Rat meat disguised as mutton, fake pharmaceuticals, entire replica Apple stores – China has seen almost every scam imaginable. But in the latest scandal unearthed by Chinese police the pirates have started to intrude into people’s love lives.
In a nationwide crackdown the authorities have arrested 37 people on suspicion of manufacturing nearly 5m fake brand-name condoms and selling them to unwitting consumers through supermarkets, pharmacies and sex shops across the country. Continue reading »
China’s April trade data published this week highlighted a nagging question – are companies over-stating their exports to secure legal and illegal financial benefits?
Economists say exports are almost certainly being inflated, notably through the so-called “one-day tour” of goods through bonded export zones in Shenzhen, in southern China, and via the “round-tripping” of goods between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. What exactly is going on? Continue reading »
When a short seller launches a public attack on a company, the resulting storm can lead to a big dip in share price as investors digest the charge sheet – see Muddy Waters on Olam.
But African Bank, South Africa’s biggest household lender, saw its shares climb on Thursday despite a highly critical presentation by David Stemerman of Conatus at a conference in New York on Wednesday. A less-than-convincing case by the short seller? Or a question of the bad news already being out there? Continue reading »
By Paulo Sotero of the Woodrow Wilson Center
The process that culminated Tuesday with the selection of Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil (pictured) to lead the World Trade Organization is a precious opportunity for the international community to move away from the increasingly balkanized system of trade that gained ground in the past decade as the United States and the European Union lost political and economic capacity to dictate global rules. Continue reading »
As Sir Alex Ferguson steps down after one of the most successful football managerial careers of all time, the numbers machine is kicking into gear – trophies, win-loss records, you name it.
The thing is, Manchester United FC is a statistician’s nightmare. A famous Guiness beer ad from a few years back said that 98 per cent of Man U fans had never been to Old Trafford, the club’s stadium. It’s not clear where that little factoid came from.
But one thing is for sure: in terms of its fans, Man U under Fergie has become one of the world’s leading emerging markets football clubs. Continue reading »
If a mark of being a developed country is innovation, then look out: China is certainly throwing ideas about.
The number of patent applications from China has overtaken those from the US, a remarkable catch-up over the last few years. But does this mean China will soon be exporting ideas in the way it has exported manufactured goods? Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »
HTC, the bealguered Taiwanese phonemaker, expects sales to jump over 60 per cent between the first and second quarters. That’s quite an uplift, and certainly better than last quarter, when sales significantly missed expectations, driving down its first quarter profits to record lows.
What’s behind the change? Well, it helps to have a flagship phone to sell. Continue reading »
By Craig Baker and Andy Ratcliffe
The arguments over whether South Africa should still receive aid from Britain, following Justine Greening’s announcement that there would be no new DFID projects in South Africa, show how the global debate about the continent is shifting.
Africa was once viewed as a region that had stalled, making little or no progress. Now, the world is starting to notice the pace of economic change. Headlines on the theme of ‘Africa rising‘ are appearing more and more in international newspapers. But many doubt that this economic growth is actually improving living standards for the average African citizens. Continue reading »
With Chinese workers enjoying a break from their travails on May 1 for Labour Day, it is an opportune time to look at one gift recently bestowed on them by the country’s financiers.
The gift is a new investment opportunity going by the name ‘fund of trusts’, which conjures up a sense of diversification and safety. But a more accurate name might be ‘subprime for the masses’. Continue reading »
Much has been written about China in Africa – a relationship that has been described as neo-colonial as China’s appetite for African resources has boomed and China has embarked on landmark projects such as the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa (pictured left).
But quantifying the China-in-Africa story has been hard. There are official projects, aid donations, gifts, credit lines and more. Adding all that up is tricky – but a new database from AidData shows just how vast and sprawling Chinese investment in Africa has become. Chart of the week has run the numbers. Continue reading »
Yes, it's made of gold
Indians are easily the world’s most voracious buyers of gold so as prices fall, demand should rise, right? Right. Conversely, as prices rise, demand should fall, right? Wrong. Experience of the past few years suggests that Indians buy gold with an apparent disregard for price.
That’s a headache for policy makers because gold imports have a big impact on India’s current account deficit. But Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India and Asean at HSBC, says there is scope for policy to take some of the passion out of Indians’ love affair with gold. Continue reading »
What does Rwanda, a poor African country that has suffered a horrific war and genocide, have in common with Costa Rica, a Central American country of 4.5m best known for its beaches and high-quality coffee beans?
Answer: Both are the latest to benefit from the wave of cheap money looking for returns, by issuing debt at ridiculously low rates. Continue reading »
The China-Africa debate is never far away. Lamido Sanusi, governor of Nigeria’s central bank, recently wrote in the FT of a whiff of colonialism. Much has been said about the two countries’ unequal relationship, based on China’s supposedly insatiable desire for African raw materials and for control of its mining assets.
But perhaps a bigger problem is not China’s dominance but China’s slowdown. What happens when the country doesn’t want so many of Africa’s exports? That moment may be coming sooner than you think. Continue reading »
A quarter of the world’s 161m blind and severely visually impaired people live in India, according to Sightsavers, the international charity.
Combine that with the fact that India is buzzing with technology and entrepreneurship, and it makes sense that the world’s first Braille smartphone is being developed in the country. Continue reading »
Corruption is a popular spectator sport in Argentina – at least to judge by the TV ratings of a show by the country’s most prominent investigative journalist. Continue reading »