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Kick start your day, March 9: Japanese firms bullish in PH, brands drop Sharapova

Here’s a roundup about Maria Sharapova, Japanese prospects in the country, plus statistics on Filipinos’ debt levels.
By Entrepreneur Staff |


Maria Sharapova

COSTLY ADMISSION. Tennis star Maria Sharapova admits she failed the drug test at this year's Australian Open, which prompted major brands she is endorsing to suspend their times with her. Photo from Sharapova's website




Nike, Porsche, Tag Heuer suspend ties with Sharapova

Following her admission on March 8 (Philippine Standard Time) that she failed the drug test in January this year for the Australian Open, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova’s major endorsements have started to distance themselves from her.



Sharapova admitted in a press conference that she tested positive for meldonium, which she said she was taking for diabetes and low magnesium. Meldonium is also used to treat chest pain and heart problems, but some researches have linked it to increased athletic performance. The drug was recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).


Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer said in a statement, "In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract." Sharapova’s deal with the firm ended in 2015, but there already had been talks about extending the collaboration, Reuters reported.


German carmaker Porsche said it is also suspending “planned activities” with Sharapova until the situation becomes clearer, BBC reported.


Nike (which recently dropped boxing champ Manny Pacquiao as endorser for his anti-homosexual comments) was the first to cut ties with Sharapova. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues,” the statement said. Sharapova’s collaboration with Nike started when she was 11.  



Related: Nike drops endorser Manny Pacquiao over anti-gay comments

According to Forbes, she was last year’s highest paid female athlete, earning $39.83 million which mostly came from off-court earnings like appearances, endorsements, and royalties.



20 Japanese firms eye PH’s Clark Green City

State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) formed a joint venture corporation tasked to develop a master plan for Clark Green City.


The investment is cited as the first green investment opportunity in the Philippines. BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova and JOIN President and CEO Takuma Hatano signed the agreement on March 8.


Hatano said 55% of the initial investment of $2 million will come from JOIN, and about 20 big companies have already expressed interest in Clark Green City. Interested Japanese firms are into energy, healthcare, information and communications technology (ICT), infrastructure, and water.



Filipinos have high debt levels, survey shows


 Four in 10 (41%) Filipino investors carry debt—the second highest proportion in the region after Malaysia, the latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index (MISI) showed.


Released March 7, MISI showed that about 41% have debt ranging from P5,000-24,999 ($106.49-$532.42), and 7% have debts of P500,000 ($10,648.85) or more. Daily living expenses also contributed to debt, a third of respondents cited.


MISI also noted that while Filipinos are prudent savers, more than 80% regret some investment decisions, suggesting they are unable to effectively invest their savings for the long-term.


On a positive note, the survey found that Filipino investors are among the best in Asia in terms of their savings and expense tracking behaviors, as almost all investors surveyed (99%) track their expenses regularly and manage to save part of their income each month—both of which are key indicators of good financial discipline. 


MISI is based on 500 online interviews in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and 500 face-to-face interviews in Indonesia. Respondents are middle class to affluent investors, 25 years and above who are the primary decision maker of financial matters in the household and currently have investment products. Lynda C. Corpuz


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