January 12th, 2012
03:01 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – The bigger they are, the harder they fall. That's the tenet behind the Skyscraper Index which tracks a link between construction booms of tall buildings and economic busts over the past 140 years.

Some say the facts are bizarrely coincidental. Others say the numbers don’t lie. But if true, the latest Skyscraper Index report from Barclays Capital suggests both China and India are due for economic doom because of their current skyscraper boom.

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January 10th, 2012
02:11 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China – Looking for a Communist-inspired adrenaline rush? Does it need to be in one of the most reclusive countries in the world? Then North Korea may be just the place for your next vacation destination.

On Tuesday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the North’s official name) re-opened to tourists after its annual month-long winter hiatus. It’s the first time foreigners can access the country since the death of its leader Kim Jong Il last month.

And as it turns out, that grim event sparked a bit of traveler interest in the isolated nation.
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January 6th, 2012
02:08 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – All things considered, Samsung simply had a stellar year. The South Korean electronics maker toppled arch-rival Apple in smartphone sales in the third quarter. Now thanks to those sales, Samsung estimates its fourth quarter profits will shatter its current record.

For the October to December period, Samsung said it expects to add $4.5 billion to its bottom line. For the same quarter in 2010, it hauled in $2.6 billion. That’s a 73% pop.

The reason? When you think Samsung profits, think smartphone popularity.
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December 8th, 2011
12:58 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - I roll my eyes when people here in Hong Kong complain this city’s air quality is bad. My reply? Try living in Beijing.

This past week we saw some of the worst smog to smother China’s capital this year. More than 360 flights were cancelled in and out of Beijing on Tuesday alone. Thousands of passengers around the country were stranded. And both infants and the elderly across the region were rushed to hospitals for breathing problems – their mouths and noses covered by oxygen masks.

It seems things haven’t changed.  From 2000 to 2006 I lived in China; four of those years were in Beijing. And I remember very similar scenes. Looking back on my time then – and reporting on China’s air pollution problems today – it’s as if history continues to repeat itself.
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November 14th, 2011
06:40 AM GMT
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Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) – Under the fiery orange of a setting Hawaiian sun, with bright green palm fronds framing his television shot, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed for one last time the message he’s pushed all weekend during this year’s APEC summit: the U.S. sees its future in Asia and is here to stay.

“No region will do more to shape our long-term economic future than the Asia-Pacific.”

As the world’s fastest growing region accounting for more than half of the world’s total GDP, Mr. Obama further stressed Asia is key to his administration goal of doubling U.S. exports. And in a clear pivot for his domestic constituents, he added that more trade means more jobs for Americans.
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October 26th, 2011
02:07 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – “There’s still a long battle ahead.”

That’s what Mark Daly, the lawyer for Filipina maid Evangeline Vallejos, first told me after a Hong Kong court today ruled to uphold a prior judge’s historic verdict.

That September 30 judgment: His client – and all other eligible foreign domestic workers here – are entitled to apply for permanent residency. Also known as PR, it has been a right afforded to most white-collar foreign workers but foreign maids have traditionally not been eligible. Partly because of this, many have complained they are treated as second-class citizens.

But perhaps not anymore.
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October 25th, 2011
01:35 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Shareholder support for the 15-member board of News Corp. is being questioned after the company’s annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Last Friday’s votes – only now publicized – reveal the less-than-stellar outcome for CEO Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan.

Murdoch’s sons appear to have been the lightning rods for shareholder anger. The anger stems from the hacking allegations of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid - which was owned by News Corp.
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October 5th, 2011
05:04 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – China says it could be on the march to a trade war with the United States. That’s after the U.S. Senate on Monday passed a key test vote that targets countries believed to keep their currencies artificially weak.

If the bill passes in the Senate – perhaps as early as this week – it would be the next step at shooting new tariffs onto exports from those countries. Looking between those Congressional crosshairs, this week’s legislation is clearly aimed at China.

The consistent clash takes place over the yuan, China’s currency, which China keeps loosely tied to the U.S. dollar and makes the country’s exports to the U.S. cheaper than those “Made in the USA.”
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October 3rd, 2011
01:16 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – On the first day of a new week, new month and new financial quarter, we woke to some promising data indicating a better business mood in Japan and higher factory growth in China.

But we also woke to huge falls across regional Asia markets. Greece’s admission it would now miss its deficit targets for both this year and 2012 spurred that sputter. Adding fuel to the fire of potential contagion fears, investors are concerned that the eurozone doesn’t have the will to throw in enough money to stabilize Greece.

First to the good news (which is all relative by the way)…
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October 3rd, 2011
04:12 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – An estimated 292,000 foreign maids live and work in this metropolis of more than 7 million people.  Most hail from the Philippines or Indonesia, work long six-day weeks from Monday to Saturday and many retire each night to the cramped rooms allotted to them in their own employers’ homes.

But on Sundays they break free.

On their one day off, and having few, cheap places to socialize in this dense urban jungle, they flock to the open and free spaces of Hong Kong’s downtown Central district – its parks, sidewalks and benches – and set up camp for the day. FULL POST

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