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Your Week in Asia

ASEAN Summit online, Sony PlayStation 5 and China Singles Day

Your weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political events

Alibaba is expected to smash its sales record again with its annual Singles Day promotion, which ends Wednesday.   © Reuters

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

Asian stocks closed last week unbothered by the particularly long wait for results from the U.S. election, with Japan’s Nikkei index hitting a 29-year high Friday. An impending Biden presidency will be on the minds of Asian leaders as the ASEAN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization hold their annual gatherings this week.

Look out for GDP releases from the Philippines Tuesday and Malaysia Friday, as well as trade data from Taiwan Monday. Results will come this week from SoftBank Group and Apple suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron, as Apple prepares to launch the first Macbooks with in-house chips. 

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


Fosun subsidiary opens India IPO

Fosun-backed Gland Pharma will start taking subscriptions Monday for its IPO. The offering, worth as much as 64.5 billion rupees ($871 million), is shaping up to be India’s largest by a pharmaceutical firm and the first Chinese-owned company to list in India. The company and existing holders including Fosun Pharma Industrial are selling up to 43.2 million shares in a range 1,490 rupees to 1,500 rupees each. The listing in Mumbai is expected on Nov. 20.

Private school operator debuts on HKEX

New York-listed New Oriental Education & Technology Group, a Chinese tutoring and private school operator, makes its Hong Kong debut Tuesday after raising 10.13 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.3 billion). The listing is the first sizeable one in the city after Ant Group’s highly anticipated Shanghai and Hong Kong IPO, the world’s largest at $39.6 billion, was abruptly cancelled last week, with authorities citing regulatory risks. 

Comeback King: Masayoshi Son?

Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group looks to rebound from last fiscal year’s historic loss when it reports second quarter earnings on Monday. The coronavirus pandemic has boosted demand for e-commerce and enterprise software, boosting some of SoftBank’s vast portfolio of tech investments. SoftBank has also announced a series of asset sales, including a $40 billion deal to sell U.K. chip designer Arm. Read our exclusive interview with the head of Softbank’s Vision Fund here.


SCO leaders’ summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit hosted by Russia via video link. The SCO, which includes India, Pakistan and Central Asian countries, is expected to issue a joint declaration and cooperation agreements. We’ll be watching to see if  Xi will speak separately with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over unresolved tensions at the border in recent months.

Apple’s Armed Macbooks

A few weeks after the iPhone 12 launch, Apple will hold another special event livestreamed from its California headquarters Tuesday, where it is expected to unveil the first Arm-based Macbooks. The highly anticipated computer will run on Apple’s in-house designed chip, Apple Silicon, instead of Intel’s chips. 

Nikkei Asia reported exclusively last week that Apple is aiming to make 2.5 million units of Apple Silicon-powered MacBooks by early 2021. 


China Singles Day

Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, is expected to smash the sales record again at its annual promotion event, known as Singles Day, which ends Wednesday. This year, Alibaba has added three more days to its sale period and has included services to the promotion as a way to fend off rivals.

September quarter earnings will come Friday from rival The company has benefited from the online shopping boom fuelled by the pandemic and was able to increase the number of its active buyers by almost 30% in the previous quarter. 

Huawei hosts broadband forum 

China’s embattled Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecom equipment provider, will kick off a two-day Global Mobile Broadband Forum in Shanghai on Thursday. Deputy chairman Ken Hu will deliver a speech at the forum. 

Related: Some suppliers -- including Sony, Omnivision and Samsung Display -- have been granted licenses by the U.S. government to resume some business with Huawei.


Sony launches PlayStation 5

Sony’s next-generation gaming console, the PlayStation 5, will be released on Thursday as the gaming industry experiences a coronavirus-related surge in demand. Sony expects the PS5 to outpace the PS4’s 7.6 million launch-year sales.

Korean solons visit Japan

A group of South Korean lawmakers will visit Japan to find ways to improve soured relations between the neighboring countries. The legislators, led by Rep. Kim Jin-pyo of the governing Democratic Party, expressed their wish to meet Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during their three-day visit, but it is not certain whether he will see them.

Background: Seoul and Tokyo have been at odds over the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling in 2018 ordering Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensation to Korean forced laborers during the colonial period.

Look back on our coverage of the Japan-South Korea rift.

ASEAN Summit starts online

Vietnam will host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit under the pall of a pandemic that has forced the bloc to move its meeting online. 

On the agenda: The 10 members will discuss a coordinated approach to COVID-19, particularly ways of opening up economies to one another without triggering another surge of cases.

Vietnam will emphasize its goal of increasing the bloc’s ties to other countries, such as Timor-Leste’s membership application and talks with key ASEAN partners including China, Japan and the U.S. 

South China Sea disputes and climate change are likely to come up as well, as the death toll rises from typhoons hitting members from Vietnam to the Philippines.

Quarterly results from SMIC

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co., China’s largest contract chipmaker, will hold an earnings call for the July-to-September quarter on Thursday. The Chinese chipmaker in late September was hit by the U.S. government with export controls, with Washington citing “unprecedented risks” posed by the company’s alleged links to the Chinese military. SMIC has denied military links.

Results from iPhone assemblers

Apple iPhone assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron will hold their earnings conferences for the September quarter on the same day. Foxconn, which broke ground on a $10 billion investment project in Wisconsin in 2018, is expected to update investors on the status of the unfinished plant -- which was hailed by President Donald Trump --  following last week’s U.S. presidential election. Pegatron, on the other hand, is likely to update the company’s investment progress in India and Vietnam as part of its production diversification plans. 

Tencent results

Chinese technology heavyweight Tencent Holdings will report third quarter results Thursday. Analysts say its gaming revenue may not match the stellar levels of earlier in the year, since students have returned to school and the pandemic has generally subsided  in China. But the company is likely to acquire more PC gamers thanks to more tournament events during the quarter. Online games revenues grew by 40% to 38.3 billion yuan in the previous quarter.


Japan megabank results

Japanese banks MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui will release earnings Friday, after seeing a benefit to their trading business from stock market rallies in April to September. But the focus will be on the size of damage to their loan portfolios. The banks have increased their exposure to overseas markets in recent years to make up for slow domestic growth, a strategy which may have cost them as the global economy is expected to contract this year.

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