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  1. Hong Kong stocks advanced on Wednesday as traders piled into technology shares, while China markets ended mixed ahead of a key US tariff deadline.The Hang Seng Index reversed early losses and ended 0.8 per cent, or 208.81 points, higher at 26,645.43.In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 per cent to 2,924.42 by the close, extending its winning streak to five days. Meanwhile, the Shenzhen Component Index declined by 0.6 per cent to 9,852.71. The ChiNext Index of start-ups listed in…
  2. Asia Miles, a Cathay Pacific-owned frequent flier programme, is amending its policy by removing the expiry date on air miles collected from next year in a move seen as helping the Hong Kong flag-carrier beat a slump in air travel. Air miles accumulated from January 1 will no longer expire as long as its Asia Miles members keep their accounts active by earning or redeeming them at least once every 18 months, the company said. Miles earned before the new year will continue under the old system…
  3. HSBC’s Swiss private bank agreed to pay US$192.4 million in penalties and forfeiture to end a long-running inquiry in which it admitted to conspiring with US taxpayers to help them avoid paying taxes on as much as US$1.26 billion in undeclared assets, the US Department of Justice said on Wednesday. HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) agreed to cooperate fully with the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service in the investigation and will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement in which…
  4. The US Justice Department will review plans by Alphabet Inc-owned Google to buy fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc for possible antitrust issues, a source told Reuters on Tuesday.The US$2.1 billion deal will give search and advertising giant Google the capability to take on Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches. It was announced on November 1.Watchdog groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, among others, have urged antitrust…
  5. Some 110 years after China’s first indigenously built railway – from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, Hebei – was completed, a high-speed train on the same route will come into service this month. The immediate impetus was the Winter Olympics that China will host in 2022.Japan’s Shinkansen, or bullet train, also began operation ahead of the Olympics, in Tokyo, in 1964. The Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed connection, which will start operating well ahead of 2022, is rich with historical significance.The…
  6. It promises to be another day of muted activity in the Hong Kong and mainland China equity markets, as eyes once again turn to US-China trade negotiations. Sunday, December 15, is the key date, and it seems more likely that Washington will hold back from imposing extra tariffs on another US$160 billion of Chinese goods.  Closer to home, media reports about a Chinese city relaxing some of its property pricing curbs are also likely to draw some interest, as the industry – critical to China’s…
  7. The social unrest over the past six months have taken a toll on small businesses in Hong Kong’s prime areas, but family-run restaurants in Fanling in the New Territories have been kept rather busy, with residents staying close to home to avoid getting caught in the chaos.In the past few years, small shops selling noodles and sandwiches in Causeway Bay – one of Hong Kong’s most expensive districts for retail rents – have been edged out by big retailers selling watches, jewellery and cosmetics to…
  8. Corporate bond defaults in China will reach a record high next year, with Beijing unlikely to come to the rescue of struggling companies, according to Fitch Ratings.The number of new onshore issuers who fail to repay debt could rise to up to 60 next year from 51 in the first 11 months this year, with the default rate jumping to 1.3 per cent, the ratings agency said. Moody’s, however, said last month that it expects new issuers who fail to meet repayment obligations to rise to as many as 50 next…
  9. The US and China’s race for primacy over fifth-generation mobile technology threatens to impede its rapid roll-out to consumers and broader society as well as inhibit innovation – but the rivalry is unlikely to end any time soon.That was the view of technology experts addressing the future of 5G standards and the telecoms ecosystem at a conference focused on US-China issues in New York on Tuesday.“It’s not really productive or accurate to talk about the race to 5G in a binary context or as a US…
  10. Despite being known mainly as a ride-hailing company, Grab’s transport business is no longer the key driver of its growth.With the company expanding into other services in the past few years, food and financial services now generate more than 50 per cent of the Singapore-based company’s gross merchandise volume (GMV), according to Lim Kell Jay, regional head of Grab’s food delivery service GrabFood. GMV is the total value of sales transacted across the platform.Grab, which first started out as…