Trends

A man vapes at an e-cigarette store in Chicago. © AP

Kicking the habit

Indonesians vape to quit smoking

JAKARTA -- Few countries in the world can compare with Indonesia in the production of tobacco or the consumption of cigarettes. It is therefore surprising to see a boom in the sale of tobacco-free vaporizers -- a type of e-cigarette -- as a way to qu...

  • Senior services in Japan

    Hard-to-find eldercare workers in line for a big raise

    TOKYO -- Major Japanese providers of senior care services will hand out their most generous wage hikes since 2009 next fiscal year to cope with a serious labor shortage. All 12 of the surveyed companies with annual sales of at least 10 billion ye...

  • New opportunities

    Chinese banks eye securities trading, stronger foreign ops

    SHANGHAI -- Chinese banks are looking to enter new business areas, with stepped-up expansion abroad and a possible lifting of the firewall between banking and securities trading drawing particular attention. The China Securities Regulatory Commis...

  • New normal

    Bad debt mounting at China's big banks

    HONG KONG -- The days of double-digit growth at state-owned Chinese banks seem to be ending as the economy decelerates and nonperforming loans proliferate. Top four players Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Constructio...

  • Vietnam 4G

    Next generation telecoms for main cities in 2016

    HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications announced on Thursday that fourth generation (4G) mobile services will be available next year, initially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, after carriers Vietnam Posts and Telecomm...

  • 'Fourth industrial revolution'

    German-Chinese alliance may hurt Japan

    Germany's push toward what it dubs the fourth industrial revolution is bringing the manufacturing powerhouse closer to China. This could create a formidable challenge for Japanese manufacturers. Digital economy was this year's theme at CeBIT, the...

  • Demands of the Asian consumer

    Japanese audio gear makers adjusting to diverse markets

    OSAKA -- Japan's consumer electronics makers are trying to better match their music gear to the diverse needs and preferences of Asians. Onkyo plans to release two new speakers in April for China. One pair of speakers has been designed for subscr...

  • Easy-money fallout

    Japanese insurers raising life insurance premiums

    TOKYO -- Japanese insurance companies are under increasing pressure to raise premiums on popular lump-sum life insurance products as the Bank of Japan's aggressive easing measures has lowered yields on the country's government bonds. Single-premi...

  • Trouble from all sides

    Cheap crude, corruption charges bring pain to China's oil majors

    HONG KONG -- China's state-operated oil giants are facing an uphill battle, weighed down by the plunge in oil prices, graft probes throwing their leadership into disarray and a rising environmental movement. Of the three state-run oil companies t...

  • Glass ceiling cracks?

    Women seen serving on half of corporate Japan's boards by 2020

    TOKYO -- Women will be an increasingly common sight in the boardroom at a majority of Japan's publicly traded companies over the next five years, a Nikkei survey shows. About one-third, or 34.1%, of 513 listed companies surveyed from late Februar...

  • Falling demand

    Asia, Japan Inc.'s growth engine, slows

    TOKYO -- The boom times appear to be over, at least for now, for most Japanese manufacturers in Asia. The aggregate operating profit of 115 major Japanese companies that have been reporting region-by-region earnings on a continuing basis in the A...

  • Microfinance in India

    Rural lenders making a comeback

    KOLKATA -- In India, microfinance, or the lending of small sums to businesses with limited access to traditional financing, is flourishing again after surviving a government crackdown three years ago that almost killed it off. "We are probably st...

  • Relief for department stores

    Japanese demand shows glimmers of life

    TOKYO -- Strong stocks and upward pressure on wages are nudging Japanese consumers back into the welcoming arms of department stores. Hideyuki Murakami, manager of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, credits those...

  • A seat at the table

    More Japan companies welcoming outside directors

    TOKYO -- More Japanese businesses are looking to bring outside directors onto their boards as they work to comply with stricter corporate governance rules. More than 70% of 203 companies with December book-closings have installed such directors o...

  • Buying power

    Businesses respond to Chinese consumers' hunger for quality

    BEIJING -- Chinese tourists' shopping spree made headlines in Japan this past Chinese New Year season, and their massive purchasing power has not gone unnoticed by eagle-eyed businesses in the region. "Products sold in Japan are all genuine, but ...

  • Vietnamese agriculture

    Fields beckon nation's 3 richest executives

    HO CHI MINH CITY -- One after another, the three wealthiest executives of listed companies in Vietnam have announced major investments in agriculture. Vingroup, the nation's largest property developer, on Monday launched a new unit called VinEco....

  • Shoppers get smart

    Specter of deflation hits Chinese luxury

    SHANGHAI/DALIAN, China -- Chanel and other European luxury brands are cutting their prices in China, in order to slow down the stream of customers flocking to cheaper overseas stores, leaving boutiques in mainland China empty. Luxury brand sales ...

  • Nipping at Bridgestone's wheels

    Midtier Asian brands taking more of the global tire market

    TOKYO -- Despite a forecast for a record operating profit, Bridgestone, the Japanese tire-maker, is facing growing competition from producers in South Korea, China and Taiwan. In fact, midtier Asian players are gradually cutting into the market s...

  • Bright prospects

    Top solar companies plan to ramp up Japanese sales

    TOKYO -- Four big global solar panel makers plan to ship a total of 3.8 million kilowatts of panels to Japan this year, which should offer consumers a broader range of options and help reduce power generation costs. The top three solar companies ...

  • GM giving away gold ingots

    Big bargains at Bangkok motor show

    BANGKOK -- The Bangkok International Motor Show, which opened to the public on Wednesday, offers a reflection of where Thailand's auto market is today. This year, automakers are focusing more on sales promotions than on showing off their latest model...