Once again Li Ka-shing is Asia's richest person according to a list of the world's richest people released by Forbes magazine. The Hong Kong magnate and philanthropist, 84, was ranked 20th on the list. According to the magazine, he was valued at $31 billion, his fortune jumping $5.5 billion as shares of his biggest holdings all rose 10 percent or more. He also received 2012 dividends of $860 million. Li is the only Asian among the world's top 20 richest and despite his advancing years he still oversees what is one of the world's most far-reaching empires with 260,000 employees in 52 countries. 2012 was a busy year, with Li controlled companies buying gas supplier Wales & West Utilities for $1 billion in October; his third utilities acquisition in the UK in 24 months. He now supplies gas to a quarter of all Britons. Last summer Li officially announced his succession plans and his eldest son Victor will take over management and control of the publicly traded assets. Son Richard, also a billionaire, will get cash and help on deals. The elder Li is an investor in Facebook, Spotify, social TV platform Stevie, Kaiima, Everything.Me and Hola.org. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
In a rare move for a Japanese firm, Sharp has announced a Y10.4 billion deal with South Korean rival Samsung. In a statment, Sharp said it will sell a three percent stake to Samsung that will make the South Korean company Sharp's biggest foreign shareholder. The Japanese firm - which as been trying to restructure its operations amid mounting losses - said the deal would help shore up troubled finances and boost "mutual trust" as the firms look to benefit from Sharp's leading liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology for mobile phones and tablets. Sharp has forecast a record Y450 billion loss in the fiscal year ending March 31 and has been under pressure to find an investor to bolster its capital base. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Hilton Worldwide has become the first major international hotel company to announce its entry into Myanmar. The company has signed a management agreement with LP Holding Co Ltd to operate the Hilton Yangon, a 300 room hotel which is expected to open in the city's central Kyauktada Township area. It is scheduled to open in 2014. "This agreement is a significant milestone for us as it represents both Hilton Worldwide's and the Hilton brand's entry into Myanmar," said Andrew Clough, senior vice president, development, Middle East & Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. "Backed by a strong partner like LP Holding Co., Ltd, we are very confident that as the first internationally branded hotel in Yangon, Hilton Yangon will set the benchmark for quality hospitality experiences catering to both domestic and international travelers." The 21-storey Hilton Yangon is 14.3 kilometers away from Yangon International Airport and is part of Centrepoint Towers, a mixed-use development which includes high-end retail boutiques and a premium office tower. Situated on the corner of Sule Pagoda Road and Merchant Street, the hotel will be located opposite Yangon's High Court building and Independence Monument Park. As the one of the tallest buildings in the city, it will also offer guests views across the Yangon skyline. "Today's announcement represents our first partnership with Hilton Worldwide and combines the expertise of a truly global, award-winning hospitality company with strong local market expertise," said Richard Mayhew, Director, LP Holding Co., Ltd. "Myanmar, and Yangon in particular, is one of the most sought after destinations in Southeast Asia…
Bridgestone has announced plans to close down its passenger car tyre production facility in Bari, Italy, stressing that the decision "will not have any effect on the other existing Group entities in Italy", which it views as one of the key markets in Europe. In a press statement released on Tuesday, Bridgestone cited that "Despite repeated efforts to overhaul the Bari plant, it is to be regretted that given the structural decrease in demand, and the shift towards premium products, when combined with the factors already mentioned relative to other Bridgestone European plants, have left the Company with no other choice than to proceed with the closure of this site." The decision followed a two-year review of the European and global tyre markets. "This decision has been taken after a thorough analysis of all possible alternatives, but none of these were feasible," Bridgestone said, adding that car tyre demand in the European Union was likely to remain below pre-2011 levels until at least 2020. Demand for tyres in the EU has fallen significantly and the sector is suffering increasing pressure from low-cost rivals in emerging markets. "In response to these dynamics, Bridgestone Europe is reprioritising its production to focus on the premium segment of the market. The plant, which started operations in 1962, is one of eight in Europe and employs over 900 people. Image courtesy of Bridgestone Europe Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan has called for better food safety and a tougher stance on piracy in China. The 58-year-old actor, one of the few Asian stars who have managed to break into Western film markets, said China's poor food safety record could become "a joke that lasts a hundred years". "Every time I'm in China, they (foreigners) will joke about it and ask me 'Can this be eaten? This can't be eaten?' "Even when I go to the US, they'd sit beside me and say 'You can relax and eat it, these are our things'," Chan told Chinese reporters after a meeting of China's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's arts sub-group . Chan also expressed concern that the piracy situation in China was getting worse, and believed tougher enforcement could make things better. "The enforcement in China is too lax," he said. "I brought a group of Chinese directors to Zhuhai (a Chinese city). A policeman came over and warned us that smoking is not allowed there. But everyone continued to smoke, including my manager." Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
A pure gold replica of Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi's left foot has been unveiled in Tokyo. The foot, which is valued at eye watering $5.25 million, would cost you an arm and a leg. It was created by Japanese jeweller Ginza Tanaka to commemorate the footballer's achievements. Ginza Tanaka held a special launch event in Tokyo with the help of Messi's brother Rodrigo (pictured). The Golden Foot, which commemorates Messi's world-record 91 goals in 2012 record fourth Ballon d'Or win, will be on display at various Ginza Tanaka stores in Japan through June. Messi's brother Rodrigo, who attended a news conference for the unveiling of the gold foot on Wednesday, said: "It's exceptional. You can see each line in the foot. It's an impressive piece of work." The jeweller said he cast Messi's foot in Spain at the end of 2012. Part of the proceeds of the sale will go to Messi's foundation, which in turn will go to support children in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster that hit Japan in March 2011. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Asia Outlook talks to Pete Richardson corporate sales manager at Legend Lodges, Hotels & Resort, a unique, world-class resort that is home to the world famous Extreme 19th. By Ian Armitage Golf tourism is very popular in South Africa and it is easy to see why. This is an almost perfect golfing country - ideal weather, wonderful scenery and a population obsessed by sports and the outdoors. Add in Gary Player - one of the world's all-time great champions - as a national sporting hero, and it is little wonder that South Africans and tourists alike flock to play on some of the world's best and most affordable courses. There is even the option to mix it up a little - golf, spa and safari. This is exactly what Limpopo-based Legend Lodges, Hotels & Resort has to offer. Pete Richardson, the firm's corporate sales manager, also looks after PR. He says Legend offers "something different". And why doubt him? Legend is regular winner at the prestigious World Travel Awards. "We're a unique, world-class resort situated in the African bush and boast a world first signature golf course, a unique 10-hole tribute golf course, the world famous Extreme 19th, and a host of other facilities and activities," says Mr Richardson. "We like to think we are something that is a little bit different." The Extreme 19th is the world's longest and highest par 3, played from the top of a mountain. The only way to the tee box is by helicopter and you play to a green…
Standard Chartered has posted net profit of $4.79 billion for 2012 despite being hit with a multi-million-dollar fine over a US sanctions probe. It is the tenth straight year that the London-based firm has recorded a profit. The figure compared to a $4.75 billion net profit in 2011, the Asia-focused lender said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. In a statement the bank's chairman Sir John Peace said, "We know that we will be held to our brand promise, Here for Good, and continue to work hard to embed this commitment in everything we do. "We are not pretending we will get everything right, but Here for Good means we will try to do the right thing." The bank said although income rose eight percent to $19.07 billion, profit was hit by the $667 million it was forced to pay US authorities last year to settle charges it violated US sanctions covering Iran and three other countries. "The $667 million settlements dented our profit growth and damaged our reputation," group chief executive Peter Sands said in a statement. Image: Standard Chartered Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Hong Kong-based international passenger and cargo airline Cathay Pacific Airways has ordered three Boeing 747-8 Freighter cargo aircraft in a deal worth $1 billion.
The government's nominee to lead the Bank of Japan has vowed to do "everything possible" to conquer long-running deflation. He also said the Bank of Japan had not bought enough assets and should buy longer-term government bonds. He blamed previous central bankers for failing to solve the deflation problem. "I will clarify my stance that we will do everything possible to get rid of deflation," Haruhiko Kuroda told a parliamentary committee on Monday. He promised aggressive steps to raise inflation to two percent. The news sent Japanese shares higher. "If I am approved as Bank of Japan governor, I believe it will be my most important duty to ensure the price stability goal is reached as soon as possible," Mr Kuroda said. The central bank raised its inflation target to two percent last month. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.