change.
“I just threw it out there,” he said, “with no expectations.” 
What followed was, as Gong puts it, “the thread of the year.”
The woman sitting in front of Anna Gong saw Jameson’s post when they landed and said she’d “make sure she gets off (the plane) OK.” She updated him with a picture minutes later.
Another poster said they helped her with her bags and let her cut the line for the saliva test she had to do on arrival. Someone else from the group spotted Anna giving her saliva sample and sent a picture to inform Jameson and the rest of the thread that she’d made it safely to the testing site.
This went on for almost 12 hours. By the time mother and son were reunited, there were 649 comments updating the group on Anna’s naps, walks and conversations with new friends.
Gong thanked several of those who helped out by hosting a reunion and giving them free tickets to the comedy club he runs in Hong Kong.

'This isn't optimal'

Fast forward six months, and returning to Hong Kong is a much more difficult ordeal than the one Anna Gong faced. Residents must now book a room and board for 21 days at a pre-approved list of 36 hotels chosen by the government, one of the strictest quarantine measures in the world.
Authorities in Hong Kong said the new measures were meant to catch very rare cases in which “the incubation period of virus carried by very few infected persons may be longer than the quarantine period of 14 days.”
To prevent the spread of the new, more infectious variants of Covid-19 first identified in South Africa or the United Kingdom, Hong Kong residents who have spent more than two hours in the past three weeks in those places are barred from coming home.
 
To get around the ban, some Hong Kong residents who were in those countries are trying a strategy nicknamed “covid laundering” — traveling to a third country for 21 days so they can get home, meaning they’ll have to spend a total of 42 days abroad and in quarantine, with no financial assistance from the government.
“We can all agree this isn’t optimal. Our priority should be getting our people home,” Bernard Chan, a member of the Hong Kong Executive Council, wrote in the Hong Kong-based the South China Morning Post. “It should be possible to make small improvements in services and conditions that will make a huge difference in the quarantine experience.”
There are examples for Hong Kong to learn from.
New Zealand mandates that returnees must have access to supervised outdoor exercise, at least once a day, provided that they adhere to hygiene and social distancing rules. Beijing mandated a 21-day quarantine in January, but allowed people to spend the last week at home.
Girish Jhunjhnuwala, the CEO of Ovolo Hotels, agrees more needs to be done to make quarantine more comfortable and bring people home. So he recently announced on LinkedIn that the Ovolo Southside — one of the company’s hotels — will offer 12 rooms for $1 Hong Kong (13 cents) a day to people in need who cannot afford to return home. They are partnering with two NGOs to find people who need assistance.
“The airfares are expensive enough already and then having to spend 21 days in a hotel room was quite prohibitive for many of the returnees,” Jhunjhnuwala said.
Jhunjhnuwala called the decision to offer the discounted rooms a “humane gesture,” one he hoped someone would do for him if the shoe was on the other foot.
“I was born and brought up here. I love Hong Kong. This is the least I can do,” said Jhunjhnuwala.
Jhunjhnuwala said that after the Ovolo Southside, which is a four-star hotel, was added to the government-approved list, it hit 50% occupancy in a week — about double what it was before. He anticipates it reaching 70 to 80% by the end of February, and felt now was the time to give back.
He said he hopes his peers in the hotel industry will follow suit, but not many have.
Like nearly every tourism-related business in Hong Kong, the Ovolo spent the last 18 months facing diminishing profits and reduced bookings thanks to the six months of sometimes violent political unrest that rocked the city in the second half of 2019, and then the pandemic.
Some of the quarantine hotels were accused of price gouging, profiting at the expense of guests forced to spend 3 weeks there to make up for months of lost revenue.
A few hotels have allegedly increased rates as demand quickly rose. Several appear to be trying to save money on food, with people on the Facebook group complaining they are serving cheap meals that are not nutritious to cut down on costs.
“I hate to say this — I’ve seen some hotels and the kind of food offering they have, and it’s terrible,” Jhunjhnuwala said. “This is a small cost, and if you’re staying for 21 days, this affects your mental well-being.”
The current situation is unlikely to change soon.
While other major cities have already started rolling out Covid-19 vaccines, Hong Kong just approved its first vaccine for emergency use at the end of January. The first city-wide mass vaccination program isn’t expected to begin until the end of the month, after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Hong Kong’s conservative, risk-averse approach to the pandemic means that quarantine restrictions are unlikely to change until a significant number of people are vaccinated — meaning the HK Quarantine support group will remain an important resource for the foreseeable future.

Demand for Chinese Goods Is So Strong There’s a Container Shortage

Global demand for Chinese goods has been so strong recently it’s creating a shortage of containers and driving up shipping costs, potentially impeding the nation’s exports in coming months.

Exports have been on a tear since July last year, fueled by pandemic-related purchases like medical masks and work-at-home equipment, including computers. Imports haven’t been growing at nearly the same pace, resulting in a lack of shipping containers returning to China to be refilled and sent out again.

The cost of shipping a 40-foot container to Los Angeles from Shanghai has almost doubled from early June, while the price to send the same box to Rotterdam is now four times higher.

Costly Containers

Cost to ship goods soars on higher demand, shrinking pool of empty boxes

The “soaring prices for China’s outward shipments due to a shortage of shipping capacity will weigh on China’s export growth, despite resilient external demand helped by the holiday season and factory lockdowns throughout Europe,” Serena Zhou, a fixed-income analyst at Mizuho Financial Group Inc. in Hong Kong.

The container shortage probably acted as a brake on exports in December, she wrote. The bottlenecks could also worsen as exporters look to front-load shipments ahead of the usual shutdown for the Lunar New Year, which starts in early February this year.

The repercussions of the shortages are being felt across Asia, with a mid-December report from Japan’s trade promotion agency highlighting soaring freight rates and a lack of boxes in Southeast Asia and India.

South Korean’s biggest shipping line HMM Co. said last Thursday that the shortage of boxes and space on ships would likely continue in the first half of 2021. The company has deployed extra ships to the U.S. routes to help South Korean companies ship their goods, and will add another ship to Europe later this month.

Read more: Container Rates, Demand Propelled by Lofty Consumer Spending

“Limited container availability, port congestion and a global economic recovery in 2021 should keep first-quarter rates higher than 2020 levels,” according to a report this week from Patent 2 Product Intelligence analysts Lee Klaskow and Adam Roszkowski.

— With assistance by James Mayger, and Kyunghee Park