Asia Outlook talks to René Bach Larsen, Geodis Wilson’s cluster Managing Director of Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Raising the bar in sustainability Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement and aggregates. It is also a leader in sustainability. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager James Mitchell The past six years have been very good to Holcim Singapore and Dr Sujit Ghosh. Its market share has grown to almost double what it was in 2007 when he took over the role of CEO and Holcim's brand image has been "strengthened dramatically". "When I took over we had low market share and the brand was relatively unknown," he says. There are several factors behind its success. A major one is an unrelenting focus on sustainability – Holcim's vision to provide "foundations for society's future and commitment to sustainable development", continuously seeking "ways to promote sustainable construction through innovation". It's a hell of a vision. And for Dr Ghosh, it is much more than mere window-dressing. He believes that by adopting sustainable practices, companies "can gain competitive edge, increase their market share, and boost shareholder value". What's more, the "growing demand for 'green' products has created major new markets," he says. Before joining Holcim, Dr Ghosh worked with Lafarge Asia-Pacific as Regional technical Director and had a role in several other major multinational corporations. Holcim Singapore is a subsidiary of the Swiss-headquartered Holcim group. "Our sustainability efforts are central to our core strategy," he says. "Apart from focusing on business growth, we also put a strong commitment to sustainability development. Typically, companies have lofty visions and Holcim also has its own lofty vision –…
Best when fresh CoffeeWORKS is Thailand's leading coffee shop roaster delivering to over 500 outlets throughout the country. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Ben Weaver After working in the U.S. coffee and cola industries during their university days, high school friends Dale Lee and Andrew Stotz decided to launch their own specialty coffee roasting factory in Thailand back in 1995. The plan was to capitalise on the country's booming cafe culture and their company, CoffeeWORKS, was born. Today it is one of the leading fresh coffee roasters in Thailand, as well as a leading importer of espresso equipment and supplier of barista training and consulting services to respected global food and beverage brands operating in the country. The business has performed brilliantly and I'd be absolutely amazed if you haven't enjoyed various CoffeeWORKS roasts and blends at one of the hundreds of coffee shops or hotels it supplies. "For the past few years – and currently too – we have been maintaining 30 percent year-on- year growth," says Lee. "In our hotel channel alone this year we are growing 50 percent year-on-year. In spite of this growth, truly good and authentic Italian standard espresso based coffee drinks have hardly been embraced by the wider population in Thailand." When CoffeeWORKS began in 1995, per capita consumption in Thailand was 500-grams, with 85 percent of that going to instant coffee. Per capita consumption has since increased to 800-grams, but the ratio of instant and fresh coffee is still the same, with fresh coffee only earning 15 percent of…
China's factory output rose 10.4 percent in August year-on-year, the government says, the fastest increase since March 2012 – and a sign that the world's second-largest economy may be on the mend. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the steel sector contributed the most to the factory output growth, with a 15.6 percent output expansion. The automobile sector produced 14.8 percent more units and electricity production improved by 13.4 percent. Other data released on Tuesday showed that retail sales rose 13.4 percent and fixed asset investment also rose during the month. China's gross domestic product increased by 7.8 percent in 2012, the worst performance in 13 years. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Wang Jianlin, whose Dalian Wanda Group Co operates hotels, cinemas and department stores, has been named China's richest tycoon by the Hurun Report, which has just released its 2013 China Rich List. The 59-year-old billionaire (pictured) was ranked No.1 for the first time on Hurun's annual list with a fortune of $22 billion. Beverage entrepreneur Zong Qinghou, owner of the popular canned-drinks company Wahaha, was second with $18.7 billion. Third on the Hurun list was Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, founder of Tencent Inc, a popular provider of online games and entertainment, at $10.1 billion. One in four on the list of the top 1,000 earners made their fortunes in real estate and the number of Chinese worth at least $1 billion has increased by 64 to 315 this year. Hurun says 559 of those on the list have seen their wealth grow, while 252 saw their fortunes shrink. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
The world's biggest maker of LCD screens for smartphones and tablet computers, Japan Display Inc., has denied media reports that it plans to raise $2 billion in an initial public offering (IPO). Formed last year out of the loss-making liquid crystal display units of the country's biggest electronics firms - Hitachi, Toshiba and Sony - Japan Display said in a statement that it "wishes to make clear that today's media reports concerning JDI's plan to list its stock are not based on any statement made by JDI". "JDI currently has nothing specific to announce relating to the subject matter of the media reports referred to above," it added. According to reports, the planned share sale would give the firm a market value of 700-800 billion yen. It would reportedly use the funds to boost production of small and medium-sized screens. Japan Display, which faces fierce competition from the likes of Samsung and AU Optronics, is the global leader in the production of small and mid-sized LCD displays, with nearly 17 percent of the worldwide market, according to U.S.-based NPD DisplaySearch. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
South Korean workers have returned to the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea five months after the North blocked the entry of South Korean workers into the joint industrial zone. Trucks and cars began crossing the border into North Korea at exactly 08:00 local time in what has been termed a trial run. The zone, just inside North Korea, is home to 123 South Korean factories that employ more than 50,000 North Koreans and is a key source of income for the North. The North withdrew all of its workers in April as ties between the neighbours deteriorated in the wake of North Korea's February nuclear test. The Kaesong zone generates $2 billion a year in trade for the impoverished North. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
China has outlined plans to boost infrastructure construction by 2015 through transport and energy projects, as part of efforts to speed up urbanisation and support economic growth. The country's cabinet said the projects would contribute to stable economic growth and help push ahead with urbanisation. "Strengthening urban infrastructure can help boost economic restructuring and change the economic growth mode, contributing to investment and consumption while expanding employment," it said in a statement. The plans will see China add 50 percent or 1,000km of urban rail networks by 2015 and authorities will also expand and upgrade an 80,000km natural gas pipeline and finish construction of 73,000km of new sewage lines. China is undergoing fast urbanisation. Its urban population hit 690 million, 51.27 percent of its total population in 2011, the first time that more Chinese have lived in cities than in the countryside. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has won the Singapore Grand Prix with a dominant performance which edged him closer to a fourth consecutive title. The German, who was again booed on the podium, leads Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second, by 60 points with just 150 still available in the remaining six races. It was Vettel's third straight win in Singapore and followed victories this season in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Bahrain and Malaysia. "The start was quite hairy, Nico had a good start - better than me," Vettel said. "I didn't get going initially, but fortunately he went in a little bit deep and I could get him back, which was crucial as we had very good pace." Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen was third with Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and fifth. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.
Nine Japan-based companies and two executives have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix the price of car parts sold to U.S. car manufacturers and will pay a combined $740 million in criminal fines to U.S. authorities, the U.S Department of Justice has announced. In separate conspiracies, the parties fixed the prices of more than 30 different products sold to U.S. car manufacturers and installed in cars sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. More than $5 billion worth of parts were then sold to U.S. manufacturers like Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, while the U.S. subsidiaries of Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Subaru were all also subject to higher prices for parts. Hitachi Automotive Systems agreed to pay a $195 million fine, the largest among the penalties under the plea agreements, which require court approval. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has the second-largest fine, at $190 million. The other companies that pleaded guilty and will pay fines are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Jtekt Corp, Mitsuba Corp, NSK, T.RAD, Valeo Japan, and Yamashita Rubber. The two executives are Tetsuya Kunida, a Japanese citizen, and Gary Walker, a US citizen. Both will pay $20,000 fines. "These international price-fixing conspiracies affected more than $5 billion in automobile parts sold to U.S. car manufacturers, and more than 25 million cars purchased by American consumers were affected by the illegal conduct," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The Department of Justice will continue to crack down on cartel behaviour that causes American consumers and businesses to pay higher prices for the products and…
China's manufacturing sector expanded for a second straight month in September, HSBC's closely watched purchasing managers' index (PMI) has revealed. The PMI Index rose to 50.2 from 50.1 in August and well up from an 11-month low of 47.7 seen in July. "The September HSBC China Manufacturing PMI edged up slightly from August," said HSBC's chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin. "New orders remained flat from the previous month, while external demand improved. Manufacturers restocking process continued but remained relatively slow." "Growth is bottoming out on Beijing's mini-stimulus," he added. "We expect continuous policy efforts to sustain the recovery." Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.