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An Emerging-Market Evolution – Seeking Alpha

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

The way investors think about emerging markets has been evolving-along with the markets themselves. One thing we at Templeton Emerging Markets Group emphasize is that one can’t consider emerging markets as one asset class; the opportunities are very differentiated between regions, countries and markets, with different fundamentals shaping them. Here, I’ve invited Stephen Dover, managing director and chief investment officer of Templeton Emerging Markets Group and Franklin Local Asset Management, to share his view of how emerging markets have changed over time, how he thinks investors should think about them, and where he sees potential opportunities ahead.

By Stephen H. Dover, CFA, Managing Director

I think emerging markets are appropriately named-they are indeed emerging and have changed over time. With these changes, I believe the way people both think about and invest in the asset class also should evolve.

One example of the evolution we have seen is in regard to market capitalization (market cap). In 1988, when the MSCI Emerging Markets Index was first launched, just two of the 10 countries in the index-Malaysia and Brazil-represented more than half of the index’s market cap.1 At that time, the entire market cap of the index was about $35 billion (all values in USD unless otherwise noted), representing less than 1% of the world’s equity-market capitalization.2

If we fast-forward to 2016, there were 23 countries in the index, and the market cap had grown to $4 trillion, representing about 10% of world market capitalization.3 The mix of countries in the index has also evolved over time. In terms of country weights, today, India represents 8% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and China-which wasn’t represented at all in 1998-is nearly 27% of the index today. Meanwhile, Brazil’s representation is much less today, at only 8%.4

What constitutes an emerging market has also changed significantly over time, but the waters in emerging markets have not always been very clear.

South Korea has been the subject of some debate in this regard. MSCI includes South Korea in the emerging-markets category, while another index provider, the FTSE Russell, considers it a developed market. This issue is quite important, as which countries are in which category and at what percentage in the indexes help determine how many investors position their portfolios. We have seen countries shift in and out of emerging-market status over time. For example, in 2013, MSCI reclassified Greece from developed to emerging-market status, and in 2016, MSCI announced Pakistan will be reclassified this year as an emerging market from frontier status.5

It really boils down to how one defines “emerging market,” and there is some disagreement about exactly what the criteria should be. MSCI and FTSE have their own criteria for inclusion in a particular index, including explicit requirements for market size and liquidity, a country’s openness to foreign ownership, foreign exchange and other aspects.

If you were to follow the World Bank’s standards as to which countries are classified as “high-income” to determine developed-market status, you’d wind up with a very different set of constituents than the index providers-for example, Qatar’s per-capita income ranks above that of Australia, Denmark and the United States.6

That said, we at Templeton Emerging Markets Group are active managers and not confined to a particular benchmark classification or index weighting when we make our investment decisions. We employ a bottom-up approach and focus on the fundamentals we see in individual companies. We may even invest in a company that is located in a country considered to be developed-if the bulk of its profits come from emerging markets.

Emerging Markets-Taking a Bigger Piece of the World’s Pie

While emerging markets currently represent at least 10% of the world’s stock-market capitalization (based on MSCI indexes), in our various discussions with investors, we have found most have a smaller percentage of their portfolios invested in emerging markets. And worth noting, the 10% figure represents the traditional MSCI indexes-other measures of emerging-market capitalization show emerging markets more broadly represent an even higher percentage.

We also have found that even though the world has become much more globalized, many investors still exhibit a “home-country bias,” investing solely within their own borders even if markets elsewhere look more promising. We see room for growth in the emerging-markets realm-and a great potential opportunity for diversification that many investors aren’t even considering. We also see many potential opportunities within frontier-market countries, many of which aren’t even included in global indexes. These markets represent a smaller subset of emerging markets that are even less developed, and include most countries on the African continent.

Looking at other measures, we can see just how important emerging markets are to the global economy. Today, emerging markets represent nearly 50% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) measured in nominal terms (nearly 60% when using purchasing-power parity) and account for nearly 80% of global GDP growth.7

Changing Economies

Emerging markets have also undergone structural changes. Over the past three decades, emerging markets largely achieved their phenomenal growth through exports-and many people have associated these markets with commodities. While many emerging-market countries still rely on exports, these economies are radically changing. As recently as 2008, commodities and materials stocks constituted 50% of the components of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Today, that category represents about 15% of the stocks in the index. To us, what’s really exciting about this shift is that it opens up many more investment opportunities that are focused on consumption and services.

Many investors may not realize that some very sophisticated information technology companies are based in emerging markets. In 2008, information technology (IT) companies represented about 7% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and today, the sector represents 24% of the index-in fact, the top four constituents by weight are IT companies. Consumer/consumption-oriented stocks represented 7% of the index in 2008; today their weighting is 17%. So it is really not accurate to say emerging markets are pure commodity plays anymore, even though many people still consider them to be driven by the whims of commodity prices.

The weakness we have seen in many emerging-market currencies is something we think also strengthens our investment case. The U.S. dollar is at a 15-year high and some predict it could strengthen even more as the Federal Reserve is expected to continue to raise interest rates as inflation picks up. In our view, emerging-market currencies have been quite weak-in some cases, unjustifiably so. We see this as supportive. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia and Malaysia are all examples of countries with currencies trading at what could be considered distressed levels-priced as if those economies are in great crisis. The fundamentals tell a different story. We believe the fundamentals in these countries look much better than their currency prices are reflecting.

Additionally, we believe inflation appears poised to drop in many emerging-market countries, including Brazil, Russia, Colombia and Nigeria, and this allows their central banks to pursue more accommodative monetary policy, which could stimulate local equity markets.

More Reasons Why We’re Optimistic

Despite some uncertainties, we see opportunity in emerging markets in 2017 and are optimistic many investors will see value in making greater allocations to them. GDP growth is expected to outpace that of developed markets, with the International Monetary Fund projecting growth of 4.5% in emerging and developing economies versus 1.9% in developed markets this year.8 We see evidence that earnings growth in emerging markets could likely be higher than in developed markets, too. Emerging markets have been lagging in regard to earnings growth, but 2016 marked the first time in more than five years they outperformed developed markets. We think there’s still quite a bit of room for emerging markets to further catch-up.

And finally, the United States is near full employment and President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed some policies that appear stimulative for economic growth, including potential tax cuts and fiscal spending. History has shown us that in general, a strong U.S. economy is positive for emerging markets. Even if we do see some reduction in trade on a marginal level, we think an expansion in the global economy is likely to help emerging markets. And, as noted, emerging markets that are more domestically driven should be more insulated against global shocks in other markets.

Emerging markets are in fact, emerging, and we see many opportunities ahead in 2017.

If you’d like to hear more of the misconceptions about emerging markets, and opportunities our team sees, I encourage you to check out our team’s new emerging-markets podcast.

CFA and Chartered Financial Analyst are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

Stephen Dover’s and Mark Mobius’s comments, opinions and analyses are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment or strategy.

Important Legal Information

All investments involve risks, including the possible loss of principal. Investments in foreign securities involve special risks including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in emerging markets, of which frontier markets are a subset, involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to those associated with these markets’ smaller size, lesser liquidity and lack of established legal, political, business and social frameworks to support securities markets. Because these frameworks are typically even less developed in frontier markets, as well as various factors including the increased potential for extreme price volatility, illiquidity, trade barriers and exchange controls, the risks associated with emerging markets are magnified in frontier markets. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions.

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Vietnamese Bitcoin P2P Platform Remitano Targets Global Expansion – CryptoCoinsNews

Posted: at 10:53 am

Remitano, a Vietnam-based P2P platform for trading bitcoin, has expanded its services across the English-speaking world.

The company is targeting bitcoin exchangers, investors and users of remittance services, beginning with Asian countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and China.

Leading sources of traffic on Remitano besides Vietnam are Nigeria and Malaysia.

Our new platform will help bring bitcoin to everyone, by means of preventing fraud and scamming among the bitcoin community, said CEO and co-founder Dung Huynh. Bitcoin fraud is a problem that is deterring people from partaking in this exciting market, hampering its overall potential. At Remitano, we want to fix that.

Fake exchanges, fraudulent bitcoin wallets which allow malware into a computer, phishing and Ponzi schemes are all things that would-be bitcoin traders need to look out for on a daily basis, according to Remitano.

Remitano features a simple user interface and responsive customer support. Customers in need of support can jump on a live chat and get questions answered quickly.

When a user opens a trade, Remitano holds the amount of bitcoins they wish to buy in escrow. The buyer can send payment to the seller without having to worry about not receiving bitcoin.

The bitcoin remains locked until the seller confirms the payment.

Also read: Bitcoin survey: 1 in 4 bitcoin users defrauded by exchanges

The Remitano support team will resolve disputes based on evidence provided by both sides.

The 0.5% fee charged by the platform is lower than the other major platforms in the market.

Remitano is owned by Babylon Solutions Limited, which is incorporated in Seychelles.

The team is comprised mostly by banking professionals with experience in financial products, electronic currencies and payment services.

The app is available on the App Store and Google Pay.

Image from Shutterstock.

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Police need next of kin’s DNA before releasing Kim Jong-nam’s body – New York Post

Posted: at 10:50 am

The mysterious murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un added another bizarre twist when Malaysian police said the body will not be released until they get DNA samples from his next of kin.

Kim Jong-nam, 46, was slain Monday while he was passing through the Kuala Lumpur airport. It is believed that he was doused with a fast-acting poison by a woman who claims she was duped into the crime.

A fourth suspect, this one from North Korea, was arrested by Malaysian police late Friday. The man, identified as Ri Jong Chol, 46, was nabbed in Selangor near Kuala Lumpur. The police statement gave no other details about why he was considered a suspect.

An Indonesian woman, Siti Aishah, her Malaysian boyfriend, and Doan Thi Huong, 29, who was traveling on a Vietnamese passport and wearing an LOL t-shirt during the encounter with Kim, were arrested earlier in the week. Indonesias police chief said Aishah was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank and did not know who Kim Jong-nam was.

Police are hunting four men believed to have been accomplices. They released airport security camera photos of the four, believed to be North Korean agents who watched the murder go down from an airport restaurant about 50 yards away.

South Korea and the US both placed the blame for the murder on North Korea. It is believed the mercurial Kim Jong-un has executed or purged a slew of high-level officials, including several relatives, since taking power in 2011.

North Korea failed to stop Malaysian authorities from doing an autopsy. Malaysian authorities said a first autopsy was inconclusive and a second was slated for late Friday.

We will categorically reject the result of the post-mortem, said North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol, who claimed Malaysia may be trying to conceal something and is colluding with hostile forces.

Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat told Reuters the body would not be released until next-of-kin DNA had been obtained to confirm the identity of the victim.

Kim Jong-nam is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau, where he was headed when he died.

The dictators half-brother had spoken out publicly against his familys dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea. He reportedly fell out of favor in Pyongyang in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Alternative theories to his murder are floating around, including that he was a known gambler and owed money to mobsters. Macau is home to multiple casinos. With Post Wire service

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Nato chief expresses ‘serious concern for the alliance’ if Russian missile reports prove true – The Independent

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Aerial view of the wreckage of a passenger and freight train after a crash near Bettembourg, Luxembourg

Reuters

A general view of rescue workers at the scene of a train collision in Dudelange, Luxembourg

EPA

A man walks next the wreckage of a passenger and freight train after a crash near Bettembourg, Luxembourg

Reuters

People wait for news of the rescue efforts at Zubao Coal Mine after a blast in Lianyuan, Hunan province, China. A midnight explosion at the mine killed nine miners and three still missing

EPA

Former British war correspondent David Fox speaks to his lawyer as he waits in a holding cell to attend his ongoing trial at a court in Denpasar on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. Fox, who was charged along with an Australian businessman with using, possessing and transporting hashish last October, could be jailed for several years if found guilty

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Former British war correspondent David Fox (R) walks to a holding cell after arriving from Kerobokan prison with other prisoners before attending his ongoing trial at a court in Denpasar on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. Fox, who was charged along with an Australian businessman with using, possessing and transporting hashish last October, could be jailed for several years if found guilty

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US Army personnel offload military equipment at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta in Romania. Soldiers and equipment from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base as part of the ongoing Atlantic Resolve mission. The combined arms unit of the “Fighting Eagles” brings a full complement of 500 US troops, a US Army infantry battalion’s M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers to Romania

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Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reported

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A Greenpeace activist holds a banner which reads “EDF is bankrupt” in front of the France’s state-owned electricity company EDF headquarters during the company’s 2016 annual results presentation in Paris, France

Reuters

A Greenpeace activist holds a placard reading in French “Bankruptcy, Jean-Bernard, out of the nuclear” during the presentation of EDF group’s 2016 results in Pari

AP

y personnel offload military equipment at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta in Romania

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A building is seen submerged in flowing water at Riverbend Park as the Oroville Dam releases water down the spillway as an emergency measure in Oroville, California

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Crews work on a damaged section of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California

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The remains of a car burnt by protesters on Monday night, in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris, France. French police say over 20 protesters were detained during an eruption of violence against police in the Paris suburbs in which a police car was torched. The violence in the night of Monday to Tuesday is a show of outrage in support of a young black man who authorities allege was sodomised by a police officer’s baton

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Pakistani Security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast that targeted a Frontier Corps vehicle near the Afghan border in Chaman, Pakistan. At least two Frontier Corps personnel were wounded when a bomb, planted on a road side, exploded as convoy of Pakistani security forces was passing nearby in Chaman

EPA

An Israeli border policeman walks near workers lifting a housing unit with a crane during the demolition of the illegal Jewish settlement of Amona at the West Bank. Israeli police completed the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the West Bank settlement of Amona in compliance with an Israeli court order that ruled the settlement illegal

EPA

Israeli settler Tamar Nizri cries after her housing unite (L) was destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer during the demolition of the illegal Jewish settlement of Amona at the West Bank

EPA

Pakistani Security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast that targeted a Frontier Corps vehicle near the Afghan border in Chaman, Pakistan

EPA

Civil defense members work at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel-held city of Idlib, Syria

Reuters

Military commanders salute during a meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran

Reuters

People hold a sign reading “Justice for Theo” during a protest in Aulnay-sous-Bois, northern Paris, a day after a French police officer was charged with the rape of a youth who was severely injured after allegedly being sodomised with a baton

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A Serbian woman looks on as bulldozers take down a concrete wall near the main bridge in the town of Mitrovica, after the Kosovo government reached an agreement with country’s ethnic Serb minority to resolve the issue of a contested wall symbolically dividing the city of Mitrovica

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Bulldozers demolish a wall following weeks of tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo

Reuters

Libyan coast guard police help an Illegal immigrant and a child who were rescued at sea off the coast of Libya, get off a boat in the capital Tripoli

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Afghan youth shovel snow from the rooves of houses in Kabul, Afghanistan

Reuters

Migrants warm themselves by a fire from the morning cold in an abandoned warehouse where they took refuge in Belgrade, Serbia. Hundreds of migrants have been sleeping rough in freezing conditions in central Belgrade looking for ways to cross the heavily guarded EU borders

AP

Soldiers destroy ten hectares of a marijuana plantation after the Mexican army found it, while patrolling the area in Mocorito, in Sinaloa State, Mexico

Reuters

Ukrainian servicemen patrol at the humanitarian aid center in Avdiivka, Ukraine

AP

A Ukrainian serviceman patrols at the humanitarian aid center in Avdiivka, Ukraine

AP

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Nato chief expresses ‘serious concern for the alliance’ if Russian missile reports prove true – The Independent

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Bells University, New Horizons sign MoU On ICT empowerment for students – NIGERIAN TRIBUNE (press release) (blog)

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

Bells University of Technology and New Horizons, the worlds largest international certification-oriented ICT and e-business training organisation, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost the employability and entrepreneurial chances of its graduates by formalising a Strategic Training Partnership.

At the MoU signing event at the university campus last week, the universitys Vice Chancellor, Professor Jeremiah Ojediran, expressed his excitement at the great opportunities which the programme will primarily accord the students irrespective of their academic disciplines and the relevant university staff members who will also enjoy periodic staff training.

Speaking, the Vice Chancellor reiterated that the seamless mandatory schedule will guarantee that every student of the university will undergo specialised international certification- based Professional IT and E Business Skills training and acquire a minimum of four International Professional Licences in lucrative technologies.

He reasoned that given the global economic challenges and the shrinking employment opportunities worldwide and in Nigeria especially, Bells University graduates would be able to use the extra internationally validated professional skills-set as the Icing Crown on their BSc and BA Academic Degree Cakes to become the toast of the employers for lucrative jobs as well as get opportunity to become self-employed as specialists and consultants in these globally hot skills and certification areas.

According to the VC, time is now ripe for Bells University to lead others to produce the next generation of the likes of Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mack Zuckerberg of Facebook and so on that will enable Nigerian graduates leverage the huge potentials in ICT to reposition Nigerian economy from an oil dependent nation to an ICT giant nations like, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and India that transformed their poor economies through ICT.

In the same vein, Ojediran appreciated the other two great benefits which the strategic partnership will bestow on the staff members in terms of the free ICT and E Business trainings that will boost their official and personal productivity and the second benefit of an annual financial awards/ prizes that will be won by three best published academic lecturers as the Companys CSR for promotion of healthy academic rivalry and excellence.

Speaking, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of New Horizons, Nigerian branch, Mr Tim Akano, commended the visionary management of the university for the partnership initiative. He restated the necessity for such strategic synergies between the academics and the Industry in this information Age, such that will aid the universities to regain and fulfil their traditional role of serving as the manufacturing/incubating house for production of future fully-baked graduates empowered with both academic excellence and ICT-driven professional competences for both the employment and self- employment industry.

Akano equally recapped that the programme will further serve to augment the Webometric ranking of the university, since the training infrastructure to be supplied by New Horizons including, branded 200 Computers, Smart interactive

Boards, networking, original high-end software, and top International Professional skills and Certifications like: Androids, Robotics, CISA, Oracle, Java Programming, Multimedia, Information Security, etcetera constitute variables that will boost the IT-driven stance of Bells University as part of the global ranking metrics.

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Michael Loong Proposes New, Sustainable Ideology to Achieve Utopia in China – Satellite PR News (press release)

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:38 am

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Michael Loong observed that the current government policy of economic and social development is not sustainable, prolonging and exacerbating the current hardships and miseries of its people. In his debut book, he proposes an ideology and the steps to make China a place where its citizens can proudly exclaim, My Eco-World, Made in China (published by Partridge Singapore).

Loong believes that the only way to solve the current numerous problems in China is to build an eco-world. This will then provide unlimited clean water, safe food, cheap housing, free education, unpolluted environment, affordable first class healthcare service, and citizen-centered political system for the countrys residents. The program also seeks to rid the countryside of poverty eternally. China would become the worlds largest exporter of food grains and seafood.

What the author proposes for Chinese populace to achieve their eco-world is a new ideology that incorporates ideas of communism, capitalism and socialism. This new political system encourages intimate regular meetings of government officials with the local citizens; where government positions are filled by candidates with grass-roots experience, passion and commitment elected by locals.

This proposition also stipulates that the local government throughout the country must meet the ISO9001 standard and reviewed by competent independent professionals. This central government also encourages the use of technology and robots in industries and daily life.

The new eco-world is a game-changer for China, Loong says. It offers Chinese citizens equal opportunity to chase the Chinese dream, starting with free education using the latest technology.

My Eco-World, Made in China By Michael Loong Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 236 pages | ISBN 9781482864229 Softcover | 6 x 9in | 236 pages | ISBN 9781482864212 E-Book | 236 pages | ISBN 9781482864236 Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author Michael Loong was born in Malaysia in 1939 and was educated in Australia with degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering. He has worked in the aviation industry for 33 years. He also has lectured in college. He is married, with two children.

Partridge Singapore, an imprint in partnership with Penguin Random House Singapore, aims to help writers in Singapore, Malaysia, and the rest of Southeast Asia become published authors. Partridge Singapore gives authors in the region direct access to a comprehensive range of expert publishing services that meet industry standards but are more accessible to the market. For more information or to publish a book, visit partridgepublishing.com/singapore or call 800 101 2657 (Singapore) or 1 800 81 7340 (Malaysia). For the latest, follow @PartridgeSG on Twitter.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/MichaelLoong/MyEcoWorldMadeinChina/prweb14057003.htm

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Michael Loong Proposes New, Sustainable Ideology to Achieve Utopia in China – Satellite PR News (press release)

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Artists Faced Sharp Rise in Attacks and Censorship in 2016, Report Says – artnet News

Posted: at 5:43 am

A new report on artistic freedom by the Danish free speech advocacy group Freemuse has recorded a sharp rise in attacks and censorship.

In its annual report, titled Art Under Threat, Freemuse documented 1,028 violations of artistic freedom throughout 78 countries in 2016. According to the group, the increase in registered cases between 2015 and 2016 amounts to a spike of 119 percent, rising from 469 violations.

The non-profit dividesits findings into categories, includingserious violations, for killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments, and threats; and acts of censorship. In 2016 the organization counted 840 incidents of censorship and 188 serious violations.

Categorized amongst the serious violations are three killings, two abductions, 16 attacks, 84 imprisonments and detentions, 43 prosecutions, and 40 persecutions and threats.

Violations of artistic freedom in 2016. Graphic: courtesy of Freemuse.

Musicians were targeted most frequently, accounting for 86 cases of serious violations, followed by theatre with 32 serious violations, and visual arts with 27 serious violations. Meanwhile film was the most censored art form, amounting to 79 percent of censorship cases.

Iran, responsible for 30 cases, was once again the worst offender for serious violations of artistic freedom, making it the worst violator of artistic expression since Freemuse began recording data in 2012. Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China, Malaysia, Syria, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan also recorded dismal artistic freedom records, collectively making up 67 percent of globally recorded serious violations.

Top 10 serious violators of artistic freedom. Graphic: courtesy of Freemuse.

The worst practitioner of censorship in 2016 was Ukraine, responsible for a staggering 577 registered acts of censorship. Freemuse attributes this to a blacklist of 544 Russian films banned in the wake of the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

Other offenders making up the top 10 for recorded cases of censorship were Kuwait,China, Egypt, India, Russia, Turkey, USA, Pakistan, and Iran. Together these countries accounted for 88 percent of global censorship cases.

Top 10 practitioners of censorship. Graphic: courtesy of Freemuse.

Summarizing its findings, Freemuse explained that the drastic increase may be a consequence of rising global populism and nationalistic political views, resulting in a greater number of reported cases of artists being censored or persecuted. The organization also said that improvements in its own data collection and documentation methodologies, as well as its expanding network, resulted in a greater number of incidents being accounted for.

However the advocacy group stressed that the actual frequency and number of artistic freedom violations is almost certainly far higher. Factors including lack of public awareness, ability, political will, intimidation, cultural or social pressure, and the threat of punishment often prevent people from reporting serious violations and censorship.

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The Futurist: The right mindset for digital marketing – Marketing Interactive

Posted: at 5:40 am

Advertising and marketing have been consistently evolving, innovating and improving. New ideas, strategies, tools and choices of media are consistently being bloomed at a rapid pace especially when it comes to digital. Gone are the days where mere impressions or social media likes determine the very success of a digital campaign. In other words, popularity and awareness does not translate to revenue actual conversion does.

Very often, digital has been misperceived as an entirely new platform that generates magical instant results and is much superior compared with traditional media (thats up for debate). Many marketers neglected marketing fundamentals entirely by adopting irrelevant digital trends and clichs, just because competitors and other brands seemed successful doing it. At the end of the day, digital is just another media, but a rather modern and advanced one which consists of tools that traditional media would like to have but it is still media.

By neglecting marketing fundamentals, along with the core value of what their respective brand represents, mimicking winning trends just to drive unprofi table responses will only dilute the overall brand experience in the long run and obviously, it will only contribute to low sales conversion rates. Instead, starting off with the right mindset is a great start to realise actual goals and identify specifi c responsibility for each digital media to refl ect the overall integrated marketing mix.

Regardless of the traditional push strategy or search marketings direct response pull strategy, each media must be pathed to be consistent and seamless across the entire consumer journey. The biggest mistake would be implementing standalone digital campaigns that are not consistent with offl ine campaigns, just to target audiences within the digital market share. This is a misconception that the digital target audiences much differs with the offline audiences. There are over 21 million internet users in Malaysia, 81% of which access the internet via smartphones daily these are the very same audiences that access both offl ine and online media. In other words, they are the same group of people!

We all call it the digital era, but I call it the transparent era. In digital, every possible customer interaction, response and conversion are well recorded. For internet marketing agencies like us? There is nowhere to hide data and fi gures will never lie. With the adoption of a data-driven focus, it enhances marketers commitment in delivering fi gures-based performances which translates to tangible results revenue.

From a performance marketing point of view, marketers that are able to identify actual cost per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) have the edge to signifi cantly reduce marketing costs and realigned investments into profi table marketing efforts conversion optimisation (CRO). The right critical marketing decisions will result in effi ciency and effectiveness, and it will subside the overall dependency of cost reductions in other internal departments manufacturing, R&D, HR, logistics, etc. In a holistic sense, it will greatly position the importance and impact of marketing.

As we progress towards 2017, we tend to hunger for the latest digital offerings to stay competitive, and in the hope that implementing new innovations will bring drastic improvements. With such a constant shift of digital objectives, are we really meeting our goals? Its best to take a wider view of past campaigns and optimise it to its fullest potential.

Digital rarely does mistakes, but humans do who knows what we have missed? After all, digital is not a sprint, its an effort-driven marathon just like traditional marketing.

The author of this article is Joseph Ting, CEO, Locus-T Online.

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The Futurist: The right mindset for digital marketing – Marketing Interactive

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The Futurist: Speed, scope, systems and death – Marketing Interactive

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

The fourth revolution is distinct from those before it due to the change in velocity, scope and system impact. This has an impact on people and their behaviour, altering the way in which people live, work and connect with one another, unlike any other revolution before it. It has an impact on businesses as well demanding better-connected experiences, transparency, open source, accessibility, agility and authenticity. Here are the five key areas which we believe are reshaping our industry.

From understanding to predicting customer journeys

Consumers dont experience the world in silos. Agencies need to understand the relationship between brands and customers across all channels and devices at the individual level. A brands ability to leverage that understanding to anticipate behaviours and produce meaningful, continuous interactions will be the greatest determinant for success. To get there, a brands data and technology strategy must be architected for mobile first, where we build everything around understanding the individual.

The right solution versus the right now solution

The proliferation of digital and technology has changed the pace at which agencies need to operate. The demands of faster product releases, rapid-fire system updates and connected customer experiences require these once distinct and disparate disciplines to work arm in arm to achieve marketing and business objectives that deliver a fl awless always-on customer experience.

Through-the-line to through-the-enterprise

This holds immense potential for businesses. The partnership between creativity and technology is what leads to new business models, product designs, service integrations, and cultural relevance to transform customer relationships with the products and services they need. To achieve this, the integration of the entire organisations intellectual capital is required. In this new world, brands need a partner who can imagine possibilities, not just optimise what is known and understood. A partner that can combine creativity and technology beyond share of market, but share of life. Not just through the line, but through the day.

Interdependence not integration

How we behave with one another is critical. It goes beyond just integration. Integration is a linear process that looks like a relay race. It results in fragmented thinking and work. And despite the different companies involved it is often inflexible. We believe in interdependence. Interdependence is about bringing the best skills together around a client problem. Its about mutual reliance with a rhythm of creative problem solving a back and forth flow that is dynamic and creates a new type of energy.

Publicis One a connected company

But for us to harness our assets fully we have had to make a big shift in the way we work.

We believe that the holding company model is dead and Publicis Groupe is brave enough to have killed it. Agencies are too inward and silo-ed looking and not suffi ciently focused on clients. It was all about individual agency excellence rather than collective innovation recognising that working together would yield new opportunities for our clients.

A connecting company does more than just manage its assets, it combines them in new ways for the benefit of its clients. A connecting company removes all artificial barriers and opens up all its resources people, tech, data, product, platforms to clients in the right combination for their needs. The Publicis One model allows us to rethink our approach for clients. A partner that not only understands the shift, but one thats leading the shift.

The author of this article is Tan Kien Eng, group CEO, Publicis One Malaysia and Leo Burnett Group Malaysia.

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The Futurist: Speed, scope, systems and death – Marketing Interactive

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Beckhoff Automation – Wikipedia

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:06 am

Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG is a medium-sized, internationally acting company located in Verl, Westphalia, Germany. It was established in 1980 as a business unit of the Elektro Beckhoff GmbH, an electrical installation and retail company which was founded in 1953 by Arnold Beckhoff Senior. Until 2005 the business unit “New Automation Technology” operated under the name Beckhoff Industrie Elektronik (Beckhoff Industrial Electronics).

In 2005 the company Elektro Beckhoff GmbH has been restructured into three companies:

The company Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG produces automation technology in different performance categories, from single components up to system solutions. The company focuses on PC-based control technology with the segments Industrial PC, Embedded PC, fieldbus components, drive technology and automation software. The Beckhoff PC Control philosophy, the Bus Terminals and TwinCAT automation software are multifunctional alternatives to traditional control technology. With EtherCAT, launched in 2003, the company initiated a real-time Ethernet for system control.

In 2015 the company generated a turnover of 620 Million Euro. The actual number of employees amounts to 3000.[2] The Headquarters in Verl is the location for all central departments. The domestic sales department is supplemented by subsidiaries all over Germany.[1]

On the international market, the company is represented by subsidiaries in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Through co-operation with partners, Beckhoff is represented in more than 75 countries.

Beckhoff products are used for the automation of machines and plants as well as for building automation. The company creates standard and customized solutions for diverse applications in industries like:

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Beckhoff Automation – Wikipedia

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