Warehouse Collateral Fraud Vs Warehouse-System Business Moats in Asia to Store Value

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“Bamboo Innovators bend, not break, even in the most terrifying storm that would snap the mighty resisting oak tree. It survives, therefore it conquers.”

BAMBOO LETTER UPDATE | June 23, 2014
Bamboo Innovator Insight (Issue 39)

The weekly insight is a mere teaser into the opportunities – and pitfalls! – in the Asian capital jungles. Get The Moat Report Asia – a monthly in-depth presentation report of around 30-40 pages covering the business model of the company, why it has a wide moat and why the moat may continue to widen, a special section on “Conversation with Management”, the context – why now (certain corporate or industry events or groundbreaking news), valuations (why it can compound 2-3x in the next 5 years), potential risks and how it is part of the systematic process in the Bamboo Innovator Index of 200+ companies out of 15,000+ in the Asia ex-Japan universe.

 

Warehouse Collateral Fraud Vs Warehouse-System Business Moats in Asia to Store Value

 

“From saving comes having.”

“If ye like the nut, crack it.”

– Local Scottish proverbs, meaning nothing is achieved without effort.

 

A Scottish pelican flew by the Omaha of Singapore and Asia last week. Over coffee at the Singapore Management University away from the syndicates, two value investors – and one of our valued Moat Report Asia subscribers – from an illustrious Scottish-origin global fund house with investment offices from Botswana (arguably Africa’s best-managed nation) to Australia explained that their corporate symbol of pelican, characterized by their long beaks and large warehouse-like throat pouch, represents the prudent storage of value and wealth.

 

We exchanged our views on Asia, including how one Asian watch retailer, with attractive quantitative financial numbers and a “capex-light” business model with concessionary-fees paid to departmental store outlets, had a shareholder-syndicate that is responsible for quite a number of misgovernance-prone firms such as Asia Cassava(841 HK), Natural Beauty Bio-Tech (157 HK), LifeTech Scientific (1302 HK), China Distance Education (DL US) etc. Hidden related-party transactions have cast doubts on the quality of its receivables and other receivables used to prop up artificial sales. We also talked about briefly how we have both visited a prominent consumer brand in China – and that their neighbor on the same floor was a HK-listed green food processor, a market darling and “compounder” whose stock price had plunged over 90% coincidentally after our article was published in the local newspaper revealing its connections with a Singapore-listed company embroiled in accounting fraud – the chairmen of both companies are brothers.

 

The recent warehouse collateral rehypothecation fraud in China’s Qingdao port unravelled in early July was also of interest and relevance to understanding the governance risks in Asia.  According to the 21st Century Business Heraldat least 17 financial institutions involved in copper, aluminum and other nonferrous metals financing business face losses of almost RMB15bn ($2.4bn) (not including the contagious rehypothecated collateral chains) in which the same stock of cooper stored at the port as collateral against loans was suspected to be illegally pledged by trading firms to more than one lender to obtain multiple loans. Qingdao Port ranks as China’s largest iron ore port and third-largest foreign trade port and the world’s seventh-largest port. Traders have used metals and commodities as collateral to bring into China around $160bn, about 31% of the China’s total short-term foreign exchange loans (duration < 1 year) and 14% of China’s total FX loans. Of these deals, gold, copper and iron ore are three leading commodities, followed by soybean, palm oil, natural rubber, nickel, zinc and aluminum. Some of this cheaper overseas money is used to speculate in “higher-yielding”, short-term investments in China via loans to local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) and property developers. Rather than being used to meet actual demand, these stocks are imported into bonded warehouse zones, areas where import taxes don’t apply, and re-exported when they are no longer needed as collateral. Such commodity finance loans to circumvent China’s capital controls allow traders to take advantage of the fact that interest rates in China are higher than on the offshore loans. The catalyst for the unravelling could be due to the sharp decline in profitability of such commodity financing due to lower RMB/USD rate differentials, higher RMB volatilities against USD and higher LME rolling costs. Since mid-2013, the Chinese government moved to reduce the amount of money that can be borrowed per commodity unit i.e. larger amounts of commodities are needed to raise the same amount of low cost foreign funding. The risks of the shadow banking sector and commodity financing are that no one knows who the ultimate borrower is, how indebted they are or how many people they owe. CITIC Resources (1205 HK), part of the powerful CITIC Group, had reported that half of its alumina stockpiles, worth $50m, at Qingdao port cannot be located after applying to courts in Qingdao to secure metal assets it owns in warehouses.

 

The trader at the heart of the fraud, Qingdao Decheng Resources, has a trading subsidiary office in Singapore’s financial hub called Zhong Jun Resources, headed by Chen Jihong, a Singapore mainland-Chinese citizen. Chen was detained by Chinese authorities in late April over the corruption probe related to Western Mining (601168 CH), a mining major in northwestern Qinghai province. Chen had shares in Qingdao Port (6198 HK) which went public in Hong Kong on June 6. Decheng’s parent, Dezheng Resources, bills itself as China’s lowest-cost aluminium producer, with smelters sited alongside power plants and open pit coal mines in Inner Mongolia and elsewhere. Many western banks were said to not realize they are involved in the Qingdao fraud. Citibank had made a loan to Swiss commodities trading firm Mercuria Energy Group that ended up sending money to China by way of the Qingdao port. Mercuria had agreed in March to buy the physical commodities business of JP Morgan Chase. Banks around the world lent $687bn to commodities-based businesses, according to Bloomberg. JPMorgan was the top U.S. lender worldwide, at $57bn, followed by Wells Fargo $47bn.

 

Interestingly, we have come to know about the Qingdao gang in Singapore around four years ago in 2010. A friend’s lady friend, a fresh graduate, was employed by the huge Qingdao firm at a relatively high monthly salary of US$6,000. The girl was spotted carrying expensive luxury branded bags and had boasted about how easy and comfortable her job was at this big company. The girl’s previous job in Singapore was at a Chinese “educational institute” and she was responsible for marketing the courses to overseas Chinese students – and getting lucrative commission for each successful case; the school folded. The Qingdao gang was one of the many entrepreneurs from China lured by the Singapore government to set up trading subsidiaries to build up the financial services sector and help its ambitions as the offshore centre for renminbi trade. They are in Singapore to seek cheaper US dollar loans for their commodity purchases on terms that are cheaper than dollar funding offered in China. Many of these commodity trading firms have no legally-enforceable assets in Singapore.

Many businesses in Asia are simply “asset-shifters”…

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The archetypal compounders Wal-Mart and Amazon have warehouse-system business moats to support their overall business model and strategy to compete to get closer to the end consumer with consumer intelligence and to deliver better service. The warehouses aren’t mere tangible assets for investment purposes but are embedded with intangible knowledge to win customers. For instance, Wal-Mart …

<Article snipped>

The case of Wal-Mart and Amazon illuminates the power of warehouse-system business moats in storing value for investors. How about the case of Asia?

GD Express – Stock Price Performance, 2005-2014

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We are reminded of one of our overseas due diligence exercises conducted in late March 2012 on several companies, including Malaysia’s GD Express (Bursa: GDX MK, MV $569m). Interestingly, after we saw the company which was at the cusp of a major expansion, share price compounded 7-folds to $569m in market value…

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Asian Company X Vs Amazon – Stock Price Performance, 2009-2014

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Asian Company X Vs Amazon – Stock Price Performance, 2011-2014

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There is another Asian company with a warehouse-system business moat that we might highlight in our monthlyMoat Report Asia at the opportune time. This weekly insight is a mere teaser into the opportunities – and pitfalls! – in the Asian capital jungles beyond the “cheap” statistical stocks whose stock prices, volume and accounting numbers are often manipulated by syndicates and “insiders” (dubbed “Zhuang Jia” 庄家). The Moat Report, on the other hand, is a monthly in-depth presentation report of around 30-40 pages covering the business model of the company, why it has a wide moat and why the moat may continue to widen, a special section on “Conversation with Management”, the context – why now (certain corporate or industry events or groundbreaking news), valuations (why it can compound 2-3x in the next 5 years), potential risks and how it is part of the systematic process in the Bamboo Innovator Index of 200+ companies out of 15,000+ in the Asia ex-Japan universe. Above are the 5-year and 3-year price charts of the Asian company vs Amazon; its market value is between $500m-$1bn.

The company has differentiated itself by providing…

<Article snipped>

Thus, like the good old Scottish values in the opening proverbs that nothing is achieved without effort, investing in physical tangible assets which are structured in the balance sheet for passive investment purposes might generate attractive short-term high-yielding returns effortlessly. However, these “effortless” arbitrage returns may not be sustainable and can unwind violently like the Qingdao fraud case. Seemingly long-term debt capital became short-term capital creating a duration mismatch between left-hand side arbitrage opportunities and right-hand side liabilities. Consequently, arbitrageurs became unable to maintain prices of assets. Most Asian entrepreneurs and business owners do not believe in “impractical” knowledge to build a wide-moat business, preferring opportunistic maneuvers in active asset-shifting and passive investments in property and warehouses for their yields and potential capital appreciation in an “effortless” way to make money. Thankfully, there are some low-profile resilient Asian innovators who see fit to crack the tough nut of knowledge in building a wide moat with a warehouse-system business model to reach out to their customers and serve them better. Instead of indulging in an ostentatious lifestyle with various forms of trophy assets, the quiet innovators save and reinvest the profits back into the business to widen the moat. Because the Bamboo Innovators know that building a wide moat is the only sustainable way to store value and wealth.

 

To read the exclusive article in full to find out more about the story of PT Davomas Abadi, APP, Golden Key, Astra, including the impact of hidden controlling ownership on governance risks and business valuation, please visit:

 

  • Warehouse Collateral Fraud Vs Warehouse-System Business Moats in Asia to Store Value, Jun 23, 2014 (Moat Report Asia, BeyondProxy)

 

Some updates:

 

1)      We will be away from July 1 to July 11 for our mandatory military camp training in Singapore, following which we will be on a business trip in Italy from July 13-20.

 

2)      Value Unplugged 2014 and Value Investing Seminar in July in Italy

 

Value Unplugged 2014 (www.valueunplugged.com) in Naples, Italy is now full. We’ll gather in a small, relaxed setting to learn and make friends. We’ll also attend Ciccio Azzollini’s sold-out Value Investing Seminar in July in Trani, Italy — the definitive summer conference for value investors – as one of the keynote speakers.

http://www.valueinvestingseminar.it/content_/relatori.asp?lan=eng&anno=2014

 

The Moat Report Asia
 

“In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable ‘moats’.”

– Warren Buffett

 

The Moat Report Asia is a research service focused exclusively on competitively advantaged, attractively priced public companies in Asia. Together with our European partners BeyondProxy and The Manual of Ideas, the idea-oriented acclaimed monthly research publication for institutional and private investors, we scour Asia to produceThe Moat Report Asia, a monthly in-depth presentation report highlighting an undervalued wide-moat business in Asia with an innovative and resilient business model to compound value in uncertain times. Our Members from North America, the Nordic, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing.

 

Learn more about membership benefits here: http://www.moatreport.com/subscription/

 

  • Individual subscription at $1,994 per year:

https://www.moatreport.com/individual-subscription/?s2-ssl=yes

 

Our latest monthly issue for the month of June investigates the world’s #1 ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) and global #5 manufacturer of a consumer healthcare device product that is used frequently, even daily, thus providing the foundation for stable recurring cashflow. This company is also a hidden champion in a niche product segment (50-55% of group’s sales) that has become a high-growth fashion product currently accounting for less than 10% of the overall industry. The company is able to mass-manufacture this niche product, but not the giants, because of its unique process IP in flexible manufacturing system and know-how to handle large-scale complex orders. The manufacture of this product itself is difficult to replicate and requires FDA/CE licenses because of its medical device nature and the entry barrier is not capital but the know-how and R&D expertise. In particular, the manufacturing integrates different fields of science including polymer chemistry, physics, optics, engineering, materials control, process control, microbiology, and, injection molding. The firm has also developed a proprietary system of tracking the manufacturing process of different sets of product so that if a quality issue arose, when and where the problem set of products was being produced could be swiftly identified, thus diminishing the scale and cost of product recall. This system has helped the firm win the long-term trust of its ODM customers to place stable large orders. The Big Four giants do not have such a system and have to incur substantial losses from product recalls. The company also possess its own brand which has many loyal followers and support in its home market where it enjoys a 30% market share and contributes to 25% of group’s sales while sticky ODM customers account for 75% of group’s sales, mainly from the Japan market. As a result of its wide-moat advantages, the firm enjoys a consistently high ROE of 41%, double or triple that of the giants. From FY07 onwards, even during the depths of the Global Financial Crisis in 2007/09, the firm has not raised equity. Since listing in Mar 2004, the company has only done one rights issue in May 2005. Also, it is able to sustain a strong stable cash dividend payout (>70% with 3% yield) with its healthy net-cash balance sheet (net cash $30m; net cash-to-equity ratio 23%) and proven management execution in prudent capex expansion to support sustainable quality earnings growth. M&A deals in the healthcare and medical device sector has been growing due to their strong defensive nature and giants seeking growth to overcome their own patent cliff. The firm will always be an attractive takeover target by giants who wish to swallow it up to possess its valuable flexible manufacturing system and know-how to fill their own missing competency gap and hence will enjoy long-term downside protection in its terminal value. In the battle between “ODM vs Brand”, we find the story of the company to be quite similar to that of TSMC (2330 TT, MV $103bn), now the largest ODM foundry in the world. “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been,” as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky advised. In our view, the profit and valuation premium in the value chain will start to skate to the “Inno-facturers” who are the hidden ODM innovators (the brand behind brands) consolidating the industry, such as TSMC and this company. While its valuation is not cheap with EV/EBIT (FY13) at 20.6x, when we compare EV/EBIT relative to ROE, the company is relatively cheap, by as much as 130-220% when compared to giants and other comparables. When we compare EV/EBITDA relative to ROE, the valuation gap is 90-160%. This long-term valuation gap implies that the company, with its far superior and sustainable ROE, could potentially double to $2.4bn, as it continues to consolidate its niche product segment and enter into a new product cycle of an innovative product whose patents are expiring in 2014/15 (US/worldwide) to make ASP/margin improvements in sustaining quality profits and cashflow. Its share price has dropped 18% from its recent high and underperformed the index by 26% in the last six months. This will present a buying opportunity for long-term value investors who can penetrate beyond conventional valuation metrics because of a deep understanding of its business model and underlying source of its wide-moat advantages. In Asia, many firms break apart or become value traps due to shareholder conflict, envy and differences in opinion on the business direction of the company. The stable long-term corporate culture infused by the late founder, who established the company in 1986 with the current executive chairman and 2 other key shareholders, to combine the energy and ideas of everyone to work hard to keep the business running forever is underappreciated.

 

Our past monthly issues examine:

 

  • The Home Depot of Asia which has the largest market share in its home country and now seeks to expand regionally. It is one of the few home improvement retailers in the world which is able to achieve a structural negative cash conversion cycle (CCC) at -39 days for resilient, recurring and sustainable operating cashflow to enable the expansion of its store network while keeping a healthy balance sheet. It is hard to achieve negative cash conversion cycle (CCC) as a home retailer as compared to a supermarket retailer as the product nature is more durable. Even Home Depot, Lowe’s and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) are not able to achieve a negative CCC. Led by the capable owner-operators since 1995, the company is a pioneer in proactively creating awareness and demand in the minds of consumers that upgrading your home can be fun and in incremental affordable steps. Its creative branding has resulted in the firm to become the “first on customers’ mind”, or what Charlie Munger elucidated as the “psychological wide-moat” advantage. 80% of sales are generated customers looking for home improvement and renovation ideas and solutions.  Growth is supported by the management’s proven ability to identify and cater to dynamic changes in customer preferences. The firm’s comprehensive pre and aftersales service creates brand loyalty and sustains long-term sales. The merchandizing management is tailored to the peculiarities of customer preferences in each area to drive same store sales growth with creative customization by store, location, season and events. Its key strategy to expand its profit margin is to increase its higher-margin house brands and product-mix management. Its EBITDA/sqm of $400/sqm was higher than Home Depot until Home Depot experienced a rebound last year to $500/sqm. The firm’s resilient sales are supported by its unrivalled network of diverse locations throughout the country. Its bold vision and successful “Blue Ocean” execution in the highly fragmented second-tier markets has created a powerful wide-moat advantage that will last for many years to come. In short, the management have proven their ability to execute in difficult market and industry conditions especially in the past 5 to 7 years during the 2007/09 global financial crisis with the firm emerging much stronger. The Illinois Institute of Technology engineering graduate and quiet billionaire owner behind the home retailer is one of the few Asian business tycoons who has the thirst to scale up the business in a sustainable way, as opposed to opportunistic ventures, having been largely influenced by his early years experience observing the success of American wide-moat firms. If we can adjust the EV/EBITDA valuation metric to reflect the CCC, the company’s EV/EBITDA of 18.5x will be lower at 10-11x, while Home Depot’s EV/EBITDA 11x will be higher at 13x. Noteworthy is that Home Depot has a negative free cashflow throughout FY1989-2001 (13 consecutive years!) and yet market cap has climbed from $1.5bn to $103bn. Home Depot compounded despite the ugly valuations during the capex ramp-up. This once again highlights that the power of wide-moat is often underappreciated, misunderstood and overlooked. When Home Depot generated $180m in operating cashflow in FY1992, quite similar to this Asian firm now, Home Depot is valued at $5bn (vs $3bn). Store network is expected to double in the next 4-5 years, representing a potential doubling in market value.
  • The Northeast Asian-listed company who is the world’s largest maker of an essential component with applications in apparel, shoes, diapers, car seats etc. All top 20 global athletic shoe brands, including Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Sketchers, UnderArmor are customers and this Asian innovator with R&D capabilities has forged long-term “spec-in” partnerships with them. Its broad product offering is protected by over 110 patents. By locating its Pan-Asian production plant network in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia close to its major clients, including sales/customer service centers and warehouses in US and Europe, the firm is better positioned to understand their requirements, deliver fast and meet their needs. While top 10 athletic shoe brands account 40% of its revenue, the firm has a diversified clientele base of over 10,000 customers, giving it resilience and growth with both the established and emerging brands as clients. The company is trading at PE14e 12x, EV/EBITDA 7.1x and EV/EBIT 10.6x with a dividend yield of 3.9%. Interestingly, its EBITDA margin is double that of Adidas and its 8.7% net margin is higher than Adidas’ 5.4%, though below Nike’s 9.8%. Given the tipping point of its Pan-Asian production network and contributions from its new products and as capex tapers off in the next few years, free cashflow could be around $50-60m and applying a P/FCF of 15x would yield a market value of $750-900m,, representing a potential upside of 100-150%. Thus, the firm offers a similar quality growth trajectory to Nike/Adidas with its unique knowledge-based business model and yet trades at a more attractive valuation and higher dividend yield as downside protection.
  • The Middleby of Asia commanding a dominant market share of over 80% in hypermarkets, 50% in chain outlets, 30% in 4- to 5-star hotels in China and an overall 30% in its home market. Yet, no single customer accounts for more than 5% of its revenue. Just to recall for value investors, NYSE-listed Middleby, with its sleepy and boring business, has compounded 100-fold from around $50m to $5.7bn since its tipping point in 1999. The founders of this Asian family business demonstrated clear dedication in building up the company with its wide-moat business model backed by a strong and unique distribution/marketing network in finding, winning and binding new customers to build massive brand equity and long-lasting relationships with clients over time. Their devotion to its core product for nearly 20 years results in maximum problem-solving skills, innovative strength and product leadership and hence, to ever greater customer benefit that will protect the company to consolidate the fragmented market and provide ample opportunities to continue its profitable growth. The company is currently trading at PE13e 15.8x and an undemanding EV/EBIT 10.1x and EV/EBITDA 9.5x and its growth potential based on its unique business model is not priced in. There is a structural re-rerating of niche business models with (1) diversified client base, (2) steady revenue streams, (3) lean capex requirements that creates ample free cashflow and defensive growth. Based on PE, P/CFO and EV/EBIT, the company is trading at a 40-50% discount to the foreign listed comparables despite more efficient use of assets in generating profits and cashflow. It has an attractive 7% earnings yield growing at 20% over the next 3-5 years and a 3.8% dividend yield that is supported by its strong cashflow generation ability, steady revenue stream and lean capex requirements to limit downside risks in valuation. Based on the growth plans to penetrate new product and customer segments; build its third plant in India in addition to the ones in its home market and in China; and potential bolt-on acquisition opportunities with its healthy balance sheet in net-cash position, it has the potential to double its operating cashflow in the next 3-5 years and market value could double, representing an upside potential of 100-140%.
  • An emerging Asian Walgreens which is a top 3 community pharmacy operator in its home market. Walgreens is a classic neglected American compounder up over 272-fold to $54 billion from under $200m as it quietly consolidates the market. Over the decade, we observed that it is difficult to scale services-based businesses without an entrepreneurial mindset, committment and execution and the bold and unique management system of the company since 2000 allowed the pharmacists to be part-owner of the business which will lead to increased level of commitment and an owner’s mindset in growing the business for the long-term in the community. The firm has strong cash generation ability due to its negative cash conversion cycle (CCC) in the business model to help the business stay resilient during difficult times and to fund capex needs internally without straining the business model scalability as the network expands. The centralized logistics system provide regular deliveries to all of its community pharmacies enables the outlets to maximize retail space without the need to have space to keep stocks. This also enables the community pharmacies to optimize retail space to carry a wide range of products which is important as consumers increasingly have top-of-mind recall for the company as the destination to go to for their healthcare needs. Like Walgreens, the company believed in the power of embedding technology into the business model to better compete and its financial and warehousing/inventory management systems are integrated with its in-house POS (point-of-sale) system which is linked among all its community pharmacies and head office via virtual private network. The company is founded by five college friends who were somewhat frustrated that their pharmacy degrees were underappreciated and under-rewarded as compared to their medical degree counterparts even though they had studied hard for 4-5 years and had in-depth medical knowledge. They were eager to prove themselves that they are as capable, if not more so. This restless spirit to prove their capabilities resulted in them coming together to be entrepreneurs and they wish to provide the platform for similar restless pharmacists to apply their hard-earned knowledge acquired in the university. We find that this common purpose and camaraderie spirit is rare in Asian companies and makes the company unique to scale up sustainably. The company is currently trading at a EV/EBIT of 13.9x and EB/EBITDA 12.6%. In the next two to three years as the company expands its network of outlets, operating cashflow (CFO) could increase 50-60% and a re-rerating could result in a doubling in market value.
  • An Asian-listed pharmaceutical company which has a dominant franchise in a neglected but growing disease and is a leader with a domestic market share of 49% in this niche segment and is the only fully-integrated player amongst the few pre-qualified WHO firms, giving it >30% EBITDA margin, better pricing power compared to the competition, and significant advantage over other players in ramping up the global business from the current 30% market share in the most-common treatment drug (vs Novartis 50%). Furthermore, the pharma company has the second-highest GP/TA (gross profit/ total asset) ratio in the industry at 56.3% and the most conservative accounting practice in the industry which “depresses” earnings relative to its peers i.e. it is the only domestic firm which expenses, and does not capitalize, all R&D. With the new plant for formulations export to US, the deepening of the niche drug franchise, growing wins in chronic pain and other niche areas and the commercialization of the potential blockbuster product of blood thinner by FY16/17, EBITDA could potentially double to $200m in the next 4-5 years, triggering a valuation re-rating to a market value of $3.4bn, a 130% upside.
  • An Australian-listed company with market value $405m, EV/EBITDA 7.5x, EV/EBIT 10x, div 3%, 70% domestic market share whose management made the controversial bold decision to stop overseas exports in order to focus on cultivating the higher-margin domestic market with innovative marketing strategy and new products and is potentially doubling its supply in the next 3-5 years. It is in its 10th year of listing after piling the foundation in consolidation, investment, rationalization for its next stage. It has an all-time low debt-equity position 18.6% with healthy balance sheet. “Buffett of Nordic” recently increased position between Apr-Sep this year in the peer comparable of the company and the billionaire investor announced in Nov an acquisition of a rival in a wave of global consolidation and with the view on a sustained recovery in product prices.
  • Northeast Asia-listed company with global #1 market share leadership in 4 different products, including making the components for an innovative consumer product whose sales have climbed from $90 million to $526 million in the recent three years. The company is a hidden global consolidator with underappreciated growth. The stock is trading at PE 11.5x, EV/EBITDA 9x and generates a sustainable dividend yield 5.75%.
  • Taiwan and Southeast-Asian-listed entrepreneurial company, both with a dominant 80% domestic market share and have innovative business models to generate substantial cashflow to support both expansion and a 4-5% dividend yield.
  • There is also a behind-the-scene conversation with the CEOs of the companies to understand their thinking process in building up the business.

 

The Moat Report Asia Members’ Forum has been getting penetrating quality dialogues from our subscribers.Questions range from:

 

  • The nuances of internal dealings in Asia, including the case discussion of the recent deal in which HK billionaire’s Lee Shau-kee Henderson Land acquiring Towngas or Hong Kong & China Gas (3 HK) from his family holdings, seemingly déjà vu from the early Oct 2007 transaction when the market peak.
  • The case of F&N Singapore spinning out its property unit FCL Trust and getting “free” special dividend-in-specie and the potential risk in asset swap restructuring to deleverage the hidden debt in the entire Group balance sheet.
  • The dilemma of whether to invest in a Southeast Asian-listed company and hidden champion with a domestic market share of 60% due to family squabbles and a legal suit over the company’s ownership.
  • Discussion of the wise and thoughtful 107-year-old Irving Kahn’s investment into a US-listed but Hong Kong-based electronics company with development property project in Shenzhen’s Qianhai zone and the possible corporate governance risks that could be underestimated or overlooked, as well as their history of listing some assets in HK in 2004.. This is also a case study of “buy one get one free” in John’s highly-acclaimed book The Manual of Ideas in which the “free” property is lumped together with the (eroding) core business to make the combined entity look cheap and undervalued. What are the potential areas that value investors need to watch out for when adapting the SOTP (sum-of-the-parts) valuation method in Asia?
  • And many more intriguing questions.

 

Do find out more in how you can benefit from authentic and candid on-the-ground insights that sell-side analysts and brokers, with their inherent conflict-of-interests, inevitable focus on conventional stock coverage and different clientele priorities, are unwilling or unable to share. Think of this as pressing the Bloomberg “Help Help” button to navigate the Asian capital jungle. Institutional subscribers also get access to the Bamboo Innovator Index of 200+ companies and Watchlist of 500+ companies in Asia and the Database has eliminated companies with a higher probability of accounting frauds and  misgovernance as well as the alluring value traps.

 

Professional Development Workshops for Executives and Lifelong Learners
 

Our 8th run of the series of workshop From the Fund Management Jungles: Value Investing Exposed and Explored– (Part 1) Moat Analysis, (Part 2) Tipping Point Analysis and (Part 3) Detecting Accounting Fraud – on 14 June 2014 has been well-received with serious value investors, professionals, and serious lifelong learners attending, with some who flew in from Jakarta and KL!..

 

Our 9th workshop will be on Detecting Accounting Fraud Ahead of the Curve sometime later in the year.

 

Thank you for your support all this while!

 

 

Thank you so much for reading as always.

 

Warm regards,

KB Kee

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Managing Editor

The Moat Report Asia

Singapore

Mobile: +65 9695 1860

 

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Other offices: London, Singapore, Zurich

 

 

P.S.1 Here is a little more about my background:

KB Kee has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at Aegis Portfolio Managers, a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of Aegis’ investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Mirae Asset Global Investments, Korea’s largest mutual fund company. He holds a Masters in Finance and degrees in Accountancy and Business Management, summa cum laude, from Singapore Management University (SMU). KB had taught accounting at his alma mater in Singapore Management University and had also published an empirical research paper Why ‘Democracy’ and ‘Drifter’ Firms Can Have Abnormal Returns: The Joint Importance of Corporate Governance and Abnormal Accruals in Separating Winners from Losers in the Special Issue of Istanbul Stock Exchange 25th Year Anniversary Best Paper Competition, Boğaziçi JournalReview of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Vol. 25(1): 3-55. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, macroeconomic and industry trends in Singapore, HK and China.

 

P.S.2  Why do I care so much about doing The Moat Report Asia for you?

My personal motivation in embarking on this lifelong journey has been driven by disappointment from observing up close and personal the hard-earned assets of many investors, including friends and their families, burnt badly by the popular mantra: “Ride the Asian Growth Story!” I witnessed firsthand the emotional upheavals that they go through when they invest their hard-earned money – and their family’s – in these “Ride The Asian Growth Story” stocks either by themselves or through money managers, and these stocks turned out to be the subject of some exciting “theme” but which are inherently sick and prey to economic vicissitudes. They may seem to grow faster initially but the sustainable harvest of their returns is far too uncertain to be the focus of a wise program in investment. Worse still, the companies turned out to be involved in accounting frauds. Their financial numbers were “propped up” artificially to lure in funds from investors and the studiously-assessed asset value has already been “tunnelled out” or expropriated. And western-based fraud detection tools and techniques have not been adapted to the Asian context to avoid these traps.

 

After a decade-plus journey in the Asian capital jungles, it has been somewhat disheartening as I observe many fraud perpetrators go away scot-free and live a life of super luxury on minority investors’ hard-earned money. And these perpetrators make tempting offers to various parties in the financial community to go along with their schemes. When investors have knowledge in their hands, we have a choice to stay away from these people and away from temptations and do the things that we think are right. With knowledge, we have a choice to invest in the hardworking Asian entrepreneurs and capital allocators who are serious in building a wide-moat business.

 

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Three Realities About Venture Capital: Reality #3: Venture Capital Performance is Pretty Much Opaque

Three Realities About Venture Capital

Posted yesterday by Danny Crichton (@DannyCrichton)

This week’s kerfuffle over Yo centered on many facets, but none got more attention than the nascent startup’s $1.2 million in venture capital funding.

The reaction to this investment across the web came in several flavors. Founders complained that their own startups created far more value for society than an app that essentially acts as a doorbell, and yet, they had not received any venture capital funding. Another strain of incredulity focused on the investors themselves, who must have either been stupid or crazy to invest in such a “useless” product. Read more of this post

A Tale Of Two Patents: Why Facebook Can’t Clone Snapchat

A Tale Of Two Patents: Why Facebook Can’t Clone Snapchat

Posted 7 hours ago by Billy Gallagher (@gallagherbilly)

Facebook released Slingshot, its second attempt at an impermanent sharing app, last Tuesday. The app borrows heavily, in concept and features, from Snapchat, as well as smaller startups like Frontback and Look.

Slingshot and Facebook Messenger feature the same photo and video recording interface–a very user friendly mechanism where you tap the main button to take a picture, and hold that button to record a video.

There’s just one problem: Facebook may be violating Snapchat’s patent“Single mode visual media capture” that was approved over a year ago. Read more of this post

Damodaran on Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble: The Costs and Benefits of Market Timing

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble: The Costs and Benefits of Market Timing

If you believe that the stock market is in a bubble, you have lots of company. You have long-time market watchers, the New York Times and even a Nobel Prize winner in your camp. But what exactly is a bubble? How can you tell if you are in one?  And if you do believe you are in a bubble, what is your best course of action? Not only are these questions difficult to answer, but the answers can vary across markets, investors and time.
The Bubble Machine

Every market has a bubble machine, though it is less active in some periods than others, and that machine creates an ecosystem of metrics and experts, as well as warnings about bubbles about to burst, corrections to come and actions to take to protect yourself against the consequences. In periods like the current one, when the bubble machine is in over drive and you are confronted by “bubblers” with varying credibilities, motives and methods, you may find it useful to first categorize them into the following groups. Read more of this post

A Rare Peek Inside Amazon’s Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine

A Rare Peek Inside Amazon’s Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine

BY MARCUS WOHLSEN

06.16.14  |

The vast intake bay, where products come to Amazon for sorting, storing, and delivering. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

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The first thing I saw when I walked into Amazon’s Phoenix warehouse was a man riding on a giant tricycle. Behind him, yellow plastic tubs the size of office recycling bins whizzed by on a conveyor belt. On the wall above, six massive words called out to the 1,500 workers who pass through metal detectors each day as they enter this million-square-foot cavern of consumerism: “work hard. have fun. make history.” Read more of this post

Quanta may become key assembler of Apple’s new iWatch: Morgan Stanley

Quanta may become key assembler of Apple’s new iWatch: Morgan Stanley
Monday, June 23, 2014
CNA

TAIPEI — Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc., an Apple Inc. supplier for MacBook laptop lines, could become the main assembler of Apple’s rumored wearable device, the “iWatch,” according to U.S. brokerage Morgan Stanley.

The iWatch, which is expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, is expected to contribute more than 10 percent of Quanta’s sales in the October-December period on shipments of 10 million units, Morgan Stanley said. Read more of this post

The 8 Things The Happiest People Do Every Day: They are comfortable expressing gratitude. They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values)

JUNE 22, 2014 by ERIC BARKER

The 8 Things The Happiest People Do Every Day

University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky details the things research shows the happiest people have in common.

Via The How of Happiness:

They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.

They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.

They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby. Read more of this post

The rise of the super-fast industrial 3D printer

The rise of the super-fast industrial 3D printer

by Signe Brewster

JUN. 19, 2014 – 3:49 PM PDT

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and 3D Systems have been working on two very different takes on how to make 3D printers faster.

3D printers are slow; so slow that in the time it would take to print a screwdriver, you could just drive to the store and pick one up with a half hour to spare. And that’s a problem when a manufacturing job calls for creating units as quickly as possible.

And the frustrating thing is that existing 3D printers could technically print faster. It’s just a matter of using an extruder that puts out thicker ropes of material, allowing the printer to lay down more material with the same number of movements. But thicker layers means sacrificing the printer’s resolution, because the place where one layer ends and the next begins becomes obvious. Read more of this post

It’s Not The Stock Market That Young People Don’t Trust, It’s The Advisers

It’s Not The Stock Market That Young People Don’t Trust, It’s The Advisers

“Millennials” are remarkably conservative investors, if they invest at all, in part because of their lack of faith in financial advisers. But a new breed of software-based advisers like Wealthfront and Betterment is banking on them still trusting the market.posted on June 19, 2014, at 12:23 a.m.

Matthew ZeitlinBuzzFeed Staff

“What people want is not to fuck it up,” said Jon Stein, the 34-year-old founder and chief executive officer of Betterment, a software-based financial advice company.

Stein is referring to the massive skepticism people have — particularly the twentysomething cohort collectively referred to as “millennials” — about investing in the stock market, which is driven by the sting of witnessing their first financial crisis five years ago and the lack of faith in traditional financial advisers it engendered. Young people, who according to standard investment advice should be taking more risk by investing in stocks and having greater long-run returns, are instead holding more money in cash. This means that a large number of them have been sitting out a sustained run up in asset values. The S&P 500, for instance, returned 32% in 2013 and 91% since 2010. Read more of this post

China warehouse fraud scandal weighs on iron ore price; It is estimated that as much as 40 per cent of the iron ore sitting at Chinese ports is being used as collateral

China scandal weighs on iron ore price

June 23, 2014 – 10:51AM

James Thomson

Hopes of a recovery in the iron ore price could be dashed by reports that a financing scandal has put the brakes on imports of iron ore and copper at key Chinese ports.

Just days after iron ore minnow Termite Resources shuttered its Cairn Hill iron ore mine in South Australia, reports in the Wall Street Journal suggest that banks are examining allegations that a Chinese trading company pledged metal as collateral to more than one lender.

Chinese traders have long used commodities such as iron ore and copper as collateral to borrow from overseas, thus avoiding both China’s capital controls and its higher interest rates. Read more of this post

Nine senior executives of Hong Kong-listed VODone (0082), some call it China’s YouTube, have reportedly been removed from their posts for alleged bribery

Hazy on VODone 
Monday, June 23, 2014
The integrity of a listed company is so important. Hong Kong-listed VODone (0082), some call it China’s YouTube, was down 9 percent before trading was suspended on Friday.

Nine senior executives of China Mobile Games and Entertainment, a US-listed subsidiary of VODone, have reportedly been removed from their posts for alleged bribery.

VODone stock is known to be volatile and price fluctuations have always been accompanied by good and bad news. Whether you make huge profits or losses depends on on whether you know what they announce.

 

Playing with numbers – and dynamite: The nearly 700,000 people who have voted so far in the unofficial referendum on the SAR’s electoral reforms must be taken seriously

Playing with numbers – and dynamite
Mary Ma
Monday, June 23, 2014
The nearly 700,000 people who have voted so far in the unofficial referendum on the SAR’s electoral reforms must be taken seriously.

Online voting was augmented by the 48,000 who turned up at polling booths to vote on proposals calling for genuine universal suffrage.

No doubt, the turnout will have Occupy Central initiator Benny Tai Yiu- ting and company dancing with joy. Read more of this post

8 leading Chinese real-estate firms face mounting risk: Wanda, R&F, Evergrande, Aoyuan, China Overseas Grand Ocean Group, China South City Holdings, CIFI, Fantasia

8 Chinese real-estate firms face mounting risk: report

Liang Shih-huang and Staff Reporter

2014-06-22

US financial services company Standard & Poor’s recently listed eight leading real-estate firms in China and Hong Kong that are facing liquidity risks and a breach of contract violation because of capital pressure exerted by declining sales.

The firm stated that eight leading real-state companies in China, namely, China Aoyuan Property Group, China Overseas Grand Ocean Group, China South City Holdings, CIFI Holdings, Wanda Commercial Properties, Fantasia Holdings, R&F Properties and Evergrande Real Estate Group, had reported debt growth of over 50% in 2013. Read more of this post

Guangdong tycoon behind share listings of local firms

Guangdong tycoon behind share listings of local firms

Staff Reporter

2014-06-23

Timber tycoon Liu Shaoxi, founder and chairman of the Guangdong-based Yihua Enterprise Group, has been a key player behind the share listings of local companies from the southern region, reports Guangzhou’s Time Weekly.

Founded in 1995, Yihua alongside its subsidiary Guangdong Yihua Timber, was the first private business in Shantou city in Guangdong to launch a listing in Shanghai on Aug. 24, 2004. Read more of this post

CCTV report shows public Wi-Fi connections are unsafe

CCTV report shows public Wi-Fi connections are unsafe

Staff Reporter

2014-06-22

Wireless internet connections may have considerable hidden security threats, according to a report by China’s state broadcaster CCTV that suggested some free Wi-Fi hotspots in public places such as train stations and coffee shops might allow the private information of internet users to be stolen easily without them being aware of it.

Chinese media outlets had reported earlier that a woman was swindled out of 2,000 yuan (US$320) after connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Read more of this post

10,000 Chinese steel traders defaulting on credit card debt

10,000 Chinese steel traders defaulting on credit card debt

Staff Reporter

2014-06-22

More than 10,000 owners of Chinese steel trade firms are behind on credit card payments with several billion yuan involved, and banks in Ningde in southeastern China’s Fujian province are giving discounts to help debtors pay back what they owe, Guangzhou’s Time Weekly reports.

After checking with Shanghai’s chamber of commerce, the previous preferential treatment from banks offering 20% discount in principal payments has been abolished, and instead the program is adopting installment payments and late fee waivers. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Bank of Shanghai are promoting similar schemes to handle delinquent payments. Read more of this post

Is a Ph.D. degree worth it? The 21st century will be a century where professors’ value will depend on how much knowledge they make available on the internet, how accessible they make knowledge to a general population

Updated : 2014-06-22 16:33

Is a Ph.D. degree worth it?

Akli Hadid
Until the late 1990s and the popularization of the personal computer, people with Ph.D.s had a certain amount of prestige. They were the only experts available in the field, the only ones who knew the tools to carry out quantitative, qualitative or historical research. There was no MS Excel for the average person to carry out quantitative research, no Google to conduct reviews of literature.
Ph.D. holders were invited on television to clarify events. They were the ones who read all the books, who went to all the conferences and who knew almost everything about their field. When policy makers needed expert opinions, they relied on people with Ph.D.s to orient them on what decision would be more beneficial. Read more of this post

Chinese leader to tour Samsung Electronics during South Korea visit

Updated : 2014-06-22 11:55

Chinese leader to tour Samsung Electronics during South Korea visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to tour a main Samsung Electronics facility when he visits South Korea early next month, industry sources said Sunday.
Xi will be guided by the company’s vice chairman Lee Jay-yong, the heir-apparent of Samsung Group, and they will also hold talks, the sources said. The tour was arranged at Samsung’s request, they said.
Xi is expected in South Korea in the first week of July. Japanese media reports said he will visit on July 3-4.
The Chinese president will tour the tech giant’s facility either in Suwon or Kiheung, both just about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the sources. He toured the Samsung plant in 2005 when he was a party official. In 2007, he visited the Samsung plant in the Chinese city of Suzhou.
Xi and Lee previously met in 2010 when Xi was vice president. (Yonhap)

5 lessons from the Masterminds: An inside look at entrepreneurs’ elite conference

5 lessons from the Masterminds: An inside look at entrepreneurs’ elite conference

Rick Spence | June 22, 2014 7:27 AM ET

Did you ever wonder what goes on at those mysterious “Mastermind” conferences where well-heeled entrepreneurs pay thousands of dollars for a few days of rubbing shoulders with an intimate group of international speakers? What are the secrets they’re learning?

At an intimate Toronto gathering called Mastermind Talks, 40 entrepreneurs from across North America shared two days last week with diverse speakers such as Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple, sales guru Michael Port (author of Book Yourself Solid), and psychologist Esther Perel, who explores the connections between the boardroom and the bedroom. Read more of this post

How B2B innovations are presenting a ‘very quick path to revenue’ for entrepreneurs; B2B startups are interesting because instead of needing millions and millions of users, you need thousands

How B2B innovations are presenting a ‘very quick path to revenue’ for entrepreneurs

Quentin Casey | June 22, 2014 7:00 AM ET
When Dax Dasilva founded LightSpeed back in 2005, it took a full month to get his first customer setup with the company’s retailing software.

Today, Mr. Dasilva is adding close to 500 stores to his customer roster each month. Nearly 20,000 stores — processing $7.3-billion in annual transactions — now use LightSpeed’s retail commerce tools to track inventory and improve sales. Among LightSpeed’s clients are DASH, Harman Kardon, Frank & Oak, Adidas, and Fender Guitars. LightSpeed, based in Montreal, has raised $30-million from investors, including Accel Partners and iNovia Capital. Revenue at the 180-person company, Mr. Dasilva adds, is doubling every year. Read more of this post

Normalising interest rates should be more like scaling back emergency medicine than invasive surgery; David Miles, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, expects to vote for a rate rise in the coming months

Normalising interest rates should be more like scaling back emergency medicine than invasive surgery

David Miles, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, expects to vote for a rate rise in the coming months

Economics professor Miles also said it was “wildly unlikely” that interest rates would return to pre-crisis levels of around 5pc Photo: Bloomberg News

By David Miles

9:00PM BST 22 Jun 2014

I was surprised to discover recently that I am shortly to become the longest-serving member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Read more of this post

LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner: We mustn’t smile too much

LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner: We mustn’t smile too much

The ‘professional social network’ now has 300m users, but how will it keep them happy? Chief executive Jeff Weiner explains

Jeff Weiner says LinkedIn is no longer just a place to publish your CV, it is a platform for sharing information and doing business Photo: Geoff Pugh

By Matt Warman

5:52PM BST 22 Jun 2014

In the foyer of KPMG’s soaring Canary Wharf office, Jeff Weiner is trying not to look too cheerful. Asked by The Telegraph’s photographer if business is good, he smiles broadly, but turns away before the picture of a grinning chief executive of LinkedIn can be captured for posterity.

Weiner should be smiling, because business for LinkedIn, in the main, is extraordinarily good. Read more of this post

Boohoo determined not to be another fashion sob story

Boohoo determined not to be another fashion sob story

Mahmud Kamani and Carole Kane, the brains behind the recently listed cheap and cheerful fashion website, explain why they are different

Zoe Wood

The Observer, Sunday 22 June 2014

With a cream leather lounger strategically placed under a map of the world labelled “the world is ours”, the Manchester office of Boohoo founder Mahmud Kamani has the menace of a Bond villain’s lair.

Kamani and his business partner Carol Kane are indeed plotting world domination but their weapon of choice is fashion website boohoo.com. With its £8 maxi dresses and £12 jeans the retailer is giving Primark a run for its money as its targets fashion-hungry 16- to 24-year-olds with limited finances. Read more of this post

Chuck Hull: the father of 3D printing who shaped technology; Hull knew his invention would take up to 30 years to find its way into people’s homes. Today the possibilities appear endless

Chuck Hull: the father of 3D printing who shaped technology

Hull knew his invention would take up to 30 years to find its way into people’s homes. Today the possibilities appear endless

Shane Hickey in Berlin

The Guardian, Sunday 22 June 2014 14.35 BST

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Chuck Hull found retirement was not for him so he returned to 3D Systems and is now vice-president and chief technology officer.

Although measured and deliberate in his responses, there is one moment when the softly spoken Chuck Hull – known as the father of 3D printing – tells of his surprise about what exactly his creation was capable of achieving.

In 1996, surgeons at the Wilford Hall medical centre in Texas working to separate a pair of conjoined twins thought that only one would be able to walk after the operation. After a model of the girls’ bone structure was generated using 3D printing, however, they found a shared upper leg bone to be bigger than expected and split it successfully, resulting in both twins being able to walk. Read more of this post

Infosys CEO: How to lead in a post-financial crisis era

Infosys CEO: How to lead in a post-financial crisis era

S.D Shibulal

@FortuneMagazine

JUNE 20, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

As demanding as it may sound, today’s leaders are expected to be a jack of all trades and masters, too.

Corporations across the world and the leaders at its helm are often seeking answers to a much-debated question: What are the ideal qualities of a leader? There is no dearth of answers that one can find on this topic. For a simple reason that there are no easy answers. There isn’t a “one size fits all” response. In my own leadership journey spanning over three decades, my experience has been no different. Every corporation and every leader, I believe, discovers leadership qualities through their own unique journeys. What works for one may not necessarily work for another. What I have come to understand is that while certain fundamental qualities of a leader are time and context invariant, there are others that need to evolve with the changing times. Read more of this post

Mud Flung as Indonesia Presidential Race Heats Up

Mud Flung as Indonesia Presidential Race Heats Up

By Randy Fabi on 12:24 pm Jun 22, 2014

Jakarta. One of the two hopefuls in Indonesia’s presidential election has been accused of being a closet Christian, the other of being a foreigner and unfit to lead the nation.

As the race for the presidency tightens, mudslinging between supporters of Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and ex-general Prabowo Subianto is increasing, forcing even the police to get involved.

Jokowi’s team asked the police this month to arrest the publisher of a little-known tabloid after it falsely reported that the Muslim governor from the Javanese city of Solo was an ethnic Chinese Christian. Read more of this post

Malaysia’s Tiny, Strutting Serama Chickens Gain Fans; “These beautiful tiny birds gives you great pleasure to own”

Malaysia’s Tiny, Strutting Serama Chickens Gain Fans

By Agence France-Presse on 08:11 pm Jun 21, 2014

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A judge watches as a serama chicken struts down a table during a beauty contest in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur on May 17, 2014. (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

Kampung Pandan, Malaysia. Marching imperiously with a puffed-out chest and soldier’s ramrod posture, Mohamad Hatta Yahaya’s tiny chicken strutted its rich yellow plumage for a stone-faced judge. Read more of this post

The Search for a New Paradigm in Indonesia’s Asean Policy; Indonesia Likely to Be More Inward-Looking

The Search for a New Paradigm in Indonesia’s Asean Policy

By Aleksius Jemadu on 07:19 pm Jun 22, 2014

Judging from their vision and mission especially with regard to the issue of foreign policy, the presidential hopefuls, Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo, seem to realize that a fundamental change has to be made in Indonesia’s policy toward the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. As far as Prabowo is concerned, he goes even further as saying that Asean reflects the old mindset that needs to be changed for the sake of a more progressive foreign policy. While Joko is not as radical as that, he seeks to have a larger scope for foreign policy maneuvering by embracing the idea of engaging the Indo-Pacific region. What has driven the candidates to review the so-called cornerstone of Indonesia’s foreign policy under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that has been backed so staunchly by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa? Read more of this post

Joko, Prabowo Outline Their Economic Strategy in Kadin Dialogue

Joko, Prabowo Outline Their Economic Strategy in Kadin Dialogue

By Tito Summa Siahaan on 10:15 pm Jun 22, 2014

Jakarta. Presidential candidates Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto and their running mates had equal time and a fair chance to outline their economic strategies to members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.

It appeared, however, that by the end of the event the local business community was more convinced by the direction of Joko’s detailed micro-economic approach rather than Prabowo’s broadly stated grand vision. Read more of this post

Beat the heat with six cooling teas

The Straits TimesSun, Jun 22 2014

Beat the heat with six cooling teas

Being outdoors in Singapore’s stifling heat and humidity can be unbearable at times. Things could get worse, with the haze poised to hit Singapore in the coming weeks.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the lungs are most vulnerable to external pathogens. So, the heat and the haze can lead to respiratory problems. Read more of this post

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