Jinxed deals

Call it the Law of Unintended Consequences. In the past 12 months the Khoo family dealt twice with the Singapore government. And twice it caused major headaches for the parties involved.

Foreign dragon, local snake


From Wheelock Marden to Standard Chartered....

In 1985, Khoo Teck Puat and shipping magnate, Y. K. Pao, waged an epic tussle for the venerable British trading house, Wheelock Marden.

Bollywood's business connections in politics


Two of the biggest names in India Inc take sides in Bollywood's Battle Royale.

When two of India’s richest men are feuding, just about anything that involves the two can be turned into yet another bone of contention. When the two men are brothers, and their disagreement is about a movie about their late father financed by the younger brother, it is no longer a bone, but an invitation to open warfare.

Heart of steel


Miners risk death as they slave in lax safety conditions to build Mittal’s billions.

“And how many deaths will it take until he knows,

That too many people have died?”

- Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Mittal, the sovereign state


The steel billionaire now turns to international political intrigue to further his business gains. How far will he go?

In 1973 the British author, Anthony Sampson, caused a stir when he published “The Sovereign State”, an exposé on multinationals. He claimed the MNCs had grown so powerful that they often behave like sovereign nations and sometimes act against the interest of their own countries.

Sampson named the American firm International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) as the epitome of an MNC-turned-rogue. ITT was the archetypal conglomerate that collected a few hundred businesses in its heyday – from energy firms to the Sheraton hotel chain – and pursued profits in all of them. 

March 2006, a flashback


A look at what happened in North Asian businesses, three years to this day.

More woes for Yamaha Motor
The Japanese company, already under investigation for the alleged sale of helicopters to Poly Technologies, a firm linked to the People’s Liberation Arm of China, for military uses, is now suspected of selling an aircraft to another firm affiliated to the Chinese military.

January 2006

Walk, not drive, Mazda staff are told 
Employees of the Japanese carmaker are given $12 a month to encourage them to walk to the office to improve their health and protect the environment.

Lexus doing well in Japan
Latest figures from Toyota showed that the sale of Lexus, which was introduced in the Japanese market for the first time in August, has far exceeded expectations. A total of 4,600 units of the GS and SC models were sold in that month, three times higher than projected.

Who's making your iPhone?

The iPhone may have an American face—the face of the bearded, balding Steve Jobs—but its innards are pure Taiwanese.

Instant noodles rule the world!


It is the most popular processed food on earth, and by far the most controversial. Its supporters say it is the ideal food for the masses and one of the 20th century's great inventions. Its detractors call it a weapon of mass destruction and blame its high sodium content and preservatives for widespread malnutrition from the Philippines to Mexico.

instant noodles

Easy to prepare and stomach-filling, it has become the staple diet of the world's dispossessed and victims of war and disaster.

Apple takes on Asia


By launching the iPhone months before the device reached Asia, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was forcing his would-be competitors to react to the media hype and show their hands.

The Apple iPhone is a stalking horse.

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100 DAYS

100 days blogAn imaginary factual blog of General David Petraeus, Commander, United States Central Command