August 27th, 2012
06:16 AM GMT
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(CNN) - For more than a year, Chris Bayer, a Canadian student, waited tables alongside Chinese migrant workers in a restaurant in Shanghai. While there he received an intimate glimpse of what work life is like for millions in mainland China.

"Nothing was ever really clear," said Bayer, who is now back in Canada. "In the West, people state their mind. In China, there was no sharing of ideas. When it came to new processes, no one ever offered any input. There was no teamwork. People were so afraid of doing something wrong."

Though Bayer's circumstance in China was rare - a foreigner working alongside migrant workers in local eateries is not common - his experience in a Chinese workplace is one that experts say is common.

Whether a restaurant or a massive company, businesses in China revolve around perplexing power structures, where innovative thinking is often stymied, partly by an education system that prioritizes rote memorization over creative thinking, and partly because employees are afraid of offering input that might insult the intelligence of their boss.
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August 10th, 2012
09:07 AM GMT
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Editor’s note: Outlook is CNN's in-depth look at business climates around the world. To August 12, 2012, we’re focusing on Singapore.

(CNN) – It’s always been a case of two-way traffic in the spirited rivalry between Singapore and Hong Kong to attract expats – those that do a stretch in Singapore often do one in Hong Kong, too.

The comparisons form a staple of bar room chatter in both Asian cities.

After Singapore’s manicured dormitory suburbs, the sometimes over-weaning presence of the state and its tame media, Hong Kong’s fast pace polity and bare-knuckled local press can be a breath of fresh air. FULL POST

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August 2nd, 2012
08:35 AM GMT
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Editor’s note: Outlook is CNN's in-depth look at business climates around the world. To August 12, 2012, we’re focusing on Singapore.

Singapore (CNN) – Singapore has no room for solar mirror farms, its coast is used for ports and shipping lanes and its tropical air may be ideal for holidaymakers, but no good to generate wind power.

Despite these natural disadvantages, the country is trying to position itself as a world leader in clean energy. FULL POST

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July 23rd, 2012
05:18 AM GMT
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Editor’s note: Outlook is CNN's in-depth look at business climates around the world. To August 12, 2012, we’re focusing on Singapore.

Singapore (CNN) – Singapore’s strategic position at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca – one of the world’s critical energy chokepoints – has always meant the resource-poor city state has occupied a special place in the world of geopolitics.

Almost all of East Asia’s oil supplies must pass through the narrow shipping strait making Singapore one of the world’s busiest ports, but also vulnerable to shifts in the region’s energy mix.

The recent unrest in the Middle East – which has some analysts saying that $100 per barrel is likely to be the default benchmark oil price for some time to come - has demonstrated to Singapore that its energy security hinges on reducing its exposure to price and supply risks. FULL POST

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July 11th, 2012
06:23 AM GMT
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Despite slowing economic growth, China has more companies on Fortune's Global 500 list of the world's top firms than Asian rival Japan.

In its annual rankings released Tuesday, Fortune magazine lists 73 companies in China, second only to the United State’s 132. Japan is in third place with 68 companies in the top 500. FULL POST

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July 2nd, 2012
09:50 AM GMT
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Just days after Apple won favorable back-to-back U.S. court rulings in its legal battle against Korean electronics maker Samsung, the technology giant reached a monetary settlement on Monday to end a long-running legal dispute with a China-based electronics firm.

The Guangdong high court in southern China said that through mediation, Apple agreed to pay Proview US$60 million over ownership of the iPad name in China. In its lawsuit, Proview alleged that it still owned the China rights after its iPad trademark was acquired by the Cupertino, California, company in 2009. FULL POST

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December 1st, 2011
06:11 AM GMT
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Greece and Italy are perceived as corruption-tainted and this is hampering efforts to tackle the eurozone crisis, a new report suggests.

According to corruption watchdog Transparency International, the two countries at the center of the debt crisis scored poorly on the group’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. On a scale of ten, Greece scored 3.4 and Italy 3.9, ranking 80 and 69, respectively, on the list of 183 countries. FULL POST

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November 17th, 2011
09:03 AM GMT
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China has reported a dramatic decrease in rural poverty over the last decade.

The number of rural citizens living below the national rural poverty line fell from 94.2 million people (10.2% of the rural population) in 2000, to 26.88 million (2.8%) last year, according to figures released Wednesday by China’s State Council. FULL POST

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November 15th, 2011
07:48 AM GMT
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While Thailand’s floods offer a golden opportunity for automakers to diversify their investment across the region – hunting down cheaper suppliers in nearby Vietnam or Indonesia – the kingpin of the Thai market, Toyota, has no plans to go anywhere.

“Toyota is so comfortable in Thailand, I don’t see any major move away any time soon,” said auto industry analyst Michael Dunne. FULL POST

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September 22nd, 2011
11:47 PM GMT
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Editor’s note: Edward Hugh is an independent macro economist and writer based in Barcelona.

 (CNN) - According to a recent study by Stephane Deo and his collegues at UBS, the euro – as it is currently structured – should not exist. It is hard to disagree. The problem is that it does, and just like the legendary Eagles' song "Hotel California" they refer to, it was intentionally set up in such a way that once you get inside there is no way you can leave. There is no checkout procedure.

Reading the UBS report put me in mind of Stanley Kubrick’s cult film, “Dr. Strangelove.” In a key scene the U.S. President, on being informed of the existence of a device (termed the “Doomsday Machine”) which shares notably similar characteristics with the current euro area, is stupefied. On asking those around him -“but how is it possible for something to be triggered automatically, and at the same time impossible to untrigger?” – Peter Sellers, as Dr. Strangelove, replies: “Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know.”

Which takes us directly to last week’s European Finance Ministers meeting in Poland. In a setting horribly reminiscent of the Strangelove “War Room,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed the assembled dignitaries that, in a nutshell, Europe was facing catastrophe.
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