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  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    Define what you mean by "hyper"?!!! There were plenty of price increases when I was there (I would notice it when eating out) but they tend to wait until Tet or right after to hit people with big price increases or other big changes. Watch what happens around Tet every year... Given that many of the consumer goodies are imported (I think some of the Japanese motorbikes are assembled in the country), a more worrisome concern is the amount of money that flows out to pay for it all...
    Nov 12 07:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    Deutsch Bank also has a massive backoffice presence in the PH - so they have a reason to be bullish!
    Oct 30 11:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    No - corruption was democratized! Instead of the Rolex 12 in Marcos' inner circle, it became nearly everyone at all levels of the gov't!
    Oct 30 11:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    Fluctuating F/X is another problem: I remember when the peso was at the 55 level and then it managed to hit the high 30s before going back into the low 40s - that along with the housing bust in the USA pretty much destroyed the furniture industry. The currency appreciation also hit many of the small call center / BPO players as well (no doubt putting a few of them out of business) and don't forget all the American retirees living there...
    Oct 30 01:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    I have also been surprised by just how far along and more prosperous Indonesia seems to be. Jakarta even seems cleaner, less poor (lots of motorcyles), less crowded, safer and more efficient (the organized bus system) than Manila. Of course, I was there during Ramadan...
    Oct 30 12:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    The Chinese and Koreans work harder than everyone else (and they know how to be "flexible" when it comes to the govt) - not many westerners are willing to put in 12-14+ hour days 7 days a week to run a business... I was in CDO in Mindanao a few years ago and the clothing market in front of the main market was all Korean (I think) shopkeepers sitting on stools with the k-pop blaring away. 80% of the businesses in the PH are probably owned by ethnic Chinese, the rest will be owned by Koreans soon (and don't forget the Indian money lenders and their 5-6 schemes...)
    Oct 30 03:44 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    However, there are some developers (whose names I won't mention on here but you and everyone else there would know who they are) whose buildings you won't want to be in when the big one hits!
    Oct 30 01:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    Look at http://bit.ly/SY14PZ - And look in the Philippine edition of Tattler for more info about who owns all of those companies as its a who's who of the people whose picture appear in that magazine!

    There was an OTC stock based out of San Francisco some years ago that was invested in call centers - I don't see the listing anymore and can't think of the name. Not that is matters as they weren't doing well anyway... Its not a good industry to be invested in or work in for that matter...

    Baguio is nice if you can't take hot, let alone warm weather!
    Oct 30 12:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 'Damaged Culture' No More? An Investing-In-The-Philippines Reality Check [View article]
    Angeles City especially is a you-know-what! I never spent much time in any of the provincial cities (I am sure some of the others are very pleasant - the mayor of Davao has a reputation for keeping things "under control" to put it mildly and they don't have typhoons) as I lived and worked in the Makati CBD where you could actually delude yourself into thinking you were some place else - like Singapore....
    Oct 29 09:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators And Hit-And-Runs: An Indonesia Investing Reality Check [View article]
    There is also London-listed coal company Bumi PLC which Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family are squabbling over... See:
    Bumi Plc infighting highlights risk to investment
    http://bit.ly/THqLTh
    Oct 25 02:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators And Hit-And-Runs: An Indonesia Investing Reality Check [View article]
    Actually, a number of Indonesian stocks do trade on the pink sheets. Its just they tend to have low trading volumes - meaning more risky unless you are a buy and hold investor...
    Oct 24 11:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators And Hit-And-Runs: An Indonesia Investing Reality Check [View article]
    You should spend time living in Manila! I actually thought Jakarta was cleaning, better organized (the efficient bus system), less poor, less crowded and had less traffic (Note: I was there during Ramadan though) than Manila. Indonesia is more like Russia - lots of natural resources but unlike Russia, Indonesia has a growing population, meaning lots of consumers (If just 10% of the population is middle class, that's a good sized market). So really the R in BRIC should be be replaced by another "I."

    However, I'd be concerned about a consumer credit bubble forming in Indonesia along with other emerging markets like Brazil (which has natural resources + consumers + an Industrial base - Indonesia sort of lacks the later...) plus there aren't many investment options for middle class or rich Indonesians, other than to re-invest in their businesses (if they have one), buy property (creating property bubbles), deposit it in the bank (and watch inflation eat it) or try and get it out of the country (not easy as they have capital controls).

    I don't know how well investing in the stock market has caught on with Indonesia's middle class and rich. I think some got burned when Lehman Brothers collapsed b/c it had some kind of fund mgmt or private banking operation there + I think they also got burned in local investment/bond funds when the gov't suddenly changed the rules and made bond funds mark-to-market their bond holdings daily (probably a good thing but then everyone pulled their money out of local bond funds when the true values of their holding became too transparent....). But I also know someone there who trades Indonesian stocks from home for a living and no doubt there are other Indochinese there like him doing the same...
    Oct 24 05:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Speculators And Hit-And-Runs: An Indonesia Investing Reality Check [View article]
    Well, my mobile roamed mostly on Indosat in Sumatra (Medan, Lake Toba, Pulau Weh and Banda Aceh) - I can't recall what network it roamed on when I was in Jakarta / Jogya last year.

    My friends/acquaintances there also all seemed to have BlackBerrys (RIMM should just move their headquarters to Jakarta and forget the rest of the world!) and one needed to charge his. Ironically, the charger for my Malaysian "BlueBerry" knockoff smartphone (which looks exactly like a BlackBerry but its cheaper) was an exact match!!! However, I'd be watching for HTC and Samsung to give both AAPL and RIMM a run for their customers throughout SE Asia...
    Oct 23 11:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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