EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Business & Finance
Forbes Asia

Forbes Asia April 2020

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

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

in this issue

2 min.
life during wartime

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging around the world, and the global responses to contain it, some commentators have noted that today’s climate has a similar feeling to that following the 9-11 attack. As true now, the world community in 2001 was filled with fear and uncertainty. The staff of Forbes, which was in the midst of closing an issue on Sept. 11, delayed printing for a while and rewrote much of that issue’s contents, with a cover entitled: “Life During Wartime.” The wartime comparison is once again being made, this time in the context of combatting the coronavirus. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said: “We must act like any wartime government and do whatever it takes.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked New Yorkers to respond with a “wartime…

3 min.
coronavision

As this column went to press, new Covid-19 infections and economic fears were blowing up around the world. Italy was in lockdown, with other nations in Europe and elsewhere close behind. U.S. stock markets were down more than 20% from their February peak. Public events large and small—in sports, arts and business—were being cancelled. In the middle of all of this, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates decided to add four million barrels of oil a day to an already glutted supply. Consequently, oil at one point plummeted below $30 a barrel while natural gas has already gone below $2 a thousand-cubic-feet. When and where will it all lead? Short-term prediction is difficult because of an entirely new actor on the economic field—the virus. How transmissible is it? What…

3 min.
recession vs. depression

There is little doubt that the global economy is in recession, which is defined by the IMF as growing less than 2% a year. Looming on the horizon is the even darker threat: global depression, which is characterized by a decline in real GDP exceeding 10% in more than one major economy and lasting for two or more years. This is the specter that governments are trying to stave off. In the U.S. and Europe, they are moving faster and throwing more resources at it than they did in response to the global financial crisis. The question is whether they will succeed. The answer hinges on knowing what stands between the current recession and a more catastrophic depression. The economic ravages caused by Covid-19 began with a disruption of supply that…

7 min.
challenging times

Jonathan Zeman’s two-week family vacation on the resort island of Phuket in January turned into a nearly two-month stay, as he waited in vain for the Covid-19 outbreak to subside. “Luckily we have an office there and a new project, so it was very productive,” says the 43-year-old CEO of Hong Kong-based Lan Kwai Fong Holdings (LKF Group). In early March, Zeman flew to Hong Kong to face his toughest challenge since becoming CEO in 2013. He left his wife and children in Phuket as Hong Kong schools were still closed. A week after he returned, the territory’s government responded to a new wave of cases by imposing a quarantine on all arrivals. “It’s been a tough year,” he says, in his first major interview since the start of the pandemic. Lan…

5 min.
put to the test

On December 31, the first news reached South Korea of a cluster of coronavirus infections in Wuhan. Seegene’s chief executive Chun Jong-yoon, 63, was already anticipating the worst, as the risk of a global outbreak was high. Chun immediately ceased all other work at his Seoul-based biotech firm, Seegene, and ordered his lead researcher and staff to focus entirely on producing a diagnostic kit for the Covid-19. “Development needed to be very fast,” Chun says. “Before the situation became more serious, we had to be prepared.” In two weeks Seegene had developed its test, the Allplex 2019-nCoV Assay. On January 27, following the first confirmed case in South Korea, Chun received an urgent call from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC); the agency requested the testing kit for…

3 min.
bear turned bull

The fast-evolving nature of the Covid-19 outbreak has forced some of Wall Street’s savviest operators to quickly pivot. On March 18, billionaire investor Bill Ackman called into CNBC amid a sea of red screens, as stocks continued their coronavirus-fueled plunge due to the near shutdown of the U.S. economy. His message wasn’t particularly heartening. If more extreme virus containment measures weren’t taken and the economic disruption dragged on, Ackman envisioned multiple businesses going bust—everything from hoteliers and real estate operators, to leveraged private equity takeovers. In a live television interview stretching 28 minutes, he rattled off blue-chip companies that were at risk, at one point saying, “Hell is coming.” As he spoke, their shares gyrated wildly. “There is a tsunami coming,” Ackman said, “capitalism does not work in an 18-month shutdown,…