Yen for a Dollar

For many Australians, Asia can be difficult to come to grips with. This program explores how the different cultures of Asia have shaped the way their nationals do business today, and how they relate to other parts of Asia and the West. This is not a 'how to do business in Asia', rather, Yen for a Dollar uses business as the prism through which we view Asia, but the appeal of the series is much wider. Over four episodes, the program joins a dozen very different Asians in India, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, and takes a side trip to France to view the Asian-Europe relationship.
Episode 1 - Face and Place
The concept of 'face' is common across Asia, and provides a basis for private and business relationships. It is an unwritten code of behaviour which guides its protagonists to be diplomatic and yielding, but at the same time ruthless in the preservation of reputation. Religious, social and moral philosophies shape attitudes on the factory floor, creating a workplace far different from the western 'management vs worker' philosophy. In this episode we meet Shozo Honda, a former politician and business man who now heads the Australian technology company Spike, in Japan; Arun Abey, a highly sought after speaker and media commentator who is chairman and founding director of Ipac Securities Limited; and Pradip Shah, who, armed with a Harvard degree and an illustrious career in the world of finance, set up India's first credit-rating agency.
Episode 2 - Insider/Outsider
Westerners doing business in Asia often complain they remain outsiders regardless of their length of stay. A basic difference in cultural style inhibits Australians, and other foreigners, becoming 'Asian insiders'. This episode explores the respective approaches of Asians and outsiders towards business deals and each other. We meet James Louey, a man with a passion for handguns and who is the head of the world's largest private bus company; Janine Tay, who heads a retail chain with nine shops in Asia and three in Australia, and who is head of the Singapore Retailer's Association; and Brijesh Wahi, who has a software company in India which employs 300 engineers.
Episode 3 - Iron Butterflies
Men still dominate the list of 'Who's Who' in Asian business. Yet, increasingly, some of the wealthy and identifiable personalities in Asia are women. As more and more Asian women become Western educated, their level of public involvement in business and society will rise. In this episode we meet Joyce Mar, who is credited with bringing ready-to-wear European fashion to the glamour conscious and big spending women of Hong Kong; Yoshiko Shinohara, who after a secretarial stint in Australia, built her own empire and now runs Japan's second largest employment agency with 82 offices; and Asma Abdullah, a Malaysian anthropologist with a degree from Monash University in Melbourne, who has become a corporate specialist in Academic and Human resources.
Episode 4 - Family and Food
In most Asian cultures, the family is considered the cornerstone of society and often the company. As a theme, food is central to this episode as the rituals and practices of food production and eating habits of each region impact on the way business is conducted. Hamdam Mohamad is a major shareholder and Chief Executive of Ranhill, Malaysia's biggest engineering consultancy, with annual billing of $3 billion; Dr Jeffrey Yeh, the third generation of his family to its construction company, Hsin Chong, with an annual turnover of $6 billion, and Veh-nee, his son and one of his two American educated children who is a law graduate.
Suitable for Asian Studies, Work and Business Studies, SOSE/HSIE,

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Production Year: 
4 x 26 mins
Series Episode
Standard $275
Schools $198

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