Sunday, April 20, 2014

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

About 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.


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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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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India’s Rs. 17,200 Crore Question

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

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India Cuts Interest Rates to Support Investment

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

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Indonesia to Redenominate Rupiah in 2014

The 100,000 Rupiah Bill Will Become 100 Rupiah

Dec. 17 – The Indonesian government has announced plans to reduce the number of zeros on the rupiah by three beginning in 2014. The redenomination will simplify payment processes in a national currency upon which many people already ignore the last three zeroes.

The country has one of the highest value denominated currencies in Asia, with only Vietnam and Mongolia having higher denominated banknotes. The phasing in of new banknotes will begin in 2014 and will continue until 2016. This means that for a three-year period there will be notes showing both units of measurement that will continue to be legal tender. Continue reading

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New Issue of China Briefing: The Asia Tax Comparator

Nov. 30 – The new issue of China Briefing Magazine, titled The Asia Tax Comparator, is out now and will be temporarily available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore throughout the month of December. This month’s issue also offers our new 2013 Asia Tax Guide as a complimentary supplement, providing an overview of corporate and individual income tax rates for key countries in emerging Asia.

In an increasingly inter-connected Asia, many foreign investors are looking beyond China, using the lens of their China experiences to understand the investment environment in countries such as India and Vietnam.

In this issue of China Briefing Magazine, we discuss corporate income tax, value-added tax, business tax, goods and service tax, withholding tax, and individual income tax as these apply in China, India, and Vietnam, as well as in the popular holding company destinations of Hong Kong and Singapore. This includes tax rates, descriptions, incentives, and deadlines, as well as the main FDI source countries/regions and industry-specific notes. Continue reading

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India’s Remittance Inflows Higher than China’s in 2012

Nov. 22 – Remittances into India are set to reach US$70 billion this year, outstripping China’s overseas remittances of some US$66 billion. These figures cover inbound monies sent by their respective diasporas back to their home country. The general trend across developing countries is seeing remittance inflows on the rise, with levels this year set to reach US$406 billion and projections indicating growth of 8 percent in 2013. This is further set to increase incrementally over the next few years and reach a total of US$534 billion by 2015.

Indians abroad, especially in the United States and Europe, have tended to fare rather better than their Chinese counterparts, and are also aided by the fact that greater transparency, a more highly-developed sense of entrepreneurialism, and freer movement of the rupee when compared to RMB restrictions all make the ability for NRI’s to out-compete their Chinese equivalents. Continue reading

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