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Forbes AsiaForbes Asia

Forbes Asia September 2019

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
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13 Issues


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forbes asia

CEO William Adamopoulos Senior Vice President Tina Wee Executive Directors Eugene Wong, Aarin Chan, Janelle Kuah, James Sundram Director, Circulation Eunice Soo Sales Directors Michelle Ong, Lindsay Williams, Janice Ang Deputy Director, Marketing & Research Joan Low Deputy Director, Circulation Pavan Kumar Deputy Director, Events & Communications Audra Ruyters Deputy Director, Conferences Jolynn Chua Senior Manager, Events & Communications Melissa Ng Senior Manager, Ad Services – Digital Keiko Wong Senior Manager, Marketing & Research Chow Sin Yee Office Manager/Assistant to the CEO Jennifer Chung Ad Services Manager Fiona Carvalho Conference Managers Clarabelle Chaw, Cherie Wong Assistant Manager, Marketing & Research Gwynneth Chan Assistant Manager, Conferences Peh Ying Si Advertising Executives Angelia Ang, Sharon Joseph Circulation Services Taynmoli Karuppiah Sannassy, Jennifer Yim Editor Justin Doebele Executive Editor Wayne Arnold Asia Wealth Editor & India Editor Naazneen Karmali Senior Editors Jonathan Burgos, Robert Olsen, Rana Wehbe Art Director Mirna Aprilla Associate Editor Grace Chung Senior Reporter Pamela…

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being the best

This issue inaugurates a new list: the annual Best Over A Billion, with 200 of the best-performing listed companies in the Asia-Pacific region with revenues of $1 billion or more. The list was designed as a bookend to the notable Best Under A Billion, which selects the region’s 200 best-performing companies below $1 billion in sales. The spectrum is now complete, with a group of 400 companies representing the top-performing companies in the region. While some chose to focus on one metric, such as sales, for rankings, the approach here is different: select the companies that perform well over a range of metrics, using a composite scoring system to find those managed astutely across the board. The Best Under A Billion list has had a track record of identifying early on some…

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this past is no path for the future

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC growth rates have lagged those of the U.S. for decades. Since the crisis of 2008, for instance, the average pace for the EU has been 0.9% versus almost 2% for the U.S.—and that 2% is regarded as subpar. This EU sluggishness (along with deep concerns over uncontrolled immigration) has spurred the rise of nontraditional, “populist” political movements. And how are existing parties responding? By promoting policies that guarantee even more economic stagnation: more taxes on corporations and the “rich,” more spending for social programs and pensions and more regulations on businesses. As the Wall Street Journal headlined, “Europe’s Political Parties Promise a Return to 1970s—To fend off populists, struggling parties embrace bigger government.” Yes, our continental friends did do some things right, thanks to the successes of Ronald Reagan…

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startups supreme

John Chambers, who just turned 70, prefers to take any stage at a run. In his tech trendy uniform—blue blazer, designer jeans, checked shirt, and blue boat shoes—he still exudes the physical energy of his successful tenure as CEO at Cisco Systems, which he grew from an annual revenue of $2.2 billion in 1995 to $49 billion in 2015 when he stepped down. Today Chambers runs his own boutique investment firm, JC2 Partners, in Palo Alto, California. He prefers to call himself a mentor to startup CEOs rather than a venture capitalist. When he’s not in Silicon Valley he can often be found in India, where he advises Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on digital transformation and the economy. I caught up with Chambers in mid-August: Forbes Asia: Why are you…

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cross purposes

The global economy is getting more turbulent. Edgy market sentiment could flip to bearish from bullish. Perversely, stock markets are rallying not because of the prospects for healthy growth, but on expectations that central banks will cut interest rates. Making the wobbles worse is the fact that President Donald Trump has weaponized both trade and the dollar in pursuing his avowed goal of making America great again. In imposing sanctions and tariffs—as well as banning American firms from doing business with a growing list of foreign companies on grounds of national security—Trump has enfeebled global trade, turning it into a brake on global growth. The business outlook has dimmed not because of poor fundamentals, but because companies are no longer sure where and with whom they can invest and expand without…

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space maven

Kong Wan Sing has bounced back from a brush with entrepreneurial oblivion. Early last year, he walked away from a merger he needed to keep his Singapore-based coworking space operator, JustCo, from being gobbled up by the likes of giant rival WeWork. The deal would have combined JustCo, Southeast Asia’s largest operator, with WeWork’s closest rival in China, Shanghai-based Naked Hub, creating a combined entity valued at roughly $600 million. But as the two companies were conducting their due diligence, Kong started to see cracks forming in the relationship. Rather than try to paper over the differences, Kong rejected the advice of shareholders and made the fateful decision to go it alone. “It was painful to kill the merger because I had no clue how to grow the business anymore,” says…