Being a small company is a big plus when you’re at ZIM

Over the last 3 years, ZIM, one of the world’s 11 most profitable shipping companies, has set itself apart from the old-school shipping industry, complex processes, outmoded technology and sluggish response to changes.

In 2021, ZIM stands out as a dynamic technology driven company, that puts customer and employee experience at the center. This transformation has been powered by an advanced digital systems architecture and adoption of agile, creative and innovative work methods.

This means that the ZIM of today is a highly attractive employer, much closer in nature to leading high-tech companies such as Google or Microsoft, than its shipping peers. This is especially true given its headquarters which are located in the heart of Haifa’s high-tech zone and its strong global presence.

ZIM’s Glassdoor rating of 4.4 – well above the global average of 3.4/5 – is testimony to the impact of this change and the wave of … Read the rest

Finance Ministry Reduces 2021 Growth Forecast to 2.3%

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Finance Ministry has reduced its 2021 economic growth forecast for a second time to 2.3% from 2.8% growth, after a third wave of coronavirus infections struck Thailand this month.

Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) Director-General Kulaya Tantitemit said the ministry slashed its forecast for the number of foreign tourists to only 2 million this year from 5 million it had predicted three months ago.

She said the expected fewer tourists will have quite an impact as that will cut tourism money to just over 100 billion baht from 260 billion baht previously projected.

The latest outbreak has seen half of its overall cases reported this month alone and came as the country was preparing to reopen more broadly to foreign tourists, as vaccinations increase globally.

The Director-General said inoculations at home and abroad could provide some support. The distribution of vaccines is very important as it will … Read the rest

Clear skies over Asia’s new foreign investment landscape?

Compounding the fallout of the US–China trade war, the global pandemic and recession have caused considerable speculation on the future of foreign investment and global value chains (GVCs). But though there is likely to be some permanent change, it will probably not be as great as politicians expect.

The United States is alarmed at China’s technological advance. It has instituted a range of restrictions on sales of high-tech products to China and Chinese investment in the United States, and is heavily taxing imports from China.

These measures were introduced by the Trump administration and are under review by the Biden administration — but most of them will likely remain in place, reflecting a bipartisan distrust of China.

China, in turn, has doubled down on industrial policies aimed at generating domestic innovation and limiting technology imports. The pandemic caused temporary global shortages for medical equipment, raising concerns about dependence on imports … Read the rest

Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay Launch Cross-border Payment System

In a global first, Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems, PayNow and PromptPay allowing international fund transfers between the two countries within minutes.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have launched on Thursday a linkage of Thailand’s PromptPay and Singapore’s PayNow, marking the world’s first bridge between national real-time retail payment systems.

This new cross-border integration allows international fund transfers within minutes and could pave the way for a cross-border payments network with other ASEAN countries.

The linkage allows customers of participating banks in Thailand and Singapore to transfer funds of up to THB25,000 or S$1,000 daily across the two countries, using just a mobile number.

There will be no need to populate information fields such as the recipient’s full name and bank account details, as with normal remittance solutions. The funds will flow seamlessly and securely between customers’ accounts in

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Developing Asia growth set to rebound to 7.3% in 2021 (ADB)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (28 April 2021) — Economic growth in developing Asia is set to rebound to 7.3% this year, supported by a healthy global recovery and early progress on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The projected resurgence follows a 0.2% contraction last year, according to ADB’s flagship economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, released today.

The region’s growth is forecast to moderate to 5.3% in 2022

Excluding the newly industrialized economies of Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; and Taipei,China, developing Asia’s economic activity is expected to grow 7.7% this year and 5.6% in 2022.

“Growth is gaining momentum across developing Asia, but renewed COVID-19 outbreaks pose a threat to recovery,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada.

“Economies in the region are on diverging paths. Their trajectories are shaped by the extent of domestic outbreaks, the

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Thailand extends the 7,000 baht “Rao Chana” scheme to 33.5 million Thais

The Ministry of Finance, said today that the new proposal will increase the number of people eligible for the “Rao Chana” relief package to 33.5 million while raising the budget to 3 billion baht.

Under the scheme, each of the 33.5 million recipients will have 7,000 baht wired into their “Pao Tang” accounts in seven weekly instalments of 1,000 baht. The deadline extension until the end of June will also help to mitigate the impact of the new COVID-19 outbreak.

The Rao Chana scheme provides 7,000 baht in subsidies to each person registered as being affected by the COVID-19 situation.

The Ministry of Finance has clarified that the Rao Chana scheme is not accepting new applicants at this time, and the additional 3- billion-baht budget approved by the Cabinet is for funding the program which has been extended for another month.

The cabinet approved to extend the deadline for people … Read the rest

Bangkok falls 19 places to 49th most expensive location worldwide

The decline of Bangkok reflects the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the rental market in the tourism-reliant Thai economy, according to ECA’s latest survey.

Hanoi saw a similar drop of 12 places to 81st place, based on an analysis of data gathered in September 2020.

The survey uses average rental prices for a three-bedroom apartment in the mid-range of the expatriate market.

ECA International has been conducting research into accommodation costs for international executives for more than 20 years to help companies provide the right housing options as part of the overall compensation package for mobile employees. The research compares rental costs in accommodation in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 360 locations worldwide.

Hong Kong has been named the most expensive location in the world for expat accommodation for a fourth year in a row but still saw rental costs drop considerably due to the … Read the rest

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

By Karen Lee

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

Drawing from the protest movements in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and neighboring Thailand, youth activists in Myanmar have leveraged their intimate knowledge of digital tools to protest authoritarianism. Inspired by the movement in Myanmar, the nearly year-long protests in Thailand against that country’s military-led government have gained renewed momentum.

The rise of digital activism across Southeast Asia in the past half-decade has featured a new generation of protesters leveraging social media and co-opting popular symbols to attract international coverage and garner sympathy for their causes.

Although the governments they are fighting against have also used these same tools to restrict protest activities and free speech, the digital imprint of the Milk Tea Alliance in the region ensures that these protests will not easily be forgotten.

The

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Thai fruit exports to FTA markets up 107 percent

BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s fruit exports continue to increase, despite the sluggish global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with key trade partners being countries that have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the kingdom.

Thai durian, mangosteen, longan and mango are popular in China, Hong Kong and ASEAN member states.

Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Oramon Sapthaweetham, said Thai fruit exports, to 18 countries which have FTAs with Thailand, reported 107 percent growth in the first two months of 2021, compared to the same period of last year. The total trade value was US$461 million, accounting for 94.94 percent of the country’s total fruit exports.

China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and Chile are top importers of Thai fruits, especially fresh durian, mangosteen, longan and mango. Thai exporters are able to benefit from FTA privileges.

Currently, Thailand is the 7th largest fruit exporter, and the … Read the rest

3 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Baht Right Now

The Thai Baht, our beleaguered currency, has had something of a difficult few years. Successful debt and inflation crises have eroded the value of the Baht numerous times, not least the events of 2015-16, which saw the Baht plunge to some of the lowest levels against the Dollar in history.

However, things finally seem to be turning around. The erosion of the dollar continued capital flight into Asia, and a host of other factors have led to a sustained rally of the Baht that has pushed it to some of its highest-ever valuations.

While some detractors might think this is a temporary blip, here are three reasons for longer-term optimism. 

1. The US Dollar is Set for a Weak 2021

Probably one of the most important factors for the rise of the Baht is the continued weakness of the US dollar, which most experts agree is going to continue declining … Read the rest