Category Archives: BUSINESS

Realising smart cities in ASEAN

Author: Phidel Vineles, RSIS

Rapid urbanisation poses concerning implications across ASEAN by straining infrastructure, raising inequality and compromising public safety. If ASEAN is to overcome these obstacles, it needs to make greater use of technology. While the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), already with 26 pilot cities, is a step in the right direction, a few flaws in its plan need attention.

A view of the Nanyang Technological University campus in Singapore 2 August 2016 (Photo: ReutersEUTERS/Edgar Su).

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Rapid urbanisation is occurring throughout ASEAN with an additional 90 million people expected to move into cities across the region by 2030. Most of this growth is expected in medium-sized cities with populations of between 200,000 and two million. These cities are projected to drive 40 per cent of the region’s growth.

It is then crucial to adopt ‘smart’ technologies to address the increasing challenges of urban development, including traffic congestion, pollution and strained infrastructure. The establishment of the ASCN, an initiative of Singapore for its 2018 ASEAN chairmanship, gives ASEAN member states leeway to adopt a cities-level mechanism for achieving next generation urban settings.

The ASCN framework was developed as a non-binding guide to facilitate smart city development in each ASCN city. It consists of three strategic objectives: competitive economies, sustainable environments and higher quality of life. Smart cities help economies become competitive by leveraging innovation and entrepreneurship, helping to generate business and job opportunities. They also promote sustainable environments by employing sustainable green technology …continue reading


Finer economic data for a fairer ASEAN economy

Author: Jose Ramon Albert, PIDS

The Philippines and other ASEAN economies are experiencing stellar economic growth. Frontier technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as automation and robotics, the internet of things, 3D printing, blockchain and nanotechnologies are rapidly transforming economies. To respond effectively to these changes and understand how they will impact different groups, governments need to collect and analyse a broader range of data — including more and better-quality disaggregated statistics.

Filipino employees work at the assembly line of Kinpo Electronics factory in Malvar, Batangas, Philippines, 10 August 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro).

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Disaggregated data about economies give clues about where growth is happening and help policymakers shape appropriate policy responses. But when countries produce growth reports, data is usually only disaggregated by economic sector. A full picture of the contribution of men and women in an economy, among other things, cannot be obtained — at best, policymakers can disaggregate the incomes of men and women using household and establishment surveys. These provide little insight into what is happening in the informal sector.

Policymakers need to value unpaid housework and care work. Time-use surveys report that the economic contribution of women through unpaid care is large. It is likely that GDP would look very different if unpaid care was properly valued in national accounts.

The importance of economic growth to poverty reduction is well known. Poverty …continue reading


Regional residential land prices increase for first time since 1992

Something that is on every local investor and real estate agent’s calendar is the announcement of the Chika-Koji assessed land prices by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). This year’s results came as no surprise to those in the industry, with average land prices increasing for the fourth year in a row. A 1.2% increase nationwide was reported in 2019, a 0.5 point increase from 2018.

Regional residential land prices increased for the first time in 27 years with 0.2% growth. Last year, regional commercial land prices increased for the first time in 26 years.

Nationwide, residential land prices increased by 0.6%, the second year in a row to see an increase. Residential land prices have been supported by historically low interest rates, home loan tax deductions, and a growing trend to live in more centrally-located areas with good transport links.

Commercial land prices nationwide saw a 2.8% increase. This is the fourth year in a row to see an increase. Commercial land values have benefited from the boom in foreign tourists in recent years, along with rising office rents. Japan’s three major cities recorded an average increase of 5.1% while regional zones saw 1% growth. Kyoto’s Gion district saw a 43.6% increase in commercial land prices, ranking 4th nationwide. This was a large improvement from last year’s increase of 25.8%.

The most expensive land in Japan is the site of the Yamano Music Building in Ginza, Tokyo. The land had an assessed value of 57,200,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 47,000 USD/sq.ft) in 2019, up 3.1% from 2018 and the sixth year in a row to record an increase. The rate of growth has slowed after seeing 18% growth in 2016 and 26% growth in 2017. This land was valued at 38,500,000 Yen/sqm at the peak of the bubble …continue reading


Thai developer to invest further 100 billion Yen in Hokkaido ski resort

On February 4, Thai real estate developer Property Perfect announced plans to invest 100 billion Yen in their Kiroro Resort in Hokkaido over the next 10 years. The plans include expanding their ski facilities and building new luxury villas.

In December 2019 the developer will finish construction of a 108-unit resort condominium called Yu Kiroro. One-bedroom, 62 sqm (667 sq.ft) apartments in Yu Kiroro are pried from 76 million Yen (approx. 682,000 USD). In the future there will be a new 150-room hotel and high-end villas.

Property Perfect acquired the Kiroro Ski Resort in 2012 for 1.9 billion Yen (approximately 24 million USD at the time). The resort opened in 1991 and includes two hotels with 422 rooms and sits on a 48 hectare site. After the acquisition, the hotels were rebranded as the Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort and the Kiroro Tribute Portfolio Hotel Hokkaido. The resort is 55 kilometers from downtown Sapporo.

Yu Kiroro. A ski-in ski-out condominium due for completion in December 2019.

The Nikkei Shimbun, February 5, 2019.
The Zaikei Shimbun, February 5, 2019.

…continue reading


Investing in care key to boosting economic growth

Authors: Elizabeth Hill, Marian Baird and Michele Ford, University of Sydney

The need to increase women’s labour market participation and economic security is on the ‘to do’ list of most governments and major global institutions. By 2025, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent — US$28 trillion — if women participated in paid work to the same extent as men.

Women take part in a women-only financial seminar named Kinyu Joshi (Finance Women) in Tokyo, Japan, 4 October 2018 (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato).

But if this goal is achieved, who will look after the children, the elderly, the disabled and ill? Although both women and men participate in care, global estimates show that women assume responsibility for around three-quarters of all unpaid domestic and community labour.

Tensions between women’s participation in paid work and unpaid care work are especially acute in Asia and the Pacific. In this region, women perform more than four times as much unpaid labour as men. Managing this unpaid workload makes it difficult for women to increase participation in paid employment at a level commensurate with their increasing levels of education and training.

Home to over half the world’s population, the Asia Pacific is diverse and changing rapidly, with economic growth delivering new opportunities for women. Hundreds of millions of young rural women have been drawn into factory work, English-speaking women are employed in call centres and back-office processing centres, and highly educated women …continue reading