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Business & Finance
Forbes Asia

Forbes Asia June 2018

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Forbes Media LLC
Frequency:
Monthly
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13 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
tightly wound

At Asian meetings in early May, I noted that the good but not great global economy is akin to a sturdy old guitar with very taut strings, poised to play the financial chords that have stopped the international music before (think 2008) and remain subject to sudden upsets. Though international trade has been much in the news with the blustery new U.S. positions, leverage and closely interwoven banking relationships pose more acute risks. Subsequently, a political scare out of Italy (would it reject the euro?) underscored the point. Markets trembled. Earlier on, indebted emerging economies were the source of worry. Some are basket cases from misrule—Venezuela and Iran in the present and Argentina and South Africa in the recent past—but others are still fundamentally functional if seriously hobbled—Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria. In…

1 min.
conversation

FORBES ASIA Editor Tim Ferguson’s recent coverage of Malaysia’s election, in which Prime Minister Najib Razak lost to his onetime mentor, former PM Mahathir Mohamad (“Mapping Opportunities,” May, page 6, and online follow-up, “They Gave an Election in Malaysia and Everyone Came”), elicited plenty of response on Facebook. Vishal J. Singh posted: “We’re still celebrating here!” And Ram Esh opined, “Ripe for a switch. War ended but the dust still continues flying, more of it now. Ten promises in 100 days are uphill tasks that must be fulfilled. Highly unpredictable on direction of nation now.” Padman Arulampalam proudly declared, “Malaysians showed how great democracy is—and are celebrating it, responsibly.” THE INTEREST GRAPH Our tally of Thailand’s richest led the way in page views online:…

2 min.
cry for argentina the imf is coming

“With all thy getting, get understanding” ARGENTINA IS IN economic trouble—again. But the country has an opportunity to turn the economic world upside down. Its conservative president, Mauricio Macri, is seeking a deal with the IMF for a $30 billion credit facility. Since his surprise win in 2015, Macri has been lackadaisical about tackling runaway spending, massive borrowing and rampant cronyism. Now the peso is under assault, as the government has been pressuring the central bank to buy more bonds with money created out of thin air—a surefire way to stoke inflation. Argentina has wrecked its currency time and again and seems on its way to doing so once more, the peso having lost 20% of its value this year. Macri is holding the rotten hand dealt by his two corrupt, tyrannical predecessors,…

4 min.
william howard taft

Talk about a lack of respect! The 27th U.S. president is remembered, if at all, as the portliest occupant of the Oval Office. Not helping his physical image is a walrus mustache that screams “out-of-touch/outdated.” More substantively, Taft’s one-term tenure was a severe letdown after the hyperenergetic and innovative administration of his always exciting predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt. The dazzling achiever versus the do-little dullard! There’s no question that Taft was ill-suited to the presidency, being remarkably tone-deaf when it came to practicing politics. But this slim, well-researched and well-written biography substantially beefs up Taft’s reputation. Taft was a remarkable man who scored major achievements during his lifetime—even during his unhappy stint in the White House. Taft’s lifelong desire was to serve on, if not lead, the Supreme Court. He clearly had the…

5 min.
bytedance to the music

Athena Yang learned about Douyin from her boyfriend and soon became hooked. The 29-year-old, who works at an investment firm in Beijing, now spends her lunch break and evening watching music videos on the app, where people post 15-second clips of themselves—dancing, singing or even applying makeup. “There is a lot of funny and creative stuff on Douyin,” Yang finds. “It is really relaxing and helps to relieve stress at work.” Developed by Beijing ByteDance Technology, Douyin, also known as Tik Tok, has taken China’s younger generation by storm. Similar to the popular music app Musical.ly, which Byte-Dance acquired for $1 billion last year, it allows users to make, edit and broadcast short video clips to their favorite songs, while using an algorithm to promote them in individually tailored feeds. Now…

2 min.
indian banker in shanghai

K.V. KAMATH is one of India’s most respected financiers, having run ICICI Bank till 2009 and serving as its nonexecutive chairman through 2015. By then he was also prominent on the Infosys board. His career took a turn in 2015, however, when he became the first president at the New Development Bank, a multilateral lender in Shanghai set up by the governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—collectively the Brics countries. In an interview with Forbes China at the bank’s headquarters, Kamath, now 70, says he finds long-distant India and China showing “great interest in wanting to work together.” FORBES CHINA: How do you see the economic relationship between these two in the future? K.V. KAMATH: The direction of this relationship is set by the leadership of these two countries, and…