Also in this week’s issue

News roundup

  • Foreign ministers from the G7 group put out a statement criticising China on a range of fronts from human rights abuses to exploiting its economic clout to bully other nations. The strong wording aside, the signatories chose not to outline any steps about how they would respond amid concerns from members including Germany and Italy about China’s reaction, the Guardian newspaper reported.
  • TikTok’s global reach was apparent yet again when it was confirmed as the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in April, with more than 59 million installs, according to market researcher Sensor Tower. The country with the largest number of new TikTok app installs was Brazil at 13% of the total (versus a slightly lower 12% for TikTok’s sister app Douyin in China).
  • Chinese tourists made more than 230 million domestic trips during the five-day May Day holiday, up nearly 120% from the same period last year. Tourism revenue climbed 138% to Rmb113 billion ($17.5 billion), the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said. There was good news for the film industry too as box office takings climbed to a record of Rmb1.7 billion over the May Day break.
  • Macau casino operator SJM Holdings will raise about $200 million by selling senior notes denominated in Hong Kong dollars and Macau’s currency, the pataca. The Macau casino operator plans to list the notes on the MOX, or Chongwa (Macao) Financial Asset Exchange, a financial marketplace set up in Macau in 2018. SJM is set to become the second Hong Kong-listed firm to issue debt on the MOX, following China Everbright’s move to float its perpetual bonds.
  • The share price of online retailer Hong Kong TV Network dipped nearly 8% on Tuesday, the same day that Alibaba’s Tmall launched a new trial service in Hong Kong. Tmall is offering free deliveries plus cash coupon discounts to lure consumers to shop on its business-to-consumer platform, which has so far lined up about 2,000 brands.
  • The $350 million IPO of SF REIT, the real estate investment trust spun off from delivery firm SF Express, has received a lukewarm response, Hong Kong Economic Times reported. The company projects the REIT’s payout ratio could reach 5.9% this year, yet the retail investor tranche of the trust was barely fully covered after two days of bookbuilding in Hong Kong.
  • Wang Zhe, an interpreter at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, took to Sina Weibo to deny swirling rumours she was a factor in the break-up of the Gates’ marriage. The post was read more than 200 million times inside two days as news of the Microsoft founder’s divorce was dissected on China’s social media.
  • 21.6 million Smartphones sold by Chinese phone maker OPPO in the first quarter in its domestic market, up 79% compared to the same period in 2020. That ranked it the top selling brand, followed by Vivo. Huawei slipped from first to third, selling 14.9 million units. Xiaomi was fourth and Apple fifth, with 12 million iPhones sold.
  • 200 Number of British companies either controlled by Chinese investors or counting them as minority shareholders, the Sunday Times estimates, including buyers from Hong Kong. Their investments totalled £134 billion, with Chinese ownership in Britain’s top 100 listed companies surging by 30% since 2015 to £57 billion.
  • $34.5 billion Net worth of Robin Zeng, thanks to a 150% increase in the Shenzhen-listed shares of Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), a battery supplier to Tesla, over the past year, according to Forbes. That makes Zeng the 41st richest person in the world.
  • 16 Electric buses that the Welsh town of Newport has just ordered from Yutong, taking its total fleet from the Zhengzhou manufacturer to 32. The purchase of £2.8 million ($3.89 million) was funded by the UK government. The nearby city of Cardiff followed suit with an order for 36 more.

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