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Cryptocurrencies interesting but too small to move mountains

By Alfred Romann

Cryptocurrencies continue to fuel debate among regulators and users. 

The total value market capitalization of cryptocurrencies as of Oct. 28 was almost US$210 billion. Take out Bitcoin, the grandmother of crypto, and that drops to US$97 billion. The current market cap of cryptocurrencies is down to about a third of the peaks hit in January.

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China’s pivot to America could overshadow the US’s pivot to Asia

Not so much a shift in policy but a growing trend

There has been so much discussion of the United States pivot to Asia that few people have stopped to consider the implications or the success of China’s own pivot to America.

China already wields enormous influence in Asia through its size and its adroitness at negotiating, buying or bullying its way to goodwill among its partners – much like every other player on the geopolitical landscape. It has or is part of free trade agreements that include just about every country in the region.

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A China-US trade war is not likely to be

The “man on the street” will be the biggest loser

All the talk that has erupted in the past couple of weeks about possible trade wars between the United States and China has been interesting in the way that a soap opera is interesting: lots of drama with little link to reality.

Sure, it is easy to use China as a scapegoat. A place that is conveniently far away and too big to understand. It is easy to say “look, it is China’s fault and we will put the hurt on them and things will be lovely all around”. If only that were true.

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Poverty, growth and baseless anger

The economics of misplaced anger

Fast growing Asian countries have “eliminated” poverty at an astonishing speed, bringing people out of extreme poverty into mere gut-reaching poverty.

At first blush, the numbers are suggesting of a hopeful future. In 1990, about a third of the people in the world lived on less than US$1.90 a day. By 2013, it was just 10.7%. In actual numbers, that is 1.85 billion in 1990 compared to 767 million in 2013. A second glance puts in perspective the anger of many people in the world, and not in a good way.

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2016 BOAO Forum for Asia

Looking to the future

This year’s BOAO Forum for Asia (BFA) has a theme of Asia’s New Future: New Dynamics, New Vision.

This time, the 17th annual gathering of leaders and industry professionals in Asia covers areas such as inclusive finance, disruptions of traditional business and economic models, new banking practices, regional cooperation and growing links through reforms and initiatives.

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R&D spend driving China pharma co’s

Companies are narrowing the gap

China is not a powerhouse of innovation, yet, but it is certainly trying to pay its way into that particular status. This willingness to spend in R&D – to pay to talent, buy innovative companies and seek out new technologies – is particularly visible in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology space. And it is working.

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HK protests impressive but status confusing

HONG KONG, China. Eight days into the protests that have shut down entire neighbourhoods of the city, things are looking… ah… complicated.

The government has been adamant that it wants work and school to resume on Monday. The protesters have said that they are ready to talk, or ready to keep protesting, or not ready to talk unless new demands are met, or keen to get back to the streets en masse. It is really hard to tell.

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Chinese Investment Is Far From Scary

A “mix of policy liberalization and changing commercial realities in the Chinese marketplace” have led to a boom in Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US, but these investments are complicated by mistrust, national security concerns and widespread fears that Chinese firms have unfair advantages.

A new report suggests Chinese FDI in U.S. high tech may not be as scary as popular opinion there would have us believe.

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