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Old 08-20-2012, 01:45 PM
JL JL started this thread
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"I have moved -- I have sold my house in New York. I have moved to Asia and my girls speak Mandarin, speak perfect Mandarin ... I'm preparing them for the 21st century by knowing Asia and by speaking perfect Mandarin," Rogers told CNN recently.
"It's easier to get rich in Asia than it is in America now. The wind is in your face. (The U.S.) is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world," Rogers added.

Link has video of him and complete article(5 pages).

World rich list shows emerging Asian Century - CNN.com
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:48 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Notice that he didn't say anything about speaking Mandarin, himself. It is freaking HARD! Hats off to anybody who has learned to converse in both latin-based and non languages!

I would say that it's easy for the rich to get richer in Asia. I wouldn't say it's easier for Joe Blow because:

1. Wages are very low in developing countries.
2. The level of education is quite high in many Asian countries.
3. There is an emphasis on frugality.
4. Immigration controls make it difficult for foreigners to live and work in many countries.

1-2-3-4: Mean that you can't take your American training over there, live frugally, and expect to amass a small fortune. You are competing with highly-skilled lower-paid locals who already speak the language, have connections, and are better and harder-working at just about everything than you.

So how about starting a business? No, also difficult:

1. Government controls/corruption are difficult to get around without bribes or guangxi or both.
2. There are millions of small business start-ups much more innovative than what you find here in the US. Amazon lockers? Already an accepted practice in Taiwan (for practically the past decade!). Texting-based social media? Japan was there years before the US.
3. Consumers are not as gullible and not as willing to part with their money, so your product better be insanely good or nobody's going to buy it. Even if you've got a great idea, somebody will knock it off within days and produce it cheaper and faster than you can in their relative's factory.
4. COL is low for most Asians. They keep family units together and children will live with their parents into their 30's, after marriage, etc. As an outsider, your overhead is going to be much higher than theirs, so much of your profits will be sucked up by your inability to live as frugally as the locals.

In summation, the only way for a foreigner to make a lot of money in Asia is to be wealthy enough to buy off local authorities, establish a factory which takes advantage of the low wages and highly-skilled labor pool, and then sell your product externally to wealthier countries to enhance your profit margin. As many people have said, making the first (five) million is the hardest.

The only other possibility is to bank on the somewhat irrational priviliged status many asians assign to westerners. If you are caucasian, look smart in a business suit, and can BS well, you might be able to fast-talk your way into a position of some money and power. This window is closing fast, though, as the mythos surrounding Americans and Europeans is quickly tarnishing in Asia.

Thats not to say you shouldn't be prepared to do trade with Asia, but it is certainly not the promised land of free opportunity. If you can't make money in America, don't expect to be able to make it in Asia.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:58 PM
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Good summary, sponger42. I have lived in the country just to the north of Rogers's beloved Singapore for many years and can add a few points myself.

Rogers lives in Singapore which for over a decade opened its arms wide to foreign corporations. For years, companies located their regional offices there and were able to bring in many expat workers, most highly paid. Rogers is just one of them. Singapore is a small island, and housing prices have skyrocketed to where it is one of the most expensive in the world now. Some locals have had to look to Malaysia in order to afford a landed home, but most locals still live in those ugly High Density Block (HDB) apartments.

Now the locals are complaining, and the government is finally starting to look at restricting the importation of more highly-paid expats. I can see why the future looks rosy to Jim Rogers, who has already made his millions. But it isn't as rosy for those who are on the lower rungs of the ladder.

Rogers says a lot, most of it controversial, because he needs to keep people subscribing to his newsletters and buying his books. He did predict the commodities boom early on, I'll give him credit for that.

As to learning Mandarin, I did that several years ago but it won't help me in the long run. Most international business is still conducted in English and simply knowing Mandarin means only that you have a choice of English or Mandarin when conducting business. A worker who wants to get ahead is better off training in one of the hard sciences or engineering. Where the Asians are weak is in innovation and creative ideas. That they rip off US and European brands, products, ideas, and etc. shows the inability for them to create content or products desired by others. The Koreans are beginning to get the idea, and Korean pop music and fashion is becoming popular across SE Asia.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:36 AM
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Jim's beloved Singapore is hardly a beacon of so called: "liberal democracy." Many of these "Asian Tigers" lack the kind political freedom and expression we in the "West" enjoy. Ironically, we in the "West" appear all too eager to abandon our freedoms.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by JayTwila View Post
Jim's beloved Singapore is hardly a beacon of so called: "liberal democracy." Many of these "Asian Tigers" lack the kind political freedom and expression we in the "West" enjoy. Ironically, we in the "West" appear all too eager to abandon our freedoms.
Good point. I was in Singapore a few weeks back and could never see myself living there. It is so expensive relative to the rest of Asia, and feels like a gigantic shopping mall. Rogers and the other highly-paid expats live in their expat ghettos and go out occasionally to sample the local "colour". I can't see him mixing with the locals down in Geylang and the other red-light districts. (Singapore has four officially designated centres for prostitution and one unofficial.)
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