Yoshihide- Xinjiang at the Bundestag, Moon meets Biden, Sea results
Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
The week will bring quarterly results from several big mainland Chinese companies, as well as another rocket launch to build China’s Tiangong space station. Thursday’s rocket will deliver the second of the space station’s three modules.
Thailand posts gross domestic product data on Monday, and Japan announces its quaterly GDP on Tuesday. New Zealand unveils its federal budget for 2021 on Thursday.
Don’t miss the Nikkei Future of Asia conference, returning this year with speeches by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. Read on for details on how to register.
German parliamentary hearing on Xinjiang
A human rights committee in the Bundestag will hold a public hearing on Monday on abuses against China’s Uyghur population. Adrian Zenz, a German researcher sanctioned by Beijing for revealing the existence of internment camps in Xinjiang, will testify.
Why it matters: The hearing could pave the way for Germany to classify the atrocities in Xinjiang as genocide, following Canada, the Netherlands, the UK. and the U.S. Such a classification would mark a downturn in German-Chinese relations as Chancellor Angela Merkel nears the end of her 15-year tenure.
Recruit Holdings annual results
Japan’s top staffing agency will post full-year results on Monday, Recruit Holdings’ first since 45-year-old Hisayuki Idekoba was appointed as CEO to spearhead Recruit’s digitalization. Last month, Recruit sought a $4.15 billion credit line as a wave of temporary workers was dismissed by clients. Staffing agencies like Recruit are required to pay allowances to temps while looking for other employers to place them with.
Tokyo Olympics test events
Amid increasing international scrutiny, Tokyo Olympics organizers will hold several qualifying events this week to test COVID countermeasures, starting with cycling and shooting on Monday. Organizers are under pressure to show that they can hold the massive international sporting event without endangering public health, as critical COVID cases rise in Japan. Earlier this month, four test events with more than 700 Japanese and foreign athletes and over 6,000 staff were held with “not a single positive case” of COVID.
Trials continue for Hong Kong activists
Ten Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, including media mogul Jimmy Lai and former opposition lawmakers Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan, will stand trial on Monday on illegal assembly charges related to a protest on Oct. 1, 2019, when the People’s Republic of China celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding. Three of the defendants are already in prison on other protest charges.
Baidu Q1 earnings recover
Chinese search engine company Baidu is expected to report strong earnings for the first quarter on Tuesday, thanks to the continued economic recovery as well a flattering comparison with 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak caused massive disruptions in China.
NYSE delists China telecom companies
China’s three biggest telecom companies will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, in line with investment restrictions issued under Donald Trump‘s administration. The order bars Americans from investing in Chinese companies deemed to have military ties. China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are all listed in Hong Kong. China Telecom is in the process of selling shares in Shanghai, while China Mobile is considering a mainland listing.
Singapore-based digital tech group Sea’s bottom line will be closely watched by the market when it reports January to March results on Tuesday. The online gaming and e-commerce operator has become the most valuable listed company in Southeast Asia. But Sea’s net loss widened last year to $1.6 billion due to costs from aggressive marketing as the company fought for market share. Pressure on the company’s profit is increasing as regional tech rivals Grab and Gojek chase Sea.
JD.com quarterly results
First quarter results from e-commerce group JD.com and travel booking platform Trip.com will paint a portrait of China’s consumption recovery. Analysts expect JD.com to benefit from the recent crackdown on exclusive sales deals forced on merchants, allowing those on Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace to sell products on JD.com as well.
JD’s results will come two days after its JD Logistics unit holds an IPO in Hong Kong to raise around $3 billion, valuing the unit at $35 billion. The JD Logistics offering is one of Hong Kong’s most anticipated and could boost the city’s IPO market, which has shown signs of fatigue after a record start this year.
Annual results from Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines will report earnings for the financial year ended March on Wednesday. Without domestic routes to fall back on, the national carrier has been severely hit by the pandemic, with passengers numbers for March 91% lower than a year ago. The recent COVID-19 surge in India and many other Asian countries means the airline could continue to face low demand in the coming months.
Nikkei Future of Asia conference
After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Nikkei‘s annual Future of Asia conference will be held virtually on Thursday and Friday. Asia’s role in shaping the global recovery from COVID-19 is the theme. The first day will open with addresses by prime ministers Muhyiddin Yassin of Malaysia, Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam, and Prayuth Chan-ocha of Thailand. Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will speak, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will close out the first day.
Register by Tuesday, 5 p.m. Japan time here.
Tencent quarterly results
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings is expected to update investors about the regulatory risks it is facing when it reports first quarter results on Thursday. Reuters has reported that the authorities are preparing to fine the gaming company at least 10 billion yuan. The move follows a record antimonopoly fine of 18 billion yuan slapped on Alibaba last month.
North Korea will loom large in discussions when South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, in Washington on Friday. Moon will be the second head of state hosted by Biden, after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in April. Persuading Moon to repair Seoul’s rift with Tokyo for the sake of the trilateral alliance will be a priority for Biden in the face of security threats from China and North Korea.
Art Basel in Hong Kong
Asia’s top art fair opens Friday and runs through May 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The annual exhibition of modern and contemporary art, which attracts galleries and collectors from around the world, returns as an in-person show following last year’s digital-only exhibition. It will be a much smaller event due to border closures and travel restrictions, with only 104 galleries participating. The fair will reach out to art lovers with the debut of an immersive “Art Basel Live: Hong Kong” digital platform.
Vietnam legislative elections
Vietnamese head to the polls on Sunday to choose lawmakers and provincial leaders in the one-party state. Ruled by the Communist Party, Vietnam has low quotas for nonparty members and ethnic minorities to enter the National Assembly. Coverage in state-run media has focused on “hostile and reactionary” dissidents in the run-up to the vote and the resulting need for tighter security.
Who to watch: Mixing things up in the race is Luong The Huy, who is among a handful of self-nominated parliamentary candidates. Huy is an advocate of LGBT rights, which is one of the few social justice issues tolerated by the government as it is not seen as a threat to the Communist Party’s dominance.