Category Archives: News

GBA Briefs: 1/17/2020

HK to plunge: Office rents in Hong Kong’s Central district could plunge by as much as 40% in the next three years, according to one forecast. Read more on SCMP.

Beijing to tighten: Local governments are going to come under tighter financial control by the central government as the FSDC sets up special units within provincial branches of the PBOC. Read more on Caixin.

Financials to enter: Beijing has opened its financial markets wider in the latest US-China trade agreement. Caixin looks at what this means for US firms.

‘Seismic’ shift in HK: One of Hong Kong CE Carrie Lam’s closest advisers says the recent HK$10bn welfare package represents a “seismic” shift in the administration’s thinking. (We tend to agree, and expect this is just a start.) Read more on SCMP.

GBA Briefs: 1/16/2020

Macau downbeat on 2020: Macau’s tourism bureau says visitor arrivals could contract this year, due to a weak external environment. It would be the first time since 2015, and comes after 10% growth last year. Read more on GGRAsia.

HKEx busy: Hong Kong’s stock exchange had seven new IPOs start trading today, the best single-day performance in more than 18 months, while 2020 is shaping up to be a good year. Read more on SCMP.

Huawei’s UK saga: A day after PM Boris Johnson seemed to suggest he was fine with Huawei being in the UK’s 5G network buildout, one of his secretaries insisted the company would be kept out of its most sensitive areas. Read more on SCMP.

GBA Briefs: 1/15/2020

Carrie Lam’s welfare ‘breakthrough’: Hong Kong CE Carrie Lam unveiled her plan Tuesday to spend HK$10 billion a year – including public transport fee deduction, increased statutory public holidays and housing subsidies – that would benefit more than a million people in the city, in a “breakthrough” in the government’s thinking. The announcement came days after she met with Luo Huining, Beijing’s new top official in Hong Kong. Read more on SCMP.

ICAC on Yuen Long attack: Hong Kong’s Independent Commision Against Corruption, the city’s graft-buster, pledged to look into the police handling of Yuen Long mob attack last July, although refusing to reveal any details, adding that ongoing civil unrest has added to the organization’s workload. Read more on SCMP.

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GBA Briefs: 1/14/2020

5G bullet: The High-Speed Railway between Guangzhou and Hong Kong has switched on its 5G network service, the first in China to do so. It only works outside of the Hong Kong border, though. Read more on Caixin. 

GBA jobs: A delegate to the provincial government CPPCC has suggested targeting those Hongkongers already studying inside Guangdong with job offers, as a way of winning the battle for their hearts and minds. Read more on SCMP.

Digital currency debate: Not everyone thinks China is ready for a digital currency, saying the pressure is off now that Libra is not happening. It’s being tested in Shenzhen at the moment. Read more on SCMP.

Trade up: China’s exports and imports both surged in December, above analysts’ expectations, even though the year as a whole saw a weak performance for foreign trade in US dollar terms. Read more on SCMP.

GBA Briefs: 1/13/2020

Cut mainland quotas? A third-generation property scion, Adam Kwok of Sun Hung Kai, has suggested that the annual quota of mainlanders settling in Hong Kong be reduced, in order to ease tensions. Read more on SCMP.

Tencent’s stealth plan: The Shenzhen-based internet giant has not been generating anywhere near the controversy that Huawei has in its overseas operations. Technode explains why. Read more. 

New GBA boss? Luo Huining, the new head of the Central Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has already popped across the border for tea with provincial leaders to discuss the GBA and how Hong Kong can be better integrated. Read more on SCMP.

Fintech shot fired: Hong Kong’s first virtual bank to go live (sort of), backed by the mighty Zhong An insurance group, is offering mouth-watering interest rates of 6% on some deposits. Read more on SCMP.

Shenzhen bonds coming: Shenzhen is considering offering local-government bonds in Hong Kong and Macau. Read more on SCMP.

10/01 GBA Briefs

SOE reforms: SOE reform is getting serious, judging by the high number of administrative-guideline documents with the theme of mixed-ownership restructuring, a respected columnist reckons. The state really is focused on managing capital rather than people, it seems. Read more on Global Times.

New Guangdong official: A former World Bank economist, Zhang Xin, has been appointed as the vice-governor of Guangdong, suggesting that financial reforms are going to be a high priority. Zhang, 51, is the former deputy chairman at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange who worked closely with recently retired central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan. Read more on SCMP.

Foshan health industry: Foshan unveiled Thursday its plan of developing the healthcare system for the next decade, aiming to raise the level of the city’s major indicators to as high as those of the high-income countries by 2030 – including an average life expectancy of 82.5 years and the total scale of 210 billion yuan in its health service industry. Read more (in Chinese).

Guangdong forestation: Guangdong will build 1.36 million hectares of forest this year, nearly the same size of the forest area created in 2019. Read more (in Chinese)

WeChat Pay expands overseas: WeChat Pay has launched a new service allowing Chinese students studying at South Korean universities to pay tuition fees, marking the latest expansion in cross-border transactions by the social media behemoth. Read more on Caixin.

08/01 GBA Briefs

GBA Association opens in HK: The Greater Bay Area Federation of Industry and Commerce, an organization dedicated to fostering the industrial and business cooperation in the region, opened its new headquarters in Hong Kong on Tuesday. It will organize a series of networking events, and help GBA companies raise money in Hong Kong. Read more (in Chinese)

Megvii IPO: Megvii, the Chinese facial recognition startup blacklisted by the US, resumed its $500 million IPO plan in Hong Kong as the city’s bourse cleared its application, after the process was postponed in November. Read more on Reuters.

Realme ambitious: Realme, a Shenzhen-based smartphone manufacturer spinning off from the smartphone giant Oppo, aims to double the number of handsets it ships in 2020 to 50 million, after it saw rampant expansion in India in 2019. Read more on Reuters.

Virus grows: Thirty patients in Hong Kong were in hospital isolation with symptoms of fever and respiratory infection or pneumonia, with a third education institution reporting a suspected case on Tuesday night, all after visiting Wuhan. Read more on SCMP.

07/01 GBA Briefs

More accurate GDP?: China has now adopted unified calculations of regional GDP, 35 years after provincial-level regions began conducting their own, which has led to discrepancies in national GDP calculated by the National Bureau of Statistics. Read more on China News Service.

Foreign banks easier: Foreign banks are no longer subject to the total asset requirements to set up businesses in China, given relaxed limitations on being shareholders of joint venture banks, and allowed to open branches and wholly-owned outlets. Read more on Reuters.

Guangdong expects tax reduction: As China lower tariffs on 859 commodities including frozen pork, fruit and medicine since the beginning of this year, Guangzhou Customs will see importers in seven prefecture-level cities eligible for 300 million yuan in tax cuts. Read more (in Chinese)

HKEX chief bullish: Chief Executive of HKEX, Charles Li Xiaojia, sent an upbeat note on the city’s outlook for the next decade, saying Hong Kong’s role will only be more apparent as the “translator and converter” between China and the global market. Read more on SCMP.

Guangdong vocational education: Guangdong has set aside 600 million yuan to develop the province’s vocational education, focusing on six sectors including construction of vocational colleges, college competitions and lifelong education. The provincial education department aims to have more than 92% of college students in Guangdong secure a job before graduation. Read more (in Chinese)

Macau airport record: Macau International Airport recorded an all-time high of passenger volume for 2019, at 9.6 million, an increase of 16% YoY. In the past year, 13 new routes were added to the airport’s coverage. Read more on GGRAsia.

Yikes! SARS-like virus reported

Younger generations of readers may not remember the devastating impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a terrible disease that began in Guangzhou’s live exotic food markets in late 2002, and killed 774 people worldwide by the middle of 2003. It spread fastest via Hong Kong and Macau, because they had the biggest tourism industries and largest network of international flights. The entire GBA saw its economy hammered for more than six months and it came just as the region’s property markets were entering a downturn. 

Health authorities are taking no chances again, since the recent announcement in Wuhan of an outbreak that seems similar to SARS, mostly causing symptoms of pneumonia. Macau has put its casinos on alert and set up screening stations at the borders, even though it has only had five cases reported, and four were discharged from local hospitals. Hong Kong has reported 17 cases so far and has set up screening stations at the border points. 

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