Issue 40

Volvo Cars Thailand

The Nordic Touch  Volvo Cars Thailand continues to present the best of Swedish design and safety to Thai consumers, its network of franchise partners creating a second-home experience in their showrooms     Writer: Tom Wadlow  |   Project Manager: Callam Waller    Sweden is synonymous with innovation, design and trust.    Labelled the most reputable country in the world by the Reputation Institute, it is home to a number of enduring global brands which carry a progressive set of values.    Volvo is one of them. Renowned for building reliable and safe vehicles, this cornerstone of its identity has enabled the automaker to penetrate markets all over the world, the combination of safety and Swedish style truly standing the test of time.    Thailand and Chris Wailes are a case in point.    “The reason why I only had an interest in joining the company was down to the fact that I grew up with a Volvo car from a young age,” Wailes, now Managing Director of Volvo Cars Thailand, explains. “My mum had both 240 and 340 models, so I already knew quite a bit about the cars… a good start as a fresh and eager young salesperson!    “I have continued throughout my career with Volvo because I truly believe in the values the company has in terms of protecting people both inside and outside of the car, together with bringing premium mobility solutions for consumers regardless of which country you live in.”      Having worn the plastic tyres off of his red

Callam Waller By Callam Waller

The Coffee Emporium

The Coffee Custodian Coffee aficionado John Ayoub tells the story of The Coffee Emporium, a premium brand on the rise across Australia and the UAE  Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Lewis Bush  There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.  Be it the rich aromas, artistic ritual of brewing the perfect cup, or the delicately complex story that each and every granule tells, there’s a reason coffee is an eclectic, artisan experience.  For John Ayoub, such undertones have motivated a lifelong love for the beverage.  “I’ve always enjoyed coffee,” he affirms. “Even looking back to my early teenage years, I can remember having an appetite for stronger, bitter tasting coffee. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say it’s the aftertaste that’s always got me.”  Having allowed this passion to blossom, it’s no surprise that Ayoub took an entrepreneurial chance in 2002, acquiring a small, rustic coffee shop in Bankstown – a southwestern suburb of Sydney.  “Coffee culture is pretty big here, so the opportunity was evident,” Ayoub reveals.   “The café I took on was pre-existing, albeit slightly run down. Upon purchasing it from the former owner, I introduced my own unique coffee blend and The Coffee Emporium brand which proved to be a hit, boosting our reputation, earning us referrals and garnering repeat business.”  Owed to this premium blend, derived from some of the best quality flavours and influences from Central and South America, Africa and Asia, The Coffee Emporium quickly rose to pre-eminence, its sales soaring from just a number of kilos a week to much larger volumes.  As a result,

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SIMEC Energy Australia

Renewed Optimism SIMEC Energy is delivering clean energy across South Australia and Victoria, proving itself as a leading light in the country’s transition towards renewable power    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  Australia’s energy market is transforming.   A national electricity output traditionally dominated by coal supplied by a long-established mining industry, the sector is steadily shifting towards cleaner sources of power.    Indeed, according to the latest numbers from the national Department of the Environment and Energy, 2018 saw 19 percent of Australian electricity generated by renewable sources, an increase of 25 percent on 2017.   In terms of volumes, 19 percent equates to 49,339 gigawatt hours of electricity generation, with a roughly even split between hydro, wind and solar.   For companies such as SIMEC Energy, this transition phase represents a period of tremendous opportunity to make a difference.   “This is a once in a generation movement that is now occurring in the energy sector,” states Marc Barrington, the company’s CEO.   “I am a big believer in a strategic mix of all forms of power sources for the country which will include wind, all types of solar, storage and upgrades and improvements to transmission assets and transmission technologies.  “However, a full-scale harnessing of our country’s renewable energy potential will take time, as both the supply and demand side need to build resilience and technologies need to be proven and bankable.”   Barrington joined SIMEC in 2018, the latest chapter in a career which has seen him work in the energy sector for nearly two decades.   From trading and wholesale risk management to M&A, and from energy productivity offerings to renewable energy project

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Royal Group

As Cambodia’s economy continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in the world, organisations such as The Royal Group deepen their investments and commitments to this vibrant Asian nation.

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McDonald’s Pakistan

Taking Fast Food Further Empowering equal opportunities, industry localisation and social investment, McDonald’s Pakistan is embodying the country’s strategic strides   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Pakistan is nothing less than a nation on the rise.  Described by the World Bank as a region with a demographic dividend and significant development potential, the country is already capitalising on such abundant prospects, its economy having grown almost six percent in fiscal year 2018 (FY18).  Resultantly, national poverty rates are also falling. According to current estimates, this is forecast to decrease to 3.1 percent (in accordance with the international poverty line) at the conclusion of FY19, down from the four percent recorded in 2015.  Indeed, the government continues to take the reins in facilitating these outcomes, readily addressing economic, social and fiscal imbalances. Yet enterprises similarly have begun to play a greater role in enabling socioeconomic progression – a role that McDonald’s Pakistan is proactively embracing.  “Pakistan’s potential is tremendous,” states Jamil Mughal, Chief Operations, Marketing, Development and Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s Pakistan.  “Home to a population of 200 million people, there’s clearly room for the economy to grow, but only if it continues to stabilise – a requirement that we’re attempting to assist.”   It is this underlying ambition that ultimately drew Mughal to joining McDonald’s back in 1998, the company’s meteoric expansion in the two decades since having been underpinned by strives for grassroots development.  “I’ve loved every minute of working here,” he affirms. “It’s an amazing company, every day is a new day with a new challenge. McDonald’s is innovation, it’s evolving, and

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Masan Resources

Resourceful Responsible As Masan Resources continues to develop the world’s largest tungsten mine at Nui Phao in Vietnam, its role as a community custodian is also growing, the company involved in a number of socially driven projects  Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith  Tungsten – known by the chemical symbol W and with a melting point of more than 3,400 degrees Celsius, it is one of the hardest metals in the world.   It is believed to have been discovered in the 16th century in the German province of Saxony, the name Tungsten being coined by the Swede Axel Frederik Cronstedt in 1757, the literal translation into English being heavy (tung) stone (sten).   Today, the mineral is highly sought after – its hardness is close to diamond, while it is denser than steel and titanium, twice as hard as any steel grade, and has extremely high wear resistance.  Such properties translate into an estimated market value of $3.5 billion in 2017, according to statistics published by Global Market Insights.   Further, demand for tungsten carbide, the most common application segment, is forecast to grow solidly by 3.5 percent a year between 2019 and 2024. This is partly because the scrap can be recycled, which makes it an extremely valuable alloy for all sorts of applications.   Asia Pacific represented the largest regional market for the global tungsten carbide market in 2018, a result of the growing demand for automotive, construction and metalworking industries in countries like China, India and Japan.  Indeed, Tungsten is utilised across a wide variety of

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Echo Marine Group

Having proven itself and Australia as a viable alternative to the traditional European establishment, Echo Marine Group is poised to serve the growing demand across Asia Pacific for superyachts.

Joshua Mann By Joshua Mann

ECG Engineering

Consulting Across Continents From its bases in Perth, Brisbane and Manila, ECG Engineering is imparting reputed Australian expertise on multifaceted projects both at home and abroad, especially in West Africa   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Tom Cullum    West Africa’s mining industry is picking up some momentum.   According to Research and Markets’ Mining in West Africa 2019 report, West African nations exported $16.1 billion of minerals in 2017, up some 26 percent on the previous year.   Gold is a particularly promising subsector. The region was accountable for 9.4 percent of global supply in 2016, while almost three quarters of all exploration projects here are focused on this precious metal.   Foreign direct investment is vital to this ongoing development of West Africa’s mining sector.   Several large multinational corporations are committed to large projects, while foreign expertise is also being utilised effectively to ensure developments are executed to the highest international standards.   Enter Australia’s ECG Engineering.   Provider of a wide range of services to the mining, utilities and materials handling industries around the globe, its expertise covers the likes of feasibility studies, system studies and audits, design, project management, procurement, construction management and site support.   It is a relatively new enterprise and, for Principle Consultant and Director Geoff Bailey, represented another opportunity to build up an enterprise from scratch.   “I am an electrical engineer and have been involved in the mining industry for 40 years,” he says.    “After owning and running BEC Engineering for 18 years and being bought out by a larger company (Cardno), it was time to set up again with other partners in 2015, once more as an

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Classic Fine Foods Asia

Food Made Personal Partnering with artisanal producers all over the world, Classic Fine Foods prides itself on helping food industry operators to connect with their customers and tell their stories    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Lewis Bush  “An important trend that we are seeing is the need to tell a story.   “Consumers are increasingly conscious of where their food comes from. How long ago was the fish caught? How was the fish caught? How far away from the restaurant does it come from? These are all questions we as suppliers and chefs need to answer.”  For Christophe Barret and food sourcing specialist Classic Fine Foods (CFF), provenance is everything.   More than ever consumers are scrutinising the story behind their food and drink purchases, so much so that the journey a product takes before reaching them can carry equal weight to the substance of the item itself.   “Sustainability, for example, is therefore a major requirement for our chefs in today’s restaurant industry as their customers will choose dishes that are produced responsibly,” adds Barret, who is approaching one year as CFF’s Chief Executive Officer.   “I’m French and I love food – two things that often go hand in hand,” he adds. “I started my career in the retail industry 25 years ago and joined Classic Fine Foods in October 2018 after 14 years working in five different markets.”  Personal touch   Although now owned by a leading international wholesale company, Classic Fine Foods has been able to operate with a strong degree of independence which has enabled it to maintain what Barret believes is an organisational hallmark and

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CBRE Malaysia

Redefining Real Estate Leveraging the global reach of CBRE and the local nous of its Malaysian employees, Bala Vijayasingam and his team are empowering property development across the country  Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Tom Cullum   “In spite of less certain macroeconomic factors, Malaysia remains competitive.  “The country offers the fourth most competitive leasing costs and second most competitive fit out costs in Asia Pacific, not to mention being the eighth most competitive nation from a facility management cost perspective.  “Couple this with a well educated yet relatively medium wage population and Malaysia offers attractive incentives to potential investors when it comes to setting up operations or manufacturing hubs.”  A Malaysian national born and bred, Bala Vijayasingam is a firm believer that the region’s real estate has become a flagship for economic potential and prosperity.  “Indeed, the market in Malaysia has softened this year,” he continues. “However, we have seen an increased appetite to locate manufacturing facilities in Malaysia – perhaps a silver lining as a result of the prolonged China US trade war.”  Heading up the country operations of CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, Bala has witnessed first-hand this changing albeit relatively optimistic climate, noting that the office market in particular remains especially active.  “The market as a whole is a tenants’ market,” he affirms. “The Klang Valley area in the west, for example, home to Kuala Lumpur, has seen two consecutive years of circa 10 percent increase in the available supply.  “Occupancy rates were previously hovering at 80 percent, while this increased supply places the onus on developers to boost the attractiveness of their offerings to prospective tenants.”  It is here where

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Bishops 2019

Driving Diversification Bishops remains committed to propelling progress in the Pacific Islands via industrial enablement as a one-stop shop operator  Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith  The Pacific Islands are renowned as one of the world’s most dispersed, diverse regions.  Home to a multitude of archipelago countries, comprising over 25,000 islands that span an area equivalent to around 15 percent of the earth’s surface, it’s a territory famed for exploration and adventure.  This reputation is unlikely to change any time soon, owed to the geographic formation and unique cultural personalities of many of these outcrops that define such characteristics. However, in more recent times, some of the Pacific Islands’ more preeminent nations have equally begun to industrialise and modernise.  Take Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, for instance.   Both traditionally agricultural economies, the pair have increasingly begun to leverage their natural resource bases in recent decades, be it the oil and gas industry in the former or the minerals industry through gold mining in the latter – a shift that Bishops has capitalised on since its formation in 1972.  “In PNG in particular, with both major projects and smaller projects muted to commence in the coming years, the economic conditions will continue to improve dramatically,” Len Pianta (pictured above), the company’s General Manager, reveals.   A quick glance at the World Bank’s national economic outlook shows that such predictions ring true, the organisation forecasting real GDP growth in PNG to reach five percent during 2019, primarily driven by increased production in the extractives sector.  “With these projects will come a mini boom during the construction stages, followed by

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PTC ASIA 2019 to promote high-quality industrial development

Leading fluid power transmission show, PTC ASIA 2019, will be held from October 23-26 at Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC) to continue building a platform of interfacing intelligent manufacturing and upgrading for global exhibitors and buyers.This year, the show will cover a total display area of 100,000 square metres, featuring ten exhibit sectors of hydraulics, pneumatics, seals, gears, motors, chains, belts, bearings, springs and industrial subcontracting.China’s manufacturing industry is accelerating the construction of high-quality development and innovation capacity and promoting the development of industrialisation and informatisation. The goal is to support manufacturing enterprises in their transformation of digitalisation, networking and intelligence to gradually move towards intelligent manufacturing.Under this circumstance, PTC ASIA will continue to facilitate the development of industrial intelligent manufacturing. Many well-known brands from home and abroad, such as HYDAC, ARGO-HYTOS, HAWE, Stauff, HANSA-FLEX, ATHOS, Hengli, Huade, Keda, Hytek, JELPC, Suonuo, Schaeffler, SKF, C&U, UBC, LYC, Kaitian, NGC, Bonfiglioli, Mayr, Regal, Guomao, Megadyne, Gates, DongHua, HengJiu, RENOLD, CENFIT Machinery, Hagens, Lee Spring have registered to attend the show to bring a variety of cutting-edge technologies and products.As a worldwide show of HANNOVER MESSE, PTC ASIA has always been dedicated to bring innovative ideas and exhibits of HANNOVER MESSE to China. This year will be the first time to host the PUMP PLAZA group pavilion, thus providing a perfect interactive trade platform for industrial pump suppliers and international exporters with pump system drive technology, pump system measurement and control technology, industrial pumps and other pump system components. With this new programme, PTC ASIA will bring more

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Volvo: Bringing a touch of Swedish class to Thailand’s automotive market

One of Scandinavia's most reputed brands, the automotive giant is also making its mark on the Asian continent, not least in Thailand where its subsidiary Volvo Cars Thailand is going from strength to strength.  

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News roundup: July – August

TECHNOLOGY Huawei testing smartphone using own operating system Chinese tech giant Huawei is developing a smartphone using its own operating system, according to its state-ran media organisation Global Times.Named Hongmeng, the new operating system will be part of a phone priced at around $290, the move being seen by some commentators as a useful one if the US government decides to restrict access to Google’s Android.Despite the widely covered tensions with the Trump administration, Huawei saw profits grow by 23 percent in H1 2019, owed largely to strong domestic demand for its products. Although sales overseas have dropped markedly, shipments within China soared by 31 percent in Q2 this year. MANUFACTURING South Korea targets self-sufficiency for 100 imported products The South Korean government has unveiled a $6.5 billion plan to boost homegrown R&D in a bid to curb reliance in importing certain goods from neighbouring countries such as Japan.Up to 100 key components and materials used to make chips, displays batteries, vehicles and other products are being targeted, the country looking to become self-sufficient in producing such items in as little as five years.Sung Yun-mo, South Korea’s industry minister, said at a press briefing: “We want to turn the crisis into an opportunity for the materials, parts and equipment industry.” GOVERNMENT Japan and US target trade deal by September Authorities from Japan and the USA are planning to strike a bilateral trade deal by September.The two countries have struggled to agree on tariffs covering certain goods, particularly regarding beef and automobiles, with US President Donald Trump eager to

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China looks to deepen ties in Africa as it hosts African Energy Chamber delegation

To support growing energy cooperation and investment between China and Africa, Beijing is set to play host to the African Energy Chamber.CEOs and Chairmen from China’s state-owned energy companies and the private sector, along with key industry associations in China, will meet with African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk and his delegation. The visit aims at further introducing the Chamber to the Chinese market following a series of roadshows organised in China by the Chamber over the past two years and increasing demand for investment information on Africa by Chinese investors.“The investment appetite of Chinese companies for Africa is only getting stronger given current international trade and business dynamics,” said Mickael Vogel, Director of Strategy at the Chamber. “We are receiving an increasing number of requests from Chinese companies to join the Chamber, especially to gain access to the latest investment opportunities in Africa, and to credible and reliable information on African energy markets. Our visit will be consolidating several relationships we have developed over the past two years and will lead to discussion on major energy deals for Africa.”Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged an additional $60 billion for African development over the next three years during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Traditionally, a large majority of Chinese investments have been made in energy and transport, especially oil and gas, power, mining, railways and airport infrastructure.As Chinese investment into Africa increases, the Chamber is assisting several Chinese companies in navigating Africa’s fast growing energy markets. The move is part of the Chamber’s support

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Business travel: A guide to Palau

We speak to Palau Visitors Authority about Palau, a nation made up of coral and volcanic islands.

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How Echo Marine Group is navigating Australia onto the global yacht building stage

Mark Stothard, Co-Founder and Director of Echo Marine Group, talks to us about upsetting the status quo and the expanding yacht market.

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Alibaba Cloud: Turning AI into actionable insights

The technological landscape has exploded in recent times, as the exponential rise of startups, innovation and R&D have pushed Industry 4.0 into full swing.  With this has come a new wave of technological glitz and glamour. Be it digital transformation, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality or machine learning, technology has developed a kind of sexiness; an exotic, mysterious aura. Not so long ago, cloud computing was painted with this same brush.Having slipped out of the limelight in recent years, paving the way for the likes of blockchain, 5G and biometrics to take centre stage, cloud computing has taken a behind the scenes role in facilitating transformation.To underestimate its potential, however, would be naïve. In fact, having quietly consolidated, cloud computing can now be considered as a behemoth technology empowering enterprise success.“At Alibaba Cloud, we believe that cloud is the key technology in the digital era,” states Selina Yuan, Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International.“The scope for transformation is almost unimaginable. We have seen so many business practices founded in the cloud that have rocked established industries, constantly changing how we learn, work, shop, travel and consume media.”An industry veteran with more than 20 years’ experience in the field, cloud computing has become Yuan’s passion for this very reason. “Instead of thinking whether or not they need to embrace the cloud, companies thriving in the era of digital transformation are already thinking how they can use it to optimise their business,” she continues. “It is by thinking outside the box that we

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