World watches Moon: The most intriguing personality at last week’s G-20 meeting was President Moon Jae-in of South Korea who sits directly at the nexus of the two biggest challenges facing the world’s 20 leading economies. William Pesek writes that the first problem is handling North Korea while the other, the deepening inequality that is delegitimizing democratic governments everywhere, is acutely felt in South Korea as President Moon deals with the monopolistic ways of his predecessor, the now jailed Park Geun-hye.
Understanding competitive advantage: The story of electronics shows that innovation, driven by corporations but supported by governments, is key to competitive longevity. Technologist and author Henry Kressel explains that industrial competitive advantage is reliant on business leaders smartly managing innovation, capital and human resources which means it is a fragile thing, as both Japan and the US now know.
Japan-Bloggers become regulators: Japan’s financial regulator is trying a new tack in its fight with asset managers by bringing in bloggers to shame an industry it says provides retail investors with poor service. Tomo Uetake reports that the Financial Services Agency has involved the bloggers to spread the issue further after accusing the nation’s “toshin” investment funds of charging high fees, delivering poor returns and pushing investors from one trendy product to the next to generate fees.
Silencing Al Jazeera? When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt declared a soft war on Qatar, the long list of demands included a demand that TV network Al Jazeera be shut. Philip Seib writes that the free-wheeling, pan-Arab approach of this Qatari-funded media network has been a source of ire for Middle Eastern rulers who prefer to control the news that reaches their citizens.
China-Another rosewood boom? China’s new rich view used to view rosewood as a status symbol but the market crashed after Xi Jinping’s launched his anti-corruption in 2012. Zi Yang reports that prices are rising again but another huge boom is unlikely as the rare wood is strongly protected while the market is now well aware of the industry’s previously-used hording and manipulation tricks.