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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: November 2013

ASEAN’s Demographic Dividend

By Shawn Greene

Nov. 26 – More than 30 years after Deng Xiaoping first introduced China’s famous “one-child” policy, President Xi Jinping’s government appears set to finally relax the country’s approach to family planning. Announcing this month that many urban couples will soon be permitted to have two children under broader exemptions to the “one-child” rule, the government’s policy shift comes amidst concerns that the country’s low fertility rate and rapidly ageing population may threaten its long-term social and economic stability. Continue reading

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New Issue of Asia Briefing: The 2014 Asia Tax Comparator

2014-Asia-Tax-Comparator-Cover-250Nov. 21 – The new issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, titled The 2014 Asia Tax Comparator, is out now and will be temporarily available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore throughout the months of November and December.

The opportunities to sell to the Asian consumer have never been more pronounced than they are today, and those opportunities will continue to expand and develop over the next three decades. Key to understanding and accessing this massive, dynamic new consumer market is the ability to understand the underlying tax treatments. To that end, we are pleased to present our third annual “Asia Tax Comparator” as Asia Briefing Magazine’s final issue of 2013. Continue reading

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Asia, Uninterrupted

There are many ideas about how Asia can be re-imagined as a whole even though it is still coming to terms with colonial era map-making and the intellectual domination of the West. Can India, situated at the heart of Asia, promote connectivities and draw the Asian economies together?

By Ambassador Neelam Deo

Nov. 21 – The growth of many Asian economies in a continent that occupies 30% of the world’s landmass, has 60% of its people, mostly young, and already produces some 25% of global output, has been so rapid in the last 20 years that it has already been vested with the collective image of the “other” in the western gaze.

There are today many ideas floating around about how an economically vibrant Asia can follow the European model, be dominated by China, or continue to grow under the leadership of the U.S. “None of the above” may, however, be the best option as we try to imagine an Asia unencumbered by colonially-devised boundaries, geographical and intellectual. Continue reading

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IMF Consultations: Singapore, Thailand & South Korea

Nov. 19 – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded its annual Article IV Consultations with Singapore, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea. Conducted annually, Article IV Consultations attempt to assess each country’s economic health and forestall future financial problems.

The results of the three Consultations were inevitably mixed.

In its report on Singapore, the IMF called upon the country to narrow its current account surplus and embraced government plans to increase public spending on infrastructure and social services. It additionally characterized the country’s financial sector as well-regulated and highly developed. Its report on South Korea was similarly supportive and stated that “many of the [economic] reforms needed…are already in train or planned.” Continue reading

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India to Allow Foreign Banks Access to Local Markets

Nov. 11 – After markets closed on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s Central Bank, announced a series of new regulations that will allow foreign banks much greater access to the country’s domestic market. The domestic market had previously been highly protected against added competition from foreign banks.

In essence, under the new regulations, foreign banks will be treated the same as domestic banks.

In order to be eligible under the new regulations, foreign banks much switch from how they currently operate in India by upgrading from a branch to a wholly owned subsidiary structure. Upon forming the subsidiary, foreign banks are required to invest at least US$80 million (5 billion rupees). Continue reading

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China Brands Search for Lap of Luxury

Nov. 6 – With rows of luxury brands, a stroll through the streets of metropolitan China is akin to walking through Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, New York’s Fifth Avenue and Champs-Élysées in Paris.

A closer look, however, will reveal that international labels such as Chanel, Hermes, Prada, Givenchy, Versace, Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz outnumber China’s homegrown brands.

In pointing out this trend, The Economist quoted Bruno Lannes of consultancy firm Bain & Co. as saying that the “Chinese have become, and will remain for a long time, the most important luxury consumers.” In the same article, Bain estimated a 6 to 8 percent increase this year in luxury sales in the Greater China region. Value will exceed $35 billion, making Greater China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, “a luxury market second only to America.” Continue reading

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An Unseen Revolution in Indian Manufacturing?

Indian manufacturing’s share of GDP has been stagnating. Some of the industry’s problems stem from a business culture of hierarchy and bureaucracy. But competitive pressure is forcing a transformation, and the new management models now being adopted can change how investors and customers perceive Indian companies

By George Wyeth

As China turned itself into the manufacturing centre of the world over the past decade, many expected India to follow – but it never happened. The Indian economy did take off, but largely in services such as software development. For years, manufacturing’s share of GDP has been flat at 15-16%, and has actually declined slightly in recent years. Now, with the economy in trouble, manufacturing output is stagnating.

Many of the factors usually blamed for this are beyond the manufacturers’ control. Infrastructure is still weak. Financing is difficult to get, with high inflation driving up interest rates and bankers becoming risk averse. Labour laws make it extremely difficult to lay off employees; this discourages investment by global businesses, which are able to locate elsewhere. Energy is expensive and unreliable. Continue reading

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