Some 6 per cent of India’s population lives in slums and these communities have become powerful, both economically and politically. The slum dwellers’ low-end aspirational consumption could now be propping up certain sectors as demand wanes elsewhere.
As a first-time visitor with a textbook image of a slum in mind, standing at Mumbai’s Mahim train station at the threshold of Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, you might expect some demarcation between the formal and informal world. Continue reading »
Worried about the slowdown in the Chinese economy? Or Beijing’s austerity drive? Lane Crawford, the iconic Hong Kong purveyor of luxury brands, is not.
It says the time is just right to open a shop in Shanghai which, at 150,000 square feet, is twice the size of any other Lane Crawford store anywhere. It will open in September. Continue reading »
Last week Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s biggest pharmaceuticals company, must have thought it had at last settled an eight-year dispute when it paid $500m in fines and compensation and pleaded guilty to felony charges related to production and distribution of adulterated drugs in the US.
But it isn’t over yet. Daiichi Sankyo – the Tokyo based drugmaker that paid quite a premium for a controlling stake in Ranbaxy back in 2008 – has taken the row to a new front. Continue reading »
Shares in State Bank of India fell 7.9 per cent on Thursday after the country’s largest bank disappointed with its latest quarterly figures.
The government-controlled bank posted net profits of Rs33bn ($592m) for the quarter ended March 31, down from Rs40.5bn in the same period a year earlier. Compare that with market expectations and it does look like bad news – the average forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts was Rs37.9bn. Continue reading »
When Barack Obama and Xi Jinping meet at the Annenberg Estate two weeks from now, the focus will be on how the American and Chinese presidents (pictured during a meeting in February 2012) can build a personal relationship able to bridge the many differences between the world’s two largest economies.
That may be a challenge. Politicians in both nations often struggle to hide their mutual dislike. Just now, Chinese netizens are working themselves up over Joe Biden’s dissing of their country in a recent speech. Continue reading »
A recent conference held by the China Medical Board, a US foundation, on China and the Global Burden of Disease identified smoking as the third greatest risk to health in the country, behind dietary risks and high blood pressure but ahead of China’s deadly environmental pollution about which so much has been written.
Asia is one of the last great global bastions of smoking, with China and Indonesia – the first and fourth most populous countries in the world – setting the regional lead. China alone is home to more than a third of the world’s smokers, puffing away at a rate of more than 2tn cigarettes a year. Continue reading »
Samsung Electronics is on a roll thanks to the huge popularity of its latest smartphone. The Galaxy S4 has sold 10m units within a month of its release, making it Samsung’s fastest-selling smartphone ever – the Galaxy S4 reached the 10m mark in half the time taken by its predecessor. Continue reading »
During school holidays children in India are traditionally looked after close to home and at minimal cost. It’s one advantage of living in an extended family with a never-ending supply of aunties, eager to spend a day pinching the cheeks of your children and keeping them well fed.
But as the country develops, that seems to be changing. Parents are increasingly keen to get their children out of the house and into productive activities. India’s summer camp industry is expected to be worth Rs10bn ($179.9m) by the 2017-2018 year, up from Rs4bn today, according to Assocham, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Continue reading »
The troubled Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange looks unlikely to be back in business any time soon. With regulators and the Hong Kong police opening separate investigations – followed quickly by three arrests on Tuesday night – the fledgling futures exchange may have done itself irreparable damage. Hong Kong’s financial sector will be very keen indeed to ensure the damage is restricted to HKMEx itself. Continue reading »
It’s tempting to think that the Hong Kong IPO market is finally back to good health. Two $1bn+ deals have been completed in the past few days and on Wednesday, one of them shot up on its debut.
But don’t pop the champagne just yet. While the deals got done, they did so with a lot of legwork. And its too early to tell whether they will ultimately offer much reward for investors. Continue reading »
The China Food and Drug Administration has promised to get tough on health foods before, with little result. This time, it seems, it is serious.
The recently-reformed CFDA has promised a five-month campaign from May to September to crack down on illegal activity in the health food industry, part of a broader drive by authorities to stamp out corruption and unethical business practices. Continue reading »
Algos – those complicated and increasing popular beasts – have proved a headache for financial regulators the world over.
India’s financial market regulator is trying to bring them further under control. As of May 27, algorithmic trading systems in the country will be audited every six months and stock exchanges will have powers to suspend and penalise traders who don’t take action to ensure their systems comply with requirements. Continue reading »
One of the world’s largest fixed income fund managers expects Asia’s growing energy shortage to lead to investment opportunities in the credit markets.
Pimco, the US-based manager with $2.04tn in assets under management worldwide, said in a report released in Hong Kong on Tuesday that more oil and gas companies in Asia would tap the bond market, often to finance acquisitions outside the region as they come to terms with energy shortages caused by declining indigenous resources and increasing domestic consumption. Continue reading »
There’s a big test this week for investors eyeing India’s growing internet industry.
Justdial, the Indian local search engine, is coming to market with an initial public offering that follows several other IPOs that haven’t done too well lately. It’s a challenge for the company and for prospective share-buyers. Continue reading »
Yum or yuk?
If the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation has its way, celebrity chefs will soon be whipping up a dish of dried crickets, rather than strawberry fondue.
Insects may not look particularly appetising, but they could provide a solution to the world’s looming food crisis. And the FAO’s shining example? Thailand. Continue reading »