HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Toshiba is back at the vanguard. The embattled $18 billion conglomerate led the way in Japan on everything from radar to laptop computers. Now it has nominated four non-Japanese directors for an expanded and more independent board. It’s a bold step in a country slowly rethinking corporate governance. Given previous failed experiments with outsiders, the company’s experience will be a litmus test.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Samsung Electronics isn’t mincing words. The South Korean semiconductor manufacturer reported a whopping 60 percent fall in first-quarter operating profit, blaming lower prices for memory chips amid a glut of supply. The abundant usage of “weak” and “slow” in its statement suggest investors may have to wait a while for a rebound.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Things are getting testier at Japan Inc. In a rare act of domestic corporate aggression, trading house Itochu snatched a degree of control over $1.8 billion sportswear maker Descente. Toshiba, meanwhile, faces a shareholder insurrection while electronics group Alps Alpine has been sued over the merger that created the company. These hostilities are helping propel Shinzo Abe’s so-called third arrow.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stock buybacks are often a silly financial engineering game, but in Japan they warrant serious consideration. Nintendo shows how they can be played to winning effect.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alibaba’s co-founder and executive vice chairman joins Breakingviews to reveal what the future holds for the $400 billion tech giant. As investors fret over economic uncertainties, Tsai also tackles the recent fallout from Huawei, a bruising trade war and the case for tax cuts.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai stands as a hulking symbol of the company’s Chinese ambitions. The 30,000-square-foot caffeinated wonderland represents just one of 6,000, mostly smaller stores the chain plans to roll out across the mainland by 2022. Such bold plans will run up against stiffer competition and trade-war-related pressures in 2019. Local backers will help preserve this fledgling Bean Dynasty.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An active acquirer lurks in South Korea. Over the last couple of years, companies from Japan and China have led Asia in overseas deals. Seoul-based conglomerate SK Group could be up next. Bankers should make sure they have boss Chey Tae-won on speed dial.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Looking for a good bet in 2019? Put some money down on a big U.S. sports scandal.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It is hard not to see tense U.S.-China situations these days though a trade-war prism. Such is the case with a Fuzhou court banning the sale of some Apple iPhone models just days after the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada. The timing of U.S. regulators reviving concerns about audits seems curious, too. Even without direct links to increasingly frayed relations between Beijing and Washington, the last few days serve as a reminder of the technology ties that tightly bind them.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The new book “Billion Dollar Whale” chronicles the Malaysian mega-scandal involving Goldman Sachs and Leonardo DiCaprio. Co-author Tom Wright joined Breakingviews in Hong Kong to discuss how alleged mastermind Jho Low pulled it off and what the saga’s next chapter may bring.