Curated Insights 2018.02.04

Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s Swedish billionaire founder, dies at 91

Kamprad was known for driving an old Volvo, recycling tea bags and taking home little packets of salt and pepper from restaurant visits. He was known as “Uncle Scrooge” and “The Miser” in the Swiss village of Epalinges, near Lausanne, where he moved in the 1970s before returning to Sweden a few years ago. He also avoided wearing suits and ties and traveled coach when flying.

Ikea’s corporate culture mirrors Kamprad’s celebration of frugality. Executives of the company travel on low-cost airlines and lodge in budget hotels. Its employees follow a basic pamphlet written by Kamprad in 1976, “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” which states that “wasting resources is a mortal sin,” and stipulates Ikea’s “duty to expand.”

The name Ikea is made up of the founder’s initials and the first letters of the Elmtaryd farm and Agunnaryd village where he was raised. His flat-pack furniture was invented by Ikea employee Gillis Lundgren in 1956 when he tried to fit a table into the back of a car. Realizing the table was too bulky, Lundgren removed the legs. Storing and selling Billy book shelves or entire kitchens in pieces has let Ikea cut storage space and fill its trucks with more goods. The concept of having customers pick up most of their own furniture in adjacent warehouses and transport it home for self-assembly also helped drive down costs.

How Amazon’s ad business could threaten Google and Facebook

But Amazon has a huge set of data that Facebook and Google can’t access—namely, its own. Already, more than half of all online searches for products start on Amazon, and of those a majority end there, according to various surveys. That figure has grown every year that pollsters have tracked it.

The Amazon Advertising Platform lets advertisers manage ad buys across multiple advertising exchanges, and it has quietly become as familiar to marketers as its equivalent from Google-owned DoubleClick.

Amazon also needs to expand the number of places it can sell advertisements, which is one reason the company bought videogame-streaming behemoth Twitch and is investing so heavily in its own streaming-video offerings.

How Apple built a chip powerhouse to threaten Qualcomm and Intel

…by designing its own chips, Apple cuts component costs, gets an early jump on future features because it controls research and development and keeps secrets away from frenemies such as Samsung…Those ultimately failed or stumbled because chip-making is the sport of kings: It’s brutally expensive and requires massive scale. Apple has wisely focused on designing its silicon (for its system on a chips, Apple uses reference designs from Arm Holdings Plc). Manufacturing is left to others, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

An investment pro who’s seen it all still sees upside for stocks

Over 40% of Standard & Poor’s 500 revenues now comes from abroad.

No other country is shrinking its equity base to the extent we are. We’re now in our ninth year of share buybacks equal to 3% of the market value of all S&P 500 stocks, based on Laszlo Birinyi’s work.

For 20 years, the average price/earnings ratio has been 19.3. If you go back 50 years, it’s 15.6 times. In periods where inflation grew 3% or less—which is 22 of the past 50 years—the P/E of the market was 19.7.

AlphaZero and the curse of human knowledge

Using self-play to recursively improve an agent’s ability to play a game isn’t new. Why hasn’t this method yielded a champion chess or Go engine until 2017? Historically, systems that improve via self-play have been very unstable. Previous attempts often ended up in cycles, forgetting and relearning strategies over and over rather than improving to superhuman levels. Or sometimes the agent would get stuck, failing to improve after achieving moderate success.

AlphaZero’s main contribution was solving these problems. After lots of experiments, DeepMind developed a series of new tricks and discovered a value function and tree search that reliably learned through self-play alone. They then leveraged their engineering talent and infrastructure resources to demonstrate that the system could work on the massive scale required to master complicated games such as chess and Go (the version that played Stockfish employed 5,000 custom machine learning chips).


Even if you knew the cards…

One of the (many) reasons I stopped heeding the macro forecasts of others and quit trying to come up with my own is that even if you knew what the future data would be, you’d still not be able to predict how people would react to it. You could certainly try, but markets are set up to confound us, not confirm our hypotheses.

Curated Insights 2017.10.15

86-year-old billionaire iPhone chipmaker retires just as his industry heats up

“Since we established ourselves, fabless companies began to mushroom worldwide. Most of the innovations in the semiconductor industry in the last 30 years came from those fabless companies. That’s probably my biggest pride, to have caused a lot of innovations in the industry.”

Liu and Wei inherit a company that is about 30 times larger than local rival United Microelectronics Corp. and commands 59 percent of the $50 billion global foundry market.

Growing chipset demand from China spells another opportunity for TSMC: the country spent $227 billion importing integrated circuits in 2016, according to data from Chinese customs authorities, the fourth consecutive year that chip imports have exceeded $200 billion.


Nvidia, Intel, Marvell: Look how they’ve slimmed down! Says Stifel

“The end markets of semiconductors have changed dramatically over the past 10 years,” he observes, given how much automotive and industrial, two industries with longer product cycles, and therefore more predictable revenue, have taken from more volatile industries.

Another reason for rising valuations is simply scarcity: “In 2007 there were roughly 118 publicly traded semiconductor companies. Today there are roughly 55.”


Shopify S-1 analysis – Smiling all the way to $10B

How are they able to sustain more efficient growth as they scale? The first reason is Shopify has been able to grow their contract value by 14% annually. The average subscription payment by merchant has remained flat over the past four years. Instead of growing subscription revenue on a per customer basis, Shopify is capturing more share of GMV. The chart above shows the merchant services revenue generated per billion dollars of gross merchandise value by Shopify. You can see that figure has quite nearly doubled in four years. In other words, as Shopify merchants sell more, Shopify benefits Proportionately from the growth in GMV, but also at an increasing slope because they capture almost twice as much in fees as they have been historically.

Consequently, merchant services now account for greater than 50% of revenue up from just above 20% four years ago. The gross margin on the software business has remained 78% over the past four years, while merchant services gross margin has fallen from 50% to 30%. Overall gross margin has fallen from 80% to 54%. But that is an advantageous trade considering the massive revenue growth.

Citron exposes the dark side of Shopify the FTC will take notice

Out of the claimed 500,000 websites, Shopify has about 2,500 “Plus” clients and maybe another 20,000 “Advanced”. So where are the other 450,000 + websites?

The majority of Shopify’s customers are not SMB merchants; rather, they are people who are buying a system and Shopify goes as far as to supply them a theme and inventory.


Ikea puts Latin America, Southeast Asian markets in its sights

Ikea has more than 400 stores in 49 markets across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

According to Ikea’s plans, it will have opened its first store in South America within the next five years, which is the same timeframe it has set for its expansion into Vietnam and the Philippines. As South America is a new region, it’s likely to enter two or three markets there around the same time in order to secure supply and production, Loof said.

Ikea plans to add 22 new stores this year, up from 14 new stores in 2017. In the future, Ikea will probably open some 25 new stores annually, Loof said. Ikea’s website attracted 2.3 billion visitors last year, while its stores got 936 million visits.


Singapore home-sharing quietly grows despite the rules

Airbnb said its travelers to Singapore typically stay 4.1 nights compared with 3.6 for the average tourist, and three-quarters of listings are outside of traditional hotel districts, allowing tourism spending to accrue in areas that don’t usually host outside visitors.

In a February debate in Parliament, Louis Ng Kok Kwang, a lawmaker for the ruling People’s Action Party, urged the government to regulate rather than ban home-sharing services, noting that the approach so far is inconsistent with how Singapore treated car-sharing businesses, such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Grab.


How we’re solving the LIDAR problem

Strobe’s new chip-scale LIDAR technology will significantly enhance the capabilities of our self-driving cars. But perhaps more importantly, by collapsing the entire sensor down to a single chip, we’ll reduce the cost of each LIDAR on our self-driving cars by 99%.

Strobe’s LIDAR sensors provide both accurate distance and velocity information, which can be checked against similar information from a RADAR sensor for redundancy. RADARs typically also provide distance and velocity information and operate under more challenging weather conditions, but they lack the angular resolution needed to make certain critical maneuvers at speed. When used together, cameras, LIDARs, and RADARs can complement each other to create a robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite that operates in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.

 


India stock market could triple in a decade

” … The sectors poised to benefit the most are consumer-oriented and financials. Total online shoppers in India are set to skyrocket from 60 million to 475 million in 2027, while online retail as a percentage of total retail will grow even faster, from 2.2% today to 12.1% in a decade. Unsurprisingly, Amazon.com, China’s Alibaba Group Holding and South Africa’s Naspers have been aggressively investing billions of dollars in India. Morgan Stanley figures Softbank alone has invested some $46 billion in local e-commerce and on-line payments, ride-hailing, and real estate platforms.

As for the financials, Morgan Stanley sees total loans increasing 11 percentage points to 78% of GDP by 2027; total mutual fund assets under management jumping more than ten-fold over the same period; and collected life and general insurance premiums spiking, as well. Fin-tech companies should see exponential growth …”


Bitcoin’s academic pedigree

Nakamoto’s genius, then, wasn’t any of the individual components of bitcoin, but rather the intricate way in which they fit together to breathe life into the system. The timestamping and Byzantine agreement researchers didn’t hit upon the idea of incentivizing nodes to be honest, nor, until 2005, of using proof of work to do away with identities. Conversely, the authors of hashcash, b-money, and bit gold didn’t incorporate the idea of a consensus algorithm to prevent double spending. In bitcoin, a secure ledger is necessary to prevent double spending and thus ensure that the currency has value. A valuable currency is necessary to reward miners. In turn, strength of mining power is necessary to secure the ledger. Without it, an adversary could amass more than 50 percent of the global mining power and thereby be able to generate blocks faster than the rest of the network, double-spend transactions, and effectively rewrite history, overrunning the system. Thus, bitcoin is bootstrapped, with a circular dependence among these three components. Nakamoto’s challenge was not just the design, but also convincing the initial community of users and miners to take a leap together into the unknown—back when a pizza cost 10,000 bitcoins and the network’s mining power was less than a trillionth of what it is today.

The history described here offers rich (and complementary) lessons for practitioners and academics. Practitioners should be skeptical of claims of revolutionary technology. As shown here, most of the ideas in bitcoin that have generated excitement in the enterprise, such as distributed ledgers and Byzantine agreement, actually date back 20 years or more. Recognize that your problem may not require any breakthroughs—there may be long-forgotten solutions in research papers.

Academia seems to have the opposite problem, at least in this instance: a resistance to radical, extrinsic ideas. The bitcoin white paper, despite the pedigree of many of its ideas, was more novel than most academic research. Moreover, Nakamoto didn’t care for academic peer review and didn’t fully connect it to its history. As a result, academics essentially ignored bitcoin for several years. Many academic communities informally argued that Bitcoin couldn’t work, based on theoretical models or experiences with past systems, despite the fact that it was working in practice.

The lessons of Leonardo: How to be a creative genius

Be curious about everything. Leonardo’s most distinctive trait was his passionate, playful and occasionally obsessive curiosity. He made lists in his notebooks of hundreds of subjects, both marvelous and mundane, that he wanted to explore…Some of his curiosity involved phenomena so commonplace that we rarely pause to wonder about them. “Why is the fish in the water swifter than the bird in the air when it ought to be the contrary, since the water is heavier and thicker than the air?”

Observe attentively. His curiosity was aided by the sharpness of his eye, which focused on things that the rest of us barely notice. One night he saw lightning flash behind some buildings and for that instant they looked smaller, so he launched a series of experiments to verify that objects look smaller when surrounded by light.

The best reason to learn from Leonardo, however, is not to get a better job but to live a better life. Having immersed myself in his world for several years, I have resolved to be more observant of phenomena that I used to ignore.

Company Notes 2017.08.25 (Part 1)

Malakoff Q2 FY2017 Results

The results for the financial year ending 31 December 2017 will be affected by the lower capacity payment in the new revised Segari Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd’s Power Purchase Agreement commencing 1 July 2017.


Fiamma Q3 FY2017 Results

The new integrated logistics warehouse has improved the operation and cost efficiency of the Group and will also be able to generate a recurring income stream for the Group from the provision of storage space and logistic services to third party customers.


TH Plantations Q2 FY2017 Results

“The recovery in production and replenished stock levels throughout the industry have inevitably cause some downward pressure in CPO and PK prices, and we have seen average prices normalising down from their recent highs. However, we remain optimistic that the prices will still remain supported by increased demand for palm oil products, particularly in view of higher soybean oil prices in the United States.”


APM Automotive Q2 FY2017 Results

… lower demand from OEMs. ..lower revenue and higher operating costs from the newly completed plants overseas.

…profitability will be pressured by higher operating costs from the new overseas operations such as Thailand and Indonesia. These operations will focus on driving sales with an internal emphasis on efficient resource management, cost containment and increased technical training of workers to improve production efficiency.

…level of investment will not be curbed in the face of declining profitability… continue to expand its product range and to diversify geographically its reliance on one market.


Nestle Malaysia Q2 FY2017 Results

Compared to the second quarter of last year, the prices of major raw materials such as milk powders, coffee beans, and palm oil had increased by some margin.

Examples for the successful product launches in H1 2017 are MAGGI Hot Mealz, MILO “KAW”, KIT KAT Mini and MAT KOOL Panda Ice Cream.


Rubberex Q2 FY2017 Results

the provision of unrealized foreign exchange losses on investments held in China and higher costs of production, especially latex and resin, key components of our manufactured products.

The first phase of our nitrile disposable gloves project is currently operating at 80% capacity and is expected to be fully utilized by the second half of the year.

The Group is now embarking on the second phase of expansion with the proposed installation of two production lines that would increase the current installed capacity by another 500 million pieces to 1.5 billion pieces annually, however, commercial production is only expected to commence by the second half of 2018.


Evergreen Fibreboard Q2 FY2017 Results

due to higher log and glue cost…Production volume was reduced as a result of shortage supply of rubber wood and scheduled plants shut down for maintenance during the Ramadan festive period.


Star Media Group Q2 FY2017

On 12 May 2017, the Company announced that Laviani Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary company, entered into a conditional share purchase agreement with Lucrum 1 Investment for the proposed disposal of its entire equity interest in Cityneon for a disposal consideration of SGD115,612,731 (equivalent to RM360,179,902) to be satisfied entirely via cash.

With the sale of the two radio stations (Capital FM and Red FM) which were loss-making in the last financial year, Radio segment is expected to contribute positively to the Group.

The Group has recently embarked on its next digital transformation plan with the launch of dimsum.my, its very own video-on-demand service. It offers Asian content and much of it on an exclusive basis. Currently, we are also building its library content to secure a much higher subscribers base.

All TV broadcasting companies globally are facing headwinds and with digital disruption within the media industry, the Company does not expect a turnaround from Li TV. In view thereof, the Board has decided to cease the business operations of Li TV Group to mitigate further losses.


Hock Seng Lee Q2 FY2017 Results

With a record order book of RM3 billion in hand, the Group is now busy on work execution. Nevertheless, the Group will continue to bid for projects that are related to our core business in infrastructure works. Our procurement initiative shall be undertaken in line with our prudent project management strategies, taking due consideration of the capacity and capabilities of the Group. The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative, as well as the forces of industrialization and urbanization, provides further contract opportunities for HSL in the key SCORE growth node towns of Tanjung Manis, Mukah and Samalaju and the major cities of Sarawak. HSL foresees the property development segment, with a variety of products on offer, will make a greater impact on the business of HSL Group in 2017.

“While we are busy executing contracts across the state, we are also experiencing some pressure on margins as demand for materials, labour and sub-contractors has pushed up operating costs.”


Kerjaya Prospek Group Q2 FY2017 Results

The outstanding performance, especially in the construction segment, has mitigated the slowdown in the manufacturing segment which was due to completion of existing projects.

The Group’s outstanding order book stands at RM2.5 billion as at the current financial quarter. In addition, the construction division has secured about RM362 million worth of jobs as at the financial quarter.


Ta Ann Holdings Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group’s log harvesting policy is in compliance with our certification exercise. The reduction of log export quota from 30% to 20% effective 1 st July will channel more proportion of logs harvested to the mills for processing. We have strategically revised our plywood production to processing more products with higher plantation and certified woods components as we are stepping up harvesting of our plantation logs and utilization of imported PEFC certified eucalyptus veneer. To-date, plywood products prices have gone up by USD25/m3 and with higher demand, we anticipate the price uptrend to continue.


Boon Koon Group Q1 FY2018 Results

The prospect of rebuilt commercial vehicles business in Malaysia is expected to remain challenging for the year ahead, with continuing weak consumer sentiment and stringent hire purchase lending rule.

Instead of overdependence on its existing business, the Group via its subsidiary, BKG Development Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company has proposed to diversify into the property development segment with strong growth prospects with Platinum Eminent Sdn Bhd.


Salutica Q4 FY2017 Results

Bluetooth headsets contributed approximately 94.6% or RM48.9 million of total revenue for the current quarter. Non-Bluetooth products and in-house brand FOBO made up of the balance 5.4% of total revenue for the current quarter.

…due to the deferment of new product launch to the following quarter. This had affected the absorption efficiencies of fixed and variable overheads.

One of the models to be shipped to one of its major customers in the second half of CY2017 will be a new form factor of Bluetooth headsets.

The Group expects the sales of its in-house brand FOBO to grow by increasing the marketing and sales activities through expansion of sales distribution channels and promotional activities. Currently, the Group is marketing FOBO Tire, which is a tire pressure monitoring system for light vehicles, as an OEM after-market accessories to automotive brand owners. FOBO Ultra, which is for heavy vehicles continue to receive encouraging response from commercial vehicles and fleet companies. The Group expects to grow and expand in tandem with the market response.


Pecca Group Q4 FY2017 Results

Revenue from leather car seat covers contributed approximately 73.71% of total revenue followed by leather cut pieces supply which accounted for approximately 18.36% of total revenue during the quarter under review. OEM leather car seat remained the largest contributor segment accounted for approximately 39.94% of the total revenue for leather car seat covers whilst REM and PDI contributed approximately 21.99% and 11.78% respectively.


Classic Scenic Q2 FY2017 Results

…lower export sales revenue from wooden picture frame moulding as the market demand for the wooden picture frame in North America remained flat…The input cost of the Group’s major raw material and timber was fairly stable in the first six months ended 30 June 2017.


Techfast Holdings Q2 FY2017 Results

In order for TPSB to become a one stop center for the military and aerospace business, arrangements had also been made with the said customer as above mentioned to transfer their broaching machines from the USA to the company. As such, these machines will enable customers to source from TPSB as a one-stop center for finished products instead of semi-finished products currently, where further enhancement processes are required.

Cape has dominated the Malaysian market with more than 70% market share of products supplied to most of the semiconductor companies in the country. It has also captured over 40% of the market share in South East Asia. However, the biggest markets for Cape’s products are in China and Taiwan where the monthly market demand for rubber sheets in China and Taiwan is about 150 tons and 30 tons respectively, out of which Cape has about 6% market share.

Oriem, on the other hand, is working on some high end LED and epoxy projects with two reputable international original equipment manufacturers in Penang. Oriem is already an approved vendor which meets the standards and requirements of their supply chain. Our company’s new products are now in the final stages of evaluation by the OEM companies and we expect a business deal to be clinched soon.


Rhone Ma Holdings Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group’s future plans and strategies will focus on the expansion of our manufacturing activities by constructing and operating a new GMP-compliant plant in Nilai, which will increase our production capacity by approximately 4 times of the existing maximum production capacity.

We have commenced work on our new warehouse situated in Kampar on 21 July 2017. The new warehouse, which will be used as our main distribution center to cater to our increasing storage needs for both animal health products and food ingredients, estimated to be completed by 3Q 2018.


Focus Lumber Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group’s production unit cost had surged every month and decreased our profit margin as a result of poor production in the current quarter.

We expect the profit margin of our products to be impacted if the supply of logs issue persists. Currently, management is actively looking for alternative supply of logs, which includes purchasing veneer sheets from local timber companies.


Dagangan NeXchange Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group’s Information Technology business continues to firm up its e-services by broadening its product range in business-to-business segment to complement the Group’s position in delivering business-togovernment services.

The award to supply Portable Container Systems (“PCS”) for petroleum products by Petro Teguh (M) Sdn Bhd, is in line with our plan to pursue opportunistic contracting work in Oil & Gas downstream sector leveraging on OGPC’s expertise in delivering innovative engineered systems in short-cycle projects. This PCS project augurs well with our strategy to expand on the Group’s Energy division and further strengthen this business segment and provide growth moving forward.


E.A. Technique Q2 FY2017 Results

The higher cost of EPCIC was mainly due to additional request for work from the client, of which we will pursue for its recovery in future quarters. The increase in administrative expenses was due to discount on receivables and amortization of goodwill for the acquisition of Libra Perfex Precision Sdn Bhd.

The Group remains optimistic on its operating performance in view of the deployment of FSU Nautica Muar, the chemical tanker and oil tanker in Q3 2017. The overall performance of the Group will depend on the closing of the EPCIC project.


BP Plastics Q2 FY2017 Results

…higher resin costs which the Group was unable to completely pass through to its customers in order to maintain price competitiveness.


UMW Oil & Gas Q2 FY2017 Results

In the second quarter of 2017, five out of the Group’s seven jack-up rigs were income-generating with four of them contributed full-quarter revenue thereby achieving an overall asset utilisation rate of 68%. However, the positive effect from higher asset utilisation was offset by the lower time charter rates as well as zero contribution from Naga 1, a semi-submersible rig, which disposal was completed on 9th May 2017.

While asset utilisation is improving for the second half of 2017, the charter rates continue to remain soft, in line with prevailing market rates.


Ann Joo Resources Q2 FY2017

The Group’s earnings were affected by 1) lower sales tonnage on softer domestic demand which was affected by various factors affecting the construction industry; 2) higher finance cost due to recognition of RCPS unwinding of discount; and 3) recognition of LTIP – share based payments expenses of RM1.06 million.

Global steel supply is expected to be affected by: i. Potential output cuts by Chinese steel mills over winter; and ii. Potential production constraints faced by electric arc furnace operators globally given shortages in graphite electrodes worldwide. This expected demand-supply imbalance should enable the Group to be in an advantageous position as a hybrid Blast Furnace-Electric Arc Furnace (“BF-EAF”) operator with high degree of operational flexibility.


MWE Holdings Q1 FY2018 Results

The construction of both factories in Vietnam (Textile division) and Penang (Telecommunication division) has been completed. New production lines will be gradually increased in our Vietnam factory during this financial year. As for the Penang factory, the production is fully operated after the relocation from the previously rented factory. With the additional new facilities, the management expects the expansion and development of new products will further enhance the future earnings of both divisions.


Plenitude Q4 FY2017 Results

70% of Group’s revenue was from property development and 30% from hotel operations.


IHH Healthcare Q2 FY2017 Results

Parkway Pantai expects revenue to increase with aging demographics, more complex cases undertaken in its home markets and the ramp up of its new hospitals. As Parkway Pantai embarks on its next growth phase, it would focus on markets, such as China and India, where there is robust demand for quality healthcare services.

While the Group expects the pre-operating costs and start-up costs of new operations to partially erode its profitability during the initial stages, the Group seeks to mitigate the effects by ramping up on patient volumes in tandem with phasing in opening of wards at these new facilities in order to achieve optimal operating leverage. The Group expects higher costs of operations arising from wage inflation as a result of increased competition for trained healthcare personnel in its home markets.


Spritzer Q2 FY2017 Results

We will continue with our marketing and sales efforts so as to improve our sales of bottled water in Guangzhou, China and in Malaysia. We will also continue with our market development and brand awareness activities in China. We remain confident that the sales of our bottled water products will be sustainable in the domestic market. We are also taking firm steps to improve our business operations in China.

La Nina to hurt air-con sales this year — Daikin

As the blistering heat of El Nino gives way to increased rainfalls under its wet cousin La Nina across Southeast Asia this year, air conditioner (air con) sales are expected to cool.

“I don’t think we will see similar [sales] numbers this year, as the market is shrinking. In the last two years, Malaysia and a major part of Southeast Asia were experiencing very hot El Nino weather and [air con] brands actually could not meet demand and ran out of stock in the months of April to June.”


Malaysia is IKEA’s near RM1 billion Asean distribution and supply chain hub

IKEA will invest RM908 million for the new centre, which will adopt the structure and technology of IKEA’s biggest regional distribution centre in Germany. IKEA will manage an inventory of 9,500 stock keeping units worth RM6.6 billion annually.

“With the establishment of the regional distribution and supply chain centre, Malaysia will strengthen its role in supporting IKEA’s growth in the Asean region. The centre will serve 12 retail stores in Asean, which will increase to 20 stores by 2026.”

Urgent need to regulate healthcare fees

…the central bank will come out with a framework as soon as possible to reduce the medical insurance rate, which is projected to rise to 12.7% this year.

…rising medical insurance in Malaysia and other countries in the region is partly due to unregulated rules.

“While doctors’ fees are regulated, other components of private hospital charges are not. We need a framework on private hospital charges so that prices remain fair and appropriate. Consumers are advised to request for more detailed billing of charges, breakdown of cost of treatment and medicines provided to them.”

Other components of hospital charges not regulated include fees for hospital stay, laboratory investigations, nursing care, use of equipment and operation room and drugs.