Just got back from my almost annual Asia run, this time including Malaysia-Langkawi, Singapore, Thailand's Phi Phi Islands, and the not to be missed, Bali. After spending three days in meetings in Singapore main business district and comparing it to my year working there in 04-05, I can certainly say the place is booming. For a start many of the Aussie financial houses are sending staff north. They certainly don't have to be pushed out the door, with Singapore's low tax rates. The English aren't far behind with many distressed at the way the government has recklessly pursued social equality in expense of the countries financial situation. They too are arriving in size.

The place is full of energy and with the warmth of the tropical heat. The few expats I spoke to gave little thought to returning to the homelands soon. I don't think I have seen busier beaches anywhere in the world than after arriving at Thailand famed Phi Phi islands. Speedboats parked offshore allowed the free sand to allow others to load and unload willing punters. The place is magnificent although the touring hordes were slightly distracting. Malaysia Langkawi holiday island was certainly thriving with Asia's low cost carrier AirAsia, jetting people from all parts of the orient to its shores providing a low cost getaway for many from the major hubs.

Bali as always was warm and endearing. The place is changing rapidly, with developer friends on the island telling me the Russians are in, and the Arabs on the close island of Lombok pushing money in many directions. Certainly on flying out of Asia's shores you get the feeling your heading the wrong way.

Chris Cooper adds:

Regarding Bali, I am living about half-time there now. While it is true that foreigners may not hold title, methods have evolved which allow foreigners to purchase and control the property, which amounts to the same thing. Certainly there are many expats who have done so. It is the same in many other countries. Once you have liberated yourself from the idea that you need to hold title in your name, many more things are possible. 

Nick White comments:

I have never come across a person who has invested or had major business dealings in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, etc, who would consider doing it again–whether it be hard assets or financial ones. They are a bit like the southern baltics — you just don't know who you're really dealing with on the other side. Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korean, and Taiwan are all fine. 


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