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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, January 29, 2014
 

I noticed recently that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a group now owned by Tata of India, had increased its exports enormously. JLR increased sales over the last year by 15 per cent in North America, 24 per cent in China, 5 per cent in Europe and 15 per cent in the UK, and it is doing this while being a responsible and sustainable firm. It is not surprising that many praise Tata for investing in the UK and making this possible.

Well, that is indeed true for Tata group, but in general, investment by India in the UK over the last year saw the value of projects rise by 10 per cent, leading to 4,000 new jobs and safeguarding 3,000 others. China invested 24 per cent less though still creating 2,000 new jobs; and Japan invested 30 per cent more, creating 3,000 new jobs.

The UK’s inward investment data from China, India and Japan are dwarfed by the massive influx to the UK from the US and its European near-neighbours. That is true also of the UK’s outward investment (mainly to the US and Europe); and its export figures in general relate most heavily to near-neighbours rather than to distant shores. Importantly, this tends to hold true for most nations. Researchers find that we tend to understand best our local markets – mainly at home, then across one border, and after that the nations afar. Such general knowledge has deep relevance for all our futures.

Let me turn first to Europe. During the 1980s, the idea of Trans-European Networks gained momentum within the “single market”: the Ten-T project. Of course, its progress was´slow with national arguments; yet presently, about half the EU transport budget, some 26 billion euros (S$45.19 billion), are allocated to this task from 2014 to 2020. Transport infrastructure is considered fundamental for the smooth operation of the internal market, for the movement of people and goods and for the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. Their planning stops at the EU boundary – it plans “motorways of the seas” to boost short-sea shipping, and extensions by land for roads and rail links to the north to Russia, to the east into Central Asia and south to the Maghrebin link across North Africa.

Second, looking to the US – transport enabling came from the 1956 Inter-state Highways Act which saw the laying of 75,000 km of high quality roads across America costing some US$500 billion (in present terms). It is presumed that today’s weak exporting by the US is due to their strong internal market enabled by its well developed road infrastructure. In contrast, its rail structure lacks general coherence and investment. Nonetheless, there are rail highways carrying high freight tonnage coast to coast that contribute to US wealth.

Finally, I turn to Asia, which covers a wide expanse of the globe and holds a huge fraction of its population. Asia comprises many countries, and all wish to have a say about economic and social development. The UN oversees many development programmes, including transport. UN-Escap (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) has been working diligently towards a pan-Asia integrated transport plan reaching from the Pacific to the “shores” of Europe – a line that reaches north from the Gulf States to the Baltic (including the Russian Federation). Even the Millennium Goals addressed a part of this Asian programme as the goals sought to increase the well-being of landlocked states. China becomes a strong exemplar in these developments.

Modern China has strongly developed its transport infrastructure. Since 1950, its rail infrastructure has quadrupled to 92,000 km; its national trunk highways have grown to 100,000 km; its water transport systems are being integrated across river, short-sea and oceanic shipping. Predicated on transport, its economic growth has been impressive. China boasts many extremes –in rural areas, people still depend on non-mechanical transport, while in Shanghai, it has the world’s fastest commercial train: the maglev system travelling at 430 km/h. Of the world’s top 10 tonnage ports, only Rotterdam (fourth) is not in Asia, with Shanghai, Singapore and Tianjin being first, second and third respectively.

The River Yangtze provides a backbone for trade: its 3,000 km of commercially open waters are now fully regulated – traffic sails on the right side, there are 6,000 solar-powered buoys to aid night travel, and most of the river is covered by radio for navigation support and hazard avoidance. Security is high and flows of goods increase year by year.

Even with this impressive growth, China still encounters issues, such as week-long traffic snarls caused by trucks carrying coal. To ameliorate such issues, China’s high-speed rail systems (for passengers) will allow the separation of people and freight flows with the latter still moving on the older, slow-speed lines but now travelling consistently faster by not being side-lined in preference of passenger trains. In certain areas, China has designated specific freight-only roads, such as the five-lane 270 km highway from Junggar to Xinghe in Inner Mongolia, allowing 100-tonne coal trucks to move safely without the encumbrance of traffic.

China is opening up its “inner space” in a coherent way. China’s wealth depends ultimately on its people – the State through its provision of infrastructure will support migration to new towns as China develops from an agrarian to a technological society. Through the new developments, it is possible that the people of China will not have to endure their present massive relocations to coastal economic powerhouses to search for work: officials expect about 3.6 billion person-trips this new year season! In the future, they will be enabled to develop new economies in the centre and in the west of China, thereby uplifting its GDP by internal trades, and importantly raising their feeling of “well-being”.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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