Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Morning Malaysia

Good morning Malaysia from South Korea. Have not got a chance of going through details of stock markets. So let me skip stock market commentary for a few days and talk about main street.

Observations from walking down the streets in Seoul. First, you can see Hyundai cars everywhere, most of them are big – 2000 cc and above. You can hardly find Kancil size cars on the road. When I was here a few years ago, there were not many foreign cars. Today, BMW 7-series are quite common. In the past, if anyone caught driving a Japanese car will be considered a traitor but not today, I saw quite a few Lexus on the road. Even more shocking, you can see Nissan showroom. Surprisingly, I saw a Jaguar at the hotel. Quite a bit of change of nationalism definition with greater wealth.

Secondly, you can see a lot of people walking on the streets rushing in and out from the sub-way. Unlike Malaysia, it is always a breeze to use public transportation--comprehensive network, punctual, clean and cheap.

You can see a clear distinguish two classes – those can afford to drive and those cannot afford. US $ 2/liter?, no problem to rich.

As they got hit by high energy import bills, this world's 7 largest oil user have turned to solar and wind as alternative energy. By 2011, they aim 5% of energy supply will come from renewable sources. The initiative started since 2003. They've recently completed a solar and wind farm that can cater for 8,000 households. You can see how far sighted they are. Unlike Malaysia, they stop talking and start doing.

Another big contrast I see how S. Korean evolves. In the past, communications are always a pain. A few years a ago, when I approached strangers for directions, most of them smiled, shook their heads and ran away. Today, their confidence improved tremendously, most of them speak English. Perhaps, what is shocking quite a number of people I met during business meetings speak Mandarin. They can curl their tongues and speak like Shanghainese Chinese. When asked why, they replied – this is a must with the rise of China economic power, necessities to do business with China.

Just something to think about Asian consumerism, alternative energy and the rise of China economic power.

One complain from my business associate about China though.

To be continued...........................................

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