Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mongolia Brief December 24, 2014 Part II

National Consultation of Miners Takes Place
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) Such consultation is running Wednesday at the Central Cultural Palace of Trade Unions, themed “Labour Safety and Hygiene”. The Minister of Mining R.Jigjid gave the opening remarks.

The key lectors at the event are, B.Nergui, a head of Mining Policy Division of the Ministry, T.Erdene, senior officer at the Deprtment of Labour Policy Adjustment of the Ministry of Labour, Kh.Baavgai Ph.D., a head of the Division for Children and Family Development of the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare, S.Ganbold, the president of the Labour Union of Energy, Geology and Mining Insutries, D.Khishigtogtokh, a director of a division at Research Center for Labour Health, and Ts.Erdenebaatar, a deputy executive director of the Union of Mongolian Employers.
They are presenting actions taken by the ministry of Mining for ensuring safety and health, issues of labour interactions within the mines, further actions on such matters, and concepts reflected in the Safety and Health in Mines Convention (No. 176) by the International Labour Organization.

About Last Week's Bestsellers
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) The "Internom" bookstore released Wednesday a list of ten best-sold books in December 15-21. The list was topped by “Lean In: Women, Work and Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg, “My Little Pony: Celestia” by Ball and Mebberson, and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
They were followed by “Sorkhugtani” historic novel by B.Sarantuya, “Sleeping Beauty” story for children, and “Development as Freedom” by Amartya Sen. The latter demonstrated in his book how personal freedom of individuals are affected by social events in communities.
The list goes on with “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson, which has been included in the bestsellers’ list for more than two months. New bestsellers in the "Internom" stores include are “Short Stories by Leo Tolstoi”, the fourth edition of “Admonishing Stories”, and “Happiness of 365 days” by G.Naranbaatar.

Exhibition on first Mongolian PM's historic visit to Russia will be displayed
December 24 ( Celebrating the 103rd anniversary of the Restoration of National Liberty and Independence, a historic photo exhibition documenting the visit of Mongolia's first Prime Minister, T.Namnansuren, to Russia will be on display at the National Museum of Mongolia from December 24th to January 14th.
The historic visit by the first Mongolian PM to Russia was made by about 20 Mongolians, including the famously tall Gongor and Nanzad as bodyguards. Russians were amazed by the tall Mongolians who accompanied the Prime Minister. The first PM of Mongolia, Sain Noyon Khan T.Namnansuren, visited Russia from October 1913 through February 1914.
Russian newspapers at the time featured regular headlines about the Mongolian PM's visit to Russia said S.Chuluun, director of the History Institute at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.
Historians say that the visit by the first PM at a critical political time was historically significant, even though he was unable to complete his mission. PM T.Namnansuren intended to have Mongolia's independence guaranteed, open an Embassy of Mongolia to Russia, learn about Russian success in science, and its technical achievements.
Scientist from the History Institute at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences are planning to release a rare 3,000 photograph album that features the history of Mongolia through the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bolormaa Suren: My family has proprietary rights for name “Mongolian Star”
By D. Tseepilmaa
December 24 ( The company name “Mongolian Star Melchers” (abbreviated as MSM), well known for being official distributor of worldwide recognized brands such as Johnson’s baby, Huggies, Kleenex, Moet Hennessy, Mercedes Benz and etc was agreed to no longer be used by its shareholders from the beginning of 2015.
The company name has been changed to ‘Mongolian Star Management Corporation” and it is now 100 percent Mongolian invested company with subsidiaries “Mongolian Star Distribution” LLC and “Mongolian Star Properties” LLC. We interviewed Mrs. Bolormaa Suren, Chief Executive Officer of Mongolian Star Management Corporation LLC to discuss about this change, new company strategy and development.
Journalist: What was the reason to rename your old company “Mongolian Star Melchers”? I understand that there is not only name change, but also business change. Please let us start our discussion with this.
S.B: “Mongolian Star Melchers” LLC was established in 1998 with Mongolian, American and German investment and is known for distributing world renowned brands in the Mongolian market.   The shareholders came to a mutual decision to demerge the company because the foreign shareholders of “Mongolian Star Melchers” were no longer committed to stay in Mongolia for the long term.  As a result of the de-merger in March, 2014, I have established “Mongolian Star Management Corporation” which is fully Mongolian invested holding company with its subsidiaries.
Journalist: You had the right to keep part of the name “Mongolian Star” and changed “Melchers” to “Management”?
B.S: That is correct. I have proprietary right for the name “Mongolian Star” since my family has had few businesses recognized with this name.  As many might remember, back in 1991 my parents had established and operated the first privately owned hotel named “Star”.  I myself owned a trading company called “Mongolian Star International” which merged in 1998 with L. Melchers Trading creating “Mongolian Star Melchers”.   “Melchers” was family name of our German shareholder and after demerger “Melchers” part has been changed to “Management”.
Journalist: Could you please elaborate more on agreement made between shareholders on company name during company demerger? It seems that “Mongolian Star Melchers” is still frequent in public media and advertisement, and image of MSM still remains among public.
S.B:  Both parties agreed to stop the use of old company name Mongolian Star Melchers in any advertisement, official correspondence, and public relations after company’s official demerger date. However, due to the certain Ministry’s requirements to change specific licenses or documents, there has been an agreed time frame of no later then December 31, 2014 for MSM to chance its name fully.   The deadline is approaching and I hope that name change is in the process to meet the contractual obligations.
Journalist: Let us discuss about your company history and achievements.  You have many years of experience in fast moving consumer goods business since becoming an official distributor for Johnson & Johnson in Mongolia. The brands have become a preferred choice for many consumers. I believe that you bear a high level of responsibility as a distributor of world brands.
S.B: That is right. Today we represent three Global Companies:  Johnsons & Johnsons, Kimberly – Clark and SC Johnson.  This is not only a huge responsibility, but also a great honor.   These corporations continuously invest to innovate and improve product quality, and are leaders in corporate social responsibility. By becoming a distributor for these Global Corporations we have a possibility to learn from their know-how developed over a long period of time.  Also, being a distributor of global companies that are not affected by one country’s economy provides us with opportunity to continue to develop our business in today’s shrinking economy of Mongolia.   Although I think the following couple years will be quite difficult years for Mongolia, we have a positive outlook and hope to continue our marketing support and investments to provide Mongolian consumers with ever changing and improving consumer products.  
Journalist: Did you face any challenge to introduce global brands into Mongolian small market with few buyers? How do you see future of Mongolian economy?
S.B: Frankly speaking, it was very challenging. I had high aspirations and managed to convince these companies to agree to partner with me and supply their products to Mongolia when annual median household income was less than USD1000 and monthly average wage was USD60-70, and 70-80 percent of household income was spent on food.  I was sure Mongolian market was going to grow at that time and except for 2009 crisis, Mongolian economy has been growing rapidly.  I believe that livelihood and quality of life in Mongolia will continue to improve in the future despite the difficulties we will face in the next couple of years.
Journalist: In a country where there is mishmash of politics and economy, politicians are so dependent on business groups and businesspeople have no choice but to be involved in politics.  How do you see this situation?
B.S: In my opinion, politics and economy are inseparable for country’s development. But roles and responsibilities of politics and private sector are different like man and woman roles in family life.  Unfortunately private sector has to carry a large load especially in the economic downtimes due to the poorly developed policies.  On the other hand I see many of the private sector members getting heavily involved in politics.  We need to fix many of these issues going forward. 
Journalist: Are you an economist?
S.B: No. I am a lawyer by profession. I graduated with Law degree from Osaka University in Japan. Soon after graduation I worked for a consulting firm in Los Angeles, the United States. I attended short course in finance and economics at Harvard Business School; however, most of my knowledge I have gained from my experience in establishing and growing my company the past almost 20 years. 
Journalist: People who are educated and employed abroad rarely return home. What brought you back home?
S.B: I am a Mongolian and was raised here.   My heart for my home country brought me back.   My children will be raised and live in this country and hopefully contribute to the future of this country. 
Journalist: Your company also does business in medical sector. I feel that medical field is sensitive and requires a high level of responsibility.  Treating illness instead of preventing it is prevalent among Mongolians. Is it difficult to do business in this sector?
S.B: Same as the education sector, healthcare is a very sensitive field in a sense that it requires governmental controls and proper management system. One can say that it is the most valuable sector that demands a high level of responsibility because human life and human health is at stake.  Yet I think there is no country that has a perfect healthcare system. We are committed to continue to develop our operations and invest in the healthcare sector. The mentality of Mongolians to treat rather prevent has most probably been prevalent since communism. In a society where everything was considered to be state property, person’s health in retrospect was state property, thus state had to care for it.   This mentality will change with time.  People start to understand the value of healthy lifestyle.  I think an investment spent into healthcare is the most valuable long - term investment for an individual.   
Journalist: Prior to this interview, I searched information about you on the internet and found nothing, not even a single photograph. Why do you not give interviews to media?
S.B: I admit I have not given many interviews, I guess I have not paid much attention to this. 
Journalist: Thank you very much for an open discussion and I wish you success in you and your company endeavors.
I had an image of Bolormaa Suren as stern and very private person.  But found Mrs. Bolormaa as an open, candid, successful businesswoman who has contributed to the development of the private sector in Mongolia.

15 percent redundancy cuts planned for Ministry of Mining
December 24 ( The Ministry of Mining announced that there was a 15 percent redundancy at the ministry during the monthly Transparent Mining press conference given by Mining Minister R.Jigjid and ministry officials on December 23rd.
At the press conference, Minister R.Jigjid gave a brief introduction to the changes to the structure and positions at the ministry, following the government decision to cut redundant positions and agencies.
Under the new structure, the justice division at the ministry has been dissolved. The Mining Ministry will now operate with five departments and four divisions. Fifteen percent of staff positions were determined to be redundant by the Mining Ministry.
The Nuclear Energy Agency has also been dissolved, so experts specializing in radioactive minerals will be transferred to the Mining Ministry and Mineral Resources Authority.

A team of 400 will stage a magical version of The Nutcracker
December 24 ( A new, magical version of The Nutcracker ballet, with support from the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, will be staged for the first time at the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet today, December 24th.
A team of 400, including 50 dancers, 61 musicians, 25 stagehands and two casts of talented young artists from the Music and Dance College and the Mongolian State University of Culture and Arts, will bring the new version of The Nutcracker by State Merit Artist D.Altankhuayg to an eager audience.
It took two months for the theatre to bring five wagons of stages, decorations, and sets of costumes to the theatre. Tickets for the hot new year holiday performance of The Nutcracker are already sold out. The theatre now only waits for the audience for the groundbreaking evening.

Mongolia’s Third Millionth Citizen Would Be Born in January 2015
December 24 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on January 04, 2014, it was resolved to determine and bestow the third millionth citizen of Mongolia, who was expected to be born in the end of this year.
According to recent calculation by the National Statistical Office of Mongolia (NSO), the third millionth citizen would be born in January 2015 and therefore, Cabinet members met on December 22, 2014 agreed to allocate a monetary bounty of 958 million MNT from the Government reserve fund.
The third millionth citizen (one child selected from each 9 districts of the Capital City and 21 Aimags of Mongolia or 30 babies born most close to the declared hours) will be rewarded with an apartment or monetary prizes equivalent up to 70 million MNT.
Moreover, all other babies born on that day (to be announced by NSO) will receive a one-time reward of 3 million MNT each.
Mongolia's three millionth citizen will be graced with an, December 24

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