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Your Week in Asia

Belt and Road summit, Trip.com results, and Korea's Suneung test

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

A media center screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech at the opening ceremony for the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, on April 26, 2019.   © Reuters

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

Three court dates to watch this week will be the sentencing hearing for Hong Kong protest leaders Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, a second trial for Samsung's troubled scion, and a decision on an eviction order for Thailand's Prayuth.

Australia's central bank will decide rates on Tuesday, before the government reports GDP figures Wednesday. It will be the Reserve Bank of India's turn on Thursday.

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

MONDAY

Hong Kong hosts Belt and Road summit

Government and business leaders from China and countries participating in its Belt and Road infrastructure program will attend a two-day virtual meeting on Monday. Hosted by the Hong Kong government, the meeting's focus will be on post-pandemic economic recovery.

Who will be there? Although marketed as a summit, the event's political significance -- measured by the highest-ranking officials attending -- may not be so high. Hungary's foreign minister is one of the few high-ranking attendees, while no Chinese officials of that level are expected to attend.

Samsung's vice chairman on trial

The trial of Samsung Electronics scion Lee Jae-yong, who has been charged with bribery and embezzlement, continues on Monday at the Seoul High Court. Prosecutors argued in the previous hearing that Lee should be imprisoned again for embezzling corporate funds worth 8 billion won ($7 million), allegedly to bribe former President Park Geun-hye and her friend Choi Soon-sil in 2015.

TUESDAY

China export control law comes into effect

Beijing's efforts to centralize supervision on the use of goods and services deemed sensitive to national security come to a head Tuesday, when the export control law comes into effect.

What does it cover? Introduced in response to the U.S. ban on tech exports, the law identified precursor chemicals and military gear among the controlled items. Beijing previously considered artificial intelligence as a restricted item and intervened in the sale of internet operator ByteDance's mobile app Tiktok in the U.S.

JD Health prices IPO

JD Health International, a unit of China's second largest online retailer JD.com, is set to hold Hong Kong's largest IPO this year, the most important one after the collapse of Ant Group's mega offering. The company is selling 381.9 million shares within a price range of HK$62.80 to HK$70.68, according to a terms sheet, and could raise $3.5 billion at the top of the range.

CEO speaks at Nomura investment forum

Nomura CEO Kentaro Okuda will update investors on the brokerage house's business strategy Tuesday. Nomura reported a record profit in the April-September period on the back of strong trading business. But not all investors are convinced that the stellar performance is sustainable. Okuda's challenge lies in persuading investors that the company will have strong and diversified revenue sources.

WEDNESDAY

Quarterly results from Trip.com

Trip.com Group has seen a recovery in its domestic market ahead of other markets, which will be reflected when the Chinese online travel giant reports third-quarter earnings Wednesday. Hotel-occupancy rates and domestic flight passengers in China bounced back to around 80% of the 2019 level, said CEO Jane Sun at Nikkei's Global Management Forum earlier this month. But the lack of international travel is still expected to weigh heavily on Trip.com's performance.

Evergrande Property Services market debut

The property management arm of Asia's most indebted private-sector company will debut in the Hong Kong stock market Wednesday, after raising $1.8 billion. The company sold shares at HK$8.80, toward the bottom end of the indicative range.

Background: The spinoff and listing of the property arm are part of Evergrande Group's plans to raise capital and cut debt by half in three years.

Sentencing of Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow

A Hong Kong court will hand down sentences on Wednesday for pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, who last week pleaded guilty to charges over their roles in the 2019 anti-government protests. Both face a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

An eviction notice for Prayuth?

Thailand's Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision Wednesday on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's continued residency in an army house. Although the prime minister of Thailand's civilian government is no longer a member of the army's top brass, he and his family still live in a King's Guard house for "security reasons."

THURSDAY

Korean students sit for Suneung

Even as South Korea faces a third coronavirus wave, the national college entrance exams known as Suneung will proceed Thursday. Students with confirmed infections of COVID-19 will be allowed to take tests at separate locations. Flights will be suspended during the English listening test so as not to disturb students taking the test near airports.

FRIDAY

FTSE Russell decides on US-targeted Chinese stocks

After consulting with investors, index compilers FTSE Russell and MSCI will reveal their stance on including securities from companies that the U.S. government says help the Chinese military. MSCI said it is considering changing existing stock indexes, or introducing new ones. FTSE Russell said its policy was to exclude securities covered by U.S., U.K. or European Union sanctions.

Background: The discussions were triggered when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Nov. 12 banning investment in 31 Chinese companies that allegedly supply China's military and security services. It will impact China Mobile in equities and some $50 billion worth of offshore bonds issued by the companies.

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