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Your Week in Asia

Biden meets Suga, IPO and Jimmy Lai sentencing

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

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, left, has said he plans to invite U.S. President Joe Biden to the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony; Biden's presence would be a vote of confidence for the embattled games. (Source photos by Reuters)

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

The coming week will be a big test of Japan's diplomatic mettle. Allies and rivals alike will be watching Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's first meeting with Joe Biden in Washington. Before that, Suga's foreign and defense ministers will meet with their German counterparts. And the 100-day countdown to the Tokyo Olympics starts midweek amid concerns about a "fourth wave" of the coronavirus.

Monthly trade data is due from China on Tuesday, as well as quarterly GDP numbers on Friday. Singapore's GDP figures come out on Wednesday.

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


Labor protests in Indonesia

A day before the holy month of Ramadan begins and ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr next month, Indonesian labor unions are planning rallies on Monday in a number of cities to demand full holiday allowance payments. The unions will also reiterate their objection to an omnibus law passed last year that they say harms workers' rights.

Huawei vs. HSBC

Hong Kong's high court will hear Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's request to access internal HSBC documents in relation to her extradition case in Canada. A U.K. court rejected a similar request in February, and the first hearing in Hong Kong was held behind closed doors last month.

Background: Meng was detained by Canadian authorities in December 2018 upon the request of the U.S. Justice Department, which alleges she misled HSBC about Huawei's dealings with Iran in 2013. Documents sought by Meng include internal HSBC compliance notes pertaining to Huawei and its subsidiary Skycom Tech, which had business dealings in Iran from December 2012 to April 2015.

Macao sends early gambling tax checks

Macao will start annual handouts to city residents three months early this year, a measure intended to help stimulate post-pandemic consumption. Forced last year to tap its reserves for the first time amid a plunge in usually plentiful gambling tax revenue, the city will send 10,000 patacas ($1,247) to each permanent resident and 6,000 patacas to other residents. Residents are also to receive electronic consumption vouchers through a complicated program that has sparked rare public protests.

White House talks chip shortage

The two biggest Asian chipmakers Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. executives are among a group of chip industry leaders invited to a meeting with senior Biden administration officials on Monday, White House said in a document. U.S. top chipmakers Intel and Micron as well as Netherland's NXP, the major global automotive chip provider, are also among the attendants. The world's electronics industry is battling the unprecedented chip and component shortages that already hit a swath of carmakers as well as spread to consumer electronics and computer giants like Apple.

All of the chipmakers are under pressure to send a stable supply of chips to U.S.-based automakers, including General Motors and Ford, which company representatives will also attend the summit. Washington is also expected to push Samsung and other international players to join a tech alliance to counter China, but analysts say that it is a hot potato for a company that depends on Chinese sales of its chips, displays and other devices.


Nasdaq-listed Chinese travel website will set the price on Tuesday for its Hong Kong secondary listing. The offer, which seeks to raise as much as HK$10.5 billion ($1.4 billion), comes after recent "homecoming" listings have seen disappointing debuts. But companies are shrugging off the prospect of reduced valuations and flocking to Hong Kong as a hedge against a possible expulsion from American exchanges. Others preparing for a Hong Kong offering include social media platform Weibo, Tencent Music and e-commerce company VIPshop Holdings.

Japan-Germany 2+2 meeting

German foreign and defense ministers will meet their Japanese counterparts on Tuesday for their first 2+2 consultation, a format already used by Japan with the U.S., U.K. and France. The EU's largest economy has recently shown more interest in the Indo-Pacific, signing an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan in March with plans to send a naval frigate to Asia this summer.


100 days to Tokyo Olympics

With just 100 days before the Olympic opening ceremony, Tokyo 2020 organizers are arranging a major international event during a pandemic. Disagreements with Japan over athlete visas, PCR testing costs and COVID countermeasures pushed FINA, swimming's international governing body, to further postpone Sunday's Diving World Cup in Tokyo. Other recent roadblocks include a scaling down of the torch relay in Osaka, as coronavirus cases climb in the prefecture.


TSMC results

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., at the center of an unprecedented global semiconductor shortage, will post quarterly earnings on Thursday. The company recently told clients -- including Apple, Google, and Qualcomm -- that it plans to cancel price reductions and raise investments by $100 billion over the next three years to increase capacity.

Nikkei Asia webinar on Southeast Asia's digital boom

Join us for a special afternoon webinar about the unicorns battling for dominance in ASEAN's $100 billion digital economy. Our reporters will discuss the possible merger Indonesian unicorns Gojek and Tokopedia are moving toward, the rise of SEA Group, the race to go public through SPACs and the battle for customers in fast-growing economies like Vietnam. You can register here.


Suga meets Biden in DC

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will have a chance to make a good first impression on his new U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, when he travels to Washington, D.C., at the end of this week. Their predecessors famously got along, but Shinzo Abe's golf trips did not shield Japanese steel and auto companies from Trump-era tariffs.

On the agenda: The top priority will be China's increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan and other disputed territories. The leaders are expected to address the status of Taiwan in a joint statement. Biden is expected to ask for Japan's cooperation on building regional infrastructure, securing the U.S. chip supply chain and fighting climate change. Suga has said he plans to invite Biden to the opening ceremony, and his presence would be a welcome vote of confidence for Japan's embattled Olympics.

Jimmy Lai receives first sentence

A Hong Kong court is set to hand down sentences to media mogul Jimmy Lai and six other prominent pro-democracy figures, who in early April were found guilty of illegal assembly, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. On the same day, Lai will face three other court hearings over protest and national security charges.

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