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International

Katrina Hamlin

China plays lonely game of Covid whack-a-hamster

Jan 18 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hamsters have become the latest victims of China’s Covid-zero policy. Hong Kong is culling 2,000 of them after 11 tested positive, while Beijing curiously blames the mail for spreading the Omicron variant. Dogged devotion to an elimination strategy and the resulting disruptions are becoming farcical, and costly, as the rest of the world learns to live with the virus.

The Exchange: Xpeng boldly goes

Jan 17 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Chinese electric-car maker has navigated everything from shrinking subsidies to Covid-19. Embracing new ways of working is critical, boss Brian Gu tells Katrina Hamlin. Future forays into Europe, the metaverse, and flying cars will test the Tesla rival’s resilience again.

Crown plays its cards well with Blackstone

Jan 12 2022

MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - It is easy to overplay a good hand, but Crown Resorts has kept its cool. The embattled Australian gambling group bided its time well and is ready to support https://events.miraqle.com/DownloadFile.axd?file=/Report/ComNews/20220113/02475175.pdf a sweetened A$8.9 billion ($6.4 billion) bid from buyout shop Blackstone.

Nio’s European road trip will earn bragging rights

Jan 03 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese electric-car maker Nio will burnish its brand with an expedition to Europe. William Li’s roughly $60 billion marque can deploy extravagant marketing and services to win foreign fans. Though it may take years to snag significant share, in 2022 even modest overseas sales will lift its stock.

Macau watchdogs will double down on digital yuan

Jan 02 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China will gamble on the digital yuan. As Macau’s casino owners prepare to bid for new licenses in the city for the first time in two decades, regulators will be sure to use the opportunity to squeeze more out of them in 2022. Expect them to force operators in the offshore gaming hub to become test beds for the digital yuan.

China’s bet on Covid-zero worsens odds for Macau

Nov 28 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s commitment to a Covid-zero policy turns Macau into a roll of the dice. Beijing’s draconian restrictions easily could be in place through most of 2022. Resorts in the gambling hub sit half-empty, with gaming revenue at 30% of pre-pandemic highs. https://www.dicj.gov.mo/web/en/information/dadosestat_mensal/2019/index.html They can live without foreign tourists, but local visitors are their lifeblood. A robust rebound is anticipated despite mounting nerves over casino licence renewals and the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. The six publicly traded operators, including Wynn Macau and Sands China, are forecast to grow their top lines on average by some 80% next year, according to analyst estimates from Refinitiv. Those expectations depend on China relaxing pandemic constraints after hosting the Winter Olympics in February. Chances of that happening are diminishing, however. The country will hold its 20th Party Congress in October. The quinquennial event is typically used to reshuffle the Communist Party’s upper echelons. This time, President Xi Jinping is maneuvering towards extending his term, cementing a spot in the history books alongside past leaders Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong.

Blackstone’s raise makes it time for Crown to fold

Nov 18 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Blackstone could be third time lucky. The buyout shop’s sweetened A$8.5 billion ($6.2 billion https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fevents.miraqle.com%2FDownloadFile.axd%3Ffile%3D%2FReport%2FComNews%2F20211119%2F02454666.pdf&data=04%7C01%7CThomas.Shum%40thomsonreuters.com%7C661fa2d4b7b94348c8ee08d9ab139617%7C62ccb8646a1a4b5d8e1c397dec1a8258%7C0%7C0%7C637728922876141763%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=1nyn7U8wXRsgvmd1c7CSXIZm8GRL2GX6SeB5jCloJ6Y%3D&reserved=0) bid for Crown Resorts should be strong enough to sway a previously recalcitrant board, as well as shareholders including founder James Packer. The prize would be a long slog to rebuild the embattled Australian gambling empire.

Viewsroom: Oz goes green-ish; “Squid Game” wins

Oct 21 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Australian climate policy is a work in progress, and Antony Currie fears the country’s net-zero plans may yet prove to be a damp squib. On the other hand, the South Korean drama is anything but: Jennifer Saba explains why the show is a major victory for Netflix and its investors.

Star steeled for its own Crown duel with watchdogs

Oct 12 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Another Australian casino operator looks set for a scrap with watchdogs. A media exposé https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-fallen-star-sydney-s-cleanskin-casino-caught-in-dirty-company-20211006-p58xqq.html on Sunday suggested the A$3 billion ($2.2 billion) Star Entertainment may face a corporate governance crisis akin to Crown Resorts https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-crown-resorts-breakingviews-idUKKBN2770AV. Star, though, is better steeled for a scrap than its beleaguered rival founded by billionaire James Packer.

New light emerges from China’s shadowy shoppers

Sep 23 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - One grey area of Chinese consumption is becoming more black and white. Cross-border trading known as daigou has been hit hard by restricted travel during Covid-19, curbing sales of everything from powdered milk to calfskin handbags. Shrinking this shadowy bazaar comes at a cost, but the lower risks and clearer pictures will be worth it.

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