19/02/2014 Asia Business Report


Live from Singapore, the essential business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day.

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be delayed by six months. The "care database", as it's being called, was


due to begin operating in April. Time for Asia Business Report.


Auto rescue. China looks set to tie up with a struggling carmaker. Snow


in the supply chain. How the weather is effect on businesses across


Japan. Welcome to wage a business report. We start with the iconic


French car maker, Peugeot, which is about to be rescued by the Chinese.


In recent years, their cars have sold poorly, and the company has


made massive losses. It is being kept afloat by a massive injection


of money from the financing arm. Help looks to be on the way. A


Chinese carmaker is set to agree to a tie-up, which is part of a $4


billion moneymaking operation. What is in it for the Chinese company?


This deal is a potential risk, because we have seen in the past two


years, some other Chinese companies have tried to act as a bargain


hunter, to acquire the Swedish car maker, Saab. It conceded a lot of


money on that deal. I would say that they are trying to seek similar


opportunities at the moment, but we can see the risk is huge. We know


China's car market is the largest in the world. Why do you think Chinese


carmakers have struggled to sell abroad? Simply because of the brand


side they are not ready yet. And companies like this one operate more


slowly than other private companies. That is in terms of overseas


operation and brand development. If you compare their indigenous brand,


the gap is very huge on sales. In other news, China's national


development and reform commission, part of the country's regulatory


body, has confirmed that antimonopoly investigations are


going on. The agency is ending in on technology providers. According to


analysts, the Chinese government is trying to lower domestic costs, and


rule out faster four G networks this year. Earlier this month, a


complaint was filed against one of the companies for overpricing their


networks. According to industry watchers, the move has sent a strong


signal that the people's bank of China is serious about access


liquidity, to reduce the risk of informal lending. It has been


identified as a major risk to Chinese growth, due to the


possibility of major debts turning into default. Malaysia's main


airline system has reportedly huge loss. It has rounded off the year


with its fourth straight quarterly loss, and the outlook for this year


has been negative. Malaysian airlines said that stiff competition


makes it difficult for them to increase fares. Coca-Cola is having


tough times with sales at home. That was the main reason for a 10% drop


in earnings in the final quarter of last year. It came in at $1.7


billion. Sales in North America fell by 1%. The makers of Sprite and


Vitamin K tapwater also posted lost. Japan is coming out from its second


major snowstorm in a week. Shops are having to deal with empty shelves in


some parts of the country, and the prices of fresh vegetables have


increased radically. The snow has forced a number of car factory


closures, although many workers are now back. Japan is better placed


than most countries to deal with snow, but what is the overall


impact. ? . The supply chain in Japan is quite


finely grained. The trucks are smaller, the store locations are


typically smaller than they would be in a large area country like the US.


If there is a local disruption, that trickles down. On the other hand,


Japan is fairly robust, and resilient to disruptions, because it


is used to disruptions by whether. Typhoons in the summer, and snow in


winter. This year, I have lived here for 22 years, and every winter there


were some days of snow in the Tokyo area full of it is quite usual for


Japan. We have seen car industry is stalling some of their operations at


some factories around the country. Toyota is reportedly back online.


How the Japanese businesses generally handle these kinds of


disruptions? Some of the factories like Toyota and Nissan, had some


factories closed for one or two days, and then I think one or two


factory roofs were broken in by the snow. Today, there are some areas


which are without supplies, and supplies are brought in by


helicopter. This would be remote, will areas. Surely that is all


adding to the cost? Businesses are likely to lose money as a result of


the snow. Of course it adds to the cost, and reduces, shuts down the


factories for some time. But that is happening every year, more or less.


This year there is a little bit more snow in the Tokyo area than other


years. Don't forget, on the western side of the Alps, it is called snow


country, so Japan is used to snow in most areas. There is some


speculation that the carmakers we talked about will struggle to meet


orders, particularly before April, when we have a sales hike coming in.


We have a special situation this year with domestic demand, because


there is an artificial buildup of demand before the consumption tax


will rise from 5% to eight Z in the new financial year -- 8%. Carmakers


try to catch up with that, so there is some special pressure there. In


the future, people may be able to do medical checkups from home, using


smart phones or home appliances to help manage chronic diseases like


diabetes. Can even Asia, where the demand for healthcare is exploding,


and that thing you can possibly expensive method of treatment? We


spoke to one company tried to make a new kind of breakthrough.


It is never a pleasant experience visiting a hospital. There are long


lines in the waiting rooms, and mounds of healthcare and insurance


forms to be filled out. But, there is a growing need in Asia.


Health-care spending in the region passed more than $1 trillion last


year, and that is expected to list double in the last five years --


next five years. As a result, some companies are now looking to


technology to reduce the advent and improve treatment. The leading


technologies that influence what we do here is starting with mobile.


People now carry very powerful computers in their pockets, with a


lot of senses in them. He is also exploring the use of things like


Google class. Data storage has become so cheap that it has helped


the company store mounds of information, and use machines that


create 3-D models of hearts. How much will technology really change


things? I believe it will transform healthcare, because there is a big


need out there. The need to deal with people in rural areas, in China


or India, you have a scale issue that you have to deal with. With


true technology I believe we can leapfrog. For example, today in


Singapore already, through data we can analyse whether patient is ready


to go home. We can do that purely based on data. We are the have a


small set now. Imagine we have millions of patients, and suddenly


you seen much more. The more we see, the better we can apply at to the


treatment. What are some of the biggest obstacles to a meeting this


technology and utilising all these details? The business model has to


change in terms of, you know, we're not doing everything physically with


proximity, we are doing is rightly. Can we just a way of working that?


These things take a little longer than the speed of technology.


Asia's ability to adapt to new and possibly expensive healthcare


technologies remains be seen. But one thing is for sure. Given the


region has a rapidly ageing population, there is a rising demand


for a new way to handle that hospital visit.


That brings us to an end to this edition of Asia Business Report.


Our top stories: Fighting is intensifying in the centre of the


Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Police use hand grenades and water cannon


to try to clear hundreds of thousands of protesters.


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