Forbes Asia July 2021

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
playing the long game

Here we are, more than halfway through 2021, and an end to the pandemic remains elusive. Thankfully, some countries can now focus on vaccination rates and reaching herd immunity, but in others there are fresh outbreaks. For all the enormous progress, the world is far from out of the woods. New waves include those of the Delta variant, which is more virulent and contagious. Columnist Rich Karlgaard posits a world in which we will see a “roaring” 2020s, a global boom that will follow the conclusion of this pandemic, mimicking what happened in the 1920s after the end of the Spanish Flu pandemic. Yet it’s unclear how much darkness remains before that dawn. Patience appears to be gaining ground as a necessary trait in today’s world. The value of playing a long…

3 min
the roaring 2020s

Will a boom follow Covid-19? A century ago the 1920s saw creative energies explode after the tragedies of the Spanish Flu and World War I. In big cities such as New York, London, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo, economic growth was palpable. New technologies such as cars and radios became common. So did a risk-on optimism. I think the 2020s will similarly roar. Here are four reasons (with caveats at the end): 1. Accelerated digital productivity Back in 2017, Diane Greene, then the Google Cloud CEO, told a Forbes audience that the rate of digital technology progress was accelerating rapidly. She guessed a rate “two to three times faster” than Moore’s Law. Of course, digital technology progress by itself does not guarantee productivity. New business and organizational models are always needed to harness…

5 min
speed control

The global chip shortage has left fabless chip firms such as Taiwan-based Aspeed Technology in a quandary. As with other companies that require chips for their business, sales are being crimped by the lack of this crucial item. “Your revenue depends on your supplies, not on your clients,” says Aspeed founder and chairman Chris Lin, 60. “It’s a strange phenomenon.” Like other fabless chip makers, Aspeed depends on foundries such as Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) to produce the chips that it designs. It’s a strategy that has—so far—paid off. An unbroken run of top- and bottom-line growth put the company on Forbes Asia’s Best Under A Billion list of Asia’s best performing companies for seven straight years up until 2020—the only company on the list with this unbroken track record. Last year,…

10 min
paper shredder

Among the big surprises of the pandemic economy was the housing boom. As fleeing city dwellers and cramped work-from-home families bid up the price of spacious suburban homes, rock-bottom interest rates enticed existing homeowners to refinance in record numbers. By the end of last year, 13.6 million mortgages worth $4.3 trillion had been closed, shattering the previous all-time record of $3.7 trillion in 2003. It was a miraculous feat, considering that most of that lending was done while in-person meetings were taboo and overworked loan officers operated from ad hoc home offices as their dogs barked and children fidgeted through remote classes. Truth is, the mortgage market probably would have melted down were it not for a secret weapon: Nima Ghamsari, a 35-year-old Iranian immigrant who made hundreds of thousands of…

3 min
the most innovative fintech companies in 2021

Edrizio De La Cruz 40 ARCUS, CO-CEO AND COFOUNDER At age 12, he emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the South Bronx. Six years later, he started working at JFK Airport as an airplane mechanic and finally, at 23, enrolled in Baruch College. After stints in investment banking and earning a Wharton M.B.A., he cofounded New York–based Arcus in 2013. Its software enables companies to offer digital wallets and online payments to Latin American consumers. With $19 million in funding from SoftBank, Citi Ventures and others, Arcus has 85 customers, including Walmart, BBVA and fast-growing Mexican food-delivery startup Rappi. Joshua Motta 37 COALITION, CEO AND COFOUNDER This CIA and Goldman Sachs alum was helping build Cloudflare when a former Goldman colleague offered to back him in a startup. Founded in 2017, Coalition sells small and…

11 min
bank builder

BANGKOK BANK’S $2.7 BILLION ACQUISITION OF BANK PERMATA IS NOT ONLY THE LARGEST BY VALUE IN THE 76-YEAR HISTORY OF THE BANK, IT IS ALSO ONE THAT PROMISES TO BE TRANSFORMATIVE. The deal will change Bangkok Bank from a major Thai bank with a good Asian network into one that has a strong foothold in two of Southeast Asian’s most important economies—laying the groundwork for years of sustainable growth. It is also a personal milestone for Bangkok Bank president Chartsiri Sophonpanich, 62, allowing him to fortify his family’s legacy and enhancing the bank’s regional aspirations pioneered by his grandfather Chin, the cofounder and first president of the bank in 1944. “Normally we grow organically,” says Chartsiri in a video call from his office at the bank’s Silom Road headquarters in a rare…