May 25 – U.S. banking group Goldman Sachs has signed a deal to lease 1.6 million square feet of office space in Bangalore, in the biggest recorded commercial property deal to date in India. The space is equivalent to nine full sized football fields.
The deal will see the bank initially taking up 1 million square feet followed by another 600,000 square feet in two years. The space, housed in a purpose-built block of three buildings for Goldman, is located on Bangalore’s Sarjapur Outer Ring Road, and is being built on 14 acres by a local developer. Completion is set for 2017. Continue reading
May 24 – Singapore companies are now pulling in just under 75 percent of their total revenues for operations external from the country, the Singapore Import-Export Agency has confirmed. That is a rise from 64 percent last year and indicative of the Southeast Asian city-state’s increasing popularity as a regional tax haven – the country levies no income tax on profits or dividends earned overseas.
The Singapore Import-Export Agency also found that 67 percent of Singaporean SMEs intend to expand their overseas business within the next 12 months, and some 73 percent of them will be expanding their operations into Asian and ASEAN markets. China, Vietnam and Indonesia are the top three destinations for outbound investment from Singapore, the agency said. Continue reading
May 23 – Formula One Group, the race car franchise owned by PE Firm CVC Capital Partners, has received approval from the Singapore Exchange to list there at the end of June. Singapore was chosen as the race has been held there successfully since 2008, has a strong fan base in the Asian region, and has significant tax advantages for generating profits from its other circuits in ASEAN, of which Singapore is the de facto financial capital. Over half of the tracks F1 is now raced on are either based in ASEAN or are with nations or trade blocs, such as the UK and EU members, that have double tax treaties with the ASEAN region. This is a subject covered yesterday on China Briefing in the article titled, “Why ASEAN Matters.” Continue reading
May 21 – The Myanmar government has brought forward the date of permitting foreign banks access to the country by 12 months, Nay Aye, one of the two deputy governors at the country’s central bank said on Friday. Banks from the ASEAN region will be allowed to set up operational branches by 2014, while banks from other countries will be able to establish joint ventures within the same time-frame, he was reported as saying. Continue reading
Move will boost ability for businesses to buy and sell
May 15 – Myanmar will lift its existing restrictions concerning international payments and transfers by the end of this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, making it easier for businesses to trade in and with the country.
The government is expected to finalize the unification of the existing system of multiple exchange rates also by this time, following the Central Bank’s decision to scrap the 35-year-old fixed exchange rate last month. The fixed rate had created a huge black market for U.S. dollars within a country with barely any financial infrastructure. Continue reading
Apr. 18 – The most cost-competitive countries in the world for doing business are China and India, according to KPMG’s recently released 2012 Competitive Alternatives report. Specifically, the report found that business costs in China and India are a respective 25.8 percent and 25.3 percent lower than the United States.
The in-depth study is based on 26 key cost factors – including labor, taxes, real estate, transportation and utilities – in more than 100 cities in 14 countries across the world. In addition, the report covers more than 30 non-cost competitive elements and over 50,000 individual data items. Among the 14 select countries, made up of 5 growth markets and 9 mature markets, China and India have emerged as the low-cost leaders, with China offering the lowest costs in manufacturing and India the lowest in digital and corporate services. Continue reading
Apr. 12 – The International Monetary Fund approved a three-year US$987 million loan to Bangladesh on Wednesday to help give a boost to the country’s foreign exchange reserves which have been falling recently under budget and inflationary pressures.
“Macroeconomic pressures have intensified in Bangladesh since late 2010 due to a negative terms-of-trade shock, rising oil and infrastructure-related imports, and accommodative policies,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara said in an e-mailed statement, according to Bloomberg. “More recently, a weakening in external demand and a surge in oil prices have further weakened Bangladesh’s balance of payments and added to fiscal and inflationary pressures.” Continue reading