Robotic connection
Jun 23, 2017 (WiC 371)
“Midea is very well connected to the consumer industry. So together we want to do consumer robotics”

Kuka’s CEO Till Reuter tells the Financial Times that the industrial robotics firm will expand into the faster growing consumer robotics industry, looking to partner with its new owner, China’s Midea. The German firm thinks it can transfer its know-how to build robots for the home, possibly to act as companions for the elderly.

Train of thought
Jun 16, 2017 (WiC 370)
“This is another type of lunacy”

Samuel Nyandemo, a senior lecturer in economics at Nairobi University, tells the New York Times that the new rail line connecting Nairobi with Mombasa on the coast is “madness”. The Chinese-financed line has cut the travel time from 10 hours to five but there is debate in the country on whether Kenya can afford the $4 billion cost. The New York Times says some locals are even calling it another ‘Lunatic Express’, after the nickname bestowed on an earlier line built at exorbitant cost by the British in 1899.

Property bubble
Jun 9, 2017 (WiC 369)
“The risk in the property market is very high; sentiment in the property market is very exuberant”

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan warns that the city’s property market remains highly vulnerable to US interest rate rises. The principal government economist Helen Chan also told the Legislative Council this week that if current low rates rose “to a normal level” – i.e. a 3 percentage point rise – home owners would have to set aside 86% of their monthly income for mortgage payments (currently it is 66%).

The China threat
Jun 2, 2017 (WiC 368)
“Without actually conquering the countries they have managed to increase their influence over many countries in Southeast Asia, even in South Asia.”

Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad discusses China during a Lunch with the FT interview. He said “more ambitious” Chinese leaders were emerging “and maybe they like to flex their muscles a bit and that is very worrisome”. The 91 year-old described the Chinese government as “not really communist but they are not democratic; they are inclined towards totalitarianism”.