South East Asia

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Boxing, massage poised to return Boxing stadiums, massage parlours, spas, cinemas, convention venues and tutorial schools are among the moderate-risk category of businesses and activities expected to be allowed to reopen for the third stage of Covid-19 lockdown easing next month.....


The sharing economy must rework how it does business, as some trends may linger well past a Covid-19 recovery Unicorn startups operating under the sharing economy model have not been spared by the coronavirus pandemic, as social distancing measures and travel restrictions have dimmed their outlook....


Signify, the leader in lighting innovation, is addressing the challenge of connectivity by focusing on its visible lighting communication or LiFi (Light Fidelity) and exploring new industries in Malaysia. According to Signify, formerly known as Philips Lighting, its LiFi system branded Trulifi leverages on existing and future professional luminaires for fast and reliable data transmission. Trulifi combines energy efficient light-emitting diodes (…


Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Indonesia would not compromise on the health of its population to reboot the country's economy after enduring months-long slowdown amid pandemic-related restrictions.   "There is no trade-off between health and the economy. Both are like conjoined twins who are not separated. If there is no health, there is no economy, and vice versa," Sri Mulyani said on her social media a…


Wedding decorations used to be the top-selling product for janur (palm leaf) sellers on Jl. Palmerah, West Jakarta, before the virus hit the city. Janur weavers have suffered declining sales as the city has banned almost all gatherings, including wedding receptions, in a bid to contain the virus. But as Idul Fitri approached, the sellers found a new source of hope: producing containers for ketupat (rice cakes), a sta…


Henry Woodward-Fisher’s job is to launch meatless meat firm Impossible Foods into new markets. Here’s how he spends his day. Henry Woodward-Fisher works for one of the most fashionable companies in sustainability. Based in Singapore, the Harvard-educated French, Spanish and Mandarin-speaking Briton is international launch manager at Impossible Foods, a company on a seemingly impossible mission: convert meat eaters to plant-based …


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has called for strengthening the management of seafood transportation across the border.Specifically, the ministry asked the National Steering Committee Against Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeiting Goods (National Steering Committee 389) and some northern provinces to intensify the control of shrimp and aquaculture feed from China to prevent the spread of a deadly new virus t…


Vietjet is offering more than 2 million super-saver tickets priced from only 1,600 VND on all 45 of its domestic routes, the airline announced on May 24. The programme aims to celebrate International Children's Day on June 1 and Vietnamese Family Day on June 28. "This is a gift from Vietjet so children and their families can experience a joyful summer and connect in all pa…


 Property firms are gearing up to tap opportunities from the post-pandemic recovery of the real estate market, which was predicted to soon get back on its feet.The real estate market has been frozen since the beginning of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The Ministry of Construction’s statistics showed that about 80 percent of real estate sale agents were closed or temporarily halted operations in the first qu…


EXCISE taxes on salty snacks and fast food products could raise up to P72.97 billion on average in fresh revenue for the government each year, according to the National Tax Research Center (NTRC). Assuming a 20% excise tax on the “junk food” category, the NTRC estimated that the government could raise P61.57 billion in 2020, P66.8 billion in 2021, P72.49 billion in 2022, P78.65 billion in 2023 and P85.34 billion in 2024, or an average…


The country’s consumption and importation of alcoholic beverages are expected to rise further despite the higher excise tax on the commodities due to the government’s  tax reform program. In a report, the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA) said traders are expecting sales to continue growing by five to 10 percent each year due to robust demand.


From F&B to retail and fitness, winning Singapore businesses know they must shift gears and rethink their business models to thrive in a pandemic economy, says NUS Business School’s Lawrence Loh. After hunkering down under circuit breaker conditions for two months amid a relentless COVID-19 crisis, businesses already grappling with a collapse in demand must now shift gears. While many had hoped for a reversion to normalcy after Jun 2, t…


THAILAND'S health technology (healthtech) industry is poised for growth as the government doubles down on digitalisation of the healthcare sector, industry analysts said. Hospital systems, pharmaceuticals and information technologies such as electronic health records and clinical decision.......


Banks cut interest rates for loans worth more than 1.12 quadrillion VND (49 billion USD) of nearly 322,190 borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as of May 11, a State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) report showed.The banks also extended debt payment deadlines for another 215,136 borrowers with total loans of nearly 137.94 trillion VND.New outstanding loans totalling nearly 600 trillion VND with interest rate reductions of 0.5-2.5 …


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has more space for further monetary accommodation to soften the economic fallout from the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Christian de Guzman, senior vice president for sovereign risk group at Moody’s, told The STAR the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has enough room to address the large degree of uncertainty over the pandemic......


Wanting to create a parent-friendly workplace, Ms Joerin Yao, managing director of human resource consultancy Enable Group, has been allowing employees to work from home since the business started seven years ago. But telecommuting was largely unheard of back in 2013 and some likened th


Region's US$2.7b worth of venture capital deals in Q1 was down 20.6% from a year ago: Preqin STARTUP valuations in South-east Asia are beginning to soften as the industry comes to terms with the economic impact of Covid-19, venture capital (VC) investors told The Business Times. But VCs aren't in a hurry to go bargain-hunting, as they keep a close watch on fundamentals...


From dumb-bells to bubble tea pearls, consumers are now looking for things they may not have previously wanted, as they adjust to the "new normal" amid the coronavirus pandemic. Groceries and food, indoor exercise equipment and gaming tools have emerged as the most popular categories for online shopping. Experts say this trend towards online shopping is set to continue even after countries ease restrictions, with many predicting that e-…


AMS Metal Group Sdn Bhd aims to penetrate the Sabah, Sarawak, Thai and Indonesian markets under part of its five-year expansion plan. AMS is principally involved in the manufacturing and distribution of aluminium raw materials, profile, sheets, foil and coils. Managing director Keith Keh said the company wanted to meet rising demands for high-quality aluminium products. AMS, which had been operating since June 2015, was established in Singapore a…


The Pattaya City administration plans to build a nine-kilometre monorail to ease traffic congestion and connect the city with the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project.....


Soft drinks manufacturer Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia (Amatil) is looking into developing a plastic bottle recycling facility in one of the world’s top plastic polluting countries. The company said on Friday it had signed a deal with plastic packaging maker Dynapack Asia to conduct a feasibility study on developing the facility. The soft drinks maker also said it aimed to cut consumption of new plastic resin by up to 25,000 tons a year by 202…


Forbes Vietnam magazine has announced its list of “Top 30 Under 30” in 2020 to honour the most influential faces in the country. Among them is ballerina Nguyễn Thu Huệ from the Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet Theatre, the first Vietnamese ballerina to perform both leading roles as the white and black swans in Swan Lake. Huệ shares with Hạnh Nguyễn and Quỳnh Hoa her love for dancing..…


THE Board of Investments (BoI) said Wednesday that it has proposed to modify the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) to classify various pandemic-mitigating activities as eligible for incentives, with the adjustments awaiting President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s approval. “Nagsubmit tayo early part of this year kaya lang inabutan tayo ng pandemic na hindi pa siya napipirmahan. So winithdraw natin tapos pinali…


 Banks cut interest rates for loans worth more than VNĐ1.12 quadrillion (US$49 billion) of nearly 322,190 borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as of May 11, a State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) report showed. The banks also extended debt payment deadlines for another 215,136 borrowers with total loans of nearly VNĐ137.94 trillion. New outstanding loans totalling nearly VNĐ600 trillion with interest rate reductions of 0.5-2.5 …


THE Department of Finance (DoF) said the digital-only Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank and the electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) program are set to roll out by the third quarter of 2020. In a statement Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), which he chairs, has committed to have the digital-only and branchless OFBank “up and running” by the end of June to serve Overseas Filipino Wor…


NUS researchers have created a whole new library of atomically thin, two-dimensional (2D) materials using a novel and powerful approach of engineering the composition of transition metal dichalcogenides. Materials that are atomically thin offer a platform to explore a wide range of intriguing physical properties and could provide many future applications. For example, ‘transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers’ are atomically thin se…


Despite an increase in the number of people accessing online banking services during the circuit breaker period, Singapore's three local banks say there are no plans to cut back on their physical branches. Instead, they are working on strategies to better serve both channels. Brandon Tanoto reports.......


Thailand has given businesses another year to comply with a new personal data protection law due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their preparations. The Personal Data Protection Act became law in May last year with a one-year transition period. It was intended to imitate the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and included clauses on consent and rights of data subjects as well as ways to prevent data abuse.....


Hawkers who get on board Foodpanda will not have to pay commission for one month as part of a new initiative to ease hawkers' entry onto the food delivery app, Foodpanda announced in a press statement on Friday (May 22). Dubbed the "pandasupport hawker initiative", the incentive is being rolled out with "the understanding that commission fees are factored as a substantial barrier that is currently preventing hawkers from coming on …


The World Bank Group says it will help Myanmar recover from the COVID-19 pandemic over the next few years, assisting economic growth with a “strong focus on social inclusion”, including conflict-affected areas. The emphasis on coping with the pandemic and developing resilience towards natural disasters is outlined in the group’s Country Partnership Framework for Myanmar, which was approved this week by the lender’s boa…


Genting Malaysia Bhd has embarked on austerity measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of its business. At the onset of this pandemic, the management team had volunteered to have their salaries reduced up to 20 per cent, Genting Malaysia said in a statement today. "In order to further manage costs and to mitigate the adverse financial impact, Genting Malaysia has had to assess and recalibrate its cost structure including staffing needs ba…


Finance Ministry says agriculture must be main job The Finance Ministry has turned down the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry's proposal to offer 5,000 baht in cash relief to 91,000 civil servants farming for supplementary income, saying they are unqualified because they earn salaries. Civil servants with employment income are not qualified for handouts, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana. He plans to discuss the matter with the agricult…


Indofood Sukses Makmur, the world's largest maker of instant noodles, reported a $94 million net income in this year's first quarter, up 4 percent from the same period last year, giving the company solid footing to survive the coronavirus crisis for the rest of the year.  Indofood's net income rose to Rp 1.4 trillion ($94 million) in the first quarter from Rp 1.35 trillion in the same period last year.....


The government’s bond financing jumped sharply in April and the amount is expected to further increase in the following months as the Finance Ministry plans to issue yen-denominated samurai bonds to cover its widening budget deficit caused by coronavirus mitigation and economic recovery programs. Deputy Finance Minister Suahasil Nazara said the government had financed the budget with Rp 231.6 trillion (US$15.73 billion) in government bonds …


While COVID-19 has increased awareness on the importance of health insurance and led to better sales of life and health policies, demand for other insurance products has taken a beating, industry leaders say. For KBZ MS General Insurance, monthly sales of individual health products have gone up five times compared to pre-pandemic figures.....    


Foreign investors are speeding up the restructuring and reallocation of their production networks globally, with Vietnam considered a bright candidate for investment given its location within the world’s most dynamically-developing region.The country’s prestige and position have improved in recent times thanks to its achievements in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.....


THE Philippines may have lost P1.1 trillion in potential revenue in the first 45 days of a Luzon-wide lockdown that has since been eased, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). This is equivalent to 5.56% of economic output, NEDA said in a report released on Friday. The estimates include losses under the 45-day lockdown in Luzon and varying lockdown days for the Visayas and Mindanao. It excludes losses in the transpo…


S&P Global Ratings has announced it has retained Vietnam’s sovereign credit rating at BB, with a stable outlook, according to the Ministry of Finance.The move is a reflection of the strong potential for recovery in Vietnam’s economy following a period of deceleration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.S&P evaluated that Vietnam’s solid growth achievements over past years will continue to support the maintenance of the country&…


From smart stamps that track packages and mailboxes that enable contactless delivery, to cold chain shipments and reverse dispatches, Postmaster General Vincent Phang says Singapore Post's reach is limited only by its imagination. EVEN as e-commerce has largely been a boon for consumers, offering options and convenience previously unimaginable, it has disrupted many industries. Brick-and-mortar retail most notably, but also logistics. The nationa…


THE Philippine central bank can still use monetary tools including further policy easing to boost liquidity amid a coronavirus pandemic, its governor said on Friday. “The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has yet to exhaust the conventional monetary instruments in its toolkit to support the liquidity requirements of the economy, should conditions warrant it,” BSP chief Benjamin E. Diokno said in a speech....


Many investors have considered Vietnam as a safe investment destination with a lot of advantages after the COVID-19 pandemic is pushed back, heard a meeting of permanent government members chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on May 22. The meeting also saw the attendance of leaders from several ministries, sectors and provinces and cities which have attracted large sums of foreign direct investment (F…


IN SOME WAYS, Covid-19 has helped open the layman’s eyes to the various challenges facing restaurateurs on any given day, says Liling Ong, founder of the Cicheti group of Italian restaurants. These include the fixed capital costs to keep a business running month to month, the complicated relationship between landlords and restaurateurs, and the importance of governments in protecting the small businesses that crucially define the colour and…


Mainboard-listed StarHub chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos rebuffed speculation of a possible merger between the telco and its 5G bid partner M1 at its virtual annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday (May 22). He also said StarHub is working to grow its cyber-security arm's top and bottom lines, after Ensign InfoSecurity turned its first quarterly profit in the three months to March 31. StarHub held its AGM with investors over live web…


THE country’s metal production value fell 10.69% to P24.86 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier as some mining operations were halted amid a coronavirus pandemic, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). In a statement on Friday, the bureau traced the lackluster start mainly to zero production at the Didipio gold project of OceanaGold Phils. Inc. in Nueva Vizcaya, one of the country’s major mines.....


Eating well during the pandemic - a growing appetite for premium food From gourmet grocers to wet markets, the appetite for premium produce is booming YOU COULD SAY the writing - or make that icing - was on the wall. The last-minute run for bubble tea. That inexplicable urge to bake. The many ways you can make Dalgona coffee. The incessant stream of cooking videos on Instagram. When only four walls mark the entire landscape of your existence now,…


Some 20 to 30 per cent of mom-and-pop shops may go belly up in four to six weeks if they have to continue to stay shuttered. President of the Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore (FMAS) Yeo Hiang Meng has called for the Government to allow these heartland enterprises to resume business in two weeks, among other recommendations......


Vietnamese air conditioner manufacturers are increasingly using sophisticated technologies as they jostle for market share in a competitive market. Getting an air conditioner at a reasonable price and with useful features is not easy.The most popular are 1-1.5 HP machines with inverters, timers and touch control from Toshiba, Daikin, LG, and Panasonic, which cost 8-12 million VND (345-515 USD).


Hanoi welcomes more investors from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue said and invited RoK businesses to participate in an investment promotion forum hosted by the city in June.When receiving RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan on May 21, Hue affirmed that Hanoi has basically put the COVID-19 pandemic under control, which is the outcome of joint efforts between the Go…