Hong Kong (CNN) - China’s state-owned cigarette monopoly, the China National Tobacco Corporation, may have a larger annual net profit than HSBC and Walmart, according to a report released this week by the Industrial Bank Co Ltd.
A rare glimpse into the tobacco-giant’s finances revealed a net income of 117.7 billion yuan (US$18.7 billion) in 2010 on sales of 770.4 billion yuan.
According to Bloomberg, HSBC reported $16.8 billion of profit for its most recent fiscal year while Wal-Mart reported a net income of $15.7 billion. The 2011 figures of China National Tobacco Corp. were not given.
Hong Kong (CNN) - The men’s magazine FHM has come under fire again after a saucy cover of Filipina actress Bela Padilla was claimed as racist.
The cover shows fair-skinned Padilla coming forward of a group of dark-skinned Filipina models with the caption, “Bela Padilla stepping out of the shadows.”
Padilla is not the first case of Asian FHM covers launching controversies. In December last year, Pakistani actress Veena Malik (shown above) appeared on the Indian edition of FHM, wearing nothing but the tattoo bearing the initials ISI, the acronym for the Pakistan’s inter-services Intelligence agency.
Malik said that that FHM doctored the cover to show her without clothes. FHM India said Malik was aware of the conditions and approved the photographs.
The local FHM publisher in the Philippines, Summit Media, dumped the March cover in favor of a less controversial Padilla shot after the company previewed the racy cover on its Facebook page last Saturday, triggering heated reaction on social media and the magazine’s website.
Hong Kong (CNN) – It’s the stuff of urban myth that if a billion Chinese all jumped off a chair at the same time, the earth would shift off its axis.
Now the World Bank is considering just such a question in the context of China’s breakneck growth: Can a billion Chinese become middle class without disrupting the world, fouling the environment and tearing apart the fabric of their own society?
The World Bank report “China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society,” released on Monday, says China has the potential to become a modern and creative high-income society – but it won’t be easy.
Hong Kong (CNN) – A local airline has found itself in hot water with environmentalists over a recent cargo flight of dolphins.
According to the Chinese newspaper China Daily, the airline transported five dolphins from Japan to Vietnam on January 16. An internal memo to the airline staff was leaked boasting of the transaction’s success saying that it earned the company HK$850,000 (US $110,000) in cargo revenue. The memo also included a photograph of the dolphins lying in shallow, narrow containers with their fins protruding, inside the Boeing 733F cargo plane.
Hong Kong (CNN) – While Hong Kong cashes in on China’s staggering economic growth, many of the city’s residents are choking as a result of it.
If it isn’t air pollution that is causing health issues among locals: it’s light pollution.
While the bright tantalizing lights of Hong Kong’s skyline are iconic of Hong Kong’s image, they are also keeping people awake, rising stress levels and causing insomnia for residents like Wesley Wai, who put together a video called the “Lucifer Effect” to show how much light bleeds into his bedroom at night. With rising property prices, residents like Wai often have few choices but to live in densely crowded, bright night areas.
(CNN) – Ten years after the Spanish currency, the peseta, was phased out, a rural town in Spain has revolted. Against the backdrop of the ailing euro, about 30 shops in Villamayor de Santiago last month began accepting the old currency, which was phased out in 2002 when Spain joined the eurozone.
According to Luis Miguel Campayo, chairman of the local merchant’s association, the move has been especially popular with older clientele, many of whom kept hold of old bills and coins in case the euro failed. "We wanted to persuade them to spend them," he told the Guardian. Shopkeepers have earned more than 1 million pesetas (about $7,900). Shopkeepers exchange the pesetas for euros at the Bank of Spain in Madrid.
The villagers in Spain are not alone. Currencies new and old have sprung up in towns in Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Mexico in the wake of the financial crisis and eurozone debt woes.
Zurich has overtaken Tokyo to rank as the world’s most expensive city for the first time in 20 years, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. The Swiss city was joined in the top five by Geneva, which rose to third place to tie with Osaka.
Whilst Switzerland has long been home to some of the priciest places to live, its upswing in the rankings can be attributed to the heavy investment in the Swiss franc, which is seen as a relatively safe currency outside of the embattled Eurozone, according to the report. Local price inflation in Switzerland has been low, but the report explained that "local inflation in mature markets always has far less influence on the relative cost of living than the currency movements of the countries in question."
Cities in the Asia-Pacific make up half of the top ten—in addition to Tokyo and Osaka, Sydney and Melbourne placed seventh and eighth, respectively, followed by Singapore. Seoul climbed 13 places over the last year to 27th place, and Chinese cities are also increasingly expensive, with Shanghai surpassing New York by two places to rank 42nd.
(CNN) – India is Asia’s third largest economy, the world’s tenth largest by nominal GDP and is dubbed as the world’s largest democracy. So why does India still skulk in the shadows of the world’s other rising superpower China? One reason could be that India is hamstrung by its bureaucracy.
As the Economic Times stated, India needs to reform its bureaucracy and curb widespread corruption so it can fix its global image and achieve economic growth.
A recent report from the Hong Kong based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd ranked India the lowest on a bureaucracy rating in Asia. The report shows that the country runs an inefficient bureaucracy because of corruption and inadequate infrastructure. Business executives complain about how top officials are willing to accept under-the-table payments and how in turn, companies are tempted to make such payments in order to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain government favors, the report says.
(CNN) – Given a choice between internet access or keys to a car, which would you choose?
According to new research, it’s more of a toss-up for young adults. That not only marks a generational divide between lifestyle choices for Generation X and Gen-Y, but could have a knock-on effect for how future cars are developed, the study author says.
It also speaks to a new study on why more traffic deaths in the U.S. are a result of using phones or portable electronic devices while driving.
When posed with the dilemma of choosing between access to your car and access to the Internet, 46% of all 18-to-24-year-old drivers in the U.S. surveyed said they would choose the Internet and give up their cars.
(CNN) – These days, anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry has their own clothing line, energy drink, or at the very least, perfume. Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming is kicking it up a notch, releasing a wine bearing his name.
The 2009 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon is produced by Yao’s own Yao Family Wines and will be auctioned off at a charity event held by the Special Olympics.
“Basketball gave me the opportunity to live in the United States and discover many wonderful things in America. Now I look forward to bringing great wines from California back to the Chinese people,” Yao said in a statement.
There are only 1,200 bottles of the wine in existence and at 3,800 yuan ($597) each, none will be sold on the open market, China Daily reported. On Sunday, the wine will be auctioned at a starting price of 60,000 yuan ($9,429).
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