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KL is world’s 4th best shopping city

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 31 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur has been ranked fourth best for shopping in global news network CNN’s survey.

Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen, who announced this, said the government’s continued effort to boost Kuala Lumpur as a shopping haven was bearing fruit.

She commended shopping malls and stores on the cooperation extended to the ministry to help make its campaigns a success. “This is wonderful news. Malaysia Boleh!” she said at the launch of the sixth “A Journey Through Time” watch and jewellery exhibition at Starhill Gallery last night.

She said she had been informed that New York, London and Tokyo were placed before Kuala Lumpur.

The minister urged malls and shops to hold more events and shows to draw tourists, saying the private sector should work closely with the government.

This would be crucial as Visit Malaysia Year 2014 was drawing close, she added.

Dr Ng said tourists spent over 17.6 billion ringgit (Bt176.4 billion) in the stores last year.

“This is a fantastic development and a testament to Kuala Lumpur, which has achieved the second most visited shopping destination status in the world after Hong Kong,” she added.

YTL Corp Bhd managing director Francis Yeoh said Starhill Gallery housed the largest dedicated watch floor with the most watch flagship stores in Asia. The event, which runs until December 1, showcases 120 luxury watch and jewellery brands.

There will also be workshops by Swiss watchmakers and Maitres du Temps will launch its first Asian boutique.

Philippine govt eyes manufacturing revival

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 31 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The Philippines’ chief economist expects to see a more vibrant industrial sector in 2013 as the government focuses on key industries and strives to ease the required procedures and costs of doing business.

“Our key priority sectors, namely tourism, business-process outsourcing or BPO, electronics, housing and real estate, agribusiness and forest-based products, logistics and shipbuilding, will be given more focus. We need also to consolidate the various industry roadmaps to further fuel the industry sector, especially manufacturing,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

He said that despite recent difficulties, including weak traditional markets in Europe and the United States, as well as supply chain disruptions in Japan and Thailand, the electronics industry could still contribute to the manufacturing sector.

“We see an improved manufacturing sector buoyed by the semiconductor and electronics industry as the world economy is expected to recover between 2013 and 2014,” Balisacan said. To be competitive amid challenging global conditions, President Benigno Aquino’s administration would focus on certain industries, including manufacturing, he said.

Trade officials agreed that the manufacturing sector could be revived, noting strong interest among foreign investors. Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said the government was also training manufacturers and exporters on how to take advantage of bilateral partnerships and free-trade agreements.

Manufacturing is believed to still hold promise for the Philippines even as its contribution to economic expansion fell through the years to just about a third of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of 2012 from a high of about 43 per cent in the early 1980s.

Policies threaten economy: Abhisit

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 31 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has warned the government against continuing its populist policies in the same manner next year, saying the measures risked plunging the country into fiscal deficit and weakening the economy.

Abhisit has expressed his concern over the government’s move to seek Bt2.2 trillion in loans while reducing revenue by cutting taxes, saying the plan would affect the country’s monetary and fiscal positions.

“Everyone has come up with the same analysis – that if the government continues its current economic policies, the country will experience fiscal deficit and become weak economically.”

The government, Abhisit said, is expected to increase its use of non-budget spending, something he said showed a lack of financial discipline and would put the country at risk. “At some point this financial indiscipline will adversely affect confidence in the country and result in a financial and economic crisis. The government should learn from our own history or from what has happened in foreign countries,” Abhisit said.

Abhisit said next year the public would be adversely affected by rising living costs caused by

the government’s policy of increasing the minimum wage to Bt300 and raising the price of cooking gas.

“The government’s mindset of increasing prices first and solving any problems that may arise after, will create a lot of problems especially with corruption and discrimination. The increase in the minimum wage will cause many small-scale business operators [to go under]. The government also is not living up to its election promises to [slash] the cost of living,” he said.

He suggested the government review its rice-pledging scheme, saying there are many ways to help farmers.

The farmers themselves have revealed that the money is not reaching them but has fallen into the hands of others.

Moreover, rice exports have dropped both in volume and in value, which has caused the country to lose markets which will be hard to regain,” he said.

The opposition leader also offered advice to Thais on how to survive financially next year. “Living life in accordance with the sufficiency principle is best because it provides the best immunity,” he said.

Abhisit also suggested the government review its plan to seek Bt350 billion in loans for urgent needs.

“It has been a year and the government has not done anything. If the government seeks the loan and does nothing with it, the public would have to shoulder interest unnecessarily,” he said.

Bangkok’s Beer Gardens: New Year’s Eve and Onward

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 31 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CentralWorld (Open daily through Jan 7, 2012. Ratchadamri Rd. BTS Chit Lom.)

This year it’s pretty quiet for CentralWorld with the only option being the Chang Beer Park where they’ll be pushing their new product, Chang Export. The lineup of bands includes Koh Mr.Saxman & Jennifer Kim (Dec 24), Big Ass (Dec 27), Potato (Dec 29), Scrubb & Slot Machine (Dec31) and Bank Clash (Jan 5). It’s a good spot to start your New Year’s celebrations, though, as you’ll be right next door to the big countdown event at Central World Square which starts from 4pm and will feature a host of bands including Slur and Tattoo Color.

Esplanade (Open daily until Dec 31. Ratchadapisek Rd. MRT Thailand Cultural Center)

We’re sad to report that there’ll be no Green Spaces spreading across the city this winter as Heineken only have one park, situated in front of the Esplanade shopping center. The band Laong Fong, Kor P.O.P and Boy Friday are set to play on Dec 28 and there will also be a New Year’s count down on Dec 31 starting from 5pm.

Crystal Design Center (Open daily. Ekamai-Ramindra Rd.)

As befits the city’s self proclaimed style and design hub, CDC looks to raise the tone somewhat by skipping the beer park model in favor of a Jacob’s Creek lounge. The wine park will offer ten types of Jacob’s Creek wines alongside jazz performances from Nui The Peachband (Dec 23), Gale Dheela (Dec 25), Beam Charuwan (Dec 30) and Lydia (Dec 31). The program will be on through Feb 19, and you can get a full lineup at www.facebook.com/jacobscreekthailand). Book tables at 080-081-7444.
Est 33 looks to keep things a little more traditional with their Singha Beer Park from now through Dec 31 where there’ll be bands playing daily: Tu Phobtorn (Dec 23), Palmy (Dec 24), Cocktail (Dec 25), Namm Ronnadej and New&Jew (Dec 26), Lula (Dec 27), Zeal (Dec 28), 25 Hours (Dec 29), Friday (Dec 30) and a special countdown event on Dec 31 featuring Apartmentkhunpa, Calories Blah Blah and Burin Boonvisut.
CDC Phase 2 offers up the Aston Beer Fest with German’s Weihenstephan and Belgian Hoegaarden running through Feb 28, 2012. It will have the Wine Garden 2011 from Italasia as its next door neighbor giving you he choice of Prosecco 7 Casine, Sud Primitivo-Merlot and Moscato d’Asti. See updates at www.facebook.com/italasia; reservations call 090-402-9364.

La Villa (Open daily. Phaholyothin Rd. BTS Ari)

The most popular imported beer franchise in town, HOBS is now extending its reach to La Villa Ari. Their new branch will also include a Beer Park which opened on Dec 19 and will run through Jan 18, serving up Hoegaarden, Leffe and Stella Artois. Catch their updates at www.facebook.com/HOBSThailand

K Village (Open daily. Sukhumvit Soi 26. BTS Promphong)

As we said, no Heineken Greenspace at the hiso community mall this year. Instead it has been replaced by a proper Belgian Beer Fest, serving the usual brews of choice Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe through Feb 15, 2012.

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