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  • Posts Tagged ‘Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’

    South Korea’s Q2 GDP figures release – analysis (breaking news)

    September 6th, 2012  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Q2 ’12 GDP (qtr-to-qtr): 0.3%
    Q2 ’12 GDP (year-on-year): 2.3%

    Q3 ’12 GDP (qtr-to-qtr): p.2-0.45% range
    Q3 ’12 (year-on-year): 2.2-2.5% range
    2013 (fiscal year): 2.5-2.7%
    – EXTERNAL: U.S. (lower manufacturing levels), CHina (Higher inventory levels), and EU (ongoing fiscal crisis). These 3 regions represent South Korea’s top trading partners. Given that South Korea’s GDP is nearly 48% dependent on exports, any slump in one or more of these regions may have a negative impact on the local economy.In other words, less sales of Samsung smartphones and Hyundai cars abroad in the U.S., China, and/or EU, will translate into lower future GDP growth levels.
    – INTERNAL: South Korea’s rising household debt (including mortgages, credit card debt, and non-bank loans). The economy also has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates and a rapidly aging/retiring labor force, which will also lead to less people able and willing to work, in addition to greater demand for retirement/pension benefits. Such factors will continue to put a heavy strain on the South Korean economy.
    – FISCAL STIMULUS PLAN: possible US$7.5 bln equivalent (without a supplementary budget appropriation) may be announced soon, but it is unclear what positive economic effects such stimulus plan will ultimately have.
    – Possible economic rebound in one or more of the following regions: US, China, EU
    OTHER RELATED CONSIDERATIONS: The overall macroeconomic trend is downward economic forecasts for South Korea. In 2011, South Korea grew at 3.6%. Government estimates for 2012 range from 3.0-3.3% (revised from previous higher forecasts), while private sector economic forecasts have been more bearish, from 2.5-3.0% growth for 2012 overall. Other negative drags on the economy include a year-on-year drop in Exports (-6.2%) and Imports (-9.8%). Thus it is likely that 2013 economic forecasts may similarly also be revised downward to the 3.2-3.5% range, subject to various endogenous and exogenous variables and geopolitical events.
    WHAT SOUTH KOREA NEEDS:We believe that South Korea can utilize funding vis-a-vis investment to convert South Korea from a “Copycat Confucian” to a “Creative Confucian” capitalist system. This will involve “rejiggering” the nation’s basic economic components to (1) a more Socratic-based education/teaching system; (2) a more robust and dynamic venture capital (VC) infrastructure; and (3) a pivot towards a more risk-taking mind-set by the general population.
    Jasper Kim, founder of the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group, discussed these issues with BBC TV’s Asia Business Report today, which can be seen below:


    Economics of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” – 5 Things to Know

    August 30th, 2012  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    1: Who is Psy (real name: Park Jae-Sang): bad boy v. court jester?


    He is a Korean-version bad boy and court jester packaged into one person. Psy’s biggest hit before ‘Gangnam Style’ was ‘Champion,” which was a hit due to remarkable timing with Korea’s hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, in which Korea was viewed as a soccer/football ‘champion’ in the form of a quarterfinal team.


    2. Is he an unusual K-Pop star?


    His is an unlikely figure for singing stardom due to his age (mid-30s) and looks (typifying the average person rather than a meticulously prefabricated singer beauty). No one could have expected “Gangnam Style” – originally geared for local audiences – to be a global sensation. Psy is the anti-beauty, anti-model, anti-authority singer – ironically, this could his the recipe for success. Psy’s unique combination of these qualities have been fairly constant for the past decade. But what has changed is what the world, inside and outside Korea want, in a youtube era – authenticity, reality, and buzzworthiness – all of which Psy fortunately had at the right time, and the right place (youtube, with about 60 million hits for the song, twitter and other social media).


    3. What is Gangnam Style?


    Gangnam style as the current pop hit song is a fun, lovable, and catchy song that features outlandish entertainment in the form of mesmerizing supertechno beats and rhythms combined with outrageous “horse dance” moves, with fast cars and attractive women as backdrops. At the less visible level, it is a “satire with synthesizers” placing all the perceived virtues of “Gangnam” (an affluent region of Seoul) under a critical light, essentially mocking the superficial, consumer-driven, style over substance Gangnam area culture.


    4. What does Gangnam represent socially and historically?


    “Gangnam” literally means “south of the Han River.” Today, the Gangnam area is viewed as an upper-class region, home to famous celebrities, top Korean firm headquarters, and pricey shopping and apartments. For these reasons, the Gangnam area typifies the consumerism of modern day Confucian Korea. The area is an $82 billion economic region, which is also home to the country’s most prestigious university (in which an estimated 41% of its student body are from Gangnam), the alma mater of a disproportionately large amount of Korea’s top power players in business and government. Gangbuk, north of the Han River, is the traditional area of Seoul, which is viewed as a less economically elite region. Gangnam, in short, is geographic symbol of current day conspicuous consumption in a time when Korea’s education, income, social status are increasingly bifurcated between the “haves” and “have nots.”


    5. How can Psy’s hit be monetized?


    South Korea’s government has been supporting Korean entertainment overseas as a form of “soft power” diplomacy – similar to the soft power of Hollywood – which has had some success, but mostly within Asia. Psy’s success has been a surprise. If you believe that a Korean hit pop song in the US market is not a “one hit wonder,” then buying shares in Korean entertainment companies (SM Entertainment, CJ Entertainment, JYP, YG Entertainment) may line up with your investment view.


    Interviews about this topic with Jasper Kim, Asia-Pacific Global Research Group, are below:
    ABC TV’s Nightline with Jim Middleton:

    ABC Radio:
    available here with ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s “Common Knowledge” program (interview begins from the 15:00 min mark):
    The actual “Gangnam Style” music video featuring PSY is below:



    South Korean President Visit To Disputed Dokdo Islets

    August 10th, 2012  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    The South Korean president goes to Dokdo (a disputed island between S. Korea and Japan) – not a bad strategic move, as I mention in my quote in today’s recent VOA (Voice of America) article below. Implementing the patriot card of visiting Dokdo – a disputed islet between S. Korea and Japan – is a “no lose” strategy for the president who is only months away from the end of his term. This is the first Korean president to visit Dokdo. And we can be sure that it will be the beginning of renewed escalated tensions between the two countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. is caught in an awkward position of having to take sides among two very important allies in NE Asia.

    – Jasper Kim (8.10.2012)

    Voice of America article