Thailand’s high-tech vision: Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s “Eastern Economic Corridor” plan for Thailand intends to lure new foreign direct investment to various high-tech industries. Peter Janssen writes that economists are welcoming the plan, saying Thailand must move up the value chain while at the same time piggybacking on its lesser developed neighbors’ industrial expansions.
World-changing Eurasian integration: Crucial developments in Washington, Brussels, Virginia and St. Petersburg these last few days may offer us serious clues to the world’s current geopolitical direction. Pepe Escobar writes that these events show that instead of speculating about the end of the American century, we need to be understanding the progressive and inexorable Eurasian integration that is starting to happen between Russia, China and the EU.
Tuna tax relief: An unusual Japanese “hometown payment” donation system to help emptying rural areas cope with dropping tax revenues has proved popular and netted US$1.5 billion last year. Daniel Hurst reports that local authorities, now in competition to attract the tax-deductible donations, are offering “thank you” gift enticements that have included, from a seaside prefecture, an entire 18-kilogram tuna.
Pace-setting Asian stocks: No longer just about upside potential, Asia Pacific stocks now also boast the fastest underlying dividend growth in the world, reports Nick Westra. However, despite this strong regional growth rate, the vast majority of dividend payouts are still issued by companies based in Europe and North America.
Wonder Woman conquers: The film debut of Wonder Woman had a US$38.8 million opening weekend in mainland China and topped the Korean charts too, with revenues of US$9.7 million, reports Russell Edwards. In Japan, Beauty and the Beast stayed top for a seventh consecutive week and passed the US$90 million mark, meaning it is on track to become one of Japan’s highest grossing films ever.