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    Asia

  • East Asia Forum

    Is Narendra Modi a crony capitalist or just best friend to business?

    Author: Nikita Sud, University of Oxford With interests in ports and logistics, energy, agri-business, mining and real estate, the Adani Group is one of India’s business powerhouses. Its chairman, first-generation entrepreneur Gautam Adani, has a net worth of US$4.5 billion and regularly makes it to international rich lists. Adani is reclusive by nature, but has recently found himself thrust into the spotlight. It is believed that the rise of his business empire coincides with the ascent of Narendra Modi, the man who could be India’s next prime minister. Adani began his professional life as a plastics trader in 1988. By the mid 1990s, he was looking to diversify in India’s liberalising economy. He was the local partner to MNC Cargill, which was allotted 3000 acre...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Modi in pole position: but what would his government look like?

    Author: Arun R. Swamy, University of Guam As India goes to the ballot boxes, it seems clear that the ruling Indian National Congress (INC) and its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition will be decimated by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The suspense centres entirely on how close the NDA will get to the 272 seats required for a parliamentary majority. The answer will determine whether the NDA will form the government and how dependent it will be on regional parties not affiliated with either alliance. Two major opinion polls released in March suggest that the BJP will win between 220 and 240 seats and the NDA between 240 and 260 seats. By contrast, the INC and UPA are predicted to fall to around 100 and 120 ...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Consumer confidence shows Indonesia’s prayers may be answered

    Author: Nigel West, UK. Despite many economists claiming a rocky outlook is ahead, both investor and consumer confidence in Indonesia is very high. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Indonesian Consumer Confidence survey published in February 2014 revealed that nine out of ten Indonesians believe that the situation over the next five years will be positive, and almost eight out of ten believe that the upcoming year will be one of good fortune. Does the average Indonesian really have cause to be so optimistic? Commodity prices have been falling recently, which is rarely good news for Indonesia’s resource-driven economy. Exports have been down, along with other commodity-based economies around the world. Commodities account for 60 per cent of Indonesian exports, with most of this comi...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    The rise of restructured private hospitals in 2nd and 3rd tier Chinese cities?

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  • The Peking Duck

    Tiananmen Square 25 years later

    This week witnessed the 25th anniversary of the death of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang, an event that ignited student demonstrations throughout China, but most famously in Beijing — we all know the story. It was only two days after his death that the students began flooding into Tiananmen Square. It is a futile exercise to look at the life of Hu Yaobang and ask, “What if…?” But it’s hard not to wonder. What if he had not been demoted in 1987 and if his program for political and economic reforms were put further into place? A touching interview with his son, Hu Dehua, looks at the opportunities China lost with Hu’s demotion. I enjoyed the part recounting how Hu spoke out against slavish devotion to Mao Zedong. Twenty-five y...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    A New Kind of Test

    TIME has a brief piece on an interesting change in what the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) tests. “Students will no longer be rewarded for the rote memorization of semi-obscure definitions. Instead, the words that the SAT will highlight in vocabulary questions will be “high utility” words that students are likely to encounter in life and reading beyond those four hours in the testing location. Even the most studied students won’t be able to breeze through vocab sections, matching a word with definition B by reflex; they’ll have to read and gather from the passage exactly what a word means.” ...more

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  • China Matters

    Now Trending: FBI Informants

    Lot of talk about bad guys being FBI assets recently.  Thanks to his lawyers, the Interwebs are ahumwith speculation that the FBI neglected to hoover up Tamerlan Tsarnaev a.k.a. the Elder before the Boston marathon bombing because the Bureau was already in touch with him and trying to turn him as an asset, not because the Russians withheld crucial information.Today it also transpired that Glenn Miller, the white supremacist linked to the shootings in Overland Park, had allegedly worked with the FBI as an informer.  Over at CounterPunch, James Ridgeway quotes an aggrieved white supremacist outlet that accused Miller:“In the 1980′s Glenn Miller was a self-styled KKK leader in North Carolina. He made contact with The Order, which was famous for armored&...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Learning from the DKSH-Taiko Partnership

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Happy Bengali New Year

    The Bengali calendar is loosely tied with the Hindu Vedic solar calendar, based on the Surya Siddhanta. As with many other variants of the Hindu solar calendar, the Bengali calendar commences in mid-April of the Gregorian year. The first day of the Bengali year therefore coincides with the mid-April new year in Mithila, Assam, Burma, Cambodia, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand. [Wiki.] The wiki also states that Poila Boishakh coincides with the New Years in many other Southern Asian calendars, including: Assamese New Year, or Rongali Bihu (India’s Assam state) Burmese New Year, or Thingyan (Burma) Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey (Cambodia) Lao New Year, or Songkan / Pi Mai Lao (Laos) Malayali New Year, or Vishu (India’s...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    China seeking to boost Chinese tourist numbers

    According to Yonhap: China has launched the second train service to North Korea, state media reported Monday, a move expected to boost travel between the two nations. The Sunday opening of regular rail services from China’s northeastern city of Jian to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang makes Jian the second city offering such service after another Chinese border city of Dandong, Xinhua news agency reported. North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive and isolated nations, but Pyongyang has stepped up efforts to attract foreign tourists since last year by offering more international and domestic flights. In Jian, Chinese tourists can apply for a one-day round trip, which is available once every four days, to North Korea for US$480 per person, the re...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Who Killed Indians at Jallianwala Bagh?

    Today is the anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, was a seminal event in the British rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a crowd of non-violent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, had gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab to protest the arrest of two leaders despite a curfew which had been recently declared. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The dead numbered between 370 and 1,000, or possibly more. [Wiki.] The picture on the left shows the narrow passage to Jallianwala Bagh Garden through which ...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Leadership of State agencies in India requires engineers and not drivers

    I recently wrote a column in the Economic Times titled Engineers, not drivers, about the problems of malfunctioning government agencies in India and the problem of constructing State capacity.  ...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    DPRK claims to send funds to Chongryun

    According to KCNA: Kim Jong Un Sends Educational Aid Fund and Stipends to Children of Koreans in Japan Pyongyang, April 11 (KCNA) — Supreme leader Kim Jong Un sent educational aid fund and stipends amounting to 207.8 million yen to the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan for the democratic national education of children of Koreans in Japan on the occasion of the 102nd birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung. The educational aid fund and stipends sent by Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and Marshal Kim Jong Un in 160 installments total 47,331,150,390 yen. Since the Mangyongbong-92 is no longer traveling the East Sea/Sea of Japan, I wonder how the funds will be transferred. The Chongryun have seen bad financial news lately: 1. Chongryun he...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Economic Management Improvement Measures – changes after one year

    Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) 2014-4-11 The Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper, reported on April 2, 2014 that since March of last year all production facilities across North Korea have begun to take measures that will allow them to operate more autonomously. The article is currently garnering attention due to its explanation of the changes and improvements to economic management and by introducing factories where these measures have been successful. The news also reported that North Korean factories have to diverge from the national economic plan and produce and sell products at their own discretion. Furthermore, workers’ compensation and benefits packages are being adjusted according to each individual factory’s economic situation. ...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Time for the CCP to apologize for the Cultural Revolution?

    There is a moving essay in yesterday’s NY Times by author Yu Hua about growing up during the Cultural Revolution. It starts with the story of teenage man and his father turning over their mother/wife to the police for an anti-Mao remark she made. After being tortured, she was shot to death. Last year the Chinese media told the son’s story, and he related a dream he kept having of seeing his mother and begging for forgiveness, but she remains silent. Yu Hua comments, Why, in those dreams, does Ms. Fang never say a word to her son? It’s not, I think, that she wants to punish him, for she knows that the true blame lies with others — with those who were in power at the time. She — like the souls of all who perished during the Cultural Revolution — is awa...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    A Creative Solution That Shouldn’t Obscure How Bad The Problem Is

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  • China Matters

    Radiation and the Ronald Reagan

    I have an article in the current CounterPunch print edition (Subscribe!NOW! ) concerning the contamination of the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan by Fukushima fallout during the post-tsunami relief operations in 2011.The Ronald Reagan is in the news because several dozen crewmembers of the Reagan are trying to sue TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation, for concealing the radiation release and thereby damaging their health (unsurprisingly, members of the armed services are precluded from suing the US military for damage to their health, so redress must be sought elsewhere).I try to tiptoe between the two extremes of radiation alarmism and, I guess, radio-blasé-ism, but in the end I come down on the side that the contamination was pretty serious.The Ronald Reaga...more

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  • China Matters

    Seymour Hersh, Sarin, Syria and, Maybe, a Missing Saudi Arabia Connection?

    Seymour Hersh has an important piece up at the London Review of Books implicating Turkey in the August 2013 sarin gas incident that almost triggered a US attack on Syria.  I wonder how much traction it will get.  Specifically, will it get more traction than the recent clandestine Youtube release of the confab between the Turkish foreign minister and the spooks concerning the mechanics of manufacturing a false flag operation in northern Syria to justify a Turkish incursion?  In response the Turkish government banned Youtube, a ban that has attracted considerably less attention than its ban on Twitter.Hersh states that Turkey, as a NATO member, gets special treatment that other Muslim states do not:Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s ...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Opportunities at Macro/Finance Group, NIPFP

    The Macro/Finance Group at NIPFP has openings in analytical economics and public policy work. Economists We require individuals with a Ph.D. in economics or finance, with an interest in original research in our fields. These would be contractual appointments for a period of two years. One or more publications in international journals would be helpful, as would be the ability to carry research from inception all the way to publication. Policy research associates We require people who can participate in large complex projects in the field of public policy, ranging from envisioning the future to implementing it. Policy work is highly inter-disciplinary, spanning the fields of public economics, finance, economics, law, and public administration. Deep finance practitione...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Ye Fu’s book of essays, Hard Road Home: China’s Golden Age of Liberation

    Before I discuss this touching, beautifully written book, I’d like to cite a quote from a book review I happened to read at the same time I was reading Hard Road Home. It was an excellent review of Frank Dikoetter’s new book on the Chinese revolution, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957. It offers this excerpt: By the beginning of 1948, when the pressure abated, some 160 million people were under communist control. On paper the party determined that at least 10 percent of the population were “landlords” or “rich peasants.”… The statistical evidence is woefully inadequate, but by a rough approximation between 500,000 and a million people were killed or driven to suicide…. By the end of 1951, close to two ...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Economic consequences of income inequality

    A lot of things have happened in China since my last entry – in the FX markets, in the banking system, in the announcements of default, and in the continuing lowering of growth expectations – but for all the turmoil, as I see it nothing has happened that was unexpected and that has not been discussed many times on this blog. For that reason I decided to post a rather long essay (sorry) on income inequality and on how I think we can best think about the impact of income inequality on the global economy. This is a loaded topic, and I suspect I am going to get a lot of responses claiming that my essay is totally brilliant or totally nonsensical based, mainly, on the political orientation of readers. This entry, however, is not intended to be political. Very few things ...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Financial reforms : What should the next government do?

    Think India Foundation is setting up a series of TV shows on various aspects of public policy. Percy Mistry, Rashesh Shah, Dhiraj Nayyar and I were on their Financial Policy show, which was shot in English and Hinglish. I was impressed at the quality of the show; I had not thought this possible on television. And, my new ambition is to speak in Hindi like Dhiraj does. It will air on the coming weekend (22 and 23 March, Saturday and Sunday), as follows: CNN IBN Sat – 12pm & 8pm Sun – 10pm IBN 7 Sat – 10am & 8pm Sun – 11am & 6pm CNBC AWAAZ Sat – 7:30pm Sun -1pm CNBC-TV18 Sat – 8:30pm Sun – 8pm ETV UP, ETV MP and ETV Bihar Sat – 6pm Sun – 5pm ETV Rajasthan and ETV Urdu Sat – 5pm Sun – 5pm ...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Will emerging markets come back?

    I don’t often make reference to these kinds of things in my blog, but Saturday’s terrorist attack in the Kunming train station – in which 29 innocent people were hacked to death (the toll was especially high among the elderly who were unable to run away quickly enough from the killers) – fills me with dread and dismay. This kind of brutal massacre is not about sending a message to Beijing or to the world but is rather aimed at getting the authorities to overreact so as to create hatred within the country. I truly hope it does not succeed. There is a great deal of anger here in China but so far, I am glad to say, excluding some over-the-top responses in the internet world the authorities and Chinese people generally seem not to be overreacting. I wish there w...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    What do bank share prices tell us about growth?

    Tom Holland had an interesting piece in the South China Morning Post three weeks ago in which he discusses the low valuations of Chinese banks. About a decade ago, if I remember correctly, Chinese banks were trading between three and four times book. Those valuations have dropped considerably since then: On Monday, the weighted average price-book value ratio for the 10 Chinese banks listed in Hong Kong fell to just 0.98. In other words, as an investor you would have been able to buy shares in Chinese banks for less than the cash you would have received – in theory – if the companies were wound up the following day and the residual value returned to shareholders. That’s a highly unusual state of affairs, especially in a rapidly developing economy like ...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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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Would be the Impact if the Chinese Economy Tanked?

    One of the most interesting conversations I ever had was over drinks with a European central banker looking to learn about the reach of China. His core questions was “If China imploded, what could be the impact…. “, and for a couple of hours we worked through a few industries. How far their supply chains reached into China, regardless of where the products were sold, as well as what level of dependence those same firms/ industries had on China for top line growth. I’m sure it is a conversation many have had, but for me the big lesson was that few take the time to think about it enough, and regardless of what your feelings are on China’s potential for a “hard landing”, it is something I have always advocated creating scenarios f...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    The Year of the Horse is here! Bring on the Fireworks! Bring on the SMOG!

    LAst night, while enjoying a hot pot with friends and doing my best to ignore the CCTV New Year extravaganza, I was taking screen shots from my CN Air quality app to see if it would be possible to show the impact of fireworks on China’s air quality. As you can see, over the course of the night things got measurably worse.  Large areas of the country that started off the night in fairly good shape ( less than 100), quickly moved into 100-150 territory, and areas that were already in the orange ended up in purple (325+) and black (500+).  Which for us was striking given the fact that construction sites and factories have been idle for the last 7-10 days, and a large portion of the trucks have been taken off the road Which left us wondering what the source was.  ...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!

    A

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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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Dan Steinbock

Dr Dan Steinbock is a recognized expert of the multipolar world. He focuses on international business, international relations, investment and risk among the major advanced economies (G7) and large emerging economies (BRICS and beyond). In addition to his advisory activities (www.differencegroup.net), he is affiliated with major US universities as well as international think-tanks, such as India China and America Institute (USA), Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and EU Center (Singapore).

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