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Japanese PM to Visit Thailand next Week

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s first trip abroad since his election will be to Southeast Asia, despite his desire to make the United States his first destination.

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Visiting Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday and her Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda jointly attended the full plenary of the bilateral meeting of Thai and Japanese delegates. The two leaders then held a joint news conference.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s first trip abroad since his election will be to Southeast Asia, despite his desire to make the United States his first destination.

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Abe will visit Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia later this month, according to reports in the Japanese media.

According to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, he had to put off a U.S. visit because of “scheduling difficulties” with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Thailand's Board of Investment (BOI) has launched a roadshow campaign, starting in Japan, to boost foreign investors' confidence along with promoting the country's tourism image.

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) has launched a roadshow campaign in 2012, starting in Japan, to boost foreign investors’ confidence along with promoting the country’s tourism image.

“While I want to go to the United States as soon as possible and hold a summit to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, I’ve broadened the scope of my schedule, partly because of the circumstances [on the U.S. side],” Abe told reporters in Tokyo Tuesday.

A U.S. visit could come in February, according to reports.

“What’s really important here is that, in contrast to his previous administration, he’s decided not to visit China,” said Mireya Solis, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and associate professor at American University focusing on Japan studies.

via Japanese PM to Visit Southeast Asia First.

During 2012 Japan remained the top investor in Thailand with 474 projects registered by the BOI worth Bt210.8 billion, an increase of 120 per cent from Bt.97.3 billion last year. This is in line with the previous survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce predicting that total Japanese investment value in the first half of this year would exceed Bt100 billion.

Japan Remains Top Investor in Thailand

Most of the approved investment applications submitted by Japanese investors were in BOI-targeted industries such as automotive and auto parts, metal products, electronics and electrical appliances, food, plastic products, and R&D. For example, large Japanese companies making investment this year are Nippon Steel Galvanizing (Thailand) Co.; Panasonic Manufacturing (Thailand) Co.; Funai (Thailand) Co., Ltd.; NEC Tokin Electronics (Thailand) Co., Ltd; Toshiba Semiconductor (Thailand) Co., Ltd.; Ajinomoto Frozen Foods (Thailand) Co.; and JSR BST Elastomer Co., Ltd.

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Asean

ASEAN, France formalise Development Partnership

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ASEAN, France formalise Development Partnership

JAKARTA, 4 MARCH 2021 – ASEAN and France convened the inaugural ASEAN-France Development Partnership Committee (AF-DPC) Meeting via videoconference today, marking the start of a formal partnership to strengthen their long-standing ties.

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Environment

Expedia and Accor join UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge

Expedia Group, a mega booking platform, and the global hotel company Accor are joining forces to extend their commitment to the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge.

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Expedia Group, the global travel platform and Accor, a world leading hospitality group, in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), are joining forces to further extend the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge (hereinafter also “The Pledge”).

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Ecommerce

Disrupted by Covid-19, will South-east Asia’s super apps join forces?

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Disrupted by Covid-19, will South-east Asia's super apps join forces?
– Super apps explore inorganic growth options
– Gojek in talks with e-commerce company Tokopedia over $18bn merger
– Grab reported to be preparing for a public listing in the US
– Food delivery and financial services increasingly important segments

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After a year of external expansion and internal reorganisation due to Covid-19, South-east Asia’s super apps appear to be looking towards mergers and public listings as a strategy for future development.

In early January international media reported that Indonesian ride-hailing and payments giant Gojek was in advanced talks about merging with local e-commerce company Tokopedia, in a deal estimated to be worth $18bn.

Any potential merger between the two would be significant for Indonesia. The two local unicorns could create a digital powerhouse, with integrated services ranging from ride-hailing to digital payments, e-commerce and delivery.

A tie-up would also create numerous synergies, such as Gojek’s fleet being able to serve Tokopedia’s online shopping orders. However, there is also some overlap in the digital payments space, where Gojek’s GoPay platform competes with Ovo, which is 35% owned by Tokopedia, although there is speculation that Tokopedia may look to sell its stake in Ovo.

The news was followed by separate reports in late January that Grab, Gojek’s biggest competitor in South-east Asia, had selected investment banks Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan to help work on an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, set to take place in the second half of the year.

The Singapore-headquartered company, which operates ride-hailing, food delivery, e-payment and insurance services in around 400 cities across eight South-east Asian countries, is valued at around $16bn. Its IPO is expected to raise at least $2bn, which would make it the largest overseas share offering by a South-east Asian company.

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