Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
After a yearlong postponement, Summer Olympics festivities will be in full swing in Japan this week, as the torch relay starts its final leg, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrives, and Tokyo is poised to exit nearly three months of COVID restrictions.
Chinese technology will be another key theme, with industry leaders gathering to discuss artificial intelligence in Shanghai, Huawei Technologies talking up the environmental sustainability of its operations, and startup electric vehicle maker Xpeng debuting on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
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Security and Hong Kong's 'prosperity'
Days after a local law school gathered scholars to discuss how Hong Kong's national security law has transformed the city's legal system, Hong Kong's Department of Justice is bringing together Beijing's top representatives, senior Chinese officials and others for a legal forum on the controversial statute under the theme "security brings prosperity."
Australia's bond buying
The Reserve Bank of Australia's board is expected to extend the bank's bond-buying program. With low wage growth and inflation at 1.2%, board members have deemed it "premature" to end the program, which expires in September, according to minutes from their June meeting.
China's AI agenda
Technology leaders will gather for the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai for four days to discuss industry trends and show off new projects, with a self-driving tour-guide minibus from SenseTime among the billed attractions. Organizers have yet to release a speaker list, but Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Huawei's rotating chairman Ken Hu are reportedly attending it. In past years the conference featured high-profile appearances by Tesla's Elon Musk, Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings Chairman Pony Ma and Baidu chief Robin Li.
Samsung sends signals
Analysts expect Samsung Electronics to flag a 40% jump in operating profit when it posts guidance on its upcoming results for the quarter which ended last week. Although rising memory chip prices have given Samsung a boost, smartphone shipments are expected to have been hit by lower demand from India and a production suspension in Vietnam, with output dropping to under 60 million handsets from 76 million the previous quarter.
Xpeng drives into Hong Kong
Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng debuts on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after raising $1.8 billion in its first local share sale. The company is set to be the first to have a "dual primary" listing in Hong Kong and New York, after pricing its new shares at a 4.1% discount to their last closing price on the New York Stock Exchange.
Its opening-day showing is likely to influence whether Chinese peers Li Auto and Nio, among other mainland companies, follow in its tracks to hedge against forced delisting from U.S. exchanges.
Bach is back in Japan
Any chance of an Olympics cancellation will run out when International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach touches down in Tokyo, a day before the final leg of the Olympic torch relay begins. Bach, who gained notoriety in the host country as the Games have grown in unpopularity, will quarantine for three days before overseeing final event preparations and traveling to Hiroshima next week.
Fair play? Olympic officials have to isolate themselves for only three days, compared to athletes and coaches forced to undergo two weeks' quarantine.
While much focus has been on Huawei's ability to sustain its production and sale of telecommunications network equipment and smartphones under U.S. sanctions, the company wants to talk up another side of sustainability: it will release an annual report detailing progress on environmental commitments, green energy adoption, supply chain management and talent retention.
Hiring spree: Instead of buckling under U.S. pressure, Huawei has been recruiting chip engineers, software developers and AI researchers at home and across Europe and Canada.
Taming China's commodity prices
China's soaring producer price index earlier helped fuel market worries about global inflationary pressures. Economists expect the country's PPI growth to remain around 9% in the latest monthly reading -- elevated, but at least not jumping higher after officials intervened to announce crackdowns on commodity hoarding and to release warehoused reserves. Consumer inflation is expected to remain subdued.
G-20 takes up 15% corporate tax floor
The landmark deal reached by the Group of Seven leading industrial nations to establish a minimum 15% corporate tax rate will be up for discussion when finance ministers from the world's 20 leading economies meet in Italy. After China, India and 128 other governments signed onto the idea at an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development event last week, odds are looking good for the Group of 20 to get behind the proposal, too.
Tokyo lightens up?
With Japan's daily COVID case count on the rise again, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will have to decide whether to extend a quasi state of emergency now covering Tokyo and nine other prefectures that is to expire on Sunday. Localities have been using the decrees to request that alcohol sales end at 7 p.m. and restaurants close by 8 p.m. The public has been resisting the measures.