Can Fintech drive a strong post-COVID-19 recovery in Asia?

To say 2020 has been a challenging year is a massive understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly undermined development gains from recent decades and slowed growth in many Asian economies.

Yet, every crisis presents opportunities. One is the rapid advance in digital technology, which offers a way to recoup some of these gains and spur a strong economic revival once the pandemic has passed.

As we all know, the pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technology. Many of us have become adept at online video conferencing and other digital tools while working from home.

Pervasive restrictions on mobility and lockdowns have driven companies to shift their businesses and services online.

The use of digital technology and e-commerce has become the business norm.

Digital payment platforms have eased a transition from offline to online transactions—and their use has skyrocketed in many parts of the region. In the Philippines, f…

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Wish you were here: how the pandemic harmed tourism-dependent economies

In 1950, at the dawn of the jet age, just 25 million people took foreign trips. By 2019, that number had reached 1.5 billion, and the travel and tourism sector had grown to almost too-big-to-fail proportions for many economies.

The global pandemic, the first of its scale in a new era of interconnectedness, has put 100 million jobs at risk, many in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises that employ a high share of women, who represent 54 percent of the tourism workforce, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Tourism-dependent countries will likely feel the negative impacts of the crisis for much longer than other economies. Contact-intensive services key to the tourism and travel sectors are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and will continue to struggle until people feel safe to travel en masse again.

“There is no way we can grow our way out of this hole we are in,” Irwin LaRocque, secretary-gener…

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Thailand strengthens COVID-19 control measures

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) latest update regarding the Royal Thai Government’s announcement on the strengthened COVID-19 control measures to contain local transmission, 28 provinces are now declared as “highly controlled areas”.

Effective from 4 January, 2021, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has declared 28 provinces as “highly controlled areas” following a surge in community transmission.

These include the capital Bangkok and (region by region) 

Central: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri and Suphan Buri; 

West: Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Ratchaburi, and Tak; 

East: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, Rayong, Sa Kaeo and Trat, and 

South: Chumphon and Ranong.

The strengthened restrictions, which are …

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Leading Mobile App Developer Fourdesire Introduces Fortune City in Thailand

BANGKOK –  Fourdesire, Taiwan’s leading mobile app developer, will release a Thai version of Fortune City, their popular money management app, in Thailand this month.

As the new year rapidly approaches, millions of people are planning to make New Year’s resolutions for 2021, looking for a way to spark positive personal change.

Every year the same themes recur: a healthier lifestyle, improved finances and learnings for self-improvement. However, statistics show that very few people achieve the goals they outlined at the beginning of the year.

The majority do not even make it through January. Committed to addressing everyday life issues in a fun way, Fourdesire now launches a new Thai version of Fortune City, aiming to help Thai users keep their New Year’s resolutions for 2021 and achieve their financial goals.

Fortune City is a finance and personal expenses tracking app that was released in 2017. It is a fun gam…

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How COVID-19 has changed online shopping forever

The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviours that are likely to have lasting effects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed online shopping behaviours, according to a survey of about 3,700 consumers in nine emerging and developed economies.

The survey, entitled “COVID-19 and E-commerce”, examined how the pandemic has changed the way consumers use e-commerce and digital solutions. It covered Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.

Following the pandemic, more than half of the survey’s respondents now shop online more frequently and rely on the internet more for news, health-related information and digital entertainment.

Consumers in emerging economies have made the greatest shift to online shopping, the survey shows.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a…

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Why Vietnam Has Become a Promising Alternative for US Businesses in Asia

Following four decades since the end of the Vietnam War, Vietnam’s relationship with the US has changed significantly.

After the Vietnam War in 1975, the US and Vietnam announced normal diplomatic relations on July 11, 1995.

Vietnam and the United States celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations in July this year – a testament to improving bilateral and economic ties since the Vietnam War.Vietnam has emerged as an ideal alternative manufacturing destination to China for US businesses, in part due to the US-China trade war and disrupted supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic.Vietnam Briefing discusses trends in the Vietnam-US relationship, growing economic ties, and how US businesses can leverage and benefit from moving their production to Vietnam. US and Vietnam commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations

This year in July, the US and Vietnam commemorated 25 years of diplomatic relations – with the US congratulating Vietnam on its ASE…

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Asian refiners EBITDA will decline by around 30% says Moody’s

Moody’s Investors Service says in a new report that the aggregate EBITDA of Asian refiners will decline by around 30%

Aggregate EBITDA will decline around 30% in 2020 on steep inventory losses and weak marginsA gradual economic recovery will improve margins in 2021, but risks are tilted to the downside

“EBITDA and margin will improve in 2021 as a gradual economic recovery results in higher refining margins and the absence of inventory losses leads to higher earnings. But risks to margin recovery are firmly tilted to the downside.”

Hui Ting Sim, a Moody’s Analyst.

“Margin recovery will be delayed if a resurgence in infections leads to renewed lockdowns. We’re also seeing higher market imbalance, with a surge in refining capacity continuing through 2022 driven by investments in Asia and the Middle East, which will further weigh on the extent of margin recovery,” adds Sim.

Among rated Asian refiners…

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Thailand Voted Best Place for Starting Business

Thailand was voted to be the world’s best place to start business for the second consecutive year, according to the Department of Business Development. 

Wuthikrai Leeviraphan, director-general of the department, said that recently U.S.News & World Report posted its list of “Best Countries to Start a Business 2020” and Thailand ranked first for the second year in a row because it took only six days and five procedures to start a business in the country. 

Last year the same agency also ranked Thailand in the first place. 

“This year the department will further improve services for operators to start business. Time and procedures for the process will be shortened. It will cooperate with other organizations and apply artificial intelligence to serve businesses and people. This is for Thailand to attract more foreign investors,” Mr Wuthikrai said. (TNA)

The 2020 Best Countries to Start a Business ranking draws from the re…

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State of emergency likely to be extended for another month

General Natapol Nakpanich, the deputy army chief and deputy head of an ad hoc committee on the relaxation of COVID-19 control measures, said the extension of the state of emergency would rarely impact society because people could continue with their normal life and rallies or anti-government protests could be organized.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) needed the executive decree on public administration in emergency situations because the disease control act could not be applied in some situations while the decree could be exercised to integrate efforts by various governmental organizations to swiftly respond to COVID-related situations, he said.

According to M.Natapol the decree is needed to ensure people arriving from other countries are quarantined and to quickly mobilise organisations to respond to any fresh Covid-19 outbreak.

“The panel of CCSA recommends the decree be imposed for another month. It will propose …

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COVID-19 to Boost Thai Medical Industry

BANGKOK (NNT) – Though COVID-19 has badly impacted many industries, some such as medical science and technological advancement may benefit from aspects of the crisis.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, has suggested Thai entrepreneurs grab the opportunity to develop innovations, and some Chinese medical equipment companies are preparing to move their production bases to Thailand.

Mr. Aat Pisanwanich, Director, Center for International Trade Studies (CITS), University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said today a major factor affecting the thinking of foreign entrepreneurs especially Chinese businesses to open branches and production bases in Thailand, is the COVID-19 pandemic.

As it has affected the whole business cycle, business operators must consider the rise in capital costs and other risks.

Foreign entrepreneurs have also noted that Thailand has shown an ability to cope with the pandemic, while the Thai…

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