China has called on its biggest state firms to take a more active role in Hong Kong, including stepping up investment and asserting more control of companies in the financial hub, executives familiar with the matter said, as Beijing attempts to calm months of unrest in the city.
At a meeting this week in Shenzhen, the city bordering Hong Kong, senior representatives from nearly 100 of China’s largest state-run companies were urged to do their part to help cool China’s biggest political crisis in years, three executives, including one who was present, told Reuters.
At the meeting, the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) pledged to invest more in key Hong Kong industries including real estate and tourism in a bid to create jobs for local citizens and stabilize financial markets, two of the executives said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. No specific investments were discussed or agreed upon, they said.
The SOEs in attendance included oil giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, and conglomerate China Merchants Group, one of the sources said.
The meeting was organized by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the powerful central body that oversees China’s sprawling state sector, which includes some of the world’s biggest companies in industries such as steel, energy, shipping and telecoms.
SASAC did not respond to a faxed request for comment. Officials at Sinopec and China Merchants Group did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment and calls to the two companies went unanswered.
Instead of simply holding stakes in Hong Kong companies, the Chinese SOEs were also urged to look to control companies and have decision-making power in them, one of the people familiar with the meeting said.
“The business elites in Hong Kong are certainly not doing enough. Most of them are just not one of us,” the SOE executive who was at the meeting told Reuters.
SASAC’s Communist Party chief, Hao Peng, appeared in Hong Kong on Wednesday at a forum for the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and said that SOEs were looking for ways to co-operate in major projects in the city, according to a SASAC news release.
Mr. Hao, who was accompanied by a group of SOE executives, also met with Carrie Lam, the city’s Chief Executive.
While China’s big state firms are for-profit enterprises and many are publicly traded, they have long been expected to do national service, including maintaining high levels of employment and helping Beijing execute initiatives such as its big Belt & Road infrastructure plan.
Months of huge and often-violent protests in Hong Kong were triggered by planned legislation that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland courts. The protests have been fuelled by what is seen by many in Hong Kong as creeping Chinese influence that is eroding the “one country, two system” model under which China has ruled Hong Kong since its handover from Britain in 1997.
Widening mainland influence in Hong Kong has included the purchase of corporate assets and real estate.
The Hong Kong economy was once dominated by British trading houses with roots in the 19th century. Local tycoons started to take over many of the businesses in the latter part of the 20th century, creating huge conglomerates such as Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.
Beijing has been willing to put pressure on Hong Kong businesses to be more patriotic, expressing unhappiness during an August meeting with the city’s business elites that they weren’t doing enough to quiet the protests, according to a report at the time by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
In the meeting last month with about 500 business leaders and pro-Beijing politicians from Hong Kong, Chinese authorities urged that they should “have no fears and stand up” to stop violence in the city, Xinhua reported.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial era, has become the biggest corporate casualty of the protests after Beijing demanded it suspend staff who support the demonstrations. Its chairman announced plans to step down in November, less than three weeks after chief executive officer Rupert Hogg left amid mounting regulatory scrutiny.
Hong Kong subway operator MTR Corp. also bowed to pressure in August to get tough on anti-government protesters after Chinese state media expressed dismay at the firm for its perceived facilitation of the spread of violence by protesters.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
Euro zone economy likely contracted in third quarter amid waning demand, survey suggests – The Globe and Mail
Toronto real estate plunges into 'buyers market' as sales slow and listings surge – Financial Post
India tells Canada to remove 41 of its 62 diplomats: official
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Art21 hours ago
Volkswagen faces heat over post involving Indigenous art installation in Hamilton
Business20 hours ago
GO Transit rail service expected to resume Wednesday after network outage
Business22 hours ago
Bank of Canada warns of inflation ‘feedback loop’
News18 hours ago
Migrant workers launch campaign and class action lawsuit alleging violations of fundamental human rights at the Montreal airport
Business18 hours ago
Constant price hikes are making inflation worse, Bank of Canada deputy says in speech
Business23 hours ago
Limited GO train service running after signal problem disruption, delays still expected
Media9 hours ago
India’s Latest Media Arrests Put Washington in an Awkward Spot
Art22 hours ago
How to tell if your ART test kit has expired and if you can still use it