Daily Archives: October 31, 2012

Australia is second best to do business but more is needed to be done

While Australia is already second best place to do business, more is needed to be done to be competitive. In a globalised world second best may not be enough.


Australia second easiest place in world to start-up – but it’s downhill from there

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 25 October 2012

Australia is the second easiest place in the world to start a business, according to a new report by the World Bank, but drops back to 10th place when it comes to the ease of doing business.


The report, titled Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, marks the 10th edition of the Doing Business series.


This series analyses regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their lifecycle including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes and protecting investors.


The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 185 economies.


According to the latest report, Australia is the second easiest place in the world to start a business, beaten only by New Zealand.


The study found it was possible to set up an operation in Australia in two days and after just two procedures.


It also ranked Australia fourth with regard to ease of obtaining credit, behind Malaysia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.


While Australia may rank highly when it comes to the ease of starting up, it was ranked 10th with regard to the ease of doing business.


Taking the top spot for the seventh straight year was Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Georgia.


But Gavan Ord, a business policy adviser at CPA Australia, says the index is, to some extent, flawed and should therefore “be taken with a grain a salt”.


Ord says the index focuses solely on laws and regulations and, even then, it does not cover all aspects of regulation.


“The index does not take into account factors such as market size or affluence, quality of many infrastructure services, security of property, macroeconomic conditions or the strength of underlying institutions,” he says.


“[It also fails to address] the ability of managers, staff and businesses to compete… Therefore, like other global competitiveness surveys, must be taken with a grain of salt.”


Nevertheless, Ord says several conclusions can be drawn from the findings.


“Australia gets most of the business basics right – for example, rule of law, transparency, accountability,” he says.


“While Australian governments have done a tremendous job in making the country a relatively friction-free place to set up a business, once a business is set up, Australia compares poorly in many of the areas essential to operating a business.”


“It would appear that Australia has some way to go to match the leading economies in developing a streamlined, effective and inexpensive system that permits businesses to start up at higher rates than elsewhere, to succeed at higher rates than elsewhere and to overcome other disadvantages that might be present in the Australian economy.”

US Solar manufacturer cuts production in the Philippines

I never thought this would never happen but it did. Still, I hope the solar panel business finds a niche in the Philippines both as a market and as a production base.


From Eco-Business.com

SunPower Corp to idle Philippines production lines, cut 900 jobs

Posted By Michelle Del Gallego-Ngo On October 16, 2012 

SunPower Corp said it will idle some solar cell production lines in the Philippines and cut about 900 jobs, or 17 per cent of its global workforce, as overcapacity continues to cast a shadow on solar equipment makers.

The solar panel industry has been hit by excess capacity and waning demand with top consumer Europe cutting back subsidies for green power. Prices have tumbled about 30 per cent this year, virtually erasing profits across the industry.

SunPower said on Tuesday that it will temporarily idle half of the 12 lines at its 330 megawatt Fab 2 cell manufacturing plant and 20 per cent of its panel manufacturing in the Philippines.

The company, which is majority-owned by French oil company Total SA, closed a plant in the Philippines earlier this year and streamlined its manufacturing processes at its other two plants in the country.

Sunpower said most of the 900 job cuts would be in the Philippines. It did not specify where the other job cuts would occur.

The company had about 5,220 employees worldwide as of January 1, with 4,130 employees located in the Philippines.

A number of solar companies have begun to cut production, but analysts say more cuts are needed to balance supply and demand.

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, the No.1 solar panel maker, slashed production capacity last month, while First Solar Inc cut output of its thin-film solar panels earlier this year. A number of other players have been operating their plants at reduced rates.

California-based Sunpower expects to record a restructuring charge of $10 million to $17 million, most of which will be in the fourth quarter. More than 90 percent of these charges will be cash.

Sunpower said it was looking at producing its lowest-cost solar panels for less than 75 cents per watt, on an efficiency adjusted basis, by the end of 2012.

Sunpower shares, which have fallen 47 per cent in the last 12 months, closed at $4.71 on Monday on the Nasdaq.

Article printed from Eco-Business – Asia’s Cleantech & Sustainable Business Community: http://www.eco-business.com

URL to article: http://www.eco-business.com/news/sunpower-corp-to-idle-philippines-production-lines-cut-900-jobs/

Opportunities for PH App developers

Here’s one opportunity for Filipino App developers to offer value for money to local business for their App needs considering the escalating cost of development.


From IT Wire.com

Got $1 million? Get an app

Got $1 million? Get an app

The days of the $10,000 app are numbered. High rating, well executed apps now cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars to develop – and the stakes are high, with 45 billion apps expected to be downloaded globally this year.

Melbourne based app developer Outware Mobile, which has developed apps for Foxtel and Seek along with racing and AFL apps for Telstra has a number of seven figure projects on the go. It is also working with one of the big four banks on app development.

Director Danny Gorog explains the motivation for the increasing app spend; “Putting out a quality app for our generation is more important than a TV ad.”

And it’s a costly business. “Building an app is more technically complex than building a website.”

According to technology analyst Gartner 45 billion apps will be downloaded from mobile app stores this year – a figure which will soar to 309 billion by 2016. While the bulk of those will be free apps, for enterprises looking to reach customers or prospects the app market is a hot property with many prepared to invest heavily in order to capture market share.

Mr Gorog said it was a mistake for companies to outsource their app development to a digital agency which then hired a contractor to write the app. Once the app was developed the contractor was often let go – making it hard to keep an app updated and relevant he said.

According to Eytan Lenko another Outware director, apps development is increasingly “a journey rather than a destination” requiring regular updates to keep the app current with rapid hardware upgrades.

Mr Gorog said that there was also evidence that “Apple is cracking down on apps that don’t do enough,” which was forcing organisations to develop richer, more complex apps.

Despite the fast rising costs involved, Melbourne-based Outware has grown rapidly since it was set up by Mr Gorog and his partners Mr Lenko and Gideon Kowadlo in 2009. With a team of around 30 people the company expects to be named on the next Deloitte Tech Fast 50 list.

However the company acknowledges that it can be hard to find exactly the right talent it needs. “We have to go through 40-60 resumes to find a developer we like,” says Mr Gorog who added that Australia was suffering “A real skills shortage in this area.”

He said that the company’s ability to grow was limited by access to talent.

Mr Lenko said that Outware, which worked closely with clients using Agile style methodologies to develop apps, received around 10-15 inquiries a day, many of which it was unable to service. As to the costs he said that for a “Quality app, integrated with the back end and properly tested, it could easily get to $100,000 and it’s not hard to get to $500,000.”

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