China's most important meeting and iPhone 11's true strength


Weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political events

ASEAN dignitaries open the bloc's new building in Jakarta in August. The association's summit starts this week in Bangkok.   © Getty Images

ASEAN dignitaries open the bloc's new building in Jakarta in August. The association's summit starts this week in Bangkok. © Getty Images

Here's what we're watching:


Tough quarter expected for HSBC

HSBC Holdings is expected to report an 11% drop in third quarter profit Monday. But investors -- and HSBC's own staff -- are also looking out for details on a fresh cost reduction plan, which is expected to include major job cuts. The Financial Times this month reported that interim chief executive Noel Quinn could slash as many as 10,000 jobs from its 238,000-strong workforce. Other global banks are also shedding thousands of jobs.

China's elite to gather

Top officials of China's ruling Communist Party will hold their most important meeting of the year in Beijing Monday. The 200 party members gathered at the so-called Plenum will talk about ways to improve governance and country's socialist system, state news agency Xinhua reported. The last plenum was held in February, 2018, when members approved a plan to end constitutional limits on President Xi Jinping's tenure.

Nikkei hosts symposium with IMD and Harvard Business School

Nikkei's two-day Global Management Forum, co-hosted with IMD and Harvard Business School, opens Monday. The theme is managing in times of upheaval, such as the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit. Speakers include Tadashi Yanai, CEO at Fast Retailing, and Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of Grab. Learn more here.


A boost from the iPhone 11?

Apple's fourth quarter results, released Wednesday, will reveal exactly how the new iPhone 11 has performed. As we reported exclusively early this month, sales have been strong enough that Apple asked its suppliers to increase production by 10%. But will that be enough to reverse a yearlong downward trend in iPhone sales? Investors will also be looking at whether the US-China trade war will hurt sales in the Greater China region.


ASEAN Summit in Bangkok

It has not been a great year for free trade, but talks kicking off Thursday at the ASEAN summit in Bangkok could result in a deal to create the world's largest trading bloc. Leaders of 16 Asia-Pacific countries will gather at the summit to hammer out the remaining details of The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would cover about a third of the total global gross domestic product. Thailand, as the host nation, has been pushing hard to have the deal wrapped up the deal by the time the summit ends Nov 4.

Hong Kong court to handle a legal challenge from opposition

Embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam will meet the business community on Thursday to tout her latest ideas for boosting the city's ailing economy. Lam is expected to seek to reassure local and foreign business leaders and restore their confidence on Hong Kong.

On the same day, the city's high court will handle a legal challenge from 24 opposition lawmakers against the recently implemented anti-mask legislation. The invocation of the colonial-era emergency law was aimed at taming the increasingly violent protests, but hardcore protesters are ignoring the rule.

An anti-government demonstrator holds a tear gas canister during a protest march in Hong Kong on Oct. 20.   © Reuters

BOJ monetary policy meeting

The Bank of Japan will release a quarterly economic outlook report as well as the decision of its two-day policy meeting Thursday. The announcement comes a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve holds its monetary policy meeting and follows a sales tax increase in Japan this month. The BOJ policy board is expected to look at these factors and also the impact of two major typhoons that struck the country in the past couple of months.

Economists say that pressure has somewhat eased on the BOJ to act, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has taken the lead in dealing with economic weaknesses with a sizable supplementary spending program. Still, the BOJ could decide to downgrade its forecasts on the nation's growth and inflation, as trade tensions fester between Washington and Beijing.


Alibaba results, post-Ma

China's Alibaba Group Holding will report its July-September quarter earnings, the first financial results released after CEO Daniel Zhang took over the chairman title from Alibaba's legendary founder Jack Ma. The New York-listed Chinese e-commerce conglomerate beat Wall Street's expectations in the previous quarter. Analysts will be waiting to see whether Alibaba can maintain its growth under the new leadership and macro economic headwinds.


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