March 1st, 2011
06:24 AM GMT
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Many companies are making a big push for hiring in Asia in 2011. If you've got certain skill sets, you could be in the driver's seat. Hays Recruitment agency recently surveyed more than 500 companies in mainland China and Hong Kong.  The agency discovered companies in one of the world’s hottest markets are having a difficult time finding the right candidate in three sectors: sales, engineering and accounting.

Sales

During the recession, companies pared down their sales and marketing departments. Many firms have been working with skeleton staffs but now they're ready to refill these old positions.  "Health care sales reps [are] a big new industry in China. The growing middle class can afford personal health care. A big chunk (of demand) we're seeing is in the health care area like pharmaceuticals and hospitals in China," says Emma Charnock, Hays regional manager.  Candidates who are bilingual and have basic science or medical backgrounds have the biggest edge.

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February 18th, 2011
05:53 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – We knew it was coming.

Sooner or later the austerity protests that swept through Athens, Madrid, Paris and London were bound to show up here in the U.S. and they have.  Thousands of teachers and supporters stormed on the state house in Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday to protest deep spending cuts.  The scene, which lit up Twitter (#Wisconsin) and social media, may just be the spark that inspires public employees across the country to take to the streets.

Why now?  It is budget time and officials in cities and states coast to coast are proposing huge cuts and higher taxes in order to try and close a collective $125 billion budget gap.  On the chopping block this time were areas traditionally off limits: Teachers, firemen, police and garbage collection.  We profiled a town in New Jersey caught in this very budget squeeze.

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February 17th, 2011
01:10 AM GMT
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Over the course of the last week Egyptian protestors have credited Facebook for helping them organize and over throw the government.

Talking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Wael Ghonim said he’d like to meet Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him. Facebook has played down its role, saying it was, “their bravery and determination [of protesters] that mattered most.”

The revolution that took place in Tunisia and then in Cairo must be a dream come true for Zuckerberg, who predicted two years ago that social media would change “how people relate to government and their leadership.”

But it may turn out to be a nightmare for the tech giant’s many investors.

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February 15th, 2011
04:04 AM GMT
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Israel and Egypt have benefited from a peace treaty for more than 30 years; however, the current uncertainty over Egypt’s political future has many wondering whether this peace will hold.

Who will succeed Hosni Mubarak? What role will the Muslim Brotherhood play in the country's future? Will democracy and free media take hold in the most populous of Arab countries? And will economic and business factors provide the glue to stop the fabric from splitting apart?

Economic ties between Egypt and Israel are limited but not nonexistent. For example, Israeli-owned textile factories employ thousands of Egyptians. They operate under the Qualifying Industrial Zones, a U.S. initiative that rewards ongoing business and trade relationships such as those in the textile industry.

More than 40% of Israel's natural gas needs are met through the gas pipelines across the northern Sinai. Can economic and trade ties in this fragile region help cement ongoing peace? Tell us your thoughts!



February 13th, 2011
07:58 AM GMT
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Like Indonesia, its national airline Garuda is a turnaround story. With most turnarounds, there are many growing pains.

Garuda had its IPO in Jakarta on Friday and suffice to say, it was a disappointment.

Garuda shares were priced at Rp750 per share (equivalent to 8 U.S. cents). Going into the IPO , there had been heavy criticism that the shares were overpriced compared to the price-to-earnings ratio of other airlines.

The market confirmed that. By the end of the day, Garuda shares finished 17% lower at Rp620 per share.

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February 10th, 2011
05:33 AM GMT
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How much damage is the unrest in Egypt doing to the BRIC block of emerging markets?  Depends on who you talk to.

This week, there have been conflicting headlines on this subject with some analysts saying the impact is marginal and others warning us to be cautious.  David Spegel, Global Head of Emerging Markets Strategy for ING, puts it this way:  “The BRICs have suffered somewhat, with all equity indices – with the exception of Russia – posting negative returns year-to-date.”

Concerns about Egypt are weighing on sentiment, but inflation may be the bigger worry for the BRIC economies.  Global food prices have shocked the markets; however, Spegel expects the cyclical factors affecting food prices will ease after October for most emerging markets.

But he adds this caution:  “In other cases, inflation has been more broad-based, with wages, service costs and tight capacity constraints all suggesting overheating risks.”   If policy-makers fail to act aggressively, these factors could spell trouble for the BRICs.

Some action is already taking place. For example, Russia, the only BRIC without capital controls, is following China and relying on reserve requirements to drain cash from the economy and curb speculative inflows.  In addition, Brazil has been returning to capital controls to stem rallies in the currency.

“We remain constructive on Emerging Markets investments for 2011, with a less rosy view of risks in 2012, when the United States is expected to raise rates… Elections in the U.S., Mexico and political changes in China may result in greater market jitters.” says Spegel.

And of course, we’ll keep watching.



February 10th, 2011
01:12 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) - The floor of the New York Stock Exchange is one of the most recognizable places in the world. It has appeared in countless movies. A host of international networks broadcast live from the exchange every day.

If you watch our air at all you know that well.The thing you don’t see – there isn’t anyone there anymore. Well hardly anyone. The busy bustling floor that I used to go to back in 2001 with papers flying everywhere and traders shouting orders has morphed into a ghostly, tidy scene with only a scattering of traders, eyes glued to their computer screens.

What happened? Technology.

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January 13th, 2011
02:30 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – “The ships of job creating investment remain, for the most part, tied to the docks, or worse, choose to sail for foreign ports.”

That's just one of the many analogies used by Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher, to describe the current U.S. employment picture. Not a particularly pretty one, but Fisher says the U.S. central bank has pretty much done enough:

“The key to correcting the underperformance of the American economy and American job creation does not rest with the Federal Reserve. It is in the hands of those who make fiscal and regulatory policy,” Fisher said.

The Fed’s controversial decision, known as QE2, to inject more cash into the economy through the buying of bonds is moving ahead at a $75 billion clip each month. But Fisher believes "the engines are full but the car isn't moving forward. There is something wrong with the transmission.”

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January 4th, 2011
02:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) – First Indonesia, now South Africa making the argument that it’s an emerging economy worthy of the BRIC acronym.

South Africa’s leader has reportedly been invited to the next BRIC summit, coming up in April, in Beijing.  China is apparently in favor, and Russia too, with both countries touting how politically significant such a decision would be.

The South Africa boosters say it’s strategically important, and with Russia’s economy struggling in the first part of 2010, very relevant.

But geopolitics aside, what about the economics?  Some analysts say, look at the numbers, and forget about messing with the popular acronym.

South Africa and Russia have equity markets of comparable size at $718 billion. But South Africa’s economy is only about a quarter the size of Russia’s. Its population size, as you’ll see in my video blog posted here, is a mere fraction of the larger members.

According to David Spegel who analyzes emerging markets for ING, Russia is important because it is the only major energy exporter among the BRICS, with 68% of exports being fuels and metals.   South Africa does not fill that need among the bloc.

And watch out in 2011. Russia may have a banner year if, as some analysts predict, that sleeping giant has just woken up.



December 19th, 2010
08:45 AM GMT
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A rare note of caution coming from UK businesses, in reference to BRIC economies.

The business advisory firm, Deloitte, has released its annual entrepreneurship report.  It surveys about 350 entrepreneurs across the United Kingdom, and finds that the UK, Western Europe, and North America remain the preferred markets for growth.

Surprisingly, there’s an abundance of caution towards the BRIC nations, even though Brazil, Russia, India, and China represent 70% of global growth.   Among the entrepreneurs surveyed, just 1.5% consider China as a prospect for the growth of their business.  Less than 1% choose India and Brazil, and just 0.3% like Russia, despite its resurgent market.

Specifically, the survey asked: “Which geographic market represents the best opportunity for significant growth for your business over the next three years?”  Expansion plans are predominantly focused on the UK market, although North America grew in favor over the previous year.  Very few entrepreneurs are targeting the BRIC.

The head of Deloitte’s entrepreneurial business team, Tony Cohen, says “there’s less optimism and more caution for the BRIC because doing business there… opens up new risks.  One has to look at culture, regulations, contacts, systems… North America speaks the same language. Western Europe is much closer.”

While entrepreneurs may be wisely managing risk as the economy recovers slowly, are they also missing out on opportunities in the fast-growing BRICs?   Tony Cohen says, “It’s always possible…. But UK businesses appear happy to build growth in the UK for now, with a view to expanding in due course.”

The survey also finds that more than half (55%) of entrepreneurs surveyed expect short-term negative effects as a result of financial pressures on their business.  However most report no change in their overall strategy as a result of the difficult economic times.



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