Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
China will be on holiday this week to celebrate the Lunar New Year, but we will be receiving news from Beijing about the Winter Olympics, which starts on Friday. Elsewhere, markets will be closed for at least part of the week in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
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Deadline for GlobalWafers-Siltronic deal
Taiwan's GlobalWafers needs to clear regulatory hurdles to buy its German peer Siltronic by Monday. The deal is still waiting on Germany, the final country needed for approval.
GlobalWafers, the world's third-largest maker of semiconductor wafers, has made a more than $4 billion offer for the German company as it intends to challenge leading Japanese players. If the deal goes through, it will help GlobalWafers increase its global market share to up to 30%. That's close to the level of current market leader Shin-Etsu Chemical of Japan.
GlobalWafers secured approval from China on Jan. 21, clearing a significant regulatory hurdle. Analysts and industry executives say international semiconductor-related mergers and acquisitions are gaining more regulatory scrutiny now than in the past. Governments increasingly see the chip industry as a matter of national security, especially since unprecedented chip shortages have been stymying global demand during the past year.
Thailand reopens to visitors
Thailand is due to resume its quarantine-free entry program for vaccinated visitors. The program was suspended in late December due to the emergence of the omicron variant. The kingdom still reports daily case numbers in the high four digits, but hospitalizations and mortalities remain lower than during previous waves. After assessing the situation for roughly a month, the Thai government judged that the omicron outbreaks could be managed in tandem with reviving the ailing economy by welcoming more tourists.
Only 63 countries and territories were eligible for the program before it was suspended in December. After it resumes, the program will be available for visitors from all over the world.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is due to present to parliament the country's budget for the financial year starting in April. Business leaders and economists hope for measures that will boost the recovery of Asia's third largest economy. The government has projected that gross domestic product will grow 9.2% in the fiscal year ending in March, against a 7.3% contraction for the previous financial year. However, rising COVID cases driven by the omicron variant have triggered uncertainty.
Company earnings: ANA
Olympic torch relay begins
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics' torch relay begins. The event will be limited in scale due to a recent COVID outbreak in the city. Torchbearers will run through Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, which host the venues for the 109 events in seven sports: biathlon, bobsledding, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.
Company earnings: Sony, Panasonic, JAL
Company earnings: Nintendo
Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony
The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics will be held at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in downtown Beijing, a 2008 Summer Games venue. While political leaders from the U.S., Canada, Germany and other countries will take part in what is being called a diplomatic boycott of The Games, leaders from Russia, Central Asia and other emerging countries are expected to attend to show support for Chinese President Xi Jinping.
There will be no ticket sales due to the pandemic; only selected spectators will be admitted to the individual events. The number of journalists who can join the athletes will also be limited throughout the jamboree, which ends on Feb. 20.
Singapore Exchange July-Dec results
The Singapore stock exchange welcomed its first special purpose acquisition companies earlier this month. The city-state is outpacing rival Hong Kong in welcoming the popular new form of fundraising, which offers highflying private companies a fast track to going public. The Singapore exchange wants Southeast Asia's tech startups to consider Singapore as a listing venue. This could boost activity on the bourse as it reports its performance for the last half of 2021.
Biden faces decisions on Chinese solar imports
U.S. President Joe Biden will have to decide what to do about Trump administration tariffs that are hitting Chinese solar energy component businesses. The so-called safeguard import levies imposed by Washington in 2018 are due to expire. They apply to cells and modules for solar panels, which are made primarily by Chinese companies. The U.S. International Trade Commission has expressed unanimous support for a request by LG Electronics and others to extend the 15% tariff. But Biden has been lobbied hard by solar power developers in the U.S. to let the measure expire, to boost the country's shift to renewables.