Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
This week begins with Chinese President Xi Jinping's online speech to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as tensions grow over Beijing's investments on the continent. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives in Asia to meet South Korean counterpart Suh Wook.
On the corporate side, Want Want and Up Fintech Holdings will announce earning results on Tuesday. Cloud Village, the main streaming rival to China's Tencent Music Entertainment Group, is due to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong on Thursday.
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Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver an online speech to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, in Dakar, Senegal. The Beijing-led forum comes as Chinese investment in Africa faces a growing backlash. It is seen by some in the region as loading recipient countries with high debts and environmental problems.
Nissan long-term vision
Nissan will unveil its long-term vision of how it will push for carbon neutrality and sustainable growth. The carmaker's strategy is expected to include plans for electric vehicles and battery procurement.
Nikkei reported last week that Nissan aims to have electric and hybrid models account for half of its global automobile sales by 2030. It plans to boost investment in the technologies by more than 30% over the next decade. Nissan wants to be carbon neutral in 2050 and make all new cars sold in major markets electric by the early 2030s.
Singapore-Malaysia travel lane opens
Singapore and Malaysia will launch a reciprocal quarantine-free travel lane on Monday. This will allow fully vaccinated people to fly between Singapore's Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport on designated flights. The move marks a significant step for the countries' economic recoveries; the one-hour flights made up one of the world's busiest international routes before the pandemic. Quarantine-free border crossings via a causeway between the city-state and the southern Malaysian state of Johor will start on the same day.
Grab's SPAC deal vote
Southeast Asian unicorn Grab steps closer to its U.S. listing, as the special purpose acquisition company it plans to merge with will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday, U.S. time, to vote on the deal. Subject to shareholders' approval, Grab could be listed on Nasdaq by early December. Grab's listing would provide U.S. investors with a fresh opportunity to invest in a region that has been underrepresented in global stock markets.
India quarterly GDP
India releases its gross domestic product data for July-September, the second quarter of the ongoing financial year. A research report by the government-owned State Bank of India, the nation's largest lender, pegs quarterly GDP growth at 8.1% amid a sharp dip in COVID cases. The country's stepped-up vaccination drive is seen as key to economic recovery. In the same three-month period last year, India's economy contracted 7.3%. Turkey also announces third-quarter GDP on Tuesday.
Company earnings: Want Want, Up Fintech Holdings
32 countries take away GSP benefits for Chinese imports
China will lose its special treatment under the World Trade Organization's Generalized System of Preferences with more than 30 other countries. These are the EU's 27 members, the U.K., Canada, Turkey, Ukraine and Liechtenstein. China will retain the status with Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
Although Beijing has generally resisted promotion from the ranks of developing countries in many international organizations, Chinese officials have embraced graduation from GSP as a sign of economic success and recognition of the competitiveness of Chinese products.
The annual Taipei-Shanghai forum will be held virtually. The cities will deliver speeches on the theme of "New Economy and New Development." Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je, who is interested in running in the 2024 Taiwan presidential election, and his Shanghai counterpart are scheduled to sign memorandums of understanding during the forum. These will cover technological innovation, zoos and orchestras. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council has warned the Taipei City Government not to cross the line of cross-strait exchanges beyond the city-to-city level. The event was initially planned in June in Shanghai but delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan earlier this year.
Australia 3Q GDP
Australia's third-quarter gross domestic product will reveal the impact of strict COVID-19 lockdowns in major cities. The central bank recently said economic activity "contracted sharply" in the period. But things are looking brighter. The bank expects a "rapid bounce back" in domestic demand in the next two quarters now that vaccinations are up and restrictions are easing, with GDP growing 3% for 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. The same day the data comes out, Australia will reopen its border to fully vaccinated visa holders.
Cloud Village IPO
Cloud Village, NetEase's music streaming unit, is set for its market debut after halving its earlier sales target. The relaunch of Cloud Village's IPO may kick off a new run of major listings. More than a dozen Chinese unicorns canceled their overseas IPO plans earlier this year amid Beijing's clampdown on internet data sharing.
With 185 million monthly active users, Cloud Village is the biggest competitor to Tencent Holdings's New York-listed music subsidiary after Alibaba shut down its own Xiami Music service earlier this year. NetEase is to invest $200 million in Cloud Village's IPO, with Sony Music Entertainment putting in $100 million and Orbis Investment Management taking $50 million in shares, the prospectus shows.
EuroCham China report on China's standards drive
The European Chamber in China will release a report on the second largest economy's growing footprint in international technical standardization, a China-U.S. battleground that is becoming ever fiercer. The report will also review the challenges European countries and companies face from China's growing influence on standard-setting.
U.S. and South Korea defense ministers meeting in Seoul
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets South Korean counterpart Suh Wook in Seoul as an arms race intensifies in Asia. The ministers will discuss how to cooperate toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as on the return of wartime operational control to South Korea.
Opening of China-Laos Railway
The landmark China-Laos high-speed railway is due to come into operation. The project in China's impoverished southern neighbor has sparked debate because of loan terms that critics see as onerous for Laos. Celebrations planned for this week's maiden train journey have also been dampened because of a spike in COVID-19 rates in Laos.
Semiconductor forum, Taipei
The K.T. Li Foundation for Development of Science and Technology, a nongovernment organization that commemorates the late former minister of economics K.T. Li, will host a tech forum. Presentations will be given by industry heavyweights like Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.; Tsai Ming-kai, chairman of mobile chip developing giant MediaTek; and Tien Wu, CEO of ASE Technology Holding.