Entries in Asia (9)


Google to Build Wireless Networks in Africa, Asia

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google is working to connect a billion or more new Internet users in the emerging markets of Africa and Asia, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The proposed network’s infrastructure is said to differ from Google’s high-speed Google Fiber service in that instead of running lines of fiber optic cable throughout communities or regions, Google is seeking to broadcast Internet service to regions wirelessly.

Google is said to be eyeing a system of  ”high-altitude platforms” – special balloons or blimps — to provide wireless Internet access for areas reaching “hundreds of square miles,” according to the Journal report. The search giant is also considering satellite broadcasts and using TV broadcast frequencies.

Sources close to the project told the Journal that different regions would require different methods of Internet access delivery, and there wouldn’t be any “one technology that will be the silver bullet.”

It’s unclear how far along the speculative undertaking is in terms of getting telecommunications partnerships or coordinating with local governments.  Google would likely need to seek permission and support from municipalities to see the project through, according to the Journal.

Google did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment on the proposed project.

As another part of the effort to connect potential users in these emerging areas, Google is said to be focusing on engineering  new, cost-efficient smartphone hardware to run its Android mobile operating system.  The incentive for Google to provide free or low-cost Internet service to new markets, reported the Journal, was that many would use Google services and software, thereby  increasing overall online traffic and ad revenue  for the company.

Google announced at this year’s I/O developer conference that the company had activated more than 900 million Android devices worldwide. Google’s Chrome Web browser (on multiple operating systems, mobile and desktop) now has more than 750 million users, according to the company.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Heineken Offers to Buy Asian Brewer for $6 Billion

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Heineken, the world’s third biggest brewer, bid $6 billion for complete control of Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd., according to Bloomberg.

Although Heineken owns 42 percent of APB, they would like to buy out Fraser and Neave Ltd., who own the other large percentage of the company at a 40 percent stake.

Further negotiations of the business proposal will be discussed between the two interested parties before any official statement will be release about the buyout.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Number of Millionaires in Asia Tops Those in North America

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- For the first time ever, the number of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region surpassed those in North America last year, according to a new report by Capgemini and Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management.

The World Wealth Report 2012 found that in 2011, there were 3.37 million high net worth individuals -- defined as those with having $1 million or more to invest -- in the Asia-Pacific region, a 1.6 percent increase from the year before.

In comparison, North America had 3.35 million, putting the region in second place.

North America, however, remained the largest region of wealth last year, with $11.4 trillion, according to the report.  The Asia-Pacific region followed with $10.7 trillion.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Rally After Greek Election Results

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Asian markets rallied Monday morning after voters in Greece narrowly backed pro-bailout parties in the country's weekend election.

The New Democracy party squeaked by the leftist Syriza bloc in Sunday's historic vote, 29.5 percent to 27.1 percent.  The result makes it less likely that Greece will soon make a disorderly exit out of the single currency euro zone.

In response, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 soared 1.96 percent, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.81 percent, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.77 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex climbed 1.76 percent.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shot up by 1.01 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite  gained 0.40 percent.

Still, the news in Greece wasn't enough to boost markets elsewhere.  Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds moved above 7 percent Monday morning, adding to fears that Spain might be the next euro zone country to need a full bailout.

As a result, U.S. stock futures were mostly lower ahead of Monday's opening bell.  Over in Europe, stocks dropped, losing gains they had made earlier in the day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Close Down After Downgrading of US Credit Rating

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- After opening the day down 1.4 percent and holding steady during morning trading, Tokyo's Nikkei stock market tumbled Monday afternoon, closing the day down 2.2 percent in its first day of trading since the United States' credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history last week.

The drop came even after G7 nations pledged to take measures to support financial stability and growth.

The news in other Asian markets was not so promising.  Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged over three percent and South Korea's Kospi slipped 3.8 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX-200 index also ended the day down 2.9 percent and indexes in New Zealand fell close to three percent.

The mixed reports likely won't do much to quell growing concerns that Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ could rock global financial markets.

There are efforts across the world to calm markets in light of the downgrading, which the White House has labeled "amateurish" and "breathtaking."

President Obama himself, however, has not spoken.  Returning from Camp David on Sunday, the president waved off reporters asking questions about the first downgrading ever of U.S. credit.

Even with the administration's heated criticism of S&P over the downgrading, the rating agency is not only standing by the decision, it is saying a further downgrade is possible if the United States doesn't solve its debt problem in two years.

The rating agency's managing director John Chambers said Sunday on ABC News' This Week with Christiane Amanpour that there's "at least a one in three chance of a downgrade over that period."

He has blamed the downgrade squarely on Washington politics, saying "this is not a serious way to run a country."

"Our job is to hold the mirror up to nature, and what we are telling investors is that we have a spectrum that runs from AAA to D," Chambers told ABC News.  "And what we're seeing is that the United States government is slightly less credit worthy."

The rating agency says Washington has shown an inability to reach political consensus, which was highlighted by the debate on the debt ceiling, and this leaves the U.S. "less stable, less effective."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Drop Sharply following Wall Street Fall

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- Asian stock markets plummeted upon opening Friday in the wake of Wall Street's worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

Markets in Japan, South Korea and Australia fell between 2.4 and 4.2 percent in morning trading.

The Nikkei 225 index dropped 4.1 percent shortly after opening -- its biggest drop since the March tsunami.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Dollar Hits Three-Month Low in Asian Markets -- In a sign of growing concerns over the U.S. debt crisis, the U.S. dollar index fell to a three-month low Wednesday in Asian markets.

The dollar fell to a four-month low against the Japanese yen, while marking a record low against the Australian dollar.

A board member for the Bank of Japan said failed talks in D.C. could have serious effects on Japan's financial system.  He added that he expects the finance ministry to look at whether to intervene.

The U.S. government is projected to default unless a deal is reached before next Tuesday's deadline

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Sluggish on Debt Deal Uncertainty

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Asian markets fell Monday as worry widened over the inability of U.S. political leaders to reach an agreement over raising the debt limit and avoiding an impending default as the Aug. 2 deadline draws near.

The debt dilemma has led oil prices to dive below $99 a barrel amid belief that the demand for crude oil will be reduced.

In Hong Kong, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed to Asian nations that they should hold their faith in the U.S. economy, reminding them that the county has recovered from such instability in the past. Clinton predicted that a debt ceiling deal would be reached before the Aug. 2 deadline to avoid an unprecedented default.

It is feared that if an agreement is not reached, the United States could lose its triple-A credit rating.

"The political wrangling in Washington is intense right now," Clinton said. "But these kinds of debates have been a constant in our political life throughout the history of our republic. And sometimes, they are messy.

"I am confident that Congress will do the right thing and secure a deal on the debt ceiling, and work with President Obama to take the steps necessary to improve our long-term fiscal outlook."

Democrats are currently ironing out a deal that would have $2.7 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years, no tax increases and a debt ceiling increase (of $2.4 billion) that would last until 2013.

The Republican two step plan would see $1.2 trillion in cuts now, and a debt ceiling increase of about $1 trillion, or enough to last until February 2012. For the second step, a bipartisan committee would be created to identify another $1.8 trillion in cuts. After these cuts are approved, the debt ceiling would then be extended until 2013.

Ongoing bipartisan talks over the debt ceiling broke down over the weekend. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated in a letter Sunday that the talks ended "over Republicans' continued insistence on a short-term raise of the debt ceiling."

As negotiations continue on Capitol Hill, gold is now trading at a record price ($1,613 per troy ounce) and the dollar is dropping against other currencies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Wealthy People in Asia Than Europe, Says New Report

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Asia can now claim more millionaires than all of Europe combined, and the rapidly climbing number wealthy people in places like China is closing the gap with North America's number of millionaires and billionaires, according to the latest annual Merrill Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report.

Altogether, the number of millionaires and billionaires in the world was up 8.3 percent from 2009 to a total wealth of $42.7 trillion in the hands of the richest people in the world in 2010.

Although the average yearly income in many Asian economies is still very low -- in China it is still only $3,600 -- the number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the Asia-Pacific region expanded 9.7 percent to 3.3 million.

In Europe, there are 3.1 million HWNI's. North America still leads the pack of millionaires and billionaires with 3.4 million, but our growth rate is significantly lower than Asia's.

Along with those rising numbers of wealthy people comes a rising number of millionaires spending those millions.

"China's rich people have become what they are now only in the past 10 to 15 years," Chinese demolition tycoon and philanthropist Chen Guangiao, told ABC News last year.

"The thing that's unusual is that 30 years ago, there really weren't people of great wealth, so what you have is first-generation fortunes," billionaire Bill Gates said at a news conference in Shanghai last September.

One of the ultimate symbols of success is a private executive jet. Not surprisingly, sales are taking off in Asia, especially in China.

A $1.4 billion yacht port is currently under production in the Chinese city of Tianjin. The port, to become the largest in China at its completion, will hold 750 berths to accommodate luxury yachts up to 295 feet long.

However, the United States remains the world's largest yacht market with 17 million privately owned recreational boats, but that may change in the current trends in the movement of the world's wealth continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio