More overseas students are coming to Australian schools, particularly from China. International education is getting popular recently and we believe that it will become a huge market for Australian education industry.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Perth-based private school believes the market for education services in China is bigger than iron ore, as Australian schools increasingly look to the world's second-biggest economy to supplement federal government grants.
Perth's St Stephen's School and Melbourne's Haileybury are among those which believe money earned in China could allow them to keep fees down at home, while also offering students a more international education.
The push by both schools into China fits neatly with the vision of Trade Minister Andrew Robb who believes Australian education exporters could be teaching 10 million overseas students a year in less than a decade.
The sector is the fourth-largest export earner worth $16.7 billion annually, but enrols well under a million students a year.
Both St Stephen's and Haileybury are not looking to bring students to Australia, rather provide services to Chinese students in China.
Haileybury's Beijing campus had its "soft opening" with 200 students last September and will double in size next school year. At full capacity it will have 1200 students who will pay around $35,000 a year for boarding.
The school offers the traditional Chinese curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on English, for students up to year 9. Students then switch to Victoria's VCE curriculum for their final three years.
That is a difficult statement to verify, but a report by Chinese internet firm Tencent found that China's primary and secondary education market was worth 255 billion yuan annually ($53 billion).
That's still less than the value of Australia's iron ore exports to China, which topped $57 billion last financial year.
But while iron ore demand is set to fall this year, spending on education is forecast to rise in line with consumer spending which is growing at around 7 per cent.
However, more than 200 joint programs, involving Australian universities and TAFE colleges, reported registration difficulties amid growing evidence that China has introduced a cap on foreign partners.
Everyone wants clean energy. Hydrogen is one of the key elements which have a great potential to take a major role of clean energy for our life without CO2 emission in the near future.
According to The Nikkei Asian Review, hydrogen is considered a green, next-generation energy source. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen does not emit carbon dioxide: It only produces water when it is burned. It is the lightest of all elements; its calorific value per unit weight is 2.7 times higher than gasoline.
Japan's Toyota Motor unveiled a fuel-cell vehicle, which runs on hydrogen, at the end of last year. Honda Motor plans to introduce a similar vehicle during fiscal 2015, which begins next month. Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are developing hydrogen power generation technologies.
According to the article (from The Nikkei Asian Review), hydrogen will be in short supply in 2020 (in Japan) or later if no measures are taken. Therefore, it is very important to secure the stable supply of hydrogen.
To solve this problem, Kawasaki Heavy is leading a project to produce a large amount of hydrogen by gasifying lignite, a cheap and low-quality coal produced in southeast Australia, and bring it to Japan. The company aims to start operations on a trial basis in 2020.
Kawasaki Heavy also intends to lower hydrogen sales prices, another challenge facing the Japanese hydrogen industry. "We want to halve the current wholesale price of hydrogen to roughly 30 yen ($0.25) per cubic meter in 2025," says Motohiko Nishimura, senior manager of the Hydrogen Project Department.
A major Japanese electrical machinery maker Toshiba and the city of Kawasaki jointly conducted demonstration tests this year to produce emission-free hydrogen from renewable energy sources.
They will store energy produced by solar power in batteries and produce hydrogen by electrolysing water as needed. The produced hydrogen will be supplied to a fuel cell to make electricity and hot water.
Metawater, Japan's largest supplier of waste water treatment system, will build a plant to obtain hydrogen by reforming biogas made from sewage sludge and supply the resulting product to fuel cells.
We are glad to hear that one of the renewable energy projects in Australia announced a significant achievement today.
According to The Business Spectator today, a unique concentrated solar photovoltaic (CSPV) power tower was unveiled in Newbridge, Victoria today, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency saying the project would pave the way for the deployment of utility-scale CSPV power stations in Australia and overseas.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated RayGen Resources on the $3.6 million precommercial pilot project, which was supported by $1.7 million funding from ARENA.
“The grid-connected power station is operational and will supply 200 kilowatts to a local agriculture business,” Mr Frischknecht said. “RayGen has already received international orders for the technology, which has the potential to reduce the cost of solar-based electricity.
“This is a great example of how ARENA support has helped deliver valuable Australian IP with the potential to create exports and hundreds of new jobs.”
Mr Frischknecht said the completion of the pilot project marked a significant milestone and would help advance a more affordable and flexible energy future for Australia. “RayGen’s CSPV technology uses an array of sun-tracking heliostat mirrors to focus sunlight onto a very efficient central receiver” Mr Frischknecht said.
“The receiver converts a high proportion of sunlight to power while an advanced cooling system keeps it from overheating. “The technology requires a smaller amount of space per kilowatt of capacity compared to existing concentrating solar thermal technologies.
“The pilot plant is providing data on performance, reliability, operations and maintenance that can be used for the development of a commercial scale CSPV system.
“There are also links with the ARENA-supported record-breaking ‘Power Cube’ that achieved more than 40 per cent efficiency last year and was developed by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with RayGen.
“With further development, RayGen could potentially take the PowerCube technology from the laboratory into the field for future CSPV plants.”
It is easy to access the free Wi-Fi in Australia such as coffee shops and shopping centres. However, it is really difficult to find out the public places for foreign travellers to access the free Wi-Fi in Japan.
According to the Asahi Shimbun today, instant Internet access is in the cards for foreign visitors to Japan with the introduction of new mobile-phone SIM-card vending machines at airports and sightseeing spots.
Purchasers' passports are read by the machine, which then issues a prepaid SIM card, allowing for immediate Internet access via smartphone.
Codeveloped by NTT Communications Corp. and U.S. retail-machine manufacturer ZoomSystems, the machine is the first of its kind that is able to process the identity of purchasers by reading their passports.
When users purchase a SIM card from a conventional machine, they first need to register their user information by using a free Wi-Fi service or other connection method before logging into mobile-phone communication networks.
Offering services in English and Chinese, the first SIM dispenser was installed at Aqua City Odaiba shopping complex in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on March 24. Kansai Airport in Osaka Prefecture will be the first airport to have the vending machine on March 26. More will then follow at other locations.
The SIM cards are priced between around 3,000 yen ($33) and 4,000 yen and allow users to connect to Internet for one to two weeks, using mobile phone communication networks by Japanese carriers.
We hope that we will be able to see more public places available to access the free Wi-Fi in Japan in the near future, too!
Everyone knows that something needs to be done to change the situation for the iron ore market. Most famous iron ore entrepreneur in the world articulates that iron ore production should be capped to recover the iron ore price.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest has called on the world's big iron ore companies to announce publicly a cap on production in a bid to arrest declining prices, which have slumped more than 50 per cent over the past year.
At a business dinner in Shanghai on Tuesday night, Mr Forrest, founder of the fourth biggest iron ore exporter, Fortescue Metals Group, said he was "absolutely happy to cap my production right now" at 180 million tonnes.
He said the other major players, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brazil's Vale should also cap their production "and we'll find the iron ore price goes straight back up to US$70, US$80, US$90."
"I'm happy to put that challenge out there, let's cap our production right here and start acting like grown-ups," he said.
Iron ore prices slumped to below $US55 at the end of last week, the lowest level since at least 2008, when records began.
Mr Forrest said even China, which is benefiting greatly from lower commodity prices, is questioning why "we are ruining this market."
"You can see China thinking….it's really nice that we've got a low iron ore price but where does it go?" He said steel mills in China were concerned about eventually being left with only a few players to buy from as smaller iron ore producers would be priced out of the market.
"Competition is a really great thing," he said.
All major Japanese car manufacturers have been investing a big money for green vehicles. Now, major Japanese companies also start investing money for car parts of green vehicles to follow their big moves.
According to The Nikkei Asian Review today, Toray Industries will step up production of an essential component of batteries used in green vehicles, investing about 10 billion yen ($82.6 million) to boost output at a mainstay South Korean plant.
Toray specializes in industrial products centred on technologies in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry.
The component known as a separator is used in lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. Accounting for 10-15% of the cost of the batteries, these parts help prevent fire and improve battery performance.
Toray will add two production lines to the existing four at the plant in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. That will expand its capacity by 50%. The factory, owned by subsidiary Toray Battery Separator Film, will adopt a technology to enhance the heat resistance of the product. The plant also underwent a 5 billion yen expansion in 2012.
Japanese companies are strong in separators, commanding a combined global market share of about 70%. Toray had a 21.5% global share in fiscal 2013.
As emissions regulations tighten, the market for green vehicles is expected to grow mainly in the U.S. and Europe. Toray, with other Japanese companies, is stepping up investment to raise output.
Asahi Kasei, the market leader with a 34.9% share, announced plans in February to acquire No. 3 player Polypore International of the U.S. for around 260 billion yen. Sixth-ranked Sumitomo Chemical is planning to roughly triple global output capacity by 2020. With the economy of scale pushing down material costs, such moves could help promote use of green cars.
It is not easy to reduce the supply chain costs for the resources such as iron ore and coal right now because all mining companies have already tried hard to minimise the supply chain costs and there is no much room left to reduce the cost.
However, a new concept sometime delivers a big development. Here is an example to show how the new concept potentially reduces the supply chain cost.
According to the Australian Financial Review today, Rich-lister Chris Ellison's firm Mineral Resources claims the track for its proposed Bulk Ore Transport System (BOTS) is about 75 per cent cheaper to develop than a traditional heavy-haul Pilbara rail line.
The first BOTS is slated to be built at BC Iron's 12 million tonne-a-year Iron Valley mine, where savings of $20 a tonne are expected.
The system's patent lies in the way its wagons are "driven", but the cost savings are found through the use of an elevated track, which the company claims is about 75 per cent cheaper to develop than a traditional heavy-haul Pilbara rail line. Because the supporting posts are pole-driven, the track does not require expensive earthworks or ballast and will stand as high as 10 metres, allowing it to pass over waterways or existing infrastructure. Each BOTS "train" is expected to be 2 kilometres long, travel at about 80 kilometres an hour and have the capacity to haul 4600 tonnes. In comparison, a traditional Pilbara train has a payload capacity of about 25,000 tonnes.
After a test line is built in China by China Southern Rail later this year, the first Australian BOTS line will be developed, pending approvals, from BC Iron's Iron Valley mine, which Mineral Resources operates, to Port Hedland port. Mr Ellison said the 331-kilometre line is expected to cost $1.5 billion to develop "from womb to tomb", including the track, supporting facilities, rolling stock and a proposed transhipping facility at the port.
When BOTS was announced in February, analysts approached it with caution. A month later, many remain unwilling to comment on the quirky proposal, as it is still unclear whether it is technically and financially viable.
Perth-based Katana Asset Management portfolio manager Romano Sala Tenna said if Mineral Resources can get BOTS off the ground, it will be "a game-changer" for the industry, but its viability hangs on whether the company can secure the necessary funds.
We can see some positive signs from Japan. The government, companies and the unions all want to contribute to putting the economy on a positive growth cycle in Japan.
According to The Australia Financial Review today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive pressure on the corporate sector has produced the most substantial results so far, as some of Japan's most prominent companies announced their biggest pay increases in years. They include Toyota and other giants from the car-making industry, as well as electronics makers such as Panasonic and Hitachi.
Toyota agreed to lift baseline pay for its full-time Japanese workers by ¥4000 ($43) a month, the most in 13 years. Added to regular increases linked to seniority, the average Toyota employee's monthly pay will rise 3.2 per cent, the company said, significantly above the rate of inflation.
Other large companies announced similar increases in base monthly pay. Nissan agreed to a ¥5000 yen raise. Honda is lifting base pay by ¥3400. A group of six prominent electronics makers, including Panasonic, Hitachi and Toshiba, announced raises of ¥3000.
Economists say pay at companies such as Toyota has long served a benchmark for other businesses. So more of Japan's large companies are likely to follow in the coming weeks.
The country is only just recovering from that unexpected downturn. And a pick-up in consumer prices – trumpeted by the government as a sign of renewed economic vigour – has stalled. Without greater increases in pay, Mr Abe and his advisers fear that an already fraying campaign to stimulate growth, known as Abenomics, could disintegrate completely.
Still, both business and labour (union) groups expressed satisfaction with the outcome, saying they hoped that the pay increases would provide the economy some much-needed momentum.
All we know that a huge amount of money has been flown into the Australian market, particularly from Asian countries. They have been trying to buy the Australian assets to secure the resources and products from Australia for a long time.
According to the Australian Financial Review today, the most senior institutional banker in Australia, Westpac Banking Corp's Rob Whitfield, says a wall of money from Asia will drive equities and property prices even higher, while a lower Australian dollar and commodity prices will serve as a cushion during an inevitable market correction, but one that may still be some time away.
He said discussions last week with CEOs and CFOs from many multinationals based in Asia and Asian companies revealed broad-based demand for Australian equities, property and tourism, agriculture and healthcare assets from a range of Asian countries would continue.
"While demand is slowing for our commodities, the demand for buying Australian assets is not slowing at all, it is increasing," he said.
Mr Whitfield also cautioned that equity and property prices would ultimately fall, an inevitable result of economic cycles, although this could be muted given the Australian dollar was down, along with commodity prices.
"We are now seeing central banks (in US) make decisions much more based for what they need for their own economy rather than the co-ordinated global response we saw in the first few years post-GFC." Should the US Fed adopt this approach, this "may well mean they bring their tightening forward", he said. "That will have quite significant ramifications around the globe."
For Australia, dropping the word "patient" would probably boost the US dollar, pushing the Australian dollar down towards US70¢, a level where the RBA does not need to cut rates again after the almost-certain cut that will be made in April or May, he said.
It is pleased to hear that Japan Post's $6.5bn offer for Toll approved by FIRB today.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Treasurer Joe Hockey approved the deal on Thursday.
"The government welcomes foreign investment where it is not contrary to our national interest," Mr Hockey said. "Foreign investment has helped build Australia's economy and will continue to enhance the well-being of Australians by supporting economic growth and prosperity."
Japan Post now needs to secure approval from Toll's shareholders to complete the takeover. A shareholder meeting to vote on the offer will be held in May.
About one-third of Toll's shareholders are retail investors.
Toll chairman Ray Horsburgh said he expected a "successful and speedy" conclusion to the transaction.
Japan Post is owned by the Japanese government, which is planning to float the postal group within the next 12 months. The Japanese government has not specified exactly how much of Japan Post it plans to sell, but is considering retaining about one-third of the postal group's shares after it is floated.
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