Trends

Corporate governance push

Financial group MUFG to create standard for selling cross-held shares

TOKYO -- Japanese megabank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will introduce a standard for return on risk assets to reduce cross-shareholdings. The benchmark returns, calculated by dividing earnings such as loan interest and stock dividends by the a...

  • Thailand banking

    Nonperforming loans up as profits slump

    BANGKOK -- More than a year after the May 2014 military coup, Thailand's top four commercial banks continue to see declining profit growth and rising nonperforming loans (NPLs). In the first half of 2015, Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Siam Comme...

  • Targeting the rich, tourists

    Tokyo re-emerges as hot shopping hub for luxury brands

    TOKYO -- Global luxury brand companies are once again sharpening their focus on Tokyo amid a slump in China, where a frugality campaign and turmoil in the stock market are taking a toll on conspicuous consumption. Italian fashion house Versace pl...

  • As the economy grows

    Myanmar can look forward to more credit cards, bank branches and ATMs

    YANGON -- In late May, Kanbawza Bank, Myanmar's leading private lender, began issuing credit cards, initially focusing on its affluent customers. A standard plan sets the credit limit at up to 300,000 kyat (about $241). The bank received 600 applicat...

  • First-half sales crown

    VW knocks Toyota from perch atop global car market

    FRANKFURT, Germany -- Germany's Volkswagen became the world's biggest automaker for the first time, selling 5.04 million cars to surpass Japan's Toyota Motor in the January-June period. Strong European sales drove the company to the top, accordin...

  • Japanese carmakers stumble

    Toyota wilts on weak sales in emerging markets

    NAGOYA/TOKYO -- Toyota Motor lost its bragging rights as the world leader in group sales during the January-June half, with sales at home and in developing countries flagging for Japanese automakers overall. A booming North American market pulled...

  • Capital spending down

    Japanese manufacturers suffer as China's economy slows

    TOKYO -- China's slowing economy, particularly the drop in capital spending, is starting to hit Japanese manufacturers' earnings. Robot maker Fanuc downgraded its fiscal 2015 earnings forecast Tuesday, expecting to fall short in the second half o...

  • Charging up

    Laos pushing electric bikes, tuk-tuks

    VIENTIANE -- Electric-powered motorbikes and three-wheelers are making gains in Laos as the Southeast Asian nation seeks an economic jolt from vehicles exploiting its abundant sources of electricity, such as hydropower. Chinese appliance manufact...

  • Using resources wisely

    Mitsubishi's US plant sale shows limits for midtier carmakers

    TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors' plan to sell its U.S. plant illustrates a trend among midtier Japanese automakers to narrow their focus geographically and by the types of vehicles they produce. The company said Monday it intends to sell its Illinois ...

  • Merrill Lynch survey

    CFOs in Asia more optimistic this year

    SHANGHAI -- Chief financial officers at major companies in Asia are feeling better about their earnings prospects this year, thanks in part to lower prices of crude oil, according to a survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The survey found tha...

  • Corporate governance reform

    Big Japanese companies grapple with outside directors

    TOKYO -- Japan's listed companies have hired around 1,000 additional outside directors in the past year, but having more board members, even theoretically independent ones, will not clean up business overnight. The huge accounting fraud at elect...

  • Seizing the opportunity

    Japan's big banks snap up assets of downsizing Western counterparts

    TOKYO -- Japanese megabanks are increasingly purchasing the assets and businesses of European and U.S. financial institutions. General Electric's planned sale of its Japanese leasing business has drawn the interest of many. Stagnation in the Euro...

  • Nikkei market share rankings

    Google overtakes Yahoo Japan as PC portal leader

    TOKYO -- Google of the U.S. overtook Yahoo Japan as the most crowded PC portal in Japan, according to the Nikkei's 2014 domestic market share rankings, released Saturday. Of 100 product and service categories, nine had new market leaders. Meanwhile, ...

  • Expanding capacity

    LG trying to top Samsung in small OLED displays

    SEOUL -- South Korea's LG Display has raised the stakes in its battle with archrival Samsung Display for a bigger share of the OLED display market. LG Display has unveiled a plan to sharply expand its capacity to make small and midsize organic li...

  • Managing the managers

    Toshiba scandal offers lessons in avoiding fraud

    TOKYO -- When it comes to demanding more from employees, how much is too much? It is a question that may not have a hard and fast answer, but Shigenobu Nagamori, chairman and president of motor maker Nidec, has his own rule. "To make a company gr...

  • Iran air travel industry

    Nuclear deal to bring winds of change in Persian Gulf aviation market

    DUBAI -- Iranian airlines, eager to rejuvenate their fleets, can hardly wait for the West's economic sanctions to be lifted. America's Boeing and Europe's Airbus are already making moves to capture this windfall. The U.S., the European Union and ...

  • Communications in Myanmar

    The cutthroat business of acquiring subscribers

    YANGON -- A state-owned operator had long monopolized Myanmar's cellular service market -- until a year ago. Now Myanma Posts and Telecommunications has two foreign competitors. The result? Charges for voice calls have more than halved, and the numbe...

  • Crowding out regulars

    Japanese hotels face room shortages as tourism booms

    TOKYO -- Hotels in Tokyo, Osaka and other major cities in Japan are nearing capacity as tourists stream in, leaving some travelers struggling to secure rooms. Foreign customers at Hotel Okura Tokyo jumped 14% on the year during the January-June h...

  • Tokyo Summer Games

    Original contractor Taisei to place new bid for revamped Olympic stadium

    TOKYO -- Japanese construction company Taisei, jilted out of a contract to build the New National Stadium after the original design was sent back to the drawing board, will put in another bid for the Tokyo Olympics' main venue. "We wish to join i...

  • Survival strategy

    Myanmar makes way for foreign beverages

    YANGON -- The globe's big beer and beverage makers are rushing into Southeast Asia's last frontier. That would be Myanmar, where here in the largest city, Netherlands-based Heineken and Myanmar's Alliance Brewery on July 12 jointly opened a b...