Economy & Trade

Gaming Industry in the Philippines Part I – Casinos

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

In the first part of this two-part article on the Philippine Gaming Industry, I will focus on the country’s casino industry. Together with the online gaming sector, which will be the focus of the second part of this article, the casino industry is of enormous importance to the Philippine economy, and is intricately linked to the country’s tourism industry. In this article, I will also identify possible investment opportunities in this rather complicated and sensitive industry. 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the Philippine Government body, founded in 1976, that has the responsibility for governing the casino industry.  PAGCOR is 100% owned by the Philippine government, and is a controlled corporation under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.  The funds generated by PAGCOR augment the government’s budget for infrastructure and socio-civic projects.

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India-Myanmar Relations: Growing Multifaceted Bilateral Ties

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By Yogesh Dubey

Editor’s Note: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brief official visit to Myanmar last week. This article was originally published in The Diplomatist Magazine, July 2017, and has been republished with the permission of L.B. Associates (Pvt.) Ltd., a contract publishing house.

Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 km (994 mi) with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Four of India’s northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram share an international boundary with Myanmar.

Both India and Myanmar share a heritage of religious, linguistic, and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2 million). Further, Myanmar is a gateway to Southeast Asia and East Asia – regions with which India is seeking greater economic integration through its ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy. In fact, Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian country India shares a land boundary with.

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Singapore Set to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union by Year-End

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

Russia-SingaporeSingapore Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right) with Russian Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov (left) 

Singapore is set to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a free trade bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, and Russia. Commenting on the incoming trade deal, which is expected to be signed by the end of this year, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated his country’s interest in economic and trade cooperation with Russia, noting that the two states have not been using the existing potential in full. Led by Russia, the EAEU essentially extends from the borders of China to the borders of the European Union.

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Kra Canal Project Revisited As Part Of China’s Maritime Silk Road

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

The Kra Canal project has swept back into vogue again after years of being dismissed as too difficult to build, and opposition from Singapore, who would lose huge amounts of shipping. A group of influential retired Thai generals, politicians, academics and businessmen with close links to China have revived plans to construct a US$28 billion and 135 kilometre canal across southern Thailand to link the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Calling themselves the Thai Canal Association of Study and Development, the body is trying to persuade Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha to approve a feasibility study. The plan would be one of the most ambitious mega-projects ever undertaken in Asia that could be funded through China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road and New Maritime Silk Road initiatives, aimed at reshaping trade across Asia.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part III: The Role of Venture Capital Funds

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By Andrea Bottega and Erasmo Indolino

In the first and second parts of this three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we discussed how the city-state has emerged as a preferred base for international entrepreneurs and the opportunities it offered young overseas talent. In this concluding part, we look at the role of venture capital (VC) funds in nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore.

Venture Capital in Singapore

VC funds will soon be regulated under a slimmer framework, as regulators seek to ease start-up firms’ access to funding. Indeed, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published in February 2017 a consultation paper lining out its proposals for a simplified authorisation process and regulatory framework for these VC managers, which are now subject to the same rules as other fund managers.  MAS hopes the simplified regime will attract more VC managers to Singapore and spur them to play a greater role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Entering the Philippine Market: Comparing Models

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By Harry Handley

Under the Foreign Investment Act, 1991, which was amended in 2015, a vast majority of industries in the Philippines are completely open to overseas investment, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in most cases. The country managed to attract over US$ 7 billion of FDI in 2016, 25 percent more than the previous year. The UNCTAD World Investment Prospects survey positions the Philippines as the 11th most promising host country for investment over the period 2016-18. In order to best leverage the advantageous conditions, such as widely spoken English and access to the ASEAN Economic Community, the most effective market entry model must be chosen by entrants.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part II: Opportunities for Overseas Entrepreneurs

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By Andrea Bottega and Erasmo Indolino

In the first article of this three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we discussed the factors behind the city-state emerging as a preferred base for international entrepreneurs. In this second article, we look at the opportunities that Singapore offer young overseas entrepreneurs.

The city-state as a start-up hub

With the Singapore government regularly rolling out new initiatives to attract start-ups, the reasons for establishing a base in the city-state are many. No wonder, the country has the sixth-highest percentage of immigrant founders in the world, with immigrants making up 35 percent of start-up founders compared to a global average of 19 percent.

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Singapore’s Start-up Ecosystem – Part I: The City-State as a Favored Destination for Overseas Entrepreneurs

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By Andrea Bottega

Editor: Erasmo Indolino

While pro-business policies and a strategic geographical location has made Singapore a favored destination in Asia for global corporations, the city-state has also created a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past five years that has lured some of the most prominent global entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to the country. In this article, the first of a three-part series on Singapore’s start-up ecosystem, we look at the factors that have made the city-state a preferred base for international entrepreneurs.

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The Southern Economic Corridor: Boosting Trade and Investment in Cambodia

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By Bradley Dunseith

Stretching eastwards from Myanmar through Thailand and Cambodia to Vietnam, the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) aims to further integrate the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by improving connectivity and trade. In Cambodia, new clusters are growing around border towns and in existing industrial hubs along the route of the SEC. Foreign businesses are investing in Cambodia, benefiting from both the country’s cheap labor pool as well as the improved connectivity brought on by the SEC. 

SEC: a snapshot

The SEC is one of the many development projects initiated in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The GMS is a natural economic area loosely connected by the Mekong River – the 12th longest river in the world. The GMS spans an area of 2.6 million square kilometers and a total population of 339 million people, as of 2015. In 2015, trade within the GMS amounted to US$444 billion.

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Tourism Industry in the Philippines: Part II

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

ASB- Tourism Industry in the Philippines - Part II (002)

In the second part of this article, I will discuss the various sectors of the Philippine tourism industry. The first part of the article, covering the opportunities and incentives for foreign investors in the tourism industry, can be read here.

The main sectors of tourism in the Philippines are:

Casino and Gambling

The gaming/casino industry in the Philippines is becoming more developed, on the back of growing supply and heightened competition, a recent independent report stated.   The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the gaming industry regulator, has said that the casino industry continues to grow. This has led to an 18.1 percent increase in PAGCOR’s net income in 2016 to P4.46 billion (US$89 million) from gaming operations.  The total gaming revenues in 2016 increased by 22.9 percent to P53.31 billion (US$1.06 billion).  PAGCOR also owns and operates 13 casinos in the Philippines, including three in Manila.

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