Forbes Asia April/May 2021

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

3 min
wealth creation

A regular column in this magazine is called Wealth Creation. The column’s idea is to explore the sources of wealth creation within an economy on a macro level, and, by extension, for those on the rich list. The column might illustrate, for example, rising consumer spending in a country, which is good news for local retail tycoons. This issue has three lists: World’s Billionaires, Japan’s 50 Richest and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia. All three illustrate something about wealth creation. The World’s Billionaires list is notable this year because it tracked wealth creation over the 12 months to March 2021, while the pandemic was in full force worldwide. Despite the havoc caused by the virus, the overall number and the total wealth of billionaires surged around the world—up 32% to a global…

7 min
end the lockdowns now

The sweeping lockdowns imposed a little over a year ago, during the world’s worst pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918-20, were supposed to be a short-term solution to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Yet here we are, over a year later, with restrictions of varying degrees still with us. They’re being lifted, but at a pace that’s far too slow, which is doing unnecessary damage to schoolkids in particular and the economy in general. Soon, almost anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. Moreover, for months we’ve had highly effective therapeutics with which to fight the disease when someone who contracts a severe case of Covid-19 is hospitalized. This is why the lockdowns should be ended right away. It was clear by late spring of last year that the…

3 min
the new map: china and the u.s.

In 2005, the ASEAN countries traded 50% more with the U.S. as they did with China. Now the numbers are reversed. This fact is just one of many shaping a new geopolitical map, says Daniel Yergin, author of a book published in late 2020, The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations. The book notes the rising importance of Asia in the global geopolitics of energy. Yergin is best known for his bestselling and prize-winning books on oil and gas, including The Prize and The Commanding Heights. Global economic growth after the ruin of World War II led to energy shortages in the 1970s. That economic fact shifted the global power map to the Middle East as a new source of wealth and conflict. The Strait of Hormuz became…

5 min
the road less traveled

Itai Lahan is adamant that ambitious entrepreneurs should certainly fill their coffers with venture capitalists’ money if they get the chance. “The only consistent way to get to be a billion-dollar company is to go the VC route,” the Cloudinary CEO declares. “That, hands down, will always win.” In a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do,” though, Lahan has repeatedly turned down venture funding since launching Cloudinary in 2012. Instead, he and his fellow Israeli cofounders, Nadav Soferman and Tal Lev-Ami, have bootstrapped their Santa Clara, California–based startup to near unicorn status. The company makes software that helps the CIOs of almost 7,500 customers, including household names like Nike, Peloton and Neiman Marcus, manage their on line marketing content—think videos, logos and product photographs. Revenue grew…

4 min
the teflon trader

In October 2013, when Carl Icahn started selling his large position in Netflix, many believed the vaunted billionaire investor had done it again. The company had successfully transitioned from a DVD-by-mail rental service to video streaming, and Icahn had made a 457% return in just 14 months. “As a hardened veteran of seven bear markets,” Icahn announced, it was time for him “to take some of the chips off the table.” Icahn’s son, Brett, begged his father not to sell. By 2015 Icahn was out, making a tidy $2 billion profit on Netflix. But since his departure the stock has appreciated another tenfold. Had Icahn held onto it, his profit would have been $19 billion. Icahn’s Netflix miss isn’t just a fluke. Last year, while the U.S. stock market returned 18% during…

1 min
bond junkies

By the mid-1980s, corporate raiders like Carl Icahn, Ron Perelman and T. Boone Pickens had invaded Wall Street—fueled by junk bonds issued through Drexel Burnham Lambert’s Michael Milken. Forbes was first to shine a light on Milken’s money machine and the cast of “buccaneers” it bankrolled: “Are there common threads among special Drexel customers? Only that all are aggressive, are outsiders to the conventional financial community, have a trading mentality and can make quick multimillion-dollar investments without going through a corporate bureaucracy. A conventional observer would say they tend to be buccaneers, much more interested in money than in running businesses. An admirer would call them financial entrepreneurs, redeployers of capital.” —November 19, 1984…