Building work starts on first all-robot manufacturing plant in China’s Dongguan

Construction work has begun on the first factory in China’s manufacturing hub of Dongguan to use only robots for production, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 1,000 robots would be introduced at the factory initially, run by Shenzhen Evenwin Precision Technology Co, with the aim of reducing the current workforce of 1,800 by 90 per cent to only about 200, Chen Xingqi, the chairman of the company’s board, was quoted as saying in the report.

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How A Country Dies

Those living during the decline of Rome were likely unaware that anything was happening. The decline took over a couple of hundred years. Anyone living during the decline only saw a small part of what was happening and likely never noticed it as anything other than ordinary.

Countries don’t have genetically determined life spans. Nor do they die quickly, unless the cataclysm of some great war does them in. Even in such extreme cases, there are usually warning signs, which are more obvious in hindsight than at the time.

Few citizens of a dying nation recognize the signs. Most are too busy trying to live their lives, sometimes not an easy task.  If death occupies their mind, it is with respect to themselves, a relative or a friend. Most cannot conceive of the death of a nation. Continue reading

Global banks issue alerts on China carry trade as Fed tightens and yuan falls

Three of the world’s largest banks have warned that the flood of “hot money” into China is at risk of sudden reversal as the yuan weakens and the US Federal Reserve brings forward plans to raise interest rates, with major implications for global finance.

A new report by Citigroup told clients to brace for a second phase of the “taper tantrum” that rocked emerging markets last year, but this time with China at the eye of the storm.

“There’s a dangerous scenario in which the combination of rising US short-term rates and a more volatile RMB (yuan) could lead to a rather large capital outflow from China,” said the report, by Guillermo Mondino and David Lubin. Continue reading

Great powers manoeuvre in Asia

Consider the territorial disputes roiling the Indian Ocean and other East Asian regions, sparked by China’s repeated _ and increasingly assertive _ efforts to claim sovereignty over vast maritime areas. As China’s incursions reignite long-smouldering disagreements and threaten to destabile [sic] the regional status quo, countries throughout Asia are reconsidering their strategic positions.

For example, the Philippines is revamping its security strategy by enhancing cooperation with the United States _ China’s counterweight in the region _ only two decades after it closed two major American military installations, the naval base at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base. Vietnam, too, has strengthened its ties with the US. And, after decades of absence, America has resumed training programmes for Indonesia’s military. Continue reading

As West falters, Asia Pacific region emerging as new global economic engine

UNITED NATIONS — Despite the persistent economic headwinds which are expected to slow economic expansion this year, “growth in the Asia and the Pacific area remains better than in any other region; continuing as an anchor of stability and a new growth pole for the world economy.”

That’s the guardedly optimistic prognosis from the 2012 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific survey.

Produced by the UN’s Bangkok-based Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the annual survey concedes that the region continues to face a challenging external environment which will slow regional growth this year to 6.5 percent from last year’s average of 7 percent.

More than any one event, the devastating tsunami and aftermath created severe shocks to the already ailing Japanese economy through a dislocation of industrial production, the supply chain, and the enduring psychological trauma following the disaster. Equally but largely overlooked has been the serious floods in Thailand which have created havoc in large urban areas such as Bangkok the capital in both manufacturing as well as tourism sectors.

Yet the Survey states that despite the slowdown “the region will remain the world’s fastest growing with China forecast to grow at a robust 8.6 percent, decelerating from the 9.2 percent rate of 2011.” It adds, Growth in India is projected at 7.5 percent in 2012, up from 6.9 percent in the past year.

Full article: As West falters, Asia Pacific region emerging as new global economic engine (World Tribune)