Eye on Vietnam, The New Electronics Manufacturing Hub
Jan 19, 2019

Major electronics makers are desperately seeking new production bases as the U.S.-China trade war shows no signs of abating. For many, Vietnam is the top choice, with a powerful electronics cluster taking shape in the northern part of the country. We went there to find how what’s happening.

At the beginning of 2007, not long after Vietnam gained accession to the World Trade Organization, Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) Chairman Terry Gou set out from his factory in Shenzhen and drove through Nanning in the Guangxi Autonomous Region to Hanoi in Vietnam. (Read: Terry Gou's Secret Bases)

He wanted to get a firsthand look at a possible cross-border transportation route in anticipation of setting up a Hon Hai assembly line in northern Vietnam, where wages were less than a third of those in Shenzhen. The factory there would be fed parts and components from the company’s plants in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.

At the time, Gou realized that, with the drive from his plant in Shenzhen to Nanning taking 13 hours and the 300-kilometer drive from Nanning to Hanoi taking only six to eight hours, he could ship goods from the Shenzhen facility in the evening and have them in Bac Ninh just west of Hanoi the next morning, ready to be processed.

One person familiar with Hon Hai’s operations described Gou’s thinking behind the strategic move and why he opted against southern Vietnam, where most Taiwanese were investing at the time, saying,

“If it had been southern Vietnam, which was much farther away from China’s supply chain, the timing of the shipments would not have worked.”

Consequently, Hon Hai bought more than 400 hectares of land in Bac Ninh that included space in the future for upstream suppliers in the supply chain. The company’s plans to build a new facility there were temporarily derailed, however, when the global financial crisis undermined the world economy in late 2008.

Twelve years later, though the United States and China have reached a temporary ceasefire in their trade war, Taiwanese electronics manufacturers continue with plans to shift production out of China to avoid punitive American import duties, worried about lingering uncertainty over U.S.-China relations. (Read: Terry Gou’s U.S. Gambit: The Eagle Has Taken Off)

As a result, the electronics connection envisioned by Gou more than a decade ago has blossomed.

Hon Hai now has three factories in the northern Vietnam provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, and leading notebook assembler Compal Electronics is planning to re-launch its facility in Vinh Phuc province, northwest of Hanoi.

Many other businesses and investors have flocked to northern Vietnam over the past three to four months, scouting the area.

One of those that moved in was communications equipment company Wistron NeWeb Corp., which quietly rented a factory from Taiwanese company Mitac Precision Technology Corporation in the Kinh Bac City industrial park in Bac Ninh.

“When you make products for American brands, if you deliver one to two months late, it will affect distribution in the market. Those who were in a rush decided to rent factory space to meet production needs, because buying land, building a plant and ramping up production takes at least a year. They would not have made it in time,” says the general manager of a Taiwanese company that has set up a factory there.

We followed the same route Terry Gou did in 2007, starting from Nanning to experience this new electronics industry artery firsthand and get an understanding of the speed, scale and sustainability of this latest Taiwanese migration tide.

Scene 1: Nanning to Friendship Pass in Pingxiang
Core Hub of the China-Vietnam Electronics Artery

Our vehicle left from Nanning and got on the flat and wide Nanyou Expressway, the major roadway heading toward the major border crossing near Pingxiang.

During the trip, we saw one 45-foot container truck after another scream by a “One Belt One Road” banner.

It took less than three hours to reach the China-Vietnam border – the Friendship Pass in Pingxiang – and line up for immigration and customs procedures to enter Vietnam. Pingxiang is the hub of this 300-kilometer-long electronics artery.

All of the parts and components produced in China’s main electronics clusters in Chongqing, Chengdu, and the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas have to pass through here before being delivered to industrial parks in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Vinh Phuc about 150 kilometers away to be processed.

“Of all the land bordering checkpoints in China, Pingxiang has the biggest volume of electronics products passing through. Eight hundred cargo trucks a day deliver components to Vietnam, with each container carrying tens of millions of renminbi worth of parts,” says Catch Cheng, the 31-year-old vice general manager of logistics company Guangxi Greating Fortune International Cooperation Logis Co., Ltd.

He has promised one of his customers – Samsung – that components manufactured in the Kunshan area near Shanghai will arrive at Samsung’s factories in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang in “72 hours, without fail,” he says.

A native of Hunan Province, Cheng was stationed by his company in Pingxiang for three years, and he has since married a woman from the minority Zhuang people. He handles about 10,000 containers of electronics parts shipped from China to Vietnam a year, an average of nearly 30 a day.

He said the volume of goods being transported on this major artery is growing about 20 percent a year, and he has seen many companies from Shenzhen set up logistics and trading companies over the past year in the Pingxiang customs building where he has his office.

Scene 2: Friendship Pass to Hanoi
A Different Look in Vietnam

After we drove through the Friendship Pass and entered northern Vietnam, the gap in basic infrastructure between China and Vietnam became immediately apparent.

The high-quality expressway within China’s borders narrowed into a regular two-lane dirt road.. A long line of container trucks seemed to occupy the lane, and intrepid drivers would occasionally veer into the opposite lane to pass a truck or two, often just barely averting direct collisions with oncoming traffic.

Ultimately, it took four hours to cover the roughly 170 kilometers to Hanoi.

When our vehicle arrived at the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park in Bac Ninh, about 30 kilometers from Hanoi, it drove into ALS East Hanoi Joint Stock Co., a customs bonded warehouse exclusively serving the electronics sector. There, 40 people work in shifts around the clock.

The containers of electronics components shipped by Catch Cheng from China are sent to the ALS warehouse and sorted before being reshipped to electronics manufacturers in industrial parks in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang.

“The factory that Foxconn uses to assemble Nokia phones, Fushan Technology, is right next to us, not even five minutes away,” says Tran Do Trong Khanh, ALS East Hanoi’s deputy director, in fluent English.

ALS serves 50 electronics manufacturers who have set up factories in the area, including Foxconn and Samsung. (Read: A Threat to South Korea? Terry Gou’s American Dream)

Compared with the one week it would take to ship the components by sea, trucking goods from Shenzhen, Dongguan or Guangzhou in Guangdong province or even from Xiamen through the Friendship Pass to Bac Ninh, Bac Giang or Vinh Phuc takes only one or at most two days.

That’s roughly the same amount of time required for shipments within China, explaining why northern Vietnam has emerged as a dominant player in the global electronics manufacturing services market, especially as the U.S. and China continue to duke it out.

Translated by Luke Sabatier
Edited by Sharon Tseng

Café Malaysia 2019 celebrates the country’s dynamic coffee culture and its world class achievements
Jan 18, 2019

17 January 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia --( ASIA TODAY )-- The official opening of Café Malaysia 2019 this afternoon marks the 3-day celebration of Malaysia’s robust coffee culture and industry, including its recent sterling successes in the international coffee scene. The launch at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) which was attended by industry leaders and key players of the coffee and tea industries, was officiated by Guest-of-Honour, Y.B. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

The highly anticipated annual coffee show will chart history as it hosts ASEAN’s top coffee specialists hailing from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam from the ASEAN Coffee Federation (ACF). They are here to announce the development of ASEAN’s very own Coffee Standards. Focusing on coffee beans cultivated in the ASEAN region, the set of Standards will boost the growth of the regional coffee industry, featuring key differentiations from existing standards which originated from the west.

The recent string of successes in 2018 recorded by Malaysia’s very own baristas and latte artist at the World Latte Art Championship in Brazil (Irvine Quek, World Champion), the World Brewers Cup Championship in Brazil (Regine Wai, 1st Runner-Up) and the World Barista Championship in Amsterdam (Keith Koay, 10th ranking) are more reasons for celebration at Café Malaysia 2019. These successes are indicators of the growing interests in specialty coffee in Malaysia which is driven by young consumers’ appetite for the best brew. Malaysia’s achievements in the international coffee scene are also complemented with the steady rise in the number of talented young adults in Malaysia who hone their creativity and express their passion for coffee by becoming coffee artisans such as baristas, brewers, bean roasters and latte artists.

The annual event which is also the country’s largest gathering of industry players, professional baristas and latte artists, records the participation of 180 exhibitors from 22 countries. The event showcases the latest supplies and products, an array of coffee beans and tea leaves from around the globe, equipment, machinery, accessories and technology. The comprehensive one-stop platform will also be a focal point of business opportunities as industry players will network with another in the fast-growing regional and international coffee and tea businesses. The event is projected to welcome 10,000 coffee and tea trade professionals, congress delegates, café owners.

For visitors who are keen in acquiring knowledge on topics such as milk mixology, beverage creation, the sourcing of green coffee, herbal coffee, and how to maintain competitiveness in the business of running of a café, they will have the opportunity to attend the Café Malaysia 2019 Seminar which will take place on Friday, 18 January 2019.

Over three days, visitors will also be able to catch the never-ending buzz at the stage area where the country’s finest baristas and accomplished latte artists will compete to clinch the top national titles at three national coffee championships namely, the 2019 Malaysia Barista Championship (MBC), the 2019 Malaysia Brewers Cup (MBrC), and the 2019 KL Coffee Club Malaysia Latte Art Championship (MLAC). Crowned champions of the respective competitions will earn the honours to represent Malaysia at the world stage.

According to a February 2018 report on the coffee industry in Malaysia by Euromonitor International, the 2017 on-trade volume sales of coffee continued to increase. As urban and young consumers became more knowledgeable about speciality coffee, they are more willing to patronise on-trade channels such as chained cafés and specialist coffee shops to enjoy freshly-brewed coffee. Looking forward, coffee is set to record a higher volume compound annual growth rate (CAGR) than the performance seen in 2017. More players are anticipated to launch unique and premium flavours targeting different consumer segments, such as millennials and middle to high-income consumers, who demand better quality brews due to their increasing exposure to speciality coffee such as the double espresso.

Café Malaysia 2019 will concurrently take place with the inaugural Malaysia Food Truck Congress. It will be presented on Saturday, 19 January 2019 as a business platform for key decision-makers and industry players to keep abreast of new technological improvements in the Food Truck F&B sectors, as well as to examine the latest developments and market trends. Delegates at the congress will be presented with the opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and to expand their professional and business networks. Topics covered at the congress will include wholesale purchasing, marketing, licensing, food truck safety, and the fast-changing regulations of the industry.

Another concurrent event, the second edition of the Food Truck Show, will serve as a comprehensive educational platform to discuss essential key topics pertaining to the local food truck scene such as planning, permitting, truck fabrication, food safety, production, and ideas. Industry and business professionals will also be present to exchange ideas and knowledge.

In the recent decades, modern-style food trucks have become the preference for most food lovers around the world. Hyped by the millennials and Gen Y, the fast-growing trend of food truck has become a phenomenon here in Malaysia and the Food Truck industry has grown in visibility over the past few years. In February 2018, the industry learnt that the Government had geared up to issue around 1,000 licences to operators by the end of that year. Today, there are more than 1,000 food trucks across the country serving the increasing appetite for the popular mobile food culture.

The Cafe Malaysia series is organised by CEMS Conference & Exhibition (M) Sdn Bhd, and is hosted by the Malaysia Specialty Coffee Association (MSCA) and the Café Owners Alliance Malaysia. MSCA is a member of the ASEAN Coffee Federation (ACF). The show is also endorsed by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).


Media Enquiries
Nalini Naidu
Mobile: +60 11-1954 1956 (Malaysia), Whatsapp +65 9633 3198 (Singapore)

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Exhibition and business meeting event providing the latest information to supermarkets and the food distribution industry
Jan 18, 2019

The National Supermarket Association of Japan [Head Office: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, President: Kiyoshi Yokoyama (CEO of ARCS COMPANY, LIMITED)] will hold the 53rd SUPERMARKET TRADE SHOW 2019 from February 13 (Wed) to 15 (Fri), 2019, in Makuhari Messe. The event provides a venue to disseminate the latest information on supermarkets and the distribution industry.

With the environment surrounding supermarkets in a state of constant change, a diverse range of issue has drawn attention. Reaching the 53rd time of the holding Supermarket Trade Show has continued to play a key role in finding solutions to such varied issues. Setting "SOU NIPPON – Creation Japan" as the main theme, we hope the tradeshow will contribute to the building of abundant regional communities in Japan through the efforts of the exhibitors and visitors from throughout the country.
With 2,134 companies and organizations exhibiting with 3,547 booths (as of November 1, 2018) the tradeshow is expected to surpass the previous year in scale. This year, 1,526 Japanese regional product manufacturers more than last year will exhibit thanks to the coordination of municipalities and local financial institutions from across Japan. A total of 74 overseas companies from 18 countries are participating with 155 booths introduces a wide selection of products from various countries.

As the organizer’s project, two new attractions will be introduced. In the movement of promoting an international standard- HACCP,“Food Safety and Sanitation”zone is established to aim at disseminating information on safety and safety of food supermarkets. At “Overseas foods to Japanese table”zone, several recipes using unfamiliar overseas food products will be suggested to create additional demands from retailers who are looking for new items. Continuing from last year, organizer’s project “Future Store “NOW” –Study of Continuing Future Supermarket”-will be held.

The results and solution of information gathering and research according to the theme of last year will be shown. At the theme zone “Handmade in Japan” displaying alcoholic beverages made in Japan, local producers focusing on “Japan Quality” will exhibit in this zone. Japanese wines, whose display standard had been changed in October, 2018, are newly added to existing brewers- Japanese sake, shochu and craft beer. We look forward to your visit at Supermarket Trade Show 2019.

◆Name:The 53rd Supermarket Trade Show 2019
◆Date:February 13(Wed.), 14(Thu.), 15(Fri.), 2019
10:00a.m.–5:00p.m. Closes at 4:00p.m. on the last day
◆Venue:Makuhari Messe
◆Theme:"SOU NIPPON – Creation Japan"
◆Organizer:National Supermarket Association of Japan
◆Official website: http://www.smts.jp/en/index.html
◆Official Support: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry / Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries / Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare / The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Agricultural Trade Office, The Embassy of the United States of America / Embassy of Italy Trade Promotion Section / Embassy of Canada / Economic and Commercial Office, Embassy of Spain / Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy / the Royal Danish Embassy / New Zealand Trade and Enterprise / French Embassy - Business France Japan Office / Embassy of Belgium / POLISM INVESTMENT & TRADE AGENCY TOKYO OFFICE / Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo / Economic Division, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa / Trade Commission of Mexico in Japan / Taiwan Trade Center, Tokyo / Food Marketing Institute Japan

Organizer’s Project
Food Safety and Sanitation (Hall 3)
This is a corner aimed at disseminating information on food safety of food supermarkets as food-related companies will introduce HACCP two years later.

Overseas foods to Japanese table (Hall 8)
There are many opportunities for overseas products especially which are still unfamiliar in Japan. We present several easy recipes using unfamiliar overseas food products in order to create additional demands from retailers who are looking for new items. Cooking demonstration and free food sampling will be available.

Handmade in Japan- Theme zone displaying alcoholic beverages made in Japan (Hall 1)
We will introduce the "techniques" and "sentiments" of the creators who prioritize local regions and focus on quality that respect the traditions of Japan. We propose newly adding "Japanese wines and fruit wines" to existing brewers (craft beer, sake, shochu).

New product pickup exhibition (focused on Japanese Regional Product) (Hal 9-11, Esplanade)
We will exhibit new products that will be displayed in the "SMTS 2019 Japanese Regional Product Zone" for each product category rather than by region, and this will be used as a tool for visitors to efficiently explore the halls.

Future Store “NOW” - the continuous near future supermarket research (Hall 2)
The continuous near future supermarket research gives you ideas and possible solutions toward social environment changes such as aging population with declining birthdate, decrease in population and labor shortage. Supermarkets can be one of the essential elements for vitality life and urban development support in near future.


A press conference for Supermarket Trade Show 2019 was held in South East Asia (Vietnam and Taiwan). In order to promote the show and entice visitors, media related to food industry and local retailers were invited. Collected local retailer surveys will be utilized to broaden overseas sales channels for Japanese products in the future. (Outsourced to The Association for Overseas Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Partnerships (AOTS) )

This program broadens Japanese exhibitors’ possibilities to expand sales channels not only in Japan but also in overseas countries. Overseas buyers such as importers, retailers and restaurateurs from South East Asia are invited, and business matching meetings and consultation will be held based on pre-registration.

This is especially optimized for overseas buyers. It will surely help the buyers to find the desired producers and they will find exactly what they are looking for.

Business Matching @FTJ2019 [Hall 9]
Business matching meeting with distribution buyers will be held.
Feb.13 (Wed.) ~Feb. 15(Fri.) Pre-registration is required.
The organizer: National Supermarket Association of Japan and The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Stage Programs [Hall 8 Seminar Stage]
Feb.13 (Wed.)
10:10a.m.~11:20a.m. <SMTS Speaks>
Title: Impermanence in the field of distribution
Speaker: Kiyoshi Yokoyama (Chairman of National Supermarket Association of Japan / CEO of ARCS COMPANY, LIMITED)

* Other specialized lectures, panel-discussion and etc. will be organized during the 3 days.
* Free attendance
* Pre-registration is not necessary. Please come to the venue directly.
* Capacity: about 250

* Each seminar will be provided with real time subtitles in English by using speech recognition technology "UD Talk". UD Talk is a communication support and conversation visualization application.

By installing the free application UD Talk on your smartphone, you can view subtitles in nearly 30 languages other than English.

About Organizer
National Supermarket Association of Japan
Sakurai Bldg.4F, 3-19-8 Uchi-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0047
Tel:+81-3-3255-4825  Fax:+81-3-3255-4826
Foundation: 1958 (Became an Incorporated Association in 1963. Renamed from Japan Self Service Association to New Supermarket Association of Japan in Sep. 2010. Renamed again to the present association name in Sep. 2018)
Chairman: Kiyoshi Yokoyama (CEO of ARCS COMPANY, LIMITED)
Members: 313 regular members, 940 supporting members (as of Oct. 2018)
Contents of Business Operation: Conducting surveys, research, educational training and qualifying examination, issuing publications, organizing exhibitions, business matching project and etc. all concerning supermarkets.

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Global market for technical consumer goods exceeds the one-trillion mark
Jan 14, 2019

Nuremberg, January 7, 2019 - The global market for technical consumer goods (TCG) exceeded the one-trillion mark for the first time in 2018 with sales of €1.01 trillion*. This is a four percent increase on the previous year. The product segments of telecommunications (+7 percent), small domestic appliances (+7 percent), consumer electronics/photo (+6 percent), and information technology/office equipment (+1 percent) all contributed to this growth in sales. Global sales from major domestic appliances, on the other hand, fell slightly by one percent.

For 2019, GfK is expecting a two percent increase in technical consumer goods sales on the global market to around €1.03 trillion*. These are GfK's current results on the occasion of the CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

With a sales share of 42 percent, Asia-Pacific continued to defend its position on the technical consumer goods market in 2018 as well. A further 25 percent of sales was achieved in Europe, around 20 percent in North America, seven percent in Latin America, and six percent in Middle East/Turkey/Africa.

Markus Kick, GfK expert on technical consumer goods, explains, "Globally, technical consumer goods achieved sales of more than €1 trillion for the first time in 2018. This is a real milestone for trade and industry. The areas of telecommunications, small domestic appliances and consumer electronics proved to be the biggest drivers of sales. We are seeing a trend toward premium products in almost all segments. Consumers are also placing ever more value on connectivity and convenience. Based on this trend, GfK is also expecting solid sales growth in 2019 with an increase of two percent."

Telecommunications: Trend toward premium devices supports developments in sales

With a sales share of 44 percent and a volume of around €440 billion*, telecommunications is the biggest segment among technical consumer goods in 2018. Consumers now increasingly go for premium products, especially in the smartphone segment, which has enabled global sales to rise by a further seven percent. However, the market is stagnating in terms of quantities sold.

Notwithstanding Latin America (-5 percent), sales in 2018 increased worldwide, especially in Europe (+14 percent) and North America (+12 percent). However, GfK is not expecting to see any further growth in sales in 2019, but rather stable development at the same level as the previous year.

Major domestic appliances: Sales expected to increase again in 2019 after slight dip

Major domestic appliances (MDA) continued to be the second-largest segment among technical consumer goods in 2018 with sales of around €177 billion*, despite a slight decrease in sales of one percent. Overall, around 17 percent of all TCG sales last year was attributed to major domestic appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, washers or dishwashers.

Currently trending are multi-function devices and connectivity - the possibility to network devices with one another or control them using a different device.
Sales in Latin America (+6 percent), Europe (+3 percent), and Asia/Pacific (+2 percent) developed positively last year. GfK is predicting further significant global growth in sales for 2019 of six percent, which will more than compensate for the slight losses from last year.

Information technology/office equipment: Positive impetus from Asia supports global market

In 2018, consumers worldwide spent around €157 billion* on IT and office equipment, as well as consumables - about as much as in the previous year.
In the IT segment, there is currently a demand for high-performance devices, especially in the gaming PC and gaming notebook segment. While sales in Latin America and Asia/Pacific rose slightly in 2018, they stagnated in Europe and fell in Middle East/Turkey/Africa as well as in North America.

The office equipment and consumables segment recorded a positive development. Global sales in 2018 increased by three percent to around €16 billion*, with growth primarily coming from Asia, and China in particular. In 2019, however, GfK is expecting to see a global decrease in sales of around three percent in the information technology/office equipment segment.

Consumer electronics/photo: Trend for premium smart devices

Global sales in the consumer electronics and photo segment rose in 2018 by nearly six percent to €153 billion*. This segment alone accounts for around 15 percent of all TCG sales.

There is also a trend for premium products in consumer electronics. High-end TV sets with screen sizes of at least 50" produced significant growth in sales. In the premium segment, OLED TV sets continue to increase in popularity. Headphones and portable Bluetooth speakers proved to be significant drivers of growth on the audio market. Sales of entertainment electronics developed particularly positively in Latin America (+24 percent). Sales in Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Turkey/Africa increased by between four and five percent.

The photo segment was not able to break its negative trend and lost a further five percent of sales in 2018. Globally, cameras and accessories achieved €15 billion* in sales. Positive aspects set the tone for high-end cameras. In 2019, GfK expects to see slightly less growth in sales of around four percent on the global consumer electronics and photo market.

Small domestic appliances: Significant growth, especially in China

Small domestic appliances (SDA) achieved global sales of around €86 billion* in 2018. This is a significant increase of seven percent. Driven by very positive demand in China, sales in Asia/Pacific increased by 13 percent overall. In Latin America, as well as in Middle East/Turkey/Africa, sales grew by ten percent, while growth in Europe was recorded at seven percent. Only in North America did sales decrease slightly, by two percent.

Consumers are continuing to focus on the issue of "convenience". Battery-powered handheld vacuum cleaners are particularly popular right now. GfK also sees upward trends for the global small domestic appliances market in 2019, and predicts sales growth of eight percent.

About GfK

GfK connects data and science. Innovative research solutions provide answers for key business questions around consumers, markets, brands and media – now and in the future. As a research and analytics partner, GfK promises its clients all over the world “Growth from Knowledge”.

# # #

Seraphina Wee
Marketing and Communcations Manager, SEA
GfK Asia Pte Ltd

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KOICA Presents The Asia Foundation with ‘Best Partnership’ Award
Jan 11, 2019

Seoul, January 10, 2019 — On December 28, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) presented the ‘Best Partnership’ award to The Asia Foundation for the Women’s Business Center and Incubator Project in Mongolia. KOICA President Mi-kyung Lee delivered the letter of appreciation to Kwang Kim, country representative of The Asia Foundation in Korea.

The Women’s Business Center project, a successful public-private partnership program, began in 2016. Since it opened in Ulaanbaatar in 2016, Mongolia’s first-ever Women’s Business Center has trained over 5,000 women and developed a regular client base of 2,000 entrepreneurs. The center supports a growing number of women business owners by providing high-quality business support services and an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.

As the most active network of women entrepreneurs in Ulaanbaatar, the center is helping to create a vigorous ecosystem of Mongolian women entrepreneurs. Watch a short film featuring one of 28 graduates of the Women’s Business Center.

Currently, The Asia Foundation is expanding support for Mongolian women entrepreneurs by implementing a follow-up project through Inclusive Business Solution in partnership with Korean ICT company, ‘Solutek’.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

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Wuhan Makes Waves on International Social Media with Online "Meet in Wuhan" Campaign
Jan 07, 2019

WUHAN, China, Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- "Meet in Wuhan", the online campaign launched by the Wuhan Tourism Development Committee on international social media, came to a successful end on December 25. The campaign offered overseas audiences a glimpse into Wuhan's diverse tourism attractions and cultural heritage through a series of intriguing stories presented with 3D animation techniques, setting a perfect example in marketing a Chinese tourist city to an overseas audience.

The campaign encouraged overseas social media users to participate in a "story domino" activity by writing and sharing stories about the city of Wuhan. Those selected were reproduced in 3D animations and posted on the social media account @Visit Wuhan. The campaign was soon met with a warm response from users across the world. The "Meet in Wuhan" animated videos eventually garnered a cumulative viewership of over 7 million on Facebook and sparked wide attention on Twitter, as well as other international social media platforms.

Based on the original stories users contributed, the Wuhan Tourism Development Committee produced videos featuring a range of Wuhan's tourist attractions, including the Yellow Crane Tower, East Lake, Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, Wuhan University, Guiyuan Temple and Happy Valley Wuhan. By engaging social media users in the activity and interacting with them, the campaign increased the popularity of Wuhan's social media accounts and boosted the overseas influence and awareness of Wuhan as a major Chinese tourist city.

The "Meet in Wuhan" online campaign, which has been a huge success, presented Wuhan to global audiences as a diverse, inclusive and international city blessed with beautiful landscapes. It's also one of Wuhan's attempts to live up to its reputation as one of China's first tourist cities to "go global." In the future, Wuhan will try to design more exemplary marketing campaigns, with greater openness and flexibility to attract a larger number of foreign tourists to explore the city's stunning scenery.

Source: Wuhan Tourism Development Committee

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Asia’s Largest Toys & Games Fair Opens
Jan 07, 2019

7 January 2019 − The HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair opened today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The three fairs, which run concurrently from 7-10 Jan, feature some 3,000 global exhibitors and showcase a broad selection of innovative products. Matthew Cheung, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), officiated at the opening ceremony this morning and delivered the opening remarks.

The current Sino-United States trade friction has brought about uncertainty in the global economy. Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Executive Director Margaret Fong said: “Although the latest developments in the negotiations between the United States and Mainland China indicate that a settlement in the trade dispute is now more likely, we can still expect to see a slowdown in the growth of toy product exports in the coming year, even as the global economy continues to grow. The HKTDC will step up its efforts to support the industry in developing more diverse businesses and exploring new markets, as well as allocating resources to invite buyers from emerging markets such as ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], India and the Middle East to participate in our trade fairs.”

Ms Fong noted that the HKTDC has organised around 125 buying missions from 65 countries and regions, comprising more than 9,200 buyers from more than 6,200 companies, to source at the three fairs.

Smart and Educational Toys in Trend at Asia’s Largest Toys & Games Fair

The 45th edition of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair features more than 2,100 exhibitors from 42 countries and regions, making it the largest event of its kind in Asia, and the second-largest in the world. Six group pavilions, including Mainland China, Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, as well as the “World of Toys” pavilion, featuring mainly European exhibitors, are showcasing the latest toys and games from around the world. A fair highlight, the Brand Name Gallery features about 240 renowned brands, including 4M, Hape, Ming the Minibus, Soap Studio, STEM University and Welly.

The Smart-Tech Toys zone gathers a variety of toys and games that incorporate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), as well as those compatible with mobile apps. As educational toys exploring children’s potential continue to gain in popularity, a STREAM Toys Product Display highlighting toys related to science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics has been set up at the fair. Other thematic zones include Pet Toys, Fireworks and Kidult World – the latter showcasing toys for grown-ups such as hobby goods, magic items, action and war game items, as well as models and figurines.

Toys Industry Conference Unveils Market Trends

The Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference 2019 will be held tomorrow (8 Jan) to explore ways to build a bright future for the global toy sector, with industry experts including a Euromonitor analyst, a toy industry consultant and publisher from the US and a leading Hong Kong toy manufacturer coming together to examine development trends in the global market and opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative. Other seminars include “Smart-Tech & DIY Toys – What’s New?”, “Toy Safety & Regulations Updates”, “Toys Compliance, Testing & Certification”, “Insight into the Upcoming Stationery Trends” and “Digital Marketing: Innovation Key to Success”, featuring representatives from Guru Online and Madcradle Online.

Concurrent Baby Products and Stationery Fairs

The 10th Hong Kong Baby Products Fair has attracted more than 610 exhibitors from 29 countries and regions, including those featured at pavilions from Korea, Singapore and the Hong Kong Children, Babies, Maternity Industries Association. The debut Maternity Products zone presents a variety of pre- and post-natal essentials for mothers, while the Baby Tech zone showcases high-tech smart products. The Brand Name Gallery presents close to 50 well-known quality brands. The winning products of the Hong Kong Toys and Baby Products Awards 2019 can be viewed at the Halls 3F-G Concourse during the fairs showcasing creative designs to international buyers.

Organised by the HKTDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, this year’s Hong Kong International Stationery Fair welcomes more than 260 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions, including pavilions from Korea and Taiwan as well as first-time exhibitors from Australia and Malaysia. The fair is once again organised into five distinct product zones, namely DIY Supplies, Gift Stationery, Kids & School, Pen & Paper and Smart Office, for an easy-to-navigate sourcing environment. The “One Moment in Time” display at the entrance of Hall 5B showcases a variety of stationery that people use in different stages of life.

The three fairs are held concurrently with the HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show (7-9 Jan) to provide a one-stop sourcing platform for buyers, creating synergy and more cross-sector business opportunities. The fairs also continue to feature the hktdc.com Small Orders zone with its online transaction platform (http://smallorders.hktdc.com), and on-site business-matching service to facilitate business partnerships and sourcing.

Media Enquiries:
Please contact the HKTDC's Communications & Public Affairs Department:

Natalie Wong Tel: (852) 2584 4472 Email: natalie.hy.wong@hktdc.org
Iris Chow Tel: (852) 2584 4395 Email: iris.cc.chow@hktdc.org

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution http://www.AsiaToday.com

Six Young Hong Kong Fashion Labels in Focus
Jan 05, 2019

4 January 2019 – Creations from six Hong Kong fashion designer labels will be showcased at the “FASHIONALLY Collection #13” fashion parade and three sessions of the “FASHIONALLY Presentation” at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2019. In addition, two other up-and-coming Hong Kong brands − ARTO. and YMDH − will take part in FASHIONALLY promotions for the first time, showcasing their 2019 Fall/Winter collections. Fashion Week is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and runs from 14-17 Jan at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

The three designers displaying their latest collections at FASHIONALLY Collection #13 are: Yeung Chin (brand name: YEUNG CHIN), who runs a concept store at PMQ; Jane Ng (brand name: Phenotypsetter); and Alee Lee (brand name: ALEE LEE), who is launching her brand’s second collection. All three are ex-YDC (Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest) finalists who studied at the Alternatif Fashion Workshop. They are coming together to showcase their Fall/Winter 2019 collections in a show that exudes a freewheeling, eclectic vibe against a backdrop of live music.

At the Fashion Week fairground, FASHIONALLY Presentations will showcase the design concepts and 2019 Fall/Winter collections of local fashion designers Arto Wong (brand name: ARTO.), Jason Lee (brand name: YMDH) and Carrie Kwok (brand name: CAR|2IE) in the form of a story told against the backdrop of a theatre-like stage.

Knitwear designer Arto Wong received the New Talent Award and was named Overall Winner at YDC 2017. The New Talent Award gave Ms Wong the opportunity to retail her debut collection at Joyce, a famous multi-brand fashion store in Hong Kong. High-end streetwear designer Jason Lee won the “Best Footwear Design Award” at YDC 2017, after which he launched a capsule collection with renowned Hong Kong retailer i.t. Taking inspiration from literature, Carrie Kwok creates sophisticated, poetic designs that have been well-received by consumers. Her label, CAR|2IE, is available at Lane Crawford.

Hong Kong artist Yam Chan, who worked as a fashion designer previously, will collaborate with FASHIONALLY for the first time to showcase MICH, his handmade ball-jointed doll, at Fashion Week on 16-17 Jan.

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter Celebrates its 50th Edition

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter celebrates its 50th edition in 2019. The fair is expected to host about 1,400 exhibitors from around the globe. In 2018, some 14,000 buyers from 76 countries and regions visited the event, Asia’s largest fashion fair, reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as the unrivalled sourcing hub for global fashion traders and retailers. The fair is organised into themed zones to cater for the sourcing needs of different industry sectors, including garments, designer labels, upstream products such as fabric and clothing accessories, trade services and new technology in fashion.

The Corporate Fashion and Uniforms zone returns this year after making its debut in 2018. The World of Fashion Accessories also returns by popular demand, bringing together fashion items ranging from shoes and bags to fashion jewellery, scarves and shawls all under one roof. New this year, the Hong Kong Footwear Federation will showcase its latest shoe designs with a fashion parade. Special product zones such as Fashionable Sportswear, Thermal Clothing, Bridal & Evening Wear, and Intimate Wear & Swimwear are set to feature the latest designs on offer. Incorporating designs from more than 60 international designers, the International Fashion Designers’ Showcase presents masterpieces from around the globe at one glance.

Operated by the HKTDC, the award-winning FASHIONALLY is a unique platform for networking and sharing the latest news and information about Hong Kong fashion design. The non-profit website features news on local young designers, fashion trends, brand stories, and news about the annual YDC.


FASHIONALLY: https://www.fashionally.com

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter: https://event.hktdc.com/fair/hkfashionweekfw-eng

YDC: https://www.fashionally.com/en/YDC/about

Media enquiries:

Please contact the HKTDC's Communication and Public Affairs Department for more information or interviews with the designers:

Katherine Chan
Tel: (852) 2584 4537
Email: katherine.cm.chan@hktdc.org

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution http://www.AsiaToday.com

How to Streamline Work Processes in 2019
Jan 02, 2019

By taking firm control of the company’s workflow, a business owner could create a more efficient team and generate a larger annual profit margin.

What’s more, they could potentially improve colleague communication and reduce workplace stress, which can boost employee morale and decrease turnover.

If you want to transform your company’s operations in 2019 and beyond, here are some top tips on how to streamline your work processes.

Review Your Existing Processes

Start the year off right by reviewing your existing processes with open eyes.

Not only should you personally analyze internal tasks, but you also should request feedback from your employees about processes that do or don’t work.

You can then eradicate long, frustrating and unnecessary tasks, which can speed up efficiency.

Simplify Projects with Innovative Software Solutions

There are now various software solutions that can help to simplify tasks and projects. For example, work management software allows staff to both track and manage their workflow, which can also help to prevent miscommunication or data errors.

However, rather than introducing an application to fit a problematic process, you should first study it before developing a solution to fit the task specifically.

To build custom software solutions to simplify your operations, look no further than this directory of software development companies.

Outsource Various Projects to Expert Freelancers

There is no longer a need to handle every single project internally. Free up your company’s time by outsourcing projects, so your team can focus on more important areas of the business.

For example, outsourcing content marketing to freelance writers will provide your marketing team with more time to focus on social media or email marketing campaigns.

Not only can outsourcing save your company time, but it could also:

• Save money on resources
• Lead to smaller internal labor costs
• Provide access to a large pool of talent
Decrease employee stress levels

Create a Smaller To-Do List

A long to-do list will prevent members of management and employees from focusing on revenue-generating ideas.

Encourage your team to focus on their top three urgent tasks each day so that you can maintain high standards across the business.

If they are weighed down with too many tasks, encourage them to speak up, so you can outsource jobs or invest in the tools and technologies they need to scratch it off their to-do list.

Host Regular Brainstorming Sessions

While meetings can eat away at your employees’ precious time, brainstorming sessions can lead to the development of more creative, forward-thinking projects, or could help them to identify different ways to simplify complex and/or time-consuming tasks.

Routinely Refine Your Operations

It is, however, important to remember that no internal process is perfect, as there is always room for improvement.

After you have made changes to your existing workflow, you must not wash your hands of it, as it needs to be regularly refined to improve efficiency.

To do so, you must regularly request feedback from employees, review internal tasks and introduce the best technologies for your business.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

UBTech's All-terrain Patrol Robot ATRIS selected by Beijing's Shougang Park
Dec 31, 2018

-The park is home of the world's largest AI industry cluster

SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- UBTech, a leading global AI and humanoid robotics company, announced on December 26, 2018 the signing of an agreement with New Shougang High-end Industry Comprehensive Services Park (Shougang Park), whereby the two parties will collaborate on the development of high-tech demonstration projects. On the same day, Shougang AI Industrial Park also commenced operations. UBTech's all-terrain patrol robot ATRIS will provide intelligent security support for the park.

ATRIS enhances the efficiency of security patrols within Shougang Park and reduce the park's costs associated with security staff. UBTech plans to continue working with Shougang Park to promote the development of the AI-enabled digital community and improve the industry ecosystem characterized by AI applications, with the aim of becoming a model for Beijing's ongoing urban development and supporting the city's hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

By using ATRIS, Shougang Park can establish a rapid, efficient and flexible smart security system, efficiently supporting security patrols within the park. ATRIS comes equipped with U-SLAM, an autonomous navigation feature that allows Shougang Park to build a comprehensive smart solution for security patrols by scheduling the locations, routes and time for such patrols based on the environment and local geography. ATRIS automatically adapts to a number of complex road conditions, including cobblestone paths, steps and sloping roads, in addition to being capable of conducting security patrols even under poor weather conditions.

ATRIS enables round-the-clock patrols and monitoring of sensitive areas within the park through accurate identification of persons within its range of vision even when cloudy, foggy or at night. ATRIS also comes with a "SOS" emergency call button that automatically calls for help when an emergency situation has been identified, allowing for real-time communication with the park's security center.

About UBTech

Founded in 2012, UBTech is a global leading AI and humanoid robotics company. In 2018, UBTech achieved a valuation of USD$5 billion following the single largest funding round ever for an artificial intelligence company, underscoring the company's technological leadership.

Source: UBTech

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution http://www.AsiaToday.com