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Japan lifts COVID restrictions, Bangkok Motor Show and Tencent results

Welcome to your week in Asia.

Japan will remove all COVID-19 related restrictions as the country sees a downward trend in new infections. Chinese tech companies, including Tencent and Pinduoduo, are expected to report profits after a sharp selloff in their shares last week. The tech sector has suffered from Beijing’s regulatory crackdown and geopolitical tensions between China and the United States

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MONDAY

Japan lifts COVID restrictions

Japan will end all emergency COVID restrictions on Monday, allowing shops and restaurants to finally return to normal. The move comes despite the fact that only a third of its population has received booster shots so far and an omicron subvariant is spreading across Europe. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, however, aims to juggle economic reopening with a vaccination campaign.

Pinduoduo Quarterly Results

Pinduoduo releases its December quarter results amid sluggish economic growth in China. Pinduoduo is the largest Chinese technology company listed only in New York. It should be watched whether Pinduoduo will seek a secondary listing in Hong Kong as geopolitical tensions rise. Most Chinese companies listed in the United States are at risk of delisting by 2024. Pinduduo’s rivals, Alibaba and JD.com, are both listed in Hong Kong and New York.

TUESDAY

Taiwan Smart City Expo

Taiwan’s Smart City Summit & Expo will be held in Taipei and Kaohsiung from Tuesday to Saturday. Major Apple suppliers such as iPhone assembler Pegatron, MacBook maker Quanta Computer and iPad assembler Compal Electronics will have booths showcasing 5G connectivity products used in smart cities. On Wednesday, the president and sustainability directors of eight tech companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., PC makers Asustek Computer and Acer, and US software giant Microsoft, will hold a forum on climate change and the goals net zero emissions..

Company income: Xiaomi

WEDNESDAY

$2 billion Evergrande bond due

China Evergrande Group, one of the world’s most indebted developers, is facing the maturity of another large offshore bond. The principal of the bond is $2.045 billion with a coupon rate of 8.25%. The Guangdong-based company missed payments on other bonds last year and is considered defaulted by major credit agencies.

Bangkok Motor Show kicks off

Thailand is kicking off its biggest annual auto exhibition, the 43rd Bangkok International Motor Show, which runs from March 23 to April 3. This year, the focus is on electric vehicles (EVs), as the government recently approved a package of subsidies to reduce the prices of green cars to stimulate demand. The package also sparked competition between Chinese, Japanese and European automakers. Manufacturers will launch more than 20 electric vehicle models at the event.

Company Profits: Tencent, China-Mobile

THURSDAY

Toshiba Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders

Toshiba organizes an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on its plan to split into two public companies and sell off non-essential activities. The company also named a new CEO this month. However, activist investors are unconvinced of the wisdom of these moves and further unrest could ensue.

Monetary Policy Announcement: Philippines

FRIDAY

Showdown at the Hana Financial AGM

South Korean financial group Hana is holding a shareholders’ meeting that will determine the fate of Vice Chairman Ham Young-joo. Hana Financial’s board has recommended that shareholders appoint Ham as a director so they can promote him to chairman. However, some shareholders oppose his appointment because the financial regulator punished him for Hana Bank’s mis-selling of troubled derivatives to its clients.

Company Benefits: SenseTime, Meituan, Nio

WEEKEND

China expands public health plan to cover fertility treatments

In vitro fertilization will be among several reproductive technologies approved under China’s public health insurance reimbursement scheme, as authorities introduce new measures aimed at stemming the decline in the country’s birth rate. The government introduced a third-child policy last year, along with financial incentives to encourage childbearing, after the birth rate fell to its lowest point since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

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