Sep 22

China Watch Blog has learnt that Google recognizes the newly independent nation of South Sudan on Google Maps after a call for action on Change.org, which has become a very powerful force that the world is seeing.

Google has separated South Sudan from Sudan on Google Maps after more than 1,600 Change.org members called on Google and other major online map service providers to recognize the newly independent nation of South Sudan by marking it on their web maps.

South Sudan became an independent, sovereign nation on July 9th, 2011 after nearly 99% of the population voted in favor of independence. The referendum followed 50 years of civil war and brutal conflict which resulted in over 2 million deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people.

Six weeks after his home country gained independence, John Tanza Mabusu, a journalist from South Sudan currently living in Washington, DC, launched a petition on Change.org calling on online mapping services to update their maps to include the new country.

“The inclusion of South Sudan will give the people of that new nation pride and a sense of belonging, as citizens of a sovereign nation on the map,” said Mabusu. “I’m hoping that now that Google has officially recognized South Sudan on their maps, the other major online mapping services will quickly follow suit. The people of South Sudan fought long and hard for their independence and suffered greatly. It’s time these maps reflect their efforts and catch up.”

While South Sudan can now be found on Google Maps, it is still missing from Yahoo!, Microsoft and National Geographic maps.

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Sep 22

China Watch Blog has learnt that small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Guangdong province received a boost, for what it is worth, with the launch of a new business alliance today (Sep 22), amid worries of increasing problems for them to stay afloat in the global economy.

Guangzhou

The alliance, which co-founders include IT giant Intel China Ltd, the Guangdong SME Informatization & Innovation Service Center, China Minsheng Bank’s Guangzhou Branch and Chinese bank card group China UnionPay’s Guangdong branch, helps businesses in the province gain access to much needed financing as they face growing difficulties to remain competitive.

Guangzhou building

Under the arrangement, SMEs will be able to use a high-tech payment system that links them to a network so that banks can determine their credit history and business activities to help them gain better access to loans and funds.

“Intel hopes this is the beginning of a much broader effort across China … SMEs are a crucial part of China’s economy. Helping SMEs grow and innovate for the future is important to all of us,” said Douglas Cougle, managing director of Intel China. “Intel and our partners are taking a step in that direction by collaborating together in this alliance to connect SMEs into the financial system … SMEs will be able to gain access to funding they so desperately need.”

Huang Yuezhen, head of the Guangdong SME Informatization & Innovation Service Center, said the new alliance will provide a platform for businesses in the region to use better technology to boost their efficiency and use IT to stay competitive in the new business environment.

“We hope this platform offers one solution to SMEs’ problems,” he said.

Many SMEs in Guangdong, an economic powerhouse of the Chinese economy fueled by low-cost manufacturing, have been faced with rising overall costs and a widening gap in their working capital. Authorities have refuted claims of SMEs experiencing bankruptcies in the province and maintained that their general situation is stable.

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Sep 22

China Watch Blog has learnt that Hong Kong has again been ranked by the Fraser Institute as No. 1 in the world for Economic Freedom, holding this No. 1 ranking for more than three decades.

HK's economy to forge ahead

Speaking at a gala dinner co-hosted by the Fraser Institute and the Lion Rock Institute, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, said: “We’ll do our best to make it No. 1 for the next three decades, too. We are never complacent in this.

“This recognition from the Fraser Institute highlights our long-standing commitment to free and open markets. This philosophy has served our city well – in good times and in bad, in times of stability and great upheaval.

The Fraser Institute last held its gala dinner here in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis. In fact, it was in the same week that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in the US – a decision that only deepened the sense of gloom that was being felt in world markets at that time.

“Three years on, we are still feeling the aftershocks of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. Some economists are predicting a double-dip recession, which I am sure we all hope does not eventuate, but for which we must be well prepared,” Tsang said.

“In such testing times, it is important for an externally-oriented economy such as Hong Kong to remain true to our philosophy. That means strong fiscal discipline, low taxes, open markets, free flow of information, goods and capital, clean government and a level playing field for business,” he added.

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Sep 22

China Watch Blog wishes to inform readers that our website will be shutdown between 6am to 9am (HK time) for emergency maintenance on Sep 23, 2011. Our news service will resume after 9am.

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Sep 22

China Watch Blog has learnt that anti-fraud professionals will gather in Singapore for expert training and professional networking at the 2011 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference, to be held between October 23-25 at the Marina Bay Sands hotel and resort.

Prominent officials including Aedit Abdullah, Chief Prosecutor, Economic Crimes and Governance Division (Singapore); and Mark Steward, Executive Director, Enforcement Division, Securities and Futures Commission (Hong Kong) lead the list of experts who will share their insights and best practices in the fight against fraud.

Other keynote speakers include James D. Ratley, CFE, President and CEO of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE); and Peter Coleman, Executive Director, Forensic Services, Singapore & Southeast Asia, Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory Services.

The event kicks off with a pre-conference, “Effectively Using Social Networks and Social Media in Fraud Examination,” and includes main conference tracks with focused subjects including “Fighting Intellectual Property Fraud” and “The Global Challenges of Bribery and Corruption.”

With educational workshops, a panel discussion, and networking opportunities throughout the conference, the ACFE urges auditors, anti-fraud professionals, accountants, compliance officers, security and law enforcement professionals, solicitors and anyone whose job involves the detection and/or prevention of fraud to attend.

Results from a fraud survey conducted by the ACFE lend a sense of urgency to the training. The recent “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse: Asia-Pacific Edition” found that the median fraud loss for organisations in Asia is about US$300,000 – significantly higher than the global median loss of US$160,000, according to a survey of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) who investigated cases between January 2008 and December 2009.

Corruption was the most commonly reported scheme, appearing in more than half of the Asia-Pacific fraud cases in the study. Survey respondents also estimate that the typical organization loses 5 percent of its annual revenue to fraud, which is consistent with the study’s worldwide estimate.

It is against this backdrop that professionals from nearly 20 countries will gather at the ACFE conference, the largest event of its kind in the region. Early registration for the conference lasts through next Friday, September 30.

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