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Investment News and Commentary from Emerging Markets in Asia - China, India and ASEAN

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2point6billion.com discusses business and investment news rising from the geopolitical relations of China and India, and the interactions these two countries have with the rest of emerging Asia.

Monthly Archives: May 2008

China strenghtens rail link with Nepal

China has begun building a 770-kilometer rail network connecting Nepal to Tibet. The railway an extension of the world’s highest railway, which runs from Golmud in China’s Qinghai province to Lhasa will connect Tibet’s capital Lhasa with Khasa a market town on the Sino-Nepal border, Asia Times Online reported.

The Golmud-Lhasa rail integrated Tibet into China’s national rail network in 2006, with its extension up to the Nepal border, Nepal will be plugged into China’s rail network.

Landlocked Nepal has hitherto largely been dependent on India for imports. With trains from China soon reaching its border, Nepal will find importing from its northern neighbor easier. Sino-Nepal trade will expand exponentially, at India’s expense.

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India, China rank high on the Greendex

The National geographic recently ran a quantitative consumer study of 14,000 consumers in 14 countries asking them about such behavior as energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues.

This survey resulted in the “Greendex” a scientifically derived sustainable consumption index of actual consumer behavior and material lifestyles across 14 countries. While India and Brazil topped the list due to their relatively lower environmental impact from housing, low meat consumption and above-average performance on transportation and food, China came in fourth.

In India, 40 percent of the respondants prefer to repair things rather than replace them. 33 percent live close to places they need to go to on a daily basis, 47 percent are willing to pay more now for energy-saving appliances than pay more for them in the future, 84 percent eat locally grown products, 72 percent never eat beef and 76 percent never eat pork, while 17% always bicycle.

Almost on par with India, Bicycle friendly China lags behind due to its massive use of coal for home heating. The survey says that one-third of the Chinese population repairs broken goods, and a majority of them use public transportation. Even as the Chinese cycle less, and their demand for luxury cars rises, they express and above-average preference for avoiding enviromentally un-friendly products.

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Up, up & away!

An interesting article from the Economist explains and analysesthe various reasons behind the runaway inflation in the world. It warns not to repeat the mistakes of the past, while trying to find solutions to the future.Excerpts from the article are below….

EVEN as America’s economy teeters on the brink of recession and many European economies are slowing, central bankers in rich countries fear rising inflation. Yet the risks they face are smaller than those in emerging economies, where inflation has risen far more over the past year to its highest for nine years. There are also an alarming number of similarities between developing economies today and developed economies in the early 1970s, when the Great Inflation took off. Are the young upstarts heading for trouble?

China’s official rate of consumer-price inflation is at a 12-year high of 8.5 percent, up from 3 percenta year ago. Russia’s has leapt from 8percent to over 14 percent. Most Gulf oil producers also have double-digit rates. India’s wholesale-price inflation rate (the Reserve Bank’s preferred measure) is 7.8 percent, a four-year high. Indonesian inflation, already 9 percent, is likely to reach 12 percentnext month, when the government is expected to raise the price of subsidised fuel by 25-30 percent………..

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Indian doctors – made in China

Amongst the several thousands of victims of last weeks Sichuan earthquake are also many Indian medical students. The frightened students have beenaskingthe university to help them return home and postpone their exams due in June.

The Indian embassy estimates that there are approximately 6,000 Indian students studying medicine in China. They come to China as a cheaper option to the U.S or U.K. due to the limited availability of seats in medical universities in India. With the medium of instruction in English, the deal is a win-win situation. Many students also say that the quality of medical educaton in China is ahead of India. Besides the privilege of living abroad, the students enjoy learning Chinese. A majority of the students goto medical universities in Tianjin or Hangzhou.

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Trade through Nathu La pass re opens

Bilateral trade between India and China opened on Monday through the fabled Silk Road, reported the Hindustan Times.

“Border trade was earlier scheduled to open on May 1 but was postponed after Beijing requested New Delhi to delay the start following landslides in the Tibet Autonomous Region,” said Ujwal Gurung, Sikkim’s director of industry and commerce.

“Formal trade for the current year began on Monday and would continue until Nov 30,” Gurung told IANS.

The two Asian giants in July 2006 reopened trade across the 15,000-ft Nathu La Pass, 52 km east of Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, as part of a broader rapprochement. The move marked the first direct trade link between the nuclear-armed neighbours since a bitter border war in 1962.

Under an agreement reached between the two countries, trade takes place four days a week – Monday to Thursday – beginning May 1 each year and lasting until Nov 30 when snow makes the area impassable.

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Inflation (%) (April ’08)

Numbers: (8.5,7.6)

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Corporate tax (%)

Numbers: (33,33.6)

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