Japanese top regional list
Japan’s rich have the largest accumulation of wealth in the Asia-Pacific region at US$7.7 trillion, but legions of Chinese millionaires are rushing to catch up. The pool of wealth held by China’s high-net worth individuals grew more than 144 percent from 2010 to last year to US$6.5 trillion, consultancy Capgemini SE’s Asia-Pacific Wealth Report said yesterday. The equivalent rate of growth in Japan over the same period was about 87 percent. More recently, India’s millionaires have been picking up the pace. Wealth held by Indian high-net worth individuals rose close to 22 percent last year compared with the prior year, the fastest growth in the region over that period, Capgemini said. Hong Kong had the third-highest growth at 16.3 percent, mainly thanks to a booming real-estate market. Taiwan was fifth after Thailand.
Cook, Ivanka tour schools
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday toured schools in Idaho with Ivanka Trump, one day after US President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on the iPhone and other mobile phones made in China. The trip provided Cook an opportunity for extended conversation with the president’s daughter and senior adviser just before Donald Trump holds a key meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Buenos Aires later this week. Trade tensions are to be a major part of the agenda. While the iPhone has been spared in the US’ ongoing trade dispute with China, Trump on Monday said that he might include it in another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.
Microsoft surpasses Apple
Microsoft Corp surpassed Apple to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company — all it took was a US$300 billion rout. After briefly claiming the top spot on Monday, Microsoft shares on Tuesday rose 0.6 percent, pushing the company’s market value to US$828.1 billion at the close. That exceeded by more than US$1 billion the value of Apple, which has tumbled this month on concern about iPhone sales. The last time Microsoft’s market capitalization was bigger than Apple was in 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. A recent stock market swoon has taken a toll on nearly all technology companies, but investors have punished consumer-focused companies like Apple and Amazon.com Inc more than firms that mostly cater to businesses, like Microsoft. Microsoft is down 6.3 percent since the start of last month, while Apple has lost 23 percent.
PIMCO sole buyer of bonds
Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO) was the sole buyer of UniCredit SpA’s surprise US$3 billion sale of five-year bonds, said two people with knowledge of the transaction, who asked for anonymity. The bond issue, unusually large for a private offering, was taken up by a “prime institutional investor,” UniCredit said in a statement. It was UniCredit’s second sale of senior non-preferred notes, a type of security that can be held by managers of funds that can only invest in senior debt, even though it allows regulators to force investors to take losses in a crisis. The sale would help support the Italian bank’s capital position and boost its subordination ratio by about 73 basis points, the bank said. The cost of the transaction is equivalent to a spread of 420 basis points above the euro five-year swap rate, UniCredit said. That compares with a spread of 70 basis points from a January issue, a European Securities Network note said.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a