Asia Pacific

Record-breaking Asia Pacific Cities Summit convenes in Brisbane

THE biggest Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors’ Forum (2015APCS) on record opened in Brisbane on Sunday and continues through to Wednesday. It marks the 10th anniversary of the region’s leading forum on city growth and development.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk welcomed a record 95 mayors and deputy mayors, and delegates from 135 cities around the world, with a combined constituency of more than 382 million people, in an official opening ceremony at Brisbane City Hall on Sunday.

A special reception for Brisbane’s own sister cities took place prior to the launch, recognising representatives from Kobe, Abu Dhabi, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Hyderabad, Daejeon, Kaohsiung, and Auckland. 

Following on at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday and Tuesday, 2015APCS is set to showcase a new wave of innovation and global development, headlined by the chairman of 2012 London Olympics Organising Committee, retired British athletics champion and dual Olympic gold medallist, Lord Sebastian Coe opening and keynoting the event.

APCS was established by Brisbane City Council in 1996, led by then Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, and is recognised as a platform for promoting and exchanging global best-practice for cities.

APCS has been attended by more than 8,000 delegates from more than 400 international cities since it began and the event provides an unrivalled opportunity to meet with key influencers and decision makers of the Asia Pacific in one place, at the same time.

As host, Brisbane continues to secure its reputation as a city of opportunity – fast becoming an international choice for business, investment, and major international events.

A record 95 mayors and deputy mayors from Australasia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas are attending this year, along with delegates from 135 cities, representing more than 382 million people.

Under the theme of ‘Business and Leadership in the Asia Pacific’, the new world city issues to be covered during the event’s plenary and special sessions are:

• Global cities – cultivating cities of talent, creativity, and innovation.

• Future cities – developing cities and smart communities.

• Digital cities – the science and technology behind cities.

• Cities for people – clean, green, accessible, and inclusive cities.



Australia and China cooperate on food, mining, robotics, marine research

THE Australian Government has recommitted its support for collaborative research with China, extending a new round of funding for six Australia-China Joint Research Centres (JRC).

The focal areas of the shared research range across food production, agribusiness, mining, robotics, and marine science. 

“Following my meeting with the Chinese Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Wan Gang, I’m pleased to announce the next round of Australia-China Joint Research Centres,” Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said last week.

“This round is expected to support six new centres which will be funded under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund. The Australian Government will provide up to $1 million over three years to the Australian consortia, with the Chinese Government supporting the Chinese teams’ participation in these joint activities.

“The fund provides support for international research collaborations and realises the economic potential of the research sector by allowing Australian scientists and industry to engage with China.

“This round of Joint Research Centres will be focused on priority areas in agreement with the Chinese Government and will reflect our industry growth sectors and science and research priorities.”

Applications are being called for in the priority areas of food and agribusiness; sustainable food production and processing; biosecurity; soil analysis, technologies and remediation; mining equipment, technology and services; sustainable use of sedimentary basins; sensing, automation, robotics and data analytics for resource extraction, processing and waste management; marine science; sustainable marine resource management; marine environments and marine ecosystems; and maritime engineering.

To ensure the research funded has a practical focus, centres applying for this round must have both an industry-based or other end user, in addition to a Chinese partner. The round is expected to open by August. 


CBRE develops JV with LOGOS to develop logistics hubs across China

LOGOS China Investments Limited has announced that Ivanhoe Cambridge and CBRE Global Investment Partners have committed to invest in the LOGOS China Logistics Club (LCLC) to develop modern logistics properties in key hubs servicing large Chinese cities.

The joint venture (JV) has been formed with the strategy of owning and developing high-quality modern logistics properties located in key hubs serving large Chinese cities, particularly Shanghai and Guangzhou. The commitments secured will allow LCLC to make investments that could total up to US$400 million. The LCLC investment vehicle is managed by a member of the LOGOS China Group. 

“We look forward to continuing the growth of the LOGOS venture,” said CBRE Global Investment Partners managing director for Asia Pacific, Adrian Baker. Prior to joining CBRE Investors, Mr Baker was a fund manager at AMP Capital Investors, one of Australia’s largest investment managers, where he was responsible for various real estate portfolios across Asia and based in Singapore

“The LOGOS venture is well positioned to acquire and develop logistics assets in our preferred sub-markets across key Chinese cities,” Mr Baker said. 

Macquarie Capital (Australia) Limited or its affiliates acted as exclusive financial adviser to LOGOS China Group for the transaction and as sole lead manager and arranger for the LCLC capital raising.

“This is an exciting next step in the growth of LOGOS in China,” said John Marsh, managing director and co-founder of LOGOS. “Together with our new partners, LOGOS will seek to further expand on our existing specialist logistics real estate platform in China, and capitalise on our deep pipeline of new development and investment opportunities.”

Ivanhoe Cambridge executive vice president for growth markets, Rita-Rose Gagne said, “Our investment with LOGOS China supports our plan to grow our exposure to opportunities in the logistics sector in key markets such as Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“The team's solid experience and expertise, the location of the assets and the strong development pipeline make LOGOS a partner of choice for Ivanhoe Cambridge.”

LOGOS Property Group is an integrated logistics real estate specialist comprising corporate groups with operations in Australia and China. Established in 2010, LOGOS currently has over US$1 billion in assets and capital under management.

Macquarie Capital has made an equity investment in the LOGOS Property Australia and China Groups.  CBRE Global Investment Partners delivers customised global real estate solutions for investors and had A$11.7 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2015.

Through multiple subsidiaries and partnerships, Ivanhoe Cambridge holds assets located mainly in Canada, the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico, China and Australia, which totalled more than C$42 billion as at December 31, 2014. 

Ivanhoe Cambridge is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers which held, as at December 31, 2014, C$225.9 billion in net assets.



Computex Taipei gathers Asia's leading ICT companies

THE ANNUAL international ICT trade show, Computex Taipei, will unfold on June 2-6, attracting Asia's leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT)

This year, 1702 overseas and domestic vendors will be spread out across Taipei's TWTC Exhibition Halls 1 and 3, the Nangang Exhibition Hall, and TICC. 

This year’s vendors feature an impressive array of industry titans, which include Acer, Asus, BenQ, Broadcom, Delta, Gigabyte, Hisense, Intel, MediaTek, Microsoft, MiTAC, MSI, NVIDIA, SanDisk, Supermicro, TP-Link, and Transcend, as well as first-time exhibitors ARM, ASE Group, NTT, (Fujitsu subsidiary ) SOCIONEXT, Cypress Semiconductor, Haier, and Canon Korea.

Overseas exhibitors account for about 30 percent of all exhibitors and hail predominantly from China, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and the Netherlands.

Following the explosions of wearables onto the tech scene in 2014, this year’s Computex is presenting a Wearable Technology section. With the rising trend of large screen smartphones, portability and ease of operation have also emerged as important issues and an area for developing wearables.

As mobile devices evolve from handheld to greater portability, wearability will continue to be an area of focus for the ICT industry. The Wearable Technology area comprises 34 individual exhibitors that include Gajah Technology, Brinno Inc, Chipsip, and GlobalSat, featuring products like smart glasses, watches, and apparel and electronic paper.

Another new area at Computex is 3D Business and Applications, with major exhibitors XYZPrinting, FLUX 3D Printing, Cinaflex International, Etron Technology, and SKY-TECH Taiwan unveiling their latest 3D printers, printing supplies, and peripherals. International technology research firm Gartner projects 3D printing as one of 2015’s top 10 strategic technologies—with visible industrial, architectural, medical, and consumer applications—and that the global 3D printing shipments for the year will increase by 98 percent and double in 2016.

European top three semiconductor manufacturer and the global market leader in NFC chips, NXP will also be setting up New X Possibilities, where visitors can experience NFC applications and interact with secure network devices centering around Simple Transportation, Secure Payment, and Smart Lifestyle.

The Computex d&i awards, a collaboration between TAITRA and the German iF International Forum Design GmbH since 2008, now enters its eighth year. This year features 271 entries from 118 companies from all over the world, including many startups with fresh innovations. The number of entrants is evidence of the d&i awards’ standing in the ICT industry.

The international panel from iF chose 72 winning designs, which include smart phones from HTC and ASUS and designs from first-time entrant Dell and returning participant, Philips. The winning designs will be on display at the Computex d&i awards booth, where visitors can experience these products firsthand.

This year’s Computex Taipei promises a lot of the new, whether it’s new trends, new designs, or new companies — earning Computex Taipei a high reputation as a venue for developing ICT business.

TAITRA successfully held an innovation forum in 2014 to promote Taiwanese startups, supported by Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and this year, has dedicated Exhibition Hall 3 to the efforts of Taiwanese startups in Smart Life, the Internet of Things, Wearable Technology, and Intelligent Vehicle Systems. Exhibitors in this hall include GAIUS, Bomdic, Aidmics Biotechnology, Zillians, HERE, Maktar, Ufro, Linknext, and Adenovo.


Australia’s New Colombo Plan mobility grants

MORE than 3,000 students from 37 universities will live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region during the second year of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Education Minister Christopher Pyne recently announced around 3,150 undergraduate students would be supported by the New Colombo Plan mobility round for 2015. 

“New Colombo Plan mobility grants will support these students to study in 32 locations across the Indo-Pacific from India in the west, to Mongolia in the north and the Cook Islands in the east,” Ms Bishop said.

“The expansion of the New Colombo Plan in 2015 reflects the strong support of partner governments for the plan’s aims of lifting knowledge of the region in Australia and for the Plan to become a ‘rite of passage’ for Australian undergraduate students.

“The continued strong interest of students in gaining first-hand experience of business in the region will ensure they are well placed to make a valuable contribution to the regional engagement of our business community and to driving economic growth in Australia and our region in the years ahead.”

Mr Pyne said New Colombo Plan mobility grants are awarded to Australian universities to support their students to undertake semester or short-term study in the region.

“These grants will support students to study at a university overseas for anywhere from a few weeks to a full semester,” Mr Pyne said.

“The grants cover study, practicums, clinical placements, internships and mentorships, and short-term research across a broad array of disciplines.

“The flexibility of this approach ensures that the program can support a wide range of students to experience the benefits of studying and living in the region.

The government has committed $100 million in new funding over five years to implement the New Colombo Plan. The New Colombo Plan pilot year of 2014 supported 40 scholars and more than 1300 mobility students to live, study and undertake a work placement in the four pilot locations of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore.

The program recalls the 1949-1957 Colombo Plan which transformed Australia’s relations with Asia, sponsoring thousands of Asian students to study or train in Australian tertiary institutions



Australia helps to improve economic opportunities for women in South East Asia

AUSTRALIA has formed a new partnership with the World Bank to enhance women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia over the next four years.

The announcement by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of the $15 million investment coincided with International Women’s Day in early March and the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for gender equality. 

“Increasing women’s participation is one of the most powerful ways to improve economic and development outcomes,” Ms Bishop said. “Goldman Sachs estimates that closing the employment gender gap in countries in our region, including Vietnam and the Philippines, could push per-capita incomes 14 percent higher than current projections by 2020 and 20 percent higher by 2030.

“Through this partnership we will work with the World Bank and private sector to support women entrepreneurs to access financial services and build their business skills.”

Ms Bishop said a key element of the strategy was to work with large companies to improve employment opportunities for women, improve their workplace policies, and increase the use of services provided by women entrepreneurs in their supply chains. 

“The partnership will focus on improving knowledge of how to increase women’s economic opportunities and applying those lessons to the design of programs and policies,” she said.

“This will be done through creation of a South East Asia Gender Lab to undertake data collection, analysis and impact evaluations.

“Australia’s investment in women’s empowerment through practical programs such as this partnership with the World Bank supports our international commitments, including at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women(CSW59).

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja accompanied the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash to CSW59 in New York in early March to advocate for renewed international commitment and momentum toward gender equality.


Moreton Hire opens first international hub in Singapore

MORETON Hire, one of Australia’s largest business events providers, has announced the opening of a branch in Singapore branch, targeting expansion into the Asia Pacific region.

Moreton Hire director Peter Morahan said with the ever expanding international meetings and business events industry, the Singapore branch would become Moreton Hire’s Asian hub for customers. 

Mr Morahan said the decision to expand into Singapore reflected the firm’s long-term growth plan and strategic objective to offer an international contact for Moreton Hire customers.

“Singapore is a key MICE (meetings, incentives conventions and exhibitions) hub in Asia Pacific and we are excited to offer this unique opportunity for our customers to support their portfolio across the region,” Mr Morahan said.

He said the branch would act as a gateway for Moreton Hire’s international meetings and corporate customers coming into the Asia Pacific region and requiring local knowledge and experience.

“Customers looking to gain exposure in the fast growing market of the Asia Pacific, can now rely on having one team to deliver for them across the region,” Mr Morahan said.

Moreton Hire’s Singapore branch is the company’s sixth office after Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Cairns.

Moreton Hire has been servicing the events industry for more than 45 years, starting with marquee and furniture hire in Brisbane and has developed into one of the country’s most innovative business event specialists.



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