China past, present and future

Pakistan Observer
Content provided by Asianet-Pakistan

 Gary Locke, the United States ambassador to China once said, ‘China’s history is marked by thousands of years of world-changing innovations: from the compass and gunpowder to acupuncture and the printing press. No one should be surprised that China has re-emerged as an economic superpower’. It is not the size of China’s population of 1.38 Billion nor the 9.6 million square kilometers of land that make China a remarkable nation, but its dedication, commitment and success in today’s world. In the past, China has gone through a wide range of circumstances including foreign invasions, dynasty wars and violent revolutions. But the progress made by the Chinese people in the present and the estimated socio-economic projections for the future are worthy of notice. The question being asked is, if China is a potential superpower or already a superpower?

From a historical perspective, China’s history can be divided into three parts. The history of ancient China from 5000 BC to 221 BC, the second phase being the history of Imperial China consisting of multiple emperors from 221BC to 1912 and last being the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 leading to People’s Republic of China in 1949, which survives to-date. The first settlements appeared around 5000 BC near the Yellow River. Earliest written records can be found as early as 1500 BC. With thousands of years of history, China is one of the oldest civilizations.

The end of the ancient period was marked by fierce battles between people of different clans leading to the downfall of the Zhou dynasty and the beginning of a unified China under the Qin Dynasty. This was the second phase marking a critical milestone of visualizing one China. Qin Shi Huang became the first emperor of a unified China in the year 221 BC. After the fall of Qin dynasty, there was a period of turmoil of over 800 years. China once again fell into upheavals and violence.

The time of the Tang dynasty, followed by the rule of ten kingdoms and Song dynasty were interrupted by the Mongol invasions in 1271. Kublai Khan established a ruthless rule with the Yuan dynasty that survived until 1368. Subsequent years saw increasing interference but alongside diffusion of Western socio-political views. As a result of Sun-yat Sen’s efforts, the republic of China was established in 1912 with the Xinhai revolution paving the way for a refined social awakening.

Around this time a man by the name of Mao Zedong got exposed to Marxism in 1929 while studying in the famous Peking University. He not only founded the Communist party but actively pursued an uprising against the ruling elite of the country. Mao was the answer to a nation that had begun to realize its potential. It is not a surprise that Mao led the Red Army against the Nationalists. This campaign was briefly interrupted by the Sino-Japanese War. On Japan’s defeat, the civil war resumed but this time, the Communist Red army emerged stronger than ever.

The Nationalists were defeated and retreated to Taiwan. In the following years, Mao Zedong executed around 1 to 2 million landlords and overall casualties estimated to be over 8 million people including women and children. In 1957, Mao Zedong initiated his ‘Great Leap Forward’ which was a ground-breaking strategy to turn an agrarian economy into an industrial one.

These two pronged methodology, even with violence, propagated a class struggle and at the same time urged the people of China to take up smelters instead of harvests. Mao’s visions of economic transformation lead to the death of an estimated 70 Million in the post-war scenario. This was due to persecution or forced labor and movement of peasants to work in Government setup factories. This was the turning point in the history of China which was to be but the cost had been paid in blood.

On the social front, the Communist party launched a Cultural Revolution in 1966. Old practices in terms of religion, education and traditions were simply termed ‘counter-revolutionary’ and were punished with severity by the Central Government. It was ruthless and cruel by all standards but it surely managed to purify and unify the Chinese society.

The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward achieved finality around 1977. After this, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China adopted a path to economic progress and opening up. A report on the 30 year rule of the Communist Party accepted the ineffective practices of the Communist party and paved the way for reforms. Deng initiated special economic zones that were a hybrid between a capitalist run businesses owned by the government. Gradually, benefits of foreign investment were realized by the Communist regime and export/import sectors flourished. By the end of 1980s China became a giant in trade and raised the living standards of millions from abject poverty to a prospering middle class.

Today, due to progressive reforms and improvements, China is the fastest growing economy of the world being the world’s top exporter and second largest importer of the world. China is a nuclear armed state with the largest standing army on the planet. A testimony to its accomplishment is the fact that from having a poverty stricken population of 64% in 1978, today the poverty in China stands at a remarkable 10%. China with its trade deals Latin America, Middle East and Africa is a proved superpower. Further, China’s human resource expansion can be gauged from the fact that the decades old one child policy has been abolished in 2015. China knows that the future of expansion and progress lies in dominance in trade and commerce. The Chinese leadership is aiming to expand through their One Belt One Road initiative, making Gwadar a centerpiece. Pakistan is the doorway to progress and expansion for China. The future of China and Pakistan converges onto Gwadar and its prospects. With access to Central Asian and Middle East markets, China has no hurdles in its path to global supremacy in progress, in other words, the dragon has awakened.

– Repubhub

Report marks significant growth for India Travel and Tourism Market

January 23, 2017
Displayed with permission from PR Newswire
New York, January 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

Growing medical, wellness and adventure tourism, improvement in connectivity to and from India, along with rising middle class population base to drive India travel & tourism market during the forecast period

According to TechSci Research report, ‘India Travel & Tourism Market, By Type, By Purpose of Visit, By Tourist Profile, By Average Duration of Stay, By Mode of Travel, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 – 2021’, travel & tourism market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 7%, during 2016-2021, on account of increasing foreign tourist footfall in the country, robust medical infrastructure development, rising government initiatives and diversified service offerings by major companies. As per the Ministry of Tourism, in 2015, foreign tourist footfall in India was over 8 million, which was 4.5% higher than the previous year and this is projected to increase through 2017, on account of rising infrastructural developments, increasing trend towards recreational tourism and growing regional and central government’s focus on promoting tourism sector. Over 1,430 million domestic tourists visited different states/union territories of India in 2015 .

“India Travel & Tourism Market”

South region dominated India travel & tourism market in 2015 and the region is anticipated to continue dominating the market through 2021, on account of growing domestic and foreign tourist footfall, and increasing number of religious and leisure trips to the region. Moreover, south region of the country is also emerging as a key hub for medical and wellness tourism. Leisure & recreation segment dominated India travel & tourism market in 2015, on the back of increasing number of people visiting families and friends for various occasions and tour operators offering cheap packages. Medical tourism is a small, but a robustly growing segment in India travel & tourism market. Fast growth in India medical travel & tourism market can be attributed to availability of cost-effective and high medical treatment procedures at internationally renowned facilities.


“Indian travel & tourism industry has emerged as a key driver for the growth of the services sector in India. Travel & tourism is also a large employment generator besides serving as a significant source of generating foreign exchange for the country. Increasing disposable income along with rising middle class has continued to support growth of domestic and outbound tourism in the country. Furthermore, Ministry of Tourism in India has been proactively engaged in designing national policies for promotion and development of travel & tourism sector in the country. The Ministry is also collaborating with other stakeholders in the industry including state governments, various central ministries/agencies, representatives of the private sector and union territories. Of late, with advent of online booking for travel services, increasing number of people prefer to use internet to book flight tickets, hotel accommodation, etc., instead traditional travel agents, as it offers convenience and ability to compare various prices and deals.”, said Mr. Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research, a research based global management consulting firm.

“India Travel & Tourism Market, By Type, By Purpose of Visit, By Tourist Profile, By Average Duration of Stay, By Mode of Travel, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 – 2021” has evaluated the future growth potential of travel & tourism market in India and provides statistics and information on market structure, size, share and future growth. The report is intended to provide cutting-edge market intelligence and help decision makers take sound investment evaluation. Besides, the report also identifies and analyzes emerging trends along with essential drivers, challenges and opportunities present in India travel & tourism market.


In conversation with the NIHSS’ Prof. Sarah Mosoetsa

BRICS Journal is proud to announce its partnership with the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), the custodian of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT). We caught up with Prof. Sarah Mosoetsa, the Institute’s CEO.

How did the SABTT come about?
The South African cabinet approved the establishment of a dedicated SABTT, which would serve as a national focal point for the country on BRICS-related matters. Initially, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) took overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) and Academic Forum activities.

Following that, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) was appointed – on an interim basis – to serve as the SABTT host from 2013 to 2015, with the mandate of incubating the BRICS Think Tank on behalf of South Africa. After a ministerial committee report had identified the frameworks for the SABTT and the location of the SABTT, the DHET concluded that the SABTT should be located at the NIHSS.

Tell us more about the mandate and objectives of the NIHSS
The NIHSS is a statutory body distinctly set up with a purpose of building and dynamising the humanities and social sciences (HSS). Our mandate is to develop and structure the institutional and logistical framework for the envisioned higher education institution for the HSS.

Our strategic objectives include fostering international research collaborations between South Africa, Africa, countries of the Global South, including Brazil, India and China; to act as a dynamic broker between the worlds of knowledge and policy action on behalf of South Africa as the South African BRICS Think Tank; as well as manage all BRICS Think Tank-related activities on behalf of South Africa.

On 8 March 2016 NIHSS hosted its first SABTT Academic Forum. What came out of that initiative?
This event is one of the many BRICS-related initiatives outlined in the SABTT business plan. The hosting of the academic forum cluster workshops pay special attention to the five pillars of the Long-Term Strategy of BRICS (2030), thereby ensuring that SABTT implements the ideals of the BRICS Long Term Strategy.
The SABTT’s thematic areas of focus are in line with that of the BTTC which are: promoting co-operation for economic growth and development; peace and security; social justice, sustainable development and quality of life; political and economic governance; and progress through knowledge and innovation sharing.

The Academic Forum is about building a network of academics and researchers around the country who are working on areas aligned to the BRICS agenda.

Share your thoughts on the significance of the Institute’s partnership with BRICS Journal.
Shaping a particular agenda requires positive story-telling that is compelling, so it was absolutely a no-brainer for us to form this partnership with the BRICS Journal team, which prides itself on offering clearly focused content on economics, politics, arts and culture across the BRICS countries.

Why President Xi Jinping’s Davos Speech Received Great Appraisal

Chinese President Xi Jinping was one of the keynote speakers at the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

President Jinping’s 50-minute address received much appraisal from attendees, even awarding him an applause. In his speech, Jinping touched on globalisation, the world economy and China’s development among other topics.

We’ve highlighted noteworthy parts of his address:

Today, I wish to address the global economy in the context of economic globalization.

The point I want to make is that many of the problems troubling the world are not caused by economic globalization. For instance, the refugee waves from the Middle East and North Africa in recent years have become a global concern. Several million people have been displaced, and some small children lost their lives while crossing the rough sea. This is indeed heartbreaking. It is war, conflict and regional turbulence that have created this problem, and its solution lies in making peace, promoting reconciliation and restoring stability. The international financial crisis is another example. It is not an inevitable outcome of economic globalization; rather, it is the consequence of excessive chase of profit by financial capital and grave failure of financial regulation. Just blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems is inconsistent with reality, and it will not help solve the problems

At present, the most pressing task before us is to steer the global economy out of difficulty. The global economy has remained sluggish for quite some time. The gap between the poor and the rich and between the South and the North is widening. The root cause is that the three critical issues in the economic sphere have not been effectively addressed.

First, lack of robust driving forces for global growth makes it difficult to sustain the steady growth of the global economy. The growth of the global economy is now at its slowest pace in seven years. Growth of global trade has been slower than global GDP growth. Short-term policy stimuli are ineffective. Fundamental structural reform is just unfolding. The global economy is now in a period of moving toward new growth drivers, and the role of traditional engines to drive growth has weakened. Despite the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and 3-D printing, new sources of growth are yet to emerge. A new path for the global economy remains elusive.

China has become the world’s second largest economy thanks to 38 years of reform and opening-up. A right path leads to a bright future. China has come this far because the Chinese people have, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, blazed a development path that suits China’s actual conditions.

This is a path based on China’s realities. China has in the past years succeeded in embarking on a development path that suits itself by drawing on both the wisdom of its civilization and the practices of other countries in both East and West. In exploring this path, China refuses to stay insensitive to the changing times or to blindly follow in others’ footsteps. All roads lead to Rome. No country should view its own development path as the only viable one, still less should it impose its own development path on others.

To read the full speech, click here.

Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria

Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria

Wang Yi expressed that as the largest developing country in the world and Africa respectively, China and Nigeria are each other’s important strategic partner. In recent years, bilateral exchanges in various areas have been constantly deepening and bilateral cooperation has been at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation, yet there is still enormous space left to be explored compared with the market potential of both countries.

Wang Yi put forward five proposals on implementing the consensus reached between the two heads of state as well as the outcomes from the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the next stage and elevating bilateral relations to a new stage. First, adhere to the one-China policy to consolidate the political foundation of bilateral relations; second, stick to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results to build an upgraded version of China-Nigeria practical cooperation; third, support Nigeria to improve its capacity in maintaining security and stability by focusing on cooperation in peace and security; fourth, uphold the bridging role of people-to-people and cultural cooperation to expand the non-governmental and social foundation of China-Nigeria friendship; fifth, safeguard the common interests of developing countries by insisting on the platform of international cooperation.

Geoffrey Onyeama noted that Foreign Minister of China always chooses Africa as the destination of his first visit every year, which demonstrates the great importance attached by China to Africa and China-Africa solidarity and friendship. Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari paid a successful visit to China, during which he reached a spate of important consensus with President Xi Jinping. The Nigerian side is willing to take effective measures with China to well carry out these consensus. Currently, the country is devoted to accelerating industrialization process, improving people’s welfare and gradually shaking off the dependence on oil for diversified economic development. It is hoped that during this process, China can offer strong support. Nigeria agrees with China’s five proposals on bilateral cooperation in the next stage, holding that both sides enjoy tremendous potential in cooperation in railway, highway, hydropower development, military security and other areas. The Nigerian side is willing to further enhance exchanges and cooperation in various areas with China and hopes that more Chinese enterprises can participate in Nigeria’s national construction.

Wang Yi stated that a few days ago, the Nigerian side asked Taiwanese offices in Nigeria to remove their “false names” and “false plates”, move out of the capital city as well as reduce power and personnel and reiterated its adherence to the one-China policy, which China highly appreciates. Geoffrey Onyeama said that relevant measures of Nigeria aim at fulfilling the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to China and dealing with issues left by history that interfere with bilateral political mutual trust. It is hoped that both sides can take it as an opportunity to open up new prospects of bilateral cooperation.

The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern and agreed to further step up coordination and collaboration in international affairs between both countries.

After the talks, the two Foreign Ministers signed a joint statement on adhering to the one-China policy on behalf of respective government and jointly met the press.

This article first appeared on the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa.

World Economic Forum 2017 To Kick Off In Davos

Pranshu Rathi
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

As the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) kicks off Monday, the ski town of Davos, in the Swiss Alps, hosts more than 3,000 prominent participants, including for the first time President Xi Jinping of China and the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.

Originally founded as an academic, economic and management conference titled the European Management Symposium by academic Klaus Schwab in 1971, the conference evolved into its present day avatar — the World Economic Forum — in 1987. This year’s theme outlined by the 78-year-old founder and executive chairman Schwab is “Responsive and responsible leadership.”

“In 2017, I see four primary objectives to respond to major societal concerns: first, to strengthen economic growth; second, to make market-based systems more inclusive; third, to master the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and finally, to reimagine international cooperation,” Schwab was quoted saying ahead of the four-day conference that begins Tuesday and ends Friday.

This year’s guest list includes monarchs, world leaders, and titans of industry. Prominent names include King Philippe of Belgium and his wife, Queen Mathilde, Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit, political leaders such as newly elected British Prime Minister Theresa May, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, Columbia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, and many others, according to USA today.

Though he is expected to be a big talking point, President-elect Donald Trump will not be making an appearance at WEF this year, due to his inauguration Jan. 20. Although many significant members of the Trump transition team are also expected to miss the conference, including former Goldman Sachs president and current head of National Economic Council Gary Cohn, hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, named as an assistant to the president-elect is expected to attend the conference.

An unidentified senior member of Trump’s transition team told Bloomberg the perceived backlash generated by being associated with a gathering of millionaires, billionaires, political leaders and celebrities prompted them to not send many representatives.

Some of the titles of the discussion panels at the WEF that also illustrate the sentiment behind this include: “Squeezed and Angry: How To Fix The Middle-Class Crisis,” “Politics of Fear or Rebellion of the Forgotten?” and “Tolerance at the Tipping Point?”

Ahead of the conference which also aims to discuss rising inequality, anti-poverty organization Oxfam release Monday a report that suggests eight billionaire men collectively own the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population. These eight names, according to the order of ranking, include Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of fashion house Inditex; financier Warren Buffett; Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu; Amazon boss Jeff Bezos; Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg; Oracle’s Larry Ellison; and Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.

The report is a revision of an earlier report released last year that said that the 62 richest people, owned wealth equal to the “bottom half of the population.” However, the findings were revised to their current form following new inputs by Swiss bank Credit Suisse.

Fashion Footprint in BRICS – designers you should know

The fashion industry is one that is longstanding and profitable, and exists in every corner of the world. From the rich traditional prints in the African countries, to China’s high-end fashion focus, everyone’s got something to boast for.

The annual BRICS Fashion Week is the ideal platform that has been created to give established and emerging designers, as well as companies inspired by BRICS Countries culture and design the opportunity to showcase BRICS countries fashion styles and trends to an audience who might not even beware of the he diverse opportunities.

We take a look at some of the most influential fashion designers within BRICS:

Manish Malhotra
was born in London but raised in Mumbai and first entered into the world of fashion as a model, before becoming a Bollywood costume designer in 1990. Ever since, he’s become a household familiar in Indian fashion. Malhotra has styled over 1000 films and known for redefining and modernising Bollywood costume design. Malhotra’s high couture label was launched in 1998 and fuses traditional Indian colours, fabrics and embroidery.

Ritu Kumar
Ritu Kumar’s label first launched in 1969 and was housed in a tiny studio on the outskirts of Kolkata. Years and many well-deserved accolades later, it is now one of India’s biggest brands with 27 stores across the country. Kumar is known for her use of fine Indian fabrics with the help of India’s most talented craftspeople. Many admire her endeavour to redefine age-old Indian traditions in the contemporary era, creating a style that is both rich in Indian aesthetics and modern sophistication. Kumar’s hard work and passion for the industry has earned he prestigious awards including France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and India’s Padmi Shri Award for her contributions to fashion, textiles and craftsmanship.

Guo Pei
is one of China’s first-class designers; more often than not the one celebrities call on for special events. She has is well-known to Chinese fashion circles since her career took off at the age of 19. Pei as received both local and international won recognition for her garments which are both modern and displays Chinese elements like embroidery. Pei’s design company is named “Mei Gui Fang”.

Uma Wang
Chinese fashion designer Uma Wang’s label is no stranger to the cat walking, having showcased at London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks while garnering critical acclaim from industry greats such as Franca Sozzani and Hung Huang .Wang was also awarded a number of awards such as the 2011 Audi Progressive Designer Award, the Beijing CCDC Best Designer award in 2010 and the Shanghai Fashion Week award for the Finest Craft and Best Creativity. In 2012, she was selected as the first Chinese designer to take part in the inaugural CFDA/China Exchange Programme, where she brushed shoulders with several high profile industry insiders while being exposed to the U.S market. Wang is also stocked in several boutiques in London, Milan and New York.

 Director of Calvin Klein Collection. Costa won the Council of Fashion Designers America (CFDA) awardfor Womenswear Designer of the Year in June 2006[3] as well as in June 2008. Costa also won the National Design Awardin 200Francisco Costa is a Brazilian designer and the Women’s Creative9 in the category of Fashion Design.

Costa was not familiar wit the English language and decided to enroll in a language class at Hunter College and while taking courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology by night. He was later employed by Herbert Rounick, whose company made dresses for Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. Costa went to work for de la Renta after Rounick’s death, designing for the firm’s Japanese licenses. Costa owes his expertise to de la Renta, whom he says taught him the most about both designing clothes and life.

Barbara Casasola was born in London but raised Brazil-born fashion designer. She showcases two womenswear collections a year for her label during London Fashion Week. Casasola graduated first in her class in 2007 from Istituto Marangoni, Milan, Italy after which she was hired by Roberto Cavalli in Florence as assistant designer for the women’s wear main line. Casasola stayed with Cavalli in Florence for nearly three years before she moved to Paris to consult for a number of major fashion houses. She made her catwalk debut at White Cube in 2013, and her Spring Summer 2014 show was dubbed a “triumphant first showing” by CR Fashion Book. Casasola designs from her studio in London and her collections are made in Italy and available at department stores and boutiques such as Harvey Nichols, Matches, Joseph, Net-a-Porter, Luisa via Roma Florence, Joyce Hong Kong and online at Moda Operandi. Her garments have been worn by Kate Bosworth, Rita Ora, Alicia Vikander and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Alexander Terekhov
is a Moscow Institute of Fashion and Design graduate Alexander Terekhov and is fortunate to have gained experience at Yves Saint Laurent fashion house in couture capital Paris. Terekhov is known for his sensitivity to sensual femininity and close attention to tailoring. He has partnered with Walt Disney to create a collection of beautiful gowns, all inspired by the film The Wizard of Oz, titled The Great and Powerful and has also teamed with the Italian handbag brand Coccinelle. Terekhov’s brand was established more than ten years ago and in 2011 he was awarded with the title of Designer of the Year at Russian GQ Magazine‘s Man of the Year Awards.

Valentin Yudashkin, a prominent Russian fashion designer, is the only Russian designer to be bestowed with membership to the prestigious Syndicate of High Fashion in Paris and is a National Artist of Russia. Yudashkin was born in Moscow and always had a keen interest in fashion. In 1987 he launched his first collection. His 1991 Faberge collection was inspired by the famous Faberge eggs which launched him internationally.

South Africa
Thula Sindi
is a Johannesburg-based designer who creates contemporary, sophisticated, elegant and timeless ladies wear. His garments are inspired by the modern woman. He studied at the London International School of Fashion and had grown to be a household favourite. After working for Vlisco, a textile company, Sindi launched began his own clothing label. His designs are both chic and elegant, and have been recognised by industry greats. They are also designed, manufactured and marketed in-house.

Laduma Ngxokolo has been dubbed one of Africa’s finest knitwear designers. He is the brainchild behind the Xhosa-inspired knitwear brand MAXHOSA BY LADUMA. 
Ngxokolo’ brand was established in 2011 with a desire to explore knitwear design solutions, best suited for the amakrwala (Xhosa initiates) traditional dress. Ngxokolo himself has undergone the ritual and he felt that he needed to develop a premium knitwear range that celebrates traditional Xhosa beadwork easthetics, using South African mohair and wool. He has received numerous achievements far and wide from South Africa, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo, Berlin and New York. Ngxokolo recently won the 2015 Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize to showcase his collections at the Palazzo Morando Show in Milan, Italy. Furthermore, Ngxokolo was awarded the 2014 WeTransfer Scholarship to study masters in Material Futures at the Central St. Martins and graduated in 2016.


Images: Pinterest

Investment banks want to boost stakes in China JVs

January 10, 2017
Wu Yiyao and Li Xiang in Shanghai
Displayed with permission from China Daily

Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG have reportedly engaged in discussions about increasing their holdings in their China securities business.

Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG have reportedly engaged in discussions about increasing their holdings in their China securities business, reflecting growing confidence in joint ventures in the Chinese mainland, according to a Bloomberg report.

A source familiar with the matter told China Daily that Morgan Stanley would raise its stake to 49 percent, the maximum allowed under current regulations. The source said the plan is still subject to regulatory approval.

Currently, Morgan Stanley holds 33.3 percent in its China joint venture Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities Co.

UBS responded in an email to China Daily, saying that the bank has been holding talks since last year with several shareholders about buying their stakes in its mainland securities joint venture.

UBS holds 24.99 percent in its China joint venture UBS Securities China.

“The talks are still progressing,” the response said, without commenting on the reports that the Zurich-based bank wants to increase its holding to 49 percent.

Axel Weber, chairman of the board of directors of UBS Group AG, said the bank has continuing plans to increase its onshore presence in China.

“We have around 670 people in our onshore business in China and will be doubling the headcount over the coming years,” he said.

“Our JV has been working very well for us. We want to be part of China’s success story as it opens its financial markets. It shows our commitment to our Chinese partners and the long-term engagement plan that UBS has in China.”

China raised the cap for foreign firms ownership in their joint ventures from 33 percent to 49 percent in 2012.

Why the corporate sector is critical to Africa

January 8, 2017
The Citizen (Tanzania)
Content provided by Asianet-Pakistan
There is indeed a corporate sector in Africa and it is thriving. According to a report by McKinsey, there are 400 companies on the continent with annual revenue of $1 billion or more.

Another 700 enterprises have revenues of more than $500 million. Yet these numbers only tell part of the story. For Africa to continue its progress, Africa’s large companies need to expand, and small companies need to get bigger.

Large companies constitute the main drivers of economic growth. They tend to pay higher wages and taxes, as well as foster innovation and the use of technology.

They also drive productivity, tend to attract greater amounts of capital, and facilitate the creation and growth of vendors and small businesses that work with them.

For these reasons, the corporate sector is critical to Africa. And the indicators remain extremely positive. Africa’s large companies are growing faster, and are more profitable, than their global peers.

Half of the largest companies are African-owned and 40 per cent are publicly traded. Companies are flourishing in a variety of diverse sectors beyond natural resources, including financial services, food and agricultural processing, manufacturing, telecommunications and retail.

But there are gaps where Africa lags behind other emerging markets. No African-owned company has made the Fortune 500. Brazil and India have GDPs similar to that of Africa and each has seven Fortune 500 companies, and China nearly 100.

But Africa has only 60 per cent of large firms as compared with peer regions, with average annual revenue half that of large companies in Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia.

Africa also has fewer family-owned businesses than other regions, presenting a growth opportunity. Family businesses comprise 10 per cent to 20 per cent by revenue of Africa’s locally-owned companies, compared to 50 per cent to 60 per cent in Latin America, 35 per cent to 45 per cent in Western Europe and 15 per cent to 25 per cent in China and Southeast Asia, according to McKinsey data.

How can Africa’s corporate sector develop? One key area, which applies to all companies, no matter where they’re based, is to leverage innovation.

Only about a quarter of the top 100 African companies have expanded by adopting innovative new technology or business models. Compare that scenario with Asia, where half of all companies make innovation in technology, business models or products a priority. Mobile technology has allowed Africans to “leapfrog” poor landline infrastructure, according to Deloitte.

Uber has taken advantage of minimal public transportation and the difficulties of car ownership to delivered a million rides on the African continent.

African companies can explore and embrace “disruptive” technologies to make up for gaps in traditional supply chains, distribution networks and infrastructure, both to expand their own operations and to serve burgeoning consumer demand.

Talent is another key component for companies’ growth. By mid-century, Africa will have the world’s largest and youngest workforce.

Companies that have the resources need to invest in education and training so they have the skilled workers they need to succeed.

As an investor in African companies, I can say that it is necessary to have a long view.

But the picture is bright for Africa’s corporate sector. Africa’s large companies have real potential for growth as we progress in the 21st century. (The Huffington Post)

Zandre Campos is chairman and CEO of ABO Capital, an international investment firm that invests in companies in the healthcare, energy, transportation, hospitality, technology and real estate sectors throughout Africa. ABO’s mission is to create global value for developing countries in Africa, while contributing to their economic development.