Monday, December 24, 2007

The global fight for top talent

December 7 2007: 12:07 PM EST
The global fight for top talent
From the United States to Saudi Arabia, countries are finally recognizing that human capital is crucial.
By Geoff Colvin

(Fortune Magazine) Three scenes from the new battle for global economic supremacy:

1. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country that sits on 25% of the planet's oil, knows that oil is not his country's future. That's why he's spending $12.5 billion to found a graduate research university, which he'll endow with $10 billion - as big an endowment on day one as MIT has built in 142 years. The point of this project, on a grand scale even by Saudi standards: to attract the best researchers in science and technology.

2. The European Union has proposed new rules to attract the world's most highly skilled workers. If they can show that they're well educated and hold an offer of a lucrative job in Europe, they can get a two-year renewable permit to live there. The problem Europe is trying to solve: 85% of emigrating unskilled workers from developing countries go to Europe, but only 5% of skilled workers do so.

3. HCL Technologies, an Indian infotech services firm, has noticed a major change in its best young employees. Until two or three years ago, few of them would work for it unless they were promised an overseas assignment. Now it's just the opposite: They see India as the most compelling source of excitement and opportunity, and they don't want to be sent away.

~~~

We've known for a long time that this day was coming, and now it's here: Countries are finally realizing that their future prosperity depends not on natural resources or even on financial capital, but on human capital. Companies have been battling for years to attract and keep the best people. Now countries are engaging in the same fight.

The contenders
It wasn't much of a scrap until recently. Only the United States, Western Europe, and Japan - for a while - were even contenders. They didn't beat up on one another too badly vying for the best talent because there was enough to go around. Their economies weren't sufficiently info-based to make talent as critical an advantage as it has become, and the economy wasn't sufficiently global for human-capital supremacy to be crucial. Now all those factors have changed; many countries are in the hunt, and they're all after the same thing.

Since this is a fundamentally new fight, no one is sure what will win it. But we can already identify some fairly deep and difficult questions the fight raises. How countries answer them will help determine national wealth and power.

How long will any country tolerate Info Age protectionism? Notice that Europe's new proposal to attract highly skilled workers is pretty pathetic. It doesn't really offer any attractions; it just scales back rules that keep those workers out.

We have similar rules in the United States, such as our skinflint distribution of H-1B visas and immigration rules that favor family connections over skills. Why do such rules exist at all? In the Industrial Age we protected manufacturing workers with tariffs and quotas, but we can't put duties on bits and bytes, so in the Info Age we protect knowledge workers by restricting immigration.

No country can have world-class workers if it continually protects them from world-class competition. Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is passionate on this subject, says, "Anyone with a college degree should be welcome to come to our country, with appropriate security checks."

The U.S. may be rich, but we hardly have the best education system
Why isn't the United States more serious about the key competitive advantage of the Info Age, education? How to make human capital more valuable is no mystery, yet the world's richest country still has nowhere near the world's best education system. That means trouble that will only get worse.

Stephen Roach, former chief economist of Morgan Stanley and now head of the firm's Asian operations, says, "In the U.S. we've squandered our advantage by not investing in educational reform."

What, ultimately, is a national economy? Is it good for a country if its companies prosper by offshoring high-value intellectual work? What if a nation's high-value employees are working in that nation for other nations' companies? Or if highly skilled immigrants perform high-value work and send their earnings home? The answers aren't obvious, but they are important.

This international fight for talent will get much more serious. With luck, it will lead to something new: a free market in brainpower. That may not come to pass- but wise nations will prepare for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How to make every drop of fuel count

Plan your route. Know your short cuts and avoid rush hours where there will be traffic congestion.

Inflate your tyres regularly. Under-inflated tyres use more petrol.

Travel at a constant speed as this keeps fuel consumption constant too.

Do not speed. Fuel consumption increases rapidly at speeds over 90kmh.

Wind up all windows to make your car more aero-dynamic.

Switch off your engine if you are stationary or when waiting for someone.

Clear your car of junk. Extra weight on the car increases petrol consumption. Alternatively, decline taking on passengers.

Use your air- conditioning and other on-board electrical devices such as mobile phone chargers sparingly.

Make sure your petrol cap fits tightly. Petrol can easily evaporate if the cap is not airtight.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Popular Advice You Shouldn't Take

WallStreet Journal
Sunday July 1, 3:30 am ET
By Jonathan Clements


If you're in your 20s, the world may not throw money at you -- but you'll get plenty of free financial advice.
For instance, you have no doubt been told to save diligently, fully fund your employer's 401(k) plan and avoid credit-card debt. And those are all good suggestions.


But there are other suggestions that aren't quite so good -- including these four popular pieces of advice.

1. AMASS CASH

If you are just out of school, you probably have all kinds of financial ambitions, including buying a car, purchasing a home and trying your hand at stock-market investing. But according to some financial experts, your top financial priority should be amassing an emergency reserve equal to six months of living expenses, with this cash tucked away in conservative investments like money-market funds and certificates of deposit.

Let's be honest: This is dull, unrealistic and -- I would argue -- not all that sensible. Even if you regularly sock away 10% of your after-tax income, it might take four years or so to amass six months of living expenses. At that juncture, you are supposed to leave this money in low-risk investments, where it will earn modest returns for the rest of your life.

Sound bad? It gets worse. While you were building up your emergency reserve, you were likely neglecting important goals like funding your 401(k) plan, which might earn you a matching employer contribution, and saving for a house down payment.

My advice: Forget the emergency reserve. Instead, stick at least enough in your 401(k) to get the full company match. Next, fund a Roth individual retirement account. If you still have extra money to save each year, by all means stash it in conservative investments in a regular taxable account.

If you get hit with a financial emergency, tap the money in your regular taxable account first. But you could also borrow from your 401(k). In addition, at any time, you can pull out your Roth contributions -- but not the account's investment earnings -- without paying taxes or penalties.

You could also use your taxable account and Roth for a house down payment. Once you have bought the house, set up a home-equity line of credit, which you can then use as an emergency reserve.

2. BUY BIG

That brings me to another piece of conventional wisdom that's often doled out to folks in their 20s: Buy the biggest house possible.

I have some sympathy with this suggestion. If you are early in your career and you expect sizable pay increases in the years ahead, you may want to stretch to buy a somewhat larger house.

After all, if you purchase a place that you quickly become dissatisfied with, you could soon find yourself trading up to a better home. That will mean forking over a 5% or 6% selling commission, mortgage-application costs, lawyer's fees, moving expenses and more.

Don't, however, misconstrue what I am saying. I am not endorsing the contention that real estate is the best investment you can make, that you should buy the largest house possible or that you should take out the largest mortgage possible.

Borrowing a huge sum to purchase an unnecessarily large house is financial foolishness. You will saddle yourself with hefty monthly mortgage payments and a lifetime of large utility bills, maintenance costs, property-tax payments and home-insurance premiums. Rather, when buying that first home, you should strive to purchase a place that's the right size for you and your family -- and that you can see living in for a good long time.

3. GET A LIFE

Insurance agents often push folks in their 20s to buy cash-value life insurance, arguing that it's far cheaper to purchase these policies when you are young.

Don't do it. To be sure, under the right circumstances and with the right policy from the right company, cash-value life insurance can be a decent investment. But for those in their 20s, these policies are unlikely to make sense.

Remember, the principal reason to buy life insurance is to protect your family -- and you may not even have a spouse, let alone kids. And if you are married with young kids, you no doubt need a heap of coverage. The cheapest way to get that coverage is with term life insurance, which offers a death benefit and nothing more.

Cash-value life insurance, by contrast, combines a death benefit with an investment account. Because the premiums on these policies are so high, you will likely skimp on coverage, which means your young family won't be fully protected. Moreover, if you buy a cash-value policy, you probably won't have the spare cash for other, better investment opportunities, such as funding a Roth IRA and your employer's 401(k).

4. GO FOR GROWTH

Those in their 20s are encouraged to invest heavily in stocks, because they have decades until retirement and thus plenty of time to ride out market declines. This is good advice -- in theory.

In practice, I would be a little cautious. You don't want to invest heavily in stocks and then panic and sell during the next market plunge. Yet that's a real danger if you are new to the market and you have never lived through a market decline.

My suggestion: Start with 60% stocks and 40% bonds. If you find yourself unperturbed by market swings, move your stock allocation up to 85% or 90% after a year or two.

Younger investors are often also told to favor highflying growth stocks. Growth stocks can be wild short-term performers -- but the hope is that they will deliver superior long-run returns.

Unfortunately, there's a good chance this hope won't be fulfilled. Academic studies suggest the highest returns are earned not by growth companies, but by prosaic bargain-priced value stocks.

I am not, however, suggesting you load up on value. Instead, start by building a well-diversified portfolio that includes both growth and value stocks, as well as offering exposure to the broad U.S. market and to foreign markets. If you later want to add a tilt toward value stocks, be my guest. But your top priority should be broad diversification.

jonathan.clements@wsj.com

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Chinese in Malaysia part 2 - GENTING Group & IOI Group

鉅富祖籍耍本色(第四篇) *福建幫*

1天內拿到賭牌, 林梧桐白手起家


“Uncle Lim”,是大家對今年4月剛歡慶90大壽的丹斯里林梧桐的暱稱。
新一代賭王的光環,則慢慢在丹斯里林國泰身上成形。

油棕園及蒲種區產業發展,卻是丹斯里李深靜的代表作之一。

雖然三者看似風馬牛不相及,但難掩蓋福建人低調行事的謙卑作風。


林梧桐
祖籍:安溪

從身無分文到富甲一方,林梧桐一手將荒蕪的雲頂高原打造成聞名國內外的避署、旅遊兼娛樂勝地,並與雲頂(GENTING,3182,主板貿易)劃上等號。

這位白手起家的經典傳奇人物,1918年在中國福建省安溪出世,16歲喪父后獨挑母親與7名弟妹的生活重擔,1941年從中國南下大馬,在叔父手下做個每日工資只有80仙的學徒。

日軍侵佔馬來亞期間,他當過小販,戰后轉行賣廢鐵,從而成立建發實業公司,承包建築工程,並在採礦業務賺取不少錢。

60年代初期,林梧桐承建金馬崙高原水力發電廠,觸發他想在吉隆坡附近高原,發展旅遊休閒業的意念,開發賭場就成為致力追求的目標。


林國泰
30多年前,他在已故國父兼首任首相東姑阿都拉曼協助下,一天內申請到經營賭場的執照,被譽為“全世界最快取得賭場執照的人”。

冀全球排第3

早在70年代后期,雲頂便已朝向業務多元化發展,以旅遊休閒業紮根,進而開發種植業、產業發展、能源、造紙、石油及天然氣及海上郵輪業務。

2004年,林梧桐宣佈退休,正式把雲頂集團掌管大權交給次子林國泰,自己則退居幕后。


林國泰青出於藍

林梧桐為雲頂奠下強穩根基后,再由林國泰擴大版圖至世界多個角落。
林梧桐曾表示,很滿意林國泰這位接班人,並形容他是個有自己行事風格、幹練且聰敏的企業家。

除了將雲頂業務版圖,透過麗星郵輪(Star Cruise)擴至公海,林國泰更將賭業投資拓展至美國、英國、盧森堡、澳洲和菲律賓等地,成為亞洲最大賭業上市公司。

成功取得英國最大賭場營運業者,史丹利休閒(Stanley Leisure)的控制股權后,在林國泰領軍下,雲頂贏得新加坡第2張賭場營運執照,一年內雙喜臨門。

雄心壯志的林國泰甚至放眼,雲頂10年內成為全球第3大休閒娛樂兼博奕集團,並積極透過麗星郵輪進軍澳門博彩業。

雖然林國泰表現青出于藍,新一代賭王風彩逐漸成形,他卻像父親一樣,待人謙卑,行事低調,不愛出風頭,雖然掌控龐大集團及身兼許多要職,卻一直避免成為鎂光燈焦點。


購園坵賺第1桶金.李深靜親力親為

李深靜
祖籍:永春
李深靜是位在油棕園長大的貧苦人家孩子,年少時曾沿戶兜售冰淇淋養家,最終憑著苦幹及不斷掌握機會,崛起為擁有萬頃土地的企業鉅子。

年輕時,他做過園坵管理員,能操一口流利的淡米爾語,較后曾管理位于巴生附近的油棕園,自己還經營一家汽油站。

據稱,李深靜聯合數位巴生商家,向丹斯里李萊生購買柔佛數千英畝園坵,從中得利上百萬令吉,賺得人生第一桶金。

后來,他從事房業發展,首個計劃即是加影附近的南順發花園,但真正讓他開始嶄露頭角的,卻是獨力收購氣體製造業者工業氧氣(Industrial Oxygen)一役。

成為IOI集團(IOICORP,1961,主板種植)前身的工業氧氣大股東及管理人后,李深靜1985年開始通過一系列企業及土地收購活動,進軍油棕種植及產業發展領域。

1989年,甘文丁機構(Kamunting)旗下南洛園坵待價而沽,當時逐鹿者眾多,李深靜在最后期限前才接獲獻議。

4.7億購南洛

但他在短短一天內,決定通過工業氧氣出價5億令吉(過后改為4.7億令吉),高價收購南洛園坵和其它資產(包括棕油廠、樹膠及可可加工廠),震驚大馬商界。

工業氧氣原已擁有1萬5556公頃油棕、樹膠及可可園,加上南洛園坵資產,頓時躋身為當時五大種植股之一。

李深靜深懂週期性的種植業無法常保盈利,所以高價出售部份地段作為其它用途(包括房地產、休閒勝地及高爾夫球場),從中賺取厚利。


蒲種產業先鋒

蒲種今日朝氣蓬勃的發展,歸功于李深靜的獨到眼光。
1989年杪,李深靜購買蒲種406英畝土地,全面推行價值達10億令吉的混合房屋發展計劃,成為蒲種區產業發展先驅。

蒲種當時僅是一片遼闊無垠的園坵地,在別人眼里或是毫無希望的土地,在李深靜眼中,卻是黃金地。

他深信,有朝一日蒲種將發展成比八打靈再也還要現代化的城鎮。

蒲種今日朝氣蓬勃的發展,就應驗了李深靜的獨到眼光。

如今,除了身兼IOI集團及IOI產業(IOIPROP,1635,主板產業)執行主席,李深靜也積極為多家公司、協會及社會組織,提供諮詢及引導。

值得一提的是,翻查過往資料時,赫然發現,李深靜多年來保持低調作風,特別是以個人為主的報導竟屈指可數。

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chinese in Malaysia part 1 - PPB Group and Hong Leong Group

鉅富祖籍耍本色(第三篇) *福建幫*

率先進軍中國 郭鶴年馬企開路先鋒


在我國,富甲一方的福建豪商輩出,位位都是叱吒企業界的風雲人物。
若不信的話,可以去查查福建會館的會員名單,丹斯里級人馬比比皆是,還讓人誤以為是“丹斯里俱樂部”。

許多福建殷商更是富豪榜的常客,惟鮮少在國內曝光,秉持一貫的低調作風。

《鉅富祖籍耍本色》本週首先介紹2位福建富豪,即我國首富兼糖王郭鶴年,及丹斯里郭令燦。

從新馬起家的郭鶴年,忙碌身影除了穿梭各地,郭氏集團(Kuok Group)業務足跡更遍佈全球。

雖然丹斯里郭令燦並非豐隆集團(Hong Leong Group)創辦人,卻與“豐隆”的企業品牌緊密相連。


郭鶴年
祖籍:福州

1923年,祖籍中國福建福州的郭鶴年,在柔佛新山出世,並在新山及新加坡受教育。

1948年,他在新加坡創辦主要經營輪船航運及一般商務的船務公司。

創立公司翌年,郭鶴年父親郭欽鑒逝世后,郭家議決由郭鶴年領導家族事業,並創辦郭氏兄弟有限公司,由他接任董事經理。

當時,僅有25歲的郭鶴年接過重擔,正式執掌家族事業,從此奠定郭氏集團成為華族企業鉅子的基礎。

足跡遍全球

郭鶴年從50年代開始,在我國北部設立糖廠、面粉廠和種植甘蔗,一度控制國內80%原糖市場及10%世界市場,繼而贏得“大馬糖王”美譽。

1971年,郭鶴年斥資1億令吉,在新加坡創立首家香格里拉酒店,稍后擴展至全球各地,成為國際著名五星級酒店集團。

90年代時,郭鶴年將企業王國觸角,延伸至傳媒及影視,通過香港嘉里集團(Kerry Group)收購《南華早報》,並入主香港無線電視(TVB)。

郭鶴年經過數十年艱苦努力后,如今郭氏集團足跡遍佈全球,業務概況糖業、地產、船務、種植及媒體等多個領域。

值得一提的是,郭鶴年也是大馬企業進軍中國的開路先鋒。

早在20多年前,他便大舉投資中國,現在得以享有豐厚回酬。


資產值324億

郭鶴年旗下的香格里拉酒店,矗立在全球多個主要城市。
馳騁商場多年的郭鶴年,也非一帆風順!

80年代的全球經濟不景氣,是他事業的低潮期,船運業及產業皆蒙受重挫,最終必須出售部份股權套現渡過難關。

雖然郭鶴年多年前已宣佈退休,將企業王國交給兒子,但他仍享譽國際舞台。

至今,他仍擁有郭氏集團最高決策權,忙碌身影常常出現在北京、香港、天津、深圳、福州等地。

自90年代起,美國《富比士》(Forbes)雜誌幾乎每年皆把郭鶴年列為亞洲十大富豪之一,今年剛剛出爐的排行榜,他還是大馬首富。

此外,他今年也以324億令吉資產,連續4年成為《大馬商業》雜誌(Malaysian Business)遴選的大馬首富。


分家後拓春天.郭令燦併購高手

郭令燦
祖籍:同安
在新加坡出生的丹斯里郭令燦,祖籍中國福建同安,為豐隆金融創辦人郭芳楓的侄兒。

郭芳楓與哥哥郭芳來(郭令燦父親)分家后,后者到大馬發展,並把業務傳給郭令燦。

在英國唸法律的郭令燦,當初接手大馬豐隆集團時,旗下只有豐隆金融、1家貿易公司和3間工廠。

野心勃勃的郭令燦,為了讓豐隆迅速成為綜合型大企業,自80年代起通過多次的收購合併,使豐隆規模極速成長,廣泛進軍房地產、製造業、貿易和休閒等領域。

港佔一席位

惟郭令燦並不甘心僅屈身大馬,積極擴展業務至國際級的金融中心香港。

他成功在這商業鉅子林立的地方,創出大事業,成立了國浩集團(Guoco Group)。

曾有分析員形容郭令燦為“企業醫生”,他有能力讓收購回來的公司轉虧為盈,讓豐隆成為數一數二出色的管理公司。

當然,單靠個人力量難以在各國商界稱霸,重量級的人脈網絡,對郭令燦國際規模的商業王國助力良多。

目前,豐隆集團仍以大馬為基地,在全球擁有多家上市公司,分佈于香港、新加坡、菲律賓、英國、美國、澳洲及紐西蘭等。


作風高深莫測

郭令燦與“豐隆”二字不可分。

雖然身為多間上市公司的決策人,但這位商業巨頭卻從不在媒體面前張揚,甚少曝光接受訪問,行事低調神秘,多由2個弟弟郭令山及郭令成,出面公佈公司業界動向。

郭令燦低調神秘的作風,甚至延續至旗下企業。

政府在2000年下令合併36家銀行后,豐隆銀行(5819,主板金融)成為國內10家主導銀行之一。

雖然如此,去年掀起的新一輪銀行整合風中,豐隆銀行未來動向卻和掌舵人郭令燦一樣高深莫測。

在次輪銀行併購立場不明,及未來業務主力方向未定,都讓市場人士難以捉摸,未知豐隆銀行葫蘆里到底賣什么藥。

另外,郭令燦今年在《大馬商業》雜誌發表的年度40大富豪中,以103億令吉財產,位居季軍。

Saturday, May 26, 2007

敦鶴年 白糖鋪路世外桃源.香格里拉耀五星

http://www.chinapress.com.my/data/election04/ent2000/20000416.asp

事業篇
出刊:2000年4月16日
事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望

敦鶴年 白糖鋪路世外桃源.香格里拉耀五星

英雄出少年,郭鶴年早在廿四歲時,即已出來創業,接手家族糖廠後,更擴大企業版圖,贏得「亞洲糖王」美譽。取得優勢,再多元化發展,屢創佳績。如今七十六歲的郭鶴年依然寶刀不老,奮鬥不懈,其「創業宜趁早,拓業不怕老」的企業精神,贏得政商界的尊敬,絕非浪得虛名!

郭鶴年可能是除了政治領袖外,最廣為國際社會認識的馬來西亞人。從白糖、酒店、地產、船務、保險到傳媒,郭鶴年創造了無數的奇蹟。他異常低調的作風,也使他的事業蒙上許多傳奇色彩。

基本上,人們習慣將他定位為「馬來西亞糖王」及馬來西亞首富;事實上,自廿世紀七十年代末期開始,郭氏已將商業王國擴展至香港;八十年代更大舉投資中國,是中國最重要的投資者之一。

作為一個國際企業家,郭鶴年雖長期在外國營商生活,卻以身為馬來西亞人為榮。他擁有香港居留權,也在中國享有祟高的聲譽,但仍然心繫大馬,畢竟這是孕育他的土地,也是他事業的起點。

一九九三年接受香港〈大公報〉訪談中表示:「我的心分成兩瓣,一半是愛我生長的國家,一瓣是愛我父母生長的家鄉。」

馬來西亞是他的祖國,即使生意網遍佈全球,他仍然保留大馬公民的身份。

祖籍福建省福州市蓋山,出生於柔佛州新山的郭鶴年,現年七十六歲。儘管已到了含貽弄孫的年齡,但他對事業的熱情仍然不減。

「人生七十古來稀是舊社會的說法,現在,九十歲才是古來稀。人生一定要有挑戰。」郭鶴年從未正式介紹他的接班人,但他其實早已將權力下放,由專業人士打理集團的各家公司。在許多時候,他僅以股東身份在董事會發言,並沒有參與實際業務,但他對事業的熱誠與投入,從未稍減。

今日的網絡時代,知識型經濟使到許多廿餘歲的年輕人便坐擁百萬身家;然而,在馬來亞還未獨立,二次世界大戰才結束三年的四十年代,郭鶴年便先拔頭籌,開始創立自己的事業。當時,他僅有廿四歲,比起雅虎創辦人楊致遠創業時還要年輕。郭鶴年是大馬企業家當中,在卅歲之前便創立自己事業的先行者。

一九四八年,郭鶴年自新加坡萊佛士學院畢業不久後,在新加坡創辦了利克務公司,主要經營輪船航運及一般商務,這是郭鶴年創業之始。爾後,郭鶴年涉及大馬船運業,可說與此息息相關。

郭鶴年在四十年代便能創業,固然與他出身富裕家庭,以及受過高等教育有關;然而,他個人的膽識、經商手腕及判斷力,更是不可或缺的要素。

創立公司翌年,父親郭欽鑑逝世,郭家經過開會後,議決由他領導家族事業,並組織郭兄弟有限公司,由他出任董事經理。當時,只有廿五歲的郭鶴年便接過重擔,正式執掌家族事業,並在他的領導下把它發展為一個龐大的商業王國。
對此,郭鶴年的母親鄭格如女士,扮演重要的角色。她受過高等教育,獨具慧眼,在眾多子女中選中排行第三的郭鶴年,並委以重任,使他挑起振興家族事業的擔子。而郭鶴年也沒令她失望,不僅把家族事業發展成為一家備受尊敬的國際大企業,便創造出無數的奇蹟,為國家經濟作出重要的貢獻。

「母親對我今天的成就有很大的功勞,她是一個受高等教育的大學生,對兒子的管教非常嚴格,也是影響我一生最大的人。」

實際上,鄭女士在郭兄弟有限公司成立初期,在決策上也提供許多意見,郭氏兄弟對母親的意見也非常尊重。
郭家一早便經營白糖及米糧生意 ,到郭鶴年接手後,更成立了「馬來亞糖廠」,把版圖擴大,並佔有更大的市場份額。一九六六年,中國外貿部策劃把中國生產的白糖輸入馬來西亞,使郭鶴年面臨嚴峻的挑戰;在中國的強力壓陣下,他從印度大量入口白糖,成功擊敗中國。經此一役,郭鶴年聲名鵲起,贏得亞洲糖王的美譽。

翌年,郭鶴年結識印尼首富林紹良,並供應白糖給林氏旗下的布洛公司,將版圖擴展至印尼;六八年,創立了旗艦公司玻璃市種植,大量種植甘蔗以供煉糖廠做原料用途;七零年,他在世界糖價上升前,大舉在國際市場收購白糖及投資白糖期貨。至此,他已控制了八十巴仙的大馬原糖市場,並在世界白糖市場佔有十巴仙的份額。

在白糖市場取得支配性優勢後,郭鶴年再把事業多元化發展。除了在麵粉、船務、保險均佔有領導地位外,他另一項廣為人知的投資,便是酒店業。郭氏所創立的香格里拉酒店集團,已成為國際著名的五星級酒店經營者,在亞洲太平洋地區享有祟高的聲譽。在六十年代,郭鶴年已經看好酒店業將有一很大的發展潛能;特別是人們經濟條件提高,以及來往各地經商旅遊者大增,高檔酒店將能滿足市場的需求。

七一年開始,他正式進軍酒店業,他投下一億零吉在新加坡設立第一家香格里拉酒店,爾後,更分別在各國首都及大城市建立據點,從吉隆坡、曼谷、香港、斐濟等一路延伸至中國,並成為當地首屈一指的酒店集團。

不過,八十年代初期卻是他事業的低潮期。當時,由於世界性經濟不景,航運業出現「供過於求」的現象,貨輪的貨運量大減,使他蒙受嚴重虧損。估計當時的損失介於一億至二億零吉左右。

所幸,郭鶴年也表現出壯士斷臂的決心,通過各種途徑套現,包括出售一部份玻璃市種植、聯邦麵粉及香格里拉酒店的股份等,終於度過船運及地產業的風暴。郭鶴年在企業上的卓越成就,也使他獲得一九八五 年的大馬最傑出企業家獎。

八十年代末期,中國與英國針對香港九七年回歸問題爭持不下,使外資不敢放膽投資中國;稍後再發生「六四事件」,更是風聲鶴唳。郭鶴年卻反其道而行,決定大舉投資中國,投下數以十億計的鉅資,使他成為馬來西亞企業進軍中國的開路先鋒,今日終得以分享最豐厚的回酬。

郭鶴年的看法是:「危機就是機會。一名生意人必需保持對時勢的敏感與警覺。」

九十年代,郭鶴年更將觸角伸及傳媒及影視業。他在香港的旗艦嘉里集團從英國人手中收購香港英文〈南華早報〉,使他成為當地舉足輕重的傳媒大亨;入主無線電視,也使他的業務版圖跨入影視業。在中國北京投資四億八千萬美元(約十三億零吉)建造世界貿易中心,更是備受國際關注的重要投資。

從九十年代開始,〈福布斯〉雜誌幾乎每年皆把郭鶴年列為亞洲十大富豪之一。根據〈澳洲人報〉在今年三月公佈的亞洲富豪排行榜,郭鶴年以四十億美元(一百五十二億零吉)的身家高居大馬富豪榜首。

和其他成功的企業家一樣,郭鶴年的勤奮是出了名的。對許多業務他都親力親為,不願假手於人。

「如果你要和別人做生意,必須站在前線領導,而不是坐在數百里外的營帳。我相信成吉思汗在巔峰時期,也是和士兵在前線分享勝利的成果。」

除了像成吉思汗一樣建立了事業的版圖,郭鶴年對領導之道,也有他獨到的看法。

他認為,一個企業領導人的成功要訣有三: 一,擁有一批強大及有高度效率的經理人才,並與屬下的各級員工密切合作,為公司奮鬥; 二,公平及誠實。領導人應以公平及誠實的態度與所有人交往,平時以禮待人,講究信用,將會建立良好的聲譽。一旦面臨困境時,將會得到貴人協助; 三,擁有堅強的體魄及精神意志,隨時為公司的前途盡力奮鬥。

「員工能否對公司有歸屬感,與僱主本身是否有公平對待員工,以及給予怎樣的報酬息息相關。」

他以集團屬下的公司為例,表示公司除了給予員工可觀的花紅外,對表現出色的員工也提供廿五至卅巴仙的折扣讓員工享有公司股權,讓他們覺得有耕耘,必有收穫。

企業家與社會發展有著密不可分的關係,許多企業家在成功後,都不忘回饋社會。在這方面,郭兄弟有限公司成立的郭兄弟基金,每年都提供多份獎學金供國內學子在馬新一帶的國立大學深造;郭兄弟公司更是柔佛州華教的主要經濟支柱,單是捐給南方學院及寬柔獨中的款項便超過三百萬零吉。

「企業家都有一種使命感。賺錢當然是最重要的工作,可是,當獲得大量金錢後,使命感便會油然而生。因為沒有使命感,一個人很快便想到退休,每天在高爾夫球場出現。」

郭鶴年年近八十仍然奮鬥不懈,便是基於這種信念。

豐富人生篇
事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望

日日惜分秒.經營重素質

郭鶴年能在國際商場叱吒風雲,除了過人眼光及膽識外,出色的交際手腕廣結政商界精英,以及懂得引入策略性商業伙伴也是他成功的要素。

郭鶴年透露了他如何結識丹斯里曹文錦,並一起發起組織馬國際船務的經過。當時,曹文錦在香港是著名的船運業鉅子。

「我對船運一竅不通,但是,曹文錦在船運界卻享有祟高的聲譽。我要求他協助搞船運,經過數次會談後,我們開始合作。在遇到他之前,我自認是很勤力的人,但是遇到他之後,我改變了這種想法。他不分日夜的工作,而我告訴他,我的格言是:只要有一絲陽光,我就繼續工作,夜晚則停止。這就是我欣賞的素質。」

郭氏另一項廣為人知的事蹟,便是在八六年受委為馬化控股主席,以拯救這家華人社會關注的虧本投資機構。

馬化控股是馬華公會創立,以鼓吹華人社會朝向大企業進軍所設的投資機構。它一度是馬來西亞成長最快的一家公司,不過,由於管理不當,加上世界性經濟衰退,使它蒙受嚴重虧損,並陷入龐大的債務中。

當時,郭鶴年受邀拯救馬化,他在兩年內進行大刀闊斧的改革。兩年後,馬化步上軌道後,他便辭去主席職,翌年,馬化更轉虧為盈。

八六年,馬華前總會長陳群川因「新泛電失信案」被控,新加坡法庭批准陳氏以四千萬零吉保外候審,郭鶴年個人便包下了兩千萬的保釋金,其餘二千萬分別由企業家李深靜及龍學品負責。郭鶴年讓馬化「起死回生」的手法,以及營救陳群川,也使他贏得政商界的尊敬。

新世紀展望
事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望

企業不能停.永續爭上游

郭兄弟集團進入廿一世紀,將會面對怎樣的挑戰,郭鶴年早已有了盤算。

他指出,為了讓企業得以永續經營,他雖沒有對接班人做了最後的安排,但是,已和資深的事業夥伴細心討論。目前,郭鶴年的長子郭孔丞已接掌部份集團的酒店業務。

「做生意有如逆水行舟,必需不斷向前划,否則,一停下來便可能倒退十公尺。因此,我們不能停下來,必需不斷向前、不斷的尋找機會。」

郭鶴年本身的經歷,便是最好的說明。他由經營白糖開始,取得領導地位後,並沒有停歇,繼續力爭上游,終於在酒店、產業、傳媒、船務等大展鴻圖,並創造了更高的成就。

九六年十月,他在第二電視接受亞洲策略及領導研究院副主席楊元慶的專訪時表示:「小時候學習中文時,有一句著名的諺語是『失敗乃成功之母』。這也是孫中山經常引用的名言。不過,我卻喜歡倒過來講,即是:成功是失敗的導因。因為成功會引起更大的貪婪、更大的野心,這都能導至一個集團的倒閉。」因此,事事謹慎。

郭鶴年儘管達到事業的頂峰,但他仍然對事業表現出高度的警覺及審慎,這種精神,絕對是其他年輕企業家所應仿傚的。

對未來的前景,他也充滿信心。不論是香港、中國及馬來西亞,他都寄予厚望。

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Market rally no excuse to be complacent

Thursday April 19, 2007 article of icapital

Since the lows set in June 2006, the KL Composite Index (KLCI) has risen rather impressively and the volume traded has not been that bad either.


It looks like the KLCI it will be beating Bangkok for once, although we have lost to the Singapore or Jakarta markets. But should we exploit the current market rally or should we be more circumspect?

Stock market rallies can be very ego boosting. A rally seems to tell the whole world that everything is fine with the economy and that the Government has adopted the right policies.

Generally speaking, this is true but the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and sometimes, it can be self-deluding.

Or worse, the rally creates complacency among the politicians and policymakers so much so that painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late. Then, the market crashes. The Asian crisis in 1997/98 is a classic example of how stock market rallies can camouflage structural problems until the day of reckoning.

The way to manage a country or company is, in a sense, very simple. When things are fine, do not become over-confident; instead get ready for the storm ahead. So when the storm comes, which it eventually will, one will not be so devastated that one cannot even recover or that the recovery takes a long time.

Vice-versa, when the storm does come, do not panic and rush into making all kinds of silly short-term decisions that would harm the country or company. It will eventually pass and the whole cycle repeats itself. Take advantage of the storms and use them to ensure that the eventual bright sunny days are not so blinding.

i Capital has frequently criticised the Malaysian government for the measures it took in response to the 1997/98 Asian crisis. The essence of its criticisms was that the Government’s very short-term measures greatly reduced or attempted to reduce the pain of the crisis, but in so doing, it ignored the adverse long-term implications of its actions and decisions.

In many respects, Malaysia has paid a heavy price for this and is still paying the price for ignoring long-term problems. By shielding Malaysians from the harsh and painful realities of the market economy, we now have a Malaysian workforce that is hopelessly complacent and in the process, losing out to the many fast rising regional competitors.

With the KLCI now rallying, i Capital is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. As it rallies, the politicians and policymakers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
Such self-praise and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks would fall into the same mental trap.

Then, the next crisis will hit us when we are totally unprepared.

A few rounds of such crises, and Malaysia would sink into an economic quicksand.

The simple but wholesome message of this week's analysis is directed at the politicians and policymakers and Malaysians from all walks of life.

Do not be seduced by the current market rally into thinking that we are on our way to developed status. Do not postpone the major structural reforms needed. Malaysia has already lost so much time.

The unemployment rate in Hong Kong shot up when the Asian crisis struck. In contrast, the unemployment situation in Malaysia, thanks to the drug addiction-like economic policies that had been implemented back then, was never as severe as Hong Kong's or the other Asian countries'.

Except for a few debt-ridden and badly managed Malaysian companies, Malaysians generally never suffered any pain during the Asian crisis. In 2002, we were pleasantly shocked at the totally changed attitude of the Hong Kong people.
The infamously rude Hong Kong taxi drivers or the world-renowned rude waiters were offering their services at Ritz-Carlton-class quality.

The Hong Kong economy had been severely affected and its people shell-shocked at the severity of the crisis. Imagine buying Hong Kong properties and losing their pants.

At that time, we thought that the change in attitude would be short-lived.

But lo and behold, four or five years later, the same polite and courteous service is maintained, although the economy has recovered and is performing better than Malaysia's.

The pain and shock of the Asian crisis have left a deep scar among the Hong Kong people. In contrast, the Malaysian taxi drivers, a representation of the typical Malaysian, are still offering the same lousy service at inflated prices.

Thanks to our brilliantly thought out economic policies, Malaysians do not have to deal with the harsh realities, yet they want to enjoy the fruit of hard work (especially if it is somebody else's).

Malaysians have no ugly scars to remind them that when things are fine, is the time to take painful but necessary reforms.

While others have had to “eat bitter fruit”, Malaysians had only been exposed to the sweet ones. Adversities like the Asian crisis have a major role in shaping positive attitudes and mindsets.

Malaysian politicians and policymakers must allow such character forming events to play their roles.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Malaysian's Singaporean dilemma

Huey GunApr 3, 07 4:07pm


I have been working in Singapore for eight years now. For eight years, I have been travelling to and from my home in Johor Bahru.

For the past eight years, I have been enjoying the benefits of earning the Singapore dollar and bringing it back to Johor Bahru to spend. This includes owning a bigger home and a luxury car.

A large number of Malaysian permanent residents in Singapore are doing this as well. Most of these PRs play an important role both in the development of Singapore and in the bringing back of money back to Johor Bahru to help the latter as well.

I must also say that a lot of these PRs are a ‘brain drain’ that Malaysia is losing.

I have been following the news from both Johor Bahru and Singapore. I want to share this to all of you in Malaysia.

It seems like Singapore is moving in a right direction in creating a vibrant, fun and safe place to live in. They are also luring our best brains to their country. However, in Malaysia, we are constantly being surrounded by such negative issues such as corruption, a deteoriating security situation and time-wasting racial politics.

I am currently in a dilemma as to whether I should just stay in Singapore permanently and buy a house there. I feel safe and appreciated there while I feel insecure and disappointed with the state of our country.

The charging of RM20 daily for my Singapore-registered vehicle to re-enter Johor Baru, I’m sure, will help make up my mind.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lateral Thinking

This puzzle is called Lateral Thinking... First for yourself, then your kids:
Just Check This Out !
Scroll down slowly and be honest toyourself.
Think like a wizard ...


1.
man

-------
board



Ans. = man over board

Okay, let's see if you've got the hangof it.

2.
stand
-------
i







Ans. = I understand

OK . .
Got the drift ?
Let's try a few now and see how you fare?

3. /r/e/a/d/i/n/g/







Ans. = reading between the lines

4.
r
road
a
d










Ans. = cross road

Not having a good day now, are you ?
Redeem yourself.


5.
cycle
cycle
cycle








Ans. = tricycle

Not easy to figure out huh!



6.
0
--------
M.D.
Ph.D.








Ans. = two degrees below zero

C'mon give it a little thought ! !

7.
knee
--------
light








Ans. = neon light
( knee-on-light )

U can prove u r smart by getting this one.



8.
ground
------------------------------------
feet feet feet feet feet feet









Ans. = six feet underground

Oh no, not again ! !


9. he's X himself









Ans. = he's by himself

Now u messing up big time.


10. ecnalg







Ans. = backward glance
Not even close ! !


11. death ..... life







Ans. = life after death

Okay your penultimate chance...

12. THINK







Ans. = think big ! !

And the last one is real fun do - - -

13. ababaaabbbbaaaabbbbababaabbaaabbbb...








Ans. = long time no 'C'(see)

Friday, February 16, 2007

personal finance tips

billycomeback
Feb 4 2007, 05:23 AM
Post
#182

Just want to share my experience in personal finance management as I believe I've made some mistakes that should be avoided and some good choices that might be useful.


1. Don't rush to buy a car. One of my first mistakes was to think owning a car costs only the monthly downpayment. It isn't. Petrol, toll, road tax, insurance, maintenance, oil change, accidents, tire change, stolen headlights and a hefty interest rate soon wised me up. I decided to downgrade to a smaller car, which is more affordable and still able to provide a roof over the family on the road. It costs me only 1/3 of what I used to own and whatever extra I had, I put it in the bank. Mistake:Bought a bigger that needed 2nd hand car with minimum downpayment and high interest rates over a 7 year period. Regretted it the most, especially when I decided enough was enough and sold it for a smaller car. Next time I buy a car, it would be an affordable new car with at least a 30% downpayment., and when the interest rates are more favourable. I will not fall into the 0 downpayment gimmicks. The interests they charged for your loans is just not worth it.

2. Don't simply buy insurance. When I started working, a lot of people approached me about insurance. Although I passed on all of them, I couldn't turn away a classmate of mine which was selling life insurance. Trusting him more because I know him, I took the policy after hearing what he said. I didn't ask so many question because I didn't want him to have the impression that I don't trust him. 1 year later, I never hear from him anymore and I received a letter from the insurance company that informed me my agent has been changed to someone else. My ex-classmate has resigned and I never seen him since. Scrutinising the policy after that, I realise it was not what I had expected and I feel cheated in a way. Luckily I only commited RM250 and not more as I felt I could've gotten a better deal like my other colleagues who pushed their agents for the best deals. Mistake:Buying insurance from so-so friends to give them face and trusting their every word because of 'friendship'. If I can afford another, I'll shop around for a better deal like I would if I was buying a car stereo, and not submit myself to anymore 'friend friend give face lah' sales gimmick.

3. Don't apply for credit card so soonWhen I started working at 17 after SPM, my then supervisor told me he had 7 credit cards. He was not boasting but showing me his mistakes to warn me of the danger of credit cards. He first had 1 card and applied the rest to cover each card as he failed to settle his debts over a 2 year period. Needless to say, he was heavily in debt by the time he got rid of all his cards and applying a loan to settle everything at a lower interest rate. Because of that lesson, I worked for 10 years without ever applying for a credit card. Although I'm qualified for a credit card since I was 19, I never applied for one, and refused the free ones as well. I've seen a few of my friends in debt with the card companies, and vowed never fall into that trap. That's why after 10 years of working and having a healthy savings account, did I dare accept a free card, trusting that I wouldn't abused it. So far just only 2 months since I got it, all are petrol purchases. I even tore off the pin they gave me so I wouldn't have a chance to withdraw money with my card.

4. Don't buy furniture with monthly payments.My parents has this mentality that buying electrical appliances and furniture with a minimum downpayment and monthly installment is a good way to save money. I learned my lesson when I let them buy a home stereo system from Courts Mammoth. Other than the interest which I had to pay, there was also late charges when I didn't pay on time, collectors charges when I needed the money for something else and skipped payment, and the worse of all, knowingly paying for something that is already spoiled after the warranty period and is not worth repairing. It is really frustrating to go to Courts to pay for something I can't even use anymore and futhermore obsolete. Mistake:Buying items for house with monthly payments when I can afford to pay full, and charged interest etc, for it. Worse was I had the stereo to pay, the refrigerator, and the furniture. I told myself never to buy household things with monthly payment schemes and to pay full after saving up for it when making a purchase.

5. Don't save till you starveI had the habit of taking out my savings to buy things I craved for but not needed like new fancy gadgets and expensive clothings. I did this for the 1st 2 years of work and finally realised that my savings was still less than RM1k. With that realisation I started saving aggressively and even to a point starving myself when I miscalculated my budget for 3 days. I figured I could lived off bread and even traded in my season pass to cash to buy bread and roti kosong until my next paycheck. It was not a smart thing to do and costs me more when I got sick due to gastric. I vowed never to go hungry again as long as I have the means to feed myself. My savings are now based on psychological benchmarks I set for myself. Every RM1K I saved was my new minimum, and withdrawals must not go below the thousand, eg. RM3075 means I can only remove max of RM75 and not below RM3000. Mistake: Starving or risking health is not a means of saving. With all your money saved, who is going to spend it if you are not healthy at the end of the day.That's all I can come up with now, it's late.

6. Don't try to keep up with technology, or rush into getting the bestTechnology is ever changing and everyday we get better gadgets. If we observe the pricing trend of technology (esp electronics), the price will usually slash itself by after a cool-down period. Technology gadgets are what I'll call "anti-inflation", the price goes down with time. Most often, the state of the art gadgets are priced with ridicolously expensive tags. If you wait a while, it'll be much cheaper than it is. So target what you want, wait until it falls within the affordable range that you can have. It may save you a lot!