Friday, April 13, 2007

Billionaires bloom in China

The list of richest people in the world of 2007 declared by Forbes includes 25 from China. Though, the Chinese rich still trail their counterparts in India.

On 28th March, a private banking venture between Bank of China and equity partner Royal Scotland (RBS) was launched to target the wealthy Chinese with more than $1m of disposable assets to invest, according to Reuters.

The new venture with operate out of two branches in Beijing and Shanghai and continue to spread to other big cities.

Forbes announced 25 Chinese billionaires out of the 964 richest people in the world in 2007. Among these 25 people, there are 13 of them joining the world’s billionaire club for the first time.

According to Forbes’ report, the richest person in China now is Yan Cheung, the founder of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings. This woman turned waster paper into her boxing empire, says China Daily. She is now ranked 390th in the world’s richest people list.

A Merrill Lynch/Capgemini report estimated that China had 320,000 dollar millionaires in 2005, 6.8 percent more than the year before, with combined wealth of $1.59 trillion.

Bank of China President Li Lihui said the ranks of the rich would swell in tandem with the economy's expansion, as saying by Reuters.

China Daily predicts not only famous car brand names, jewelry companies, etc. but also commercial jet manufacturers are planning to flock into this country to target its bulging billionaires population.

India's dominance in the billionaires club shocks China

Above is the top story on The Hindu in mid-March, the national paper in India, saying that Indians topping the Forbes’ list of Asian billionaires, replacing the Japanese, have flabbergasted the wealthy Chinese.

Forbes 2007 listing of billionaires shows there are now 36 Indian billionaires. Asia added 54 new billionaires in the last one year, 14 of which were from India.

The Hindu says ever fourth new Asian billionaire was from India. The BBC says steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal leads the Indian billionaire club, with a net work of $32bn. This man is the fifth richest person in the world, according to the magazine.

China and Hong Kong together have a total of 41 billionaires, according to the Forbes list.

‘The nail that sticks up gets hammered’

The question is: Do the Chinese rich really get shocked by the fact they are outranked by their Indian counterparts?

The New York Times says that there is a popular common saying in China ‘the nail that sticks up gets hammered’. This saying is also popular in Japan and other Asian countries. ‘No one wants to be that nail and talk about their business’.

China Daily points out that most of billionaires in China involve in real estates. Perhaps there is good reason for not publicizing assets since the Chinese real estate industry has been dogged by scandal of illegal land grabs, corruption, government bribery, the New York Times reports. This also means the Chinese rich hardly feel comfortable when being spotted by the media as they could end up paying more tax or enjoy some extra-needed attention.

Since 2005, Reuters says that real estate has been the industry that brings about $130bn of annual sale, making itself one of the biggest engines in the Chinese economy.

More billionaires – brighter prospects?

The February edition of Fortune magazines showed that about half of the people starving in the world are living in India, more than 5.70 million population is infected with AIDS, only 61 per cent of the adults are educated, which is no better than Rwanda.

The Telegraph says that the rich-poor gap in China is world’s worst.

A report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says almost half the wealth gap in China was accounted for by the urban-rural divide. And there was also a growing gap with urban areas, between the ordinary working class and the new middle and super-rich classes.

Does the increasing number of billionaires in China or India offer a brighter prospect for the people in their countries?

An answer for the time being, the Asian rich can contribute to the world’s richest list.

Will Obama become the first US Afro-American president?

Democrat Barack Obama, the only black U.S. senator, launches his 2008 White House run in shadow of building where Abraham Lincoln began his fight to end slavery.

Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election in Springfield, Illinois yesterday. The event took place at the Old State Capitol building where Abraham Lincoln delivered his ‘House Divided’ speech in 1858.

He said ‘in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America’.

Despite the sub-zero weather, a large crowd of supporters gathered in Springfield, Illinois to watch his announcement. They chanted his name ‘Obama! Obama!’ To respond the cheering crowd, the president candidate stood on the stage with his wife and two daughters, vowing to tackle issues like poor schools, oil dependence and Iraq. He called the Iraq war a ‘tragic mistake’ and the current US politics ‘failure of leadership’.

The announcement follows months of speculation on whether Obama would run in 2008. Speculation intensified in October 2006 when Obama first said he had ‘thought about the possibility’ of running for president, departing from earlier statements that he intended to serve out his six-year Senate term through 2010.

In a video presentation on his Web site, Obama said the kickoff to his campaign would begin "a journey to take our country back and fundamentally change the nature of our politics."

His candidacy has intrigued Democrats looking for a fresh face and sparked waves of publicity and grass roots buzz about the first black presidential candidate seen as having a chance to capture the White House.

If elected, Mr. Obama, 45, will become the first Afro-American president of the United States.

The freshman senator from Illinois however has faced questions and doubts about his relative lack of experience, his policy views on a wide range of issues and on whether the United States is ready to elect a black to the White House.

Barack Obama’s Bibliography

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British.

Barack's mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in small-town Kansas. Her father worked on oilrigs during the Depression, and then signed up for World War II after Pearl Harbor. Her mother went to work on a bomber assembly line, and after the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved west to Hawaii.

Obama attended Harvard and Columbia universities and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He entered politics in Illinois, where he practiced civil rights law and taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

His first foray into politics came in 1997, when he took his seat in the state Senate, where he served until 2005. He was sworn in as a U.S. senator in 2005.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Vietnam's stock market boom - cash in or out?

Vietnam is now witnessing more dollar milionaires than ever thanks to the stock market. Is it only a trend that people cash their money in?

I usually make calls to Vietnam every weekend to monitor the economic status. This time I was suprised to find out that many friends of mine are becoming millionaires thanks to the stock market.

One of them said ‘It’s a frenzy! Put your money in!’ I do want to be rich but the question is why I should bother with the stock market in my country.

Stock market is no more an economic experiment

A couple of years ago, Vietnamese people hesitated to trade in the stock market since there were few listed companies and little access to companies’ financial performance. They would rather deposit their money in the banks to earn greater profits than invest in stocks. As part of our culture, we prefer savings and dread taking risks.

Things have changed. A recent report of AFP shows that Vietnam’s main stock exchange, the 7 year –old HCMC Securities Trading Centre has made a stunning growth from around $300m in early 2006 to a volume of over $16b now.

(photo by Sirifin - Flickr)

Data from the Financial Times show that the benchmark VN-Index rose nearly 145 percent in last year and so far has gained over 47 percent.

Saigon Securities Inc., the country’s largest brokerage estimates that at least 500,000 Vietnamese are now participating in the stock market and the number is increasing.

AFP’s reporter describes the trading floor in the largest city in Vietnam, Hochiminh City; the place is filled with people. They can be absentee office workers, students and housewives who struggle for space in the brokerage centre with professional traders.

VnExpress, the most popular online magazine in Vietnam reports ‘These days everyone can become brokers’.

Reasons behind the stock fever

Last year, Vietnam attained the robust growth rate of 8.4%, only after China, according to People, the Vietnam’s Communist Party’s biggest newspaper.

Reforms have been made in public companies allowing foreigners to hold 49% stakes as more state-owned companies are pushed to go public, asserts People.

Vietnam has recently joined the World Trade Organization. On a macro-level, these are the main factors fuelling the stock market boom, says Fortune Magazine.

Other reasons stay in the market itself. Kay Johnson, Time Magazine, wrote that grey market is now dominating the current bourses in Vietnam.

Until recently, unlisted companies were under no obligation to disclose financial information, investors then had to find other ways to gauge company performance or whether an investment was sound. Investing in stocks mainly relies on speculation and gut feelings, reports Vnexpress.

Many newspapers in Vietnam now even joke a vegetable street vendor might earn more money than an economics professor since her analysis is simple. Investors are willing to pay lavishly for real-time market information.

Financial Times in a recent report says Vietnam's market has no licensed brokers, virtually no regulatory oversight. Trades often culminate with the exchange of cash for paper shares at a local teashop.

Boom and bust?

As more people are cashing in the heating economy, the Economist warns that a possible 'bubble burst' might take place like in other Asian countries several years ago.

Last week, VN-Index bounced back from recent international jitters and a mid-week wobble to close at 1,109.76 points, up 4.15 percent for the day, according to Financial Times.

Economic experts in Vietnam speculates that the stock market's current situation will cool down in the next two years. By then, more financial policies should be imposed on the bulging market.

VnExpress says Hanoi has backed off plans to impose capital controls and fines for spreading false information and insider trading.

Many financial policies are to be passed as the Vietnam's stock market is operating. At least for now many people are putting their money in and earning profits.

For me, go home and become a broker? Wait until then.

This article is taken from my article posted in

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Vietnam - Any big media company?

Just received an assignment from the International Media Management class about writing a case study on a media company that is well-known or that you know well.

I'm really keen on doing research on a media company from vietnam. The thing is the accessibility to companies' information from vietnam is difficult unless you have a close relationship with them. Besides, the number of articles, press releases or even company's reports are not publicly published or if yes, which is hardly the case, are in scarce amount.

FPT or VDC can be seen two prominent companies in the media industry although their strengths are in IT or software commmerce. Not quite happily, the information on their websites just represents company's propaganda (of course, it is their companies) which can barely contribute to a proper case study. They do have several branches dealing with media. Unfortunately, their TV shows are not accessed by the majority of the public if they don't have cable connection. I would make an in-depth case study about them if the assignment's topic is diverted to IT or broadband, etc. I loathe conditional mode though.

So, the alternatives may well go to US or UK companies which I haven't had at all anything called expertise! Reading books for tomorrow and for case studies. LOL.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I lost my key to the room! Can it be the case for 'lost and found'?

Today has been a hectic day with classes and assignments. Anyway I finished them. Give me an applause for it.

Though, I've just lost my key to the room. What is happening to me? This week I've received all bad lucks more than ever. Bad marks for the TV stuff and now got charged 20 pounds for the lost key. They just keep craming into my life.

C'mon! When will this drudgery end? I'm tired.

Monday, January 1, 2007

How do you comment on this reporting?

Police are searching for a rapist after a 13 year-old girl was attacked in Greater Manchester. The man, who is described as Asian and his early 20s, followed her and pushed her down Half Acre Lane where he raped her. She then ran away. The rapist is described as having a shaven head and a beard, and was wearing a dark hooded top and tracksuit bottoms at the time of the attack.
My comment:
You've made a contempt of court by convicting the man for being a 'rapist'. He is not yet a rapist until being convicted by the court. Publishing the detail of the girl by declaring her age is also an infringement of the Children Act, which makes the child indentifiable, especially in the case of sexual assault. How come the man is described as Asian and any relevant information about him is published without any source of information? Who described it? Was it the police or witness?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Can we run the pictures and stories?

Question: A man approaches you saying he's the lover of an England football star and he has photographic evidence to prove it. Do you run the the pictures and stories?

My answer: It's the matter of privacy of the person in the pictures that we can't run the pictures and story without his consent. My argument is: we do have the consent of one of the two persons in the pictures. Isn't it enough? Besides, we can consider publishing the pictures depending on their content in case the pictures do not exhibit explicitly intimate scenes. The football star, in the pictures, might expose himself with his boyfriend in public places. Then he is not in his private place. Second thing, that we say the football star is homosexual is a comment basing on the pictures that we have. Then we can stay out of defamation. So, we can run the pictures and stories?

Friday, December 15, 2006

16 December - Goodbye to first semester!

I've really had good times these days. It's been three days I have been drinking so much. Binge drinking, in other words. It's funny I've done a news story on this.

People now are flocking to their homes for Christmas. I am staying. Don't know what will happen next. Let's see!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Confessions of a couch potato

A great weight has been lifted from my shoulders, although not alas from my steadily expanding midriff. Half the nation does no exercise. I am not alone in my guilt. Let us lie back comfortably on our sofas for a few moments and consider why this may be so.

According to the study by Sport England, young, wealthy white men living in the south-east - a demographic that includes me, if you're not too hung up on age or money - are the people most likely to be doing some sort of healthy activity for the recommended 30 minutes, three times a week. But I don't. Why? Simple: I loathe sport and I dread exercise.

Like many people whose fitness report card was marked "disappointing" last week by sports minister Richard Caborn, I don't consider myself a slop or a slouch. I eat fairly carefully, drink moderately, don't smoke and take reasonable care over my general health and appearance. But, as an inveterate gym-dodger, the phrase "recreational exercise" makes no sense to me.

I trace this back to my school days. Playgrounds and sports fields are unforgiving places for uncoordinated, unathletic children. I sharply recall the continual humiliations of team trade-offs on games afternoons, of staring down at the frozen, churned ground alongside four other boys, misfit line-up of asthmam short-sightedness, obesity and bookish ineptitude - while the gods of sixth form weighed up our relative feebleness in front of the assemble year group.

At the time, it riled me that no one ever seemed to explain the rules - anyone worth bothering with, it seemed, picked them up intuitively. It's no wonder that people like me who hated sports and its endless indignities gave them up the minute we were no longer forced to take part in them.

As an adult, I've sustained a solitary swimming habit for short periods. But really - all that changing, and showering, and carting of sopping, chemical-stinking kit. I've joined gyms and wasted hundreds of pounds not going, because the sight of myself running nowhere into a mirrow makes me feel rididculous. For four years I managed a weekly lunch time Pilates class, but a new job broke that habit. I started cycling to work, but the clownish juggling of clothing, locks, lights and fluorescent paraphernalia just became another hurdle to jumb every morning and night.

And this, I think, is the crux of everything: unless you truly love it, sport will always be just another chore to cram into our ever more hectic days, alongside the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other assorted drudgery. Who has time for more of that when there are still five portions of fruit and veg to get through before bedtime?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Satsuma! Japanese food and new friend!

The entire sunday was at the Oxford circus shooting for Thabang, my South African friend. Sunday in christmas time was great. People flocked to the street. They rushed to their places, they browsed the shops, they bought clothes. Only watching them would cost me a whole day. Though I could not do it. It was deadly cold. And, I was holding a camera. Shooting mission impossible! I gave Thabang the piece-to-camera shooting in the middle of the road. She trembled. It was cold, wasn't it? Me too. I was afraid of the cops, who would stop us to interrogate whether we had the license to tape in the street. Thankfully, they failed to do it today. They did not recognise us. It was not because we did good camouflage! Everyone looked at us. 'Oh, I am in the camera!'. A guy passing the Top Shop even took a photo of me with his professional photo camera. He seemed intrigued by a guy with the same image tool to his.

Thabang then picked two random girls on the street. They let us do shooting their conversation with shopping bags.

'Thank you. You'll make famous actresses someday!'

Thabang's story themed on the shopping habit of Brits during Christmas. She picked a friend, who was also from her hometown, and made him a by-way-of actor. He did a great acting job anyway though from time to time we had to play hide-and-seek to find out where he was in the ocean of people. The Director 'Thabang' made him buy a pair of white pointy shoes. It looked great though. But did he spend that much money just for 'Thabang's movie'? Hey, guy, I admired you for this. Later on, I got to know that it was his shopping day anyway.

Thabang did sucessful 'negotiation' with the shop-owner in Oxford Circus so that they let us do shooting inside. Maybe, they saw the potential consumers in us, who knowed? Thabang's friend, Serai, at last did buy that white pointy shoe.

The whole sunday would not end abruptly with finishing shooting. What I didn't tell Thabang was that it was the first time I shot without the tripod and not end up in making shaky images, I hope. I had to hold my breath quite a lot though.

Serai suggested we go to Japanese restaurant and we followed him. Believe me, I am not a fan of Japanese cuisine. I don't really enjoy shushi. The restaurant's name is Satsuam.

I ordered "Tareyaki" (don't know if I make correct spelling). It was chicken with coated sweet sauce. Thabang didn't like it while Serai was very fond of. We chatted while eating. We drank a bit beer.

I was really astonished by the inner-world that dominated Serai's mind. He has a deep abundant emotional world. Sometimes, I was quite taken aback by the way he expressed himself. He looked so contrast from outside to what he talked and felt inside. He wore loose-pants, a kind of pants that even show your bottom crack if they are so loosen. Thabang made fun of it too.

From the conversation with these two South African friends, I realise they are very sophisticated. They have deep feelings. They are mature. And for Serai, believe me, he deserves more for what he feels inside him. Do what you think is right, it's my message for him. It was irritating and disgusting for what had happened to him the other day when he was chased away from the bar and cuffed by the police for doing nothing but for the reason he was black.

We sad goodbye. I went home with Thabang.

I gained a friend.

I remember his name, Serai.