Welcome to Your week in Asia.
The question this week may not be whether China’s economic rebound continued into the third quarter, but by how much. Japan’s new prime minister is set to announce more subsidies for companies looking to leave China, a policy that has yet to take China’s breath away.
In business, Huawei will unveil its new series of smartphones on the heels of Apple’s iPhone 12. And amid political turmoil in Bangkok, Thailand’s new central bank governor will make his first press appearance.
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Chinese economy: renewed momentum?
Market watchers following the recovery in China will be paying close attention to the July-September GDP figures, after a surprise 3.2% rebound in the second quarter. Economists polled by Nikkei predicted median growth of 5.2%. Recent releases of trade and PMI data point to robust growth, as China’s trading partners bring the pandemic under control and Chinese consumer spending rebounds. Uncertainties remain about the global rebound and whether next winter will weigh on the post-pandemic recovery.
Suga visits South East Asia
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has chosen Vietnam and Indonesia for his first overseas trip to re-emphasize Japan’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, also visited the two countries for the first time when he regained the post of prime minister in 2012. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which the Vietnam is chairing this year, is headquartered in Indonesia.
Nikkei announced last week that Japan would expand a subsidy program to encourage companies to diversify supply chains from China, covering up to half the cost of investing in Southeast Asia. Suga is expected to announce the expansion on his trip.
Thailand’s new central bank governor meets the press
Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput is due to meet the press for the first time since taking office earlier this month. The new governor will have to lead Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which is expected to contract a record 7.8% this year before growing 3.6% next year, according to forecasts by the bank. Minutes from a September 23 monetary policy meeting showed the bank felt the need to preserve its limited policy space for use at the most efficient time.
Pakistan’s dirty money status verdict
The Financial Action Task Force will begin a three-day meeting to decide whether Pakistan has qualified to be removed from its “gray list” on dirty money. The Paris-based watchdog responsible for international terrorist financing placed Pakistan on the list in 2018 and called on Islamabad to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. Pakistan is widely expected to be considered broadly compliant, but it will remain on the list despite some signs of progress.
Huawei launches Mate 40 phones
A day before rival Apple starts shipping its new 5G-enabled iPhone 12, Huawei Technologies will unveil its updated flagship smartphone, the Mate 40.
What’s inside Huawei’s phone? Inside the Mate 40 will be Huawei’s Kirin mobile processor, designed in-house and produced with cutting-edge five-nanometer technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. But Huawei has a limited supply of chips, as TSMC stopped taking orders from Huawei in May to comply with a U.S. ban.
Go further: How the US ban on Huawei will affect global technology
Chinese state-controlled pharmaceutical group Sinopharm will release financial results for the quarter ended September 30. Listed in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Sinopharm is one of three Chinese companies to conduct pre-production Phase 3 trials on a COVID-19 vaccine. Sinopharm’s net profit fell 0.8% to 627 million yuan ($ 93 million) on sales of 27 billion yuan in the first half of 2020.
Samsung’s Lee Trial Begins
A Seoul District Court will hold a meeting for prosecutors and lawyers representing Samsung Electronics’ vice president Lee Jae-yong on charges of market manipulation and accounting fraud. The two sides will discuss the trial procedure and check the main arguments and evidence. Despite Lee’s legal woes, Samsung posted its biggest quarterly profit in two years in the last quarter, driven by growing demand for memory chips as well as increased sales of smartphones and home appliances.
Tesla is expected to release its third quarter results early Thursday morning in Asia (Wednesday afternoon in the US). Investors are watching closely whether the US automaker will continue its one-year profit streak. The company lowered the starting price of its Shanghai-made Model 3 in early October to boost sales in China, which remains a key growth market for Tesla despite the pandemic. Last month, Tesla shocked investors at Panasonic, its long-time battery partner, by announcing its intention to start producing batteries in-house.
Bitauto privatization vote
Shareholders of Bitauto, operator of the popular Chinese auto services platform YiChe, will vote on a deal that would take the company off the New York Stock Exchange after a decade. Founded by Li Bin, now chairman of Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio, Bitauto is part of a growing group of Chinese companies exiting the US stock market amid political tensions.
The offer valuing Bitauto’s stock at $ 1.1 billion was made by a consortium led by Tencent Holdings, which is expanding its presence in the auto industry.
Hong Kong iBond subscription begins
Hong Kong will begin selling inflation-linked bonds on Friday for the first time since 2016. The city will offer a minimum interest rate of 2% and issue at least HK $ 10 billion ($ 1.29 billion ). Hong Kong had issued around HK $ 60 billion of these bonds between 2011 and 2016 to more than 500,000 subscribers. The three-year bonds will debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on November 17.