Forbes Asia August 2020

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
USD 79.99
13 Números

en este número

2 min.
data driven

In June, the World Bank released an outlook for the global economy. It has this dramatic forecast: “The pandemic is expected to plunge most countries into recession in 2020, with per capita income contracting in the largest fraction of countries globally since 1870.” Let that date sink in—1870. Figures that have come out since June have borne out the World Bank’s projection. Singapore’s second quarter GDP, released in August, showed a year-on-year decline of 13.2%. It is reportedly the largest shrinkage, by percent, in the country’s 55-year history. Even the savviest entrepreneurs have been caught off guard by the severity of this downturn. Real estate investor Goodwin Gaw said in a recent Forbes Asia Next Frontiers Webinar: “I never would have imagined, with 36 hotels spanning from Bora Bora in the South…

3 min.
this time is different. really.

Are technology stocks in a bubble? The Nasdaq composite index, home to tech superstars like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, is up more than 21% this year. The boom is not just an American phenomenon. China’s Alibaba is up 24%, Taiwan’s TSM 38%, Germany’s SAP 20% and Australia’s Atlassian 47%. The S&P 500 Semiconductor ETF is up 19% for 2020. All very impressive. But one category of tech stocks has surpassed all others. These stocks are what the U.S. firm Bessemer Venture Partners calls “emerging cloud” companies. In 2013, Bessemer created its BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index, or EmCloud, to track returns in the cloud sector. This year, EmCloud’s index of 52 stocks—which includes fast-growers like Adobe, Atlassian, Crowdstrike, Service-Now and Zoom, but excludes large cloud incumbents like Amazon, Google, Microsoft…

3 min.
households hold the keys to recovery

In today’s extreme uncertainty, we may do better looking backward for a glimpse of the future. One such backward-looking lens is household debt in the decade prior to Covid-19. In countries with high and rising household debt, consumers tend not to spend even when given handouts by the government. The excess cash tends to go instead toward either paying down debt or saving for rainy days. This means that consumer spending going forward is likely to be weak, and consumer confidence wobbly and fragile. This in turn will have far-reaching ramifications in the post Covid-19 recovery. The view through this backwardlooking lens, however, isn’t uniform. It varies widely from country to country. In Australia and in Canada, for instance, household debt as a percentage of GDP rose alarmingly to over 100%…

6 min.
master of mystery

What’s in the box? No one’s quite sure. And that’s the mystery, fun and immense commercial promise of Pop Mart, a fast-growing Beijing-based toy company. It sells its products—typically small figurines that cost about $8—in so-called “blind boxes” that don’t reveal the exact toy inside. “This is the trend of the younger generation,” says Wang Ning, Pop Mart’s 33-year-old founder, seated in his Beijing office amid rows of his creations. Pop Mart sold enough Labubus (rabbit-like creatures with pastel-colored fur and a set of monster’s teeth), Dimoos (aliens with puffs of cotton candy-shaped hair) and other toys to bring in roughly $240 million in revenue last year, doubling from 2018. The 10-year-old company is profitable with net income at $63 million. It’s now considering going public with a Hong Kong listing…

5 min.
the bureaucrat wrestler

Warren Meyer, hospitality entrepreneur, looks out with pity on his industry. “There are restaurants that are closing for good,” he says. “Airlines have to give up half their seats.” Relatively speaking, he’s prospering: As the May 25 Memorial Day holiday approached, a third of his 150 locations were gearing up to open, and he’s anticipating that he will break even this year, which counts as a big win for his decimated field in 2020. It boils down to the old real estate axiom of location, location, location. While it may be years before people crowd into a hotel lobby, they are clamoring to get into his establishments: Meyer’s Recreation Resource Management, or RRM, runs campgrounds and trailheads on publicly owned parkland in eight states. His clients: the U.S. Forest Service, state…

9 min.
cleaning up

A long-standing poker game with a group of University of Texas Southwestern medical students in Dallas brought Gaurab Chakrabarti and Sean Hunt together. Wenly Ruan, Chakrabarti’s dissection lab partner and Hunt’s then-girlfriend (now wife), was the link. But soon Chakrabarti, an M.D./Ph.D. (or “Mud-Phud,” in medical school parlance) candidate researching a drug candidate for pancreatic cancer, and Hunt, a graduate student in chemical engineering at MIT, were geeking out over science. “Sean was terrible at poker,” says Chakrabarti, now 31. Though Hunt kept losing, he continued to play for years, as he returned to Dallas from Boston to visit Ruan. And as they played, Chakrabarti and Hunt continued their geek-out. Chakrabarti was researching enzymes found in cancer cells that produce hydrogen peroxide, and he wondered if that process might apply to…