China Reforms Face Headwinds at Home and Abroad

China Reforms Face Headwinds at Home and Abroad

In the late 1980s, University of Chicago professor Robert Aliber proposed, partly in jest, what he called the Andy Warhol theory of economic growth: “In the future every country will grow rapidly for 15 years.” He had in mind the plethora of so-called miracle economies that seemed to take off one after the other in the postwar era. In every case, decades of high growth, almost always driven by very high levels of investment, eventually faltered. Read more of this post

Bribery claims infect drug companies’ dealings in China

September 23, 2013 4:00 pm

Bribery claims infect drug companies’ dealings in China

By Andrew Jack and Patti Waldmeir

It began as a rumour on a Chinese social media site in July, but the impact has swiftly spread around the world: allegations that GlaxoSmithKline was the “godfather” of a system of bribery in the country totalling up to $500m. The corruption claims, which have since expanded to other multinational pharmaceutical companies including Sanofi, Novartis and Eli Lilly, have created a growing sense of concern among executives, investors and doctors alike. Read more of this post

US manufacturers ‘reshoring’ from China; The shift reflects China’s ebbing competitive advantage as a low-cost manufacturing centre after years of rapid wage inflation

September 24, 2013 12:25 am

US manufacturers ‘reshoring’ from China

By Ed Crooks in New York

American companies are increasingly “reshoring” manufacturing operations from China to the US, according to a survey of executives. The shift reflects China’s ebbing competitive advantage as a low-cost manufacturing centre after years of rapid wage inflation and points to rising employment in US manufacturing, even though official data have shown little growth over the past year. Recent examples of companies announcing plans to shift production from China to the US include K’Nex, the toy manufacturer, Trellis Earth Products, which makes bioplastic goods such as bags and utensils, and Handful, the bra manufacturer. Read more of this post

Alibaba Offers Instant-Messaging App to Compete Against Tencent

Alibaba Offers Instant-Messaging App to Compete Against Tencent

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the largest e-commerce company in China, is offering an instant-messaging app as it tries to compete against Tencent Holdings Ltd. in the world’s biggest smartphone market. The app, called Laiwang, allows users to form group chats with as many as 500 people and share maps, videos and stickers, according to Alizila, a website run by Alibaba. It has about 1 million existing users, and the company wants to boost that to 100 million, the company said in an e-mail today. Read more of this post

Chinese smartphone owners are heavy entertainment users, but only 27% actually pay for content

Chinese smartphone owners are heavy entertainment users, but only 27% actually pay for content

By Kaylene Hong, 17 hours ago

It’s already a well-established fact that China is the world’s largest smartphone market — but what exactly do Chinese consumers use their mobile devices for? A recent report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) obtained by TNW sheds some light on how the Chinese spend a majority of the time on their mobile devices for entertainment purposes — playing games, reading, watching videos and listening to music. However, Chinese smartphone users are a difficult audience to cater to — with challenges such as monetization troubles and a short attention span. In the past half a year, only 26.9 percent of Chinese smartphone owners who access entertainment services on their devices have forked out money for what they use. About 39.3 percent of the respondents surveyed play a game for only two weeks, and then move on to something else. Read more of this post

Robots May Revolutionize China’s Electronics Manufacturing; Machines in Pipeline to Supplant Workers as Pay Soars and People Age

September 23, 2013, 8:07 p.m. ET

Robots May Revolutionize China’s Electronics Manufacturing

Machines in Pipeline to Supplant Workers as Pay Soars and People Age

PAUL MOZUR and EVA DOU

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A new worker’s revolution is rising in China and it doesn’t involve humans. A concept robot by Delta Electronics, which is among developers in Asia seeking to build better, cheaper robots. With soaring wages and an aging population, electronics factory managers say the day is approaching when robotic workers will replace people on the Chinese factory floor. A new wave of industrial robots is in development, ranging from high-end humanoid machines with vision, touch and even learning capabilities, to low-cost robots vying to undercut China’s minimum wage. Over the next five years these technologies will transform China’s factories, executives say, and also fill a growing labor shortage as the country’s youth become increasingly unwilling to perform manual labor. How the transformation plays out will also go a long way in deciding how much of the electronics supply chain remains in China. Read more of this post

Google has launched a healthcare company to attack some of the most difficult scientific problems in diseases related to ageing, marking the biggest step yet beyond its core internet business

September 18, 2013 7:05 pm

Google launches healthcare company

By Richard Waters in San Francisco

Google has launched a healthcare company to attack some of the most difficult scientific problems in diseases related to ageing, marking the biggest step yet beyond its core internet business. Larry Page, chief executive, unveiled the venture, called Calico, with a characteristically ambitious and vague claim that “with some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives”. Read more of this post

Using Big Data to amplify your customer experience

Using Big Data to amplify your customer experience

By: Keith Carter
Monday, 02 September 2013 11:04 | Be the first to comment

The profusion of smartphones and tablets in recent years has changed the retail landscape, contributing to an ongoing shift in the balance of power firmly towards the hands of the customer. Armed with a relatively inexpensive mobile device, shoppers have instant access to facts, opinions and reviews and can compare prices on just about anything they might be interested in buying – be it from their local corner store or an online retailer operating out of giant warehouses on the other side of the world.
The combination of mobile device and data plan effectively gives customers a “Big Data license”, bringing ready access to a wealth of product and retail information.
One survey in the US for example found that 59 per cent of consumers said they regularly use their smartphones while shopping in retail stores to compare prices for the same or similar products. But of course it’s not only prices that can influence purchase choices. Having a “Big Data license” also allows customers access to a broad swathe of other information, including: Read more of this post

Fingerprint Cards and Precise Biometrics slumped more than 30 percent in Stockholm trading because of concerns over the safety of biometrics amid claims the sensors on Apple latest iPhone can be hacked

Fingerprint Cards Slumps on Apple Hacker Claim: Stockholm Mover

Fingerprint Cards AB (FINGB) and Precise Biometrics AB (PREC) slumped more than 30 percent in Stockholm trading because of concerns over the safety of biometrics amid claims the sensors on Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) latest iPhone can be hacked. Fingerprint lost as much as 36 percent to 41.2 kronor, its steepest drop since July 10 2012. The stock fell 14 percent to 55.50 kronor as of 2:50 p.m. local time, with trading volume at more than five times the daily average in the past three months. Shares of Precise Biometrics declined as much as 34 percent to 2.28 kronor, their biggest drop since December 1999. The stock decreased 18 percent to 2.83 kronor at 2:50 p.m. Read more of this post

Chip Prices Reach Two-Year High After SK Hynix Fire in China

Chip Prices Reach Two-Year High After SK Hynix Fire in China

Computer and smartphone makers face higher costs for a key component as memory-chip prices surged 42 percent to the highest in more than two years following a fire at an SK Hynix Inc. plant in China. The price of the benchmark DDR3 2-gigabit dynamic random-access memory chip reached $2.27 today, compared with $1.60 on Sept. 4, the day a fire forced the closing of SK Hynix’s factory in Wuxi, according to DRAMeXchange, Asia’s largest market for the components. Icheon, South Korea-based SK Hynix expects to resume production on the fire-hit line next month. Read more of this post

‘Canadian Buffett’ may struggle to save BlackBerry; Value investor Prem Watsa may struggle to squeeze more value from BlackBerry.

‘Canadian Buffett’ may struggle to save BlackBerry

Alistair Barr and Scott Martin, USA TODAY7:33 p.m. EDT September 23, 2013

Value investor Prem Watsa may struggle to squeeze more value from BlackBerry.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Investor group led by Watsa’s Fairfax offers $4.7 billion in cash for BlackBerry

Going private may give struggling handset company freedom to reorganize

BlackBerry’s struggling handset business may tarnish rest of the company

BlackBerry shares edge higher but stay below $9 offer price

SAN FRANCISCO — Prem Watsa, a successful value investor known as the “Canadian Warren Buffett,” may struggle to squeeze any more value out of his investment in floundering mobile company BlackBerry. BlackBerry said Monday it is working on a deal to be acquired by a group of investors led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, the insurance business run by Watsa. The deal, which is subject to due diligence, further negotiation and regulatory approval, would pay BlackBerry shareholders $9 a share in cash for a total value of about $4.7 billion, the company added. Read more of this post

Asos’ market capitalisation of £4bn would rank it alongside the UK’s biggest 100 companies on the London stock market – up from £12m 12 years ago; All that the founders offered investors was an idea of selling a film star look via a website

September 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Asos board could size up blue-chip weight

By Kate Burgess

If you saw an elephant perched on a termite mound, you would ask why. So why are shares in Asos, the online retailer of cut-price designer labels and looky-likey glamour rags, still pretending it is a tiddler whose natural habitat is Aim? In an alternative world, Asos’ market capitalisation of £4bn would rank it alongside the UK’s biggest 100 companies on the London stock market – slightly ahead of rival retailer Sports Direct, which has just been promoted to the FTSE 100. Asos is by far the biggest stock on Aim and more than twice the size of its nearest neighbours, Indus Gas and Gulf Keystone Petroleum. GKP, whose market capitalisation is less than £2bn, says it is too big for the junior market. It heads a queue of Aim companies hoping that a full London Stock Exchange listing will bring investors flocking to their doors.  Read more of this post

Aung San Syy Kyi: ‘Myanmar should not seek to recreate S’pore’s policies’; “That made me think … what is the purpose of a workforce … of work … of material wealth? Is that the ultimate aim of human beings, is that what we all want?”

‘Myanmar should not seek to recreate S’pore’s policies’

SINGAPORE — While she welcomed cooperation between the two countries, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday said her country should not seek to recreate Singapore’s policies and institutions.

BY WOO SIAN BOON –

5 HOURS 51 MIN AGO

SINGAPORE — While she welcomed cooperation between the two countries, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday said her country should not seek to recreate Singapore’s policies and institutions. As she wrapped up her four-day bilateral visit here, Ms Suu Kyi had spent the day visiting the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, while also calling on Singapore’s leaders at the Istana. Speaking to reporters at a press conference later in the evening, Ms Suu Kyi recounted her visit to ITE College East, where she made a remark to Singapore officials that “education in Singapore, as in many other countries, seems to be workforce oriented”. “That made me think … what is the purpose of a workforce … of work … of material wealth? Is that the ultimate aim of human beings, is that what we all want? In a sense, I want to probe more into successes of Singapore and to find out what we can achieve beyond that.” Read more of this post

How Indonesia Lost Its Growth Mojo; Manufacturing’s share of the economy fell as Jakarta pushed for wage increases, let corruption grow and stifled competition

September 23, 2013, 12:20 p.m. ET

How Indonesia Lost Its Growth Mojo

Manufacturing’s share of the economy fell as Jakarta pushed for wage increases, let corruption grow and stifled competition.

ADAM SCHWARZ

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision last week to hold off on the much-awaited “taper” has elicited huge sighs of relief in Indonesia. Already the battered currency and equity markets have gained back a little ground as confidence is rising that the immediate crisis is over. A good deal of credit for Indonesia’s calmed nerves goes to Finance Minister Chatib Basri, who has quietly but effectively assembled a set of reforms that address key investor concerns. But many investors, domestic and foreign, say that it is too early to know whether any broader message has sunk in. Read more of this post

Grupo Lala SAB, Mexico’s biggest dairy producer, is seeking to raise at least $700 million as sales of milk, cheese and yogurt grow twice as fast as the country’s economy

Lala Said to Seek at Least $700 Million in Mexican Milk IPO

Grupo Lala SAB, Mexico’s biggest dairy producer, is seeking to raise at least $700 million in an initial public offering this year, two people with direct knowledge of the transaction said, as sales of milk, cheese and yogurt grow twice as fast as the country’s economy. The size and timing of the sale are subject to change based on market conditions, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are confidential. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) are managing the sale, according to a preliminary prospectus filed today with the Mexican stock exchange. Read more of this post

Reebok Turns to ‘Race From Hell’ to Revive Former Glory

Reebok Turns to ‘Race From Hell’ to Revive Former Glory

(Corrects story that ran Sept. 19 to clarify in third and fifth paragraphs that sponsorship is of CrossFit Games and since 2011)

When he reached his late 20s, Ryan Meade watched his friends get “kind of fat” as they married and settled down. To fight the pudge, he took up obstacle racing — endurance contests where he slogs through deep mud, scales walls and slithers under barbed wire. “The races on the weekend are a reason to go to the gym and wake up at 5 a.m. and get a workout,” said the 30-year-old financial executive from West Chester, Pennsylvania. When he wades through the muck at this weekend’s Spartan Race world championships in Vermont, Meade will be wearing $30 Reebok calf support sleeves, good news for a brand that’s seeking to remake itself as a leader in group fitness. The growing industry encompasses everything from the Spartan Race to CrossFit Games to Les Mills Body Attack classes — all of which Reebok now sponsors. Read more of this post

Japan’s Lixil Considers Buying Germany’s Grohe; Deal Would Be Largest Japanese Acquisition of a German Company

Updated September 23, 2013, 11:36 a.m. ET

Japan’s Lixil Considers Buying Germany’s Grohe

Deal Would Be Largest Japanese Acquisition of a German Company

EYK HENNING

Japanese housing-equipment maker Lixil Group Corp. 5938.TO -5.04% is in advanced talks to buy Germany’s Grohe, several people familiar with the deal said, a transaction that could value the bathroom-fittings maker slightly above €3 billion ($4 billion). Grohe’s owners, financial investors TPG and Credit Suisse‘s CSGN.VX -1.14%private-equity arm, are seeking to sell the company, but have been conducting a dual-track process in which they simultaneously prepare an initial public offering of stock in case a sale falls through. The two investors have jointly owned the Düsseldorf-based maker of faucets and showers for almost a decade. Read more of this post

Baseball reflects Japan’s changing economy; The country is realising outside competition is essential to progress

September 23, 2013 7:32 pm

Baseball reflects Japan’s changing economy

By Kurt Campbell

The country is realising outside competition is essential to progress, writes Kurt Campbell

Baseball, America and Japan’s shared national pastime, is a useful window through which to view the two countries’ contrasting and changing attitudes to foreigners in general – and in the economy in particular. Fans in the US have long embraced Japanese stars such as Ichiro Suzuki, the hit machine long with the Seattle Mariners; Hideki Matsui, the slugger beloved by the New York Yankees (and nicknamed Godzilla by fans); and Daisuke Matsuzaka, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, the thrower of the mythical gyroball pitch. Read more of this post

New Zealand’s Privatization Effort Propels IPO Market

Sep 23, 2013

New Zealand’s Privatization Effort Propels IPO Market

LUCY CRAYMER

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New Zealand has a reputation for punching above its weight in everything from dairy exports to the America’s Cup. Now it is doing that in the financial arena. Despite being home to only 4.5 million people, the South Pacific nation this year ranks among major global markets for initial public offerings, thanks to a government privatization drive that has put the stock exchange on pace for one of its best-ever years for IPOs by value. So far this year, NZX Ltd.NZX.NZ -0.78% has hosted a total of US$2.3 billion of IPOs, nearly double the $1.3 billion raised over the previous six years combined, according to data provider Dealogic. That has catapulted it into sixth place among the Asian-Pacific region’s top IPO markets—behind Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Thailand—and puts it in 14th place world-wide. Read more of this post

Vietnam Stocks Emerge From Slump; “Investors are a fickle bunch. If there is not sustained progress in reforms, they’ll quickly sour and head onto the dance floor with someone else.”

September 23, 2013, 5:53 p.m. ET

Vietnam Stocks Emerge From Slump

Overhauls Pay Dividends as Peers in Developing Economies Struggle

JAMES HOOKWAY And NGUYEN ANH THU

HANOI—When Vietnam’s decadelong economic boom ended in 2009, Nguyen Huynh Diep lost about $50,000. A novice investor in the country’s stock market, Mr. Diep said he saw the value of many of his holdings slump. Now, though, he is back on the trading floors of Hanoi’s stock brokerages, picking up bargains when he can as Vietnam’s economy begins to heat up again after a long and often painful thaw. “The market’s back up this year,” the 40-year-old Mr. Diep said. “And I keep buying more stock.” Read more of this post

Vietnam’s bad debt attractive to some investors, but regulations still unclear“I don’t know if they physically moved the steel each time but they used the same inventory. Five guys in a row who pledged a bunch of steel that probably doesn’t exist”

Vietnam’s bad debt attractive to some investors, but regulations still unclear

By Associated Press, Published: September 23

HANOI, Vietnam — The soured loans clogging up Vietnam’s banks and the rows of abandoned houses gathering mold in the Hanoi rain are signs of a sick economy. But to foreign investors they represent an opportunity for sparkling returns — if only the Communist government makes them welcome. Neil Hagan, an American debt recovery specialist who wants to start a company servicing bad loans in Vietnam on behalf of foreign buyers, says he gets weekly calls from hedge funds based in Singapore and Hong Kong asking whether now is the time to scoop up some of the debt. So far at least, he advises them to stay put. Read more of this post

Singapore Foreigner Curbs Target Professionals: Southeast Asia

Singapore Foreigner Curbs Target Professionals: Southeast Asia

Singapore will widen foreign-worker curbs to professional jobs as the government clamps down on companies that hire overseas talent at the expense of citizens, stepping up efforts to counter a backlash against immigration. The Southeast Asian nation said yesterday it will set up a job bank where companies are required to advertise positions to Singaporeans before applying for so-called employment passes for foreign professionals. The unprecedented policy will target jobs that pay at least S$3,000 ($2,400) a month. Read more of this post

Maybe New Zealand Can Solve Housing Bubbles

Maybe New Zealand Can Solve Housing Bubbles

As the world’s biggest economies search for ways to let the air out of giant asset bubbles, they might find some answers in tiny New Zealand. (NZOCR)

Fittingly, the nation that begins the developed world’s day and the central bank that pioneered inflation targeting will probably be the first to raise short-term interest rates. The move could come next year as growth steadily returns to levels seen before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. But something far more interesting is afoot at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s headquarters in Wellington. Faced with a scary housing bubble not terribly unlike that in the U.S. five years back, Governor Graeme Wheeler should be tapping the brakes now, and hard, or so holds classical monetary theory. Doing so, however, would jeopardize the nation’s 2.5 percent growth amid general global uncertainty. Instead, Wheeler is conducting an experiment: limits on leveraged lending. Read more of this post

US housing: Content to rent? Americans are increasingly abandoning property ownership as investment increases in the rental sector

September 23, 2013 7:17 pm

US housing: Content to rent?

By Anjli Raval

Americans are increasingly abandoning property ownership as investment increases in the rental sector

Sandie Crisman sees the headlines hailing the US housing rebound and wonders when she will get her share of it. The 60-year-old Florida resident is one of the tens of thousands of Americans burnt by the housing bust that wiped out $7tn in homeowner equity and is still suffering from its fallout. “If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t be a homeowner,” she says. “What’s the point if you can’t guarantee your house will be worth what you paid for it in five or 10 years time?” Read more of this post

US convertible bond sales slow sharply

September 23, 2013 9:47 am

US convertible bond sales slow sharply

By Arash Massoudi in New York

The pace of convertible bond issuance in the US unexpectedly slowed through the summer, defying investor expectations that a rapid number of new deals would come to market as interest rates moved higher. Convertible bonds allow companies to issue debt at ultra-low yields but give investors the option to convert the securities into stock if the share price reaches a preset premium during the bond’s tenure. Read more of this post

Celebrating a Century of Indian Cinema

Celebrating a Century of Indian Cinema

By Gurjit Singh on 10:22 pm September 23, 2013.
This year marks the centenary of Indian cinema. It was in May 1913 that the first full-length feature film “Raja Harishchandra” was screened in Mumbai. That film brought traditional Indian legends to the silver screen and changed the nature of entertainment in India. The cinema movement in the country thereafter moved very quickly from Mumbai, to Chennai, to Hyderabad and to Bengal where the cinema industry and theater developed quickly. The low price of tickets brought a new awareness to the people of India and community viewing of cinema became an integral part of Indian social activity. Read more of this post

The Landesbanken: Inside Germany’s trillion euro banking blind spot

The Landesbanken: Inside Germany’s trillion euro banking blind spot

Tue, Sep 17 2013

By Laura Noonan

HAMBURG (Reuters) – Many Germans feel that whoever wins Sunday’s election, they should not fund any more bailouts of fellow European countries, whose errant banks are a particular bugbear for Berlin. But a cornerstone of Germany’s own banking system, which has already received state bailouts, is facing fresh challenges, increasing the need for reforms which will be very hard for any new government to deliver. Read more of this post

F.D.A. to Regulate Some Health Apps

September 23, 2013

F.D.A. to Regulate Some Health Apps

By SABRINA TAVERNISE

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it would regulate only a small portion of the rapidly expanding universe of mobile health applications, software programs that run on smartphones and tablets and perform the same functions as medical devices. Agency officials said their goal is to oversee apps that function like medical devices, performing ultrasounds, for example, and that could potentially pose risks to patients. Tens of thousands of health apps have sprung up in recent years, including apps that count steps or calories for fitness and weight loss, but agency officials said they would not regulate those types of apps. Read more of this post

Should the U.S. Finance Alternative-Energy Startups? After some well-publicized failures, two experts debate whether the federal government should play this role

September 22, 2013, 5:17 p.m. ET

Should the U.S. Finance Alternative-Energy Startups?

After some well-publicized failures, two experts debate whether the federal government should play this role.

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The federal government has long been a player in the energy industry. On top of its regulatory role, the U.S. government extends tax credits to companies in fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear energy alike. It also makes direct investments. The Tennessee Valley Authority, for instance, a supplier of power to seven states, was created by Congress and has been owned by the U.S. since 1933. Read more of this post

Phoenix Solar to build largest PV solar system in Singapore for supermarket giant Sheng Siong Group,

Sheng Siong’s distribution centre to house largest single solar panel installation

shengsiong_zb

Monday, September 23, 2013 – 16:16

Grace Chua

The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – The 11,000 square metre installation will supply up to 1.2 megawatts when running at peak, and will be built by major solar energy firm Phoenix Solar. The system is expected to start producing electricity by the end of this year, and supply at least 15 per cent of the centre’s consumption. 

Phoenix Solar to build largest PV system in Singapore

The Singapore-based firm will design and build Singapore’s largest photovoltaic system for supermarket giant Sheng Siong Group, which will reduce 730 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year

Phoenix Solar on Monday announced that it will design and build the biggest photovoltaic (PV) system in Singapore for supermarket giant Sheng Siong Group. Read more of this post

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