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Forbes Asia

Forbes Asia

May / June 2020

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

Land:
United States
Språk:
English
Utgiver:
Forbes Media LLC
Hyppighet:
Monthly
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2 min.
health is wealth

Health is wealth has become an oft-repeated phrase these days, for good reason. The relationship between the two has never become clearer, as economies able to contain and control the pandemic have better prospects than those seeing a runaway spread of cases. On an individual level, it means our most valuable asset these days is being free of Covid-19. The health is wealth lesson is also writ large on a regional and even a global level. The faster the world community can come together to defeat the virus, with improved testing and treatments, or create a vaccine, the faster the current slide into a global recession, if not a depression, can be reversed. The health is wealth maxim also applies to much of this issue’s contents. Included is a new feature,…

8 min.
less can be more—much more

The coming question is what should be done once the coronavirus crisis abates and the kick wears off from Washington’s rescue efforts. For answers, we should—but won’t—heed some of the key lessons of the 1920–1921 depression. After World War I, the U.S. experienced a torrid inflationary boom. But the bubble burst, especially after the Federal Reserve sharply raised interest rates. The economy crashed, and unemployment soared to around 20% (recordkeeping in those days was haphazard). How did the federal government react? As recounted in James Grant’s definitive history of that contraction, The Forgotten Depression—1921: The Crash That Cured Itself, Washington did the opposite of what economists would counsel today. Spending was slashed from wartime levels; taxes were cut; regulations that had been piled on during the conflict were lifted; and nationalized companies,…

3 min.
feverish markets

The world is confused and panicked about Covid-19. We are awash in data. But the data, while accumulating fast, is wildly incomplete and too often sensationally misinterpreted. Where to turn for truth? A famous investor friend of mine, who runs a $100-plus billion fund for more than 2,500 clients, likes to say that global stock markets are the best predictor of the future—not only financial trends, but of all important trends. That includes this year’s monster, Covid-19. Long before Wikipedia, the global stock markets embodied what is now called “the wisdom of the crowds.” Markets are vast storehouses of data, analytics, algorithms and predictions of the near-term future. In other words, you’re safe in assuming that today’s global stock markets have already absorbed and processed as much information about Covid-19—pessimistic and…

3 min.
rx: innovate as needed

It is only natural that we turn to the government for protection and guidance in these dark days of Covid-19. Now is the time when government must be indispensable, whether in public health, income support for the unemployed, or in assisting businesses struggling with lockdowns. By necessity, governments everywhere have become more interventionist in fighting the pandemic. And they naturally see the protection of their territories and constituents as the top priority. So far, so good. The danger is that they become overzealous and poke their noses where they don’t belong. Faced with shortages of medical supplies—from face masks to ventilators—governments have started to interfere in markets for these critical items. On March 14, the European Commission imposed an EU-wide export ban on medical equipment needed for containing Covid-19 and treating the…

6 min.
stepping up

Additional reporting by Pamela Ambler, Hayley Cuccinello, John Kang, Naazneen Karmali, Alex Konrad, Atika Lim, Robert Olsen, Anuradha Raghunathan, Giacomo Tognini, Will Yakowicz. Gautam Adani The Indian ports tycoon tweeted on March 29 that his foundation has pledged roughly $13 million to the Prime Minister’s PM Cares fund. Mukesh Ambani Ambani has contributed $67 million to the PM Cares fund. He also gave $660,000 each to the relief fund of the chief minister of Maharastra, Ambani’s home state, and to a similar fund in Gujarat state, home to Reliance’s largest refinery. His energy company Reliance Industries is producing 100,000 masks daily and its foundation in March set up India’s first Covid-19 center, in Mumbai. Jogi Hendra Atmadja The Indonesian billionaire pledged in April that his food group, Mayora, would donate 1 million masks, 1 million water…

2 min.
pulling together

As Covid-19 spreads across India, a group of nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs and professionals have banded together to find solutions to fight the outbreak. Launched in mid-March, the group, called Startups vs. Covid-19, is working on a slew of initiatives. “We see ourselves as playing an enabler’s role,” says the group’s founder Mekin Maheshwari, who started and runs the Udhyam Learning Foundation for micro-entrepreneurs. “We are a group of entrepreneurs and problem solvers, and our mission is to support the government and citizens during this crisis.” These include creating pop-up intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals, expanding medical equipment output, and launching helplines. What started as an informal group of 50 startup founders quickly evolved into a larger group, all unpaid volunteers, with its own dedicated website. The group is already working with seven…