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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.
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