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Your Week in Asia

Japan lifts COVID restrictions, Bangkok Motor Show, Tencent results

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

Restaurants and shops in Japan will return to normal operating hours on March 21, as the government lift COVID-related restrictions amid a downturn in infections.   © Kyodo

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

Japan will remove all COVID-19 restrictions as the country sees a downtrend in new infections. Chinese tech companies, including Tencent and Pinduoduo, are set to report earnings following a heavy sell-off of their shares last week. The tech sector has suffered from a regulatory clampdown by Beijing and geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S.

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Japan lifts COVID restrictions

Japan will end all COVID emergency curbs on Monday, allowing shops and restaurants to finally get back to normal. The move comes despite the fact that only a third of its population has received booster shots so far and an omicron subvariant is spreading in Europe. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, however, aims to juggle economic reopening and a vaccination drive.

Pinduoduo quarterly results

Pinduoduo reports its December quarter results against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth in China. Pinduoduo is the biggest Chinese tech company listed solely in New York. It is worth watching whether Pinduoduo will seek a secondary listing in Hong Kong as geopolitical tensions mount. Most U.S.-listed Chinese companies risk being delisted by 2024. Pinduduo's rivals Alibaba and are both dual-listed in Hong Kong and New York.


Taiwan expo on smart city

Taiwan's Smart City Summit & Expo will take place in Taipei and Kaohsiung from Tuesday to Saturday. Key Apple suppliers like iPhone assembler Pegatron, MacBook maker Quanta Computer and iPad assembler Compal Electronics will have booths showing off 5G connectivity products used in smart cities. On Wednesday, chairman and chief sustainability officers at eight tech companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., PC makers Asustek Computer and Acer, as well as U.S. software giant Microsoft, will host a forum on climate change and net-zero emissions goals.

Company earnings: Xiaomi


Evergrande $2bn bond due

China Evergrande Group, one of the most indebted developers in the world, is facing the maturity of another large offshore bond. The principal on the bond is $2.045 billion with a coupon rate of 8.25%. The Guangdong-based company missed payments on other bonds last year and is deemed to have defaulted by major credit agencies.

Bangkok Motor Show starts

Thailand kicks off its biggest annual auto exhibition, the 43th Bangkok International Motor Show, which will run from March 23 to April 3. This year the spotlight is on electric vehicles (EVs), as the government has recently approved a subsidy package to bring down prices for green autos to spur demand. The package has also triggered competition between Chinese, Japanese and European automakers. Manufacturers will launch more than 20 EV models during the event.

Company earnings: Tencent, China Mobile


Toshiba extraordinary shareholders meeting

Toshiba holds an extraordinary shareholders meeting on its plan to split into two public companies and divest noncore businesses. The company also installed a new CEO this month. Activist investors aren't convinced of the wisdom of these moves, however, and more turmoil may be in store.

Monetary policy announcement: Philippines


Hana Financial AGM showdown

South Korea's Hana Financial Group hosts a shareholders meeting that will determine the fate of Vice Chairman Ham Young-joo. Hana Financial's board recommended that shareholders appoint Ham as a director so that they can promote him to chairman. However, some shareholders oppose his appointment because the financial regulator punished him for Hana Bank's misselling of troubled derivatives-linked products to customers.

Company earnings: SenseTime, Meituan, Nio


China expands public health plan to cover fertility treatments

In vitro fertilizations will be among several reproductive technologies approved under China's public health insurance reimbursement scheme, as authorities introduce new measures aimed at halting the country's declining birthrate. The government implemented a third-child policy last year, along with financial incentives to encourage child bearing, after the birthrate fell to its lowest point since the foundation of the People's Republic in 1949.

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