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Asean Affairs  18  January 2011

China economic integration shows birthing pains

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     18 January 2011

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As China and its business community integrates into the world scene it does so with some rough edges showing. The chief executive of Chinese online book retailer blasted Morgan Stanley on Monday, accusing the investment bank of significantly undervaluing his company in its initial public offering.

"I am publicly criticizing investment banks, criticizing Morgan Stanley," Li Guoqing, chief executive of, wrote on a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter on Chinese Internet portal

He criticised the bank by name after posting an angry rant in a Chinese rap style with lyrics railing against the investment bankers, saying they were celebrating while he was furious when the company was valuated.

His profanity-laced rap drew more than 2,600 comments in less than 24 hours. On the Asean front, a planned wholesale trading center near Bangkok, largely financed by the China National Tobacco Corp is also drawing some heat.

Following a strong protest in the United Arab Emirates, where a similar project was planned entirely for Chinese products, the investor is now allocating one-third of the space for Thai products, Phairush Burapachaisri, secretary-general of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thailand-China Business Council, said China National Tobacco Corp would be the key financier of the complex.

He said,, "Thailand has no capacity to do this itself. With Chinese goods, this will boost Thailand's logistics capability."

Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Dusit Nontanakorn thinks differently, however. He questioned why the government was allowing Chinese investment in the complex, as this could be to the disadvantage of many local small and medium-sized operators, who would be left out. "Thai operators lack government support. They can do this, if the policy is clear. China just wants to spread its money anywhere," he said.

Expect more stories along these lines as China exerts its economic weight across the globe.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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