The government of Singapore has announced that it will postpone the effective date of the amendment to the Companies Act 2014 (the Amendment) and the Business Names Registration Act to the second quarter of 2015, as stated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) earlier this year. An exact date is yet to be announced, but according to ACRA more details will be made public about two months before the changes are due to take place. Agencies and stakeholders likewise will have more time to adapt to the new legislative changes.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has released a disclosure guide aimed at aiding companies’ compliance with the country’s corporate governance regulations. The document, structured in a concise question & answer-format, will not only help companies to comply with key aspects of governance, but will also make it easier for investors to assess the companies they might invest in.
The Philippines has become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with an annual GDP growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2014 – the second highest in the Asia-Pacific region after China. This healthy growth is due to strong economic fundamentals and a faster than expected GDP growth of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
With its newly opened International Commercial Court, Singapore wants to become the alternative location for arbitration in Asia. The country has also made a series of other investments into its legal services sector and has established the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC).
Local businesses in Singapore started 2015 with a pessimistic outlook, continuing a downward trend for the third quarter in a row. According to the newest Business Expectations Survey (BES) – conducted by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) – the current Business Optimism Index (BOI) score of +1.11 percent, is the lowest since the first quarter of 2013. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the BOI stood at +10.79 percent. The SCCB has pointed to global economic uncertainty, rising cost pressures and manpower issues, as well as lower demand in the export-oriented sector, as possible drivers behind the lowered optimism.
While currently, e-commerce only accounts for less than one percent (worth ~US$2 billion per year) of Indonesian retail spending, analysts believe that the country’s fast growing middle class and proliferation of smartphones will soon raise that share to eight percent (worth US$8 billion) in just a few years. If that scenario were to happen, then Indonesia’s e-commerce market would be the largest in Southeast Asia.
As investment and trading partners, Singapore and Vietnam have proven to be an unstoppable combination – with 2014 bilateral trade up 20.3 percent year on year. Vietnam’s strategic location, low-cost labor, burgeoning consumer class, and incentives to foreign investors have made Vietnam an attractive destination for Singaporean foreign direct investment (FDI). While Singapore, with the highest GDP per capita in ASEAN, remains a prime market for Vietnamese exporters.
On its first day back in business, January 19, 2015, Singapore’s Parliament has approved the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill and the Pawnbrokers Bill on second readings, and saw the introduction of the Community Disputes, Deep Seabed Mining, Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption), and MediShield Life Scheme Bills.
There are a number of important ASEAN regional meetings taking place in January, these include the ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Myanmar and the 117th ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) Council Meeting, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
Indonesia is set to introduce a one stop service for providing ministry licenses, speed up the completion of government tenders by March each year, establish a land bank to fast track infrastructure projects and release a five-year $450 billion infrastructure investment plan.