Entering the South Korean market  
It should surprise nobody to find more and more investment is being made by western businesses in the South Korean economy. If you are planning on expanding into South Korean, then you must understand some of the key rules of etiquette that govern much of the business interactions that take place there. This is particularly essential for anybody travelling there on business, as it could be the difference between a warm welcome and a hostile reception for you and your company.
This guide will give you the major things to remember when you do business in Seoul, Busan, Incheon or any other major Korean business centre.
Confucian concepts of etiquette
Though it might sound strange to foreign ears, Confucius is a major influence on how Koreans do business. Central to his theories was the hierarchy of age, and the importance of authority and education. This means any business relationship will be founded upon a respect that always goes upwards to the eldest, the best educated and the most authoritative member of the party. A Korean business person will want to know many facts about you that you might think entirely superfluous to your ability to get the job done, such as your marital status, age and educational grades. For them, however, this information is crucial, as it will dictate how they should treat you.
Close relationships are important
Koreans don't like to do business with strangers. Until they really feel as if they know you, they will not be comfortable sharing important company data or introducing you to their circle of contacts. This can be frustrating for somebody who comes from a faster moving, more results-driven business environment, but it is the way things are. Expect plenty of non-business related small talk before anybody will get down to the nitty-gritty with you. You have to have the patience, respect and charm to build long lasting connections if you want to get ahead.
Bonding outside of the boardroom
The best way to get to know the people that you wish to do business with is to socialise, away from the office. Drinking and eating are a big part of how South Korean business flows, though don't expect to talk shop at the dinner table. These informal occasions are ways for the different parties to get to know one another personally not to hash out contracts and deals.
Meeting times
Unlike many other Asian cultures, the South Koreans put an onus on punctuality in business. This does not mean being early, however. Rather, it means arriving precisely on time or just a few minutes before a meeting. Arrive very early and the person you are meeting may feel you are putting pressure on their schedule. Arrive late and you will have offended their sense of respect and hierarchy. Business cards might be somewhat out of fashion in some western countries, but they are a big part of how the Korean business person gets to know the person they are meeting, so make sure you have a good one and it gives plenty of information about your position and title. You might even consider adding some Korean text.
The Bow and the Handshake
If you meet somebody who is your senior, it is customary for you to initiate the bow. Bend from your waist at about a 40 degree angle. They will respond with a smaller bow. When shaking hands, it is considered respectful to do so with both hands, not just one.
How to do business in India  

Are you looking to expand your business connections to India or are you planning on travelling there for work? Then you should make sure you understand the environment you are about to enter. Indian business is fast moving and, though at first it may seem quite westernised, there are very important differences to which you need to pay attention. Here are some of the basics. 
Things take time
India, like France, is one of those places where people like to take their time. Don't assume, just because things take a day or a week in London, New York or Hong Kong, that the same things will take the same time here. Business moves slower in India, so be patient.
Be prepared to travel
Business in India is not really confined to a single city. Though Deli and Mumbai are probably the biggest business centres, if you truly want to conquer the Indian market, you will need to spread out. From Deli airport you can be just about anywhere in two hours and that is really key: the Indian business person travels.
Be more flexible than 9-5
In India people might say they work 9-5 but, in truth, things are a bit more fluid than that. People like to take long meetings over breakfast so, in reality, things rarely get going until about 10.30am or 11am. This also means, of course, that things frequently run on late in the evening.
In fact, be flexible full stop
Last minute changes are part and parcel of Indian business. If a meeting is scheduled for 12pm, it might well not actually kick off until close to 1 or it might even be chopped at the last minute and rescheduled for tomorrow. This goes for lunches, dinners and any other kind of appointment you could make.
Check any important date against the religious holidays
Given its incredible cultural diversity, it should come as no surprise that India has a very large number of religious holidays on its calendar, most of which are widely observed by state and local government. So, if you are scheduling a very important date, ensure you are not doing so on a sacred day that might sink the whole enterprise.
Get used to a different type of formality
One of the key culture shocks western business people encounter when they come to India to work is how both a very high and very low level of formality is expected to be upheld simultaneously. On one hand, politeness is premium and most Indian business people prefer not to be referred to informally until they know and trust you well. However, if somebody's phone goes off during a meeting or private conversation, nobody bats an eyelid if they answer it right in front of whoever is speaking. You simply need to get used to it.
Inter-gender handshakes don't really happen
It is still very rare for a man and woman to shake hands in India. If you are male and are introduced to a woman, wait to see if she extends her hand before shaking. Otherwise, you are better off keeping your distance to avoid a faux pas.

The automotive industry in Japan  

One of the most powerful batteries that charges the Japanese economy is its automotive industry. Not only is Japanese car manufacturing an integral cog in its home country, however. It is also one of the most prominent industries on the planet. Though it might not be quite at the height of its 1990s heyday, when Japan overtook the US as the world's largest car manufacturing nations, it remains an extraordinarily large market, now sitting in third position behind China and the States, in those rankings.
Here, we look at three of the main players in this consistently booming industry.
Based in the Hiroshima Prefecture, Mazda has been in business since the 1920s. Though it was originally established to manufacture machine tools, it switched in the early 30s to vehicles. In the 1960s Mazda concentrated its manufacturing efforts on the development of the Wankei rotary engine, as it felt this would mark it out from the rest of the companies in this oversubscribed industry. This, alongside key partnerships with German company NSU and Italian company Fiat and superb automobiles such as the Mazda Cosmo Sport and Mazda RX-7, saw it quickly become one of the world's best known brands.
Today, Mazda remains amongst the elite car manufacturers worldwide and is a giant of Japanese industry, with a net income of 60 billion yen and an operating income of 23.8 billion yen. In fact, it is the 15th biggest automaker in the world. In 2007, it produced about 1.3 million vehicles globally, most of which were made in Japan.
For years, Honda's name has been synonymous worldwide with high quality vehicles, most particularly motorbikes. In fact, since the late 50s, it has been the largest bike manufacturer on the planet. It also tops the charts for the production of internal combustion engines, with 14 million produced every year. The second largest of all Japanese automotive companies, it has its home in Tokyo, where it is chaired by Fumihiko Ike and run by President Takanobu Ito.
Honda's proclivity for coming first can be seen in action throughout its history. For example, it was the first Japanese company to release a dedicated luxury brand, when it put the Acura line into production back in 1986. Since that time, Acura cars have established themselves as being amongst the world's best high performance vehicles. With a net income of 574 billion yen and an operating income of 750 billion yen, Honda is still quite clearly an industry colossus.
The 16th biggest automaker worldwide by production, Mitsubishi has been headquartered in Tokyo since the early 70s. It specialises in both luxury cars and commercial vehicles, and has a 99 billion yen net income and a workforce of 30,777. Its major players are chairman Takashi Nishioka and president Osamu Masuko. Though it suffered somewhat during the last decade thanks to a 22 billion yen operating loss that lead it to end its European production, it remains one of the world's most recognisable brands, due in some small part to its heavy presence in motorsport.


The top 6 industries in India  

Given that it is the ninth largest economy in the world, it is unsurprising to find an increasingly large number of western companies and market players looking to get involved in Indian business. The first step in this process is to understand how the country's economy works. This article can help as here we list the top 6 most important industries in India. If you want to start investing in the Indian market, consider the following information.
6. Transportation
Large and expanding, India's transportation sector hugely important to its overall GDP, contributing 8.5% overall. The country houses one of the world's largest railways, with 17 million passengers riding it every single day, while 12 majors ports and 125 airports reflect just how essential this market is for making the country tick.
5. Information Technology
Between the IT services sector and the sector of processes outsourced from other businesses, IT makes up a huge chunk of the business done in India. In fact, so important is it, that it currently contributes 64% of all the GDP made in the country's entire services sector and 9% of the national GDP. Also, IT exports account for 25% of all national exports. For those interested in getting involved, the main hub for IT is Bangalore, which has been dubbed the Indian Silicon Valley.
4. Banks and insurance
India's financial markets are also massively influential, with insurance and banking currently make up 10% of India's GDP. The sector is made up of long established private, public and foreign owned banks, insurance providers and unorganised lenders.
3. Real estate
Not only does Indian real estate make up about 13% of its country's economy, it is one of the fastest emerging markets on the planet. This means, if you are looking to invest in the Indian market, real estate is probably where you will look. It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why this industry is booming. The nation's massive population, most of whom now live in urban areas, have recently seen a huge boost in their incomes and, so, more and more housing is an obvious outcome.
2. Agriculture
Traditionally, agriculture is the bedrock of the Indian economy and, today, it remains a huge percentage of it. As the world's second largest producer of farmed goods, plus a powerful hub for fishing and forestry, it is little wonder India still puts so much focus on agriculture. It contributes 15.7% of the national GDP and has been aided by the recent Green Revolution in the country, though in recent years its share has been dropping.
1. Retail and trade
Nowadays, India's most important industry is retail. With a 23% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation, Indian retail is one of the globe's leading retail sectors and its fastest growing. It includes everything from the handcart vendors in the nation's smallest markets to the massive superstores in its busiest city centres. The government has responded by investing more and more in retail, which looks likely to ensure it remains the country's most important industry for many years to come.


Business in Indonesian market  

Given that it plays host to the largest economy in Southeast Asia and has been one of the world's most rapidly emerging markets for the last few years, it doesn't take an expert to figure out why more and more western businesses are now investing in Indonesia. If you are planning to follow them, then it is worth preparing yourself. Though it is a very modern business environment, there are certain differences to keep in mind. Here are a few of the most essential ones.
• If you have done business in Asia before, you will recognise the unshakeable respect for hierarchy and structure common in Indonesian companies. It is uncommon to find a business here that will be willing to adapt to the recent trend in corporate Europe and America for breaking down the barriers between the bosses and the subordinates. So, if you want to get in contact with the CEO of an Indonesian business, it should be your CEO who makes the call or sends the email, not one of your middle managers.
• Again, like many other Asian business environments, trust is not easily won in Indonesia and, until it is, you will find yourself kept out of your contacts business inner circle. Once you show yourself to be a worthwhile ally (and this will always take time and perseverance), you will find many doors suddenly opened to you. Expect thick layers of bureaucracy when you first enter the Indonesian market.
• Though the first two points might sound terribly one-sided to some, this belief in hierarchy is not all about massaging the egos of those at the top. In fact, Indonesian bosses are expected to take their role as both leader of the company and father-figure to their subordinates very seriously. A boss who does not have a close, personable relationship with his or her charges is not seen as doing their job properly. Yet this relationship is always based on understanding of the pecking order.
• There are two types of business decisions made in Indonesia. The first comes from the boss and, once it is made, it is not up for discussion. Ever. The second is made between colleagues working at the same level and this is a process that many western business people may find frustrating. A group of peers hashing out a conclusion to even the most minor of issues can easily take much of the day, as nobody will be comfortable moving on until all sides have been given a microscopically fair hearing and a true compromise has been reached. This is simply the way things are done and it is crucial to the philosophies of respect that are so essential to Indonesian business culture.
• Meetings are always formal, serious occasions and should be treated as such by all sides. To begin, business cards should be exchanged. This should happen before the delegates get down to brass tacks. Your business card will only be respected if it contains as much information as possible on it. Throughout the meeting formal body language and formal terminology should be used, regardless of where the conversation turns. Despite this formality, do not expect the meeting to start on time or end on time. As with many other Asian business cultures, time is seen as a somewhat fluid concept in Indonesia.


Buying property in Singapore in 2015  

One of the most powerful sectors of Singapore's economy is its property market. Investment in property on the island has been massive over the last decade, as more businesses arrive and grow and the population reaches forever skyward. Yet, recently, many experts have foreseen a dip in in the city's property market and though it is still a fertile industry, there have been recent signs of slowing down.
So what can somebody who has invested in or plans to invest in property in Singapore expect this year?
The figures
2014 was one of the first years in recent memory where demand for property in Singapore dropped. Not only that, it dropped by a pretty substantial figure. The total sales of 7,500 for the year were 50% less than 2013. Despite this pretty major drop in demand, prices have managed to stay high, to the surprise of many pundits, lowering by about 3% throughout the year.
These trends are likely to continue into the next year, with too much supply and too little demand for the market to continue prospering at its previously muscular pace. Should we all be worrying about a crash. No, say experts.
Why it's not all bad news
One of the reasons Singapore is such an attractive economy to invest in is, while they allow for huge freedom for businesses to operate in the state, the government are not afraid to step in to prevent key markets from suffering if it will be to the detriment of the entire economy.
2015 being an election year, the government will be keen to ensure that even if the property market does continue to decrease, it will ‘cool off' as oppose to ‘crash' thanks to processes put in place to stop prices firing off to wildly in either direction.
When you consider how key property is to the average Singaporean's wealth, it is easy to see why the authorities would take such decisive action. 47% of all assets on the island are related to real estate, and the modern Singaporean is extremely unlikely to vote for a party who is not prepared to fight for their money.
The trends
So, what direction will this all go in? Well, the trends are not hard to follow. Undoubtedly the oversupply of houses will continue for many years in Singapore. 50,300 residential houses are planned to be built in 2015, 71,500 are planned for 2016 and 37,200 are planned for 2017. However, the total growth in population is estimated at a mere 75,000 per year. Given that, in all likelihood, the vast majority of those people will not be willing or able to live alone, the maths does not look good for the market. If, for example, you were estimating that, on average, 3 people will be sharing a home that puts the incremental demand for homes at just 25,000 every year – far less than the amount being built.
It is probably fair to say that prices will continue to go down, with some pundits citing as high as a 10% drop. The reason is simple: too many units will be left unsold and too many rooms will go unrented. However, certain parts of the market may thrive on shifts in demand. For example, large-scale luxury housing is almost certainly likely to take a hit, but smaller apartments will probably benefit.

Asia financial news  

In response to China's air defence identification zone in the East China Sea, US Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that US military operations would not be deterred. He added that there should be no moves by the People's Republic to replicate this zone any further south.
During a visit to Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, Kerry insisted that China should not take unilateral actions similar to those that were undertaken on November 23rd, when the Asian superpower declared this defence zone. The main issue for the US is the fact that this zone also covers territory claimed by China's neighbours, Japan and South Korea.
There was a moment of friction when a US naval vessel confronted a Chinese military ship in the South China Sea: a region where China has already been embroiled in territorial disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines. After meeting Vietnam's foreign minister, Pham Binh Minh, Kerry reiterated the US foreign policy viewpoint that stability and peace in the South China Sea remained a top priority.
It went without saying that the international markets, which were often fragile at the best of times, would scarcely benefit from a prolonged period of stand-offs between various Pacific neighbours.
Kerry is obviously trading in delicate diplomatic waters. As China continues to assert itself in the international trade arena, it is doing so against the backdrop of its parallel involvement in territorial disputes. The air and seas off China's costs are coming under increasing attention from Beijing. For all this, it is China that has gone out of its way to try and defuse tensions arising in the South China Sea. Amongst other things, its diplomats have agreed to talks on a code of conduct for this area.
There is no doubt that for a moment things did get a bit heated in the South China Sea, with China complaining that an American patrol ship got very close to its Liaoning aircraft carrier. There was a lot of the customary sabre-rattling that usually accompanies these types of international incident. But for the most part the situation was resolved professionally and amicably.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told Kerry he hoped their two nations could “deepen strategic trust and cooperation”, as well as “properly handle issues of sensitivity and difference”.

Asia economy – technology news  
During the titanic grapple for pole position in the global smartphone market, Apple and Samsung have each been flooding shelves with their latest all-dancing gadgetry. So far it is the South Koreans, Samsung, who have enjoyed the lion's share of the lucrative trade. One reason for their topping the sales charts has been the fact they have signed deals in both China and Japan, Asia's largest economies, to provide the handsets for their number one mobile operators. Apple did not manage to achieve this slice of the market.
It was not for the want of trying by Apple. The sales teams in charge of promoting the successful iPhone just couldn't influence China Mobile, or their Japanese counterparts, NTT Docomo. Between them these carriers can boast over 821 million customers – a phenomenal pool of potential customers.
Things might be set to change. NTT Docomo began to offer the iPhone to their customer base last September. The Chief Executive Officer of the Californian-based corporation, Tim Cook, has been engaged in some pretty extensive 'shuttle diplomacy' between the US west coast and China. It looks as if his hard graft may be about to pay dividends. iPhones are not compatible with China Mobile's own 3G standard. However, they do work with the long term evolution technology the operator plans using for 4G. The latter is in the pipeline for an early 2014 roll-out.
Apple's final breakthroughs in the Japanese and Chinese mobile operator lines is far from coincidental. They have long-dominated the US and European domestic markets, and because of this neither China Mobile or NTT Docomo have felt obliged to make any concessions to the iPhone. But much smaller rivals, such as SoftBank and China Unicorn, have already signed deals with Apple, capitalizing on the ever-popular iPhone brand in order to attract customers from under Samsung's nose.
So how is the longer-term picture panning out? China Mobile can still boast an impressive 62% of China's cellphone market. But that marks a 10% points drop in the past five years. NTT Docomo have endured a similar decline in popularity. Although the latter was an early champion of mobile internet technology, they have been steadily losing customers to their scrappier rivals.
It is still too early to predict how the overall situation will look several months from now, but it is fair to say that in the far eastern marketplace, Apple are back up and fighting after spending a while on the canvas. Samsung, despite their earlier runaway success, now find themselves back-pedaling.
Asia Money News  
There have been various changes recently at senior management level in banks right across the board in Asia.
HSBC have shuffled around a range of personnel as part of their latest round of modernization strategies. The commercial banking business in Asia Pacific has seen more than it's fair share of these appointments. It was announced that the new head of commercial banking for international countries would be Sanjay Prakash. This extensive sphere of influence will include Brunei, the Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau and Vietnam. He has already accumulated an extensive CV, and will be moving to his new role from his previous position as regional head of business management for commercial banking in Asia Pacific.
Elsewhere, Terence Chiu is taking over from Montgomery Ho as the commercial banking head in China. He will be making the short journey from Hong Kong to the mainland China team. Similarly, Chiu has an impressive range of experience in the industry. He had been in charge of the global trade and receivables finance business in Hong Kong and Macau. His previous role is being replaced by Rachel Wei, formerly managing director for middle market enterprises for commercial banking in Hong Kong.
The task of heading up Indonesia's commercial banking sector has fallen to Quang Buu Huynh, who is succeeding Amanda Murphy. Amanda will be heading to the UK to take charge of the business banking division. Previously Quang was regional head of international global trade and receivables finance.
In other news, Ju Zhao, who was joint head of China at UBS – the Switzerland-based global financial services company – has asked to take a sabbatical, in order to assume the position of visiting fellow at Harvard. This will take effect from December and last for 12 months until the end of 2014.
During his absence, Wei Cai will stay in Asia as the joint head of China. Providing it is feasible amongst his Harvard commitments, Ju will still advise in the coverage of a selection of key UBS clients.
Last September, Honggui Li, who had been the joint head of the UBS investment banking division, shifted to the Hong Kong office to join the China managing director group.
China financial market  
Over the past decade or so, China has been emerging from relative international economic isolation. In gradually opening up its potentially massive trading resources to the global market, one aspect that had always been at the forefront of its philosophy has been promoting the national currency, the yuan. There are signs that this is starting to show real dividends.
The fact is, the yuan accounted for 8.7% of letters of credit and collections that were used in international trade finance this October. This figure is only surpassed by the US dollar; indeed it eclipses the 6.6% share enjoyed by the euro, according to a statement released by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
China has always sought a much greater role for its currency in the international trade and investment markets. In order to achieve this, it has been steadily loosening controls as part of a ‘once in a generation' economic overhaul undertaken last month. Agreements have been signed that involve trading the currency more freely in financial centres right across the world, from Singapore to London to New York.
A survey undertaken by Bloomberg reached some equally poignant findings about the far eastern trading superpower. Currently gaining enough financial clout to be measured as the world's second largest economy, it is forecast that China may grow by up to 7.6% this year. This figure compares with an average of a mere 1.1% for the 'Group of 10' developed nations.
This trend was highlighted in the statement by David Simmonds, head of currency and emerging market strategy at Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc: “The yuan is on the way to become a truly, truly gigantic market. Volumes will continue to grow with the abolition of the offshore market and with broader liberalization”.
The People's Bank of China have outlined plans that will see an end to the practice of daily currency intervention. This is a further example of the ruling party's drive to modernize the national economy. In fact, HSBC Holdings plc recently forecast that the yuan, which had claimed to a 20-year high this October, will become the main tender of global trade after the US dollar and euro, by 2015.
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