S Arabia, UAE among Japan’s most favored investment targets
TOKYO: The Japan Bank for International Cooperation's annual survey once again had China at the top of the list of foreign countries that Japanese companies consider to be the most promising investment destinations, while Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates came in joint 20th.
Saudia Arabia dropped from 14th place to 20th, while the UAE stayed at the same rank. They were the only Arab countries to make the top 20.
The survey, which covers investment over the next three years, was conducted between July and November and involved 961 Japanese manufacturers with local units in China; 605 of the firms approached responded. The number of Japanese companies having a favorable view of China rose 3 percent from the previous year.
But the survey also showed that 47 percent of the responding companies have concerns about risks related to investment in China, such as fallout from diplomatic tensions and labor disputes.
India ranked second on the list, while Vietnam was third.
The top three countries remained the same for the fifth straight year. Thailand, Brazil and Indonesia ranked 4th, 5th and 6th, respectively.
Of the companies that chose China as the most promising investment destination, 63 percent cited rising labor costs as a matter of concern.
The figure is three times higher than for other countries. Labor strife - including strikes targeting Japanese companies - was cited as a matter of concern by 36 percent of those listing China as the most promising investment destination.
Twenty-two percent said the diplomatic row between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea had a negative influence on the way they responded, citing curbs on rare earth exports to Japan and stalled customs procedures in China.
Meanwhile, NCB Capital Co., which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to expand its wealth management and brokerage services next year as the unit of National Commercial Bank seeks growth in Saudi Arabia.
"We will be expanding our asset management product range aggressively next year," Raul Biancardi, managing director at Riyadhbased NCB Capital, said in response to e-mailed questions on Dec 18. "Our primary focus is individual clients within the kingdom."
NCB Capital joins other regional companies pursuing opportunities in the world's largest supplier as the economy and Saudi businesses benefit from the G-20 member's $400 billion spending package, announced in late 2008. Saudi businesses represented six of the 10 richest Arabs this year on the Arabian Business list released yesterday.
The Middle East may rival China, India and Brazil as a destination for investment due to its growing population and wealth, said David Rubenstein, cofounder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, in October. The Arab world's largest economy is forecast to expand by 3.5 percent this year by the kingdom's central bank. - PB News