Tag Archives: Russian names

AEB celebrates 20 years of FDI in Russia

The Association of European Businesses (AEB) gathers the largest European foreign investors in Russia and celebrates its 20 years of existence on Thursday 24th September. The AEB was established in 1995 […] to represent and promote the interests of European companies conducting business in and with the Russian Federation. It is chaired by Philippe Pegorier, also President of Alstom in Russia.
The AEB is also the source of independent Russia statistics and industry analysis, and the main source for sales statistics of the Russian automotive market.

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Ms Lara Kaute used information published by the AEB, among other sources, to write a master thesis about “Perspectives Of Foreign Direct Investments Into The Russian Automotive Sector In The Current Economic And Political Crisis”. We invited Ms Lara Kaute to share some of her work in a guest post.

Perspectives of FDI into the Russian automotive sector

The economic, financial and political crisis that broke out in Russia in 2014 has contradictory impacts on foreign direct investments. On the one hand, the Russian government strengthened its “import substitution” policy, currency risks made imports risky if not unprofitable, and the fall of the ruble made Russian assets and labour force much cheaper. All this should stimulate foreign businesses to localize their Russia-targeted production in Russia, i.e. to increase the inflow of foreign direct investments into Russia. On the other hand, Western sanctions against Russia restrain various kinds of FDI to the Russian market. Western banks strongly limit their Russia-related activities, which in turn limits the inflow of FDI to Russia.

The automotive sector was the most successful in attracting FDI to Russia until 2013 because of a strong growth in consumer demand from the early 2000’s and policies of the Russian government giving strong advantages to foreign carmakers partly localising their production in the country. Nowadays, about 70% of car manufacturing in Russia is done by foreign companies, which makes foreign involvement key to this sector.

But the automotive industry is also the one which suffers most from the current economic and financial crisis in Russia, with sales of some companies like PSA Peugeot Citroën or Ford about 35% lower in 2014 compared to 2013. The devaluation of the ruble lowered the purchasing power of the population and made imports of tier parts to Russia from abroad much more expensive. The increase in interest rates by the Russian central bank in order to stop the fall of the ruble made new consumption credits unaffordable to Russian consumers, it also made refinancing most difficult to car manufacturers and tier parts suppliers, triggering critical financial situations and defaults. The consequence of both the fall of the ruble and the increase in interest rates is that Russian consumers can afford cars only at lower prices, while car manufacturers face a stringent need to increase their prices, which in turn has a very negative impact on sales volumes. According to Association of European Businesses’ prognosis, only 50% of Russian car production capacities will be used in 2015, i.e. around 1.5 million cars will be produced and sold.

Nevertheless, this study shows that only very few foreign car manufacturers decide to leave Russia. It is believed that the crisis will not last longer than 2 to 3 years and that on a longer term perspective the Russian market stays an attractive one. As far as FDI are concerned, the results of the study are as follows:

– An increase of production capacities is very unlikely to happen in the 2-3 coming years, except for Chinese manufacturers who probably bet on an increase in the low-cost part of the Russian car market.

– An increase in localisation of production activities stays a crucial objective for any car manufacturer planning to stay in Russia: it will take place even though it is a very difficult task.

– Financial support to Russian subsidiaries of foreign companies is likely for any OEM staying in Russia.

– A significant decrease of FDI inflows for a given period and temporary stops of production are the fate of most vulnerable OEMs on the Russian market (with the smallest degrees of localization and less adapted marketing strategies).

– Outflows of FDI (i.e. leaving the Russian market) are a strategic decision of very few companies (e.g. GM)

In order to get the full-fledged analysis, please contact Lara Kaute at lara.kaute(a)sciencespo.fr.

About Lara Kaute,

2015_LaraK Lara graduated in June 2015 from a double master’s degree in Sciences Po Paris and in MGIMO University, in Finance & Strategy and International Relations. Lara is fluent in Russian, French, German and English and she also has a bachelor diploma in Natural Sciences focus Chemistry. Lara’s master thesis about “Perspectives Of Foreign Direct Investments To The Russian Automotive Sector In The Current Political And Economic Crisis” was granted the highest mark among her peers by MGIMO University. With a successful working experience in Air Liquide Russia’s business development unit, she would like to dedicate the coming years of her carrier to developing European businesses in Russia. Lara can be reached at lara.kaute(a)sciencespo.fr or via Lara on LinkedIn.

About FDIMagnet,

FDIMagnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services:

–   Diaspora Direct Investments (DDI)
–   Smart Investors Targeting & CRM
–   FDI Targeted Communication

We leverage the ‘big data’ and large commercial databases covering all countries/regions, including the Russian Federation. Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group or email us at contact@fdimagnet.com

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RussoScopie becomes NamSor for Russia

We’ve now integrated RussoScopie – a service to monitor the Russian Media and access valuable databases about the businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan – into NamSor list of valuable data sources, for

– risk management,

– social sciences (migration studies, geography, geopolitics) and international affairs,

– competitive analysis, specially in the industrial and energy sector,

– compliance / KYC, specially in the banking sector.

NamSor, combined with RussoScopie/INTEGRUM, provides a unique capability to analyze the position of the international business community and the current status of Foreign Direct Investments in Russia.

Russian Media Monitor

RussoScopie provides access to INTEGRUM, the  leading  electronic collection of Russian and CIS mass media – with exclusive distribution rights in the French speaking countries and non-exclusive distribution rights elsewhere (in collaboration with Integrum WW).

INTEGRUM professional databases cover Russian newspapers, magazines, teletypes of information agencies, analytical and statistical bulletins, texts of laws, decrees, blogs etc. 

INTEGRUM offers a unified search engine, automatic translation to English, topics monitoring, text analytics, RSS feeds and much more.

We can help you build your own business case : revenues growth, risk management, PR monitoring, B2C brand management, B2B customer relationship, compliance / KYC, competitive intelligence, …

INTEGRUM aggregates more than 10,000 data sources:

Data Source Type Count
Media: Russian Central Press 545
Media: Russian Information agencies 144
Media: Russian Regional press 1521
Media: Russian Regional news agencies 111
Media: Russian The foreign press 38
Media: Russian Foreign news agencies 21
Media: Russian Press CIS 132
Media: Russian News agencies of the CIS 52
Media: Russian Central online edition 1088
Media: Russian Regional Internet publications 833
Media: Russian Foreign Internet publications 229
Media: Russian Corporate publications online 70
Media: Russian Central TV and Radio 7
Media: Russian Central TV and Radio online 38
Media: Russian Regional TV and Radio 79
Media: Russian Regional TV and Radio online 122
Media: Russian International TV and radio 2
Media: Russian International TV and Radio online 4
Russian Official information agencies 382
Russian Blogs – 2M number of communities 10
Russian Archives. national media 1437
Russian Archives. regional media 1603
Russian Archives. foreign media 314
Integrum newspaper 1
Russian Financial and stock news 33
Russian Address-reference database 154
Russian Business information / Analysis 184
Russian Legislation 156
Russian Online library 57
Russian Directory of industrial products 72
Russian Personalities 33
Russian Statistical informations 141
Russian Regional geography 13
Russian Photo Archive 7
Business security / compliance / KYC 73
Russian Library of World Literature 601
Russian Libraries 134
TOTAL COVERAGE 10441

This includes Russian media published in different countries, such as: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, United Kingdom, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, USA, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia.

Combining INTEGRUM with NamSor can generate unique insights into what’s on top of the agenda in Russia -as reflected by traditional and social media- across all industries, in a specific sectors, as well as in external affairs.

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Russian Business Databases

We provide financial institutions, corporate clients, governmental bodies and consultants with databases, innovative tools and robust integration patterns to implement an effective business intelligence strategy focused on the Russian market.

INTEGRUM LEGAL & FINANCIAL DATA

INTEGRUM COMPANIES is a new analytical service offering official information on more than 8 million Russian and foreign companies as well as private entrepreneurs in Russia. INTEGRUM offers both depth and breadth of business information, across all industry sectors: legal and financial data, directors and key decision makers, RFPs, licences, patents, contracts …

MULTILINGUAL MULTI-SOURCE INTEGRATIONFor global players with needs to cross-check information accross different languages, different data sources (such as ISI Emerging Markets, Ruslana Bureau Van Dijk, CEDROM-SNi, Factiva Dow Jones, LexisNexis, fDi Markets, Thomson Reuters or Bloomberg, etc.) we offer :

– integration patterns to filter, aggregate, validate, route information to the right person,
– automatic translation, combined with selective manual translation (in-house or outsourced),
– text and data analytics to support a particular decision making process.

VALUABLE DATA ABOUT RUSSIAN DECISION MAKERS

We help you leverage your existing contacts, professional databases, social networks, consultants. We use tools such as sociolinguistics and graph theory to help you reach your objectives and get access to the right people at the right time.

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Russian Scientific Databases

We’ve also integrated the leading Russian scientific databases in our bibliometrics offering that was presented during IREG international conference on academic excellence.  Read our brochure (PDF) 201505_NamSor_For_Sciences_v3.00

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.

Reach us at: contact@namsor.com

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Making sense of Big Data : mining Twitter names

Millions of geo tweets in various languages, discussing anything from ‘hey, I’m here‘ to finance, geopolitics or marketing. How do you make sense of them?

We’ve used name recognition (applied onomastics) to filter information and produce unique maps of the e-Diasporas. Where are the digitally connected Italian, Turkish and Russian today? They may be migrants, tourists, business travellers, student, visiting scientists…

To jump directly to the interactive map, click here : http://cdb.io/1iSeWw2 or read more about our methodology.

Italian, Russina, Turkish Twitter

Italian, Russina, Turkish Twitter

TIP : Filter out layers and zoom in/out.
Below we filtered out the Turkish Twitter layer to visualize where the Russian & Italian tourists go to holiday in Turkey

Russian, Italians in Turkey

Russian, Italians in Turkey

The Italian America :

Italian America

Italian America

Further reading :

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What’s in a Twitter name? A glance at the Irish digital Diaspora

To jump directly to the interactive map, click here : http://cdb.io/1beWaVB

(onomastics.co.uk reblog)

It’s been a while since I published a first ‘Feature of the Month’ in onomastics.co.uk and I can measure the progress made. The article, published in March 2013, showed maps of French and English investments in Africa, established by recognizing the names of Company Directors, instead of the traditional measurement of capital flows (FDI).

At the time, NamSor Applied Onomastics software was new and I was still exploring how such data mining tool, which recognizes personal names, could be useful. I was uncertain whether the social benefits would exceed the risks inherent to such powerful technology.

Names are a Code and contain a lot of information about an individual, but there is no determinism. Human groups of different levels can be recognized through names, but human societies are fractals. Each group can be broken down again and again, from different angles. A first name,  a last name, a Twitter handle are part of a person’s identity and may indicate a social intent, the belonging to an ethnic/linguistic group, a geographic origin, beliefs, … however at the finest grain level, every individual is unique and an exception to the group.

Genetic code, at one point, was thought to contain all the information needed to ‘build’ an individual from the physical point of view. After years of research, it seems that part of the information and the ‘algorithm’ are elsewhere…  Still there is huge interest in applied research such as 23andMe that ‘decrypt’ the genetic code to provide insights into a person’s ancestry, as well as hints about potential health issues.

The Name Code and the Genetic Code share the same ability to fascinate : each can somehow statistically be recognized to have an influence on your life, social status, average income, career… both relate to a family history. Each Code can be misleading and yet insightful. Fleur Pellerin, the French SME & ICT Minister, was born Kim Jong-suk in South Korea. She is both truly French and truly Korean, one name indicating a culture, the other a phenotype and genetic heritage. Considering only the Genetic Code would be denying a part of our humanity, which comes from being a child, a teenager, experiencing life, interacting socially, being part of a country and a culture, making one’s choices.

Twin studies would tell a lot about the links between those two codes (Name, Genetic) – if only there were more twins. Even though identical twins possess the same genetic makeup, they may go through different experiences throughout their lives that shape their personality, behaviour, and psychopathology in ways that make them unique relative to each other (Hughes et al., 2005). Twins will have a different first name.  Twins might also have a different last name, if -hypothetically- one twin was raised in Russia and the other twin was adopted and raised in the United States. In that case, what would the Name Code and the Genetic Code tell about potential Health issues (smoking or alcohol addiction, obesity & diabetes, life expectancy, etc.) ?

An article published last month caught my eye ‘Scientists seek volunteers willing to have genetic code published on internet‘: the hunt is on for 100,000 British volunteers to post their genetic information online in the name of science, as a North American open-access DNA project arrives in Europe. Personal Genome Project UK’s mission is ‘to make a wide spectrum of data about humans accessible to increase biological literacy and improve human health‘. The organization recognizes that ‘Even if a person’s name, home address or facial photograph is specifically excluded, a dataset like the one we are building is far from anonymous. It is simply too easy for someone to connect the dots and reveal a person’s identity.’ Genetic Code is a very personal data. Would you like to see yours published along with your Name Code and Identity? Yet if the identity of participants can be protected, I can see huge scientific value in such Open Data.

The Name Code, as such, is not personal data. Personal data is all information about yourself, that you should be allowed to keep confidential. A name is given to you as a communication tool, to interact with the World. There is a social intent in giving a child a common name, or a rare name that will more immediately identify a person – though I believe that one should be allowed to change names, just as Casanova did (who named himself Chevalier de Seingalt). There are legitimate reasons to keep one’s name and identity secret sometimes: you should be free to do so, unless that freedom infringes on someone else’s rights. A personal name (except possibly when it becomes a trademark) doesn’t belong to anyone : it’s been used before, it’ll be used again, it’s often shared by several people, it’s found in the press, it’s made up for fiction books … Could a democracy work without the citizen knowing their politicians’ names? How could historians do their research if we were to erase all personal names from the archives?

We see potential social benefits in applied onomastics and name data mining, that clearly exceed the risks of misuse : not just in social sciences research, but also in economic development, tourism, marketing, health, urban planning … We’ve helped one EU country reach out to its Diaspora in the US to originate foreign direct investments (FDI) and create jobs. We’re currently helping a BioTech scientific cluster raise its game through better understanding where the talents lay in that field, and where the brain juice flows internationally. We’re trying to find local partners to launch AgroDiaspora, an economic development initiative in Africa to foster stronger links between Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Projects and top-level BioTech scientists of African heritage, who could help make local plants climate-change resistant, among other benefits. We are also very excited and enthusiastic about a paper we submitted to ICOS 2014, the XXV International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, which will take place in Glasgow in August – as we foresee very positive outcome from that research.

In last month onomastics.co.uk feature ‘The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain‘, Eleanor Rye mentions a very interesting research into what surname-based sampling can reveal about historic male migrations in the UK and Ireland.

We are currently conducting similar applied research on Twitter. I love Twitter. The freedom to choose one’s handle and name. The limited amount of structured information that goes with an account : a location, a language, a short profile, a few pictures. What’s in a Twitter name or handle? Anything : real names, company names, fancy names, pictograms, … the amount of information produced through Twitter is enormous, but it’s possible to filter this ‘bigdata’ in a way to make sense of it. We created geographic maps of e-Diasporas, by recognizing the Twitter names of geotagged tweets: Irish, Swedish, Russian, etc. We call this Twitter GEOnomastics, borrowing a term from Dr. Evgeny Shokhenmayer. Below is the map of the Irish e-Diaspora, along with Swedish and Russian.

Irish Twitter GEOnomastics

Irish Twitter GEOnomastics

Click here to access the interactive map:
http://cdb.io/1beWaVB

How does it work? The software accurately recognizes that ‘NamSor Applied Onomastics’ (@NomTri) is probably a trade mark or a company name, whereas ‘Elian Carsenat’ (@ElianCarsenat) is probably a personal name – and most likely a French name. Fancy names are also recognized and filtered out.

We see wide applications of such maps. When Captain James Cook explored the seas in the 18th century, having accurate maps could mean life or death for a ship and its crew. Working out latitude had been known for centuries, but measuring longitude was still tricky and inaccurate. In today’s digital world, I see latitude as ‘recognizing the semantics’ in a message expressed in a particular language and longitude as ‘recognizing the culture’ of the target audience. We’re full of curiosity on how and to whom this map can be useful, possibly Twitter itself. We’re going from Paris to Dublin in two weeks to find out : we hope to meet people at Twitter European Headquarters. Twitter just issued its IPO but is also not clear how to make its money. We’ll also meet Irish urban planners, people working in the tourism industry, investment analysts and Diaspora experts.

Read our next posts to discover more Twitter GEOnomastics maps showing Irish, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Swedish, Italian, Dutch e-Diasporas (or cultural influence).

NB. The maps are currently interactive, so you can zoom in and out of a particular territory, however this may be shut down in a month or two.

[onomastics.co.uk | get a pdf version | academia.edu] Related : Can name data mining help economic development?

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Onomastics for Business Data Mining

This is a reblog of ParisTech Review original article.

Can name data mining help economic development?

As of today, the main business application of onomastics is naming, or branding: finding the proper name for your company or your product to stand out in the world. Meaningfully, Onoma – the Greek root for name – is also a registered trademark of Nomen, the naming agency founded by Marcel Botton in 1981. Nomen initially licensed one of Roland Moreno’s inventions, the Radoteur name generator, and created many distinctive and global brand names such as: Vinci, Clio or Amundi. But once your business has a name, should you forget about onomastics? Not anymore. Globalization, digitalization and the Big Data open new fields to experiment disruptive applications in Sales & Marketing, Communication, HR and Risk Management. Though discriminating names carries a high risk of abuse, it can also drive new, unexpected ways for developing poor areas.

Our human brain interprets names every day, as we understand a language, as we know a particular culture or region of the world: the likely menu of a restaurant, the industrial sector of a company… even a dog’s name might tell you something about its owner. Personal names (first name, last name, a Twitter handle) carry meanings which vary according to one’s language and culture, but often form an essential part of one’s identity.

Extracting semantics from names

How exactly my brain works is not clear even to myself, but what if I could program a computer to extract semantics from names: would it provide valuable business intelligence? Some people in the US think so. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a long standing experience in extracting intelligence from personal names: back in the 80s they used LAS name recognition software to help identify Russian spies, recognize false identities, track soviet influence. LAS could rely on the CIA to help collect a database with one billion names to calibrate the software. That’s about the total world developed population at the time.

After thriving on the surge in US security and foreign intelligence budgets post-9/11, LAS considered diversification and started to address other markets: Marketing, Financial Services Compliance (notably KYC, ie. Know Your Customer). LAS was acquired by IBM in 2006. But to further increase their leadership, in 2011 the US security agencies used the MITRE Corporation to help foster further “innovation in technologies of interest to the federal government. Challenge #1 entailed multicultural name matching—a technology that is a key component of identity matching, which involves measuring the similarity of database records referring to people. Uses include verifying eligibility for Social Security or medical benefits, identifying and reunifying families in disaster relief operations, vetting persons against a travel watch list, and merging or eliminating duplicate records in databases. Person name matching can also be used to improve the accuracy and speed of document searches, social network analysis, and other tasks in which the same person might be referred to by multiple versions or spellings of a name”. A name tells more – or something different – than just a nationality of origin. For example, Boston terrorists Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have names with a -v termination typical of Slavic names (as found in Russia or in Bulgaria) but can be recognized as originally from Caucasus. There was some media report in the aftermath of the bombing that the FBI didn’t know Boston bomber travelled to volatile Dagestan region in Russia in 2012 because “his name was misspelled on travel documents”. However this information remained unconfirmed and is probably not accurate given the massive US investment in name-matching technology.

In Europe, the legal framework to leverage such tools varies from country to country, but is generally very strict. The directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, article 8, states that “Member States shall prohibit the processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, […]” . In principle, this directive applies to Security Agencies as well, however there are exemptions which member states can interpret differently.

By making the distinction between the language ‘discriminatory ethnic profiling’ rather than the more common ‘ethnic profiling’ to describe the practice of basing law enforcement decisions solely or mainly on an individual’s race, ethnicity or religion the European Union recognizes the need of security forces to understand the complex relationships that exist between nationality, geography, and more subjective concepts such as: ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, civilisations, religions. How the knowledge might be applied, how the data might be collected remains a matter of national security. The UK and France, for example, are known to have different views on this topic. In any case, what is done in practice by anti-terrorism agencies is not public information.

Security, border control, etc. is a business in its own right. What about other sectors?

Customer intelligence: business potential and ethical issues

In Sales & Marketing, onomastics can be used to enrich a customer database with information extracted from names that would not be practically or economically available otherwise. So retailers and luxury brands – especially in food, clothing and cosmetics where ethnicity plays a significant role – can improve customer intelligence and use those insights to better interact through online channels. Echoing concerns expressed by early 20th century John Wanamaker “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”, companies like L’Oreal that spend several billion dollars a year on communication and advertising continuously try to improve the efficiency of their targeting.

Let us look at a more sophisticated example, for example public–private partnership (PPP) projects in mining, energy or infrastructure. Those projects can have significant social impacts in a territory and raise various political or economic issues. Understanding the human geography and recognizing the interests of the communities cohabiting in that territory can be critical to obtain a buy-in from all stakeholders. Onomastics, combined with geo-demographic segmentation, can help rapidly build geographic maps that can be used both for decision making and communication purposes. Automatic name clustering is the underlying technology that will help decrypt the complex identities present in large or small territories (from a continent, to a road). The objective is to answer tough questions and manage unavoidable frustrations though appropriate communication. Where should a tramway line pass in a multi-ethnic region? How to redistribute offshore oil revenues in the lands?

Concerning HR, I recently spoke with an executive at a large European bank who regretted that not enough trustworthy expatriates had been sent to control a large acquisition in a BRIC country, costing several hundred million Euros in write-offs. Among thousands of employees at the European head-office, the bank could have recognized the names of few people likely to accept an expatriation back to their home country. Having some people knowing both languages and both corporate cultures would have helped bridge the inter-cultural gap between the local management and other expatriates, saving millions of Euros.

In the digital world, onomastics brings a new view angle to social graph analysis: it can help colourize online communities, profile opinion leaders according to their audience. On Twitter, for example, you can more easily create a communication channels, well targeted on a particular community (business expatriates, tourists, migrants, but also international investors…)

Let’s now consider a provocative and controversial use of onomastics that will help us move on to the topic of ethics. Different cultures, nationalities and social backgrounds imply different behaviours, with respect to Money and Risk taking: earning, saving, spending, gambling, investing, donating, risking death and loosing it all… It is a fact that people with aristocratic names (in places where there is such an object as aristocratic names) would earn more and obtain cheaper credit than people with names typical of the lower class or a recent immigration wave. Why not take shortcuts: a bank could adjust the price of a credit, according to the borrower’s name; a car insurance company could adjust its evaluation of the risk (including the risks of insurance fraud, dangerous driving…) according to the name on the application form. They would better measure their risk. Furthermore, they could offer more competitive prices for categories of clients and they could better target them commercially.

Such use is highly controversial, since it raises the question of Equality (or inequalities) and discrimination. But discrimination is a fact, and onomastics can allow us to better see and understand how it works. Why should people with different sounding names hit glass ceilings in the first place, regardless of their skills? Casanova chose his own name de Seingalt and wondered if D’Alembert would have attained his high fame, his universal reputation, if he had been satisfied with his name of M. Le Rond, or Mr. Allround.

I am a supporter of Equal Opportunity Rights. And yet, I built a powerful discrimination algorithm based on names. NamSor is a piece of name recognition software which applies onomastics to analyse global flows of money, ideas and people. As any powerful new technology, it carries potential risks of abuse but I believe there is a positive use for it.

One classical application where onomastics plays a significant role is called geo-demographics: it consists in analysing the sociology of a particular territory (including the cultural and ethnic origins of its inhabitants) inferred from open sources and census data. Geo-demographics can be a useful tool to ensure, for example, that all populations have an equitable access to public services, such as hospitals. The company Experian is one of the leaders in that field, especially strong in the UK.

The effective use of the Big Data & Open Data is widely considered to be a critical enabler for future SmartCities : enabling dynamic allocation of resources, more efficient use of energy, prompt response to a crisis and so on. The combination of social networks and mobile applications with geo-localized devices opens new possibilities. Recognizing the diversity of populations that cohabit across space and time can help design more inclusive cities and transportation systems. Sensors that discriminate populations (in the sense of perceiving) can draw the clear picture needed to prevent discrimination (in the sense of favouring) and help defuse some of the time bombs ticking here and there.

Targeting diasporas: a game changer for development?

But the most promising use of software such as NamSor could be elsewhere – though it still deals with territorial equality. It is quite common for regions of the world that are less economically developed to use their own weakness (poorer people) as a strength (cheaper labour) to attract investments. The idea is to trigger a virtuous circle of job creation, infrastructure development, better education, migration flow reversal, etc. commonly known as the FDI Magnet effect. The region becomes more attractive and gradually moves up in the global value chain. As it loses competitiveness in terms of cheap labour because of the new wealth of its population, it develops a different economy based on innovation, services, tourism, consumption.

Most countries implement some kind of policy to direct flows of investments in poorer regions, as a mean to preserve their territorial cohesion and integrity. Those policies are most effective when they combine with successful private initiatives. So the objective of many Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) is not so much to attract big money, as to attract a great business that will employ and help grow their people. The global competition to attract such investments is fearful.

Poorer regions have another weakness, which can be turned into a strength. Emigration is generally an opportunity loss, but after some years it generates a Diaspora which can be leveraged to attract investments back to the region.

For example, Ireland took decisive steps during the early 80’s to proactively reconnect with its emigrants or with successful businessmen of Irish descent. Rebekah Berry reminds us that “as recently as 1986 Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the European Union, but [in 2002] it is one of the richest. The engine of this new Irish prosperity has been Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). [Between 1986 and 2002], the Irish have done almost everything right. They have attracted huge amounts of money from America – due largely to a century of personal and familial ties – and they have used this money to build factories ”.

The regions of Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai have amongst the lowest number of millionaires in China. But if they could reconnect with the few they have, in Beijing, Shanghai or even abroad, wouldn’t it make a difference?

For that purpose, onomastics can be a useful tool and it has served the development strategy of a European country, Lithuania.

InvestLithuania is the first Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) to use name recognition to originate FDI deals. With three million people living in Lithuania and nearly one million people of Lithuanian origin living abroad, there is a good many personal and familial ties to be leveraged to attract new investment projects to the country. NamSor name recognition software helped discover those ties. Another method to accelerate the origination of new investment leads is to better understand and leverage the existing network of foreign businessmen in the country itself. Domas Girtavicius, a Senior consultant at Invest Lithuania, said “we were impressed by the accuracy of the name recognition software: it reliably predicts the country of origin and the number of false positives is fully manageable”.

This project with InvestLithuania was very successful and consequently I was invited to participate to the World Lithuanian Economic Forum (WLEF), which took place in Vilnius this year, on the 3rd of June. This Forum is organized by Global Lithuanian Leaders (GLL), a non-profit association whose mission is to reconnect with Lithuanians and friends of Lithuania abroad. I found the GLL to be a great initiative, providing the country with a wealth of expertise from different parts of the word, across all domains (politics, education, culture, business…), and also bridging some of the cultural gaps that necessarily exist in such a matrix (place / domain). Specifically, the GLL helps bring elements of culture from the US and UK, such as entrepreneurship and business networking.

While some diasporas, especially those originating from the Mediterranean, have a millennium standing culture of business and personal networking, other countries struggle to adjust to their new situation. What is the value of a social network such as LinkedIn to the Lebanese Diaspora? Low. What better communication tool in Marseilles than “word of mouth” to launch Massilia Mundi, which aims to become the social network of that city international Diaspora? But for many Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), LinkedIn is an essential tool. For example, in traditional Lithuanian culture, people treasure strong family ties and personal links with close friends, but do not nurture a wide network of professional connections or casual contacts. I believe many countries are in a similar situation, where a dedicated organisation could help reconnect people : for them, tools such as the social networks, professional databases and onomastics can make a difference.

Could that work also for regions in China? In 2005-2009, while I was working for a global consulting firm, I had the opportunity of managing an project in banking, with a mix of Chinese and French teams: a team in Paris which included several young ParisTech graduates of Chinese origin and a team in Shanghai. I remember the excitement and the pleasure of the entire team – including myself – to do a project connected with China, with the opportunity of travelling to Shanghai, tasting the food of different regions of China, being introduced to the Chinese culture. Several people from that team, both French and Chinese, are now in China. Jing, now a dear friend, went back to Shanghai in 2009 and I remember how she still felt sentimentally bound to her original city of Xiangtan, Hunan – ready to help in any way she could. From this experience, I understood that if there existed such an organization as ‘Global Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai Leaders, it would not often encounter rebukes when reaching out for help, money or expertise. Such an organization could be very helpful in closing the economic gap with other regions.

Technically, Chinese names are clearly recognizable amongst other nationalities or origins. So, querying a professional database, we can produce onomastics mapping of Chinese company directors. For example, the following maps represents the density of Chinese and Japanese business communities in Southern Latin America, relatively to each other.

LatAmjapanchina

Source: Factiva DF Copyright 2013 NamSorts.com NomTriTM NamSorTM – All rights reserved

How many of those successful Chinese businessmen (or businessmen of Chinese origin) come from Ningxia, Gansu or Qinghai? This is where applied onomastics can be a game changer. Not that all questions are solved. At the present time, the available software allows us to detect phenomenons, not to understand them perfectly. For instance, I would like to share two data visualizations produced as part of this effort, which I found beautiful and promising.

20130827_ChineseOnoma_Teaser1

20130827_ChineseOnoma_Teaser2

What do we see here? Something – something that still needs to be analysed and understood, but something that may be of great value for someone trying to locate and identify potential investors or decision makers. Chinese last names actually raise specific challenges, since they have been used for many centuries and with rare or less common names disappearing over time, only one hundred different names remain today. But first names still carry regional differences, poetry and other semantics. Roots may be almost invisible, onomastics can still track them. And the more difficult is the tracking, the more valuable are the findings.

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Download documents : Onomastics for Business.pdf (English version) Onomastique et Big Data.pdf (French version) Mirrors: [Harvard.edu] [arXiv]

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Tsarnaev Brothers: The right kind of Caucasian

There has been a lot of confusion last week, in the aftermath of the identification of two suspect terrorists in Boston : Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Twitter mistaked Czech Republic for Chechnya and Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovic had to issue an official statement. A twitter user from Bulgaria complained that in the US suddenly “anyone with a last name ending on -EV or OV is a supposed Chechen“. Sarah Kendzior’s article The wrong kind of Caucasian made a parallel with the case of Leon Czolgosz, a 28-year-old American of Polish descent who assassinated US President William McKinley in 1901.

Recognizing language and ethnicity is a critical function of the kind of name recognition software used by governmental security forces to match misspelled foreign names against existing watchlists. That the FBI didn’t know Boston bomber traveled to volatile Dagestan region in Russia in 2012 because ‘his name was misspelled on travel documents‘ is rather suprising.

Chechnya is a subject of the Russian Federation, but Chechen names are recognisable from ethnic Russian names. The onomastics of the Russian Federation are complex due to the large number of ethnic groups, the population transfers during Soviet times, the rural exodus and various other factors. The following article shows our analysis of a few name classes, to illustrate the underlying complexity.

Russian Federation - a complex identity and ethnicity

About the author

Atlasys is a cartography workshop specialized in geopolitical analysis.

About the contributors

RUSSOSCOPIE™ is the distributor of INTEGRUM, a leading professional database covering Russian media, companies, and decision makers.

NAMSOR™ is a provider of applied onomastics, sociolinguistics and name recognition software.

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Onomastics to monitor Russian media

Business intelligence firm AESMA used NamSor name recognition software to analyze the coverage by the Russian media of Arab personalities and businesses, between January 2004 and March 2013, using database INTEGRUM.

Arab People In Russian Media (2013)

 

 

 

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.

Reach us at: contact@namsor.com

 

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SmartCity : Geodemography, Onomastics and Megacities

Can the Big Data help make cities Smart AND Inclusive ?

DataTuesday (Paris) : translation a presentation given on the 26th of March at IPSOS

201303_DataTuesday_SmartCity_GreaterMoscow_Teaser

PDF download : Smart City : GEODEMOGRAPHY, Onomastics & Megacities

 

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.

NamSor launched FDIMagnet,  a consulting offering to help Investment Promotion Agencies and High-Tech Clusters leverage a Diaspora to connect with business and scientific communities abroad.

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Russian money targeted in Cyprus

Since Lehman Brothers failure in 2008, there was kind of general feeling that governments would not allow any further banking failures that would either ruin common depositors or trigger a new systemic banking crisis. In the Eurozone, not all governments have the financial credit to abide by this pledge, which makes bailing out banks a difficult exercise.

1€ at the bank in Cyprus worth less than 1€ in the pocket

In the case of the Cyprus bailout, the solution of levying a tax on deposits was felt by Cypriots as a breach of confidence, since the E.U. promised to fully guarantee deposits below 100,000 euros. An alternative scheme to apply the tax only above that threshold would be seen at targeting specifically Russian money : Cyprus is the main financial center used by Russian businessmen to invest abroad and reinvest their money in Russia. 

It is not clear how the situation will be resolved next week. But when the dust settles down, we can expect some of the leading financial centers to send welcoming signals to Russian businessmen : LuxembourgForFinance, TheCityUK, Paris Europlace will be on the line – and the Asians, of course: Hong-Kong and Singapore.

Some of the companies based in Cyprus to whose directors they will want to talk:

Alfa Capital Holdings (Cyprus) Limited, Apg Polyplastic Group Limited, Brokercreditservice (Cyprus) Limited, Celico Productions Co Limited, Crudex Cy Enterprises Limited, Eurosibenergo Plc, Globaltrans Investment Plc, Itera Pet Limited, Lada International Limited, Lorell Limited, Lukoil Cyprus Limited, Ogata Property Limited, Ojsc Promsvyazbank, Prestigio Plaza Limited, Rai Consultants Public Limited, Reserve Invest (Cyprus) Limited, Retal Industries Limited, S.L. Capital Services Limited, Tdam (Cyprus) Limited, Unicom Management Services (Cyprus) Limited, Uniservices Limited, UralChem Holding P.L.C., Urals Energy Public Co. Ltd., Valars Holding Limited, Vision International People Group Public Ltd., Xxi Century Investments Public Limited, …

Further reading : Indian, Chinese, Russian and Japanese directors in European Big Business – an onomastics view [2/2]

About FDIMagnet,

FDI Magnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services:

–   Diaspora Direct Investments (DDI)
–   Smart Investors Targeting & CRM
–   FDI Targeted Communication

Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group or email us at contact@fdimagnet.com

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Indian, Chinese, Russian and Japanese directors in European Big Business – an onomastics view [2/2]

Today, with this map of Japanese and Russian business communities in Europe, we complete an earlier post about Indian and Chinese presence in European economic affairs (*).

Japanese and Russian Business Comunities in EU plus Switzerland (vF)

The map would look different if we filtered information according to certain sectors (industry, trade, energy,…) but as it is, what does the picture tell us?

Besides showing the obvious and the well-known (a strong Russian business community in Russia’s traditional zone of influence, for example in the Baltic’s Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia ; a predominance of Russian businessmen in Cyprus international “offshore” financial holdings), it reveals several less expected features.

Firstly, one would expect Germany to be a stronghold of Russian business in Europe, due to the high level of trade between Russia and Germany. It may be so, but while there are many company directors with Russian names, there are even more Chinese, Indian and Japanese businessmen  in Germany.

Secondly, there is a clear Japanese preference in favour of Belgium and the Netherlands for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and as an entry door for trade with Europe.

Thirdly, while Indian and Chinese directors share a similar profile to select European target countries for FDIs and trading, Russian and Japanese businessmen demonstrate more polarization: they generally make different choices.

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(* We show the density of Japanese and Russian company directors expressed relatively to the total density of Japanese, Russian, Indian and Chinese presence, measured using the onomastics of about half a million company directors of the largest companies of all sectors, in the European Union plus Switzerland. Accuracy of name classification software is typically in the range 75%-95%)

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