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    Asia

  • East Asia Forum

    Why cultural values cannot be ignored in international relations

    Author: Kadira Pethiyagoda, Canberra One hundred years ago began the war that was supposed to end all wars. This inauspicious centenary has allowed the foreign affairs commentariat to indulge in one of the things it is best at — drawing historical analogies. It is true that aspects of the global landscape look similar to a century ago. States push the boundaries of international law and act unilaterally, returning to old-school territoriality. A major redistribution of strategic and economic weight is also afoot. New superpowers emerge and agitate for a place at the high table of international affairs. This time the shift is seismic, moving across entire continents. Today the emerging powers include China, India and other Asian states, as well as Brazil and South Af...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Home Healthcare in China – Referral Source Cultivation

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  • East Asia Forum

    Modi’s new financial inclusion plan is a step in the right direction

    Authors: Akshay Gakhar and Geethanjali Nataraj, Observer Research Foundation On Independence Day 2014, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his financial inclusion plan to provide a bank account to every Indian household. His ‘Jan-Dhan Yojana’ (Scheme for People’s Wealth) — which, in typical Modi vernacular, plays on rhyming words — seeks to provide financial independence to unbanked Indians through a two-phase plan. Phase one focuses on providing every household in India with a free zero-balance bank account and a RuPay debit card — which allows for electronic payment at all Indian banks — with an aim of increasing financial literacy among the poor. Account holders will also receive up to Rp100,000 (US$1650) of accident insurance and an ove...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    User rights as a novel instrument for infrastructure financing

    by S. Ramann and Manish K. Singh. An issue on the front burner for the Government today is how to raise financing for the trillion dollars of infrastructure investment required in India. The banking system is facing significant stress, and cannot finance the second wave of investment in infrastructure as it did with the first wave from 2002 to 2012. In this discourse, so far, the main strategy that has been emphasised is the development of the corporate bond market, which includes setting up trading infrastructure, removing capital controls, removing taxation of non-residents, removing barriers against currency derivatives, etc. We would like to propose one additional element that could help infrastructure financing. We go back to infrastructure f...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    RBI vs. Uber, continued

    by Suyash Rai and Ajay Shah. On 22 August 2014, RBI came out with an order which effectively forces firms such as Uber to either shut down, or switch to cumbersome payments mechanisms. On 24 August, we wrote an article Shutting down Uber in India was unwise about the economic thinking in payments regulation. On 15 September, Raghuram Rajan responded to this criticism in a talk, saying: If there is a rule on the book, we don't allow it to be violated simply because the innovation is cool. We think that RBI's action does not even constitute proper enforcement of `a rule on the book'. We think that regulators like RBI cannot pass the buck for bad consequences of rules that are fully under their control. We think that if RBI was wise and accountable, i...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    The ‘Indo-Pacific’: absent policy behind meaningless words

    Author: Trevor Wilson, ANU Some may not have noticed when it happened but Julie Bishop, after becoming Australian Foreign Minister in September 2013, directed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to use the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ instead of the traditional ‘Asia Pacific’ which has now been in use throughout the world for more than forty years. According to some, Bishop was not initially wedded to ‘Indo-Pacific’ but she seems to have become a convert, although she still occasionally uses ‘Indo-Pacific/Asia Pacific’. However, the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ is now spread across the DFAT website, in place of, and occasionally as well as, ‘Asia Pacific’. But is ‘Indo-Pacific’ really meaningful as the new strategic term of choice for the regio...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Is China ready for private healthcare? (Al Jazeera)

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  • Health Intel Asia

    China Just Gave Foreign Pharmacy Retailers A Big Green Light (Forbes)

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  • China Matters

    It’s “Third Force” Time in Syria

    [Subsequent to e-mailing this piece to China Matters subscribers, I went back and added a paragraph about the "28 pages" and the legal jeopardy they might pose to Saudi Arabia in US courts, and some thoughts about the "anti-IS campaign" as a harbinger of a new US approach to pursuing limited goals in the region. CH, 9/16/2014] Ever since President Obama gave his crISis ™ speech, I’ve pushed back against what I considered to be simplistic predictions of the effort’s doom, along the lines of “air power cannot occupy” and “arming anti-Assad ostensibly moderate Syrian rebels is always an exercise in futility”.   On September 12, I wrote:The depressing part of the US strategy is that, as far as I can tell, it views the anti-IS campaign as a Trojan Ho...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    RBI's `wilful default' framework vs. the rule of law

    I have an article in the Indian Express today titled RBI's `wilful default' framework vs. the rule of law.

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    “…not with a bang but a whimper”

    Doug, Pancoast, an American entrepreneur living in Shanghai, asked to interview me for his blog, and I agreed to do so. I think it was meant to be a brief interview, but I began to respond on a Saturday evening, while waiting for the performance at my club to begin (my office is at my CD label, just upstairs from my music club), and as the performance started late and the questions were interesting and covered a lot of ground, I ended up writing quite a lot. I thought I might reproduce the interview on my blog, not so much for the interview itself, which you can anyway find elsewhere, but because I decided that I could significantly add to the responses (they are twice as long as the original interview) with a lot of examples and with historical material that I find ver...more

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  • China Matters

    With IS, US Getting Ready for Its “Suez Crisis” Post-Imperial Close-Up

    Though an anti-war type I am not on the same page with many anti-war types when it comes to poo-pooing President Obama’s call for military action against the IS caliphate.  The caliphate is a big deal, in my opinion, a big bad transnational deal with significant consequences throughout Asia, and something should be done.  “Something”, unfortunately, would be a big, disruptive military campaign coordinated through the UN Security Council and Arab League, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and involving lots of Saudi and Turkish casualties, both military and civilian, and a prolonged, agonizing, and expensive effort to reassert the control of the Iraqi and Syrian governments over the territory they had lost.Understandably, nobody, including the U...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Energy supply in the DPRK’s SEZs

    The Nautilus Institute has published an interesting paper on energy infrastructure in the DPRK’s initial four special economic zones: Rason, Hwanggumphyong, Kaesong, Kaesong, and Kumgang. Here is the publication information and  a link: “Supplying Energy Needs for the DPRK’s Special Economic Zones and Special Administrative Regions: Electricity Infrastructure Requirements” Nautilus Institute Roger Cavazos & David von Hippel 2014-8-19 Here is the introduction: The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) uses special economic zones as a mechanism for engaging in commercial activity with other nations without substantially converting its economy to a market model; earning hard currency while reducing some of the social and political risks a...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    DPRK fun: Guess how many members of the women’s team are civilians

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    US federal court rules against DPRK

    In July 2014 a US federal court found the DPRK guilty of proliferating weapons and providing training to Hezbollah. Here is the ruling (PDF).  

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  • China Matters

    Uh-Oh: America Pivots Back to the Middle East

    No, We’re Not Here to Help…We’re Here to Stir the Sh*tI believe that President Obama tipped his hand as to the basic US strategy for IS in Iraq and Syria when he stated that the US goal was to reduce IS to “a manageable problem” . Once the appalling implications of this apparent endorsement of a permanent presence for the transnational, decapitation-happy caliphate sank in, Joe Biden was sent out for damage control with the hyperbolic message that the US would pursue IS “to the gates of hell”.Well, truth be told, actually entering the gates of hell and thoroughly sorting out the mess it created in the Middle East is apparently the one thing that the US isn't very eager to do.One of the ironic things about the current situation is that, as the Unite...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Geert Wilders: “War Has Been Declared against Us”

    Well, what do you know! Amazing things are happening around the world. One of the more positive developments has been that of the Islamic State (formerly known as the ISIS) showing up and demonstrating to the world what “peace” means in the “Religion of Peace.(™)” They are the poster boys of Islam, arguing against the left-lib-tards (that’s the short form for “leftist liberal retards”) who keep on insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. (I read this somewhere: If someone declares that they love you, ask for proof; if someone says that they wish to kill you, believe them and get away quickly.) In every case of Islamic terrorism, the perpetrators loudly proclaim Allahu-akbar and declare that they are following Islam’...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    What does a “good” Chinese adjustment look like?

    I have always thought that the soft landing/hard landing debate wholly misses the point when it comes to China’s economic prospects. It confuses the kinds of market-based adjustments we are likely to see in the US or Europe with the much more controlled process we see in China. Instead of a hard landing or a soft landing, the Chinese economy faces two very different options, and these will be largely determined by the policies Beijing chooses over the next two years. Beijing can manage a rapidly declining pace of credit creation, which must inevitably result in much slower although healthier GDP growth. Or Beijing can allow enough credit growth to prevent a further slowdown but, once the perpetual rolling-over of bad loans absorbs most of the country’s loan creatio...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Ganapati Vighana Haran Gajanana

    It’s that time of the year once again — the time of Ganesha’s visit and therefore this annual post which is a tradition on this blog. He is invoked at the beginnings of all endeavors. I recently bought a Chromebox. What better than having Ganesh grant his protection to the little computer? Last time I was in India, I had picked up a few small brass Ganeshas. So I placed one of them on the computer. Here’s the Vighana Haran, the Defeater of Obstacles, ensuring that the computer works fine. He looks quite comfortable, don’t you think? Ganesh is associated with the finer things of life. Learning, good food, wisdom, writing, knowledge. I approve of them all. So it is natural that he is one of my favorite gods. As part of Ganesha’s wor...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Can Pedro Sanchez save the PSOE?

    Last month Pedro Sánchez Castejón was chosen to be the new leader of Spain’s center-left Socialist Party (PSOE).  El Pais called his appointment a “renewal” of the PSOE, although Sánchez seems to have been chosen mainly because he is too young and unknown to suffer from the revulsion most Spaniards feel towards the political establishment. But as the PSOE’s new leader, and without much of the baggage carried around by the older generation of leaders, Sánchez has an important choice facing him. If he expects to lead Spain and his party out of its current crisis, he must recognize that the crisis is fundamentally a conflict between the interests of Europe’s bankers and of Europe’s workers, and he must reengineer PSOE’s policies in favor of the Spain’s...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Whose money is it anyway?

    Milton Friedman used to elegantly distinguish between four ways of spending money. First, when you spend your own money on yourself, you are very careful to get the most benefit for your buck. After all, it is your money and you know what you want for yourself. Second, when you spend your own money on someone else. Here too you carefully economize to meet your objective but since you don’t know the other person’s needs as well as you do your own needs, your spending may not be as optimal for the other person. Third, you spend other people’s money on yourself. In this case, your incentive to economize is certainly blunted. You are much more concerned with getting the best and less with what it will cost. Finally, when you spend other people’s mone...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Is Falung Gong a dangerous cult? Is it a cult at all?

    I’ll admit it right at the beginning: I’ve always found there to be something creepy about the Falun Gong. I remember seeing practitioners in Taipei sitting with their eyes closed meditating endlessly. I remember their anti-CCP literature. I remember meeting a group of practitioners at the local annual China celebration day in Phoenix and finding them generally icky. But just because I find them creepy doesn’t mean they are a cult, let alone a dangerous one. This excellent article presents the argument of one of the best informed China Hands I’ve ever read, Ian Johnson, who argues that the FG is not a cult. In “Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China,” Ian Johnson writes that the “cult” label was designed to “[cl...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Foxconn Moving Direct to Consumer

    I remember having conversations years ago about what Foxconn would do going forward, and whether or not they would be happy as the manufacturer to brands.   The WSJ article, Amid Margin Squeeze, Foxconn Designs Its Own Fate, puts this question to rest. Recently, the $130-billion-a-year in revenue company has ventured into handset accessories under its own brand, and sales and distribution of mobile phones. It also plans to offer telecommunications services in Taiwan. For me, this has always been a bit of a no brainer.  Foxconn has an amazing amount of talent in the firm that is not just managing the supply chain and assembling gadgets for their customer, but have for years also been bringing designs to the brands that they feel would sell well in the market. Partner ...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Bites of China. Finally a Show Worth Watching!

    A couple of weeks back, while riding the G train back from Nanjing, something caught my eye.  An advertisement by CCTV for what I believe could be one of the best produced shows China has put together.  At first, I had no idea what the advertisement for, but what was clear was that it was celebrating the various food flavors of China, and those who are tilling the fields and preparing the dishes. The show is called Bite of China, and I cannot recommend it enough. Sure, China is known for its fair share of food failures, including recycled oil, but watching this show has restored a bit of my love for the flavors here.  Flavors that were actually the basis for one of my earliest posts, and have provided a never ending hunt for me and my wife as we look to try new thin...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Twenty-five years later

    I never before saw all the raw video footage of “Tank Man’s” defiance against a column of army tanks until today. It is remarkable, how one nameless man entered all of our living rooms for just a moment and is remembered so vividly a quarter of a century later. And for good reason. Let’s keep the hundreds of murdered innocents in our thoughts today, and keep alive the fight to let the Chinese people know all who died during the crackdown. Let’s remember the Tiananmen Mothers, and let’s even hope for the day when the CCP admits the demonstrations were not an act of “counterrevolutionary” treachery inspired by foreign subversives, but an expression of the Chinese people’s yearning for a say in their government, for t...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Return of Liu Di, the “Stainless Steel Mouse”

    Those of you who have been reading this blog for ten years or more (if any such reader exists) might remember an array of posts I wrote in 2004 regarding a “cyberdissident221; Liu Di, who posted pro-democracy essays on the Internet under the moniker Stainless Steel Mouse. Posts like this or this, and several more. She also participated in study groups that discussed freedom and government reform, and saw herself and her colleagues arrested. I remember how angry I felt when another cyberdissident who lobbied for her release was himself arrested. Still, she has never been silenced. Even as recently as last month she was taken into custody for participating in a seminar about June 4th. A reader brought to my attention the availability of three of Liu Di’s n...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Do China’s Millennials Want ?

    For a number of years, I had it pretty good.  I had a number of teams that were under me, were stable, and were producing.  It was at a time when a lot of questions were being asked about the post 80s generation in China, but for whatever reason I was immune. But, those days are over, and just yesterday I had another millennial go AWOL on me.  So, it was perhaps interesting timing that CNBC put up the article Millennials may be more like boomers than we realize highlighting how several studies point to a generation that is looking for meaning in their job, in their company, and for balance: A new study from Deloitte also found differences in workplace attitudes between millennials and older generations, saying that the former “want to work for organizations tha...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcards from the National People's Congress

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Twins!

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  • ChinaBizGov

    China's Green Car Sales in 2012

    Just a few years ago, pretty much everyone (except Chinese auto industry insiders whom I interviewed) thought China was about to take ownership of the global green car market. (Here's just one example from the excitable Tom Friedman of the New York Times.)In 2009 China's industrial planners announced plans to have 500,000 green cars ("New Energy Vehicles" or "新能源汽车" -- a combination of electrics and hybrids) on Chinese roads by the end of 2011. That obviously didn't happen, so last year, that same target of 500,000 was pushed out to 2015.So how did green car sales fare in 2012? Overall, hybrids plus electrics grew a respectable 52 percent.So while sales grew pretty well in percentage terms, it is clear that overall numbers are still inconsequential when you co...more

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    What Causes Revolutions?

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Enter the New Year

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    China, school violence and official reaction

    I wrote yesterday about growing questions in China about the differences between the U.S. reaction to the tragedy in Newtown and that of the tragedy in Henan Province, where, on the same say as the shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed and slashed 23 students at a primary school. (All survived in Henan, where the weapon was a knife, not an AR-15.) As a commentary piece in the state-controlled Global Times noted: “The Chinese public has focused on the slow official response and the level of social reflection. Many are furious that while the Americans have started mourning nationwide, the Chinese appear insensitive to the Henan case.” Another story today, carried by China Daily, caught my attention. It describes an example of how profoundly off-key propaganda can ...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcard from a snowy Beijing

    The smell of roasting sweet potatoes in a city covered with snow put me in the mood to take a detour on my walk to work today  ...

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  • ChinaBizGov

    Comparing Corruption in China and the US

    Today's WSJ China Realtime reports on a study by a George Mason University economist who attempts to compare corruption in the US and China.  His conclusion is that corruption in America's Gilded Age (1877-1893)* was worse than corruption in China today.Perhaps the conclusion is correct, but the methodology used by this professor is flawed.  US corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US newspapers 1870-1930.  China corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US (not Chinese!) newspapers 1990-2011.So he is measuring corruption in two countries by the number of times the newspapers of only one of the countries mentions the word.  Even if the researcher had used Chinese newspapers, the study still would have been flawed due to Commun...more

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  • ChinaBizGov

    GM and SAIC: Trouble in Paradise?

    General Motors (GM) and Shanghai Auto (SAIC) announced in December of 2009 that they were deepening their partnership beyond their joint venture in China.  Together they created a 50:50 joint venture, registered in Hong Kong, for expansion outside of China.  Now that partnership appears to be coming apart.Initially, the plan for the HK JV was for the two sides to work together in India and possibly elsewhere in the future.  (For further insight into this particular deal, please see Chapter 4 of Designated Drivers.) As for the India venture, GM would contribute two existing factories in India, along with its Chevrolet brand, and SAIC would contribute cash -- something that GM had been seriously lacking as it had emerged from bankruptcy earlier that same ye...more

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Otaviano Canuto

Otaviano Canuto is Senior Advisor on BRICS Economies in the Development Economics Department, World Bank, a new position established by President Kim to bring a fresh research focus to this increasingly critical area. He also has an extensive academic background, serving as Professor of Economics at the University of Sao Paulo and University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil.

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