Posted: May 23rd, 2013 | Author: Tingdong Lu | Filed under: China, Economics, International Relations | Tags: ASEAN, BRICS, International cooperation
BRICS Member States: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The concept of “BRIC” was first put forward by the Goldman Sachs Group which is an American multinational investment banking firm in 2001. It is the title of an association of emerging national economies which including Brazil, Russia, India and China. Due to the participation of South Africa in 2010, the name changed to BRICS. Its members are all developing or newly industrialized countries, except Russia to some degree. The reason why the BRICS is highly concerned by the mass media and international community perhaps owing to the five BRICS countries represent almost 3 billion people of the world. Besides the GDP of BRICS occupies US$ 14.8 trillion and estimated US$ 4 trillion in combined foreign reserves which according to World Economic Outlook by International Monetary Fund as of 2013. Furthermore, it is becoming a large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. Comparing with other international organizations such as WTO, G20 and even ASEAN, BRICS still need to improve on the cooperation mechanism and organization structure issues etc. However, in the long term, the opportunities and challenges will always be significant projects to BRICS. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 23rd, 2013 | Author: Malte | Filed under: Governmental Policies, Thailand | Tags: scam, tourism, tourist
Among Westerners, Thai people are widely considered to be very friendly and helpful. For a reason the country is called the ‘Land of smiles’ and most inhabitants do their best to support and help out tourists whenever they can.
The number of markets in Thailand, as the Chatuchak market, have significantly increased with the development of tourism.
However, many visitors also experience another side at some point during their holidays: Scams and fraud. It is obvious that, for a nation in which many have to live of the minimum wage of 300 Baht per day (approximately $10), Western tourists are seen as a high potential source of income. This led to a huge number of markets, tourist shops, street vendors and providers of tourist activities, as everyone wants to get his share of the pie. But not only the amount of products and services offered to foreigners has been increased, scams and unorthodox actions to extract value from tourists did as well. Even though, such behavior is only displayed by a small part of the whole population, it might change the perception of tourists and alter the destination image of the country in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: Lorenz | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Elections, Government, Politics | Tags: Catholic Church, elections, philippines
There is an unusual sight that can be found if someone was to enter any cathedral nowadays, at the time of the mid-term elections, somewhere on the Philippines. The eye is caught by huge red and black banners asking the faithful Catholic community to choose between “Team Life” and “Team Death”. It was Bishop Vicente Navarra of Bacolod City in the central Philippines who coined the terms. The Catholic priest says the very soul of the nation would be at stake since a birth-control law was passed last year making it possible for the population to receive state subsidized contraceptives.
Condemned by the Catholic Church: Contraceptives and sex education
The issue at hand has is that in the past the church has through the Catholic teachings and a great impact on political decision making prevented thus far a law lake this. Bishop Navarra said that birth control was only the beginning and divorce, euthanasia, abortion and homosexual marriages will follow. Any politician who voted for the reproductive health legislation in the Philippines, known as the RH bill, was put on the list of “Team Death” by the church and every one voted against it belongs to “Team Life”. In fact the church has before 2012 successfully for a decade prevented the government from passing such a law. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 16th, 2013 | Author: Marc | Filed under: Uncategorized
The real estate market is in most economies one of the main drivers in GDP and an important indicator of growth. Unfortunately this means if the real estate sector is not doing well it can have a major effect on a countries economy, as it could be observed in America in 2008, when subprime mortgages and risky investments caused a major financial crises in the US and Europe. In 2011 there has been a so called “housing bubble” in China which is described as an increase in housing prices due to demand, speculation and a strong belief in an unrealistic demand forecast. As remarked by CBS News, China has built several “Ghost cities” which are only occupied by 10 or 20 %. As a result prices are high and almost nobody is able to afford such buildings and therefore they will remain empty in the future if fiscal policies will not change. The question which has to be asked at this point is, if and how China is able to regulate property prices and will find its way back on the right track.
China´s House prices in 70 major cities from 2011 until 2013
The reason behind China´s urbanization is that most citizens are expected to move to cities in order to find labor and make use of the advantages of a large consumer market. According to a German Newspaper “Der Spiegel”, each year more than 10 million people migrate from rural areas to major cities.” That means that a general demand for properties in urban areas exists. However, speculations and risk full investments drove up prices until they were not affordable anymore. The people willing to migrate from rural areas to cities is, as a matter of fact, not overestimated but the cities and houses which have been built are simply not affordable for a population mostly living in poverty. The ones, who saw a major advantage, were people from the uprising middle class who bought sometimes even 4 or 5 properties. However, they do not use them for living but simply as an investment which means they remain unoccupied. Due to this investment demand prices keep rising and people make money. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 15th, 2013 | Author: Malte | Filed under: China, Geo-Political Disputes, International Relations, Military, Politics | Tags: border, Depsang, dispute, India, Indo-China, Ladakh, Line of Actual Control
On April 15, 50 Chinese soldiers were stationed in the Western border region to India, the Depsang valley in the region Ladakh. Both countries claim to be the right owner of the disputed area. According to Reuters, China agreed now, a few weeks after the incident to withdraw troops again, but the conflict is not yet over and both countries insist to annex the region officially to their own country.
Already in 1962, the two countries fought about the ownership of the region, as stated on GloablSecurity. Tension arose between the two after India promised the Dalai Lama asylum in 1959, which might have its influence to the outbreak of the Indo-China War in the region three years later, as the website describes. 2,000 people died during the 1-month war. As a result the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was established, a border, which both sides however to not totally accept but respect for now. According to Aljazeera, India and China held 15 meetings so far, but did not make significant progress yet on how the dispute can be solved.
Both, the article of Reuter and the one of Aljazeera consider contiguity to Pakistan of the disputed region to be China’s main interest for their claim of the Depsang valley. Pakistan is a major trading partner of China, especially as a customer of Chinese weapons. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia, International Labor Day, Labor rights
Protesters marching towards the National Assembly building on May 1st, where they gathered to listen to speeches and present petitions to the government.
With regard to International Labor Day on May first, workers around the world united to protest over low pay, rising living costs and difficult working conditions. In Cambodia thousands of garment workers hit the streets of Phnom Penh. According to LICADHO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, between six and seven thousand workers, union leaders, local communities, students, NGO’s and others marched to the National Assembly, calling for improvement of working conditions. In last weeks’ blog, the human rights situation in Cambodia was highlighted. According to the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), an advocacy organization dedicated to achieve just and humane treatment for workers worldwide, one of the most violated human rights in the workplace is the right to associate freely around the world. That means that a large number of workers continue to be denied of their fundamental, internationally recognized right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. This limits workers to contribute actively to the improvement of workers’ rights in many aspects, although there are several projects and organizations present trying to contribute in favor of labor rights in the country. A stronger voice of the public could be the next step.
Cambodia is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1969. Nevertheless, it is only since the 1990’s that the ILO has been an active partner in Cambodia’s economic, social and democratic recovery. The state of poverty is declining in the country; however rural poverty remains high, at 40 percent. According to the ILO, 85 percent of the population works in agriculture, forestry, fishing and in small and micro-enterprises. The sectors of garments and tourism are currently the main engines of growth, with garment manufacturing accounting for 85 percent of Cambodia’s exports and employing approximately 350,000 workers. According to Brett Eisenbrown, a fellow blogger and intern at ILRF, Cambodia has the reputation of being one of the more socially responsible nations when it comes to labor rights. That is because of the passage of the 1997 labor law that was co-written by the Cambodian Government, the ILO, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. In addition, an independent Cambodian Arbitration Council was established in 2003, which now receives funding from the US Department of Labor to support its Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) Project. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Author: Tingdong Lu | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Economics, Government, Governmental Policies, Indonesia, International Business, International Relations | Tags: ASEAN Community, Asia, Factory Asia, low cost
Nike factory in Vietnam
These two simple words “Factory Asia” can visually define Asia’s growth performance over the last two decades. The first impression of Asia from Western aspect would be growing population that can provide cheap and abundant labor. However, the map of products produced and traded by Asian economies rapidly changed from low value sectors (i.e. agriculture) to manufacturing and services in recent years. According to the conference record from the 46th Annual Meeting of The Board of Governors in Delhi in May, 2013, developing economies in Asia have revealed remarkable growth over the past few decades. Meanwhile, strong growth combined with visible reductions in poverty has encountered a setback during the global financial crisis. Hence, in order to absolutely implement the innovation of Asian economy, the relevant actions and adjustments must be carried. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 10th, 2013 | Author: Marc | Filed under: China, Governmental Policies, Human Rights, Politics
Self-immolation is the most severe form of protest and displays deep beliefs and dedications of its performer. In this case people are willing to die for something they strongly belief in, as it showed in the case of Tibetan Monks suicides on February 24, 2013 in the Qinghai province, in eastern Tibet´s Amdo region. As remarked by Kate Saunders, Communications Director of the International Campaign for Tibet, over 107 Tibetans have killed themselves for conscience sake and their conviction that Tibet should be free. The issue whether Tibet belongs to China or should be an independent state has raised conflicts since decades. Still, today China claims sovereignty over Tibet and does not accept an uprising of its population. It is important to resolve this conflict in a diplomatic way in order to guarantee for more stability and peace among China and Tibet.
Location of Tibet
Looking back at the history of Tibet it can be pointed out that Britain as well as China made attempts to claim Tibet. Finally in 1913 Tibet reasserts independence after decades of invasions made by those two nations. However, in 1950 China enforces a long-held claim to Tibet and Tibetan leaders are forced to sign the so called, “Seventeen Point Agreement” in 1951. As stated by BBC News, this treaty guarantees Tibetan autonomy but at the same time also allows the establishment of Chinese civil and military headquarters at Lhasa. Since the 50´s conflicts and protests against Chinas policies continue and a concrete agreement on terms has not been established ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 9th, 2013 | Author: Yu | Filed under: China, Economics, Governmental Policies, International Business | Tags: Smartphone
Huawei launched latest Smartphone G520 with next generation of Touch-screen and self-designed software.
Huawei , as one of the world’s leading telecom products suppliers which has relied on cutthroat pricing and has been working its way up the food chain of telecom market and its rise has worried some other phone carriers and producers such as Apple, ZTE and HTC, is using its enormous scale and financial strength to invest money into research and jumping ahead of its weakened rivals in parts of the global technology race. According to the Asian News Network, it is reported that Huawei boosted its Research-and-development spending by more than a quarter in 2012 to $4.7 billion, which is just a hair behind Ericsson, the No.1 telecom equipment vendor by revenue, which spent $4.8 billion on R&D last year. Based on the market share record, Huawei has occupied approximately 4.9 market share in 2012. The leap towards the top is an achievement for Huawei in recent years. The fast speed growing for Huawei has brought more than billions of dollars benefits for this enterprise. Will Huawei become next Apply and make a huge difference and evolution in Smartphone industry? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 8th, 2013 | Author: Lorenz | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Human Rights | Tags: Buddhist, Muslims, Myanmar, Sanctions
In March 2013 a couple enters a goldsmith’s shop in Meiktila, Myanmar. It is not entirely clear what happened next, the only thing that is known is that a fight started between the Muslim goldsmith and the Buddhist couple that entered and the owner hit one of the customers in the head.
Muslim neighborhoods appear like images out of a war zone
The resulting consequences were horrific and unforeseen. Several mobs of Buddhists swarming through the streets equipped with wooden clubs and knifes killing Muslims, even children, and burning down buildings. The world watched in horror as videos show the brutal reality of the riots in which Buddhists in Meiktila basically started hunting down Muslims and burned down mosques. The violence started to spread to other towns as well. As a consequence the government quickly imposed curfews. President Thein Sein declared state of emergency and deployed between 600 and 700 police officers to get the situation under control. But the CNN reported of policemen standing by while rioters torched down buildings unable to cope with the situation. In the end more than 40 people were killed and over 12,000 Muslims were displaced from their homes. At the end of March the local police reported eight destroyed houses and a mosque in the Natalin township and 40 destroyed houses in the Zigon township as well as a destroyed mosque. A bizarre fact is that much of the existing tension has been spurred by Buddhist monks, of which some actually led parts of the mob. What has happened in Myanmar? Why would a situation like this occur and what is the appropriate way to deal with it? Read the rest of this entry »