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blog

Rome Mayor Quits Amid Pressure

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Il Messaggero, Oct. 9, 2015

The resignation of Ignazio Marino, Rome's embattled mayor, dominated headlines in Italy on Friday after months of rising political tensions in the capital and within the center-left Democratic party of both the mayor and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

"Marino, A Surrender Amid Venom," was the front-page headline in the Rome daily Il Messaggero.

Criticism of Marino, who took office in June 2013, centered around his inability to manage the city in the face of a spiraling corruption probe that has accused city officials of having links to organized crime. Though Marino himself hasn't been implicated, his perceived lack of leadership in the face of the crisis was becoming a major embarrassment to Renzi, who had been an ally of the mayor.

The clamor for his resignation finally grew too loud for him to continue, especially after revelations that Marino had claimed personal expenses as city business. There was also an embarrassing PR run-in with Pope Francis after the mayor boasted about his participation at the recent Catholic family gathering in Philadelphia.

Marino announced his resignation Thursday night in a video message, defending his record and declaring that he had the right to revoke the decision within 20 days depending on how "political conditions" evolve.

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Future

Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGO — TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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