China’s Potential Investments

April 21st, 2018 by admin No comments »

In this video, United News International discusses possible deals between China and the Philippines. Kristel Yap presents.

Increase of ESG Investing in Asia

March 21st, 2018 by admin No comments »

According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), the number of assets managed under responsible investment strategies is still low (0.8 percent in Japan of total assets under professional management).  This figure is substantially lower than Europe which stands at 53 percent.  It has been pointed out that this is in part due to the incorporation of ESG factors into investment decisions.”

ESG investing today is more useful and attractive than ever before in Asia. Mainly, this can be attributed to the region’s pressing environmental concerns. And that has led to pension funds in the area consolidating ESG principles in their own investment process too.  For example, the largest pension fund in the world (boasting US$1.3 trillion under management), the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) in Japan as well as the National Pension Service (NPS) in South Korea which have both made substantial allocations to ESG strategies.

In addition, the GPIF recently announced its decision to put US$8.9 billion into three ESG indices, boosting its ESG investment allocation to 10 per cent of its equity holdings. The NPS has registered for the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Investing in Emerging Markets

February 21st, 2018 by admin No comments »

Watch this guide with manager of Hermes Global Emerging Markets, Gary Greenberg on why investors have selected emerging markets in Asia and why that is changing now. It seems like they peaked in 2015 and now people are concerned. Greenberg – an expertise in emerging markets for the last three decades – believes that “a strong opportunity remains for the long-term and where investors need to look for the best returns – or the least risk.”

Investing in Asia? Check out Malaysia

January 21st, 2018 by admin No comments »

Malaysia is an oft-overlooked nation for those looking to invest in Asia.  Right now, it’s a particularly good time for those looking for investment opportunities since the strong currency (the ringgit) is indicative of investors already having positive feelings toward the economy.  As they should given that the region’s economy is looking good.

Indeed, according to recent stats put out by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, vis-à-vis the dollar, the ringgit is really impressive with its 2017 appreciation of 10.4% against the US currency.  Plus, earlier this month, the ringgit “broke the four dollar psychological barrier.” And this is not a new phenomenon either since the country has been undergoing many years of

“strong growth with figures that most developed economies could only dream of – even during times of global economic turmoil and uncertainty.  In fact, last year Malaysia exceeded all expectations, with the World Bank having to revise its estimate for our growth upwards not once, not twice, but three times – to 5.8%. Our capital market, a key facilitator for financing business growth, has continued to grow from strength to strength. In 2017, foreign net fund inflow recorded a positive RM10.8bil, the highest since 2012.”

The even better news is that this growth and stability is likely to continue, particularly in the next few months.  according to the DoS (Department of Statistics), this comes from the improvement at the end of last year with the Landing Index (growth of 121.3 points in November and a jump of 4.5 percent in January) and Coincident Index (increase of 0.5 percent in November).

Furthermore, it looks like the country is now “poised to take on the world in the gold industry.” This is because, as the PM explained: “Previously, gold had to be melted, refined and manufactured overseas before being imported into the country. Now, with the development of our first commercial gold refinery, we have the ability to process gold – from the smelting phase through to refinement – within Malaysia.”

So investors into Asia…check out Malaysia!

Google International In India

December 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

Google has been making some serious waves in India as of late and the plan is, to continue the trend.  Two examples of this that will be briefly reviewed here are Dunzo and Alphabet Inc.

The first direct investment in an Indian startup that Google has made is Dunzo.  In this unprecedented move, the multi-billion corporation has been at the head of an investment valued at $12 million as part of its push for ‘Next Billion Users,’ while it establishes an ecosystem in the country throughout high-frequency hyper-local transactions.  This will also substantially impact – positively – India’s education, financial and healthcare sectors.

Earlier this year, Google International put Rs 1,204 crore into google India which was the largest and only investment it has made since 2008 in the unit.

Moving on to Alphabet Inc., Google just launched a (smaller) version of its Android software in India in an effort to attract huge support from the country’s pool of basic phone users in the fast-growing wireless services market.  The Android Oreo Go operating system can work on entry-level smartphones with memory of as low as 512 megabytes.  Given that only around one third of India’s mobile phone subscribers are with smartphones, there is a huge market for these cheaper handsets.  And, alongside this trend, Google announced a Google Assistant version for its low-cost 4G-enabled device, JioPhone.

Asia and the Garment Industry

November 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

Post-Rana Plaza (manufacturing building) collapse in Bangladesh, industry businesses and individuals became concerned about their next step.  Having heavily relied on this one address for their garments, the realization of the impact of Environmental, Social and Governmental (ESG) practices were highlighted. Once it became known how abusive working conditions there were, investors pulled out.

In recent years, it is not just business that counts; to get investments portfolios have to reflect a strong value system and the Rana Plaza just wouldn’t have cut it. One recent example of this was discussed in a Bloomberg article entitled The Cost of an Investment Conscience by Mark Gilbert of DBS Group Holdings with the promise of Scandinavian institutional investors of divesting from banks (in Asia, North America and Europe) which support destructive palm oil ventures in South Asia.

In other words investment dollars are influencing investee action as ESG factors become more prominent.  Gilbert quotes AQR Capital Management co-founder Cliff Asness who explained:

If the virtuous decide they won’t own something, the sinners then have to, and they have to be induced to through getting a higher expected return than otherwise. This in turn is achieved through a lower than otherwise price. If the discount rate used by sinful companies isn’t higher as a result of constraints on holding sinful stocks then there was no impact. And, if the discount rate on sin is now higher, the sinful investors make more going forward than otherwise. If the virtuous are not raising the cost of capital to sinful projects, what are they doing? How are they actually affecting the world as they wish to?

Given the fact that Norway’s Rainforest Foundation has quadrupled in growth since 2009, it has become a world equity market major investor, imbuing it with a substantial influence over the companies in which it invests.


If Asia wants to retain its status as a global leader in the garment industry it looks like ethical awareness and preservation have to be at the top of its priority list.

China’s Emerging Markets

October 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

Emerging market economies – most notably China and India – are expanding faster than those in developed nations.  With this growth, emerging market companies are able to offer potentially attractive returns to long-term stock investors, while bond investors can reap the benefits of generally higher interest rates than in developed markets.

According Tao Zhang, IMF Deputy Managing Director it is crucial for emerging markets at this point to remain “vigilant” to potential risks.  China’s economy is currently encountering substantial changes during its transition to a consumption-led economy which moves away from dependence on cheap good exports. As such, it is vital leaders are aware of the “rapid credit expansion.”

Still, at the latest World Economic Outlook, the forecast for China’s economic growth (this and next year) was increased to 6.8 percent (2017) and 6.5 percent (2018); a 0.1 percentage higher than July forecasts.  The region’s economic growth is mainly due to progress within economic reforms, in particular, supply-side structural measures along with the capacity of the government to maintain a stable macroeconomic policy.

It should also be noted that there is a targeted urban area population increase in 2020 of 60%, translating into a move of 41 million individuals from rural areas to urban centers in China.  What this means is that there will likely be significant investment opportunities given that urban residents have different consumption patterns and higher wages.

Infrastructure Investment in Asia

September 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

In this video, CGTN Africa’s reporter Sumitra Nydoo discusses how the region has been opened up for infrastructure investment. However, for the next two decades, the continent needs $93 billion per year to address its developmental needs – most of which is slated to come from FDIs.

Is India Surpassing China as Fastest Growing Economy?

August 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

Evidence is pointing to India becoming the newest fastest growing economy in the world, taking over China’s Number 1 position, according to Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) growth projections.  Further, it is expected that the region will maintain this leading position, encountering an average 7.7 percent growth until 2025.

One reason for this, it is thought, is that, geographically it has the potential to expand into new markets, including automobiles, chemicals and (some types of) electronics. This is in direct contrast to those regions that rely solely on oil.

Other regions in the east expected to follow suit include Bulgaria, Indonesia, Turkey and Uganda, similarly because they have broader geographical and institutional dimensions.   As the report stated:
“What they share is a focus on expanding the capabilities of their workforce that leaves them well positioned to diversify into new products and products of increasingly greater complexity.”

Growth projections are measured by each country’s economic complexity, looking at the productive capabilities found in exports and how hard/easy it is to further diversify.

Amazon’s Asia Investments

July 21st, 2017 by admin No comments »

Amazon just received approval from the government of India to sell food products via actual stores in the region.  For the next five years, Amazon will spend $15 million on this venture.

This could just be the start of grocery store investment and expansion in India.  Big Basket and Grofers (online grocery stores in India) are looking for similar approval to set up food outlets.

In June of 2016, 100% of FDI was allowed in India in multi-brand food retail. With this, however, all food products must have some connection to the country: manufactured, processed or produced in India.  But with Amazon, this is the first FDI case to have received an “in-principle clearance” after the closure of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

What is also good for India investments is the interest in this industry being shown by brands throughout the world.  To date, more than 40 major brands have come into India since 2015.