The grey skies of Taipei

Fenland scene

I’ve swapped the stark fenland fields for the grey skies of Taipei. At least it’s a little warmer here.

The return flight from London to Taipei on China Airlines was as impressive as the outbound one. I would definitely recommend it to anyone traveling between the two cities. My only concern – and I hope I’m wrong about this – is whether the service will be commercially-sustainable. Neither leg of the flight was full, and whenever I fly to London on Eva, over 80% of the passengers seem to get off the plane at Bangkok. Is there really enough demand to justify a non-stop route?

Taipei grey skies

Having had to endure the self-service check-outs at Sainsbury’s a couple of times while I was in the UK, I can see why Amazon Go is going to have a huge impact on the global retail business. The idea of being able to walk out of a store without having to pull out a credit card or run some purchases over a barcode reader that never quite works is simply too seductive.

Forget all the bloviation from Davos; the roll-out of the store was by far the most significant news from this past week. Retailers around the work are going to have to significantly up their game in order to compete with Amazon.

The good news for them is that the technology building blocks required for creating a fully-automated store are already widely available. It’s more a question of whether their senior management has the vision and commitment to make it happen. Now that Pandora’s box has been opened, there’s no way that it can be closed again.

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