Shedding traditional limitations, women in the Middle East are becoming better educated and finding themselves in greater control of financial matters than ever before. Seeking to guide women in the region in financial education is Azeemeh Zaheer, vice president of Gatehouse Bank, a Shariah-compliant bank in London. She tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that Middle Eastern women are both empowered and gaining financial savvy, moving even into international real estate holdings. "Most of the ladies feel a sense of comfort investing in tangible assets that are in transparent regulatory environments and cities they have visited," she notes.
Published: October 16, 2012 Transactional Banking and Mobile Payments in China: An Emerging Opportunity
In China's biggest cities, smartphone penetration is approaching 50% -- higher than in many developed markets. But that's not the whole story. At the same time, the country's rapidly growing smartphone market is fuelling even bigger, more fundamental changes in how consumers interact and engage online - with each other, with service providers, with retailers and more. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this trend, experts say, is mobile commerce. This story, produced in collaboration with Chinatrust, looks at the skyrocketing number of mobile payments in China and what lies ahead.
Published: October 02, 2012 China Is Buying U.S. Companies at a Record Pace
Chinese companies are buying up U.S. companies and other assets at a record pace in a scramble to spend down China's large dollar holdings while acquiring assets, market share, technological know-how, talent and training. What does it all mean for the U.S.? To shed some light on the latest run at U.S. companies by Chinese firms, China Knowledge@Wharton asked two Wharton management professors to offer their thoughts on Chinese acquisitions and the potential for a U.S. backlash.
Published: September 18, 2012 Confidence is High, but Brazil's Success Is Showing Signs of Tarnish
While the economies of Europe and the U.S. slumped during the 2008 global financial crisis, Brazil's surged, enjoying a time of unprecedented growth and development. But now signs are pointing to a potential slowdown, as the Brazilian economy feels the effects of the evolving financial crisis in Europe, the leveling off of growth in China, bottlenecks created by decades of underinvestment in infrastructure and other critical areas, and the absence of much-needed reforms.
Published: August 21, 2012 Argentina Faces an Unknown: How to Regain Its Energy Independence
In recent years, Argentina has reduced its production of oil and gas while importing an increasing amount of fuel. As a result, the country has become more and more dependent on foreign sources of energy. When the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner expropriated 51% of oil producer YPF in April, it set off major disruptions in the energy sector. Will Fernandez de Kirchner's administration be able to reverse the energy crisis and guide the country toward self-sufficiency?
Published: June 26, 2012 Africa: A Frontier for Private Equity, but a Pitfall as Well
The emerging markets are passé. Private equity today is looking at frontier markets. As the name suggests, these are places where the opportunities are great but the risks are equally high. Whether investing through traditional mutual funds or aggressively deal-by-deal, global investors are increasingly seeing Africa as the next horizon of opportunity. Six of the world's 10 fastest growing economies over the past decade were in Africa. Africa's middle class, already spending as much as US$680 billion annually, is projected to grow to 1.1 billion by 2060, up from 355 million in 2010. Africa, with close to 6% growth, has a range of such frontier markets, but out-of-the-box thinking is needed to invest in them, observers say.
Published: June 12, 2012 Despite Wealthy Appearances, the Middle East's Oil and Gas Exporters Worry about the Future of Energy
During a panel on the petrochemical industry at the first Wharton Middle East and North Africa business conference, experts who have spent years looking at the oil industry, often first hand from the region, said the Western perception of oil oligarchies living it up on the profits of U.S. oil consumption is inaccurate. Instead, they said, Gulf oil exporters are worried about the future of oil, and many are moving toward not only different industries, but also completely different kinds of energy production.
Published: April 02, 2012 China's Gravity-defying Economy: How Hard Will It Fall?
As China's high-octane economy shifts into lower gear, virtually everyone agrees that the double-digit, super-charged boom years are drawing to a close. Speculation over the possibility of a so-called "hard landing" for the country flourishes with each boom and bust cycle, only to die down as China's growth revs up again. This time, however, both external and internal factors are reinforcing the downturn, and experts warn that without some painful reforms, there will be worse trouble to come.
Published: April 02, 2012 Private Equity: Fact, Fiction and What Lies in Between
What good is private equity, anyway? Critics say these investment pools make money the wrong way -- buying "target companies," slashing jobs, piling on debt and selling the remnants, which by then are doomed to fail. Defenders say PE is a strong creator of jobs and value, and a vital source of outsized returns for pension funds, university endowments and other investment pools that serve ordinary people. Who's right?
Published: March 05, 2012 The Unexpected Early Winners of the Arab Spring
After toppling long-standing regimes, destabilizing others and grabbing the world's attention, the Arab Spring's protestors most likely remain amazed at the far-reaching effects of their actions in early 2011. Although their demands in Tunisia and Egypt were focused squarely on long-term economic and political betterment, they also had an immediate impact on investment prospects in two countries that are geographic bookends of the Middle East -- Morocco and Iraq.
Published: January 09, 2012