Toshiba has been one of Japan’s proudest and oldest group of technology conglomerates. In a move that left many onlookers shocked despite several tell-tale signs over the last year, the technology giant recently said that it will be spinning off its microchip division. This part of the techno-business is responsible for the storage of information inside millions upon millions of devices such as digital cameras and smartphones. Understandably, it has also been the biggest financier of Toshiba’s profits for several years now.
Unfortunately, because of several ill-fated investments in nuclear power projects and an embarrassing accounting scandal, the company’s image has taken a hit and it doesn’t seem to be recovering from the damage any time soon. While the move is pressing evidence of Toshiba’s desperate need for cash after nuclear project related losses hit the spotlights recently, the company will not be taking the entirety of the fall. Shigenori Shiga, the company’s chairman who is also in charge of the nuclear power sector, has agreed to take responsibility for the losses by resigning his post.
During the final months of 2016, Toshiba was warned against writing off billions of U.S. dollars for the ever-expanding expenses of Westinghouse, its American nuclear subsidiary. This tie in with Toshiba’s admission back in 2015 stating that its earnings had inflated by $1.2 billion which had been disguised to hide cost overruns and failing revenues by its nuclear-project managers.
Toshiba is expected to submit a detailed report regarding the extent of its debts during February, 2017. Financial analysts expect the write-downs to cost from $4 billion to $7 billion, which is more than enough to put the future of the company at risk. Though Toshiba has said there has been no finalized decision on which form the semiconductor spinoff would take, financers believe that by selling the entire semiconductor side, the company could come into around $17 billion, all inclusive.
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A destructive wave of anarchy and anti-establishment vibes seems to be challenging the current political order these days. This feeling was built from the idea that by keeping the borders open and the trading laws lax, there was more scope for prosperity. Of course, the past year has shown mixed feelings for the approach.
Britain decided to leave the European Union. Voters who vote for Brexit to go through amidst dire warnings of economic and political collapse were suddenly thrown into the dark when the motion was officially passed. The United States presidential election saw the rise and rather unexpected success of the billionaire politician turned businessman Donald Trump who as president has pledged to build a wall to keep Mexicans out, ban Muslims from the US and scrap free trade deals.
Political analysts are still struggling to put a name to the phenomenon seems to be sweeping over the world. This rise of populism, right-wing extremism and anti-establishment sympathies seems to evade all the usual labels. It is sufficient to say that it has certainly been a surprise for most mainstream parties who thought it would be short-lived. But the wave is gaining tempo and strength and is well on the way to drastically reshaping the socio-economic environment of the West.
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It’s not easy to start a business on a whim. It takes time, patience, learning about your wares and deciding on the right market for them. What if your ideal market lies over the ocean? There are several approaches to setting up a business in a foreign country, but the crux of the problem is getting it approved. Unlike street traders, setting up a certified business takes a lot of convincing and paperwork, depending on the country you have your sights on. Interestingly, not all countries approach setting up the same business the same way.
In fact, it takes only one day to finish your paper work and have a certified business up and running in New Zealand takes less than one day while it takes 230 days to get all the paperwork approved in Venezuela. The startling difference between the approach of the two countries to business explains why the World Bank itself has credited New Zealand as the easiest place in the world to set up a business and why Venezuela is 187th out of 190 on the list. New Zealand has managed to steal first place from Singapore, which held the title for the past ten years.
It isn’t just because Venenzuela has a bad economy that it ranks so low. The World Bank also took into account other aspects of starting a business such as property registration, credit approval and construction permits. It isn’t just about the size of the country either. The United States ranks a rather surprising 8 on the scale while Kazakhstan, Kenya and Brunei have seen the most improvement in their business environments after several recent reforms. Denmark, Norway and Sweden represented the EU in the top ten while Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea representing Asia. The worst rated of the 190 economies was Somalia, with the war-riddled country’s natives barely making enough to survive let alone to pay taxes.
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