US-China trade war to weigh on South Korean economy

Exports account for more than half of the South’s economy, with more than a quarter of exports shipped to China and about 12 percent to the US. (AFP)
Updated 18 July 2018
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US-China trade war to weigh on South Korean economy

  • The South Korean economy is expected to grow 2.9 percent this year, lower than an earlier estimate of three percent
  • The International Monetary Fund said this week the growing trade confrontation is the ‘greatest near-term threat to global growth’

SEOUL: South Korea’s finance minister warned that an all-out trade war between the US and China would have grim implications for the country, as he lowered this year’s growth outlook Wednesday.
The world’s 11th largest economy is expected to grow 2.9 percent this year, lower than an earlier estimate of three percent, Kim Dong-yeon said, citing slowing demand at home and abroad as well as rising unemployment.
The latest estimate is also lower than last year’s figures, when the export-reliant economy expanded 3.1 percent, and comes as the South’s top two trading partners China and the US engage in a bitter spat that has seen them impose hefty tariffs on billions of dollars in goods.
“The economic situation down the road does not seem to be bright,” Kim told reporters.
“The situation may get worse if anxiety in the international financial markets spreads due to the US-China trade dispute... and market and corporate sentiment does not improve,” he said.
Overseas shipments account for more than half of the South’s economy, with more than a quarter of exports shipped to China and about 12 percent to the US.
Kim vowed to “closely monitor international trade situations including the US-China trade row” and announced measures to encourage job creation and spur domestic spending.
US President Donald Trump has taken a confrontational “America First” stance on trade policy, imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, which angered allies and prompted swift retaliation, as well as 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with more on the way.
China has matched US tariffs dollar-for-dollar and threatened to take further measures, while US exports face retaliatory border taxes from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
The International Monetary Fund said this week the growing trade confrontation is the “greatest near-term threat to global growth” and in the worst case could cut a half point off world GDP.


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.