Wahaha boss richest man in China

Slower economic growth took its toll on many of China's 100 biggest fortunes, according to the 2012 Forbes China Rich List, with 45 of them slipping from last year's count and their total assets dropping 7 percent to $220 billion.


Zong Qinghou, the founder and chairman of the beverage producer Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co Ltd, who topped the list in 2010, regained his title as the richest businessmen in China, with a net worth of nearly $10 billion, according to the list.


With an 80 percent share in Wahaha, Forbes said Zong's fortune exceeded 60 billion yuan ($9.57 billion), over 2 billion yuan more than last year.


Wang Jianlin, chairman and president of Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd, was the fastest riser in the past year, seeing his wealth jump from 25.6 billion yuan to 50.4 billion yuan, making up the top three with Zong and Robin Li from China's search engine company Baidu.


The Forbes list comes a fortnight after Zong, 67, topped the Hurun Rich List 2012, which estimated his fortune at $12.6 billion, the second time he has topped the list produced by the Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute.


Singapore Expats wealthiest: HSBC's annual survey

Expats living in Southeast Asia tend to earn the most, with those in Singapore the wealthiest of the lot, according to HSBC’s fifth annual survey of expatriate wealth, lifestyles and attitudes.

The survey, described by HSBC as the largest of its kind as measured by the number of participants, shows that Singapore this year tops its so-called Expat Explorer Economics league table, which ranks countries based on a number of factors such as earning levels, disposable income and ability to accumulate luxuries.

Singapore, the HSBC data shows, is home to the largest proportion of wealthy expats of any country, with more than half, or 54%, of Singapore-based expats who took part in the survey reporting that they earn more than $200,000 per year, compared to a global survey average of only 7%.

Four other Southeast Asian countries also place in the league table’s top ten of financially-accommodating jurisdictions, including Thailand (in third place), Hong Kong (fourth), China (seventh) and Vietnam (tenth), the HSBC data shows.


Other key findings of the survey:

  •; line-height: 1.8em; "> Four in five (80%) of expats in Singapore saw an increase in their disposable income since relocating to the city-state
  •; line-height: 1.8em; ">The trend for increased earnings after relocating is also noted across other Asian countries, with expats in Hong Kong (79%), Malaysia (72%) and China (69%) saying they, too, benefitted from an increase in disposable income since moving to these countries
  •; line-height: 1.8em; "> Despite a generally strong outlook for the Gulf economies, many Middle Eastern expats say they only plan to stay for a short time

To read more about the Expat Explorer survey on HSBC's website, click here.




Singapore Scraps Taxes on Gold & Silver

Singapore continues to position itself as one of Asia’s leading financial service countries. The Singaporean government is set to repeal the 7 percent tax on Gold and Silver. The previously announced tax count is set to take place October 1st, 2012. This move should help Singapore position itself as a world leader in the Gold and Silver trade.



Singapore now accounts for about 2% of global gold demand but with these moves the Singaporean government hopes to increase that share to 10 to 15%. Singapore has a strong stock market and large Financial Services sector and is now working to expand its share of trade in other investment markets.



Age will weary the Chinese miracle

Talk of the so-called China dominated Asian Century ignores one important factor in the equation: China like the rest of northeast Asia is a rapidly ageing zone. As the grandfather of the region, most of the attention is on Japan. In terms of the implications for the power balance into the future, much more attention should be paid to China. While the fact of China ageing is well known, less appreciated is what this actually means for the future of Asia’s largest and most rapid rising power. ‘Demography is not destiny’ as French sociologist Auguste Comte once said. But it does shape the future prospects for countries gradually but relentlessly, and on this account, China is in trouble.

When China began its reforms in 1979, there were around seven working persons for every retiree. The current ratio is about 5.5 for every retiree. By 2015, more people will formally leave the workforce than enter it. And by 2035, there will be 2.5 working persons for every retiree. Put differently, 40 per cent of the population will be of retirement age in 2035.

The age profile of the working population also matters since workers tend to be at their most productive from the late 20s to their mid-40s. By 2035, there will be 4.5 older workers (50 to 64 years old) for every three younger counterparts (15 to 29 years old) which is the direct reverse of the situation currently.


Shanghai falls, Zurich, Kuala Lumpur rise in latest global finance centre ranking

Shanghai fell 11 notches, to 19th place, while Geneva climbed five and Zurich one, in the latest Global Financial Centres Index ranking.


The twice-yearly league table of 77 financial centres is compiled from a number of data sources, including responses by bankers and other financial services executives to an online survey, by Z/Yen, a London-based think-tank. It was originally launched in 2007, when it was funded by the City of London, but the last few surveys have been sponsored by Qatar, which is now in 35th place, not significantly above its 36th place position in the last GFCI ranking before it took over sponsorship.


Asian economies, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, to top richest list by 2050: Study

Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea are projected to be the world’s richest economies on a per capita basis by 2050 as the region’s rapid growth boosts wealth creation, a study showed.


Bridgewater’s Dalio Is Bullish on Gold

Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund manager Bridgewater Associates, sees a number of factors continuing to support gold.

The precious metal has gained 9 percent over the past seven weeks to a six-month high, with the December gold futures contract closing at $1,731.80 an ounce Monday.

“Gold is primarily an alternative to fiat currency and a storehold [sic] of wealth,” Dalio writes in a letter to investors. “The main advantage that gold has over other currencies is that it can’t be printed.”

Developed economies will continue to rely on monetary stimulus for years, he says. And central bank easing, of course, raises the threat of soaring inflation.

Near record-low interest rates also argue for higher gold prices, Dalio says. The fact that gold doesn’t pay any interest is generally seen as one of the metal’s main drawbacks as an investment, he points out.

But, “real interest rates are likely to remain very low and below real growth rates, as a means of combating deleveraging and improving debt sustainability,” Dalio writes.




The statements, opinions and analysis presented in the texts and newsletters on this website are provided as a general information and education service only. Opinions, estimates and probabilities expressed herein constitute the judgment of the authors as of the date indicated and are subject to change without notice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be, nor shall it be construed as, investment advice, nor is it to be relied upon in making any investment or other decision. KowloonGold or its authors shall not be responsible or have any liability for investment decisions based upon, or the results obtained from, the information provided.