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Your Week in Asia

Toshiba AGM, India's free vaccine drive, Taiwan supply chain forum

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

India's new vaccination policy comes into effect on Monday, under which the country's 940 million adults will all be eligible for free shots at government facilities nationwide.    © Reuters

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

Japan Inc. will be a center of attention, with many companies kicking off workplace vaccination drives and others holding annual meetings with shareholders. Most in the spotlight will be Toshiba whose investors are likely to press management over governance failures exposed this month by an independent probe.

With global inflation concerns rising, the Bank of Thailand will review its policy rate on Wednesday while rate setters at its Philippine peer will meet on Thursday. Singapore will meanwhile announce its core inflation rate for May.

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


Market debut for China's REITs

China's first batch of publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) make their market debut after raising a combined 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) for infrastructure projects. Five of the nine new REITs will be traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and four on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The trusts are expected to channel investment into infrastructure projects such as highways, industrial parks, warehouses and sewage treatment plants. The REITS are part of a plan to tap private money to ease the debt burden of local governments. Initially, eligible underlying assets will not include commercial properties such as shopping malls or offices.

India's new vaccine drive

India's new vaccination policy comes into effect under which the country's 940 million adults will all be eligible for free shots at government facilities nationwide. The federal government is also taking over procurement of vaccines from state authorities who have faced difficulties securing supplies.

Since the mid-January launch of India's phased vaccination drive, the federal government has been offering free shots for health care and essential workers as well as those over 45, but supplies have run short after the May 1 widening of the program to include all adult citizens amid competition among the states, which had responsibility for serving other citizens.

The country of 1.3 billion is mainly using two locally made vaccines: Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and used elsewhere under AstraZeneca's branding; and Covaxin, developed by Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech.

Japanese office shots

Notable corporate names including Toyota Motor, Panasonic, Canon and Itochu will start offering Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to their employees. Toyota aims to complete inoculation of its 80,000 employees with second doses by mid-September. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed high hopes that corporate support will accelerate the country's vaccination effort.


Chinese consumer appetites

Hong Kong-listed Want Want China Holdings, a leading Chinese maker of snacks and soft drinks with a Taiwanese owner, will report its earnings for the year ended March 31, providing insight into the momentum of discretionary consumption in the mainland. In the half year through September, revenues and net profits rose 11% and 21%, respectively, as sentiment improved after China's initial COVID lockdown.

Taiwan's business links

The top resident representatives for the U.S., EU and Japan as well as colleagues from their capitals will join Taiwan government ministers, Foxconn Vice Chairman Jay Lee and other corporate leaders and scholars for online discussions on how to improve the sustainability, security and resilience of technology supply chains. The forum comes as carmakers and other manufacturers around the world scramble for microchips, Taiwan's top export, to keep up production levels.


Hong Kong's first national security law trial

The first case under a security law imposed by Beijing a year ago comes to trial, with Tong Ying-kit, 24, facing charges of inciting separatism and terrorism for driving his motorbike into police lines while flying a flag emblazoned, "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times."

Prosecutors won the court's permission to hold the trial, expected to last 15 days, without a jury, an unusual move in Hong Kong. They also recently added a charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm against Tong.

Final Games preparations

The opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games is only a month away. Organizers, including the Tokyo metropolitan government and the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, are expected to meet earlier in the week to decide how many domestic spectators will be allowed to attend events as they gear up for what is to be billed as a "safe and secure" Olympics.

SoftBank meets its shareholders

Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group chairman and CEO, will address the company's annual general meeting amid rising calls for share buybacks after the company recorded a 4.99 trillion yen ($45.16 billion) net profit for the year to March 31. The strong results have failed to lift the company's shares.

Explanation due from Mizuho

Japan's third-largest bank will have a lot of explaining to do at its annual shareholder meeting following a spate of recent glitches with its ATM network. The troubles pose a key setback after Mizuho had seen some success focusing on investment banking services for customers like SoftBank. Investors worry that the bank may have to focus on fixing problems, rather than stepping up its offensive.


Genting starts taking bets in Vegas

Leading Asian casino operator Genting, which runs Resorts World properties in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines as well in New York and the Bahamas, extends its flag to Las Vegas, the world's second-largest casino market after Macao.

The $4.3 billion integrated resort, with 1,400 slot machines, over 100 table games and a dedicated poker room, is the first to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade and will be pioneering cashless technologies that could support the company's efforts to add Miami and Yokohama to its portfolio.

Investors call for Google updates from Reliance

Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani is expected to announce new initiatives at the annual meeting of shareholders of his Reliance Industries. Investors are particularly looking for an update on plans announced last year for the rollout of dual-branded, affordable smartphones in partnership with Google. The U.S. company has already invested $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, Reliance's digital arm.

Indonesian court clears the air

A Jakarta district court is due to rule on a lawsuit filed by residents challenging the government for ignoring dangerous levels of air pollution in the Indonesian capital. Smog has slowly returned to Jakarta in recent weeks as cars again began to crowd the streets under loosened mobility restrictions. The verdict, originally set to be delivered in May, has been twice delayed.


Toshiba shareholders have their say

Days after an independent investigation found that Toshiba executives colluded with Japan's trade ministry to pressure shareholders over their votes at last year's general meeting, investors will gather again to elect a new board of 11 directors. Board Chairman Osamu Nagayama is facing calls to resign amid pressure to improve governance at the conglomerate.

Foxconn revs engine on EV project

Foxconn Technology Group will gather with partners in its electric vehicle open-platform project, MIH, to discuss next steps. The largest iPhone assembler is betting big on the EV business as a future growth driver amid slowing smartphone sales. The MIH project, which would provide software and hardware for EV brands, includes some 1,600 partners including Qualcomm, AWS, and ARM Holdings.


China takes WMPs out of the shadows

New rules governing the sale of wealth management products, a popular Chinese investment vehicle, come into effect as part of Beijing's efforts to contain risks in the country's shadow banking sector. Financial institutions face new restrictions on how they promote WMPs while many others will be banned from selling the investments.

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