Tokyo, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — The Japanese economy grew at a robust annual rate of 3 percent in April-June on the back of healthy capital spending, according to revised government data released Monday.
The revision is an upward change from the 1.9 percent annual rate from an earlier preliminary reading, and a reversal from the 0.6 percent annual contraction rate in January-March.
That contraction had ended two years of continual expansion, the longest stretch in nearly three decades for Japan.
The annual rate of growth is what the pace would have been if that quarterly number had continued for a year. The data are for real gross domestic product, or GDP, the total value of a nation's goods and services.
Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the recovery momentum is better than expected, and will likely continue as electronics, auto and chemical sectors invest more, and consumer spending holds up.
He said despite worries about President Donald Trump's tariff policies, some targeting Japan, the impact appeared to be minimal so far.
The Trump administration has imposed tariffs this year on imports of steel and aluminum from many countries, including Japan.
It is also threatening tariffs on Japanese autos and auto parts. The damage to the Japanese economy from the auto tariffs is expected to be greater than the action on steel and aluminum.
Beijing, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Jack Ma, who founded e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and helped launch China's e-commerce boom, announced Monday he will step down as the company's chairman next September.
In a letter released by Alibaba, Ma said he will be succeeded by CEO Daniel Zhang, an 11-year veteran of the company. Ma handed over the CEO post to Zhang in 2013 as part of what he said was a long-planned succession process.
Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 in an apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou to connect Chinese exporters with foreign retailers. It expanded into consumer retailing, online finance, cloud computing and other services, becoming the world's biggest e-commerce company by total value of goods sold across all its platforms.
Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, became one of the world's richest entrepreneurs and one of China's best-known business figures. The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy, estimates his net worth at $37 billion.
Alibaba said Ma will remain a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people that has the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
"This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development," Ma said in his letter.
Ma said he wants to "return to education" but gave no details of his plans.
Alibaba is one of a group of companies including Tencent Holding Ltd., a games and social media giant, search engine Baidu.com Inc. and e-commerce rival JD.com that have revolutionized shopping, entertainment and consumer services in China.
Alibaba was founded at a time when few Chinese used the internet. As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-focused retailing and services. Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created its own online payments system, Alipay.
Ma, known in Chinese as Ma Yun, appears regularly on television. At an annual Alibaba employee festival in Hanzhou, he has sung pop songs in costumes that have included blonde wigs and leather jackets. He pokes fun at his own appearance, saying his oversize head and angular features make him look like the alien in director Steven Spielberg's movie "E.T. The Extraterrestrial."
Ma also became one of the best-known Chinese businesspeople abroad.
The company's $25 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014 was the biggest to date by a Chinese company.
Zhang, Ma's planned successor, is a former accountant who joined Alibaba in 2007 after working at Shanda Entertainment, an online games company. Zhang served as president of Alibaba's consumer-focused Tmall.com business unit.
Alibaba's e-commerce business spans multiple platforms including business-to-business Alibaba.com, which links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers of goods from furniture to medical technology, and Tmall, with online shops for popular brands.
Alibaba launched a series of initiatives to keep counterfeit goods off its platforms following complaints by luxury brands, sporting goods makers and others.
Despite that, the French luxury company Kering, owner of brands including Gucci and Saint Laurent, accused Alibaba in a 2015 lawsuit of facilitating counterfeit sales. The two sides settled the dispute last year with an agreement to cooperate in combating trafficking in fakes.
Alipay became a financial company, Ant Financial, in 2014. Alibaba also has expanded into entertainment, set up its own film studio and invested in logistics and delivery services.
Alibaba reported profit last year of $9.8 billion.
The total value of goods sold across all of its platforms rose 28 percent over 2016 to 4.8 trillion yuan ($768 billion), according to the company.
Ma has faced controversy, including when it was disclosed in 2011 that Alibaba had transferred control over Alipay to a company controlled by Ma without immediately informing shareholders including Yahoo Inc. and Japan's Softback.
Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset. The dispute was later resolved by Alibaba, Yahoo and Softbank.
Corporate governance specialists also questioned the unusual structure of the Alibaba Partnership, which gives Ma and a group of executives more control over the company than shareholders.
Ma defended the arrangement as necessary to ensure Alibaba focuses on long-term development instead of responding to pressure from financial markets.
Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNB) – From an emergency general meeting on Sunday, country’s export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) factory owners urged the government to give an ‘exit plan’ for RMG units which want to leave the business for non-viability.
RMG owners also demanded the government to introduce inflation-based yearly wage increase system on permanent basis instead of the existing system of raising wage in every 5-year by forming a commission.
“We want adjustment in the workers’ wage keeping in line with rate of inflation”, said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
He was addressing the emergency general meeting of the RMG factory owners held at the BGMEA’s Nurul Kader Auditorium in the city under the joint aegis of BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)—the two main representative bodies in the country’s RMG sector.
“We’ll call for an exit plan for those who want to leave the garment business”, he added.
Most of the speakers severely criticised the civil society members and NGO leaders for their advocacy in favour of garment workers’ wage hike in seminars and TV talk shows.
Some civil society members and NGOs are involved in conspiracy to destroy the country’s garment sector, they alleged.
The FBCCI chief was echoed by other speakers at the meeting held against the backdrop a perception that the government might move to declare the minimum wage as per wage commission’s recommendations. The commission was formed in January this year.
With BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman in the chair, the meeting was also addressed, among others, by BGMEA’s former leader and present ruling party lawmaker Tipu Munshi, BKMEA president and Jatiya Party lawmaker Selim Osman, garment businessman Atiqul Islam, Wage Commission member Arshad Jalam Dipu, BGMEA vice president SM Mannan Kochi and former Dhaka Chamber president Asif Ibrahim.
Siddiqur Rahman said that he would pursue the government to accept their demands.
He mentioned that in the wage commission, the BGMEA has proposed the minimum wage to be Tk 6360 while the labour leaders have proposed it at Tk 12020.
He said although BGMEA proposed the minimum wage at Tk 6360, for many factory owners it would be hard to implement it.
The last minimum wage was Tk 5,300 declared in 2013.
Tipu Munshi said the time is not in favour of garment industries as the general election time is nearing and the government feels pressure to announce the new wage for the garment workers.
Atiqul Islam said the factory owners already raised 20 percent wages of the workers at different forms while they have to spend extra money at the government offices at every stage of their business in exporting goods.
“But buyers never want to increase their prices of the goods”, he said.
BGMEA leader Ehsan Fazle Shamim said the organisation should do more to improve efficiency of the workers as two workers gets $175 a month to run a machine in Bangladesh while one worker in Vietnam runs same and gets $160.
Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNB) - Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) inaugurated its Agent Banking Outlet in Baharchara of Banshkhali in Chattogram on Tuesday.
Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury, MP of Chattogram-16 constituency inaugurated the outlet as chief guest.
Mohammed Monirul Moula, Additional Managing Director of the Bank addressed the program as chief discussant.
Presided over by Md Nizamul Hoque, Executive Vice President and Head of Chattogram South Zone, the meeting was also addressed by Mohammed Shabbir, Senior Vice President and Head of Khatunganj Corporate Branch, Tazul Islam, Chairman of Baharchara Union Parishad, Mohammad Badruddin Chowdhury, Chairman of Khankhanabad Union Parishad, Advocate Shahadat Hossain, Chairman of Kalipur Union Parishad, M Kabir Ahmad, Manager of Banshkhali Branch of the Bank.
Local businesspersons, professionals and dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNB) - Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd. (AIBL) has opened its 160th branch at Nalta area of Kaliganj upazila in Satkhira district on Sunday.
Director of the Bank, Md Harun-ar-Rashid Khan inaugurated the new branch while Managing Director Md Habibur Rahman presided over the ceremony.
Executive Vice President and Head of AIBL Khulna Zone Md Manjur Hasan delivered the welcome speech.
Md Harun-ar-Rashid Khan, in his speech said Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd. was established not for making profit by doing business but for the welfare of the society and invited all to have the blessings of Islamic banking service in the new branch.
He said, Islamic banking system can boost-up the economy of the country.
Executive Vice President Engr. Md Habib Ullah and Co-Secretary of Nalta Central Ahsania Mission Md Malekuzzaman (on behalf of Ansar Uddin Ahammad, Khadem of Nalta Pak Raoza Sharif) addressed the audience.
Among others, Joint Secretary of Nalta Ahsania Mission Md Saidur Rahman, President of Nalta Bazar Traders Association Abdus Sobahan, General Secretary Anisuzzaman Khokan, prominent fish trader Anowarul Islam, Principal of Nalta Residential College Md Tofael Ahmed were present there.
The ceremony was organised by Vice President Jalal Ahmed where a large number of local people and well-wishers were present in the inauguration.