HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alibaba’s approach to corporate philanthropy may produce startup-like results. China’s e-commerce goliath has rolled out a series of measures, including waiving merchant fees and slashing logistics costs, designed to provide some relief for small businesses amid the debilitating coronavirus. And the cash-burning subsidies might just help Alibaba keep existing customers and find new ones.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A new coronavirus epidemic puts promising but untested science under a microscope. Biotech stars like the $7.7 billion Moderna boast new tech that would cut costs and time to find a vaccine. As the world grapples to contain a deadly new virus, they have a rare chance to demonstrate proof of concept.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The next iPhones will test China’s ability to restart its economy. Apple supplier Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is re-opening a key Chinese plant as authorities ease curbs. But the handset-maker and other companies face labour shortages as workers struggle to travel with ongoing contagion fears around a coronavirus outbreak. It’s a reminder of the complexity of restarting supply chains.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s epidemic could give rise to the drones. Contagion fears and quarantines have made deliveries costly and tricky for Alibaba and others. Reducing human contact might help. Just as past crises have spurred technological developments, the latest outbreak should give automation a boost.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An epidemic will shape China's vision of intelligent cities. The metropolis of Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, is under unprecedented quarantine as a deadly virus, believed to have originated there, spreads around the world ahead of the Lunar New Year when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel. Big investments in healthcare, artificial intelligence, and even surveillance could help curb future pandemics and cushion some institutional weaknesses.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chip titan TSMC looks immune to trade and supply chain disruptions, but not to consumer wallets. A heady valuation multiple for Taiwan's $295 billion supplier to Apple, Huawei and others reflects its relentless march on rivals in developing cutting-edge semiconductors. Rising retail prices for ever-fancier smartphones, though, may soon spoil the party.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s time for President Tsai Ing-wen to step up. Taiwan’s independence-leaning leader has coasted into a second term, winning a record 8.2 million votes on Saturday on anti-Beijing sentiment and a strong $580 billion economy. Unfortunately, Tsai can take credit for neither.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Political unrest continues to roil the financial hub. For investors, though, it’s mostly business as usual as markets take protests in their stride. As Beijing replaces its top representative in the city, and makes other changes, that uneasy balance may be hard to sustain.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - If investors didn’t like the look of America’s biggest shared-office provider, maybe they’ll be interested in China’s? It doesn’t seem likely.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A shorter memory-chip cycle is emerging. Samsung Electronics ended 2019 with a 34% slump in quarterly operating profit – grim but better than analysts expected. With fewer competitors, prolonged downturns are less of a worry, though, and supply cuts hint at an unusually quick recovery. Samsung can focus on innovation and managing regulatory risks.