11/06/2014 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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Now on BBC News, all the latest business news live from Singapore.


Police in Asia are cracking down on illegal betting on the eve of the


World Cup kick`off in Brazil. And, game changer? Nintendo counts


on toys to turn its fortunes around. Welcome to the programme. I'm Rico


Hizon. Days ahead of the start of the World Cup in Brazil, police in


China, Thailand and Singapore have begun targeting illegal football


betting. It is an enormous market globally. The international centre


for sport security estimates people bet up to $680 billion a year. Over


80% of those wages are made through illegal channels. Asia accounts for


more than half of that illegal market worldwide. From Hong Kong,


our correspondent reports on efforts to stamp out the trade.


Kicking off a new campaign. Ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, these young


dancers are fronting a government`sponsored movement urging


the public not to gamble on football matches. The World Cup is about


sportsmanship, it is about skills. It is about football stars. They are


not running around to make money for you. But, for Hong Kong's many


punters, about 60% of the population, the upcoming competition


is the most exciting opportunity in the world. The only legal way to


gamble here is at the Jockey Club, which collected $6.5 billion US in


revenue from football betting last year. Unofficial channels, like this


website, are believed to make several times that amount. They


offer easy access and lots of credit. They have now been targeted


by law enforcement. This week, police in Hong Kong and another


province seized millions of dollars in cash and detained 29 people were


running an allegedly illegal online betting syndicate. About $100


million had already been wagered. Mostly on World Cup matches.


TRANSLATION: According to what we have confiscated, and our records,


this is an unprecedented and extremely large illegal betting


ring. It is difficult to estimate the size of the illegal football


betting market. Both here in Hong Kong and the rest of China. Some


believe it could be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. For the


people affected, the real`life impact is unquantifiable. Deeply in


debt, this man quit gambling five years ago and joined a church


support group. That was after his wife threatened divorce. He explains


why he was punting for more than four decades. TRANSLATION: For me, I


loved football. It added to the excitement. The best was when my


team won, and I won. Winning on the field is more healthy, say


antigambling activists, and they will campaign for two more weeks, to


convince the come `` to convince the public that it's a sporting, not a


betting event. Looming threat of sanctions over


supply cuts means Moscow is increasingly looking to China.


President Vladimir Putin last month signed a 30 year gas agreement with


Beijing. Economists say the shift in focus will get a mixed response in


Asia. Natural gas prices in Asia are about twice what they are in Europe,


four times the US. Any source of inexpensive natural gas, like in


Russia, will be welcomed. The currency is different. It's not a


very strong currency, it is very limited. My guess is the Asians will


not be receptive to paying in rubles. It will be happy to pay in


dollars or in the yuan. In other business news, the World


Bank has revised its forecast for economic road in the developing


world this year from 5.3% to 4.8%. If that's correct, it will be the


third consecutive year of growth below 5% in these countries. It says


developing nations like India need to make economic reforms might like


investing in infrastructure, to promote growth but its report


predicts growth will speed up in 2015. Indonesia could more than


double its rice imports this year, to keep the prices down. The economy


once a rise in prices ahead of the elections next month, and the


looming weather system. Analysts believe imports could rise to 1.5


million tons, which would be good news for growers in Thailand and


Vietnam. Google is buying skybox imaging for `` half $1 billion. The


technology giant says the deal is aimed at keeping the maps accurate


and could help to expand Internet access. Satellites use a resolution


that can see single cars along a road. It is their second acquisition


year, after it bought a solar powered drone maker.


Virtually every media and entertainment business today has a


digital strategy to try to get to the consumer where ever they are. In


a new report, PricewaterhouseCoopers says that by 2018 one third of


advertising revenue across the world will be digital, but


consumer revenues will come from digitally delivered content, like


music, videos and games. How can they make money from the digital


consumer? These days, it is impossible to


escape from advertising, as you can see from the big television screen


behind me in the heart of Singapore's financial district. Five


years ago, television advertising was more than double that of


internet advertising. According to a new report, that is set to change. I


am joined by Greg Unsworth from PricewaterhouseCoopers. How is the


world going digital? It is amazing what is going on at the moment,


enabled by smart devices, the whole world is going digital. We can see a


large bulk of growth will be digitally driven. That creates


challenges for traditional players and opportunities for new entrants.


In my hand, I have two hardcopy newspapers, some say they are a


dying breed. Most people now consume information on smart phones and


tablets. Media companies are now trying to monetise their products


online. How successful have they been? There is progress being made.


There are some successful models of online distribution of newspaper


content and news content and it will evolve. It's a balance of those


companies to protect their traditional core, while they develop


their digital engagement with consumers as well. How do you


monetise the digital customer? There are a few things, like trying to


understand the consumer better. You can target different members of the


community more effectively. We can see examples of that in different


markets. That is what digital advertising is expected to reach the


size of television advertising in the next five years globally. Thank


you very much. As we can see, most companies are moving their resources


to the online world. Whether they are able to make money from that


still remains to be seen. Nintendo is focusing its efforts on


familiar franchises. Kid friendly content. But can toys and figurines


be the best way forward for the Japanese gaming giant, after it


missed its own sales targets last year? Our correspondent reports from


E3, the world 's largest video gaming fare in Los Angeles.


Nintendo came here, needing to revive its flagging fortunes. The


gaming giant is just that ` a gaming giant. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, it


doesn't have anything else to fall back on. Sales of their latest


console have done very well. Over the last few years, it hasn't done


well. It announced a new figurine that could help to bring the real


world and physical world. David is from Nintendo. Explain what the


figurine system isl. `` is. They are little characters, your favourite


Nintendo characters. Nintendo is all about reinvention, we keep doing


that. But here, we keep reinventing something for our system. It can


interact with the games in brand`new ways. You can take it, and place it


on your game pad, and it exchanges information. For example, we


announced that this would be a fighter, like your partner. Or a


rival. With your character, it will be customised. You can build up the


statistics and interact with it. This is similar to something in


place, like the one from Disney. We are doing this the Nintendo way. One


thing that separates us is you can use this across multiple platforms.


Next year you'll be able to use it with Nintendo 3ES. It is needing a


bit of a shot in the arm. We will see if this delivers.


A quick look at the Asian stock markets. Currently, they arm mixed,


after US stocks finished nearly flat overnight. Thank you so much for


investing your time with us. Sport Today is up next.


I'm Mike Embley. The top stories this hour:


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