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Business & Finance
Forbes Asia

Forbes Asia May 2017

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

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United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
high anxiety

FORBES ASIA SIDELINES Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is likely to enjoy a long reign because of fragmented opposition. Lucky for him, because the economic revival project called Abenomics is on slow burn as well. Like the so-called Sky Mile Tower in Tokyo Bay, to be the world’s tallest but not to be realized until 2045, the policies have gaping ambitions and little to show for the present. Abe keeps loading the Bank of Japan’s board with inflationists in order to counter the contractionary bent of an aging and in some ways insular society whose yen currency has been rising this year because global traders wanted a safe haven. Normally you’d expect monetary looseness and huge government debt to weigh the other way, and surely Japan’s biggest exporters much desire such exchange-rate…

1 min.
readers say

CONVERSATION OUR LIST OF Japan’s 50 richest (April, p. 42) was favorably reviewed by Vincent Leguesse III: “Japan always amazed me when it comes to avant-garde technology and similar industries. I think that we all have a lot to learn from these success stories. I’m not saying that everything is easygoing, but strategic partnerships as well as playing our cards well will ensure a concrete and positive outcome.” Our story about the real estate empire of Indian brothers Sagar and Atul Chordia (“In Trump They Trust: Salesmen of the Subcontinent,” p. 70) prompted this Web comment from “Steve”: “Build slum rehabilitation projects first before making a gold-tinted glass tower.” THE INTEREST GRAPH Abracadabra! Ben Sin’s review of Huawei’s newest phone garnered the most hits from our last issue:…

7 min.
a blood-soaked money-wasting scandal

“With all thy getting, get understanding” PRESIDENT TRUMP has appointed Jared Kushner to head the new White House Office of American Innovation, which is charged with making the government more efficient. Its biggest challenge, by far, will be dealing with the Defense Department’s monstrously sclerotic weapons-procurement system, which has unnecessarily cost the lives of countless thousands of our servicemen and -women and has literally wasted hundreds of billions of dollars. We can’t let this horror continue. Back in 2010 the Economist declared, “The chronic problem of exorbitantly expensive weapons is becoming acute.” Alas, such dire warnings have been uttered countless times before and since. President Trump has the opportunity to do what every other U.S. Commander-in-Chief and defense secretary has failed to do since WWII: truly reform this festering disgrace. Our military needs a…

3 min.
bitcoin to the masses

Experts at the International Monetary Fund suggested last year that virtual currencies (VCs) could promote financial inclusion. Along with the standard cautions about possible money laundering, terrorism and other nefarious purposes, the IMF noted, “VCs offer many potential benefits, including greater speed and efficiency in making payments and transfer–particularly across borders. . . .” The cross-border benefits have led to the launch of Bitcoin startups in places like the Philippines, where remittances from overseas Filipino workers contribute more than $26 billion to the economy. One example is Coins, a mobile-first, blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances, bill payments and mobile airtime top-ups. “I was initially looking for a way to solve the issue of expensive cross-border payments, which led me to blockchain technologies and how they could be used to provide widespread financial…

3 min.
ball of fun

BEN SIN // GADGETMAN CONSUMING VIRTUAL REALITY content in 2017, whether it’s via budget devices like the Samsung Gear VR or through pricier products like the Oculus Rift, is a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, the first blast of imagery often does deliver a jolt of “whoa,” but after 15 minutes you’ll have a headache or strained eyes. And the resolution of even highend VR goggles is a bit too low for true immersion (VR won’t truly take off until 5G is here in 2020). Looking at VR content without a headset, however, is usually a more practical and headache-saving experience. Sure, it’s less immersive, but you still get the full picture—you just have to tilt your phone or scroll with a finger. There are quite a few 360-degree cameras on…

1 min.
the most valuable baseball teams

LIKE THE SCREWBALL and the .400 full-season batting average, the cash-strapped pro ball club may soon be a thing of the past. The average Major League Baseball team brought in $34 million in operating income last year, a 52% jump over a year ago, and is worth $1.54 billion, a 19% jump. Why the surge in profits? The rise in total league revenue last year was more than double the increase in player costs, such as salaries and signing bonuses. As for the teams’ valuations, they’ve reached upper-deck proportions thanks to new local TV deals and the escalating value of MLB Advanced Media, baseball’s interactive-media subsidiary that the 30 clubs jointly own. REELING IN THE MARLINS How much will the Miami Marlins sell for? A handshake deal between Jeffrey Loria, who owns the…