Hermes bags record profitability

Posted on : 15-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Luxury goods maker Hermes said Thursday that good sales momentum across all of its divisions and in all regions helped it achieve a record profitability in the first six months.

“The performance in the first half confirmed the positive momentum of the ready-to-wear and accessories and the silk and textiles business lines,” Hermes said in a statement.

Growth in leather goods and saddlery was “sustained” and the perfumes division also booked an increase in sales, it said.

Overall, group revenues rose by 11 percent to 2.713 billion euros ($3.23 billion) in the period from January to June, Hermes said.

Underlying or operating profit was up 13 percent at 931 million euros — or an “all-time high” of 34.3 percent of sales — and net profit climbed by 11 percent to 605 million euros.

In regional terms, “revenues rose in all geographical areas worldwide,” Hermes said.

At a news conference, Hermes chief executive Axel Dumas hailed the group’s “very good profitability” and insisted it was attributable to “organic growth.”

But Dumas cautioned in a telephone news conference that Hermes was staying “prudent in a very volatile environment” and that the first-half performance could not be extrapolated for the whole year.

“In the medium-term, despite growing economic, geopolitical and monetary uncertainties around the world, the group confirms an ambitious goal for revenue growth at constant exchange rates,” the group statement said.


Malaysia generates RM12,681 bln, gets 619,337 visitors at EXPO 2017 (Malaysia-Kazakhstan Energy Business Forum)

Posted on : 07-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

ASTANA– Malaysia has generated a total of RM12.681 billion (US$2.95 billion) in potential trade and investment throughout the 13-week Astana EXPO 2017, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

Of the amount, he said RM5.05 billion was garnered from 14 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed by Malaysian companies, while the remaining RM7.63 billion was contributed by potential collaboration from the business-matching session.

The MoUs, covering areas of green technology cooperation, education, oil and gas, innovation, water and waste water, and entrepreneurship, were secured from Kazakhstan’s government and companies, as well as companies from other countries, including India, China and Switzerland.

“Our potential trade and investment target for EXPO 2017 was just RM1 billion, but we have achieved 13 times more,” he told a press conference after delivering his closing remarks at the Malaysia-Kazakhstan Energy Business Forum here Wednesday.

The MoUs were, among others, signed between Malaysia’s Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy for collaboration in green technology and renewable energy; Ronser Bio-Tech Bhd and Kazakhstan MEC LLP for distribution rights in Kazakhstan and Central Asia; and NanoPac (M) Sdn Bhd and Switzerland GC Global Consulting GMBH for the nanotechnology and hybrid solar system technology.

Another MoU is expected to be signed later today between Malaysia Accobiotech Sdn Bhd and Kazakhstan Medilab to market the former’s medical products worth RM50 million in Kazakhstan.

Ongkili said the Malaysian companies adopted a high-impact approach using advanced technologies at the EXPO, turning the Malaysia Pavillion into one of the most visited pavilions and most active for business programme throughout the period.

He said as at Monday, the Malaysia Pavillion attracted 619,337 visitors, three times bigger than the initial target of 200,000 visitors.

It was accorded the Honourable Mention for Best Interpretation of Theme category by the prestigious US-based Exhibitor Magazine, he said, adding that, “This achievement proves that inspiring future energy solutions do not have to come from just the developed markets.”

Themed “Energy of the Future”, the Astana EXPO 2017 which started on June 10 will end on Sept 10.

The international specialised exhibition is aimed at inspiring global debate between countries, non-governmental organisations, companies and the public on the decisive impact that energy management has on the lives of people and that of the planet.


Oil prices lift profit at China’s Sinopac by 40 pct

Posted on : 28-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Asia’s biggest oil refiner Sinopec (HKSE: 0386-OL.HKnews) said its first-half net profit jumped more than 40.1 percent thanks to a rise in oil prices and stable growth in China’s economy, which fuelled demand for its refined products.

Sinopec ?- the listed unit of state-owned China Petrochemical Corp. ?- saw net profit surge to 27.92 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in the January-June period, up from 19.92 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement late Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed.

A pick-up in international oil prices boosted Sinopec’s crude business, while domestic consumption of its key refined oil products rose and demand for major chemical products grew “significantly”, it said.

China registered stronger-than-expected economic growth in the first half, expanding 6.9 percent in both the first and second quarters.

WOGI – news) prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy.” data-reactid=”26″>World oil (Other OTC: WOGInews) prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy.

Sinopec said strong economic growth will continue to drive demand for its products in the second half and create new growth opportunities.

Investors in Hong Kong seemed to ignore the figures, with shares in the firm falling 2.22 percent, having climbed over the past week in advance of the earnings announcement.

But its shares in Shanghai, where it also is listed, gained 0.83 percent.

0857-OL.HK – news) said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend.” data-reactid=”30″>Last week, Chinese oil giant PetroChina (HKSE: 0857-OL.HKnews) said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend.


Face scans, robot baggage handlers – airports of the future

Posted on : 27-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

SINGAPORE:  Passengers’ baggage is collected by robots, they relax in a luxurious waiting area complete with an indoor garden before getting a face scan and swiftly passing through security and immigration — this could be the airport of the future.
It’s a vision that planners hope will become reality as new technology is rolled out, transforming the exhausting experience of getting stuck in lengthy queues in ageing, overcrowded terminals into something far more pleasant.

The Asia-Pacific has been leading the way but faces fierce competition from the Middle East as major hubs compete to attract the growing number of long-haul travellers who can choose how to route their journey.

The regions “are the two leading pockets of technology growth because they are really competing to be the global hubs for air transportation,” Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University, told AFP.

“If I’m going to fly from New York to Bangalore, do I transfer through Abu Dhabi or Dubai or do I transfer through Hong Kong? That’s a huge, huge market.”

But the changes also represent major challenges that could upend decades-old business models at major airports, with analysts warning operators may face a hit to their revenues to the tune of billions of dollars.
Facial scanning in particular is generating a lot of buzz. Changi in the affluent city-state of Singapore, regarded as among the world’s best airports, is set to roll out this biometric technology at a new terminal to open later this year.

Passengers will have their faces scanned when they first check in and at subsequent stages, theoretically allowing them to go through the whole boarding process quickly without encountering another human.

Australia announced in July an investment of Aus$22.5 million ($17.5 million) to introduce face recognition technology at all the country’s international airports, while Dubai Airport is also trialling it.

Robot baggage handlers

Robots are appearing at some major hubs, including at Seoul’s Incheon airport, where they carry out tasks including cleaning and carrying luggage, while Changi’s new terminal will have robotic cleaners complete with butlers’ uniforms.

Self-service check-in and printing of boarding passes is already common, with many people printing their passes at home or at airport kiosks, and some hubs are now introducing self-service baggage drop points.

The service, which allows passengers to print and tag their baggage and then send it off on the conveyor belt, is available at airports including Australian hubs, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

Airports are also trying to overhaul their image as dreary places that must be endured in order to get from A to B, to somewhere travellers can enjoy spending time.

Changi is building a new terminal complex called Jewel, a 10-storey development filled with shops and restaurants whose centrepiece will be a 40-metre (130-foot) indoor waterfall surrounded by an indoor garden.

The complex will make the airport look more like a shopping mall than a traditional hub, and is aimed at cashing in on transitting passengers.

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“They are looking at retail, non-aeronautical profits,” said Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst from Endau Analytics.

But while hubs in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East surge ahead, airports in the United States and Europe are being left behind.

“Europe and the US were the leading aviation markets for the last 75 to 100 years, and it’s very difficult to revolutionise your infrastructure when you are on a foundation that is 75 years old,” said Young of the Center for Aviation Studies.

He added it was also a matter of “political will”, as emerging economies see building cutting-edge airports as a way of raising their status globally.

Ageing hubs

Some US and European airports are nevertheless trying to up their game.

New York’s ageing airports have long been criticised as old-fashioned, cramped and dirty but JFK, the main international hub serving the city, hopes to shed its dire reputation with a proposed $10 billion redevelopment.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol is aiming to become the world’s leading digital airport by 2019, and has been testing hand luggage scanners that allow passengers to keep liquids and laptops in their bags. It is also looking at biometric technology.

Despite the buzz surrounding new technology, there are concerns that rapid innovation could threaten long-held ways of doing business.

A report from consultancy Roland Berger warned that airport revenues from retail and parking could fall by between two and four billion dollars due to the new innovations.

Automated, more predictable check-in procedures threaten retail outlets as passengers are likely to reduce the “buffer” they build in to trips to the airport, meaning less shopping time, while developments such as ride-hailing apps could undercut parking revenues, it said.

Still, the landscape may not transform so quickly as many airports face difficulties in introducing new technology, from resistance to change to availability of financing, said Xavier Aymonod, a transport expert at Roland Berger and lead author of the report.

“It’s really challenging for airports to launch this digital transformation,” he told AFP.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Singapore firm inks deal to run Cambodia’s first oil field

Posted on : 25-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia on Wednesday (Aug 23) signed a deal with a Singaporean energy company to develop its first-ever oil field, the latest move in the country’s much-delayed plan to become an oil-producing nation.

KrisEnergy signed the agreement with the government in the capital Phnom Penh to develop an offshore field in the Gulf of Thailand which they hope will produce 8,000 barrels a day by 2020.

Energy Minister Suy Sem hailed the signing as a “historic event” and said the nation would become an oil producer country in the future.

The Gulf of Thailand boasts significant oil deposits that have been exploited by Thai and Malaysian companies since the 1980s, but Cambodia has been slow to get in on the act.

Chevron first found proven reserves in Cambodian waters in 2005.

The kingdom was soon feted as the region’s next potential petro-state. Its government estimates there are hundreds of millions of barrels of crude and vast reserves of natural gas in six blocks off the coast.


But production stalled as the government and Chevron failed to agree over revenue sharing, leading the US oil giant to abandon the project and sell its stake to KrisEnergy in 2014.

Under the deal KrisEnergy will start extraction on one section of a 3,000 square kilometre (1,158 sq mile) block known as the Apsara field to the southwest of Cambodia’s coast.

A single platform will be built, with plans for further platforms and the exploration of two more fields if the first becomes lucrative.

The Singaporean firm holds a 95 per cent stake in the first block and the Cambodian government the remainder.

Under the agreement KrisEnergy has 60 days to declare a final investment decision.

“This is is a major step. It is Cambodia’s first oil field,” Kelvin Tang, chief operating officer of KrisEnergy, said during the ceremony.

Cambodia estimates it will make at least US$500 million in royalties and taxes from the first phase of the project.

While there are some concerns over corruption, Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmonitoth said the oil revenue would fuel economic development.

He said the government was fully prepared to avoid the “resource curse”.


Thailand approves design contract for rail project with China

Posted on : 24-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

[NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand] Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a draft contract for a detailed plan on the design and construction of the first phase of the country’s high-speed railway project with China.

The 250-km high-speed rail line will link the Thai capital of Bangkok and the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima and is scheduled to be operational by 2021.

It is part of China’s controversial Belt and Road initiative, which aims to build a modern-day “Silk Road”connecting the world’s second-largest economy by land corridors to South-east Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia and maritime routes opening up trade with the Middle East and Europe.

“The State Railway of Thailand will use this contract to hire China’s experience state enterprise which will be responsible for the detailed engineering design of the project, which will include elevated tracks, tunnels, bridges, and stations,” Kobsak Pootrakool, vice minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, told reporters.

“The planning phase will take 10 months and have the financial ceiling of 1.7 billion baht (S$70 million),” Mr Kobsak said.

The Thai government is planning to approve another contract that covers supervision expenses.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha plans to officially sign these two contracts with his Chinese counterpart when he visits China on Sept 4-5.

The construction of the first phase of the US$5.5-billion Thai-Chinese rail project was approved by the Thai government in July.

The project, which is seen by observers as a centrepiece of China-Thailand relations, has been hit by delays over details including construction funding and technical assistance.

China and Malaysia broke ground this month on a US$13 billion rail project linking peninsular Malaysia’s east and west.


Bulgaris’s tobacco industry is going up in smoke

Posted on : 14-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Five decades later, Fatmagul and her husband Fahim are still hard at work in their small field in the southern Rhodope mountains, close to the Greek border.

The couple are already bent low over the plants well before dawn, their hands tarred from plucking the sticky leaves in the glow of their head torches.

Row after row, they will spend hours repeating the same gesture before returning to their nearby village of Karchovkso, in the Muslim-majority Kirkovo region, to hang the leaves to dry.

And yet these efforts will barely yield enough for survival.

“When you take into account the expenses, we’ll make only a couple of euros today,” Fahim, 57, shrugged.

The fall of communism led to the disbanding of cooperative farms and a decline in tobacco production, slowly smoking out what was once Bulgaria’s most valuable asset.

With a kilo of dried tobacco leaves costing around 2.50 euros ($2.95), the Alis will make only about 2,300 euros gross this year. They’ve taken up second jobs to make ends meet.

“We’re thinking about abandoning tobacco, there’s no point to it anymore,” Fahim said.

Although the Kirkovo region still boasts the European Union’s largest number of tobacco growers per capita, the output is a far cry from the days when Bulgaria’s so-called “golden leaf” was an international mark of quality.

Days of glory

Tobacco was first introduced in Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, with production surging by the 19th century.

“It was a real currency, allowing Bulgaria to take out international bank loans,” Sofia-based economist Nikolay Valkanov told AFP.

Of the four grown varieties, the oriental type was by far the most valued thanks to its highly aromatic flavour.

Demand exploded during and after both World Wars as an increasing number of soldiers and female factory workers took up smoking.

Under Soviet rule, Bulgaria became Europe’s leading tobacco producer and, at its peak, exported some 100,000 tonnes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today this has shrivelled to 16,250 tonnes, according to official data.

And while Bulgaria is still in the EU’s top five growers, it cannot compete with the number one producer Italy, which churns out close to 55,000 tonnes of dried tobacco leaves per year.

“The drop has been drastic”, said Tsvetan Filev, chairman of Bulgaria’s National Tobacco Growers’ Association.

“We haven’t been able to rebuild a competitive system after the dismantling of the planned economy,” he told AFP.

Dying trade

With the collapse of communism, large-scale irrigation systems stopped working while skilled labour dropped in rural areas as people migrated to cities and abroad.

The restitution of expropriated lands saw the huge tobacco fields broken up into numerous small parcels and handed back to the original owners.

EU data from 2014 showed that Italy only had tenth of Bulgaria’s 23,700 tobacco growers, but produced five times as much.

“The way that the Bulgarian sector is organised now — with numerous tiny farms, low yields, insufficient know-how, low education — leaves it without a future,” said Valkanov.

There’s added pressure from neighbouring Turkey, Greece and Macedonia which have boosted their production and are threatening to push Bulgaria out of the market.

Many Bulgarians now head across the border to pick leaves in Greece to earn a decent wage.

“Once upon a time there were tobacco fields everywhere and look at what’s left now,” lamented Hasansabri Mehmed, the regional chief of the national growers’ association, pointing to the vast bushy planes around him.

There’s also a political dimension to the issue.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party that controls Kirkovo and its Muslim population has resisted government plans to convince people to turn to other crops.

“Growers are politically highly dependent on the MRF. Anything tobacco-related has to go through them,” said Valkanov.

Either way, observers say the shallow and infertile fields of the Rhodope mountains are suited to little else other than tobacco, leaving growers hinged on a dying trade.


Sabah cementing business deal with Palawan

Posted on : 10-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

PUERTO PRINCESA: The number of Sabahan businessmen visiting Palawan to scout for potential business opportunities is on the rise.

BIMP-EAGA Kudat Business Council (BEBC) vice-chairman Datuk James Ibrahim attributed the affirmative reaction from the local business community because of the  much talk-about launching of the Kudat-Palawan Roll-On-Roll-Off ferry service anytime before the year ends.

“There are more  Sabahans now visiting the province to look for possible joint business ventures and other trading activities … this is because our local businessmen are optimistic that the Kudat-Palawan connectivity project promises ample of opportunities both for Sabahans and Palaweneos,” said James.

With the planned development projects to be implemented by incumbent Governor Jose C. Alvarez with his remaining years in office, he said Sabah can play as a major supplier of construction materials, water and power supplies, actively participate in the development of the tourism, agriculture, acqua-marine, human resource sectors and even in other fields among others.

“The group who are now in Puerto Princesa City comprises businessmen from the sectors of furniture, hotel, automotive repair and body shop, flour supplier, including power supply … they came here to see for themselves the opportunities Palawan is offering to the businessmen and investors, especially from Sabah,” the vice-chairman added.

James said Cement Industries Sabah (CIS) chairman Datuk Samsudin Yahya together with its chief executive officer Bahrul Razha Chuprat and manager Melvyn Yong are also with the group to discuss further with WTIE Enterprise on the possiblity of closing a business deal.

He said the Sabah delegation early Thursday morning paid a courtesy call to Alvarez at the  provincial office in the city where the executive officer briefed the visitors on the many business opportunties.

Late last month WTIE president cum CEO William Tan had expressed the company’s sincere desire to buy cement from CIS.

After the courtesy call, the CIS group also attended a meeting with Tan at his residence to further discuss and pave way for the realization of the business deal.

During the discussion, Tan expressed his hope that the planned buying of cement from Sabah will be concealed sooner than expected.

“The meeting was described by both parties as friendly and very promising,” James stressed.

Meanwhile, Samsudin in expressing his satisfaction, thanked Tan for the hospitality extended to them.

“With the way the meeting was carried out, I am also hopeful that the deal between CIS and WTIE will come true,” the chairman said.

Samsudin also thanked Alvarez for the opportunities being extended to Sabah.

“Palawan is a great province and working together with the Palaweneos would mean lots of benefits to the Sabahans,” he further expressed.

Towards this end, he advised other businessmen in Sabah to visit the province and see for themselves the business opportunities being offered to them in the province.

“Let’s not take this golden opportunity for granted and allow China and other foreign entrepreneurs to by-pass Sabah,” he added.


Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

BEIJING/HONG KONG – In a country where you can find everything from chopsticks to slippers designed to look like pandas, one Chinese energy company is going a step further by building 100 solar farms shaped like the bears along the route of the ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

Panda Green Energy Group (0686.HK) has already connected one such 50-megawatt (MW) plant to the grid in the northern province of Shanxi, the first step in a public relations stunt that emphasizes the cuddly side of the world’s No.2 economy.

Built with darker crystalline silicon and lighter-colored thin film solar cells, the plant resembles a cartoon giant panda from the air.

“The plant required an investment of 350 million yuan ($52 million), and it would require investment of $3 billion for 100 such plants,” Panda Green Energy’s Chief Executive Li Yuan told Reuters.

Li did not say where the longer-term investment would come from.

The Hong Kong-based firm is currently in talks with Canada, Australia, Germany and Italy to launch more panda-shaped power stations.

The Belt and Road initiative is a plan to emulate the ancient Silk Road by opening new trade corridors across the globe using roads, power lines, ports and energy pipelines.

A 100-MW panda power plant would be expected to generate 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy over 25 years, according to the company, capable of supplying power to over 10,000 households annually.

Panda Green Energy is currently constructing its second panda power plant in Shanxi, which accounts for a quarter of China’s coal reserves.

Utilization of one panda solar power plant will save the equivalent of a total 1.06 million tonnes of coal and cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 2.74 million tonnes in 25 years, the company said.

The firm has been investing in and running solar power plants in China’s major solar hubs such as Xinjiang and Qinghai province, as well as some solar projects in Britain.

Shanxi aims to install 12 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020 versus 1.13 GW installed in 2015.

($1 = 6.7642 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Pak Yiu in Hong Kong; Editing by Joseph Radford


Malaysia garners US$1.84 bln worth of trade, investment opportunities at Astana Expo

Posted on : 10-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

ASTANA (Kazakhstan): Malaysia has garnered US$1.84 billion worth of investment and trade opportunities over the past four weeks at the 2017 Astana Expo since it began on June 10, 2017.

Acting Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk S.K. Devamany, said the potential investments were generated through the Renewable Energy Week,Energy Efficiency Week, Green Innovation Week and Climate Change and Sustainability Week.

“The total has exceeded our initial target of RM1 billion and all ministries involved would have to work hard to transform these opportunities into real projects,” he told reporters at the Tourism and Trade Week here today.

The Tourism and Trade was the fifth of 10 themes at the exhibition this year which will end on Oct 10.

Also present were Deputy International Trade Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan and Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

Devamany said the Malaysian Pavillion themed, Empowering Green Growth, has attracted some 152,322 visitors, making it among the top ten pavillions to attract visitors.

“Our main showcase was on our forests besides pictures of big green butterflies which we placed outside the pavillion,? he added.


EU, Canada agree start of free trade agreement

Posted on : 09-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

The European Union and Canada said on Saturday they had agreed to start a free trade agreement on Sept. 21, paving the way for over 90 percent of the treaty to come into effect.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been championed by both sides as a landmark deal for open markets against a protectionist tide, but last-minute wrangles over cheese and pharmaceuticals were holding up its start.

“Meeting at the G20 in Hamburg, reconfirming our joint commitment to the rules-based international trading system, we agreed to set the date of 21 September 2017 to start the provisional application of the agreement, thus allowing for all the necessary implementing measures to be taken before that date,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

“It is by opening up to each other, by working closely with those who share the same values that we will shape and harness globalization,” the joint declaration said.

The agreement will enter definitively into force once all 28 EU member states and parliaments ratify it.

The EU had not been satisfied that Canada would effectively open up its markets to 17,700 additional tonnes of EU cheese and provide guarantees for the patents of European pharmaceuticals.

A spokesman for Canadian trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the allocation of the cheese tariff rate quota would be made before the September deadline.

“So what happens now is that both sides will complete their internal processes and closely consult one another on how the agreement will be implemented. This is about ensuring a smooth transition to a strong start for CETA,” the spokesman said.

Both sides had been hoping for the provisional implementation of the agreement this month.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti, additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Jon Boyle and Robin Pomeroy)


China vehicle maker eyeing East M’sia

Posted on : 28-06-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

DALI PREFECTURE, Yunnan Province, China: Dali-based commercial vehicle manufacturer, Yunnan Lifan Junma Vehicles Co. Ltd is planning to expand its existing market in Malaysia, said its group chief executive officer He Zhanfei.

In fact, He said the company would visit East Malaysia in July to study the market potential there.

Dali Junma Industry and Trade Group was established in June 2003, producing 30,000 tractors annually at its production lines in Eryuan County. In 2004, Yunnan Lifan Junma Vehicles was established with an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles from its five manufacturing plants.

The company develops two vehicle brands, namely Sojen and Projen, comprising nine series, 36 models and 146 variants.

The media delegation from Sabah had the opportunity to visit Yunnan Lifan Junma Vehicles headquarters and interviewed the top management of the company at Fengyi Innovation Industrial Park at the National Economic and Technological Development Zone, Dali during the recent trip to China organised by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu.

The delegation was taken on a tour around the production plant where the trucks are manufactured and assembled.

In line with the Belt and Road initiative and leveraging on Yunnan’s advantage as the hub in reaching out to South Asia and Southeast Asia (SEA) , the company is not only focusing on expanding its share in the domestic market, but is also actively venturing out to market its commercial vehicles to South Asia, SEA and West Asia regions.

According to He, Yunnan Lifan Junma Vehicles recorded RMB 19.4 billion production value in 2016.

Last year, the company produced 130,000 trucks, 40,000 low-speed commercial vehicles and 96,000 tractors, which are not only sold in the domestic market, but  exported to nine countries in SEA, South Asia and West Asia.

“In 2016, our company exported 13,478 vehicles, 10 per cent of which were to Malaysia. We have high hopes on the markets in West Asia and SEA,” he said.

He said Yunnan Lifan Junma Vehicles entered the Malaysian market early this year and had set up a sales outlet in Kuala Lumpur.

The next step will be a trip to Sabah and Sarawak next month to assess the market potential in East Malaysia, he said.

The company would make the necessary adjustments to its vehicles and accessories to meet the specifications required for different road conditions and terrain in overseas markets. The company is also in international trading, real estate and cultural tourism business. According to Dali Foreign Affairs Office senior official Xie Yubao, Dali produces 70 per cent of dairy products in Yunnan Province. There are 90,000 dairy cows in Dali to supply milk to three local dairy and yogurt product manufacturers.

During the trip, the media delegation visited Yunnan Ouya Dairy Products Co. Ltd that produces more than 70 kinds of dairy and yogurt products.

Established in 2003, the company recorded a sales revenue of RMB 950 million last year. At present, it has two factories which can process up to 640 tonnes of fresh milk daily. Each day, the company processes 300 tonnes of fresh milk sourced from its own dairy farms, partners and more than 30,000 individual dairy farmers.

Its annual output is reported at 150,000 tonnes. Due to growing market demand, the company has invested RMB 300 million in building its third dairy processing plant last year, which is expected to boost the company’s annual output to 200,000 tonnes.

The dairy and yogurt products made by Yunnan Ouya Dairy Products are certified halal.

Located at Xiaguan, Dali, Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co. Ltd is one of the top three tea companies in China in terms of the scale of production. The company was formerly founded as Yunnan Xiaguan Tea Factory in 1941. In the 1950s, dozens of big and small tea firms established in the early 20th century in Dali were integrated into Xiaguan Tea Factory through public-private partnerships.

The company produces close to 200 varieties of tea products, including pressed tea, green tea, specialty tea and tea bags. The company has more than 700 outlets at 30 provinces in China, and produces up to 5,000 tonnes of tea annually. Its products are exported to over 10 countries including Japan, Korea and Malaysia.

Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha is the patent holder of Tuocha tea which is a dome-shaped Pu’er tea as well as the only tea producer that makes Tuocha tea in mushroom shape. The company is  constructing a new 50-acre production, sightseeing cum leisure site at Yinqiao town.


Wealthy Chinese rise to 1.6mln in past decade, up nearly 9 times – survey

Posted on : 20-06-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in China has risen nearly 9 times since a decade ago, a private survey released on Tuesday showed, as strong growth in the world’s second-largest economy has spurred wealth creation.

Chinese with at least 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) of investable assets hit 1.6 million in 2016, up from 180,000 in 2006, according to the 2017 China Private Wealth Report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank. The overall value of the private wealth market increased to 165 trillion yuan in 2016, growing at 21 percent annually in 2014-2016.

But the growth rate of China’s private wealth market is expected to decline to 14 percent in 2017 to a total size of 188 trillion yuan.

Around 120,000 HNWIs had at least 100 million yuan worth of investable assets, up from less than 10,000 people in 2006.

The percentage of HNWIs with overseas investment increased to 56 percent in 2017, up from 19 percent in 2011, but the overall percentage of assets invested overseas has stabilized since 2013.

The top five destinations for overseas investment were Hong Kong, the United States, Australia and Canada although Hong Kong’s popularity fell 18 percent and the United States dropped 3 percent from 2015 to 2017.

Respondents said their top three reasons for investing overseas were to diversify investment risks, to capture market opportunities of overseas investments and to migrate.

Sixty-three percent of rich Chinese rely on financial service providers to manage their domestic financial assets and among them, around half use private banking services provided by commercial banks.

China’s wealthy are concentrated in major cities and coastal areas, the survey found, but now 22 Chinese provinces have at least 20,000 HNWIs. Most respondents said their top priorities. were “wealth preservation” and “wealth inheritance”, in contrast to 2009 when nearly half of HNWIs surveyed said “wealth creation” or “quality of life” were their main goals.

($1 = 6.8166 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Shu Zhang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


First flying car set for take off in 2018

Posted on : 19-06-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

KUCHING: CIMB Bank Bhd (CIMB Bank) and Lazada Malaysia have entered into a strategic partnership to introduce an exciting Mastercard prepaid card which can be approved online, making it the fastest and most convenient prepaid card for the digitally savvy shopper.

The card offers great cash rebates as well as merchant discounts to reward customers when they shop at Lazada, the number one online retailer in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

The card is available online on CIMB Clicks and the Lazada website. Upon the issuance of the virtual 16-digit card number, customers can start shopping almost right away. Subsequently, they will be issued with a physical CIMB Lazada Prepaid Mastercard for offline spending and banking facilities in Malaysia, including ATM cash withdrawals and internet/mobile banking.

Chief executive officer, Group Consumer Banking, CIMB Group Samir Gupta said, “We are proud to partner with Lazada and Mastercard on this fully digital co-brand card, to bring unique benefits and great convenience to our customers.

“The online shopping segment in Malaysia and Southeast Asia is expanding rapidly and we are excited to contribute to this growth story. This fits into our overall digital strategy to lead in the e-commerce payment ecosystem, as we go the extra mile to enhance our customers’ experience by making it easier, more efficient and more secure for them to shop online.”

With this card, customers will enjoy a one per cent cash rebate, capped at RM25 per month for online Lazada purchases at Other non-Lazada purchases are eligible for a 0.50 per cent cash rebate up to RM25 per month.

In addition, from now until December 5, 2017, customers can enjoy the first-year annual fee waiver and an additional 15 per cent bonus cash rebate, capped at RM25 per month for purchases from Lazada.

“We are thrilled to embark on this partnership with CIMB Bank in launching this virtual co brand Mastercard. This collaboration ties in with Lazada’s commitment to continuously improve consumers’ shopping experience online through exceptional customer service, a wider variety of products and a range of payment solutions.

“With Lazada’s Riang Ria Raya campaign happening from now until 30 June, this card would enable consumers to shop for their Raya needs while enjoying a secure and hassle free experience on our platform,” said Hans-Peter Ressel, CEO of Lazada Malaysia.

“The Mastercard Online Shopping Study 2017 showed that eight in 10 consumers across Asia Pacific intend to make at least one online purchase in the first half of this year.

“The continued interest and optimistic online shopping attitude showcases the potential innovative e-payments have to support the burgeoning growth of the e-commerce industry.

“The CIMB Lazada Prepaid Mastercard has a strong and relevant customer proposition, combining the convenience, safety and efficiency that consumers value with a range of unique benefits that match their lifestyle demands,” added Perry Ong, country manager, Malaysia and Brunei, Mastercard.

The CIMB Lazada Prepaid Mastercard is exclusively available to all existing CIMB customers. CIMB customers who have yet to have access to CIMB Clicks can simply logon to to register for CIMB Clicks first prior to applying online for the CIMB Lazada Prepaid Mastercard.


Alibaba’s Tmal World targeting South-East Asia mart

Posted on : 14-06-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

HANGZHOU: Alibaba Group’s online shopping platform for China’s merchandise, Tmall World, is targeting the sizeable 500 million population from South-East Asia.

Director Tmall World, Elaine Hu, said in South-East Asia, Malaysia is experiencing rapid growth in terms of new users due to good product offerings, promotions and logistics.

“We are focussing on localised products such as fashion and accessories which are popular in Malaysia,” she told the Malaysian media on a site visit to Alibaba’s Xixi Campus yesterday.

Hu said efforts had been made to improve on delivery time for Malaysian consumers with a 20 per cent reduction in delivery time since last year.

“However, we discovered that delivery is not the only issue, as pricing is also another important factor,” she said.

Tmall World, Hu said, worked with local partners in Malaysia to handle last-mile delivery and based on feedback, consumers were satisfied with the logistics services.

“Traditional dresses and decorations are also popular in Malaysia,” she said.

To attract the large Malaysian consumers, she said, products offerings were also extended to discounts on logistics and products.

Along with the mid-year mega sale from June 18 to June 20, 2017, she said, Tmall World, with other Alibaba’s online shopping channels, were also rolling out new sea freight option for Malaysian market with lower courier fee ranging from RM6 per kilogram (kg), excluding the six per cent Goods and Services Tax charges.

“This offer is applicable for individual consignments of up to 100 kgs each or consolidated consignments of up to 200 kgs each,” she said.

SOURCE: Bernama