#Shanghai may build new airport for business flights

Shanghai is considering building a new business aviation airport to meet the rising demand for business jets in the city, an official from the Shanghai Airport Authority said on Tuesday.

“In addition to the existing business aviation bases, Shanghai is also planning a new business aviation base elsewhere in the city,” said Jing Yiming, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, at the opening of the three-day Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition.

“The market potential of Shanghai’s business aviation is huge, where we’ve seen more than 20 percent year-on-year growth in the sector during the past few years. So far, a total of 67 general aviation enterprises and 371 general aviation aircraft have been registered with the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s East China Regional Administration,” Jiang Huaiyu, an official from the administration was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Observer.

“So it is necessary for Shanghai to have an independent airport handling business and general aviation,” Jiang added.

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Currently, the second business aviation base at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is under construction, and is expected to become operational in 2018.

There were 900 turbine helicopters and 450 business jets in China as of 2016, with compound annualized growth rates of around 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, over the past decade, said Charles Park, director of marketing analysis and planning of Honeywell Aerospace.

Read also: Top 10 world’s busiest airports

Wang Qi, vice-president of China sales and chief representative of ATR, said the development of general aviation will create opportunities for less populated airports.

“About 92 percent of passengers are concentrated in the top 50 of the nation’s 219 airports, while the bottom 100 airports only handle 1.6 percent of the total passenger flow, where general aviation can play their role,” said Wang.

The concept of general aviation is not limited to business needs, said Liao Xuefeng, chairman and CEO of China Business Aviation Group. “A variety of non-commercial actives including agricultural aviation and rescue can benefit from it.”

According to Bill Schultz, senior vice-president of business development in China for Textron Aviation, China’s general aviation market offers diversified jet demand.

The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) has a similar supportive trend in areas including tourism, air mapping and emergency rescue, he said.

According to the guiding rules of the State Council on promoting the development of the general aviation industry, issued in 2016, China plans to build around 200 new general aviation airports between 2016 and 2020, bringing the nation’s total to about 500.

This article appeared on The China Post newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Cambodia – Microlender in monster deal

Hong Kong financial giant The Bank of East Asia and Sri Lanka’s LOLC announced on Friday that they have jointly acquired a majority stake in Prasac Microfinance, Cambodia’s largest microfinance institution (MFI) by assets, in what could be the largest acquisition of a Cambodian lender to date.

According to a joint company release, The Bank of East Asia (BEA) and LOLC acquired a controlling share of Prasac by purchasing minority stakes held by Dragon Capital Group Ltd, Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries SA (BIO) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO).

The acquisition raises LOLC’s existing holding from 22 percent to 70 percent, with BEA holding 21 percent. Prasac retains the remaining 9 percent stake.

The deal was valued at $186 million by Sri Lankan media. Prasac and its shareholders could not be reached yesterday for confirmation, nor was the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) available to confirm whether it had approved the acquisition.

Prasac is Cambodia’s largest deposit-taking MFI with an asset portfolio of $1.3 billion and over $660 million in deposits, according to the joint statement, which added that the deal would help pave the MFI’s path toward becoming a licensed commercial bank.

Sim Senacheert, CEO of Prasac, was quoted in the release as saying that BEA was a strategic investor that would “further contribute to sustainable economic development and financial inclusion in Cambodia”.

David Li, chairman and chief executive of BEA, said the deal marked the financial group’s first foothold in Cambodia and would help it expand its reach to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

“Through Prasac, our bank will further strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia. This strategic investment will enable us to better capitalise on the opportunities arising from China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiatives’,” he was quoted as saying.

This is not the first time Prasac has worked toward securing a strategic investor, a move widely seen as the central bank’s requirements for commercial bank licence eligibility.

In August 2016, the NBC scuttled a deal between Prasac and South Korean financial giant Woori Bank for a 50 percent stake, claiming that the Korean lender was not one of the preferred bidder’s acknowledged by the independent regulatory body.

Cambodian MFIs have attracted the interest of international investors, with several large mergers and acquisitions announced in recent years. In January 2016, Thailand-based Bank of Ayudhya reached an agreement to acquire the local MFI Hattha Kaksekar – a deal that was valued at upwards of $140 million.

BEA’s stake in Prasac would mark the entry of Hong Kong’s third-largest bank into the Cambodian market. The financial group reported $98.7 billion in consolidated assets as of the end of last year.

Source – PhnomPenhPost

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Tibet to open world’s highest super-long tunnel

The Mila Mount Tunnel on the Lhasa-Nyingchi Highway is expected to be opened in September, when it will become the world’s highest super-long tunnel.

The tunnel is located at the junction of Lhasa and Nyingchi in the Tibet autonomous region at an average altitude of 4,740 meters above sea level, according to the Mila Mount Tunnel Project Headquarters.

As a key section of the Lhasa-Nyingchi Highway on the National Highway 318, the two lanes of the tunnel are 5,727 meters and 5,720 meters long respectively, according to the project headquarters.

Construction of the tunnel started in April 2015, and the project is about 70 percent complete to date, it said, adding that, hampered by the natural environment at high attitude, the construction process has encountered many obstacles.

“With a lack of oxygen and temperature lows of – 30 Celsius in winter, we require highly skilled workers,” said Wang Liang, chief engineer of the project headquarters.

Wang said many workers suffered from attitude sickness during the tunnel’s construction, and that much time and effort has been spent on recruiting qualified workers.

In order to overcome such difficulties, there are 15 oxygenators, an oxygen tank and five boilers on the project site, he added.

After it opens, traveling time between the cities of Lhasa and Nyingchi will be halved, Wang said.

“Driving from Lhasa to Nyingchi will take just three to four hours instead of about eight, and it will be much safer,” Wang said.

“It will also have a positive impact on the social and economic development of these places, and it will make life much more convenient for local ethnic groups.”

This article appeared on the China Daily newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

‘World’s first 5G smartphone’ from ZTE set for 2020

The Gigabit Phone promises to reach download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, up to 10 times faster than the 4G services widely in use today.

Chinese tech company ZTE announced Sunday that it had created “the world’s first phone compatible with 5G” mobile internet service.

The Gigabit Phone promises to reach download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, up to 10 times faster than the 4G services widely in use today.

“With the new device, the way people stay connected will be changed forever. Focusing on 5G technologies will be one of the key priorities of ZTE’s global development,” a ZTE spokesman said.

Read also: Huawei unveils preparation for ‘revolutionary’ 5G at Innovation Day

While 5G is not yet supported by any network, it is scheduled to be up and running by 2020, with trial services held during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang by South Korean carrier KT Corp.

Analyst Thomas Husson said ZTE was using the phone to “showcase innovation” and to “offer a glimpse into the future when people will be able to download full movies in seconds” but that, while exciting, “the sad reality is that this smartphone will not end up in consumers’ pockets because both 5G and virtual reality are still years away to be a mass-market consumer reality.”

Still, the Gigabit Phone and similar phones are likely to hit both Western and Eastern markets, as the Chinese company makes up 10 percent market share in the United States, making it the fourth-largest vendor in the country. (sul/kes)

source: TheJakartaPost

LuxBerths, a Global Online Marina Platform for Superyachts, Has Launched In Asia

Whilst technology has played a vital part in the development of yachting over the decades, the task of booking a berth has been left to basic methods.

That is all about to change with the launch of LuxBerths (www.LuxBerths.com): an advanced booking system for superyachts that provides a comprehensive database of marinas for yacht operators to search, select and book from.

Launched at the Thailand Yacht Show in Phuket in December, LuxBerths has a database of over 500 marinas accounting for more than 18,000 super yacht berths and offers yacht operators the advantage of a quick, convenient booking service to any marina on the system.

LuxBerths has selected the top marinas in the world and created a platform for marinas to promote their benefits and services to a global audience. The initial sign up phase has been completed and LuxBerths is now fully operational with specific functions focused on bookings, sales and destinations.

 James Wickens, CEO of LuxBerths, said: “The superyacht industry has been growing globally for many years and we believe that in terms of communications there is an opportunity for an upgrade in connectivity.

“LuxBerths platform provides a unique gateway for captains and owners to simply compare marinas plus book berths seamlessly online whilst saving money on more traditional booking options.”

“As marinas develop and become more sophisticated, not only in how they operate but also via their marketing programmes, there is a distinct need for an online, user-friendly platform that delivers convenience with a wealth of information,” he added.

As well as providing fast, convenient booking options, LuxBerths will offer captains up to date information on individual marinas as well as in depth destination features that will provide insights to key yachting locations.

One of the first groups to sign up to the platform is the Aseanarean Bluewater Alliance (ABA), a prestigious group of 13 marinas in Asia including Raffles Marina, Ocean Marina Yacht Club, and Phuket Boat Lagoon

Chief Executive Officer of Raffles Marina, Ray Parry, said: “The industry is developing fast and it’s important that yachting embraces new technology and all the advantages that it provides. This platform not only allows our alliance to promote our individual marinas but also our destinations, so it’s a great boost for the super yacht community in Asia and beyond.”

Part of the LuxBerths remit is to promote yachting destinations around the world and so it’s no coincidence that Luxberths is launching at the Thailand Yacht Show, which is backed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and is a highlight of one of Asia’s leading yachting destinations.

Source: TheNation

 

Thailand wants in 2018 introduce E-Visa

#BANGKOK, 25 January 2017: Thailand is exploring the world of e-Visas with the introduction phase scheduled to take place by the end of this year.

Minster of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently evaluating the project.

She was commenting on ways to ease visa formalities and make travel to Thailand more convenient during a press conference, Tuesday, convened to announce the hosting of the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit, 26 to 27 April, in the Thai capital.

“We are working on the introduction of an e-Visa… the first phase should be completed by end of this year… and the full phase will be completed in 2018.”

She said the project was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although ultimately visas are in the domain of the Immigration Bureau.

But introducing an e-Visa would decrease visa fee revenue at Thai consulates worldwide, a matter that will need agreement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Her comments followed statements made by the World Tourism and Travel Council, president, David Scowsil, who strongly recommended nations speed up the migration from paper to electronic visas.

“The WTTC focus is on electronic visas, freedom and the right to travel,” he said. “Visas are required by 58% of the world’s 1.2 billion population and they still need a paper visa…they are required to queue and pay for a visa it’s a crazy out-dated system.”

He said the WTTC’s three core objectives were to encourage freedom of travel, encourage policies for growth and encourage sustainable development for tomorrow.

Quoting the example of airlines he said it took them three years to migrate from paper to electronic tickets.

“We are persuading governments to move fast on this, electronic visas offer more security and a country can use the funds earned from e-Visa processing to support branding.”

He cited the example of the US, using e-Visa fees to fund Brand USA.

“China should create an e-Visa. Tourist arrivals to China have remained static at 55 million for five years,” he said. “If they created an e-Visa they could also use the visas to fund a Brand China campaign similar to what the US has done.”

Thailand is hosting WTTC’s first global summit a first for Southeast Asia. Last year, the annual event that attracts around 900 CEO’s tourism policy makers and government ministers, was hosted in Dallas, US.

Former prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, will address the global summit in Bangkok, while high profile CEO, Tony Fernandes, who founded the AirAsia group, will talk on airline connectivity.

The summit will be held at the Bangkok Convention Centre in CentralWorld, in downtown Bangkok.

Official airlines for the event are Thai Airways International, Emirates and AirAsia Group.

Source: TTRweekly

Phnom Penh – The Bridge project tops out ahead of schedule

After more than two years under construction, Oxley-WorldBridge’s much-anticipated mixed-use development has achieved the topping out milestone.

The successful topping out of The Bridge project, which involves the structure of the building reaching the highest point, was achieved on December 18, 2016, and was formally celebrated at a ceremony yesterday afternoon.

WorldBridge chairman Sear Rithy proudly said the topping out milestone of the project’s twin towers makes the development the tallest building near the Chaktomuk riverbank in the heart of Phnom Penh city, stretching 160 metres into the sky.

“We have good news to tell customers and the general masses,” Rithy said.

“The Bridge project, the first project for Oxley WorldBridge, was completed up to the forty-fifth storey successfully.”

Rithy added that The Bridge project, a joint venture between Singapore’s Oxley Holdings and WorldBridge Land, was among a select few property projects in Cambodia being developed according to schedule.

It’s expected that the decorating, fit out and equipping of units will begin early this year as planned, in time for ownership handover in “2018 or earlier”, Rithy said.

The Bridge development, which began construction in mid-2014 at a cost of more than $300 million, is a luxury condominium development which also boasts grade A offices and includes a 5-storey shopping mall.

According to Rithy, all the 746 condo units have been sold to buyers.

Living in condominiums is the epitome of modern living and The Bridge achieves just that, incorporating luxury and convenience. Most of the units in The Bridge complex offer river views and spectacular sights of the city.

In Cambodia, some major real estate projects have slowed down construction amid financial setbacks and market concerns. When asked what the joint venture’s key to successes was with The Bridge, Rithy said it was due to a great team of experts.

“My company is a developer company, we are not able to build this ourselves, but we have a team of experts who review and monitor the process to build it properly,” he said.

“In addition, we are grateful to the company Sino Great Wall, a professional and trusted partner, for our achievement on The Bridge project.”

Source: PhnomPenhPost

Myanmar boosts incentives for infra development, labour-intensive projects

An advertising billboard of Ooredoo in Yangon. Foreign investment, particularly in the telecoms sector, continues to flow into Myanmar.

Myanmar boosts incentives for infra development, labour-intensive projects

THE MYANMAR Investment Commission, a government body to facilitate both foreign and local investment, has planned plans to provide more incentives for investors in the two areas that are crucial to the country’s growth, labour-intensive industries and infrastructure development, a senior official said.

According to Aung Naing Oo, secretary of Myanmar Investment Commission and director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, the MIC will also encourage agricultural-based industries, aside from its two priorities.

He also explained about the two things MIC would look at before allowing any investor to do business in Myanmar.However, he said proposed investments had to meet standards. “First, any investment must be in line with our existing laws and regulations. Second, we prefer quality investments rather than trying to improve on the quantity level. For example, if a mega project may bring negative impacts to the country, we do not think it is a good investment,” he said.


LEDSIGNZ

Other things that the government investment agency takes into consideration include a project’s prospects for profitability, how it can improve the national income and revenue, while creating job opportunities. The MIC also considers how a proposed project sits in the international and local market situation, generates demand for domestic consumption, makes use of innovation, and results in the application of relevant technology. A project must also have arrangements to minimize environmental and social impacts.

 During the new government’s term,From April to early October, the MIC has approved 45 foreign investments totaling more than $400 million and 22 citizen investment projects worth about $100 million.

and Ks170 billion.By August 31, Myanmar had approved 1,131 firms from 45 countries for investments of $64.4 billion. China stands as the top investor with 141 firms that have committed to invest $18.1 billion, followed by Singapore (214 firms, $13.5 billion) and Thailand (98 firms, $10.6 billion). Among the Top 10 investors are Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, India and Vietnam.

Oil and gas, power, and manufacturing are the sectors in which Myanmar receives the most FDI. These three sectors are followed by transport and communications, real estate, mining, hotels and tourism, livestock and fisheries, agriculture, industrial estate, construction, and other services.

By September, the commission has allowed more than 46,000 local investors and over 5,000 foreign investors to do business. To cope with the increasing activity, MIC staffing was increased from 200 to more than 500 staff during the administration of President Thein Sein.

With the opening of its regional office in Hpa-An township in Kayin state on October 6, MIC now has nine branches, and two more branches will be opened by the end of this year, in the Bago and Magway regions.

“We hope to open branches in every state and region by 2017. If we can expand our network by opening new branches, things will get easier when we do investigation on project sites,” Aung Naing Oo said. He said he was confident that the MIC has the capacity to keep away dirty money.


LEDSIGNZ

“It is impossible to invest in Myanmar with black money, because we usually check the financial documents of all the companies, whether they register under the Foreign Investment Law or with Myanmar Citizens Investment Law,” he said.

Applicants’ finance is thoroughly checked, starting with their bank statements. Only transactions through banks are accepted, and this is under the monitoring of the Central Bank of Myanmar.

“It is really hard to transact black money via recognised banks.”

For investment by local entities, MIC cooperates with the Internal Revenue Department to check if the applicants pay taxes. The commission also has to report to the Home Affairs Ministry if a proposed investment exceeds 100 million kyat (Bt2.6 million), in case the ministry wants to check if money laundering is involved.

“Every investor has to attach necessary documents whenever they submit investment proposal. For example, if an investor submits a proposal to invest 10 million kyat but his bank account shows he possesses less than the proposed budget, we usually investigate how he will earn the remaining amount of money. This may involve a loan from an international organisation or a commercial bank and we may assess how he will manage to pay the interest etc,” Aung Naing Oo said.

Scrutiny in 2 steps

He said a project is scrutinised in two steps. “First, by MIC staff and secondly by the investment proposals assessment committee, which consists of high-ranking officials from relevant departments including ministries of commerce, labour, industry, construction, forestry and environmental conservation, the customs department, the internal revenue department, etc.” he said

“They also review the projects from their own perspective. If all of us are not satisfied with the proposal, we usually ask the investors for clarification and some necessary documents. Only when we all are happy, we will allow them to do business in Myanmar,” he said.

Aung Niang Oo noted that Myanmar welcomes all kinds of investment proposals. But the MIC may be unfamiliar with some projects and has to seek opinions from ministries, which sometimes lead to delays in the approval process.

Issuing permits is merely part of the MIC’s responsibilities. After issuing the permits, it has to check if the investors have followed their commitments in the proposals. This monitoring is the most exhausting process, the official said.

“Nowadays, we have more things to do than ever. We also have to help investors with their exports and imports after they receive the permits. So, our staff are usually super busy. That checking is usually carried out on weekends,” he said.

An investor who does not honour their commitments is liable to four types of penalties. First, a warning will be issued, then incentives like a tax holiday could be revoked. In some cases, a company’s operations will be suspended until the investors can satisfy the MIC. Lastly, a company can be blacklisted.

During the previous government term, two Korean garment factories were forced to shut down businesses for failing to follow the rules.

Source: TheNation