Forbes Asia September 2020

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
entrepreneurial spirit

Forbes has long supported businesswomen. The first issue of Forbes, published in 1917, had what it called a “unique section” mentioned on the cover: “Women in Business.” Publishing that section—and featuring it on the cover—was progressive back then for any media. Fast forward 103 years for an updated take on “women in business,” Forbes Asia’s annual Power Businesswomen list featured in this issue. All the entries in this year’s list are new for 2020. The industries in which these women excel show a wide breadth—among them edtech, fast fashion, insurance, liquor, private equity, specialty chemicals and tea. Good entrepreneurs, in other words, can find opportunity almost anywhere. Some are self-made and running their own companies, while others are taking forward organizations including corporations, law firms, universities or family businesses. Almost all…

8 min
a paycheck for everyone?

It’s called universal basic income, and the idea is gaining ground here and in Europe, especially with Covid-19 hitting economies so hard. The government would pay every adult a certain amount of money every month, whether you work or not. Democratic party activists love the idea. So do some Republicans. The Pope came out in favor of the notion. A candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Andrew Yang, advocated paying every adult $1,000 a month. He didn’t win, but his idea is catching on. Italy has a minimum-income measure that tops up one’s income if it falls below a certain level. Spain is mulling over something similar. While Yang’s proposal sounds enticing—who wouldn’t want an extra $12,000 a year?—it would do real harm. Let’s make clear that we are not talking about…

3 min
the boom of zoom

Here’s a Pacific Rim recipe for success. Start with a newly arrived immigrant to the U.S. from Beijing—whose visa was rejected the first eight times he applied. Have the young man take a job at a California startup with fewer than 50 employees, whose two founders were from Beijing and Mumbai. Next step: get Silicon Valley giant Cisco to buy the young company, WebEx, whose service is videoconferencing. But in a sadly familiar story, Cisco, then big and successful yet distracted by too many acquisitions, misunderstands the core strength of WebEx. And so the man from Beijing, now in his 40s, grows frustrated. He departs to start his own company. Venture capitalists tell him he’s nuts. His wife despairs. The world does not need another videoconference company, they tell him. But…

3 min
the age of anxiety

The price of gold has risen by roughly 30% since mid-February and is now hovering near $2,000 an ounce. The price of 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds has also climbed over the same time period, bringing their yield down from 1.88% at the beginning of the year to just 0.7%, a negative rate of return once you factor in inflation. Not to miss the party, the stock market has also rallied: it has bounced back strongly from its March 23 low. The dollar index, however, has dropped roughly 10% against major U.S. trading partners’ currencies. These are interconnected developments. Gold is priced in dollars, and a weak dollar translates into a higher price for gold. The Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy is, at least in part, the cause of dollar weakness. That…

2 min
slackers beware

Shunji Sugaya became a billionaire in mid-June—a few days before his 44th birthday—as shares of his company Optim soared along with demand for its remote-working tools. Tokyo-based Optim sells software to manage employees’ mobile devices and monitor at-home productivity. Its shares have joined the global tech boom, nearly doubling this year. “Before the pandemic, even when we had the technology for these kinds of things, people’s reactions, especially from businesses, were kind of negative,” says Sugaya in a video interview. “Now, they have no choice. They have to introduce those services, and both the business and user sides have been realizing the benefits.” Optim is also benefitting. In August, it posted profits of 12 million yen ($113,000) in the quarter through June as sales rose nearly 18% to 1.37 billion yen, reversing…

2 min
seven-figure tiktok stars

In late July, hours after President Trump issued his latest threat to ban TikTok in the U.S., 19-year-old Addison Rae Easterling posted a new video to the app, imagining what her life would be like in such a world: She’d be back at Louisiana State University, where a year ago she was just another anonymous freshman. Today she has 55.3 million followers and ranks No. 1 on our inaugural list of Tik-Tok’s highest-paid stars. Easterling, who became famous for her dance TikToks, earned an estimated $5 million in the past year through branded merchandise (T-shirts, hoodies, phone cases) and sponsorships with companies including Reebok. She recently inked a deal to be the global face of American Eagle; began a weekly Spotify podcast, in which she discusses her life with her cohost…