Posts tagged ‘Thailand’

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Panama Papers: Invested, but not Koppied

You needn’t be there yourself, but should your money? Those places are beginning to look like those parties you simply have to get an invitation to, if you want to matter: the “havens” where (many of) the rich and beautiful put their money. The Virgin Islands, for example. Or Panama. Or Luxemburg? Not sure. Ask a bank.

Reportedly, some members of Vladimir Putin‘s tight-knit inner circle do it. Reportedly, Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan (成龍) does it. So do Thais. Lots of Indians, too. And maybe many Americans, but elsewhere.

Others, also reportedly, did so in the past. One of them even says that he lost money in the game.

But not so fast. Media tend to scandalize everything, don’t they?

According to ICIJ, the documents make public the offshore accounts of 140 politicians and public officials. The documents don’t necessarily detail anything illegal, but they do shine a light on the shadowy world of offshore finances,

National Public Radio (NPR) informs its listeners.

So, let’s not jump to conclusions. The problem, either way, is that the investors’ countries’ governments can’t get a picture of what is there. And once an investor is found on a list like the “Panama Papers”, with investments or activities formerly unknown to his country’s fiscal authorities (and/or the public), he’s got something to explain.

Like Argentine president Mauricio Macri, for example.

So, it’s beautiful to have some money there.

Unless the public begins to continuously ask questions about it.

Timely Exits from Paradise

If British prime minister David Cameron is right, the money he and his wife earned from an offshore trust were taxed. His problem, then, would be the general suspicon of the business.

The Cameron couple reportedly sold their shares in question in 2010, the year he became prime minister.

“Best Effect” and “Wealth Ming” reportedly ceased operations in 2012 and/or 2013. That was when CCP secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping took his top positions. The two companies had been run in the Virgin Islands, and Deng Jiagui (邓家贵), husband to Xi’s older sister, had been the owner, Singaporean paper Zaobao reported on Tuesday.

And then, there’s Tsai Ying-yang (蔡瀛陽), one of the 16,785 Taiwanese Mossack Fonseca customers, the law firm the “Panama Papers” were leaked from. According to his lawyer, Lien Yuen-lung (連元龍), Tsay Ying-yang terminated his Koppie Limited company as soon as in 2009, the year following its establishment, so as to cut the losses – 30 percent of the investment, according to a phone interview Lien gave Reuters, as quoted by the Straits Times.

Tsai Ing-wen hasn’t commented herself, and maybe, she won’t any time soon. It doesn’t seem that too much pressure has mounted so far. But questions are asked all the same. On Wednesday, KMT legislators William Tseng (曾銘宗), Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), and Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀) told a press conference that in the “many cases” where the Tsai family had encountered controversy, Tsai Ying-yangs name had emerged, and this “gave cause for doubts” (會起人疑竇).

An Emerging KMT Opposition Pattern

William Tseng may become a regular questioner, concerning the financial affairs of Tsai’s family people. One of the “controversies” he had quoted had been the issue of a press conference on March 24. There, with different KMT colleagues,  but the same kind of artwork on the wall behind the panel, showing the suspect of the day, Tseng dealt with the issue of Academica Sinica president Wong Chi-huey‘s daughter’s role as a shareholder of OBI Pharma Inc..

KMT legislators press conference artwork

KMT representations:
Mind the guys in the background

One of his fellow legislators, Alicia Wang (王育敏), raised the issue of the company’s shareholder structure (and neatly placed Tsai’s brother there, too, maybe just to make his name available for quote by Tseng on other occasions:

“President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) brother and sister-in-law are also shareholders, and so is Wong’s daughter, Wong Yu-shioh (翁郁秀). Are others involved?”

Diplomatic Relations, but no Tax Treaty

The “Panama Papers”, as far as they concern Taiwanese customers, contain not only individuals, but companies, too: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (founding chairman Morris Chang, who served Taiwan as APEC representative in 2006), TransAsia Airways (more recently in the news for the tragic Flight 235 crash), Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, Wei Chuan Food Corporation (in the news since 2013), and the Executive Yuan’s National Development Fund.

The Development Fund was not a taxable organization, Taiwan’s foreign broadcaster Radio Taiwan International (RTI) quotes finance minister Chang Sheng-ford. He used the example to make the point that to suggest that some 16,000 keyword search results for Taiwan in the “Panama Papers” did not signify 16,000 cases of tax evasion. That’s just not the way to look at it.

Chang reportedly also said that while, “if necessary”, Taiwan would establish a Panama Papers working group and start investigating the most high risk people and agencies for tax evasion, the country had no tax treaty with Panama. Also, a Taiwanese anti-tax evasion law had not yet been passed.

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Related

The Panama Papers
Achselzucken schadet, Der Freitag, Apr 7, 2016
The Panama Papers, FoarP, Apr 6, 2016

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Jamming of BBC World Service on Shortwave continues

Tuned in to the BBC World Service last night, on 15,335 kHz (Singapore relay) and on 15,755; 13,725 and 9,410 kHz (all Thailand relay) respectively. Apart from the transmission on 9,410 kHz, all wavelengths were beamed into the direction of China, if Shortwave Info is correct.

If the jamming originates from China, it is still different from the “Firedrake” recorded here. The noise jamming the BBC isn’t a tune, but a blunt row of monotonous sound waves – click the Soundcloud symbol underneath for a recording.

The BBC’s broadcasts from Singapore start with a very traditional interval tune – the bells from St Mary-le-Bow. This interval was recorded in 1926 and has been used by the BBC World Service since the early 1940s, according to Wikipedia. If the signal is still the original from 1926, the bells don’t even exist anymore, as they were destroyed during the German “Blitz”, and replaced by new ones, cast in 1956.

Apart from China, Vietnam, too, is said to jam foreign broadcasters – Radio Free Asia (RFE) is said to be the target in the case recorded here. If it is indeed RFE should be hard to tell, because you don’t hear anything but the jamming signal.

In a statement thirteen months ago, on February 25, 2013, the BBC issued a statement saying that

[t]hough it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively, the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China. The BBC strongly condemns this action, which is designed to disrupt audiences’ free access to news and information.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (华春莹) referred reporters to relevant departments at the time when asked about the BBC’s accusation on a press conference.

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Related

» China vs BBC, Kim Andrew Elliott, March 9, 2013
» Particularly intense in Tibet, CDT, Febr 26, 2013

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, November 2013 (2)

1. Radio Botswana

Another log that takes a look at African radio, after these notes on Voice of Nigeria in September. Radio Botswana is owned by the government of the southern African country where the diamonds are forever. Radio Botswana broadcasts in English and Setswana, and appears to have done so since about 1966, formerly as Radio Bechuanaland. (Yes, KT, the station is online, too, and at least one out of the country’s two million citizens is a musician.)

Obviously, China Radio International (CRI) or, more precisely, a company with a name that amounts to Global Field Media company (环球广域传媒公司), has opened a studio there, but only recently. The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs reported on July 16 this year that on July 15, CRI’s director Wang Gengnian (王庚年), Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang (郑竹强), a deputy secretary from the Botswanean presidential office of public administration as well as delegates from the a/m Global Field Media company, Radio Botswana and from Chinese and overseas Chinese circles had been present at an opening ceremony of a CRI Gabarone program studio (中国国际广播电台哈博罗内节目制作室). CRI is scheduled to contribute material to the programs produced there, as is Radio Botswana.

Three days later, according to Xinhua, Wang Gengnian and the Global Field Media company were in Zambia, for the inauguration of an Overseas Chinese Weekly (华侨周报) there. China’s ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao (周欲晓) also attended the ceremony.

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

The Voice of America (VoA) operates from Moepeng Hill, Botswana, some twenty kilometers from Selebi-Phikwe. According to the British DX Club’s Africa on Shortwave, Radio Botswana was last heard on shortwave in early 2004 (In Britain, anyway). That said, the station is a domestic broadcaster, with no ambitions to be heard worldwide.

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2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
ARG – Argentina; BOT – Botswana;  CUB – Cuba; IRL – Ireland; NZL – New Zealand; THA – Thailand; TIB – Tibet.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; F – French.

Signal Quality
S (strength) / I (interferences) / O (overall merit)
5 = excellent; 3 = fair; 1 = barely audible.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 4920 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 2 4 2
 4905 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 1 2 1
 5505 Shannon
Volmet
IRL E Nov 2 17:55 5 5 5
 4930 VoA*) BOT E Nov 2 17:58 4 3 3
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 05:45 4 5 4
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 06:45 5 5 5
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 07:00 5 5 5
 9965 Radio
Thailand
THA E Nov 9 19:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG F Nov 22 03:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:30 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:40 3 3 3
15720 Radio New
Zealand
NZL E Nov 27 12:30 4 5 4
11725 Radio New
Zealand
NZL E Nov 30 07:00 5 5 4

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Notes

*) See 1) Radio Botswana.

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Related

Previous shortwave logs »

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, August – September 2013

1. Voice of Nigeria

Blogging is interactive business, and as King Tubby (KT) has suggested a topic that would be complementary to his most recent post, this post from JR’s shortwave-log series is going to contain a few remarks about the Voice of Nigeria (VoN), the central-west African country’s foreign broadcasting service which can be heard on shortwave – in Africa, in Europe, and probably beyond.

Voice of Nigeria QSL card, 1986

Voice of Nigeria QSL card, 1986

That said, even before 1990, when the broadcaster modernized its transmitter facilities, the VoN would frequently reach central Europe with a fair signal (and not so fair modulation at the time, if I remember correctly). Along with Channel Africa from Johannesburg, VoN is, with some likelihood, the most frequently-heard African foreign broadcaster on shortwave.

In 2007, VoN staff were said to be among the best-paid media people in the country – the highest-paying employers in the industry were government-owned media, Usman Leman, national secretary of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), wrote in a contribution to a report by the international Federation of Journalists).

According to the station’s website and this Huanqiu Shibao country profile,  there doesn’t seem to be a Chinese service, but that doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be Chinese listeners – or interlocutors. In May 2008, then Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Xu Jianguo (徐建国),  gave an interview to VoN, in addition to an interview to Nigerian domestic radio, about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. VoN staff are also occasionally interviewed by their Chinese sister organization, China Radio International (CRI).

William Onyeabor may not be a frequent guest on VoN though; the broadcaster is more about words than about music, apparently. For the latter, youtube may be the better choice. Youtube or internet radio – but don’t ask JR about the latter. Radio is radio, internet is internet, and never the twain shall meet on this blog.

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2. Recent Logs

Shortwave schedules of many international broadcasters will change on October 27/28 at midnight UTC – many will move to lower frequencies. This happens every year; the summer schedule season is usually from the end of March to the end of October. But for the next few weeks, the frequencies as listed below will probably remain unchanged – and not every frequency will be changed with the winter season, obviously.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; CUB – Cuba; IND – India; IRL – Ireland; KOR – South Korea; THA – Thailand.

Languages (“L.”):
E – English; G – German; J – Japanese; K – Korean; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time
GMT

S I O
15345 RAE
Buenos Aires
 ARG G Aug 1 21:00 4 5 4
 5505 Shannon
Volmet
 IRL E Aug 9 01:42 4 5 4
15160 KBS Seoul  KOR K Aug 11 09:36 4 4 4
 5040  RHC *)
Habana
Cuba
 CUB S Aug 18 03:53 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
 ARG J Aug 24 01:00 4 4 4
 5025 R. Rebelde  CUB S Aug 24 04:35 4 4 4
 7550 AIR Delhi  IND E Aug 26 18:30 5 5 4
 9390 R. Thailand  THA E Aug 26 19:00 4 5 4
 5980 Channel
Africa
 AFS E Sep 11 03:03 4 3 3

x

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Note

*) audio file »here – may be removed after ten days.

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Related

» Previous Log, July 30, 2013

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, July 2013

1. Radio Habana Cuba (RHC)

If there is an element of soft-power methodology in Cuba’s foreign radio programs – winning friends and influencing people -, it’s probably the music they play.  Some other of the station’s regular topics may come across as rather old-fashioned to listeners, especially – depending on your perception – the World of Stamps and Arnie Córo‘s DXers Unlimited programs.

Radio Habana Cuba (RHC) covered the trails of the Pastors for Peace this month, on their annual trip to revolutionary sites in the free territory in the Americas. Also in the news: lots about Edward Snowden or related events, and Swedish member of parliament Torbjörn Björlund has a short interview with the station as he visits Cuba for the first time.

RHC used to broadcast to Europe, too, partly or completely through relay stations in the USSR, but the main target areas are now the Americas and Africa. The main target area for RHC’s English-language broadcast is North America, and one of the program’s frequencies, 6000 kHz, can usually be received clearly in Europe, too.

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988. The project’s prominent role in the QSL series is no concidence: the project is or was run by Ramón Castro Ruz, » the older brother of the two political leaders. Asked by an American journalist in the late 1970s » what he thought about Cuban-U.S. relations, Castro parried the questions “with a shrug and grin: ‘That’s all politics – I leave that to Fidel. All I know about are cows.'”

2. Voice of Turkey

TRT Ankara, also known as the “Voice of Turkey”, retains a bastion of Kemalism. Every once in a while when listening, you will stumble across readings from the founder of the Republic’s diary or memories, or contemporaries’ memories about him (I have never given the topic a close listen yet). No Koran recitals in the English, French, German or Spanish programs, as far as I can tell, but both the Arab and the Chinese services carry such programs at the beginning of every broadcast, at least currently. In the Chinese case, the recitals may be meant to benefit Uighur listeners, and other Muslim minorities in China. A listeners’ letter with a number of signatories asked TRT for a Koran copy for each of them in January this year and were told that unfortunately, there are no Korans among our gifts, but you can download them from the internet. There are also Chinese ones.

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3. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; ARS – Saudi Arabia; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; MRC – Morocco; OMA – Oman; RUS – Russia; THA – Thailand; TUR – Turkey.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time
GMT

S I O
  6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB  E July
6
 04:00 3 5 3
13760 Vo Korea  KRE E July
7
 13:00 3 5 3
15140 Radio
Oman
 OMA E July
7
 14:00 4 5 4
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
8
 14:53 5 5 5
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
8
 19:00 4 5 1
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
8
 19:00 3 3 1
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
14
 14:00 4 5 4
 5980 Channel
Africa
 AFS E July
15
 03:00 4 5 3
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
15
 04:00 3 4 3
15240 TRT 2)
Ankara
 TUR C July
16
 11:00 4 4 4
15670 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
16
 13:00 4 5 3
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
16
 19:00 4 5 2
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
16
 19:00 3 4 2
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
17
 03:50 4 5 4
9525.7 RRI
Indonesia
 INS G July
20
 18:07 4 4 4
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
21
 01:00 3 5 3
 9770 TRT
Ankara
 TUR S July
22
 01:00 4 5 4
 9665 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
22
 02:00 4 5 4
 9580 Radio
Médi
 MRC A/
F
July
22
 08:48 5 5 5
 9390 Radio
Thailand
 THA E July
22
 19:00 4 5 4
11750 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  A July
24
 11:00 4 5 4
13760 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  G July
24
 11:30 4 5 4

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Notes

1) The usual modulation disaster.
2) Soundtrack here, online for ten days (minimum). Download enabled.

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Related

» Previous Log, June 28, 2013

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, August 2012

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Voice of Korea

The Voice of Korea (VoK), previously known as Radio Pyongyang, is the international broadcasting service of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. When I listened to the station in the 1980s, you got the national anthem at the beginning, and following that, some frequency announcements and the news. Since then, two not-so-collective leaderships, i. e. Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, have died, and all VoK programs begin with the national anthem, a song for Kim Il-sung, and another for Kim Jong-il (both military marches). But there’s still space for the news, readings from the works of Kim Il-sung, and a mixture of military marches and folk music (the latter of which is occasionally quite nice, but more frequently kitsch, sometimes with apparent Swiss characteristics).

Radio Pyongyang QSL, 1989

Radio Pyongyang – renamed Voice of Korea since -, QSL card, 1989.

There is currently no interference on 13760 kHz at 13:00 GMT (click here, or picture above, for a digital recording), but the Chinese program, although more silently than the scheduled English program, can be heard in the background, too. It is probably on the same feeder between the studios and the shortwave transmitters.

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Recent Logs

Thanks to long vacations, it’s a pretty big list for August.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; AIA – Anguilla; ARG – Argentina; ASC – Ascension Island; CHN – China; CLN – Sri Lanka; CUB – Cuba; IND – India; IRN – Iran; ISR – Israel; KRE – North Korea; MNG – Mongolia; PAK – Pakistan; RRW – Rwanda; RUS – Russia; SYR – Syria; THA – Thailand; TIB – Tibet; UAE – United Arab Emirates.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; Fa – Farsi; G – German; H – Hebrew; K – Korean; Pa – Pashto; Th – Thai; R – Russian; T – Tibetan.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time GMT

S I O
5960 PBS Xinjiang CHN C Aug 2 23:00 3 4 3
7240 PBS Tibet TIB C Aug 2 23:13 3 4 3
9330 Radio Damascus SYR G Aug 3 18:00 2 3 2
15700 Voice of Russia RUS G Aug 4 09:30 4 5 4
9430 China Radio International CHN C Aug 4 14:21 4 5 4
6000 RHC Habana CUB E Aug 5 03:00 3 3 3
6090 Caribbean Beacon AIA E Aug 8 00:41 4 5 3
11540 VoA Radio Deewa CLN Pa Aug 8 01:36 3 5 3
15850 Galei Zahal ISR H Aug 8 02:55 3 5 2
6973 Galei Zahal ISR H Aug 8 03:05 3 3 3
13850 KOL Israel ISR Fa Aug 8 13:59 4 4 4
15760 KOL Israel ISR Fa Aug 8 14:35 4 4 4
4920 Tibetan Radio1) TIB T Aug 8 21:58 4 4 4
4800 CNR CHN C Aug 8 22:28 3 4 3
15235 Channel Africa AFS E Aug 9 17:00 3 4 3
11290 Royal Air Force Volmet2) ASC E Aug 9 19:18 4 4 4
9490 Deutsche Welle Kigali RRW E Aug 9 20:27 4 4 4
12010 Voice of Russia RUS G Aug 11 15:55 4 3 3
9855 Radio Australia UAE E Aug 12 23:20 3 4 3
17895 All India Radio IND E Aug 13 10:00 3 4 3
15180 Vo Korea KRE E Aug 14 10:00 3 4 3
17820 Radio Thailand THA Th Aug 14 10:31 4 5 4
15275 Radio Pakistan3) PAK E Aug 14 11:00 ? ? ?
9805 CNR CHN C Aug 14 23:00 4 5 4
11710 CNR CHN C Aug 14 23:05 4 5 4
9325 Vo Korea KRE K Aug 15 20:01 4 5 4
15345 RAE Buenos Aires ARG G Aug 15 20:55 4 3 3
9680 Radio Thailand4) THA G Aug 20 20:00 4 4 5
21590 IRIB Tehran 5) IRN E Aug 21 10:28 4 5 3
12085 Vo Mongolia MGL C Aug 23 10:00 2 4 2
9330 Radio Damascus 6) SYR R Aug 23 17:24 3 5 3

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Notes

1) SIO 444 on parallel frequency 4905 kHz
2) probably Ascension Island
3) SIO = 3, but modulation as bad as usual.
4) Interference from 9675 kHz, probably Radio Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Turkish-language program.
5) SIO 454 on parallel frequency 21640 kHz
6) Modulation as bad as usual, but the better reception than later in the evening (as usual in August).

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Related

» Previous Logs, August 2, 2012

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Huanqiu Shibao: is South-East Asia replacing “Made in China”?

The following are loosely translated extracts from an article by Huanqiu Shibao, published on Friday, and authored by several Huanqiu reporters.

It refers to an UNCTAD 2012 Investment Report, apparently this one, officially published on July 5, 2012.

There is a rising trend at Huanqiu Shibao to provide emoticon votes, rather than opening a commenter thread. This article doesn’t appear to allow online readers’ comments either (there is a button, but it leads nowhere, and there are indeed no comments), although it is hard to see how its topic should be particularly sensitive.

Links within the following paragraphs were added during translation — JR

Main Link: Is South-East Asia replacing “Made in China”? (Huanqiu Shibao, August 10, 2012)

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From Adidas to Oclaro [currently Shenzhen, scheduled to leave for Malaysia within three years], foreign manufacturing investors announce relocations from China to South-East Asia, write the Huanqiu reporters. And a recent UNCTAD report said that in 2011, foreign direct investment (FDI) to South-East Asian nations had reached 117 billion US dollars, an increase by 26 per cent, far more than a rise by less than eight per cent in FDI to China. And Vietnam’s state news agency excitedly announced that the scale of NIKE trainers made in Vietnam now exceeded that of those made in China, making Vietnam the world’s biggest NIKE trainers producer. Currently, Vietnam’s share in NIKE trainers global production was at 41 per cent, with China’s only at 32 per cent. Previously, Adidas had announced it would move its only wholly-foreign-owned factory in China to [correction – 20130729] Cambodia Laos. This causes worries to people at home that international investors could be moving from China to South-East Asia, in terms of manufacturing, writes Huanqiu.

越南国家通讯社日前兴奋地宣称,全球知名体育品牌耐克的运动鞋在越南的生产规模已经超过在中国的生产规模,成为世界最大的耐克鞋生产国。目前,越南生产的耐克运动鞋占耐克运动鞋总量的41%,而在中国生产的耐克运动鞋比例只占32%。此前,阿迪达斯公司也决定关闭中国唯一独资工厂,将工厂搬到柬埔寨。这让国内许多人担心国际资本在制造业方面的投资是否正从中国转向东南亚。

Souvenir from Turkey, made in China

Souvenir from Turkey, made in China

The article then quotes a Chinese garment manufacturer who is sympathetic towards European and American buyers’ demands that he relocate his production to South-East Asia. “I find that understandable – who wouldn’t want to buy at low prices?” (我很理解,谁不希望以更低价格拿到进货呢?) The European Union had allowed duty-free imports from Cambodia from January 2011.

However, a Standard Chartered Bank analyst is also quoted, with more encouraging news for the readers: It was difficult to determine if this was a real shift from China to South-East Asia, as foreign investment in China was rising, too.
A major reason for the slowdown in foreign investment in China was that the global economy had slowed down, and China’s economy along with it, but that didn’t mean that South-East Asia would replace China. Some international companies were seeking diversification, especially because of rising costs in China, and to avoid risks of protectionism against China in some [importing] countries.

尽管国际对东南亚制造业的投资迅速增长,但渣打银行亚洲研究部主管许长泰对《环球时报》记者表示,这并不表明制造业从中国向东南亚的重大转移。他说,对东南亚制造业的外国投资上升,但很难确定这些投资是否是从中国撤出的,因为对中国的外国投资仍然在增长。尽管外资进入中国速度放缓,但主要是由于全球经济形势严峻,中国经济也在放缓,而不是东南亚取代中国。一些国际企业正在寻求多样性的可能,主要是考虑到在中国经商成本的上升,以及为了规避一些国家对“中国制造”采取贸易保护主义措施的风险。

After a discussion of Japanese investment in South-East Asia, the article addresses the challenges it sees for South-East Asia.

Vietnam’s 41 per cent share in Nike’s trainers’ production didn’t spell great practical benefits for the people. A Nike trainer on the Vietnamese market costs about as much as one anywhere else, according to Huanqiu Shibao’s research, and would therefore be out of reach for normal Vietnamese buyers.Besides, Huanqiu’s Hanoi correspondent quotes a 28-year-old worker from the 10th Garment Factory in Hanoi’s suburbs, the monthly income is at 2,500,000 Vietnamese Dongs (1 USD about 21,000 Dongs). That is above the state-defined minimum wage standard, and a free lunch is included as another benefit, but that is mostly spent on her motorcycle rides to and from work (500,000 Dongs monthly spent on gasoline), a monthly flat rental (1,200,000 Dongs), water, energy etc. at 300,000, etc.. Even her and her husband’s incomes combined didn’t pay the bills, when they both worked at the garment factory, and extra jobs needed to make ends meet.

尽管全球41%的耐克运动鞋产自越南,让越南工商界和一些学者颇感高兴,但这些国际巨头的投资并未给越南民众带来太多的实惠。《环球时报》记者在调查中发现,越南市场上销售的耐克鞋价格与国际市场基本持平,普通人基本买不起。而对于为国际资本打工的普通人来说,赚的也都是血汗钱。28岁的阮兰香在位于河内市郊的第10制衣厂工作。每月到手的工资只有250万越南盾(1美元约合2.1万越南盾),尽管这比政府规定的最高工资标准要高,公司中午还提供免费工作餐。但是她给《环球时报》记者算了这样一笔账:骑摩托车上下班每月燃油支出50万越南盾,房租每月120万越南盾,水电费每月30万越南盾……自己的工资都不够维持家里基本生活。因此,原本和她一起在制衣厂打工的丈夫不得不辞去工作,在外面多打几份零工,养家糊口。

Companies like Nike had moved to South-East Asia mainly for lower labor costs and to achieve a maximum profit, writes Huanqiu. Adidas, one of the biggest London Olympic Games sponsor, was facing investigations by the London Organizing Committee not long ago, for allegations that factory workers only earned ten British Pounds a week, and their factory therefore being called a “sweat shop”.

实际上,像耐克这样的国际巨头将生产线移师东南亚,主要是为了充分利用当地较低的劳动力成本优势,实现自己利润的最大化。不久前,伦敦奥运会最大赞助商之一阿迪达斯公司因只向为其生产伦敦奥运会特许商品的柬埔寨服装厂工人支付每周10英镑的工资而被称为“血汗工厂”,目前正面临伦敦奥组委调查。

Dissatisfaction with wages had led to protests among workers in many South-East Asian countries, and after the “Adidas sweat shop” incident, the Cambodian minstry of labor had stipulated that from September 1, factories in the Cambodian textile and shoe industry had to provide an extra amount of five US dollars, a non-leave pay (or attendance bonus) of ten US dollars, seven dollars for transport and living costs etc., which would then amount to 83 US dollars a month as a minimum wage. The Vietnamese government had also adjusted the minimum wages several times in recent years, most recently in October 2011, stipulating that foreign-invested companies needed to pay 2,000,000 Dongs as a monthly minimum, instead of only 1,550,000. But this still didn’t meet the demands of Vietnamese workers. According to statistics by the Vietnamese garment-industry “labor union”, fluctuation within the workforce at state-owned companies was at 15 to 20 per cent, it was at 20 to 30 per cent in some small and medium-sized companies, but at 40 per cent in foreign-invested companies.

同样,东南亚国家制造业发展也面临种种挑战。由于普通工人不满工资低,许多东南亚国家频频爆发工人抗议。阿迪达斯“血汗工厂”事件后,柬埔寨劳工部长发布通告称,9月1日起,柬埔寨的纺织、服装和制鞋工厂应向每名工人每月提供补助金5美元、全勤奖10美元、运输和住宿费7美元等,使每月最低工资达到83美元。越南政府近年来多次上调最低工资标准,最近一次调整是在2011年10月,越南将此前规定的外资企业155万越南盾的最低月工资标准均调整为200万越南盾。尽管如此,仍未达到越南工人的要求。据越南纺织业工会统计,国有大企业工人变动比例为15%至20%;在一些中小企业工人变动比例为20%至30%;而在一些外资企业里,这一比例高达40%。

Also, Huanqiu quotes Jiang Jianhua, the Cambodia Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce’s deputy managing director, as saying that while labor costs in some South-East Asian countries were relatively low, Vietnam’s garment industry’s management costs were close to those in China, and that they didn’t provide a great advantage. Besides [it isn’t quite clear from the article if the following should still be attributed to Jiang], Vietnam’s legal system was rather backward, its taxation system not transparent, and these, too, were hampering factors. In Thailand, garment manufacturing costs were too high, frequently higher than even in China, and while Cambodia’s political environment was rather stable and labor costs cheap, investors in Cambodia needed to be mindful about backward infrastructure and a usually low quality among the workforce.

柬埔寨温州商会常务副会长姜建华告诉记者,尽管东南亚一些国家人工成本相对较低,但实际上,越南的服装制造企业的管理成本已经接近中国国内,没有太大优势。此外,越南法律体系相对落后,税收制度不透明也是很大的制约因素。泰国的服装制造企业成本太高,很多地方甚至已经超过中国。柬埔寨的政局相对稳定,人工便宜,但赴柬埔寨投资也需要注意交通基础设施落后以及工人素质普遍不高带来的问题。

It was quite true that the textile industry was gradually shifting to the entire Asia-Pacific region, the article quotes a KPMG report. Rising labor costs in China had compelled multinational companies to look to other parts of Asia, and a number of South-East Asian countries were going to profit from regional integration and preferential terms of trade. But from consumer electronics to furniture and other hardware products, China remained the country of origin. Besides, a Chinese consultant is quoted, most of the South-East Asian countries were rather small, and none of them provided the entire industrial chain. In that regard, there were complementary relations between China and South-East Asia.

国际也十分关注制造业从中国向东南亚转移的迹象。国际著名会计师事务所毕马威日前发布的最新报告称,“中国制造”的成本上升迫使跨国公司在亚洲其他地区寻找新的投资地。由于区域一体化和优惠的贸易条件,许多东南亚国家正日趋成熟,将从最近这一转变中受益。不过,该报告认为,虽然服装和鞋类生产正广泛向整个亚太地区转移,但从消费类电子产品到家具等硬产品仍然来自于中国。

中国正略钧策管理咨询公司副总裁陈睿对《环球时报》记者表示,制造业确实存在从中国向东南亚转移的情况。对外资来说,以出口为导向的企业转移会更快,劳动密集型和资源密集型的制造业会转移到东南亚。但他同时称,东南亚国家一般较小,不可能一国拥有很全的产业链,有些制造业这些国家做不了。从这方面来说,中国和东南亚有一些结构性的互补关系。

Unctad’s latest report also believed that while there was stagnation in foreign direct investment to China in the short term, China remained the place with the highest attractiveness for foreign investment. Some people in the market had also said that the absolute majority of the Made-in-China industry was looking for its own road, i. e. upgrading production or moving to hinterland provinces in China, seeking development there. There were close customer and supplier links between China and other regions, and some manufacturers would continue to rely on China even after relocation, in that they needed to import production equipment from China, or in that they needed China as an export market, for example.

联合国贸发组织最新的报告也认为,短期来看,投资到中国的制造业FDI出现停滞,但是中国仍然是最有吸引力的外国投资目的地。一些市场人士还表示,绝大多数中国制造业也在寻求自己的路,产业升级或向内陆地区寻求发展。而中国与亚洲其他地区开始建立紧密相连的供应链。一些制造产业即便转移后仍依赖中国,比如需要从中国进口生产设备或者依赖对中国市场的出口等。

And a Standard Chartered Bank analyst is quoted as saying that if the manufacturing industry was actually moving to South East Asia still remained unclear. China was more competitive than many South-East Asian nations in terms of logistics infrastructure, and Chinese manufacturers no longer produced for export markets only, but for growing domestic demand, too. Rather than reductions in foreign investment in China, there might rather be more rapid investment in other east Asian markets. Some European and American market participants also said that it was too early to talk about a large-scale manufacturing relocation to South East Asia. However, they also suggested that China should address improvement issues among its suppliers, as timely adjustment from passive to active patterns would be helpful for China’s development.

渣打银行亚洲研究部主管许长泰称,制造业是否会向东南亚转移目前还不明确。首先,中国的物流基础设施仍然比许多东南亚国家更具竞争力。此外,中国的制造商已不再只是为出口而生产,中国国内需求正在发挥日益重要的作用。因此,我们可能看不到生产者减少他们在中国的投资,而是以更快的速度增加其在东南亚和其他市场的投资。一些接触欧美公司的市场人士对记者表示,现在说制造业大规模转移东南亚为时尚早。但中国也要正视自身市场供应优势的变化,及时调整化被动为主动更有利于中国经济的发展。

In the words of the report – apparently this one,

FDI flows to China also reached a record level of $124 billion, and flows to the services sector surpassed
those to manufacturing for the first time. China continued to be in the top spot as investors’ preferred
destination for FDI, according to UNCTAD’s WIPS, but the rankings of South-East Asian economies such
as Indonesia and Thailand have risen markedly. Overall, as China continues to experience rising wages and production costs, the relative ompetitiveness of ASEAN countries in manufacturing is increasing.

FDI outflows from East Asia dropped by 9 per cent to $180 billion, while those from South-East Asia rose
36 per cent to $60 billion. Outflows from China dropped by 5 per cent, while those from Hong Kong, China, declined by 15 per cent. By contrast, outflows from Singapore registered a 19 per cent increase and
outflows from Indonesia and Thailand surged. [page xvi – xvii]

And

FDI inflows to developing Asia continued to grow, while South-East Asia and South Asia
experienced faster FDI growth than East Asia.
The two large emerging economies, China and India, saw inflows rise by nearly 8 per cent and by 31 per cent, respectively. Major recipient
economies in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) subregion, including
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, also experienced a rise in inflows. [pages 3 – 4]

As indirectly quoted by Huanqiu Shibao, the report states that

Among the economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), four – Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – saw a considerable rise in their FDI inflows. The
performance of the relatively low-income countries, namely Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic
Republic and Myanmar was generally good as well, though Viet Nam declined slightly. Although natural
disaster in Thailand disrupted production by foreign affiliates in the country, particularly in the automobile
and electronic industries, and exposed a weakness of the current supply-chain management systems,
FDI inflows to the country remained at a high level of nearly $10 billion, only marginally lower than that of
2010. Overall, as East Asian countries, particularly China, have continued to experience rising wages
and production costs, the relative competitiveness of ASEAN in manufacturing has been enhanced.
Accordingly, some foreign affiliates in China’s coastal regions are relocating to South-East Asia,2
while others are moving their production facilities to inland China. [page 43]

Addressing FDI into Chinese manufacturing in particular, the report states slowing growth as a short-term prospect:

FDI growth in the region has slowed since late 2011 because of growing uncertainties in the global economy. FDI to manufacturing stagnated in China, but the country is increasingly attracting market-seeking FDI, especially in services. According to the annual World Investment Prospects Survey (WIPS) undertaken by UNCTAD this year, China continues to be the most favoured destination of FDI inflows. FDI prospects in South-East Asia remain promising,
as the rankings of ASEAN economies, such as Indonesia and Thailand, have risen markedly in the survey. [page 44]

The report doesn’t only discuss China’s (and other developing countries) as recipients, but also as sources of foreign direct investment.

All in all, the Huanqiu Shibao article appears to be basically assuasive, but still somewhat more “alarming” than the UNCTAD report would seem to warrant. It’s conventional wisdom that China is moving up the value-adding chain, and rising wages are a logical phenomenon in this process. The main goal in terms of propaganda appears to be that the laobaixing, the common people, should continue to push ahead in terms of personal education and qualification, in a competitive global economy. In this context, it also makes sense that websites like “Utopia” remain closed down – a measure which was reportedly criticized, among others, by some 1,600 cadres and scholars who accused chief state councillor Wen Jiabao in particular for closing these sources down, and of subverting the socialist market economy. That Huanqiu Shibao may distrust the outside world appears to be an intended goal (no cohesion within China, without such distrust) – but another intended goal is that the readers accept the challenges posed by global competition, rather than rejecting them in favor of, for example, Maoism.

I hadn’t been a regular reader of Utopia, one of the websites that have been closed since spring this year, but came across an article there some six months before the closures. The article’s author was Gu Genliang, a People’s University (aka Renmin University) professor, and it wasn’t exactly globalization-friendly:

We are mired in heavy dependence on foreign resources and on on our own cheap exports. Large-scale low-end exports consume a lot of energy and natural resources, which led to our country’s dependence on foreign energy and resources which not only made the prices for these sources explode, which transferred the fruits of our people’s hard work into the hands of energy-exporting countries, but also has the potential of making us suffer from foreign countries’ embargos, thus carrying a huge security risk. At the same time, while our country is so reliant on foreign resources, it is ridiculous that we are exporting large quantities of rare earths and minerals coal, etc. at low prices.

The topic of Huanqiu Shibao’s article on ASEAN as a competitor for efficiency-seeking FDI doesn’t look exactly sensitive, but a current anti-“Maoist”, anti-“utopian”, or simply anti-“nostalgia” struggle might help to explain why there is no room for readers’ comments underneath. Such comments could spoil the article’s intended pro-competition message.

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Related

» UNCTAD World Investment Report 2012

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mekong Security: all Brothers, Big and Small

Xinhua, October 13, 2011

Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao on Thursday summoned diplomatic envoys from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and urged the three nations to intensify their investigation of a deadly attack on Chinese ships that occurred on the Mekong River.

[…]

Song said China has urged the countries to take effective measures to strengthen the protection of Chinese ships and sailors on the Mekong River and its relevant waters and to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future.

chinanews.com / Huanqiu Shibao, October 30, 2011

chinanews.com (中新网), Oct 30. According to the Ministry of Public Security’s website, China will hold a conference with Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, on cooperation in law enforcement and security on the Mekong River basin on October 31. The conference’s purpose was to thoroughly investigate the shootings of 13 Chinese crewmen, to establish a common system of law enforcement and security cooperation on the Mekong River, effectively safeguard maritime security order on the Mekong, and to guarantee the safety of the four countries’ vessels’ and crews’ lives and property.

中新网10月30日电 据公安部网站消息,中国将于10月31日在北京召开中老缅泰湄公河流域执法安全合作会议。此次会议旨在尽快彻底查清中方13名船员在湄公河水域遭枪杀案件,推动建立中老缅泰湄公河执法安全合作机制,有效维护湄公河流域航运安全秩序,确保四国船舶和人员生命财产安全。

Chinese State Councillor and public security minister Meng Jianzhu, Thailand’s vice prime minister [apparently] Chalerm Ubumrung, Laotian vice prime minister and defense minister [apparently] Chansamone Chanyalath, Myanmar’s interior minister [apparently] Ko Ko, heading a delegation separately, will attend the conference.

中国国务委员、公安部部长孟建柱,泰国副总理哥威,老挝副总理兼国防部长隆再,缅甸内政部部长哥哥将分别率团出席会议。

The conference will carry out a set of bilateral and multilateral consultations concerning law enforcement and security cooperation in the Mekong River Basin, and a broad consensus on  more joint law-enforcement patrols, jointly addressing emerging security problems, jointly fighting cross-border crime, and common replies to incidents is expected.

本次会议将就湄公河流域执法安全合作进行一系列双边和多边的磋商,预期将就加强联合巡逻执法、联合整治治安突出问题、联合打击跨国犯罪、共同应对突发事件等议题达成广泛共识。

Reportedly, the conference participants from Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, will arrive in Beijing separately arrive in Beijing on October 30.

据悉,出席会议的泰国、老挝、缅甸代表团将于30日分别抵京。

From Huanqiu Shibao’s commenter thread

Great! These countries have become our little brothers! (太好了 这几个国家 已经成为我们的小弟! – 2011-10-30 14:42)
Myanmar home affairs minister Ge Ge [Ko Ko] – that name suits him nicely. (缅甸内政部部长哥哥 …….. 名字起的真好 -2011-10-30 14:35)*)
Thai militry implemented American intelligence plans!! To destroy China’s and its neighbors’ relations!! (泰国军方实施,美国情报部门策划!!破坏中国和周边国家关系!! – 2011-10-30 14:35)

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Notes

*) Ge Ge implies racketeering (big brother). According to an Irrawaddy article of October 13, Lieutenant-General Ko Ko was a military commander in the Triangle region in the past.

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Related

» 孟建柱会见缅甸内政部部长哥哥, 公安部网站, October 30, 2011
» Hawngleuk militia, “Underground since 2006”, Irrawaddy, Oct 13, 2011

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