Asia stands to reap large economic rewards with investment into smart-climate practices, according to the World Bank and the ClimateWorks Foundation.
In a new report, “Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change,” analysts assessed the potential economic, environmental and health impacts of three government policies across six world regions. Continue reading
Asia is fast on its way to becoming the largest e-commerce market in the world. Internet penetration is growing by leaps and bounds, and the region’s youth population increasingly prefers to interact with companies and retailers over the internet rather than with more traditional forms of physical shopping and communication. Alongside these developments, Asia’s fast-growing middle class has fostered the evolution of a strong online consumer culture that cannot be ignored by companies seeking long-term success in the region.
Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis
As wage increases in China continue to rise – along with the comparatively high national welfare costs – increasing comment is being made as to the legitimacy of the “China Plus One” scenario. Coined some years ago, this theory – in reality, more of a shrewd observation – suggests that future manufacturing capacity will be placed both in China and externally in another location by the same manufacturer.
In fact, this has been going on for years, most notably between China and Vietnam. The recent anti-Chinese riots there have even prompted Hong Kong Shippers’ Council chairman Willy Lin Sun-mo to state that Hong Kong manufacturers based in the Pearl River Delta are running out of alternative, low-cost factory locations with ample labour following recent instability in their two preferred destinations, Vietnam and Thailand. I wrote about the Vietnam and Thai issues – along with a risk analysis for doing business in the rest of Asia – and China, earlier this week here, in this article “Anti-China Vietnam Riots a Passing Phase,” and Willy Lin’s comments can also be construed as a mild political point to Beijing that placing oil rigs in disputed waters hurts Hong Kong manufacturers. Continue reading
Nov. 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
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
Refuting all claims of a shrinking defence budget, the Indian Finance Minister announced a 5% increase in the defence budget for 2013-14. Coming at a time of increasing defence spending, and more recently, allegations of corruption during procurement, how can India put the new budget to effective use?
By Aakash Brahmachari
Mar. 5 – In an effort to dismiss any talk of compromising on defence, the Budget for 2013-2014 has increased India’s Defence Budget by 5% from last year to Rs. 2,03,672 crores ($42.5 billion). This includes Rs. 86, 741 crores ($16 billion) on arms acquisitions which is a hike of 9% over last year. Even as this will ensure India remains a leading arms importer, it will be a welcome relief if these purchases are not tainted by allegations of corruption.
Reports from the ‘Choppergate’ scandal indicate that middlemen were paid about Rs. 162 crores ($30million) to swing the decision in AgustaWestland’s favour.
This is worth about 4% of the Rs. 3,700 crores ($750 million) deal. A quick calculation reveals that if the rate of commission remains constant, middlemen stand to make Rs. 215 crores ($40 million) for every Rs. 5, 375 crores ($1 billion) worth of Indian arms acquisitions. In other words, though the new budget worth Rs. 86, 741 crores may be spread across different deals, it can still potentially net middlemen a commission of Rs. 3,440 crores ($640 million). In a nation of 1.2 billion citizens, that amounts to each citizen sharing a burden of about Rs. 20 ($0.5) for these commissions. Continue reading
Jan. 31 – In a move that hopes to kick-start India’s flagging economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has lowered the nation’s interest rates from 8 percent to 7.75 percent. This marked the first time since April of last year that rates have been reduced, and only the second time in the past four years.
“It is critical now to arrest the loss of growth momentum, without endangering external stability,” the RBI said in a statement. Continue reading