Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Business in Thailand’

4th April 2020

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Thai government has halted all incoming flights from overseas to Thailand. To quote directly from a recent article in Thai PBS World:

“[T]he prime minister wants to see stringent measures imposed on overseas arrivals for the period between April 2-15.  The Foreign Ministry has been tasked to find out ways to implement the directive from the prime minister.”

Further, in another article from The Nation, the following was noted:

“Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has told the Foreign Ministry to issue a new directive prohibiting new arrivals.”For the immediately foreseeable future, it appears that it will not be possible for anyone to enter Thailand by air.

Clearly, the Thai government has deemed the COVID-19 issues of a seriousness that it warrants across the board restriction of incoming flights. That stated, there appears to be a end date for these restrictions on the horizon. In a further article from the Bangkok Post:

“All passenger flights have been banned from landing in the country to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the aviation agency said on Friday. The ban came into effect on Saturday morning and will run until the end of Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said in an order published late on Friday.”

Whether the government decides to extend this restriction on in-bound flights due to Coronavirus concerns remains to be seen. However, it seems logical to infer that if the restriction is lifted and in-bound flights are allowed to come to Thailand, the previously enacted restrictions on foreigners traveling to Thailand is likely to remain in effect over the medium term. To quote directly from the aforementioned Civil Aviation authority of Thailand:

With reference to the declaration of state of emergency in Thailand on 25 March 2020, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand hereby issues travel advisory to passengers planning to enter Thailand as follows:

1. Passengers or persons shall be permitted to enter, Transit or Transfer Thailand through international airport only if they fall under one of the following categories:

(a) Being in the situation or a person exempted by the Prime Minister or Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under certain conditions and prescribed time period

(b) Carriers of necessary cargoes, but required prompt exit after the mission is completed

(c) Pilot-in-command, and crew members of the flight entering Thailand with clear schedule to depart

(d) Persons on diplomatic or consular mission, or under International Organizations, representatives of the government performing their duties in Thailand or other persons or international agencies that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives permission, and their families. In this case, certificate of entry to the Kingdom issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs is required.

(e) Non-Thai nationals with work permit or who have been granted permission from Thai government agencies to work in Thailand (Smart Visa only)

(f) Thai nationals with certificate of entry to the Kingdom issued by Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate in their country of residence certifying that they are Thais returning to Thailand, and a Fit to Fly Health Certificate.
2. The persons in (d) (e) and (f) must have Fit to Fly Health Certificate issued no more than 72 hours before traveling.
3. Passengers or persons permitted to enter Thailand shall strictly comply with disease prevention measures imposed by the government.
4. The immigration officers have the power to deny the entry of Non-Thai nationals who have been tested positive for COVID- 19, or under the suspicion of being infected or who refuse to undergo such test.
5. All previous Notifications of CAAT become ineffective.

With limited exception, the vast majority of foreigners are not going to be permitted to enter Thailand in the upcoming weeks. The vast majority of those who are permitted to enter the Kingdom are likely to be Thai Work Permit holders. Bearing that in mind, it is notable that foreign nationals in Thailand maintaining work permit as well as Thai business visa status are likely to find unforeseen issues in renewing their work permits in coming months. This will likely be due to the unintended consequences of all of the lay-offs, furloughs, terminations, and voluntary reductions of work hours for Thai employees working in the Thai business sector.

In order to maintain a Thai work permit and business visa it is required that a Thai company maintain a 4-to-1 ratio of Thai employees to foreign employees. For those foreigners using a Thai marriage visa as a platform for maintaining lawful status in Thailand as well as employment authorization the ratio of Thai employees to foreign employees is 2:1. With this in mind, the small business sector of Thailand is likely to see a significant contraction of its workforce in the second and third quarter of 2020. As Thai employees are furloughed, terminated, or resign (sometimes in order to be eligible for newly created Thai unemployment benefits) it is likely that this will have a direct impact upon the Thai/Foreign employee ratio. If the ratio of Thai to Foreign employees is not maintained within a Thai business organization, then an application for a Thai business visa extension or Thai work permit renewal may prove impossible. Therefore, those businesses, small and large, employing foreigners in Thailand should keep a sharp eye on their labor force if they wish to maintain their foreign employees’ lawful status. This can be an especially acute issue for self-employed foreign nationals in Thailand who are using their Thai limited company as a platform to maintain their status. Those in the precarious position are strongly encouraged to seek the advice and counsel of legal professionals experiences in Thai corporate compliance, accounting, staffing, immigration, and labor issues

more Comments: 04

6th May 2014

In recent articles in the Financial Times the argument has be made that the Peoples’ Republic of China will economically overtake the United States of America in the year 2014. It  should be noted that Chinese economic outpacing of the United States is only measured in terms of statistical purchasing power and little more. In any event, this revealation is significant as it shows the increasing dominance of China in the world economy. The authors of the two articles (which can be found on the Financial Times official website here and here) appear to disagree as to the importance of these developments. The  author of the first article seems rather alarmist about the fact that China will overtake the USA in statistical purchasing power while the second author notes that this should not be viewed as China overtaking the USA in all facets of comparative economics. Furthermore, the second article notes that the United States still remains politically the most powerful nation in the world despite the fact that the world is evolving from a state of unipolarity with the United States as the lone Superpower able to effectively and virtually unilaterally project its power throughout the world, to a state of multipolarity in which many nations have increasing regional (or even global) dominance in certain spheres of economics as well as politics.

The notion that the world is moving toward a state of multipolarity leads this blogger to posit: how will the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) fit into the framework of a multipolar world? It seems reasonable to infer that ASEAN will become an increasingly important economic bloc following the integration of the various member states’ economies under the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is set to take effect on January 1, 2015. The creation of a single economic platform which will include approximately 400-500 million people, some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and some of the most strategically important geographical locations will likely lead to greater economies of scale for businesses in the region, a larger market for goods and services for the member states, and greater leverage to trade with countries outside of the bloc. However, these issues are not entirely pertinent to the question posited above. The differences between China and an integrated ASEAN economic platform will be substantial. First, some members of ASEAN rank amongst some of the largest economies in the world, in their own right. Meanwhile other economies within the region are still developing. This could lead to a “best of both worlds” scenario for ASEAN, China, and the USA. Case in point, Thailand has seen difficulties in recent years competing with cheaper Chinese labor, but the movements of labor and capital which will come hand-in-hand with ASEAN economic integration could lead to a situation where Thai companies could utilize labor pools in developing ASEAN member countries to offset the low cost of Chinese labor and thereby mitigate previous competitive disadvantages. Furthermore, the United States may find new markets for US goods in an integrated ASEAN and new venues for the manufacture of low cost goods in developing ASEAN nations that would allow for some economic de-coupling from China by the USA, thereby allowing the United States a freer hand in making foreign policy decisions vis-a-vis China. Finally, China stands to gain due to the increase in trade between China and the ASEAN nations which has recently been evidenced by the evolving nature of the geography of the Chinese economy. In recent years, increasing economic activity has been noted in Southern China across the border from Laos, which acts as a kind of entrepot for trade between China and Thailand as well as the Greater ASEAN community. Recent discussions of a high speed rail link connecting China, Laos and Thailand have also been cause for optimism that one day this region could play host to a booming economy which will bring large numbers of people out of poverty and create wealth for the peoples of all nations concerned.

Following ASEAN economic integration, there are likely to be myriad legal challenges for those businesses in ASEAN nations and abroad wishing to gain a foothold in this burgeoning market. The legal challenges posed will likely require the assistance of legal professionals in the region familiar with new ASEAN regulations as well as the internal regulatory frameworks of the various member states.

more Comments: 04

7th May 2011

It is unfortunate that there is a seeming trend within the zeitgeist of the American collective consciousness to immediately associate the term “States’ Rights” with notions of slavery, discrimination, and, in a sense, political corruption. It is this author’s opinion that much of the animosity surrounding the term “States’ Rights” is derived from some egregiously wrongheaded positions held by bigoted and xenophobic American politicians in years past. This trend is unfortunate because it is this author’s opinion that the very diversity of jurisprudence in an intrastate and interstate jurisdictional context within the American Union (by this term, this author refers to the United States of America as enshrined in the United States Constitution and the amendments thereto in conjunction with the 50 several sovereign United States each having their own State Constitution) is the very sinew which reinforces America’s economic strength on the global stage. Others associate the term “States’ Rights” with secessionist movements in years past. To be clear, this author has always believed that America’s strength is in the Rights of the Several States WITHIN THE UNION! American Founder Benjamin Franklin once famously stated: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. This statement is no less true now than at the time it was uttered. America’s strength lies in her simultaneous interstate and intrastate diversity buttressed by a virtually monolithic national government in matters pertaining to foreign affairs and national defense. It is something of a paradox that is both vexing to outsiders and the source of America’s ability to remain fluid in both a political and economic sense. In short: this duality is the secret to America’s historical success.

Full Faith and Credit: The Clause That Binds The American Republic

The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution could be viewed non-literally as the mortar securing the bricks which maintain the indomitable structure acting as a repository for the ideals of the American republic. Around the Full Faith and Credit Clause the Union of American jurisprudence is maintained. Therefore, analysis of said Clause is important for our purposes. This author has come to find much insight in studying the thoughts of Justice Robert H. Jackson on this issue, to quote directly from Justice Jackson:

“By other articles of the Constitution our forefathers created a political union among otherwise independent and sovereign states. By other provisions, too, they sought to integrate the economic life of the country. By the full faith and credit clause they sought to federalize the separate and independent state legal systems by the overriding principle of reciprocal recognition of public acts, records, and judicial proceedings. It was placed foremost among those measures which would guard the new political and economic union against the disintegrating influence of provincialism in jurisprudence, but without aggrandizement of federal power at the expense of the states.”

This author has often found that Justice Jackson is a unique resource on these issues as he understood the fundamentals of American law through long practice and study of New York law and later study of Federal law in his capacity as a Supreme Court Justice. Concurrently, Justice Jackson also was a trailblazer in matters pertaining to international law especially in his capacity as prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials. Therefore, this author finds Justice Jackson’s epitaph to be one of the most fitting: “He kept the ancient landmarks and built the new.” Such a notion should be palpable as America looks across the horizon of the 21st century.

Legal Diversity in an American Context

The motto on the Seal of the United States is “E Pluribus Unum”. This phrase is Latin and translates to English as “Out of Many, One”. Many Americans have long associated this phrase with the notion of the American “melting pot,” a phrase which alludes to the fact that America is a racially, ethnically, ideologically, and religiously diverse nation. This is very true and this fact has been one of the cornerstones of America’s relative economic success since her founding. However, rather few take note of the fact that from the perspective of an attorney this phrase could also allude to the notion of a legally stratified republic in a geographic sense as each sovereign American State has her own jurisprudence which operates simultaneously with much of that of the United States federal government. Under some circumstances, the federal government’s authority may override that of the States, but such circumstances, in this author’s opinion, are likely to be of less concern moving forward in light of the fact that the internet and World Wide Web have integrated the global economic platform to the point that true “Long Tail” economics is creating novelty and comparative advantage for the 50 states in both an interstate context as well as an intrastate context. This is also true in a global context as businesses located in the 50 States are likely to continue to do business in increasingly creative ways both domestically and internationally. The author does not mean to imply that there will be less Federal oversight in the future as there will likely be regulations and scrutiny emanating from federal authorities, but America is incredibly flexible when it suits her interests and as the business environment in America evolves so too does it seem likely that State and Federal regulatory schemes will evolve as well. This current state of affairs is likely to be the precursor to future economic dynamism in the relatively long term and could be the key to economic success in the short term as well.

Meanwhile, an understanding of States’ Rights, in conjunction with an understanding of the enumerated powers of the United States Federal government can provide a sort of framework for thinking about the opportunities which can be exploited by Americans in an increasingly economically integrated global marketplace of not only goods, services, and commodities; but ideas as well. For example, the State of North Dakota and the State of Utah have made interesting decisions regarding intrastate monetary and financial policy. North Dakota has opted for a sort of miniaturized Federal Reserve in that State in the form of the Bank of North Dakota, which is considered by some to be a departure from “mainstream” thinking regarding State finances. Also, the State of Utah has recently enacted a legal tender reform bill which appears to recognize gold and silver coinage minted by the federal government as legal tender within that jurisdiction. This legislation also appears to have changed the way in which the exchange of gold and silver coins are taxed in an intrastate context as the bill apparently repeals state taxation of such coinage. Those interested in further information on these issues are well advised to contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Utah (and/or North Dakota, for that matter), as further commentary by this author on that subject would simply be an exercise in speculation. What is clear merely from the information noted above: American States are becoming increasingly creative and dynamic in terms of intrastate activity and this relatively new dynamism may be the driving force behind an eventually resurgent American economy.

America: A Nation of Webmasters

The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once snidely declared: “L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.” This statement could be roughly translated to state that: “England is a nation of shopkeepers”. Unfortunately for Napoleon that nation of shopkeepers went on the defeat his Grand Army at the Battle of Waterloo and thereafter administer an Empire upon which the sun never set. This historical factoid is important for the reader to understand because it elucidates an analogy in a modern context. Namely, the United States of America, due to the rise of e-commerce, appears set upon the path to becoming a nation of e-shopkeepers. These e-shopkeepers, e-commerce businesses, and webmasters are increasingly coming to form a major component of the American economy at a time when some areas of the economy are showing signs of stagnation. Bearing this in mind, the reader is encouraged to note a quotation from Sir Winston Churchill: “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.” The reader is encouraged to note the fact that Churchill was a British-American and quite proud to be so. Churchill understood that strong nations are built upon the foundation of a vibrant free market as well as a thriving business environment and he knew this from long study of American, British, and world history. In this author’s opinion, the wagon of America will continue to be drawn by the forces of her citizenry’s entrepreneurialism, but much of the commerce which emanates from the United States in the future will be on platforms which exist in cyberspace. Therefore, such commerce will not have all of the same attributes as that of years past.

America, China, Thailand, ASEAN, and Greater Asia

As the 21st century rolls on it seems likely that America will be increasingly engaged with Asia in both a diplomatic context as well as a commercial context. This commercial engagement is increasingly likely to occur across the spectrum of business as American companies large and small trade goods, services, and intellectual property with jurisdictions in Asia. While most Americans are aware of the growing economic might of Greater China comparatively few are aware of increasingly vibrant economies of countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia. Meanwhile, the somewhat young Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would seem to be on track toward creating economic efficiencies across Southeast Asia to the apparent benefit of all concerned. In this author’s opinion, Americans would be wise to remain mindful of the East Asian and Southeast Asian markets as there appears virtually no limit to the economic potential inherent in some of these economies. Hopefully, through skillful statesmanship, keen understanding of relevant law, and shrewd business acumen America and the American people can benefit from economic developments in Asia and throughout the world.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause or ecommerce.

more Comments: 04

1st May 2011

As the world economy continues to re-stratify in ways that have not been predictable, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that recent shareholder voting activity at a local Thai bottling company may have placed the soft drink giant Pepsi upon something of a “back foot”. To quote directly from the official website of Reuters, Reuters.com:

BANGKOK, April 29 (Reuters) – Shareholders in PepsiCo Inc’s Thai bottler, Serm Suk Pcl , voted on Friday to terminate its contracts with the U.S. soft drink maker after more than half a century in business together.

The move means the U.S. giant will have to find other partners to tap growth in the Southeast Asian country of 67 million people. It had no immediate comment.

From an American’s perspective as an observer in the Kingdom of Thailand the re-stratification mentioned above can be best observed by the increasing importance of regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Concurrently, American companies doing business in Thailand and Greater Asia are finding that some jurisdictions have different rules regarding corporate governance when compared to the United States. To continue quoting further from the aforementioned article:

About 99.41 percent of shareholders voted to end the business with PepsiCo. PepsiCo, maker of Pepsi-Cola, Sierra Mist and Tropicana juice, owns 41.54 percent of Serm Suk through Pepsi-Cola (Thai)Trading and Seven-Up Nederland BV. It remains unclear what it will do with this stake.

The administration of this web log recommends readers click upon the hyperlinks above to read further about this story in detail.

It is interesting to note that shareholder voting rights can have a tremendous impact upon the governance of a corporation in Thailand as a Thai Company may be governed by Thai corporate law which can be substantially different in many ways to U.S. law on the same subject matter. For American readers, it should be noted that there may be benefits to be had for US companies in Thailand pursuant to the provisions of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. That stated, although Amity Treaty Companies may be of benefit to some endeavors not all business activity can be undertaken pursuant to this Treaty. Therefore, those interested in further information on this subject may be best informed by contacting a Thai lawyer.

The ramifications of the shareholder vote noted above may be felt not only by Pepsi, but by others in the soft drink business in the Kingdom of Thailand and Greater Southeast Asia. To quote directly from a recent article entitled SSC Seals Pepsi Divorce from the Business section of the Bangkok Post‘s official website BangkokPost.com:

The transition period could create opportunities for rival Coke and new players such as the fast-rising Peruvian brand Big Cola to steal market share from Pepsi. Thailand has long been one of only a handful of cola markets in the world where Pepsi outsells Coke.

The administration of this web log strongly recommends that readers interested in these topics click upon the hyperlinks above to read further from this insightful article in order to gain insight and perspective on this story and the possible ramifications thereof.

Clearly the reverberations of the recent corporate vote could accrue to the benefit of Pepsi’s competitors within the Thai market. This blogger, simply as a consumer, has noticed what appears to be some increasing popularity for Big Cola mentioned above. This recent popularity may not necessarily mean that this soft drink will take Pepsi’s place as the number one soft drink in Thailand, but the whole incident may go to show the way in which the local Thai soft drink market is beginning to show an increasing taste for novelty. This trend toward novelty is increasingly palpable across much of the Thai economy as consumers are presented with increasing purchasing choices in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, it could be argued that the biggest beneficiary of the recent vote is Pepsi’s major international rival Coca-Cola which might pick up further market share as a result of a possible Pepsi decline.

For related information please see: business in China or US Company Registration.

more Comments: 04

25th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Peoples’ Republic of China may soon be taking measures to decrease that country’s position in United States dollars. To quote directly from Xinhua at Xinhuanet.com:

BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhua) — China should reduce its excessive foreign exchange reserves and further diversify its holdings, Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Group, said on Saturday. The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be restricted to between 800 billion to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, Tang told a forum in Beijing, saying that the current reserve amount is too high. China’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 197.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year to 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March. Tang’s remarks echoed the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, who said on Monday that China’s foreign exchange reserves “exceed our reasonable requirement” and that the government should upgrade and diversify its foreign exchange management using the excessive reserves.

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click on the links above to learn more.

The Chinese media are not the only outlets reporting that the dollar holdings of the Chinese could be diminished. In fact, some media outlets are noting that China’s economy appears to be ascending in relation to the United States. To quote directly from MarketWatch.com:

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China. And it’s a lot closer than you may think. According to the latest IMF official forecasts published two weeks ago, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to read further from this story to gain context and perspective.

This news could be very important for the international business community and for those conducting business in China. At the same time, this news could prove important for the business community in the economies comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The ultimate effects of this news will likely play out over the coming months.

In the context of United States Immigration these developments could prove to be a boon to prospective immigrant investors seeking an EB-5 visa to take up Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States because the dollar could prove in coming months to show weakness. As a result, currency utilized by prospective immigrants could strengthen in relation to the United States dollar and thereby facilitate a less costly investment in real terms.

How this news impacts business and politics in the United States of America, the Kingdom of Thailand, and Greater Asia will likely be the topic of further postings on this blog in the future.

Those interested in information regarding legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

more Comments: 04

18th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are important events occurring in the realm of finance as the United States recently appears to have had its sovereign debt rating outlook lowered by Standard & Poor’s. To quote directly from an article written by Robin Harding, James Politi, and Michael Mackenzie on the official website of the Financial Times at FT.com:

Standard & Poor’s issued a stark warning to Washington on Monday, cutting its outlook on US sovereign debt for the first time and throwing more fuel on the raging debate over America’s swollen deficits.

The agency kept America’s credit rating at triple A but for the first time since it started rating US debt 70 years ago, cut its outlook from “stable” to “negative”. A negative outlook means there is a one-third chance of a downgrade in the next two years.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to view this story in detail as further insight can be derived therein.

The ramifications of this announcement are likely to reverberate around the globe, but in the United States there appears to have already been at least a market reaction to this information. To quote directly from an article written by Larry Elliot posted on the official website of The Guardian at Guardian.co.uk:

US budget deficit has moved from a surplus at the turn of the millennium to a deficit of 11% by 2009. Shares fell sharply on Wall Street today after the ratings agency S&P issued a warning to the US government about its soaring budget deficit. In a move that surprised and rattled the financial markets, S&P said it was cutting its long-term outlook on America from stable to negative…In early trading in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average had lost nearly 250 points – 2% – with the dollar weaker on the foreign exchanges and yields rising on US Treasury bills. The FTSE 100 in London was also down 2% or 126 points at 5869.

Again, this blogger strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to read further and gain greater insight.

Hopefully, the consequences of the S&P downgrade will be short lived for America and her People, but there are some who argue that further turbulence may be ahead as countries around the world are economically re-aligning in ways which are unprecedented.  To quote directly from an article written by David Marsh on the website Yahoo.com:

China and four other leading high-growth economies have taken landmark steps toward lowering the importance of the dollar in international financial transactions — part of a seminal shift in the move towards a multicurrency reserve and trading system…Addition of South Africa to the former BRICS format seems to have galvanized the grouping. The five countries agreed to expand use of their own currencies in trade with each other — an important step toward putting the dollar into a new downsized place. One key influence is the annual expansion of China’s trade volume with other core countries by 40% in 2010 — and the buoyancy looks set to continue. The BRICS’ state development banks, including the China Development Bank, agreed to use their own currencies instead of the dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other — and they will also phase out the dollar in overall settlements and lending among each other.

In the recent past, it seemed as though many were discussing an “alternative” reserve currency to take the place of the dollar in an international context. However, from the information which can be gathered above, it would appear as though the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and newly added South Africa) are moving towards something of a multicurrency system which, presumably, would incorporate the currencies, to one degree or another, of the member states noted above.

It is difficult to comment upon these events in detail at the time of this writing as the full ramifications of S&P’s downgrade, in conjunction with the BRICS announcements, could substantially impact the United States, Thailand, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a whole; since all of these entities have economic and political ties to the BRICS nations.

Concurrently, it would appear as though the Kingdom of Thailand remains something of an oasis of economic stability amidst the events unfolding above as tourism in Thailand along with the business of Thai Companies would appear to be steady. Currently, Thailand maintains thriving economic ties with the United States pursuant to agreements such as the US-Thai Treaty of Amity.

For related information please see: Thai business visa or US Company Registration.

more Comments: 04

11th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Peoples’ Republic of China has posted a trade deficit in United States dollars.  To quote directly from the official website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

BEIJING – China saw a trade deficit of 1.02 billion US dollars from January to March this year, the first quarterly trade deficit in six years, according to figures released Sunday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

In comparison, there was a trade surplus of 13.91 billion US dollars in the first quarter of last year.

China’s exports increased 26.5 percent year on year to 399.64 billion US dollars in the first three months this year, while imports soared 32.6 percent to 400.66 billion dollars from a year earlier, figures from the GAC showed.

From January to March, the total value of imports and exports increased 29.5 percent year on year to 800.3 billion dollars, said the customs administration, adding that China reported a small trade surplus of 140 million dollars in March, on the basis of a deficit of 7.3 billion dollars in February.

The administration of this web log highly recommends that readers click upon the hyperlinks above to view this whole story in detail as the discussion within the article is interesting.

There is little doubt that this news will have a direct impact upon the business environment in China as well as a possibly indirect impact upon the Nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Meanwhile, this announcement may also have an impact upon the economy of the United States of America and the American business environment as well. It would appear, at least at the time of this writing, that the American economy is likely to continue to show signs of turbulence as time moves forward, but some economists may see positive implications for the American economy from this recent news. That said, the trade deficit currently being maintained by the Chinese, as noted above, is not particularly large in relative terms as only one year ago the Peoples’ Republic of China maintained a substantial trade surplus with the United States of America.

This news comes at a time when Chinese and Thai authorities have announced that a large trading complex will be erected in Thailand to provide a platform for Sino-Thai trade. Concurrently, it would also appear as though plans continue for a high speed rail link connecting Thailand, particularly Bangkok, directly to Southern China.

It would appear that although China is currently maintaining a trade deficit, that country remains economically vibrant and still on track to become the largest economy in the world as previously noted on this blog when referencing a statement made by the CEO of the American Company General Electric (GE).

Meanwhile, it was recently noted that many of the stock exchanges in the ASEAN region have made deals to act in concert in an effort to create a combined market with a projected capitalization of 1.8 trillion USD. To quote directly from a recent posting on the website TheHinduBusinessLine.com:

Seven stock exchanges in the ASEAN region collaborated on Friday with the launch of ASEAN Brand Identity, ASEAN Exchanges Web site and ASEAN Stars, with the aim of jointly developing regional capital market estimated worth $1.8 trillion…The ASEAN Exchanges collaboration members are Bursa Malaysia, Hanoi Stock Exchange, Hochiminh Stock Exchange, Indonesia Stock Exchange, The Philippine Stock Exchange, Singapore Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Those reading this posting are highly encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read more about this story in detail.

As Southeast Asia continues to show signs of an increasing economic dynamism the effect of such events upon large economies such as the US economy and that of China remains to be seen, but it is clear that the business and economic environments in Southeast Asia are considered by many to be becoming increasingly robust as evidenced by the fact that there is a possibility that a combined ASEAN market could have such a relatively substantial capitalization.

For related information please see: business in China.

more Comments: 04

4th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention via Mr. Paul Huang at the Law Firm of Cenlaw in Shanghai, China that Chinese government officials have promulgated new rules for reviewing mergers and acquisitions in a national security context. To quote Mr. Paul Huang directly:

The State Council of China has laid out long-awaited rules and procedures for national security reviews of foreign mergers and acquisitions. The new acquisition rules will commence operation in March of 2011. Under the rules, the new National Security Review Committee led by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce that already review mergers under the Chinese antitrust rules will review mergers and acquisitions targeting key companies in the defense, agriculture, energy, resources, infrastructure, transportation and equipment-manufacturing and technology industries. It will apply a broad definition of national security, assessing the impact of deals on economic stability, social order and China’s ability to research and develop key technologies for national defense.

The administration of this blog encourages readers to check out the publications section of the Cenlaw website as it is filled with relevant and detailed information regarding the legal issues which can arise in the context of Chinese business.

As more international investors seek business opportunities in Asia, it will become increasingly necessary for such investors to comply with applicable local laws and regulations. The legal systems in Asian jurisdictions can be very similar or extremely different from Western legal systems. For example, the SAR of Hong Kong, China has a legal system which has its roots in the common law tradition. This state of affairs could be attributed to the fact that Hong Kong was once a Crown Colony of the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, so-called “Mainland China” has a legal tradition that is quite unlike any other jurisdiction in the world. At the same time, the Kingdom of Thailand in Southeast Asia has a legal system which draws upon many different legal traditions around the world while maintaining a uniquely Thai complexion.

Many Western stock exchanges have announced various plans to consolidate through multi-jurisdictional merger or acquisition. This state of affairs will likely raise increasingly complex legal issues as business transactions increasingly occur in a transnational context. As Southeast Asia sees the creation of new stock exchanges in countries such as Laos and Cambodia. It appears increasingly likely that the legal systems in those countries will be of ever increasing interest to international investors seeking information about doing business in those jurisdictions. It will be interesting to follow these developments as business in China and the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) become increasingly dominant in a global business context.

For related information please see: Laos Stock Exchange.

more Comments: 04

31st December 2010

2010 has been a watershed year in many respects, but the most remarkable thing about the year 2010, in this author’s opinion, was the global paradigm shift regarding Asia. Where once Asia might have been viewed by the North American and European press, business community, and public as a sort of afterthought, 2010 proved that one of, if not the, most important geographical regions in terms of economic growth and technological innovation is East Asia.

As always, Asia’s economic importance can be discerned by looking at currency imbalances, industry analysis, and economic growth figures. However, this blogger feels that one of the most significant indicators of Asia’s “coming of age” in the global arena is evidenced by the fact that many nations in Asia are flexing their muscles in terms of enforcing their will upon the internet. Where once Asian governments seemed to fall in line with Western attitudes toward the the regulation of cyberspace and all of the cultural changes that come with the spread of easy access to the World Wide Web, now it would appear as if governments, businesses, and organizations in North and Southeast Asia are coming up with their own strategies for regulating internet access, promoting ecommerce, and connecting people. Counter-intuitive as is may seem to those operating from a Western perspective, many of the strategies adopted by Asian governments are not designed to facilitate broader access to online technology.  In a recent article posted on the Telegraph’s official website www.telegraph.co.uk, it was noted that Chinese authorities are taking stringent measures against Skype, the online communications service. To quote directly from the Telegraph’s official website:

China on Thursday announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service, as the country continues to shut itself off from the rest of the world…

In the latest move dashing Western internet company hopes of breaking into China, it was announced that all internet phone calls were to be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom.

“[This] is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country,” reported the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party.

Skype is not the only web based company that has experienced its share of problems in the Chinese market. Increasingly, many companies seem to be finding themselves restricted from the internet in China as the Telegraph went on to note:    

Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are already blocked in China and Google closed down its Chinese servers last year after heavy government pressure.

It should be noted that Mainland China (also referred to as the Peoples’ Republic of China) boasts a population of approximately 1.3 billion people. For many firms, especially those with a significant online presence, China represents an emerging market with virtually limitless potential. However, China is not the only nation in Asia which seems poised for a more dynamic place in the international business arena. Countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Indonesia have proven to be fertile ground for the same companies which China is attempting to block. According to Internetworldstats.com the Republic of Indonesia saw 27,338,560 Facebook users as of the end of August 2010.   In an interesting posting on www.nickburcher.com, a fascinating website dedicated to providing information and insight regarding the evolution of advertising and media, this blogger found the following graph noting the the increase in Facebook usage as of 2009:

Rank Country Number of Facebook users July 2008 Number of Facebook users July 2009 12 month growth %
1 Indonesia 209,760 6,496,960 2997.2%
2 Romania 9,060 230,600 2445.3%
3 Slovakia 27,960 588,860 2006.1%
4 Czech Rep 51,860 1,088,020 2005.3%
5 Italy 491,100 10,218,400 1980.7%
6 Philippines 162,640 2,719,560 1572.13%
7 Argentina 417,980 4,906,220 1073.8%
8 Uruguay 40,920 395,800 867.3%
9 Taiwan 71,340 685,460 860.8%
10 Portugal 48,180 425,680 783.5%
11 Brazil 119,080 1,015,400 752.7%
12 Spain 695,900 5,773,200 729.6%
13 Paraguay 7,920 63,740 704.8%
14 Poland 83,180 619,180 644.4%
15 Bulgaria 60,240 436,480 624.6%
16 Austria 111,060 728,800 556.2%
17 Slovenia 53,740 343,320 538.9%
18 Lithuania 24,320 153,160 529.8%
19 Thailand 114,180 697,340 510.7%
20 Russia 67,760 412,840 509.3%

The growth percentages noted above are truly astounding especially when one bears in mind that a country such as China boasts a larger population compared to that of those countries surveyed. Furthermore, the above quotation merely notes increased Facebook usage as of 2009. 2010 likely showed further growth. This could be one reason why many online businesses are attempting to find a compromise with China in an effort to enjoy access to such a lucrative market.

In 2010, Google had some problems with the Chinese government as an article on Sky News’s official website pointed out back in July of 2010. To quote directly from that article:

Beijing has renewed Google’s licence in a move that allows the web giant to continue operating in China, the company has said…

Google revealed the development on its blog and said: “We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP licence and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China.”

China is the world’s biggest internet market and Google’s right to supply the country’s users was suspended after a row over censorship.

To get around the restrictions, Google began to redirect its Chinese users to a landing page in Hong Kong.

If the licence had been rejected outright, as some analysts wrongly predicted, it could have spelled future trouble for Google’s non-search businesses in China.

As noted above, termination of direct access to the Chinese market could have been particularly problematic even for a company as monolithic as Google since the sheer size of the Chinese market is enough to make the thought of being shut out unthinkable for virtually any company, especially companies whose profitability depends upon open access to their website. Enter Mark Zuckerberg, the “Young Turk” who took the online world by storm with the creation and subsequent expansion of Facebook.com, the online social networking website which is currently unavailable in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Recently, it was reported that Mr. Zuckerberg went to China on what seems to have been a sort of vacation/fact finding tour. To quote directly from a recent article on iol.co.za:

In China Mark Zuckerberg is almost unknown. Now, after pictures of him visiting Beijing’s biggest internet company have appeared online, feverish speculation has erupted over whether he could be set to change that by taking his social networking site, Facebook, into the one country that has resisted its charms.

That Mr Zuckerberg is in Beijing this week might alone be enough to trigger rumours as to his intentions – even if it is nominally for a holiday with his girlfriend Priscilla Chan and no other entourage.

But when he was spotted yesterday at the headquarters of Baidu, the giant Chinese search engine company, with its chief executive, Robin Li, the reaction reached a pitch of excitement far beyond what is good for most people’s health.

Any alliance was denied by Baidu’s spokesman. But there is little doubt that the Chinese market remains a tempting prize for the 26-year-old Mr Zuckerberg. Facebook has been blocked by the Chinese government, denying him access to the country’s 300 million regular internet users.

The most striking piece of information to be gleaned from the above quotation, in this blogger’s opinion, is the fact that the article points out that China boasts regular internet usage by approximately 300 million people. That is almost the ENTIRE population of the United States of America. As can be quickly inferred, such large numbers of potential users make China a very critical market for firms, in virtually any industry, with a major online presence.

On a related note, Mr. Zuckerberg’s Asian journey did not end in China. To quote directly from a recent article on the Daily Mail’s official website dailymail.co.uk:

The Facebook cofounder was photographed in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday night looking dressed for a trip to the pub rather than a party, wearing a pair of blue jeans and green collar-less shirt.

Zuckerberg reportedly came to Thailand to attend the wedding of Chris Cox, a close friend and a vice president at Facebook…

The internet mogul is known for his casual style. In the early days of Facebook he famously went to a meeting with top venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in his pajamas, a scene seen in ‘The Social Network’, the film about his meteoric rise.

Zuckerberg, Time magazine’s newly-crowned Person of the Year,  is in Thailand fresh off a visit to China, where his social networking site is currently blocked by authorities.

First off, it is interesting to note the reaction of many to Mr. Zuckerberg’s informal dress. It is this blogger’s opinion that casual dress will become more the norm as ecommerce businesses and web based companies allow owners, managers, operators, consumers, and users to operate from virtually any location regardless of one’s wardrobe. It is interesting that the founder of Facebook is visiting China and Thailand because both countries seem poised to show strong growth in the coming years especially in areas such as information technology.

It is likely that the reader who has come this far in the post will ask: Yes, but what does all of this have to do with “the end of the beginning” in Asia? One could argue that the beginning of the modern relationship between Asia and the USA began with President Nixon’s famous “Opening of China”. Although the United States had been diplomatically and economically engaged in other areas of Asia prior to opening diplomatic relations with China (most notably in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand). The opening of China marks a pivotal moment for Asia and the beginning of a new phase in economic and political relations between Asia and West. From the 1970′s up until the present time, the United States (and in many ways Europe and the UK) has been the country which, for the most part, has held the dominant negotiating position as the “West” has had something of a technological advantage over its Asian counterparts. In the last decade, many of the comparative advantages of the United States have eroded leaving many Asian nations in a new, more advantageous, position vis-a-vis the USA, EU, and UK.

Mark Zuckerberg represents a new generation of mogul. Where once fortunes were made in America by industrialists in areas such as steel or railroads, now fortunes are made on the internet through control of online platforms and access to information. As Sir Ben Kingsley’s character in the movie Sneakers, a truly prescient film about the confluence of government, business, and information technology, pointed out:

There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!

If the information business were to be analogized in terms of World War II, then this blogger would liken Mr. Zuckerberg to General Douglas MacArthur as he has proven himself to be a shrewd analyst and strategist in the field of information technology. In fact, Mr. Zuckerberg’s preternatural ability to find and control strategic aspects of the way people use the internet could be likened to General MacArthur’s elegant “island hopping” strategy employed in the Pacific Theater during WWII. With this in mind, this author feels as though this is not the last of Mr. Zuckerberg’s forays into Asia nor the Asian markets. In fact, one can almost read “I shall return” between the lines of the recent press releases documenting Mr. Zuckerberg’s travels throughout Asia.

How Asian markets will ultimately view different types of e-businesses remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Asia is no longer a backwater in terms of the global economy. In fact, many jurisdictions in Asia seem especially poised to be trendsetters in terms of information technology and ecommerce.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.