HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A standoff between Tokyo and Seoul points to mutually assured damage. President Moon Jae-in could take aim at Japanese machinery, equipment and goods as payback for export curbs targeting South Korea’s vital chip industry. That casts a shadow over $85 billion of bilateral trade at a time when both economies are already under significant pressure.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Samsung Electronics is caught in a new trade row. Japan has curbed exports to South Korea of vital materials used to make chips and display screens over an old wartime spat. Hardest hit may be the $260 billion handset-maker, which for now is expecting a recovery after a dismal second quarter.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Michael Tien was among the first politicians from the city’s pro-Beijing faction to oppose the controversial extradition proposal. Just before protesters ransacked the legislature, he spoke with Breakingviews about Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s future and giving residents a vote.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Being a chief executive is hard work anywhere, but serving as Hong Kong’s comes with an extra degree of difficulty. Many locals want Carrie Lam to quit the rare political role that carries the corporate-style title for her ill-judged extradition proposal. No boss, though, could succeed under the suffocating governance structure she endures. Some pressure would be eased by letting the city’s “shareholders” pick their leader, even if from a pre-determined field.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Artificial intelligence doesn't hate you, prominent researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote, "nor does it love you, but you are made of atoms which it can use for something else". This sets the scene for Tom Chivers’ fascinating new book, which borrows its title from the quote, on why so-called superintelligence should be viewed as an existential threat potentially greater than nuclear weapons or climate change.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Daniel Loeb has pushed a hidden Sony jewel into the spotlight. The activist behind hedge fund Third Point wants the $60 billion Japanese conglomerate to spin off its chips business, among other things. It is a sensible step towards simplifying the sprawl.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong will pay the price of Chief Executive Carrie Lam's losing bet. The city's leader plans to push through a bill allowing extradition to mainland China, despite escalating street protests and strikes. There will be long-term damage, financial and otherwise. For now, the cost of her battered credibility will be the administration’s worthwhile policies, including much-needed housing reform.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China's pharma shake-up has won a healthy endorsement. Drugmaker Hansoh Pharmaceutical will go public this week after raising funds at a $10.3 billion valuation in its Hong Kong initial public offering. That suggests that Beijing’s radical price reforms will produce some big winners.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It could be a tough road back to Hong Kong for Alibaba. Five years after the $400 billion Chinese e-commerce company opted to go public in New York, it is working on a plan to raise as much as $20 billion from a secondary listing. Seeking fresh capital alongside younger rivals suggests its dominance is under threat.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alibaba or Tencent? The Chinese tech titans, with a combined market valuation of $900 billion, face slower growth in their respective strongholds of video games and e-commerce. Both are also fighting for dominance in financial services but, overall, Tencent has an edge that justifies a higher earnings multiple.