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Treasury

Tightening Asian regulations create corporate discord

International companies new to Asia find working in the region more difficult than anticipated, as Asian regulators move towards a protectionist stance.

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New corporates moving beyond their home regions into Asia are having to grapple with a range of new regulations, and even the established corporates are struggling to navigate a changing landscape.

Indeed, scrambling for a share in a region with highly competitive local markets and with different sets of regulations has proven too much for some.

A number of leading old-economy western companies, including Revlon and Marks & Spencer, have been leaving China in recent years, pushed out both by high taxes and changes in policy that do not provide as favourable terms to overseas companies.

Recently, fintech companies have also come under pressure, with the government ruling that they must undergo strict audits and that all their data must be stored on Chinese servers.

Some participants suggest this is simply the Chinese looking to protect their own burgeoning fintech sector – after all, companies based in the country will already be holding all their data there.

Regardless, it is leaving some corporates, who had entered the region with hopes of high returns and low labour costs, looking for new solutions.

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