Germany’s SAP acquires Bellevue-based Concur

Friday, December 5th, 2014

SAP, a German multinational software corporation, has just finalized the acquisition of Concur yesterday. Based in Bellevue, Concur is the leading travel & expense management software company in the world with sales of $545.8 million in 2013. Concur has 4,200 employees worldwide, most of whom are based in Bellevue.

With the acquisition, SAP gains Concur’s 23,000 clients and 25 million active users spanning over 150 countries, becoming the world’s second-largest cloud company. In return, SAP is forking over $8.3 billion, agreeing to pay $129 per share.

In an interview, Concur’s President and COO Rajeev Singh assured company employees that the acquisition will not affect their jobs. “Nobody’s losing their job. SAP’s intention is to run the company as an independent business unit.” He then added, “The Concur presence in Seattle will grow. We’re going to keep hiring…What you have is you’ve just added another giant employer to the market.”

Greater Seattle has become a magnet for tech companies thanks to its abundance of talent. There are over 313,000 technology-based workers in Washington State.


Seattle design firm EHS joins forces with global design firm NELSON

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Seattle-based design firm EHS Design has recently merged with NELSON, a global design, architecture, engineering, space planning and space management firm. This move makes EHS one of the ‘Top Five’ firms specializing in office design, as determined by Interior Design Magazine. The combination of EHS’s interior design, architecture, and planning with NELSON’s branding, engineering, and consulting services will provide EHS with the resources necessary to serve its clients throughout the Seattle region, across the country, and around the world.

According to a press release from EHS, the two firms are “joining forces to expand EHS Design’s reach and NELSON’s services to clients in the Seattle office and in the surrounding West Coast region”.  EHS was founded in 1977 by Jack Emick and Mindy Howard, who transformed a small firm into a “full-service design firm with emphasis on corporate interiors and architecture for retail, financial, civic, government and multi-family residential clients”. EHS is well-known for their company trademark of a ‘client-focused boutique experience’, while providing the services of a large-scale firm.

This is only one of just under 30 mergers in 14 years for NELSON, demonstrating their prominence in the design and architecture sector.  With their broad range of expertise and services, NELSON works with more than 20% of companies in the Fortune 100 and is ranked as one of the top corporate design firms by Interior Design Magazine.  While EHS currently only has 25 employees, it offers NELSON its first opportunity to enter the market in the Northwest. NELSON has stated that they have plans to make Seattle “a major hub office”, as the region supplies valuable opportunities to expand its own network on both a national and international scale. NELSON has completed projects all over the United States and in numerous countries, such as Brazil, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, and China.


Starbucks increases bean purchases from China

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Already this year, Starbucks Co. has bought its highest volume ever of coffee beans from China, demonstrating the country’s growing role as a major bean supplier. The purchases by the world’s biggest coffee chain represent more than half of China’s coffee imports in the United States.

In the first nine months of 2014, the Seattle-based coffee giant purchased nearly 14,000 bags of arabica beans from China. According to data from PIERS, a shipping intelligence firm, this number is more than five times the total in 2013. Some of these beans are roasted back in the US and then shipped back over to China for sale in the increasingly profitable coffee market. The rest of the imported beans are used in coffee blends that are available globally.

Starbucks launched its first operation in China’s main coffee-growing province, Yunnan, two years ago. To date there are 823 company-operated Starbucks stores in China, a dramatic increase from only 24 stores in 2005. The U.S. International Trade Commission reports that the US is on track to import approximately 75,000 60 kg bags of coffee beans from China. More than ten years ago, the average import of coffee from China as only 5,700 bags.  This growth reflects China’s prolific emergence onto the coffee market as they have become one of the premier suppliers of high-quality arabica beans for roasters from around the world.

Beginning as a single store in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks has grown into a global empire of 20,737 locations worldwide. While remaining based in the Seattle area, the company has become a true international organization, fueling the coffee industry in numerous regions around the globe.


Boeing wins $8.5 billion for largest order ever of 737s

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Boeing‘s Renton factory is going to be busy! Yesterday, Boeing Co. won an $8.5 billion order from SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd for 80 737 Max 8 model planes. This marks the largest single order ever of 737 Max’s by a lessor, which will be delivered between 2018 and 2022.

SMBC Aviation Capital LTD is a Japanese company that has made a commitment to purchase over “$13.5 billion from Airbus and Boeing in the coming year”, as stated on their website. As of October 2014, the company owns 376 aircraft that are on lease to clients in over 40 countries, two of which are US Airways and American Airlines. Their aircraft fleet is valued at over $10 billion, making them the fourth-largest aircraft leasing company in the world.

Their order falls in line with economic growth in China, India and Southeast Asia, resulting in a growing demand for more aircraft. According to CIT Aerospace, one of the industry’s largest plane-leasing companies, some carriers in these regions may not have placed orders large enough to meet future demand.

It is predicted that commercial aircraft sales in China will increase to $5.3 trillion in the next 20 years, as the nation surpasses the U.S. as the world’s largest aviation market. Currently, aviation is China’s third most invested overseas industry, with an investment total of US$5.1 billion in the third quarter of 2014.

Production has already begun on the fuselage stringers at Boeing Fabrication Integrated AeroStructures in Auburn, Washington. From there, the stringers will be sent to Wichita, Kansas for incorporation into the 737 MAX fuselages. These will then be sent to the Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington where employees will build the 737 MAX models.


Amazon starts same-day delivery to Vancouver & Toronto

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Amazon is bringing its beloved same-day delivery to two lucky Canadian cities, Vancouver and Toronto, starting today. The service, which is already offered in major U.S. markets (including hometown Seattle), will allow people from those cities to order items before noon and receive it by 9 PM that same day, every day of the week. Thousands of items are eligible for this service in Vancouver and over a million in Toronto.

According to Geekwire, there are no other competing same-day delivery options in Vancouver and Toronto so this new service could be a valuable incentive for customers in Canada to choose Amazon for rush orders and sign up for Prime. Prime members there will pay a flat fee of $6.99 for same-day delivery, whereas non-Prime the deal is $11.99 per shipment and an additional $1.99 per item.


Alaska Airlines to launch nonstop route to Cancun

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Alaska Airlines is launching a new nonstop international route from Seattle to Cancun, Mexico. The airline, which is also headquartered in Seattle, will start the new route on November 6th – just in time for those who want to escape the rain and cooling temperatures. It will be a daily route, departing Seattle every morning at 8:10 a.m. and from Cancun every afternoon at 4:55 p.m.

Alaska has been expanding its service heavily over the past year especially out of Seattle. In September alone it launched new nonstop routes from Seattle to Baltimore, Detroit, and Albuquerque. With the new Cancun route added, Alaska now offers 3 nonstop flights from Seattle to Mexico including San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. The airline also has 5 nonstop flights between Seattle and Canada.


Cray, Inc Awarded Largest International Contract Ever

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

On October 27 Seattle-based supercomputer company Cray, Inc. was awarded the largest foreign contract in the company’s history, a $128 million (USD) contract with the UK Met Office. The Met Office is the United Kingdom’s national weather service, providing weather monitoring and tailored forecasts to more than 3,000 clients each day from headquarters in Exeter, England. With over ten million daily recordings and observations to factor in these forecasts, accurately predicting a sunny day in London is no small feat.

“We are truly honored that one of the most prestigious weather centers in the world has awarded us with the largest international contract in Cray’s history,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “The award is symbolic for Cray on a number of fronts — it demonstrates that our systems continue to be the supercomputers of choice […] and it reinforces the role that Cray plays in impacting society on a daily basis in a wide range of areas […].”

The deal comes just months after Cray was awarded its largest contract ever, partnering with the National Nuclear Security Administration for $174m (USD) to provide computing power for research purposes.

Seattle has been long known as a hotbed of technological innovation, with expertise now extending across the pond for forecasting in the other “Rainy City.”


Alibaba making moves in Seattle

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Looks like Seattle is now home to not one but two of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. There are some clear indications that Alibaba, an e-commerce giant that controls 80% of the Chinese online market and is seeking to expand in the U.S., has recently opened a Seattle office. Although the company has not made any official statements, Alibaba has posted job openings this week for engineers and software developers in Seattle. And according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a representative from the Association of Entrepreneurs and Experts in Seattle has also confirmed that the office is already open.

Seattle would be Alibaba’s second U.S. location – the company already has an office in Silicon Valley. It is interesting that Alibaba is moving into the hometown of what would be its largest competitor in Amazon – although Alibaba doesn’t currently operate in the U.S. online marketplace it has voiced its intention in doing so. The company recently went public in the U.S. and its CEO, Jack Ma, has stated that it plans to expand aggressively here.

Moving into Amazon territory can be considered a bold move, but to us here at TDA it makes a lot of sense. Seattle has one of the fastest growing high-tech industries in the world and is one of the closest U.S. cities to China. The abundance of tech talent and proximity to its headquarters in Hangzhou, China are very compelling factors.


Boeing announces first sales to Iran

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Boeing Company is one of the most innovative companies in the world, pioneering in the fields of aerospace and defense in remarkable ways. The company has also been a trailblazer when it comes to global reach – it is currently the largest exporter in the US by dollar value and has customers in 150 countries. So it is not too surprising that Boeing is the first U.S. aerospace company to sell products to Iran since the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis.

Boeing announced today that it has sold $120,000 worth of products to Iran Air which include aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts, and data. The deal was thanks to reduced sanctions against Iran, with the U.S. Treasury Department issuing a license allowing Boeing to provide products to Iran, so long as they are used for safety purposes.

U.S. airplanes still cannot be sold to Iran, whose flagship airline is currently operating a fleet of very old Boeing airplanes in need of updates. However the sale is a good sign of warming relations between the U.S. and Iran and the potential of Iran as a market for American companies.


Costco expands into China’s online market

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Costco, the world’s seventh largest retailer headquartered in King County, has been growing its international presence for quite some time – its warehouses can be found in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Spain. Today marks the company’s first official foray into China, Washington State’s #1 two-way trading partner, thanks to a partnership with Alibaba Group and its Tmall Global Platform.

Costco, in partnership with Alibaba, has opened an online flagship store on, China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers. The site allows foreign companies to sell their products into China without needing to open a physical store. Costco plans to initially offer food and healthcare products plus its Kirkland Signature products. “Costco sees tremendous growth opportunities in China, especially in light of Chinese consumers’ increasing appetite for imported products. We have chosen a great partner, Alibaba, for the official launch of Costco’s Flagship Store.” notes Jim Murphy, Costco’s Executive Vice President in a statement.

During these first few months, Costco will be carefully analyzing the data from this new site to find out what items are popular and what new items to introduce in later months. Maggie Wu, General Manager of International B2C Division of Alibaba Group, emphasizes that “…Together we will develop and explore innovative market campaigns to unlock Costco’s membership value.”

The new online store can be found here: