Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters China Investment Summit

 

China Investment Summit, August 31-September 2, 2009

 

China holds the undisputed position as workshop to the world, but it’s also fast becoming one of the world’s top consumers in its own right. As the global financial crisis approaches its second anniversary, China’s role in pulling the world out of recession is gaining growing attention as cash-rich Chinese consumers spend billions of dollars under their government’s $585 billion economic stimulus plan.

 

The huge spending spree has helped the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets rise more than 70% and 40% this year, respectively, as investors from both home and abroad look to get a piece of an economy set to overtake the United States to become the world’s largest by 2030. Even as the rest of the world suffers in recession, China’s GDP is expected to grow 9.4% this year and 11.9% in 2010, according to Goldman Sachs, which recently upgraded its forecasts for the country. Underscoring the growing clout of its domestic market, China’s retail sales surged 15% in the year to July and urban investment rose 33%, even as July exports tumbled 23% year-on-year.

 

Reuters China Investment Summit, held in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei from August 31 to September 2, will shine the spotlight on a wide range of foreign and domestic Chinese players as they jockey for position in one of the world’s fastest growing markets with 1.3 billion consumers. The interviews will generate exclusive stories and investable insights, as well as other multimedia offerings which will be immediately available only to Thomson Reuters clients during the summit.

 

Exclusive look inside Sweden’s greenest paper mill

For most of us, printing e-mails or making copies is just part of the daily routine in the office. But, the paper we use does come from somewhere. Last week, we had the opportunity to visit Stora Enso’s Nymolla Mill in southern Sweden to get an exclusive look at how MultiCopy paper is made. Nymolla is an integrated mill (it produces pulp and paper on the same site) and most of the wood used is sourced locally. Also interesting, the mill is the only one I could find in the world that emits zero carbon dioxide from fossil fuels during the paper making process. Check out my look inside the Nymolla Mill.

Inside Sweden's greenest paper mill from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Paper executive would rather not shake on it

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When it comes to hygiene, Hannu Kottonen is one executive who practices what he preaches. As the man who heads Metsa Tissue, a company that produces products ranging from tissues to toilet paper, he knows a thing or two about how germs spread. So when he visited the Thomson Reuters office in Helsinki to take part in the annual Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit, perhaps we should not have been surprised when he declined to shake the hands ot the various journalists assembled there.

 

We didn’t take it personally and Kottonen explained that hygiene was an issue that had not been given due attention. But some of that seems to be changing. Metsa Tissue is seeing more demand for some hygiene-related products as a result of the H1N1 flu outbreak and all the attention on hygiene it had generated. And it’s not the only such company. Another Finnish specialty paper producer, Ahlstrom Corp, reported a similar trend, with more demand for the material that goes into face masks and for sanitary wipes.

Whitelines looks to change the “function” of paper

A group of Swedish entrepreneurs says its Whitelines product is the biggest innovation in paper since the Medieval Ages. Whitelines designer Olof Hansson says that not only is it easier to read what’s written on the pages but it is also producing paper that is socially responsible. Check out the story:

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit

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The global paper industry has struggled for more than six years to claw its way out of a slump, as soft demand and overcapacity have kept prices down, leading to poor earnings, production curtailments and layoffs.

The current global downturn has further eroded demand for basic materials, including paper, as print advertising has dropped steeply in the crisis. Companies have been forced to run just to stand still, temporarily or permanently shutting mills and axing staff.

Gassing about electric cars

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Would you buy a car that only goes 100 miles (160 km) on a tank of fuel?

That’s the range of Nissan’s 5-seater electric car planned for sale in the U.S. and Japan in 2010 – a similar size to Nissan’s Primera or VW’s Golf.

A full tank in a petrol-driven car will take you around twice that distance so the new technology that Nissan hopes will leapfrog current hybrids won’t be for those who disappear up the mountains each weekend.

Blackrock sees opportunities in shrinking Japan

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Japan’s population has peaked and all the projections have it sliding sharply in coming decades, raising questions about investment opportunities when emerging markets, in particular, offer much more obvious growth opportunities.

By 2055 government researchers expect Japan’s population to slide 30 percent to below 90 million from around 128 million with mushrooming numbers of retirees to be supported by a dwindling workforce.

Nomura: Lehman taking shape

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Nomura’s takeover of Lehman Brothers’ European and Asia businesses is yielding results, and concerns the Japanese bank will struggle to marry cultures is misplaced, according to the man who drove the deal.

“It’s a very successful start and we’ve been happy with what we’ve got,” Takumi Shibata, chief operating officer for Nomura, told the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in Tokyo.

The Esperanto currency

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Hiroshi Watanabe, president of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, saw his share of dollar buying intervention during decades at the nation’s finance ministry.  But the market veteran says despite prevalent talk recently, a shift away from the greenback as the world’s reserve currency may be great in theory, but like the language of Esperanto short on daily practitioners.

“Esperanto is a very good language, but no community uses it in its daily life, ” Watanabe told the Reuters Japan Investment Summit.

Japan eyes UK takeover rules

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Japan’s takeover rules are destined to be shaken up — but probably not for some time.

The government wants to adopt Britain’s takeover rules rather than base policy on the U.S. model.

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