Pesek on Asia: Malaysia's China-Like Behavior
Good morning. Here's my take on some of the stories driving the debate in politics, finance and social issues across Asia today:
Malaysia's China-like behavior.
China calling on Malaysia to be more transparent about missing flight 370 is the diplomatic equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black. My Bloomberg View colleague Adam Minter explored the hypocrisy inherent in China's complaints yesterday. Here's a more recent Singapore Straits Times piece about the Chinese families of passengers of the Malaysian Air flight complaining about being under constant surveillance. Malaysian officials have handled this crisis terribly. But are we really to believe China would handle things more openly? I highly doubt it.
Foxconn's curious think tank .
At 63 and perhaps fed up with deflecting nasty headlines about conditions in Foxconn's factories in mainland China, Terry Gou is thinking about retiring. As the world's largest electronics manufacturer mulls who can fill the shoes of a man some call Taiwan's Henry Ford, Foxconn is reportedly setting up a think tank. Overkill? Apple, which uses Foxconn to make iPhones and iPads, didn't do that when it replaced Steve Jobs. Yet amid worries the company will falter without Gou, explains Lily Kuo of Quartz News, Foxconn is leaving nothing to chance.
Drugs for Chinese school kids.
"Children Being Turned Into White Mice." Having to carry such a protest banner is every parents' nightmare. But it's a sad reality in China amid a fast-developing scandal over schools giving drugs to children without consent. This chilling New York Times piece details how at least four kindergartens have been administering moroxydine hydrochloride, a cheap antiviral drug widely used in China to combat flu and colds. Local governments would be wise to halt the practice and bring parents into the mix. The last thing Beijing wants is a couple of hundred million angry Tiger Moms railing against officialdom.
India Inc. likes Narendra Modi.
It's hardly surprising that two-thirds of 25 top corporate leaders surveyed by the Business Standard newspaper support Bharatiya Janata Party's Narendra Modi for prime minister. The expectation is that Modi's pro-business policies in the western state of Gujarat will work on a national level, cutting red tape and boosting economic growth. What is surprising, though, is that Modi has gotten this far (the election is in May) without fleshing out exactly how he plans to apply his "Gujarat model" in corrupt, inefficient and change-adverse New Delhi. It's time for Modi to tell Indians how he will succeed where so many others failed.
Hong Kong's billionaire problem.
Asia's so-called world city has a bizarre problem on its hands. The city is, by some measures, minting more millionaires than ever -- an increase of 22 percent in 2013 alone -- but one in 10 of them wants to leave. Take your pick of reasons why -- dodgy air quality, the search for more liquid markets, too many people on too little land, surging property costs. Whatever the impetus, Hong Kong's government needs to figure out how to keep more or its millionaires from bolting to Sydney, Vancouver or any number of other places. Because if business-obsessed Hong Kong doesn't have its ultra-rich, what else does it really have?
William Pesek is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @williampesek.)
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.
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