The services at okra eXpress are aligned with quality and as a recognition to that, okra eXpress was officially launched in the prestigious Georgian restaurant, Harrods, Knightsbridge, the restaurant with the grand piano a classic and up markets venue in swanky London, and the appropriate cachet for the quality and brand values that okra eXpress stands for.
Speaking at the okra eXpress event on 18 October 2012, an event in partnership with the Indo- British All Party Parliamentary Group on India, an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress, held in Portcullis House, Palace of Westminster, Macmillian Room, a room in the Palace of Westminster, named after a former British Prime Minister, the now-deceased, Harold Macmillan 1st Earl of Stockton. a board member Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, (who was standing in for the CEO of UKIBC who had to attend a meeting at short notice that night, spoke at the okra eXpress and this was what he had to say. “Yes, I am the third lawyer speaking tonight. I feel sorry for you guys. First of all an apology it seems quite a long time ago since I should have made it because I too arrived late, it is an India event and I thought we were keeping the Indian timing. So I am sorry for that. I do want to thank our chairman, thank you very much for hosting us and thank you all for spending your Thursday evening here. Please do consider this my audition.
The board member from UKIBC continued his presentation and said. I am assuming you all interested to doing business with India. So I want to tell you two things. I want to give you some factual observations. I am in India for about eight times a year. I am Gujarati, I was schooled for part of my life in India. I have businesses in India. We run an Asset Management company so we invest in India. And for the British Government, I am something called a deal maker. Deal maker opens amazing doors. And that role is to look for technology innovative technologies from India with a view to bringing them into the United Kingdom. Everything from
· Cyber security to
· Clean Tech and so on
To increase Intellectual Property and entrepreneurial gene pool of the United Kingdom. I am also as you have heard, a board member of the UKIBC which very much looks at business in the other direction, exports from the UK to India. So if I had to what is now about six and a half minutes tell you some of the key interesting facts that I think anybody interesting to doing business in India ought to know which they probably don’t know the usual stuff. But some of the other things you might not know is and even more important than that. What are the must do things. If somebody said to me you have got six and a half minutes tell me the must do things I am thinking of doing business in India. Or I have started and I want to expand my business in India. What are the must do things that I should do? Now the good news for you is, I had lunch with Jim O’Neil, today and he didn't realised I was making notes, so we are recording this aren’t we? So I am going to disclose to you all the confidential things the Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management told me over lunch about what he thinks the world’s most powerful investment bank considers regarding India. So this will be very useful to you. And if Jim is listening to this, thanks for the last invite.
The board member from UKIBC continued his presentation and said. The facts. Does anybody know how many Indians you need to have the same GDP as Europe? How many do you think? You sort of did it. You went like this. Didn’t you? Ya, that will do. You are doing the actually a London thing. Actually right. Ten Indians roughly will give you Europe. It is however, you might think small country, however in economic terms it is as we know, growing at the last year five and a half percent, it was growing at 8% with ambitions of 10% GDP growth. What does that mean? Well, 10% in India GDP growth would be the same as Europe growing at 1%. Europe isn’t at the moment growing at 1%. So India is actually growing faster than the whole of Europe which is ten times larger than India in economic terms. What is important about this is what Jim O’Neil said to me at lunchtime, is if the reforms we have just heard about is in every single sector, including in films, in construction, in insurance, in retail, if these reforms which are opening up market to everybody who is here including almost the lawyers. As they are still closing in for the lawyers. Lawyers don’t like other lawyers is the reason and all the parliamentarians are lawyers and that’s why they don’t want any more British lawyers
there because; let’s put it this way, if we have had three lawyers out of four people speaking this evening, the world clearly has too many lawyers and they don’t want more of them in India. But other than the lawyers everything else is pretty much opening up. What that means for British exporters or service providers, and the people in this room, you want to know what the rate of growth is, you want to know how to tap that market, you want to know where to start and how to start? So let me go through those things. According to Goldman Sach’s Jim Oneil, this continues, he would expect 10% growth actually for the next twenty years. You will not read that in any newspaper comment or any Goldman Sach publication. You will not read that anywhere other than my just having told you, because he said it about seven hours ago. He is the person who came up with the BRICS report and put India in economic terms on the global map where it had actually been growing but not noticed for so long. So, these reforms are important. Will they continue? Let’s assume for the moment that the current government would be able to pass it through the parliament, and after the elections in the next eighteen months, whoever is in government will continue. Let’s just make that rather large assumption given the momentum behind these reforms, then we all need to be prepared to export to tap into that market. After I have had lunch with Jim O’Neil, I’m not just giving you my itinerary for this afternoon. But after I have had lunch with Jim, I did a quick interview on the BBC about Mother Care. And Mother Care’s sales have been doing rather well. One of the reasons is that they have been able to export into countries like India. They are not doing too well in Britain at the moment. But it is fine, I said, because it is still a British company. We need to be looking at this. We already know this. Because you read the FT and follow these kinds of things. But I think what often comes as a surprise to people is just how quickly it has projected to grow now that these next set of reforms have been announced by the prime minister, three weeks ago, I think it was. It was three week ago. That is a game changer. The momentum behind it and what happened to the stock market since then and then more important, what happened to the Rupee which was at an all time low against the Euro and the Dollar before all this was announced, has completely changed things around. I was in Dehli… just ten days ago. I think this momentum will continue. And it is a second renaissance as it was. As it were for British companies to be able to tap into that market. I can’t emphasise the importance enough because it is not been emphasised in the media. Instead what the media is focussing on including the paper that I used to write for the FT is the normalisation of relations with Gujarat and the United Kingdom, absolutely right to do so. But they seem to be focussing very much on the negative aspects. Rather than one would have thought, the economic importance about what has just been announced by the prime minister. So I have to say the importance for this for British companies is being understated in the media. And I think everybody need to have a fresh look at it. So that been the case. The question that one get asked most often is how could one go about tapping into this market? What are the pitfalls the usual things. I am not going to tell you the things which you would already know. Now I want to tell you the things which I as a business person come across and I find most useful. First and foremost, get into as many networks as possible out there. It is often neglected when you enter a new country. How vital those networks which helped you build up those networks business here are in that new country. Not simply because of due diligence which was mentioned by our learned friend earlier. (Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah, QC, a veteran QC and a distinguished member of the Queen’s Counsel), that even when you are looking for an
· or a lawyer
· or a business partner
You will want to ask half a dozen people. Maybe even more so in a foreign country. Maybe, even more so in a foreign country like India. And those networks which I would highlight as been the most important from a business prospective. Whether you are Blah, Blah, Blah, or smaller because Blah, Blah, Blah are a member of this network, or a one man ban because they are also a member of this network. Network such as Blah, Blah, Blah, the… entrepreneurs. Blah, blah, blah, hyphen UK dot org, that’s the UK chapter and there is a Delhi chapter so if you put it into blah, blah blah, you will find the answers and everything in life including that. We have chapters in, I’m saying we because I was the co-founder of the UK chapter. And we have chapters in Silicon Valley which were founded by the hotmail, the co-founder of hotmail. These groups, we and the British government work very closely with. They have some of the biggest business owners in India who network and mingle on their sole role is to mentor other businesses. Network within those groups because within one evening you will find other two hundred business people who will be able to give to very good sound advice. Why?
And that’s why business groups in India in particular can be very, very useful for British companies. So Blah, blah, blah, is one in particular, because it is global and it is all over India as well. There is the British business group. These are established by the British Business people out in India and can work very closely with our High Commission out there. And you will have business groups in Mumbai and so forth. How do you get in touch with those? Get in touch with the High Commission via the website or contact me and okra eXpress has my contact details as well. There is of course the High Commission as we have heard earlier on they have the UKTI individuals embedded within that. Our foreign office has been charged under this government, even more so if that was possible. Even more so than other previous administration to very much focus on trade aspects of the bilateral relationship. And therefore, those UKTI people embedded in those posts are very keen to help those British companies export. One of the ways they do this is little things called blah, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, and what they would do is if you say I want to export or I want to have sales of this product or whatever else it is, it is their job to find who are the people you should be speaking to who should you be meeting to? So that’s the UKTI out there through our High Commission or the body of blah, blah, blah. Again, if you need any links or any introductions, do let me know. And then of course, foremost the body that I am represented here, the UKIBC. Amongst our networks, our members, who you can meet and start your investigations into doing business in India by being in the UK because we have the events over here… is that who do I speak to if I want to export this product?
· Which are the companies that I need to speak to?
· Which are the law firms?
· Which are the accountants?
· What are the rules?
· What are the regulations?
One way to find out whether you are bribing somebody or not, simple, if they don’t want the money wired into their bank account, then it is probably something dodgy. If it is cash, it is dodgy. So it is pretty straight forward. Now, you might have introduced an agreement and that is fine. Have a contract. Wire it into a company account and have a contract. It is really simple. Do not try and jump through legal huddles because you may well end up going into prison. And it is not worth it. It is very simple with the Bribery Act. It is not as complicated as lawyers would have you believe. Location, as I mentioned earlier, Gujarati, I am Gujarati, so I am going to make a special plea for Gujarati. It doesn’t need a special plea from me. There are six hundred thousand Gujaratis in the United Kingdom,so if you were looking for advice and help and doing business in Gujarati, probably a good start. Now I would have thought that Punjab comes right up closer and if you are from the Punjab, it comes up right close between the Gujarati and the Punjabi, and probably the Hindis, you probably got all of India business communities. I think you probably guessed that I was going to make some jokes about the Hindis, but I wouldn’t dare because we are been recorded. I said Gujarati because you want business friendly locations. There are many in India. Some are probably tougher… than others. People do end up in places like … because strategically they might need to because of the natural resources and so on. Gujarati seems a natural place to have a start. We have a British trade office there with the government. We hopefully will have a British Deputy High Commissioner there. Mumbai, Delhi all these places you know have a lookagain as I say Gujarati, I have just come from there and I was very impressed at the scale of Indian companies who are importing into India and setting up global headquarters in the United Kingdom sorry, importing into the United Kingdom. Setting up global headquarters in the UK. Serving for instance our National Health Service. And also procuring to the British government, helping drive down costs but also employing people over here. And the size of those companies out of Gujarati, as I know Gujarati very well. We know of Bangalore, Chennai and so on. But don’t leave any part of India out. But go for the business friendly locations. I will leave it at that. Once again, thank you to our chairman for hosting this event this evening. And thank you to okra eXpress. If ever you do go into the India take away business, that is the perfect name for an Indian take away. And thank you all for listening. Sound bites from the okra eXpress event, inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event banging the drums to boost investments
About okra, ladies’ fingers, piano fingers, the global vegetable. Credit: BBC
okra is a global healthy vegetable originally from Africa popular in Japan, India, the Middle East, China, Greece, Brazil, Turkey, the Caribbean, Philippines, South America and the Southern US. okra is a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin C and A, also B complex vitamins. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fibre, and is fat-free. In India, okra is known as ladies’ fingers, and elsewhere okra is known as bhindi, bamia and piano fingers, Well, well, well, time for the yummy healthy okra stew with lemon and herb basmati rice. Time for Ready, steady cook. You can hit on this link when you feel able for BBC's Nick Nairn okra stew with lemon and herb basmati rice. recipe Credit: BBC Food http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/aubergineandokrastew_79682
okra eXpress echoed. If I had £10 from everyone who looked at my ladies' fingers, and my elegantly shaped finger nails, I would have been a multi trillionnaire by now. Ladies, gentlemen, a significant influx of people would look at and have fascinating discussions about my ladies' fingers and interestingly, the children would gently whisper in the ears of their parents "mum, dad, look at the lady's nails, OMG, look at the lady's fingers, wow! Now you know why I must trim my nails twice a month, I must also file my constantly growing long nails on a weekly basis and this is not a big ask. For me, it is part of living. I must say, when I was young, you know the kindagarten days, I was not at all amused and not impressed by the constant steering of my ladies' fingers and I would often use my bright eyes and facial expressions to communicate and register my simply and clear message, obviously to the enthusiastic ladies fingers fanatics longing for all of them to just simply go away; I do not want to be bothered.
Nevertheless, I don't mind that much now that I often carefully clasp my hands and ladies' fingers together gently and gracefully fold my ladies' fingers together to avoid being overwhelmed about enchanting and fascinating discussions about my ladies' fingers.
From time to time, to avoid showcasing my ladies' fingers, I would hold my little brown bag from Macy's New York which is actually a little brown bag for keys, nevertheless, but I better utilise it and make it a sanctuary for my bright, radiant colourful and creative hand made business cards, simply because I already have a key holder I am very happy with anyway! I often gracefully fold my ladies' fingers round a champagne glass or have my hands in my pocket to give my ladies' fingers a rest knowing that I am constantly on show . Have a great week, with all good wishes, lol + hugs, take very great care of yourself, and keep the doctors away. Keep a healthy distance. Health is wealth. Without health, there is no wealth! Remain happy, and bright, okra eXpress adds.
ladies fingers', ladies' long legsthese are all part of living for me. And with my ladies' long legs, this is where the Japanese Heat tech ladies's tights kick into play quite nicely for me. I must point out and give great credits to , now-deceased, Callan Pinckney, (September 26, 1939 – March 1, 2012: RIP - Return If Possible) the, American fitness professional, the lady behind the wonderful book and video on, callanetics; Callan Pinckney helped to make me walk tall and feel as light as a feather. okra eXpress adds. okra eXpress adds.
Let's talk about sound bites from Standard Chartered at the okra eXpress event
Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter. This is the okra eXpress event on UK China Trade Boost in partnership with the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on China. This event was inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress on 24 May 2012 and held in Portcullis House at the Palace of Westminster in, Macmillian Room, a room in the Palace of Westminster, named after a former British Prime Minister, the now-deceased, Harold Macmillan 1st Earl of Stockton
Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter. Mr. Blah, Blah Blah, thank you for your presentation, (Chairman of the UK All Party Parliamentary China Group. Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, are you able to stay with us right through till 7pm? Answer from the Chairman of the UK All Party Parliamentary China Group. Hopefully, Yes, Yes. Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter. Fantastic! In that case, can I invite our Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah from Standard Chartered to come up and talk to us and I think we will have a little time at the end, when questions will be directed to all the speakers tonight. Our next speaker is Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah from Standard Chartered Bank, specialist economist on Country Risk - China.
Let’s talk about sound bites from Standard Chartered at the okra eXpress event
Sound bites from Standard Chartered. This was what the specialist from Standard Chartered said. “Hi can you all hear me. There are a number of positives that make China a natural market for the UK One of which is the complimentarily of the structure of the Chinese economy versus the structure of the Chinese economy, and as Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the Chairman of UK All Party Parliamentary China Group has already touched on one or two of the aspects of this. UK is more high tech. China is more high volume relatively low value. Although of course that is changing. But most of all of course the UK has more expertise at the services area which is where China has less. So there is a natural niche for the UK to get into. The second positive is substitutability. The UK needs to be exporting to China because we have already touched on the problems in Europe. And Europe takes up just about half of the UK exports at the moment. And clearly the Euro area is shrinking. China is still growing extremely rapidly. So although there are logistical issues, about UK companies dealing with China in terms of potential, it is clearly a better market to be in. As indeed in the rest of Asia as opposed to Europe. And the third positive which is a slightly more abstract one is familiarity. The UK has natural entry China via
ü Hong Kong
ü Via Singapore
And in terms of the ability of Small Medium Size Enterprises, (SMEs), to get into the Chinese market, I would suggest that a very healthy way in will be via Hong Kong or indeed
ü via Singapore
ü or indeed, via Taiwan, which is the largest foreign investor in China.
So that’s the positives as I see them in a very abstract way. In terms of the prospects. Well they simply have to be good. Don’t they? If you look at China’s recent growth performance and again as Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the Chairman of UK All Party Parliamentary China Group has pointed out, it has been phenomenally good over the past two or three decades. Much talk now about China’s economy is slowing. They have reduced the target rate for this year to seven and a half percent. Wouldn’t we just die for seven and a half percent in Europe? So you know, a country with a strong GDP growth story behind it is a real rise in incomes with a lot of people. If you look at the numbers in China, the numbers of people lifted out of poverty are vast. And it is a fact that as your income rises, you spend on different things. In Standard Chartered, we wrote a big report back in 2010 called “The Super Circle Report”, which I know you have read cover to cover. And one of the statistics in there was that when your income per head is something like $500 a year, all you do is eat and have shelter and you know minimal clothing. When your income per head is $1000 a year, you starting into the rounds of buying things, consumer goods of some description. So say $3000 a year, you are buying a motorbike. $10,000 a year you are buying a car. $15,000 a year you may be thinking about doing some overseas travelling. $20,000 a year, financial services. Now China’s income per head is already gone beyond $3000, but if you think of the 1.2 billion people in China, you’ve got as many people as in the UK are earning an awful much more than their $3000. There is a huge inequality of income in China and there are a number of people who are extremely rich. But there are also an awful lot of people, more people who are aril very poor, but there is an awful lot of people who are in the kind of $10,000 a year bracket. And those numbers are rising as Chinese economy keeps on growing. And it has become a self perpetuating good if you like. Associated with that is the rise in the middle classes in China. Although the class system is relatively flat. The rise in the middle class is also a shift in terms of what people demand. Associated with that is a rise in urbanisation. Associated with that is a rise in infrastructure. And all of these aspects mean that there are opportunities for UK exports. And last year I think it was, I was in Sri-Lanka, and there they are building a big new port on the edge of Colombo , the capital city. And the Chinese are financing this big new port. And associated with the big new port is the big can of break water thing to protect the port from the waters. And, which is been built by the Koreans. But the architects and the designers of this are UK. I can’t remember which company it is. But this is the sort of success story that the UK can offer throughout Asia and indeed the world. But the opportunity for that in China is probably greater. And these are benefits for both sides. You know the infrastructure is state of the art. But this job is going both ways. So that’s obviously got to be positive. So the prospects are good. But there are issues which I will come on to. But the most opportunities are probably in services in the area of
ü Professional services
Now all these services help the UK to leverage the relationships they have got. Now in terms of potentials, again, Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the Chairman of has touched on some of these numbers. I was quite surprised when I looked at this. I didn’t really expect that we will export quite as much in terms of goods to China as we do. Because, you have this perception in the UK that we don’t make anything anymore. Well that’s not true. We are still the world’s I think, 6th biggest manufacturing country. What we export to China are
ü Machinery. I hear some very good stories about machine tools industry both in the US and in the UK which is, a lot of it is Midlands based in the UK. And very often relatively small companies producing quite specialist things. None of which I understand what they are. But that’s… and you know they are finding a huge market in China and growing ten folds in some cases. You know really big success story. So we export machinery.
ü We export appliances.
ü We export spare parts
We hear the tales of Burberry Burberry and the other top end manufacturers. But again touching on Sri-Lanka, you think in the UK that we haven’t got a textile industry anymore. We do actually. But it is fairly niche little bit of the textile’s world. It is not the high volume Bangladesh style grey school trousers for you know, school boy’s uniforms. It is the more specialist end. And that’s where there is more value added as well. So we have to bear that in mind too. And the other thing that we export is furniture. Which again I guess is designer type stuff where there is more value added for the UK. However, just to put some more colour on what Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the Chairman of UK All Party Parliamentary China Group was saying. UK exports to China 6.9% of China’s total exports from the EU. And you think, well that’s not really very much. And the UK is the third largest economy in Europe and exports 6.9%. Our exports to China goods wise rose 40% in 2010 and 20% in 2011. So quite a success story. But we have still got 6.9%. How much has Germany got? 44%. So the potential is vast. Even if we just double what we got and take a bit away from them. You know, the potential is just enormous. But the difference I think between Germany and the UK is first of all, that Germany is not as obvious as we are in the ... type of issues, so they perhaps win contracts without any political complications. But secondly, Germany is an economy that still relies very heavily on the manufacture of capital goods. And the capital goods are what are required for all this infrastructure spending that is going on in China now. I was in Germany actually on Monday and I was struck when I was on the train going from the airport to where I was heading. When you are on a train journey in the UK what do you see on the side of the railway line in the UK? You see you know Furniture land, Dixons, Curry’s, you know all these big retail outlets. What do you see in Germany? You see lots of Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs), doing manufacturing. I saw one lot of retail parks in which was an Ikea. And that was it. I happen to spot it because it was Ikea you couldn’t miss it. But you know that’s a huge contrast to what we see in the UK where we are very much retail dominated and not manufacture dominated. The other thing that struck me about Germany is that every available flat space had a solar panel on it. So they have obviously still got good subsidies on solar panels which we certainly don’t have. But it was years since I have been to Germany so I was particularly taken by that. I was quite astonished. So there is a big pride. We have the capacity; we just have to make the most of it really. And again as Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, MP and Chairman of UK All Party Parliamentary China Group as has touched on. It is us in Europe that are the biggest foreign investors to China. But again in terms of potential. We put into China, $1.6 billion in 2010 I think… Hong Kong clearly is different because lots of things go through Hong Kong that are not necessarily from Hong Kong. As it where. But Taiwan which is the largest foreign investor in China did $6.7 billion. So we are kind of a 6th roughly of what Taiwan were investing. So again we don’t have to increase a great deal to become a much bigger investor in China, which in turn brings lot of opportunities for us. So the potential is vast. I am conscious of time so I won’t speak much longer. It’s just that the path is not likely to be very smooth. There are lots of potential issues in China. You have got
· The Asian population
· You have got the slow growth. But that is inevitable. The economy can’t grow at 10% year on year on forever. Over time, you look at Japan back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Japan was growing at 6%, 7% now, it is lucky if it achieves 1%. So there is a sort of downward glide path as it were wit economic development.
· I think the other thing that would cause me a lot of worry is the increasing trends towards protectionism globally. I would kind of blame the US predominantly on this. Because they are very insular in their approach. And that prompts retaliations from other countries. But you know there is an issue with this that we have to watch it doesn’t get out of hand. Especially given that the Doha round of World Trade Organisation negotiations have fallen by the way side.
· We have also got potential problems of the liberalisation of the The renminbi. Now this maybe a real opportunity for the UK. The internationalisation of the The renminbi is a slow process which the Chinese are very careful in managing. And it is s step by step approach. They have moved into Hong Kong. They have got an off shore The renminbi been traded out of Hong Kong. And now there is a lot of talk of there being, an off shore The renminbi, trading in London if London can win the deal. Which I think is the way it is going. And that will be a huge opportunity for the UK financial services. But one of the consequences of greater liberalisation of the The renminbi, is that it is more volatile. It is not a fix currency. You are not quite dealing with the same thing all the time. You have to try to manage exchange rate risks. And that may bring problems. It’s not. But it might. But we have to be alert to it.
· I think there are also issues within China. Distributional issues. Any international company operating in a market where it isn’t always easy to do business. There are often physical, logistical ways of doing things. And that’s an issue too.
· And there is also politics, which you know the d… case illustrates. Just look at what has been going on in China in the recent weeks with the ….b Scandal and that exposed lots of difficulties within China that I think we all were aware were there. But we have now really have proven to us. And that may be a problem. We don’t know but it might be.
So in conclusion, I would say, that
ü There are huge positives about UK China trade.
ü We can do better
ü The potential is vast
There are lots of opportunities and I have to say that Standard Chartered maybe able to help you achieve them. Sound bites from Standard Chartered at the okra eXpress event. Banging the drums to boost investment.
Let's talk about sound bites from Deutsche Bank at the okra eXpress event
Sound bites for the okra eXpress presenter at the okra eXpress event held in Parliament, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress on 14 June 2012, held in the Macmillan Room. a room in the Palace of Westminster, named after a former British Prime Minister, the now-deceased, Harold Macmillan 1st Earl of Stockton This was what the okra eXpress presenter had to say. Now I would like to welcome our other guest tonight, Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah from Deutsche Bank. Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah is the Managing Director, Global Carbon Markets, and the Head of Energy Research. He is responsible for European Natural Gas, Thermal Coal Research, with the number one ranked Power and Gas Research team in the 2011 Energy Risks Survey. After joining Deutsche Bank in 2007, he was a Desk Analyst for the UK Natural Gas area before joining the Commodities Research Department 2010. Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah is a Bachelor of Science and an… from Stanford University and an MBA from New York University – Stern School of Business. So welcome to Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah. ggThis was what the Deutsche Bank’s expert in Commodities research, standing in for the Head of Energy Research from Deutsche Bank had to say. Hello everyone. So right. So as part of the introduction actually, part of these credentials was from my boss Mr. Blah, Blah, Deutsche Bank AG
Mr, Blah Blah Blah my manager is in charge of the Head of EU Energy Research and his mission is naturally related to these Energy Markets as they play together in tandem incentivising behaviour in terms of Power Generators… and in Standard and Poor’s presentation tonight. So, my presentation is going to talk mainly about supply and demand volatility as within the EU emissions markets. What’s happened with that in recent years. Why prices are where they are now. And what we think is possible and will be needed to restore some measure of price tension in the markets. Right so, just to start off with, a little bit about our overall Commodities views. On Oil, we believe that the price of Oil risks is actually to be upside now. There are a number of fundamental factors regarding the prices that producing countries need to do to balance their National Budgets combined with the type of resources that would give rise to increasing incremental production in the coming years and those sources… of production are at a relatively high costs. On the industrial metal side, in the earlier part of this year, we were looking at considerable expectation of further easing of from the Chinese monetary authorities… we haven’t really seen that come through to the extent that, some were expecting, and in fact it seems now that recent statements indicate that those actions will not be forthcoming to a very large degree. So, but in the long term we do think that Industrial Metals will also have some price upside. On Precious Metals actually, Gold is the one that attract the most attention. We do think that given the current environment of negative fuel rates there are supports for Gold prices. And finally on Agriculture, primarily, weather risks are there. Since that isn’t the focus I will move on to our next topic. So really kind of to set the stage on European Energy. There are a number of issues that make it difficult for the EU ETS, the Emissions Trading Scheme in order to balance supply and demand. One of this certainly the economic crisis that we are looking at now. But actually, there are other structural factors that make it difficult.
1. One is the increasing Energy Efficiency that was happening even in the advance of the 2020 targets. If we look at this chart up there. We can see that Energy in terms of Kilogram’s of Oil equivalent per 1000… years of GDP has certainly on a steady downwards trend. On the other hand. Renewable penetrations in most of the EU have been on the rise. Apart from four countries: Notably, Germany, it has had extensive build up of Solar Power capacity in recent years. The numbers that you see up there with the government targets of 3.5 Giga Watts per year. So that’s one of the countries that as our speaker from Standard and Poor’s mentioned to us tonight is cutting back on feeding tariffs in order to rebalance of Solar capacity versus what the government intends as targets for every year. And so, yes, I guess I would say that the structural factors that you know make it difficult for supply and demand in the EU ETS because fixed supply is matched with varying demand. And that is fundamentally what’s creating the difficulty in pricing at the current moment. If we just look at what happened in EUA pricing since 2008 initially at the start of the period, we were looking… it looked as if the market will deliver the high prices that are consistent with the policy goals on which the system was founded. And so, given what we think are necessary EUA prices for Power to incentify Fuel switching between say Gas and Coal. Right now we are certainly at prices that do not incentify that switching. And in fact Coal Fire Generation is running at base low. In the UK for instance, given where Gas and Coal prices are. And Gas Fire Generation is actually running at a margin. So in other words… fluctuates Gas Fire Generation will fluctuate. Whereas Coal Fire Generation is running pretty much at its maximum capacity which is the opposite in fact of what you are looking for in terms of EU ETS to give you high signals should really be given you high signals to run Gas instead of Coal. So since 2009, conditions triggered a down grading of growth. Hence the EU Energy consumption. We did see a momentary upside in regards to the decrease in Nuclear… industrialisation out of Japan. And of course also the planned retirement of Nuclear capacity in Germany. We also saw an increase in prices when there was a movement to possibly set aside Emission Certificates from the auctioning… process. And this means that, a certain volume of Emission Certificates would be removed from the systems and possibly removed permanently. And therefore, helping to rebalance demand and supply for Emission Certificates. But as of this moment, the newest plans for the Energy Efficiency Directive do not include… any set aside and it looks as if that will not make it into the Energy Efficiency Directive. And therefore that the hopes that has been pushed back. And of course now with the debt crisis intensifying and the effects that they are having on expectations for again economic growth and Energy consumption, we saw through the decline of ETS prices, over the last six to eight months. So this slide shows what we think is supply demand balance in ETS through… phases two and three. So phase two ends in 2012 and phase two begins in 2013. Emission Certificates are thinkable… from one phase to the next. Hence there is continuity to the system. And basically, what we are looking at here, by the end of the phrase three, we are still looking at a surplus of more than a billion Tonnes of Emission or a billion… Actually, this was our initial estimation before the Energy Efficiency Directive. If I move on to the next slide which takes into account the Energy Efficiency Directive which by the way of course decreases the amount of Energy consumed therefore increases the surplus in the ETS system. We are looking at that surplus moving from one billion, up to 1.2 billion,… on the next slide that is raised to 1.2 billion to 1.3 billion… And actually, the assumptions that we have used to produce this projection do not take into account the optimistic end account of the government estimates for Energy Efficiency. As part of the Energy Efficiency Directive, there are two scenarios presented.
1. One was the optimistic scenario.
2. And the other one was the pessimistic scenario.
And in fact, the estimates that we have incorporated here are actually even less pessimistic or even more pessimistic than the most pessimistic scenarios are presented by the EU and that’s because we think it would be extremely quite difficult to achieve if those targets, actually Energy Efficiency target is not binding in terms of the actual Energy Efficiency. It is only presenting measures that help to contribute to those Energy Efficiency targets. In another element that we think that makes it difficult to meet the targets the rebound effect which means that as consumer saves on Energy, they actually use their savings not by keeping a piggy bank, but rather to other things. And those other things may include direct Energy consumption or may include consumption of products which in turn require Energy reduced. So therefore, you don’t get 100% savings on the amount of Energy Efficiency that you have consumed and achieved under the system. So essentially, we are looking at Energy Efficiency. We are looking at low prices. What do you think is necessary in order to rebalance the market? Well one that we should be aware of when we look at the balance is that industry are structurally... so given that the Power sector to hedge… their Power Generation, an industry is looking at selling these Certificates whenever they find the price attractive. You are really expecting industries not to sell at prices below down a certain level. And the level that we are trading now is one which we think that actually industry is looking at prices and saying well, over the course of the remaining life of the ETS 2020 do we think that prices could be higher at some point? And therefore, if we do think that prices will be higher… and this represents what we think is the political optionality in the EU ETS. Meaning that at some point in the future, you might think that, the EU will issue some provision of the system, such that either
1. Emission Certificates are removed from the system or
2. Emission targets from the current 20% level and currently the current level is to reduce emission by 20% from the 1990… level.
So you know if there was that kind of tension in people’s minds then you know it might
very well see industries selling as much of their Emission Certificates as they could and
therefore bringing the price down to zero. But in fact that is not happening. So essentially
yes, this is the political optionality that we think explains where prices
are currently there doesn’t seem to be the political the will or the likelihood for significant
…change… to the system to restore prices to the level where say, Coal and Gas would
Compete equally. Or in fact where Gas will be an advantage to Coal for Power
Generation. So, as for this political narrative, we think that will remain at best below Euro 10
for the foreseeable future. But to give you an idea of what we think might be a scenario that is sufficient to restore prices to Fuel Switching Levels, is the next slide which where we look at 30% target, 30% reductions in emissions by 2030 versus the 1990 level. And this is probably the magnitude of the change that would need to see in order to restore the EU ETS to playing the role in Power Generation, to the extent that it was designed to play. And the problem that we see now is that again there is not in the likelihood there is not the political will for project or the vision to EU ETS as so therefore we think that this shows the difficulty in restoring price tension to the market. And lastly, we looked at Germany’s Energy Renewable Projects. I guess the one thing that I want to point out here is that even in the absence of high prices in the EU ETS, we are still looking at government’s plan to double Renewable capacity and Renewable Generation by 2020. So you know, there are, there obviously are the emission system is only one of them, the three pillars of the Energy Reform even without the EU ETS there are significant incentives in place that make it a little more further build up the likelihood for reality. So that concludes my comments and I would be happy to take any questions.Deutsche Bank AG
Ø Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter: Has anyone any questions for Deutsche Bank?
Ø Question from the okra eXpress audience: Can I ask questions? I guess I have two questions. The first one is. … … … The EU ETS going forward. I don’t, I have not quite read up on that. But I don’t understand how that is going to work. Because it is supposed to be a fund resource … sort of credit, whatever you want to call it. How does that work when it works differently in one geography compared to others.
Ø Answer from Deutsche Bank’s Managing Director, Global Carbon Markets, and the Head of Energy Research. Well certainly, of course, it is only active in the UK. And so geographical wise, it means that potentially, you would see, it would make sense more to Fuel Generation in Europe than have interconnection to transmit that Power into the UK to make… that possible. But I think the project … that you are referring to takes effect in April next year (April 2013). And it is actually implemented as a tax on Fuel. So if you burn Coal, you are going to pay more than if you burn Gas. So it does have the effect that there is incentive to raising the Carbon price. Interesting enough, actually with Carbon, Coal, Gas prices where they are now before the curve, it is actually not enough to change the incentives for Gas. So in other words it doesn’t make Gas more economically than Coal. Even if the Carbon price fall. Which I suppose goes to show how, kind of how large the gap is between Coal and Gas at the moment. And of course the reason we look at Coal and Gas is because that is the primary by which EU ETS could produce those emissions without the need to shut down… investment which would require higher further ETS price.
Ø Question from the okra eXpress audience: I mean I have a follow up question that relates to that. And it is kind of a theoretical one I suppose. But I understand there is a lot of concern about the EU ETS resulting in a lot of Fuel Switches. Or as much Fuel switches as possible. But at the same time it was designed originally to accomplish and that is the whole idea with the Carbon Trade system that you set a goal in terms of reductions accomplished and that’s the goal. And if that is not accomplishes, I am not sure what the problem is with that. I mean if you reach that. That was the point. And if that require an expensive Fuel switch. Is that real… a problem?
Ø Answer from DB’s Managing Director, Global Carbon Markets, and the Head of Energy Research. I guess it depends on your point of view. I think that some people or many people would say that the EU ETS I guess was designed not only to make the reductions of emissions happen, but actually to incentify Clean Energy Technologies. And incentify investment in Gas and Solar. Or some combination… like Coal. So in that regard, even if you do achieve the emission reductions on target, I think a lot of people will say it is still not meeting its parts it intents. Yes, so I guess it is a matter of definition. But you are right. If you have achieved emission target as you set in the first place, then yes, you could consider that as measures of success.
Ø Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter: Are there any other questions? Yes, sure.
Ø Question from the okra eXpress audience: Just a question on the 30% target. How likely do you think that we could move towards that? It has been talked about for a couple of years now. And I know that the Commission, or parts of the Commission, the DG Environment – DG Climate has been very keen to promote it. So, by your chart, it seems that that would be the pretty quick solution to what we have in terms of the overhang of surplus EUAs. So it would be relatively simple solution and given that the … has such a long position, they could bear the pain. Maybe you, could you please express your views on that?
Ø Answer from DB’s managing Director, Global Carbon Markets, and the Head of Energy Research. Yes. I guess it is a possibility. I’m not really in the position to assign probability. But I would say that its, I think the reason that it is such an amount of focus and talk about the … … … … goes such lower… it could be implemented much more quickly and arguably have the same effect depending on the magnitude of the set asides. But I mean yes, actually I am not sure how to assign probability to a move to a 30% target. I mean it has certainly more than used and discussed in recent months. But it doesn’t seem given the fact that set aside the set aside; it does seem a bit difficult … But I am not really in the position to say about that.
Ø Question from the okra eXpress audience: This might not be a fear question. So I apologies. But Renewables, Solar and Wind, and the fact that we have to in the UK look at Nuclear, and sort of build a new Nuclear, and the fact that we also have to develop Carbon Capture for the Coal sector. We can’t acquire all these at the same time. We have not got a lot of money sorry. With the Carbon price which doesn’t even insentifies any of those options. How much do you think based on the fact, I mean McKinsey sort of said what they think that …. is going to be for Energy, prior to the position we are now economically. How do you think that is going to affect subsidies which seem to be removed from different parts?
Ø Answer from DB’s managing Director, Global Carbon Markets, and the Head of Energy Research. Well, I wouldn’t think necessarily that the removal of subsidies or I guess the subsidies that I am thinking about are been a threat… I wouldn’t think that that is a down side for Renewables build up, for simply because, the adjustments that we are looking to do is bring the … down to the government in terms of levies... So in other words they have actually had more than they intended. But, I guess in the long term looking at Wind and Solar, I think given the decrease in prices, the sort of improvements in technology that we are seeing there are still pretty good expectation that those will be much larger share of …
in a couple of years. So I think that there is such a long way to go in terms of investment. Especially in terms of great Environmental Technologies that are necessary to manage the Renewables. In terms of Nuclear at this point, I will say that it certainly still requires a large degree of subsidies to make sense. And also in the Environment where we are now probably the primary concern it is difficult to say whether that will make it possible to invest in Nuclear. So I guess I will say that the reductions and Tariffs are probably are not the main thing I will look at the moment. But rather the kind of entire structure and set of standards that the government has placed on...
Ø Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter: Well, are there any other questions? We are about to the end of our session here. Well certainly, I would like to get one quick question in perhaps. With regards to the impact of the Global demand for Energy and to what degree is this affecting European markets? Clearly Coal is utilised much closer to its source but Gas can be transported all over the place so there is a Global demand for that. I was wondering with both gentlemen if we could consider the development of these technologies. UK is a potential market in developing economies for these. Do you foresee much demand in future or these will be viable markets for Wind Power and certainly these other markets.
Ø Sound bites from Standard and Poor’s Standard & Poor’s, Managing Director, Global Carbon Market. Shall I address that? Yes, okay. I think that definitely there is an opportunity for the UK in developing Renewable Technology elsewhere. You know in terms of Wind Power and also Tidal. In fact the UK is the World leader in developing Tidal technology. I think we have lost the race on Solar to the Chinese where in terms of manufacturing, the Chinese I think have basically taken formal a… lead in producing PV panels and I think virtually all the Californian PV projects are now supplied by China. So it is quite interesting with us the development taking place. But on Wind, you know a lot of the technologies is been developed by Danish to start with because they were the first in but you know, at the same time, because of the EU, huge investment requirement in the UK and to some extent also in Germany, we are going to see the UK and Germany leading in that respect. I think a lot of that will be exported to developing countries. And that is the way that we see it. I think your other question about Global Energy. One thing we haven’t talked about is Shale Gas. And I think Shale Gas is potentially a Game Changer. In a very big degree in terms of everything we have been talking about. In the US it has already become a Game Changer because you know the Gas price has gone down so low in the US that there is no longer any a focus on the need to build up large scale Renewables in the same way that it was a few years ago. Because you know, obviously Gas is a relatively Clean Fossil Fuel. It is about half the emissions of Coal. And as such the plentiful supply of Shale Gas leaving aside the Environmental concerns has basically changed the Energy balance in the US to a huge degree. The question now is whether that will be a Global shift. Apart from Gas coming from the traditional sources in Europe like North Sea Gas from Norway, and Russian Gas through Gas line via Gasprom. The other major source of Gas in Europe is through LNG, supplied mainly from the Middle East. Now a lot of the Middle East LNGs have now been diverted to Asia. So leaving Europe potentially with the security of supply issue. Not wanting to be overly exposed to Russian Gas, with depleting North Sea Gas. And we have more and more emphasis on Shale Gas. So we are going to see a lot of interesting dynamics the next few years in terms of Gas and going back to Renewables, even if we do build all these Off Shore Wind Plant, you will still going to need Gas Plant as back up. Because if intermittent Energy. And you need Gas to be there to provide Power when Wind doesn't blow.
Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter: Well thank you very much. Oh! Yes, sure.
Ø Question from the okra eXpress audience: This is about the question you asked about the UK Global contributions. And I wanted to make contributions in terms of the Trade Finance that is now available. You find that in terms of specific developing countries. Some of the governments like the US governments; the UK governments will make Trade Finance available. And if for instance the UK government is making Trade Finance available, then that is beneficial to UK companies only in terms of assisting developing countries. So when we talked about I’m not sure what his name was, he mentioned about Solar for instance, we know that the Chinese do have a lead, but if you are a UK company, and you want to deal with the developing countries, you can actually tap into the Trade Finance from the UK.
Ø Sound bites from the okra eXpress audience. Well yes, that will be one way to find out.
Ø Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter: That’s one. Stopping place. Okay, well, I think if there are no other questions, we should be wrapping this up. We have certainly had a very interesting session in which the gentlemen have explained the outlook for Clean Energy in Europe with regard to the EU ETS. And with regard to Carbon Markets and the situation with Investment. So I would like to thank both gentlemen for their talks this evening. And I am sure that you would share with me my appreciation for information and the insight that we have had here. Thank you very much. Now I do understand that these talks are available and indeed will be sent out to those emails of those who have registered. Unless you have some objections. I am sure they will be much appreciated. So thank you also for sharing those presentations. There is a lot of good information in there. So the rest of the evening, we can network, and perhaps fill in some of those gaps if you have any other questions and insights you feel are worthwhile. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Sound bites from the okra eXpress events. Banging the drums to boost Investment.Sound bites from the okra eXpress event on 13 June 2012 on Telecoms, Media and Technology - Future Trends in the Digital Age - We live in Digital Times. Go Digital - Remain Ethical in this modern age.
Sound bites from the okra eXpress presenter. This is the okra eXpress podcast on investing in Telecom, Media and Technology in the digital world. It is recorded at the Macmillan Suite, in Portcullis House at the Palace of Westminster. an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress, held in Portcullis House, Palace of Westminster, Macmillian Room, a room in the Palace of Westminster, named after a former British Prime Minister, the now-deceased, Harold Macmillan 1st Earl of Stockton. This is Great Britain. Our guests today Mr. Bla,Bla, Bla, who is the former president of China Unicom. One of the biggest telephone companies in China and Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah, Media Law specialist at Mischon de Reya here is London. Mr. Blah, Blah Blah, can I start with you. Could you just tell us and you must speak into the microphone, a little bit about China Unicom because it is an enormous telecom company.
Answer from the former president of China Unicom: China Unicom is one of the three telecom operatives in China . They are full service telecom operators deriving from
ü Mobile to
ü Fixed to
ü Broadbands to
ü Satellites and
ü All sorts of telecom services
The company, the main market is China. We also have overseas offices all over the world. In Europe there are offices in
ü France and also
So they also do business outside of China as well.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Just simply because of the size of the market within China. This is one of the world’s really big players in the telecom market.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Yes, in fact, I guess because of the market size of China all three of these telecom operators are ranked quite high in terms of their assets and also revenue. They are all within the fortune 100 all three of them. And I think China mobile is the biggest of the three. And I believe that they are number one or number two now in the world compared with other telecom operator in size.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. And yes, although they have offices in other parts of the world. I think they have got three or so in Europe, and offices in the United States. Their customers are pretty much based in China.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Yes it is. In fact the kind of services they are offering are mainly Chinese customer, Chinese focus… They mainly focus in corporate. So Chinese set up with Chinese companies doing business outside of China. These are their focus.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. So why is it that China Unicom and the other big Chinese operators… because, let us get this on the record here, because they are all government owned. Or maybe, I’d rather answer my own question. Is that the reason why they haven’t looked to expand as telecom operators outside China’s borders?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom:… First of all there are many reasons for that. First of all they are State owned companies they do have different priorities. Usually, the country’s interests come before commercial interests. And so whatever they do overseas, they will consider strategic projects rather than just commercial projects.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. So this why we see so many Chinese mining companies and so on expanding into Africa?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom:…Yes, but this is not official. This is not coming from the Chinese government. The Chinese government has not made a statement about that. But yes. As a Chinese executive, kind of understand that if you run a Chinese State owned company, then your priorities is to protect the country’s interest rather than making money for the companies. So as you say, yes, as you said, there are a lot of Chinese companies buying resources overseas. And obviously these kind of activities are considered to be strategic to the country. Whereas for telecom operators, if you go to other country to buy telecom company. It doesn’t give you anything to take to China. You basically, you go into other people’s country and compete in the overseas market. And obviously, to add to that, Chinese companies because they are State owned, and they are well protected in China. It is only three of them for such a large market. They are not very competitive. So you basically go into another country and buy foreign company in a developed country. Most likely they are going to make the company worse.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Well this was actually the question I wanted to come onto. It is the era of globalisation. China’s telecom companies are not expanding beyond the borders of China. But I’m right to say, aren’t I? That there are no, none of the international telecom companies are operating in China. Why is that? Are they allowed to?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Well legally, they are allowed to operate in the Chinese market. Even participate in this sort of basic telecom services. But then the condition is that they form a joint venture with local partner. They can take up to 49%, I believe according to the civic… relation. But unfortunately, because there are only three players in the market and the three of them are not selling their share. So even though in theory, you can go to buy, let’s say you buy China mobile up to 49%, equally possible, but it is not happening. Because firstly, China mobile is not selling. And secondly, even if they are selling, it would be too expensive and too big and no other company can take 49% of China Mobile.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. And of course. It is not just China Mobile that is not selling. In truth, all these companies are owned by the Chinese government. It is the Chinese government that is not selling.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Well exactly. In fact, all of them are listed in Hong Kong and the US, so they are selling. But only a minority. And if you want to increase… usually, I am talking about 20 something percent. So if you want to raise the percentage to 49% usually it is very difficult because… if they don’t sell, nobody can buy.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. But the implication of that is that the Chinese government doesn’t want foreign companies coming in and developing the telecom market in China. Is that right?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: I won’t say so. I mean, it is certainly not the intention of the Chinese government. I mean, in many countries or similar situation, like India for example, I mean no company goes to India and operate there as independent company. Again you have to form a joint venture with local partner. So many countries are doing this. But the problem with Chinese companies is that they are too big. So even if you want to buy them, nobody can afford them. So 49% is like a theoretical image… But there are so many attempts in the past, like SK telecom… they bought certain percentage of China Unicom. And telefonica bought certain percentage of China Netcom. And most recently, just few days ago, telefonica announced that they are selling half of their share to China Unicom. So these companies they are too big Chinese companies… but because they are minorities, it doesn’t give them any say…. they are minorities so they do not make any decision for the company. And this is the current situation.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. So is there real competition between the three companies telecom companies in China, given that they are all ultimately owned by the Chinese government?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: In fact they do compete. But I will say because I will say that I have been doing business in Europe and I have been doing business in China. Although they compete, they are not as, the market is not that competitive as let’s say the European markets.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Would it be a better place if, for example companies like Vodaphone were allowed to come in and start operations? Would that be good for China?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: I think it would definitely be good for Chinese consumers. Because the price would drop. There will be more sort of new services. But then, it doesn’t mean that the reliability or quality of services would be better. Once you start competing with each other, then the cost is an issue and then everybody will be trying to save costs.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Or to look at it another way, everybody will be competing on quality and the company who gave the best quality of service with the best price will get the customers.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Unfortunately, I think this is more of a theoretical of people teaching in an MBA course. In practice this doesn’t happen. I mean if you have an opportunity to go to China, you know that the telecom coverage, the coverage in China is very good. Even you go to the elevator; you go into the underground car park you have coverage. But in the UK, for example, even in my home, I don’t have coverage from one of this major operator. So competition ma not be a good thing in terms of quality because everybody will be trying to save money.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. I suppose the other way to look at it is that Though is to look back at the situation in the UK, only twenty years ago, we had only one telecom. It was British Telecom. It was owned by the government. It was very expensive. You know, a ten minutes call to China would cost the equivalent of for some people, probably a day’s wages back then. Fast forward twenty years, we have companies competing with each other, we have telephone services operating the internet. And a ten minute call to China, well there may be instances that you can probably find ways of doing it next to nothing. So surely, competition is good.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Again, me as a consumer, I welcome competition. The price will definitely be cheaper. But in terms of quality, I think competitions do help to improve quality to a certain extent. It doesn’t guarantee the country to have the best quality in the world. I think most operator will just compete if they want to have the best quality. They just wanted the best quality amongst the companies, rather than the best quality in the world. They don’t need that.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Okay, can I switch now from the mobile phone market which is fascinating to another area where international companies have tried to move into China and have found some resistance? And that’s the internet. And the obvious example is Google and Baidu the Chinese search engine. Why is the Chinese government so reluctant to give Google pre access into the Chinese internet?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: I think by free access you mean that Chinese government do not do any screening at all. Okay, I guess what Google was demanding most other international companies are demanding the Chinese government not the screen any content. But I think this won’t happen in China for the next foreseeable future. And it is not happening in many countries. If you look at the Middle East for example, India even, Pakistan, … I think there are more countries who have these kind of a protection rather than countries who open other market. For countries who claim that they fully open other markets, even UK for example, they are talking about new regulations. They want to screen internet. So I think that it is difficult to tell whether there is the direction it is going. Where there is going to be more open in the future or more close in the future. Myself, I don’t think the internet would be 100% free at all. So I guess the Chinese come from trying to deliberately discourage foreign ownership for investment in the internet industry. The problem is most internet companies would not want to be restricted in China.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. If I can just rewind this is that there is a difference in what’s been proposed in the UK and what’s going on in China. The difference is that in the UK, yes, security services reserve the right to monitor traffic on the internet. But they are not actually blocking it. Where as in China, Google search results are actually been blocked. For certain subject and we all know what they are. The page will not respond and you will actually see a page that shows that there is filtering…
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Okay, I will offer you another point of view. In many countries even in the US they do monitoring. They don’t do blocking. But if I am a normal citizen, I would prefer blocking rather than monitoring. Because if the government monitor my traffic, I don’t know whether I am doing the right thing or the wrong thing when I am been monitored. But if I’m been blocked, at least I know the thing that I have done was wrong. So I have been blocked. And I won’t do it again. So honestly speaking I prefer blocking rather than monitoring.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. And that’s an interesting cultural perspective. Yes, I suppose the question then come, do you then trust the people who are setting up block lists to block fairly and in a way that springs up bad stuff but allows those with legitimate point of view to put those points of view.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: I think with today’s technology, it is impossible to block exactly the content that you want to block. So for some in China, the café actually block more than they need to block. And so because of the technology, and the person whom I think that do all the information… which do not need to be blocked, but is been blocked in China.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Okay, this is all very interesting. We will come back again and ask you to comment on... Our next speaker is Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah, from a law firm, Mischon de Reya. Ms. Blah, Blah, Blah, you are a specialist in media law. Can I just ask you to comment on that last point that we had there? That the idea that actually internet filtering is preferable to the idea of having a free internet where you don’t really know as a consumer if you should be going to places. Now, the UK government is looking at changing internet policies, the security services do have to monitor. What do you make of that as a lawyer?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well as a lawyer I have experience myself that it is very difficult to block information that is on the internet. And I am sure that the Chinese government is discovering that as we speak. We have experienced that however hard you try to move information from the internet, whether it is illegal or simply in breach of the order. You are going to struggle and if only because one, you are operating in one jurisdiction and the second, you get an internet feed that can bounce through another European country, then you have got grounds any blocks you have got in place.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. There are though plenty of instances where there is material on the internet that causes deep distress to people not just the government but to people in the street ordinary citizens. And there was a case which is making the news this week of a woman who had a fake face book page set up about a hate page trolling I think is the name that is used for these sorts of activities. And there has been what is regarded as a land mark legal case where the High Court has told face book that it has to release the names that it has about those people that set those pages up. Firstly, can you just explain why that’s significant?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well, Face book is based in America they do not accept the jurisdiction of the English Courts. So the problem that you often have in cases like these is that whilst the material in question may be in breach of English law, for example, defamatory material, and we have stricter definition rules than the US does. So whilst you may be able to get an order here, in the US it will not be reciprocal. And that it is highly likely that any US company will not accept it and will just ignore it. In this case because of the level of hatred and harassment, and abuse that this page was, I think that as far as I am aware that I think that face book will comply with it. I mean we have had situations before where we have got orders against blah, blah, blah, where blah, blah, blah, have helped us, have corresponded with over us and actually agreed the order that they would comply with. So, but you can only do that where you manage to open a line of correspondence with them. In this case the court has genuinely given an order they will serve it on face book and face book must comply with it. Having said that, not very much materials have been released about exactly the order that they have got. So I can’t tell you for sure how much further they have managed to take it in this case.
·Question from the okra eXpress presenter. And my understanding is the victim in this case is a bit far from home and dry. It could be months that she actually gets the information that she needs. And then even when she has got it, she is then going to take to the UK authorities and try and persuade them to do something with it. Wouldn’t it be just an awful lot easier if a system like the one Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, former president of China Unicom: where she could just go down to the Police station
and say, look, this is the case, this is upsetting. It is on the internet. Could you switch it off please? And the Police Officer rings up internet control and the page disappears. And they can even track down who put it up as well. There is an argument for that. Isn’t there?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Yes, there may be in very extreme cases. If they think that the argument for freedom of expression will always be that although you may run the risks of level of abuse being thrown at people. It is still important there is freedom of debate and sometimes debates are rude… and sometimes debates are funny. However, it is important that we are allowed to do that and that our country has very strong freedom of expression laws. And it is obviously something that is extremely topical at the moment with Leverson. I think that you would have a country in…. if anyone didn’t like what you had written on twitter was able to go and get your page taken down immediately. And it is obviously it is the beginning of a slippery slope down which way you will end up with the government saying, I don’t like what you are saying at all. Because you are criticising the coalition’s policy on environment. And it comes down and then you are in a bad place.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Can I put a counter point to that? And that is something that I used to find in my background as a journalist. I used to be a journalist with the BBC. And we are at a point where the world is changing massively where the world is going from the old happy days of the print media, where there was an agreement into how the world worked between the journalists and the politicians. And everyone else. There was an understanding and there was clearly laws which you would help us interpret as a media lawyer which we all knew. And we understood the boundaries of the press: there were the defamation laws, libel and slander and there were laws regarding contempt of court which made it very clear within the boundaries that us journalists used to work in. Then the internet appeared and suddenly all those laws seemed to completely disappear. And actually the legitimate publications, broadcasters such as the one I worked for who were trying to do a good job; trying to tell the story fairly and properly were simply loosing the attention of the audience. Because the stuff that you can tell if you don’t have to be responsible to anyone, is an awful lot more exciting. And that’s something which unless, the new media is taken at hand, the old media is going to die as a result.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Yes, I think you have a valid point. Especially if you look at the way the news is reported now. Quite often new stories break on twitter for example before any of the major news agencies pick it up. So it is a huge challenge to the news industry if we can call it that. To try and keep up with this new media. However, there is… it is not the same. A blog is not the same as proper balanced journalism with a considered opinion with proper research. I think that when you look at…
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. It has a bigger audience though.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Sorry?
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. It can have a bigger audience though.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Yes, it can have a bigger audience, but. I mean if you look at the blah, blah, blah, the blah, blah, blah has blah blah blah, that is doing blah, blah, blah. And that blah, blah, blah, to be blah, blah, blah. And yet online instantaneous updated every moment.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. How much is blah, blah, blah loosing every year. I mean blah, blah, blah, is a financial disaster.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well exactly. I mean we have got to find out ways to make it work. And maybe, blah, blah, blah has gone the right way by saying you have got to pay for pages. But obviously you going to immediately loose readership.
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. The alternative will be to take the new media in hand. And put in a little of the suggestion that Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, former president of China Unicom and actually rein the press in. Rain the new media in the way that the old media has worked and have always reined in. If I as a journalist broke the rules of contempt of court. I could find myself in prison. And yet people are regularly making statement on the internet which is contempt of court and the Police would do nothing.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well that’s not entirely true.
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. But there is a lot of truth in it.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: No, yes, yes, I mean there is huge amount of variety on the internet and people can get away a lot more because they are not regulated. However, I do think that the way the law is changing at the moment. We are taking steps. Baby steps towards a more regulated online environment. For example with trolling and that recent case on face book, has now caused parliament to debate on whether or not they should insight an extra clause in the libel act which they have drafted. To make sure that any online, any website could be held liable for the abuse that it had posted on it. And that they should assist the authorities in taking such material down and identifying those behind it. In addition, I know that blah, blah, blah, who was trolled horribly recently, one of the people who was behind some of the worse stuff that were said about her has actually got an order taken against them which have a… notice. So they are injuncted from contacting her and other celebrities. And that if they breach that injunction, they will go to prison. So we are taking baby steps but I agree, it is the internet exploded and no one now knows what to do with the bees… that has been released. And it keeps growing extra heads.
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. Isn’t it one of the problems that we are always going to have Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, former president of China Unicom eluded to it. It is the very global nature about the internet. Yes, if you really want to you can close down a website that is in your country. And that you can even persuade because that is really what it is an international company like face book to close something down within your jurisdiction. But the truth is, once something is out there, it becomes unstoppable.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Yes.
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. By the law anyway.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well, yes, and I can’t see how you would manage to stop it without using the law other than just pulling the plug on the internet.
· Comment from the okra eXpress presenter. Yes, and I was going to say, the only other solution is the technical solution.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Yes, but still that is only in one jurisdiction. Isn’t it? So the second you step out of China, you can read whatever you want in the internet… Exactly, I believe there are ways around the filter. But I wouldn’t know about that. Sorry, I have forgotten the question. Where are we?
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. I suppose the question that I am ultimately asking can there ever be a solution to this?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Probably not a global solution. Unless we create a global solution literally all the countries sitting down together. And coming up with a set of principles that they believe internet information should be pulled from the internet in certain circumstances. And I can’t see that that is going to ever happen. I mean, they can’t event, countries can’t even agree on how to reduce emissions to save the planet let alone, information on the internet. I think in this jurisdiction, we are taking baby steps towards a better regulatory environment. I think the US will take a very long time to try to get anywhere near that stage. And at the moment are taking steps away from it and having less regulation online. So in a short answer, no.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. What are the commercial opportunities that this new landscape presents to you for clients?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: Well, online reputation obviously is now your most important reputation. Other than the reputation you have professionally. I think that for our clients, getting your message out on the internet is very important. And we know… they dedicate a lot of time and money to doing that. We have developed a product called Mishcon Repute which helps people manage their online reputation. So that is the reaction to trolling in the extreme but also very negative blogs, and campaigns because it is very easy to launch a campaign on the internet and have a few pump up sights that look that they are unconnected and saying the same thing. So for us there is s business opportunity for our clients. There is a huge opportunity to get your message out there for free essentially. And in every jurisdiction.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Okay, can I turn back to Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the former president of China Unicom: Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, Ms Blah, Blah, Blah, from Mischon de Reya, made some points that actually would be made by most media commentators as we view it in a Western perspective. There is no way in reality of putting a technical blog on the internet. It is better to manage it and try and let something wonderful grow out of it. Where you persuaded by that? Can you see common ground?
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: Again, I am speaking from a personal point of view as a citizen rather than a politician. I believe that people who release their opinion on the internet, has to be accountable for it. I don’t see the reason why not. Because for example, like the journalist who wrote up an article about something he has put his name down and if the article is not he has to bear the responsibility at least to the certain extent of this; of the responsibility. And I don’t think why he intends to use it to just release information which is not factual to the internet and cause whatever problem to others and can get away from it. So my belief is that we do need some kind of regulation on the internet and the people who release this information to the internet they have to be responsible for it...
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. I shall put a similar question to Ms Blah, Blah, Blah, from Mischon de Reya, in a moment, but may I first just ask you to look forward ten years, are we moving into a more global media world in your view? Are we going to see international bodies crossing borders, crossing the borders into China and actually see big Chinese companies come in and taking an active part of the media landscape here.
· Answer from the former president of China Unicom: I believe so. And I am looking at for example, few years ago, this Iraq war and obviously, we have the Western, the so called Western media reporting the situation and we also have Al jazeera, the Arab channels they usually have often different views. It is kind of international or none Western media is getting more attention and they are also getting more support. At least for myself, once in a while I watch Al jazeerarather than just BBC just to get the different point of view. And I think this will continue. And I won’t be surprised let’s say few years time the Chinese CCTV Central Television will be international okay. Although they are not doing too well now… So I believe in the future there will be more and more none Western, none traditional channel but that may not be a good thing. Sometimes you have this kind of competition in the market. People get confused. And obviously if you only have one point of view people believe it is true. But then people have a different point of view then the consumer may be in the future, they would have lost their confidence of the media and they won’t believe anything the media said.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. Yes, and it is actually in my last days at the BBC I discovered I was fascinated, I always thought that the BBC World Service had the biggest network of correspondents of anyone, I discovered that there were more people working as correspondent in Chinese Radio International.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. to Ms Blah, Blah, Blah, from Mischon de Reya, if I can just turn to you for a final word. Where you persuaded. Can you see actually, the Chinese culture does have a point that the internet is causing real personal disasters for some people and the systems that are in place at the moment in the Western world are not dealing with it.
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: No I think it is tempting. But obviously it leads to the question of who guards the blah, blah, blah. We here hold … our freedom of expression very very dear and close to our hearts. And I don’t see there is going to be a huge amount of public support or a sort of blanket shut down system. Having said that, the internet has to change. Newspapers are going to have to change. The news generally will have to end up online and that will more than likely result in a much more regulated environment which is no bad thing. But in terms of blanket shut downs, I can’t see it happening.
· Question from the okra eXpress presenter. And if I also ask you to just look ahead into the future, do you see the landscape globalising. Do you see the time when Chinese telecom companies will be working in this country providing services to people in other parts of the world?
· Answer from the media lawyer from Mischon de Reya: I am certain. I am sure that that would be the case. I think any company in this environment who can work at how to provide a very effective communications solution for a reasonable price, will succeed in every jurisdiction it goes into. I think, news will be globalised. We will all be sharing information over the internet and I don’t think the way that information is spread at the moment, I don’t think that we have got to an actual free and proper flow of good information. We have just got a sort of spillage of all information. And that is what would change.
· Final sound bite from the okra eXpress presenter Ms Blah, Blah, Blah, from Mischon de Reya, solicitors here in London and Mr. Blah, Blah, Blah, the former president of China Unicom: Thank you for your time, and thank you for joining us here at the Macmillan Room in the Portcullis House of the Palace of Westminster. Thank you. Sound bites from the okra eXpress events. Banging the drums to boost Investment.
Online banking fraud rose by 48%. Credit: BBC