Regional Digest

Malaysian auto maker to upgrade facilities

Malaysia’s Go Auto Group of Companies and its Chinese partner, Great Wall Motors Company, plan to invest up to 2 billion ringgit ($460 million) until 2021 to upgrade its assembly and production facilities in Kedah, northwestern Malaysia.

This will help strengthen Go Auto’s position as a hub of made-in-China sport utility vehicles and energy-efficient vehicles in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Go Auto chief executive officer Ahmad Azam Sulaiman said this demonstrated the company’s serious commitment to enhance its brand and position in the automotive market, especially in the SUV segment in the region.


Hyundai posts Q1 sales and profit declines

Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s biggest carmaker by sales, on April 26 posted a 21 percent drop in first quarter net profit due to weak sales in China and emerging markets.

For the three months to March 31, net profit was 1.4 trillion won ($1.3 billion) down from 1.77 trillion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

“Sharp sales declines in China and some Asian and Middle Eastern markets had an impact on the quarterly bottom line despite rises in such places as Russia and Brazil,” the statement said. 

Operating profit also fell to 1.25 trillion won in the first three months, down 6.8 percent from 1.34 trillion won a year earlier. 


Changi sees 4.3% rise in March passengers

A total of 5.11 million passengers passed through Singapore’s Changi Airport in March, a 4.3 percent year-on-year increase, the Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on April 24.

Passenger traffic was boosted by growth across all regions, CAG said in its press release, with China and India leading with double-digit growth among Changi’s top 10 country markets. 

In terms of first quarter performance, the airport registered 15 million passengers — 4.7 percent higher than the same period last year. China showed strong growth at 14 percent, and accounted for about 10 percent of total passenger movement during this period, it added. 


Bangkok plans June street food festival

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is in discussions with Bangkok authorities to host the Bangkok Street Food Festival, tentatively set for June.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said recently that the idea would be in line with CNN’s listing of Bangkok as the city with the best street food in the world.

The governor denied reports that all street food will be banned from Bangkok, saying the moves afoot were just aimed at regulating the business to ensure order and food hygiene.


Thai banks see profits increase 8% in Q1

Ten Thai banks have announced that their combined net profit in the first quarter of this year was 55.71 billion baht ($1.6 billion), up 8 percent year-on-year, due to increases in both interest and non-interest income. 

Most of their non-performing-loan (NPL) ratios in the quarter were nearly the same as a year earlier. Some saw their NPL rates increase by a few percentage points but not more than 5 percent, except Krungthai Bank (KTB), which reported NPLs worth 100.38 billion baht, 10.15 percent of total lending. 

Asia Plus Securities forecasts that the banking sector’s overall net profits will grow by more than 7 percent this year. Siam Commercial Bank, Kasikornbank and KTB reported the highest net profits among the 10 banks.


Jakarta moves closer to port hub dream

Indonesia is inching closer to realizing its dream of making Tanjung Priok Port a major international transshipment hub and taking a slice of Singapore’s business pie.

The government, along with French container shipping firm CMA CGM Group, launched on April 23 the first Jakarta-Los Angeles direct route, which promises faster shipping and lower costs.

For state port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) II, which manages Tanjung Priok, the route is also a testament that the country’s largest seaport has improved and can accommodate large ships for transshipment purposes.


South Korea, India to avoid double taxation

South Korea says its top tax official and his Indian counterpart have agreed to avoid double taxation between the two countries.

National Tax Service (NTS) chief Lim Hwan-soo and India’s Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia also agreed to create stable tax conditions for investments during a meeting in Seoul, according to the NTS.

The bilateral double taxation avoidance pact was reached in September last year, creating a mutual foundation to address double taxation issues facing South Korean firms doing business on the subcontinent. India is home to more than 860 South Korean companies.


Agencies — Asia News Network

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