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Your Week in Asia

China plenum, Ant IPO pricing, Pompeo in India

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

Fintech giant Ant Group is set to reveal the pricing of the onshore leg of its initial public offering, possibly the world’s largest, on Tuesday.    © AP

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

In the final week before the U.S. presidential election, secretaries Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper visit Sri Lanka and India, while the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee gathers to draw up the country's next five-year plan.

On Thursday, quarterly GDP figures from the U.S. may stir markets, while the Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged. Taiwan and Hong Kong will also post GDP data on Friday.

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


China's next five-year plan

A four-day meeting of the Chinese Communist Party's top leaders begins Monday to deliberate a new five-year plan from 2021. By week's end, they will likely have agreed a target for achieving high-income status by 2025.

How? Strategies to reach that goal may include enhancing the country's technological prowess, foreign investment and environmental preservation.

What's next? The plan will be officially passed by the National People's Congress next year.

Suga addresses parliament

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will reconvene parliament for a 41-day extraordinary session through Dec. 5 to pass some of his most urgent legislative initiatives, such as bills to exempt drugmakers from coronavirus vaccine liability and to ratify a free trade agreement with the U.K. In a policy address, Suga is expected to pledge to reduce Japan's greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Hyundai quarterly results

South Korea's largest automaker is expected to post poor third quarter earnings after setting up additional provisions worth 2.1 trillion won ($1.9 billion) to recall autos with faulty engines. It will be the first earnings release since Hyundai heir Chung Eui-sun took over as chairman from his ailing father, Chung Mong-koo, earlier this month.


India and U.S. ministers meet

India will host the third edition of its so-called 2+2 ministerial dialogue with the U.S., during which the two sides are expected to discuss strengthening their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amid China's growing assertiveness in the region. The ongoing India-China border standoff is also likely to figure in talks between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and their Indian counterparts, S. Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh.

Ant Group prices IPO

Fintech giant Ant Group is set to reveal the pricing of the onshore leg of its initial public offering, possibly the world's largest. The company is said to target a $35 billion capital raising, split equally between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Strategic investors with investments in Ant's domestic leg will be locked in for at least 12 months. Such investors will account for 80% of the domestic float and include Alibaba unit Tmall, which has committed to taking 730 million shares, according to the prospectus. Alibaba, which owns a third of Ant, will hold about 32% of the world's most valuable fintech after the IPO.

Midyear results from Japanese airlines

ANA Holdings will unveil its restructuring plan when it announces earnings for the April-September period on Tuesday, as the Japanese airline considers further cost-cutting measures. The plan is likely to include reduction of aircraft and labor costs. The company will also disclose its forecast for the fiscal year through March 2021.

Nikkei learned last week that ANA expects to post its worst-ever net loss of nearly 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) for the full-year.

On Friday, midyear results will come from ANA rival Japan Airlines.

Quarterly results from HSBC

HSBC Holdings reports third quarter earnings Tuesday, when it will update investors on its plan to end its yearslong underperformance. The bank is pivoting to Asia and reducing its presence in Europe and North America, a restructuring that is expected to shed 35,000 jobs within three years. The London-headquartered bank in August said it expects provisions for loan losses for the year to reach $8 billion to $13 billion, the highest in a decade.

Caught in the crosshairs: Investors will also listen for further signs of political risk, after HSBC caught flak from U.S. and U.K. authorities for its endorsement of China's national security law for Hong Kong. Chinese state media has also strongly criticized the bank for its alleged role in the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada in December 2018.


Sony results

Sony will announce earnings for the April-September period, with investors and analysts expecting mixed results from the conglomerate's wide range of businesses. While many predict steady sales in gaming, the impact of the coronavirus on movie and music production, as well as a slowdown in the smartphone market, could hit Sony's earnings.

Lenovo Tech World

The world's biggest PC maker's annual technology showcase, Lenovo Tech World 2020, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. The event will cover a range of new technologies, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence and 5G, aimed at supporting various sectors from education to business in the accelerated digitization resulting from COVID-19. Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing will be speaking on both days at the event, which is taking place virtually for the first time.


Samsung's chip boost

Samsung Electronics releases its third quarter earnings on Thursday, after forecasting last month that operating profit would jump 58% to 12.3 trillion won in the July-September period from a year ago, marking the biggest quarterly operating profit in two years.

Why? Analysts say the bump is due to a sharp rise in memory chip orders from Huawei, before the U.S. sanctions became effective on Sept. 15. Soaring demand for smartphones and home appliances also boosted the company's performance.


China corporate results

Companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen are required to release third quarter results by month's end. As the majority of companies tend to release their earnings close to the deadline, over 1,000 companies are expected to reveal their latest figures during the week of Oct. 26. The peak will likely be on Friday, including the big three state-owned airlines, most of the major banks, automakers, major contractors and shipping companies.

Ping An Insurance, the only Asian insurer deemed systemically important by global regulators, will report earnings on Tuesday.


Taipei Pride

Taiwan's 18th LGBTQ Pride parade will take place on Saturday in downtown Taipei. The largest pride event in Asia attracted some 200,000 participants in 2019. Despite the pandemic, organizers still expect it would be the largest parade for the LGBT community across the Northern Hemisphere in 2020.

Tokyo film festival opens

The 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival, one of only two competitive exhibitions in Asia, will look much like its previous iterations when it opens on Saturday. Unlike postponed festivals in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, Tokyo organizers have not had to downsize the event, which lasts through Nov. 9. But panel discussions have been moved online and international guests will be absent due to Japan's stringent entry restrictions.

Background: Even as Hollywood has delayed major films such as Black Widow and the latest James Bond installment, cinemas in Tokyo are operating at full capacity. Last week, a Japanese manga film broke the domestic box office record, while China surpassed the U.S. as the world's top box office.

China census begins

From Sunday, statisticians will conduct a household head count for China's 7th national population census registration. Conducted once every decade, the last census counted a population of 1.37 billion. Authorities have estimated the current population at around 1.4 billion and warned of demographic pressure as Chinese society ages.

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