The New Climate Economy is a major international think tank, examining how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change. It was commissioned by seven countries – Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as an independent initiative to report to the international community. Notable and deliberate omissions amongst its members are the United States, China and India, where it is felt an initiative free of political influences would paint a more accurate and impartial picture as to challenges the world economy faces when dealing with climate issues, including pollution.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Jake Liddle
Due in large part to their growing populations and the increasing scarcity of conventional energy sources, alternative energy industries have begun to gain a foothold in emerging Asia. Of these industries, solar stands out as one with huge potential. The Indian government has already stated its intent to increase its solar capacity 30 fold by 2020, while ASEAN member states met late last year to discuss renewable energy as a solution to the region’s problem with a lack of electricity. In this article, we look at the potential of China in this industry.
With 14 of the world’s 55 gigawatt solar panels installed in the country, China became the largest solar panel market in 2015. This rapid expansion of investment into solar energy can be attributed to the generous incentive programs that the country offers, as well as the government’s five-year plan to hit 100 gigawatt installations by 2020. Other studies, such as one conducted by Xinhua, forecast an even brighter outlook for the industry, with figures as large as 150 gigawatts by 2020 predicted.
By Elizabeth Leclaire
ASEAN countries have continued to gain economic footholds in the global market, particularly in the automotive industry. Automobile manufacturing and production has skyrocketed in recent years, most notably in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Although these ASEAN nations have all focused on automotive industry development, the particular economic niches and consumer bases differ greatly between them. This article will outline the primary differences between the markets and their implications on foreign investors looking to invest in Southeast Asia.
China’s anti-trust crackdown on foreign pharmaceutical companies has left many foreign investors in the healthcare industry shocked. The Chinese government has had no qualms about openly stating that it prefers hospitals to purchase from domestic producers. That said, China’s homegrown manufacturers of medical devices and medicine still lack the sophistication to produce many of the more advanced health care products the country needs. Amid rising living standards and an aging population, China’s healthcare needs are set to rise sharply in the coming years.
By Kimberly Wright
Are organic products safer than other products? Are foreign imports really worth paying 2-3 times the cost of domestic items? These are some of the questions conscientious Chinese consumers may find themselves asking when they step into one of the international supermarkets that now dot the top tier cities along China’s coastline. Given the recent food scandals and the resulting wide-scale distrust towards domestic food products, many middle class Chinese consumers have shown to be willing to shell out extra cash for health foods and foreign imports in order to quell anxieties about domestic food safety. This has created new investment opportunities for foreign investors in food business in China, especially those involved with organic and health food products.
By Nishant Dixit
Rapid economic development, rising wages, and changing spending habits are creating new patterns of consumption in Asian markets. Alcoholic beverages markets, especially beer, have experienced growth across the Asia Pacific, with rising competition among domestic producers, entry of foreign players, and the emergence of craft brewing.
The Asia Pacific beer market is expected to be valued at US$ 220 billion by 2020, with annual growth at 5 percent between 2014 and 2020. However, there are also major challenges in some markets, with tough regulations and sales restrictions topping the list.
By Rebecca Choong Wilkins
As growth stagnates, the European shipping sector is confident that the Asian market will remain a reliable lifeline. According to HSH Nordbank’s recent survey ‘Shipping goes to Asia 2015’, Europeans are increasingly optimistic that Asian capital will rejuvenate the industry this year.
The survey sampled 500 executives from its international client base, almost 80 percent of whom planned to move their business activities into Asia if they had not already due to ‘proximity to the growth market.’ 80 percent of those surveyed also expected Asian providers of capital to penetrate ship finance. In the first of this two-part article on the opportunities and threats to Europe’s reliance on the Asian shipping sector, we take a look at the general trends in the industry and intra-Asian trade.
Previously dominated by European banks, Chinese banks have significantly increased loans to global ship owners since their retreat from the market in 2013. Speaking to Asia Briefing, Michalis Pantazopoulos, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Liberian Registry – the second largest shipping registry in the world – pointed out that it is still uncertain how market drivers will reduce or expand Asian financing. However, he added: “One thing for sure is that China’s growth is strong and has some way to go until it shows some signs of fatigue or settlement. Considering also that a few years ago Asian capital and financing was low or non-existent in the European shipping sector and today not only exists but grows is also a positive sign that there is some way to grow in times ahead.”
By Nishant Maddineni
The Philippines has overtaken India as the largest hub for call centers in the world with more than one million Filipinos working in call centers and the related Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry as of August 2014. Call centers are one segment of the BPO industry, which involves outsourcing non-primary business activities such as payroll, human resources, accounting and customer call center relations.
Export revenues from BPO in the Philippines have boomed in the last decade, increasing tenfold from US$1.3 billion in 2004 to US$13.3 billion in 2014. The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines expects this to continue increasing to $25 billion in 2016. However, 80 percent of this revenue comes from voice call centers as opposed to more technical IT outsourcing.
Most of the increase in BPO to the Philippines has come at the expense of India. In 2013, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said that the country lost over 50 percent of its BPO to foreign countries, costing the Indian economy approximately US$25 billion.
By Nishant Dixit
Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services are expanding in the Asia-Pacific. Netflix will broaden its customer base by adding online viewers in Australia and New Zealand in March 2015 and Japan later in the fall. At the same time, Singtel, a major Asian telecom player, will be launching its online streaming service called HOOQ in several major Asian markets.
By Nishant Dixit
On December 31, 2014, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that it had scrapped the quotas restricting exports of rare earth minerals and would replace them with a system of export licenses. The change follows China’s unsuccessful appeal of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) March 2014 ruling that found the quotas were designed to benefit domestic firms and encourage foreign investment.
The export quotas had been in place since 2000 and raised shortage concerns in importers. In 2010, China’s drastic lowering of the quota triggered a sharp increase in the price of rare earth minerals, causing the U.S., the European Union and Japan to formally lodge a trade complaint in the WTO in March 2012.