For years, Coca-Cola(NYSE: KO) has enjoyed a dominant position in the Chinese cola market (24% of the 2003 market), but now China is fighting back. A Chinese company, Hangzhou Wahaha Group, will take on Coke and Pepsi(NYSE: PEP) stateside beginning in June with its first 170,000-bottle shipment of Future Cola.

Will it make a dent in the $64 billion soft-drink market? Time will tell. We look forward to seeing how China will compete with McDonald's(NYSE: MCD) next.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Highway to Dell

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

If the path to greatness is paved with potholes, why has the road to Dell(Nasdaq: DELL) been so smooth? The computer specialist has been a consistent all-terrain grower, even as many of its peers have moved on to pitch everything from digital downloads to plasma television sets.

Last night was no different as the company produced yet another solid quarterly report. Dell earned $0.28 a share on a 21% surge in revenue. While higher memory prices kept operating profits from keeping pace with the top line, net profits did just that in rising by 22%.

The good times should continue as the company expects shipments, revenue, and earnings to all grow by better than 20% in the current quarter.

The personal computer industry continues to improve. Though Dell was quick to brag that it grew its shipments by 25% while the sector as a whole mustered unit growth of just 14%, think about it: Double-digit growth in demand should spell good times for all of the sector's major players, even if Dell is accumulating incremental slices of market share.

Naturally, that upbeat outlook includes props to fellow titan Hewlett-Packard(NYSE: HPQ), but that also has to be good news for smaller manufacturers like Gateway(NYSE: GTW) as well as operating systems behemoth Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT).

One can draw up a list of peripheral makers that look to benefit from the industry's revival. Peeking inside the box, chip makers Intel(Nasdaq: INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices(Nasdaq: AMD) also stand to reap hearty rewards.

Also encouraging is that Dell's strength was global in scope. Domestic shipments rose by just 18%, meaning that the company saved its healthiest bursts of growth for the overseas market.

And let's not knock Apple(Nasdaq: AAPL) and Gateway for their forays into new product markets because Dell, too, has diversified. This past quarter, just half of the company's revenue came from its flagship desktop computers. However, Dell's expansion has been in logical areas like notebooks, servers, and printers.

So, Dell is doing just fine. It's fitting that the company has been so consistent that the market's first reaction to its growing as promised found the shares trading lower. Oh, what a spoiled lot we've become. It's just good to know that Dell is holding the road map. Someone has to know how to get to where we're going.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no problems with the mixed marriage of his HP desktop projecting on his Dell monitor. Still, he does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.

Discussion Board of the Day: Dell

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Kohl's Rolls a Gutter Ball

By Seth Jayson

"Strikes and gutters, man." That's how the little Lebowski -- The Dude -- described life, and that's how this week's retail roundup seems to be going. Companies like Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT) and budget hipster's friend Target(NYSE: TGT) knocked down some big lumber, while May Department Stores(NYSE: MAY) and Federated Department Stores(NYSE: FD) rolled some so-so numbers.

After the bell on Thursday, it was Milwaukee's own Kohl's(NYSE: KSS) turn to throw. It kept the ball out of the gutter, but only got a few pins. The firm's first-quarter numbers show a respectable 12% gain in revenues, but comps, that all-important measure of sales at existing stores, came in just below flat. To continue with the bowling analogy, that's a bit like muffing a much-needed spare.

Gross margins improved slightly, but SG&A as a percentage of sales increased a bit more than that. Inventory was comparatively slimmer that in the prior-year quarter (10 pins), but accounts receivable grew a bit more quickly than sales (five pins, open frame).

The end result was that a little thing called earnings came through at $0.33 per share, a penny above last year's results.

If you're in the excuse-making mood, you could blame April, the cruelest month. Not too long ago, everything was just hunky-dory and wallets were opening like tulips on the South Lawn. But last month, shoppers seemed to have started pinching off the old cash hose, waiting to see what's next for the economy.

Forward guidance matches up with analysts' estimates of around $2.12 per share. That puts the $42 shares at a forward P/E of around 20. That looks a bit pricey for one of the industry's current underachievers. If shoppers are in wait-and-see mode, retail investors might do well to take the same attitude.

Fool contributor Seth Jayson owns no shares of any companies mentioned. View his Fool profile here.

CBS Milks a Dud

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

It was bad enough that the All-Star edition of the hit series Survivor was a dud (that seems to be the general consensus on our active Survivor discussion board, at least). Hopefully, CBS will learn its lesson. Former reality show contestants that are hungrier for camera time than a million-dollar paycheck make for bad television.

To make matters worse, CBS milked the show one extra week by getting the cast back together last night to award a second million-dollar prize to fan favorite Rupert.

A million dollars isn't necessarily what makes for compelling programming. General Electric's(NYSE: GE) NBC had viewers glued to The Apprentice for what amounts to a $250,000 payment for a year of servitude to Donald Trump of Trump Hotels & Casino(NYSE: DJT) fame. Over at Fox(NYSE: FOX), young adults dream of stardom of William Hung proportions as they sing their hearts out on American Idol.

Sure, CBS parent Viacom(NYSE: VIA) has a lot of good things going for it, but just as surely, that cool million could have been put to better use. So, here are six things that Viacom could have done with the money.

1. I know Viacom is unhappy with how its investment in video rental giant Blockbuster(NYSE: BBI) turned out, but that money could go a long way towards paying off two or three of CEO Sumner Redstone's late fees.

2. MTV is no longer hip? No problem. Hook up with Lakes Entertainment(Nasdaq: LACO) for a new competitive music series, World Polka Tour!

3. How about a better dividend than that paltry 0.6% yield? If not, how about springing for countless thousands of Motley Fool Income Investor subscriptions to enlighten your shareholders?

4. Dust off Paramount, Star Trek, and William Shatner in one fell swoop by producing the next sci-fi epic, Star Trek or Treat: The Wrath of Khandy.

5. Nickelodeon has always scored well with the younger set, but aren't those Rugrats getting a bit too old to be in diapers? A million bucks would do wonders when it comes to animated wardrobe.

6. Give me the million next time. I will lock my set on CBS, smash my remote control, and never leave the couch.

Munarriz ... out!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is just glad that Amazing Race is returning for another season this summer. He does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this story.

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