Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Singapore & Hong Kong: the most business-friendly countries in the world by World Bank Report 2013

World Bank just released the report that Singapore is the most business-friendly country in the world followed by Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong are chosen as the most favourite countries to trade and invest due to two main factors. The main reason is the transparency of Government which eases the problems of dealing with documents and setting up the businesses in these countries. Apart from that, Singapore and Hong Kong introduces low tax rate as an incentive for foreigners to set up businesses in these countries. 

Singapore and Hong Kong consistently rank as the most competitive and profitable countries for foreign investors as the locals from both countries are able to converse and write fluently in English and Mandarin. Singapore is known for the most safety country among the Expats, which is also one of the main selling factors to be considered to set up business there.

World Bank declares Singapore and Hong Kong most business-friendly places in the world

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 18:40 EDT

Hong Kong ranks as one of the world's best places to run a business, while mainland China remains far down the list, according to a World Bank survey. [AFP]


Singapore and Hong Kong rank the world’s best places to run a business, while mainland China remains far down the list, according to the World Bank’s annual competitiveness survey Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian entrepots and finance centers topped the survey for the eighth straight year, with New Zealand, the United States and Denmark rounding out the top five, as a year ago.

The lower ranks of the 189-country list was populated with African countries like Chad, the Central African Republic and Libya holding.

But a rising African country, Rwanda, took honors as the most improved since 2005, praised for its efforts to boost property registration and for simplifying trading and tax procedures. China, which was furious to receive a ranking of 91 last year and has pressured the World Bank to drop the 11-year-old study, fell five notches this year to 96th place and was leapfrogged by Russia.

The “Doing Business 2014″ report said many countries are making it easier for people to start and run a local business, with low-income economies moving more quickly than larger ones to improve.

“Regulation is a reality from the beginning of a firm’s life to the end,” the report says. “Navigating it can be complex and costly.”

But in many areas, it added, “there has been remarkable progress in removing some of the biggest bureaucratic obstacles to private sector activity.”

The rankings focus on what a small or medium-sized business faces in its home country, as opposed to how a multinational giant would fare in the same environment.

The data was based on surveys of more than 10,000 professionals, mostly people who routinely help administer or give advice on legal and regulatory issues in a country.

The countries are scored on a range of issues, from how many days and procedures does it take to start a business, to the length of time to get a power hookup, to the ease of credit and the cost of exporting or importing a container.

Countries credited with progressing the most in the past five years include Rwanda (ranked 32), Russia (92), Ukraine (112) and the Philippines (108).

Russia and Rwanda both jumped 20 places from last year, Ukraine gained 25 and the Philippines 30 places.

China is likely to remain unhappy with its rating.

It scored particularly poorly on the challenges of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, making tax payments and protecting investors.

Even in trade, the mainstay of the world’s second largest economy, it ranked only 74 on the list.

Last year China pressed the new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to scrap the survey.

Bin Han, China’s alternate director at the bank, said then that the report “used wrong methodologies, failed to reflect facts (and) misled readers.”

But Kim tied the issues the report raises to the Bank’s campaign to end poverty.
“It is indisputable that ‘Doing Business’ has been an important catalyst in driving reforms around the world,” he argued.

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of Global Indicators and Analysis at the Bank, called support for the study “overwhelming”.

“The reason why the World Bank has decided to keep the aggregate ranking is, most importantly, that they still gives you a sense of the best practices in the world.

“Countries find that very useful.”

But others criticized the study’s methodology, pointing out hard-to-justify conclusions.

For instance, in how hard it is for a company to get an electricity hookup, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, ranks 67, while energy-rich Canada ranks 145.

And under “protection for investors,” underdeveloped Sierra Leone ranks 22, while Switzerland is at 170.

“It is an extremely low-quality report,” one World Bank source told AFP. “They rank things that have nothing to do with each other. It’s no longer economics.”

(Source: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/29/world-bank-declares-singapore-and-hong-kong-most-business-friendly-places-in-the-world/)

Malaysia Leaps Into Top 10 of World Bank Doing Business Rank

Malaysia advanced for the first time into a top 10 ranking of nations the World Bank deems friendliest to businesses as Singapore (SGDPQOQ) led the annual competitiveness scorecard for an eighth straight year. 

Malaysia vaulted to sixth from 12th a year ago after easing procedures for registering a company, applying for a construction permit and getting electricity, the bank said in its 2014 “Doing Business” report. Rounding out the top five after Singapore were Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S. and Denmark, unchanged from a year ago. China slid five spots to 96th, while the U.K. dropped to 10th from seventh. 

Construction in Kuala Lumpur

Sanjit Das/Bloomberg
Buildings stand under construction in Kuala Lumpur. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg 

Bureaucracy has improved under Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s economic and government transformation programs, even as the Southeast Asian grapples with crime and corruption. While the country moved to 54th from 60th place among 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index last year, it was ranked worst for bribery among 30 countries surveyed. 

“Malaysia has done a good job in streamlining business processes in the past few years,” K.M. Loi, secretary-general of Transparency International’s Malaysia arm, said in a phone interview today. “But we still need to strengthen business integrity and anti-bribery practices. Corruption hurts everybody.”

Methodology Questioned

The World Bank’s study, in its 11th year, covered a record 189 economies, assessing them on measures such as the costliness of commercial regulations and the strength of public institutions. Nations are ranked based on indicators such as the time required to start a business, file tax returns and export or import goods. 

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president, pledged in June to improve the report, which he called “an important catalyst in driving reforms around the world.” Non-profit groups such as Oxfam have criticized it and India, which slid two spots to 134th, has questioned its methodology. 

“Governments play a crucial role in supporting a dynamic ecosystem for firms,” the Washington-based lender said in the report. “Without good rules that are evenly enforced, entrepreneurs have a harder time starting and growing the small and medium-size firms that are the engines of growth and job creation for most economies around the world.”

Ukraine’s Rise

The report counted 238 policy improvements, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year and the second-highest total since the financial crisis. Ukraine, rising to 112th after coming in 137th a year ago, was identified as the country that made the greatest progress with reforms, having simplified measures in areas such as customs, bankruptcy and a value-added tax. 

Greece, whose insolvency helped trigger the European debt crisis, rose in the ranking to 72nd from 78th, while Spain, beset with a 26 percent unemployment rate, slipped to 52nd from 44th, according to the report. 

In Malaysia, Najib’s government has tightened anti-corruption legislation and set up specialist courts. It’s also introducing tighter detention laws after a violent crime wave this year, during which AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was gunned down and killed in Kuala Lumpur. 

Some other emerging economies also gained in the World Bank’s report, with Russia jumping to 92nd from 112th a year ago and being named among the most improved. Brazil rose to 116th from 130th, according to the report.

Kim’s Support

The publication has taken criticism for its ranking methodology. An outside review initiated by the World Bank last October found that the listing may create perverse incentives for governments seeking to perform better. 

Starting with next year’s report, responsibility for carrying out the research will move from the International Finance Corp., the World Bank unit that lends to the private sector, to the office of the chief economist, according to the bank.
“I am committed to the ’Doing Business’ report, and rankings have been part of its success,” Kim said in June, addressing the review panel’s conclusions. 

The study’s criteria differ from those used in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index, which accounts for macroeconomic stability and the level of public debt. The Geneva-based forum last month gave its top score to Switzerland, which was No. 29 in the World Bank’s latest report. 

“We anticipate there will be a number of significant changes in the report’s methodology next year,” Augusto Lopez-Claros, a global indicators and analysis director at the World Bank, said in a conference call from Washington. One probable change will be evaluating several cities per country rather than focusing on the city with the greatest business activity, he said. 

The World Bank decided this year to test the “conventional wisdom that doing well favors smaller governments,” Lopez-Claros said, because they are seen as having fewer cumbersome regulations. The report showed that governments with higher spending relative to gross domestic product tended to perform better on the indicators. 

Chad is the worst place to do business, switching positions with Central African Republic, which ranked second-to-last, according to the World Bank. 

(Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-29/malaysia-leapfrogs-into-top-10-of-world-bank-doing-business-rank.html)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brunei with harsh Islamic Punishment, outside Middle East region

We normally hear about the Islamic harsh punishment like stoning to death in the Middle East region. However, this kind of harsh punishment especially stoning to death will be implemented in Brunei which is situated in the South East Asia region and to be the first Islamic country to launch this tough stoning punishment in that region.

Sultan of Brunei introduces tough Islamic punishments

The Sultan of Brunei on Tuesday introduced tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, making his oil-rich realm the first East Asian country to do so at the national level.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah -- one of the world's wealthiest men -- said a new Sharia Penal Code in the works for years was officially introduced Tuesday and would "come into force six months hereafter and in phases", sparking sharp criticism from rights groups.

Under the code, which applies only to Muslims, punishments can include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption.

"By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," the sultan, 67, said in a speech.

An absolute monarch whose family has tightly controlled the tiny, languid realm of 400,000 people for six centuries, the sultan first called in 1996 for sharia criminal punishments.

"Brunei is showing its feudal characteristics as an 18th-century state rather than an important member of a regional Southeast Asian economic and social consensus in the 21st century," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

He called the legal change "rights-abusing, abhorrent, and absolutely unjustifiable".

Brunei already practices a brand of Islam that is relatively conservative compared to its Muslim neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, banning the sale and public consumption of alcohol and closely restricting other religions.

But sharia has been a rare point of contention in a land where the sultan's word is unquestioned, with many Bruneians quietly grumbling that the concept is out of step with the affluent country's laid-back ethnic Malay society.

The monarch himself has acknowledged concerns over sharia in recent years as the code was being drafted.

Compatible with Malay culture?

But he has repeatedly advocated strengthening the insular nation's Muslim roots in the face of potentially harmful outside influences including the Internet, while guarding against radicalism.

However, Brunei was likely to apply sharia law "very, very softly" in keeping with its peaceful national character, said Gibril Fouad Haddad, a visiting fellow at Brunei's Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies.

"Is it merely symbolic? I don't know," he said.

The government has previously promised to apply an extremely high burden of proof with sharia and said judges would have wide discretion in applying it, comments aimed at easing public fears.

"It seems almost incompatible with Malay culture, which is peace-loving," said Tuah Ibrahim, 57, driver of a boat taxi in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.

He said sharia can be acceptable if proportionate to the crime, but adds: "I can't imagine our country turning into somewhere like Saudi Arabia."

Neither of East Asia's two other Muslim-majority countries -- Malaysia and Indonesia -- impose sharia criminal punishments, but the Indonesian special region of Aceh does.

Nearly 70 percent of Brunei's people are Muslim Malays while about 15 percent are non-Muslim ethnic Chinese.

Brunei already has a dual system combining civil courts based on British law -- the sultanate was a British protectorate until 1984 -- and sharia-compliant courts handling marital, inheritance, and other low-key issues.

In his speech, the sultan appeared to try to assuage any international concerns, saying the sharia change "does not in any way change our policies ... as a member of the family of nations".

The monarch's wealth -- estimated at $20 billion by Forbes magazine two years ago -- has become legendary amid reports of a vast collection of luxury vehicles and gold-bedecked palaces.

The monarchy was deeply embarrassed by a sensational family feud between Hassanal and his younger brother Jefri Bolkiah over the latter's alleged embezzlement of 15 billion dollars during his tenure as finance minister in the 1990s.

Court battles and exposes revealed salacious details of Jefri's un-Islamic jet-set lifestyle, including allegations of a high-priced harem of Western paramours and a luxury yacht he owned called "Tits".

(Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/sultan-brunei-introduces-tough-islamic-punishments-050026422.html)


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

HK woman scolding & slapping boyfriend viral

Is it the trend of "Princess Syndrome" happening among Asian women these days? It's not surprising to find many disturbing video clips related to "princess syndrome" as many of Asian girls are pampered since young, thus, they think it's nothing wrong to treat their boyfriends as their slaves and expecting for the real princess treatment ...

The word, Princess Syndrome is actually used to describe young spoil Hong Kong girls but this princess syndrome doesn't occur in Hong Kong only but it's spreading in China and other parts of Asia countries as well. 

One of the example video clips of how the boyfriend being embarrassed in the public for not being "gentleman"  

Video of woman slapping and scolding kneeling boyfriend in Hong Kong goes viral

By | What’s buzzing? – Mon, Oct 7, 2013  Source: Yahoo! News
A Hong Kong woman slaps and scolds her boyfriend on a street. (Yahoo screengrab of YouTube video) 
A Hong Kong woman slaps and scolds her boyfriend on a street. (Yahoo screengrab of YouTube video)

Guys, how far would you go for the woman you love?
Most of you probably wouldn’t go as far as this Hong Kong man, who knelt on a street in Hong Kong and allowed himself to be slapped and berated by his girlfriend, who alleged that he had cheated on her.

In a five-and-a-half-minute-long YouTube video of the shocking incident, the girlfriend (wearing a pink shirt), whom Hong Kong media reported as a 20-year-old woman called Cheng, can be seen slapping her boyfriend, 23, repeatedly (about a dozen times) and pulling his hair. She accused him of bringing a woman home.

The boyfriend cried and appeared emotional as he denied his girlfriend’s allegations.

However, his girlfriend did not stop the abuse.

He then yelled at another woman (wearing a black shirt) in the video, who appeared to be the woman he brought home as well as a good friend of Cheng, telling her to speak up for him.

However, the other woman ignored his request and just made half-hearted attempts at calming Cheng down.

Cheng’s violent acts even drew criticism from bystanders, with many scolding her for her bad behaviour and calling her “ugly”.

Many also urged the boyfriend to break up with her.

According to Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily, the incident happened at around 5pm last Friday.

Oriental Daily also reported that the police had arrested Cheng for assault and investigations are ongoing.

Meanwhile, the victim had been conveyed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The video of the incident has received over 400,000 views since it was uploaded to YouTube last Friday.

Here it is below. Be warned, it contains violence and coarse language.

 (Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/what-is-buzzing/video-woman-slapping-scolding-kneeling-boyfriend-hong-kong-082736194.html)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fake Giant Rubber Duck in China

A giant inflatable rubber duck created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman,has made waves from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo and now in Pittsburgh, USA. It is the most generate profit business of floating rubber duck events in the world as visitors travel all the way to see the rubber duck. 

This is the original giant inflatable rubber duck. Don't you find it amusing looking at the original giant rubber duck with the creatively fake designed giant rubber ducks which can be found in China.

(Photo Source: International Business Times)
(Photo Source: International Business Times)

And these are the creatively fake rubber ducks which can be found in China:

Look like Iron Man Duck (Photo Source: Global Times)
Look like Iron Man Duck (Photo Source: Global Times)

Peking Boat Duck  (Source: Global Times)
Peking Boat Duck  (Source: Global Times)

(Photo Source: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/815425.shtml#.Uk0Uveiwqpo)