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Asian groups may invest US$150bn in markets abroad

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Asian groups may invest US$150bn in markets abroad | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Institutional investors based in Asia could look to invest in excess of US$150 billion in global real estate over the next five years, though not necessarily in domestic markets.

According to the latest research from leading global real estate services provider, CBRE, since there is limited investable stock available in Asia, such investors – including banks, insurance companies as well as organizations managing various types of pooled funds – will likely seek opportunities outside of Asia – in London, New York, Sydney and other gateway cities.

Cash-rich Asian institutional investors currently control a fifth of global institutional capital; however, the current low global interest rate environment and weak stock market performance means they face significant challenges in maintaining adequate returns on their investments.

Many of these investors have begun to recognize the benefits of adding real estate assets to their portfolios, but despite a sharp increase in investment activity in recent years, presently allocate just 1.7% of their assets to real estate, compared to 6-8% among institutional investors in North America and Europe.

The lack of overseas investment experience, regulatory restrictions, limited investable stock and aggressive pricing have posed significant challenges for investors seeking to expand their portfolios within the Asian Pacific region.

This has prompted Asian institutional investors to seek opportunities overseas, with core assets in gateway cities the most sought after asset class. Acquisitions by Asian investors outside the region surged from US$2 billion in 2008 to almost US$9 billion in 2012, with Asian institutions accounting for a large portion of the purchases. Europe is currently the major focus for Asian investors followed by North America and Australia.

As Asian institutional investors diversify into low-risk alternative asset classes, more are expected to increase their allocation to real estate.

A conservative estimate of increasing their allocation to real estate to 2.5-3.5% in the next five years – allowing for a steady increase of asset size at 4-6% per annum – would translate into a potential inflow in excess of US$150 billion (including direct and indirect real estate investment) into the global real estate investment market.

The large volume of prime commercial property currently in the development pipeline in Asia Pacific will partly alleviate this pressure; however, this new stock will still be insufficient to meet the demand of the large volume of institutional capital earmarked to be invested in real estate. In addition, other investors such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and end-users will also be competing to acquire new properties, a situation which may result in a prolonged period of structurally low yields for core assets in Asia.

Chris Ludeman, President, Global Capital Markets, CBRE, commented: “Asian institutional investors are already beginning to acquire assets overseas, with core assets in gateway cities being the most sought after asset class. Given the numerous challenges they face domestically, most groups are likely to target other major markets,
particularly in Europe and North America,” he continues.

“While investors that have already had exposure in global markets will continue to acquire new assets, the next few years will see a number of new entrants to leading global real estate markets such as London and New York. Japanese institutions, which to date have largely been absent from the global scene, as well as Taiwanese and Chinese insurance companies will be the first groups to emerge.”

The past year has seen several markets make progress towards liberalizing outbound investment in the insurance sector. In October 2012 the Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) relaxed its restrictions on overseas investment by domestic insurance companies. Chinese insurers are now permitted to invest in completed commercial properties in the gateway cities of 45 designated countries. In Taiwan, discussions about permitting domestic insurance companies to invest in real estate offshore are ongoing.

Marc Giuffrida, Executive Director, Global Capital Markets, CBRE, commented: “We are seeing an acceleration in enquiry levels and deals closed in just about every global gateway market. We initially advised a handful of the larger pension and sovereign funds, and now these first-movers have started harvesting their 2009 vintage assets.

The market has seen how successful they have been in both protecting capital and exceeding their investment hurdle rates. These positive results provide tangible evidence and confidence for the more cautious or skeptical that global real estate can add value and most importantly is accessible.”

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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