Friday, January 29, 2010

Funny stuff..

From here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

US caused Haiti earthquake? You got to be kidding!

I really pity the people who believe this nonsense!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Interview: Ms. Julie Ahn, Managing Director/CCIM Investment Department, DTZ Korea, Ltd.

DTZ is one of the ‘big four’ global real estate advisers operating across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific and the Americas.
With a team of more than 12,500 property professionals and a system operating across people operating from 151 cities in 46 countries, DTZ works with clients to provide innovative real estate, capital markets and business solutions worldwide.
At the forefront of all key markets across the world, DTZ’s local knowledge and expertise makes it one of the top three commercial real estate advisers in EMEA, a pre-eminent retail property adviser in the UK and EMEA, the second-largest UK commercial full-service property adviser and market leader in China.
As noted by Ms. Julie Ahn, Managing Director/CCIM Investment Department, DTZ Korea, Ltd., the company’s transactional business advises on the purchase, sale, leasing and acquisition of all types of commercial and residential real estate. Professional advisory services include the management of real estate portfolios, building consultancy and valuation, as well as capital advice to maximize the value of real estate as an asset class.
“The service we provide to multi-national companies, major financial institutions, property companies, banks, governments and other public sector organizations is not only comprehensive, it’s also backed by the best research and intelligence in the real estate industry,” she said.
She added that DTZ Holdings plc, which is the largest shareholder in DTZ operations, is a publicly quoted company, listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1987. DTZ is in major centers from San Francisco to Shanghai, Stockholm to Sydney with.
In Europe DTZ has one of the strongest market presences of any real estate adviser. In Asia Pacific, DTZ maintains a 6,500-strong team at offices in Australia, New Zealand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea.
Each office offers on the ground expertise in all aspects of the Asia Pacific property market. DTZ has a North American practice which is represented by DTZ Rockwood, DTZ Barnicke and DTZ FHO Partners.
In Mainland China, operational since 1993, DTZ’s fully licensed offices are in 15 cities namely Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan and Xian. It is largest and longest established real estate advisory firm in this fastest growing market.
“In Korea, DTZ launched Seoul office in 2008, the first and only company holding National Valuation Licensed appraisers among international real estate firms in Korea,” she said.
Ms. Ahn said that around the world, the company professionals offer a range of integrated services to leading multinational companies, major financial institutions, governments, developers and investors. “Among the range of comprehensive services we offer are consultancy and research, investment and capital market, valuation, overseas project services, leasing and acquisition and property management.”
DTZ’s suite of services for investors includes capital advisory services, investor consultancy, investment management and invest agency: the full complement of capabilities enabling our clients to exploit the potential of real estate investment market.
From the initial case for investment, to the design and planning of strategy, to the nuts and bolts of financial vehicles, right through to negotiation of acquisition and disposal and finally closing the deal, our specialist teams are able to create unique, bespoke and profitable solutions tailored to clients own needs and objectives, she said.
The workscope in this area includes provision of up-to-date market information and analysis; comprehension and analyses of client’s needs, targets and capabilities; formulation of marketing plans and schedules and disposal solutions, including public tenders, private treaties or public auctions; acquisition and disposal agency on real estate property.
The company has a number of Certified Appraisers and members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (UK), something that is its plus point vis-a-vis rivals.
“The company provides the global-level appraisal services with licensed experts and abundant experiences. Leveraging their special experience of the local and Asian property markets, our team offers a comprehensive range of valuation services,” she noted.
The workscope includes mortgage and financing valuations; statutory valuations like compensation, tax and litigation; capital market valuation for project financing; flotation mergers and acquisitions and accounting, transaction advisory services, due diligence and non-performing loans.
“We also provide comprehensive services of consultancy, investment, management and valuation for overseas project. And especially in Mainland China, where DTZ operates fully licensed offices in 15 cities. The workscope includes property development consultancy for overseas projects; valuation and due diligence for overseas projects; leasing and acquisition agency for overseas projects, property management; and property market study and feasibility study for overseas project,” Ms. Ahn said.
As regards leasing and acquisition, the company caters to corporate , retail, manufacturing and public sector occupiers , providing them the most comprehensive and effective real estate agency services available in the world.
“Our full service package in leasing includes the sourcing of locations and premises, rent reviews, restructures and renewals. We provide the services of acting behalf of developers, landlords and tenants.
Our team is renowned for their brokerage skills and has proven track records in assisting both owners and buyers in all major Asian markets,” she said.
The company works with clients every step of the way from the initial pre-leasing stage, and the team assists with everything from building design and target list preparation to advertising and marketing campaigns.
“If any company is looking to source premises overseas, our extensive and unrivalled network is perfectly placed to help make your move a successful one.”
Ms. Ahn said that DTZ’s property management team provides the fully-integrated, accessible and consistently reliable services that make quality cost-effective. Anticipating and responding to specific requirements, the company offers a full range of services that cover every stage of the property’s life.
The workscope in this area includes pre-project consultancy services, professional building management services, capital replacement services and lease management service.
Global investors, multinational occupiers, property companies and public sector organizations reflect the diversity of the worldwide audience benefiting from DTZs established reputation in consultancy.
In property development consultancy DTZ provides studies on socio economic background, city planning and infrastructure development, initial land use concept, conceptual master layout and initial development parameters. It also provides support to clients in seeking governmental approval on development plans, supply demand analysis, market feasibility studies and project positioning
Advice on the optimum development mix, density and land use plan, advice on appropriate facilities, exterior and interior design, architectural and landscape features and advice on marketing strategy is also provided.
The strategic consulting includes advice on investment strategies and decision making, market study, feasibility study, cash flow study while Real estate asset and portfolio strategy includes property market forecasts, determination of revenue structure, evaluation of capital budgeting projects and advice on financing arrangements.

Interview: Ms. Anna Ranova Kerr, Tengbom Architects

Tengbom is an architectural firm in Sweden which offers services ranging from urban master planning, healthcare and research facilities, offices, and retail, commercial, residential, and industrial buildings to interior design and layout.
Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with additional offices in Gothenburg and Helsingborg, Sweden, Tengbom’s business concept is to offer a complete range of highly qualified, creative and cost effective architectural services, up to and including full project management and leadership services by its planning teams.
Tengbom’s architects regard the way that a building affects the environment as essential. This approach has made them experts in economic and social sustainable development.
As noted by Ms. Anna Ranova Kerr, Tengbom Architects, the company strives to find sustainable and energy efficient solutions with a positive impact – not only on society of today, but also on that of tomorrow.
In this context she noted that Sweden is well positioned with regard to sustainable urban planning, design and architecture. Stockholm was the first winner of the new European Green Capital award and will be European Green Capital in 2010. One of the key-drivers behind this is the strong Swedish tradition of co-operation between planning authorities, architects and developers.
“We think environmental features of a sustainable community should include: utilization and optimal use of local resources, using less, reuse or recycling, carbon neutral, renewable energy sources, energy efficient buildings, transport and mobility management, avoiding hazardous materials in construction and biodiversity,” she said.
With a team of – Architects – Landscape Architects – Urban Planners – Interior Designers Consultants – Tengbom is the third largest architectural firm in Sweden and one of the leading architectural offices in Scandinavia. Tengbom employs over 250 architects and engineers at offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Kalmar, Malmö, Umeå and Uppsala.
“Our firm is one of the oldest in Europe, and has since its foundation in 1906 held its place in textbooks of architectural history as well as being in the forefront in modern times. We pride ourselves in being experts in our diverse fields. Our everyday work continuously fine tunes our professional skills and knowledgebase providing our customers with the knowledge and satisfaction that Tengbom will service all issues and concerns such as complex laws, regulations, and building codes.”
Tengbom’s competence in sustainable design has been developed over the years in a number of green urban planning and housing projects, ranging from Sweden to China.
Since 1997 Tengbom has been fortunate enough to take part in the planning and design of The Hammarby Sjöstad project in Stockholm. The project is a unique development in Sweden, both in terms of size, sustainable design and integrated planning work. Tengbom has taken part in the masterplan process, design, and implementation of the statutory plans, design guidelines, urban management, sustainability issues, and project co-ordination.
“We also designed the environmental information centre GlashusEtt at Hammarby Sjöstad. Environmental education/energy centres like GlashusEtt, are crucial to the on-going success and efficiency of the embedded technology to the community as a whole.”
The building is set in a park with a self-cleansing storm-water canal, surrounded by residential blocks. The building design is transparent in a double sense – from the energy saving double glass facade as well as its environmentally technological and educational content.
“Having been heavily involved in the development of Hammarby Sjöstad for the past ten years has made it possible for us to also work on projects with a focus on sustainable design in other parts of Europe, as well as in Asia and Africa,” she said.
Tengbom has recently designed an office building which has been awarded a GreenBuilding certificate, the first one in the Czech Republic. In Tanzania Tengbom is completing the BEX award winning ”House of Culture” project, a passively sustainable building and renovation of the National Museum in Dar es Salaam.
“The challenges abroad are quite different, but our experience is that the basic Swedish design approach, our holistic green perspective in combination with a strong local involvement creates a sound mix.”
Since Tengbom entered the Asian market four years ago, the company has participated in several projects in early stages with a focus on sustainable design. The growth and urbanization in Asia creates great challenges with regard to balancing growth as well as limiting negative social and environmental effects, she said.
For instance, since Tengbom entered the Chinese market a couple of years ago the company has been invited to take part in several projects focused on sustainable design that are comparable in size with Hammarby Sjöstad. The differences are that these projects are developed three or four times as fast – and that there are numerous projects of similar size under development in all the major cities in China.
At the moment, Tengbom is working on a number of projects not only in China, but also in countries such as India, England, and Tanzania.
“We apply sustainability skills and knowhow from Sweden in our international projects. At Tengbom we believe strongly that the opportunity to work on big and complex projects in various parts of the world make us better prepared to meet future challenges in fast changing and emerging markets.”
Ms. Ranova Kerr noted that at Tengbom, concept and aesthetics are important. But the passion is equally strong for the environment, quality assurance and customer relationships. This comprehensive view has made it one of the leading and fastest growing architectural firms in Scandinavia.
“Working within the tradition of Scandinavian architecture, we strive to find smart solutions for building cities that improve the well being of present, as well as future, generations. All our projects, irrespective of size, type and country, have one thing in common – apart from surface, we also contribute with substance. And just like when we first began in 1906, we are recognized for our new way of thinking and our ambition to create added value – socially, culturally and economically.”
Many of the buildings that Tengbom has designed over the years have become well known landmarks. In Stockholm, for example – where we started more than a century ago – the townscape is characterized by a number of classic Tengbom buildings, like the Concert Hall, the Högalid church as well as the second Hötorg building and the Bonnier building – two of the most distinguished high rise buildings in the city centre of Stockholm.
“We pride ourselves in being experts in our diverse fields. Our everyday work continuously fine tunes our professional skills and knowledgebase providing our customers with the knowledge and satisfaction that Tengbom will service all issues and concerns such as complex laws, regulations, and building codes,” she said.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea

With the India-Korea FTA (they call it CEPA) now in force, it has not taken long for the Indian business community to form an association, to help improve economic relations between both sides.
The Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea  has been setup and was formally launched yesterday evening. It has the full backing of the Indian embassy and the launch event was actually organized by the Indian diplomats here in Korea. Although I hope the bureucrats do not interfer too much in its actual day to day activities...too much involvement by the Indian bureaucrats in any project has never been good.. A facilitating role is more than enough!
While the launch ceremony was slightly embarassing, with too many boring speeches, I am sure the ICCK will soon stand on its own feet. I am still not sure though that there are enough Indian companies here to join the chamber! It may eventually be filled up with 'individual members' who have an interest in India-Korea relations, more to use it as networking association like many of the other national chambers, and not the 'lobbying group' like Amcham and EUCCK, which have more clout with the Korean government officials.
As far as I know, while Korean investment in India is substantial (including the heavyweights Samsung, LG, Hyundai and POSCO among others), the revere is not true. There are only two major Indian Groups which have committed some investment here- Hindalco and Tata.
Novelis Inc., a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Limited the flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, acquired Alcan Taihan Aluminum Limited in January 2005. Novelis Inc. holds 68% of total capital investment of US$ 600 million of Novelis Korea Limited. Novelis Korea is Asia’s number one manufacturer of aluminum rolled products with state of art production facilities in Yeongju and Ulsan and employs more than 1,200 employees. Tata Motors Limited, India, also acquired the Daewoo Commercial Vehicle (DWCV), Gunsan, Korea for a total price of KRW 120 billion (approximately US$ 102 million or Rupees 4650 million) in March 2004.
In addition, an Indian Company, M/s Creative Plastic, invested US$ 2 million in ROK and set up a 100% investment company, Alchemy Mold & Plastic Ltd. in Pyeongtaek. These are the only worthwhile investments. Hope the record improves, now that the FTA has been implemented.
A related news item:
With the full backing of the Indan Embassy opened its doors yesterday, becoming the 14th organization of its kind here and joining the ranks of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea.
“Over the past three years, trade between Korea and India increased 100 percent, and last year [trade] volume reached $15 billion,” Kim Jong-shik, chairman of the Indian chamber and chief executive of Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company, said during a gathering at a hotel in central Seoul to celebrate the opening. “Around 380 Korean companies are currently promoting business in India.
And Indian companies including the Tata Group and the Aditya Birla Group are actively and successfully investing in Korea.”
The closer ties between Korean and Indian businesses stem in part from a bilateral agreement the two signed last year to break down tariff barriers. The agreement, which encourages businesses in each country to invest more freely in the other nation, took effect this year.
“Specifically, Hyundai Motor built its plant near Chennai, and many other Korean companies continue to increase their investment in India,” Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun said at the gathering.
“On the other hand, India’s Tata Group was successful in entering Korea and has been producing commercial vehicles for the Korean market.”
The minister added that “despite such a rapid increase in bilateral trade and investment, there are still large opportunities for cooperation and further growth.”