What’s Important in the Financial World (1/10/2013)

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China’s Surge in Exports

In another sign that China not only dodged the worst of the recession, but that its impressive growth has accelerated as many other major nations continue to suffer economically, the world’s biggest country by population reported that exports increased 14.1% in December. Its trade surplus rose to $31.6 billion as well. According to Bloomberg:

[T]he U.S. replaced the EU last year as China’s largest export market, Zheng Yuesheng, head of customs statistics, said at a press briefing today. Sales to the bloc fell 6.2 percent in 2012. The two markets together accounted for one-third of China’s exports in 2012, customs data showed.

December exports may have been boosted by the impact of a strike at California ports that ended Dec. 4, according to Lu. Rushed shipments and even faked exports to secure tax refunds may also have contributed to the stronger growth, according to Alistair Thornton, a Beijing-based economist at IHS Inc.

China’s Ministry of Commerce, which oversees trade policies, said in a statement last month that it will seek to stabilize the scale of exports and improve support for trade growth in 2013.

BusinessInsider on the Rise

Business website newcomer BusinessInsider sent another shudder through the sector as its December audience reached 8.8 million unique visitors, according to research firm comScore. That puts it well ahead of the audience of troubled TheStreet.com (NASDAQ: TST), which posted a figure of 6.8 million, and the online division of TV network CNBC, which had 6.6 million unique visitors for the month. BI’s audience is drawing uncomfortably close to that of news and trading terminal company Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TR), which had 10.1 million unique visitors in December.

BI’s growth can no longer be described as simply a product of salacious stories about Wall St. wives or hedge fund mistresses. The site often scoops its competition on important stories. And the number of stories it runs now approaches 300 a day. The site also provides business and financial coverage 24 hours a day. With an editorial staff that must number more than 60, BI can cover as much ground as all but the sites owned by news organizations and Web portals. BI has not entirely given up the sort of story that helped propel its growth. Among those are single, anonymous source stories –”Judging by This Angry Email, Marissa Mayer Hasn’t Yet Wowed ALL Yahoo Employees” — and pieces about underdressed women — “AD OF THE DAY: ‘Gymtimidation’ From Hot Girls In The Locker Room.”

Samsung’s Next Big Thing

Samsung may have displayed “the next big thing” in screens at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES):

Samsung today introduced new flexible OLED screens, showcasing a variety of possible products and uses.
In an address at International CES, Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of display, bent and wiggled a small, thin plastic screen. He showed a prototype device with a screen wrapping around the side and a message being delivered to the long side, instead of the top of the device.A video also introduced a possible future product that opened and closed like a book, with screens across both the inside and outside. Another product in the video showed a screen rolling out of a thin storage stick. “This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices, opening up new lifestyle possibilities … and allow our partners to create a whole new ecosystem of devices,” Berkeley said in a news release.

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