A glimpse of frenetic Asia


Over the last few days, The Lens clocked up five flights across three countries and two time zones. Countries visited included Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. It was a great time to plan a business trip in advance of Chinese New Year!

The first stop was Singapore, a laid back, reserved jewel of a place that aspires to be the Luxembourg of Asia for fund structures and the Switzerland of Asia to do business with.

With a great structure in place for schooling and social life, political stability, and being sweetly located with most areas surrounding it going through a boom, Singapore-watchers are looking to see what challenges are created for the country by elections in the area (India and Indonesia).

The next stop was Shanghai, the Pudong area, where the expanse of space, buildings and infrastructure is phenomenal.

Mobile technology, ecosystems and consumption-related services are key drivers for this region – all on a gigantic scale.

Speaking with fund managers and CEO’s in China was insightful. Firms with bases there find it a real positive as each country within Asia is heavily nuanced and being able to tap into each nuance is hugely beneficial.

For example, China is currently doing much to reflect its transparency/due diligence/governance procedures. This is an iterative process, firms say, and it is notable that regulatory conferences abound in other countries in the region.

The final stop was Hong Kong, a place close to The Lens’ heart! It was nippy weather in contrast to the extreme humidity experienced in September, but there is a real business vibe in Hong Kong with many established firms and multi-cultural staff promoting their China capabilities, too.

One particular piece of intelligence to report is that executives we spoke to consider Vietnam and Thailand to be places to watch for investment, and one manager is even researching Uzbekistan!