Trump vs Biden, Ant Group debut and TikTok in court

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

All eyes around the world this week will be on the U.S. presidential election. Because of the high volume of mail-in ballots this year as voters avoid the coronavirus, there may not be a clear winner when Asia starts the day on Wednesday.

Another election will be taking place in Myanmar on Sunday. Ant Group stock will debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong midweek.

Trade data will come from China on Saturday, while GDP figures from Indonesia are out Thursday. And central banks in Malaysia and Australia meet Tuesday.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NikkeiAsia.


Hong Kong Fintech Week

People’s Bank of China Gov. Yi Gang will speak on a panel on the first day of Hong Kong Fintech Week, followed later in the day by Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio. Other main speakers at the event include Ping An Group co-CEO Jessica Tan, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn, HKEX CEO Charles Li, Hong Kong Monetary Authority executive Eddie Yue, and Bill Winters of Standard Chartered.


Carrie Lam travels to Beijing

Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, will begin a three-day trip to Beijing to discuss plans to revive the financial hub’s economy, battered by COVID-19 and anti-government protests last year. This month, the Beijing-appointed leader postponed her annual policy address for the first time, citing a need to discuss support measures with mainland authorities.

Quarterly results from Lenovo

The world’s biggest PC maker Lenovo will announce July-September earnings. The Chinese company sees opportunities to expand its software as well as hardware business from COVID-19 digital shift.

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U.S. presidential election

Will President Donald Trump get four more years in Washington, or will voters send former Vice President Joe Biden back to the White House? What is typically a day of reckoning in U.S. politics may stretch out to weeks or even months as officials work to count a high volume of mail-in ballots this year.

State of play: Biden had an 7.8-point advantage by Sunday, according to Real Clear Politics’ average of national polls. Both candidates spent the last week before the election in the swing state of Florida. Biden surrogates are making multiple stops in North Carolina, one of a few historically Republican states that Democrats believe is in play.

What it means for Asia: No matter who wins, Trump’s China policy is here to stay.


South Korea resumes DMZ tours

The Panmunjom tour, canceled for a year since an outbreak of African swine fever, will resume in South Korea. Panmunjom is a joint security area inside the demilitarized zone, located 60 km north of Seoul and 10 km east of Kaesong, North Korea. Tourists can also visit the Freedom House, where President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met last year.

Court hearing on TikTok ban

A district court in Washington will hold a hearing on the fate of TikTok. TikTok is seeking a preliminary injunction to suspend President Donald Trump’s executive order, which would enforce a “total shutdown” of the popular video-sharing app in the U.S. The court blocked in September a part of the order that banned all TikTok downloads from app stores.

Japan telco results under Suga pressure

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SoftBank Corp., the Japanese telecommunications unit of SoftBank Group, recently responded to government pressure to lower mobile phone tariffs by announcing a new pricing plan for its low-cost brand. Analysts will be watching how much the measures would hit SoftBank’s bottom line when it announces second quarter results.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, which is taking telecoms unit NTT Docomo private in a bid to improve competitiveness against SoftBank, reports earnings on Friday.


Ant Group debuts in Hong Kong and Shanghai

Ant Group makes its much-anticipated stock market debut in Hong Kong and Shanghai after successfully concluding the world’s largest initial public offering.

Why it matters: A strong opening for Ant would encourage other companies in the region to pick Hong Kong and Shanghai over the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

Background: Ant’s IPO drew in record subscriptions, with $2.8 trillion in bids in Shanghai.

Alibaba results ride Ant Group coattails

Ant’s parent company, Alibaba Group, will announce July-September results on the same day. The operator of China’s largest online shopping platform has recorded remarkable growth this year, as more people have turned to online shopping for groceries and other daily necessities during the pandemic. Analysts will be watching whether Alibaba can maintain such growth with economic activities in China gradually returning to normal.

Quarterly results from Nintendo

Nintendo will report earnings for the April-September period. Investors and analysts expect strong results from the gaming giant, which has seen massive success during COVID-19, when Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons became a global smash hit.


Toyota and Honda midterm results

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Japanese automakers Toyota Motor and Honda Motor will post midyear earnings. Both carmakers saw an increase in global production in September from the same month last year, promising growth amid the pandemic. President Akio Toyoda will be speaking online for Toyota, a rare appearance at a midterm result press conference.

More bad news for Singapore Airlines?

Singapore Airlines will release the financial results for July-September, following a massive net loss of 1.12 billion Singapore dollars ($820 million) in the April-June quarter.

With passenger numbers declining 98% in September from a year previous and no domestic routes to fall back on, the national carrier is one of the worst-hit airlines in the region.

Although Singapore is gradually reopening to international traffic, air demand recovery remains weak, resulting in the company cutting some 4,000 positions. It will be worth watching what the management will say about further restructuring as well as the demand outlook.


Aung San Suu Kyi faces election

Myanmar will hold a general election on Nov. 8, where the incumbent government led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, National League for Democracy (NLD), will be tested by people for the first time since their landslide victory in 2015.

Given Suu Kyi’s domestic popularity, there are few doubts that NLD will win the general election again. The voting results are expected to come through the following week. Elected parliamentarians will then vote for a new president in late January or early February.



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