04/01/2016 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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on flood defence work south of the border in and around York.


Now on BBC News all the latest business news live from Singapore.


Jelly car ban: cars taken off the row to reduce pollution, but will


take a difference? And, we look at the latest technology trends --


Delhi. Happy New Year, glad you could join us for this Monday


edition of Asia Business Report. It is Monday morning in Delhi and only


vehicles with license plates ending in an even number can be on the


road. It is the start of a two-week trial to cut pollution levels.


Schools and businesses have closed in anticipation of the total chaos.


Tomorrow, only odd-numbered vehicles will be allowed. The city has an


estimated 8.5 million cars on the road, and it is thought that grows


by an incredible 1400 everyday. We often hear about that dreadful air


quality in China, but Delhi holds the unenviable title of the world's


most polluted city. Holding up these cards, volunteers


remind drivers to follow the new experiment, in a bid to curb


alarming levels of pollution. Private cars with even an odd


numbered plates are being allowed on alternate days. Government has


closed schools and diverted buses to ease the extra pressure on the


public transport network. But what do people make of it? We need


desperate measures like this, it is a good move. Anyone caught flouting


it should be fined heavily. If you look at this pollution metre set up


outside the Delhi Secretariat, you will understand why the city needs


drastic measures to improve air quality. Many people question the


effectiveness of this, given the number of people who are exempt,


especially over 5 million two wheelers who can contribute heavily.


The web-based taxi service Uber has a special service to fill cars that


have few passengers. There are several seats in each car, and only


two people. That is three cars that can be taken off the road. We can


lead people who need rights to these empty seats, and that will solve a


problem. Capital city is not alone. India has 13 of the world's 20 most


polluted cities, the WHO reported last year. If this experiment


succeeds, the hope is that other Indian cities may take to it as


well. In other business news, Kia motors


reported flat sales last year, which is the first time it missed annual


targets since 2008. The South Korean auto giant has been struggling in


recent years, with Japanese and American rivals making a comeback in


the US, while demand is slowing in China and other emerging markets.


But they expect sales to bounce back, thanks to tax cuts on small


vehicles. China looks set to have a muted start to 2016 after timidity


in the manufacturing sector contract that fought the sixth straight


month. There was a slight improvement on the previous month,


but it was below expectations. Despite China's economic slowdown,


investment in the country's railways only grew last year. $126 billion


was spent on rail projects in 2015. This new high-speed rail service has


become one of the latest to start operations. China now has 19,000


kilometres of high-speed track. 2015 may well be remembered as the


year where Asian countries really stepped up to the global stage.


Chinese technology brands continue their phenomenal growth, and Asia's


love affair with these applications went even deeper. Steve McGuinness,


who heads up a grand consultancy company, believes 2016 will be a


good year for the regional brands. For the first time there is a


combination of three big fat is. The opening up of the ASEAN economic


community, the level playing field that e-commerce gives all the global


brands and the smaller brands to fight on an even playing field, and


also the growth of the emerging market brands working closely


selling to other emerging markets. You have these big brands like


Alibaba and Huawei, they have strength in social media, but the


big question is making it did in the Western world, in America and


Europe. But do they need to make it big in the Western world and Europe?


The opening up of the ASEAN market is millions of consumers. If you


look at Alibaba, they dominate what they do in China, but this year they


are launching their streaming movies and TV channel, which will go


head-to-head with Netflix, and China is already the second biggest movie


market in the world. Do they need to go battling in the West when in fact


by merely playing on their understanding, positioning and


dominance where they are, has already made them one of the biggest


brands in the world. We also have big brands here in the region,


particularly in Singapore, can they make it big in Asia and the world?


Absolutely, they already understand the consumer. They understand the


Diamond consumer, which is the largest growth market and segment in


the world. They understand what people want, how to sell to them,


and they already have a local following.


No doubt many of you were lucky enough to get a new bit of


technology this Christmas. The brains behind it are likely to be


heading to the annual consumer electronics show. Much of the talk


is about virtual reality, look at this guy with this big thing on his


face! And how it might change our lives in the real world. We take a


look at what virtual reality is doing so far.


In a freezing seller with fake snow under feet I am inching across a


crevasse on my way up the world's highest peak. I am getting a demo of


Everest, a virtual reality game due out later this year. The headsets


and software that deliver VR have come a long way in the last few


years. Now, the manufacturers believe gamers are ready to invest


themselves in virtual reality. It is a natural progression. It is all


about trying to immerse us as much as possible. The next thing is


taking us into a virtual environment and locking out everything else so


we are focused on exactly what they are trying to tell us. In Kings


College Hospital in south London, patients on the children's ward are


getting their first VR experience, using this simple cardboard headset.


They are taking a virtual tour of the Dulwich picture gallery, one of


a number of museums hoping to reach a large amount of people with this


experience. You kind of get the feel of being there and seeing all the


paintings, it is really cool. Getting into a lift, especially one


as old as this, can be a scary experience for some people. Could


virtual reality help them to get over their phobia? I have come to


see how some psychologists are working with the technology. They


have developed a programme that allows patients to try out the


experience of getting into a lift. Challenges are you feeling at the


moment? About seven. It is not the real world, but I call it a visual


experience. You feel your heart beating faster, you sweat, you're


creeping changes, you get a physiological reaction that you


don't get into 2-D environment. Let's see if it has worked for


Helena. I'm quite proud that I'm doing this! You should be proud. Do


you think the virtual reality thing has helped that all? Honestly, I


would have been taking the stairs about a month ago.


Before we go, a quick look at the markets. It is a New Year and a new


trading week for Asia. It is currently mixed, with Japan and Hong


Kong in negative territory by three points. This is after Wall Street


closed for the day in negative territory.


Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic relations with Iran


amid worsening tensions following the execution by Riyadh


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