Golden Week revenue falls
Tourism revenues in China during the Golden Week holiday fell by almost 5 percent year-on-year, state media reported, while lingering COVID-19 curbs also led to a decline in the number of trips undertaken. The sluggish data weighed on the outlook for China’s overall retail sales, which have slowed much more sharply than expected when new COVID-19 outbreaks struck a handful of Chinese cities over summer. The seven-day holiday in China from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 to mark National Day is one of the busiest travel periods in the country and a bellwether for consumer demand. Domestic tourism revenues totaled 389.06 billion yuan (US$60.35 billion), the People’s Daily reported on Thursday, the last day of the holiday, citing data from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Google restricts ads
Google on Thursday said it would no longer post ads next to misinformation about climate change on its search engine or on the video-sharing platform YouTube. The new policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators prohibits the platforms from helping people make money from content that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” That includes online content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, denying that the world’s temperature is rising, or that human activity is contributing to the problem, Google said in a post.
Food delivery giant fined
China levied a US$533 million fine on Meituan (美團) after a months-long probe found the food-delivery behemoth had violated anti-monopoly regulations. The State Administration for Market Regulation imposed a 3.44 billion yuan fine on Meituan, amounting to 3 percent of its domestic revenue last year, a statement said yesterday. The company will also have to return 1.29 billion yuan of deposits stemming from exclusivity arrangements. Billionaire Wang Xing’s (王興) firm was told to improve its commissions mechanism, ensure the legal rights of restaurant partners and step up protections for its delivery riders. The fine and accompanying penalties were less harsh than feared, given that some analysts had speculated the food delivery giant may have to find ways to compensate its army of contract workers.
Tourism on a slow rebound
Thailand’s tourism industry will take at least three years to return to pre-pandemic levels, even as it prepares to ease restrictions on vaccinated travelers starting next month, Standard Chartered Bank PLC said. The slow recovery for the sector that accounts for about 15 percent of Thailand’s GDP means growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will remain weak over the next two years, Tim Leelahaphan, an economist at Standard Chartered’s Thai unit, wrote in a report yesterday. Thailand plans to end a mandatory quarantine for visitors to holiday destinations including Bangkok from Nov. 1 as it seeks to jump-start its economy and transition to a “living with COVID-19” strategy. Thailand saw foreign tourist arrivals plunge to 73,932 in the first eight months of this year, from almost 40 million visitors in 2019 who generated more than US$60 billion in revenue. Standard Chartered said 6 million tourist arrivals are needed to erase the current account shortfall that stood at US$8.5 billion in the eight month through August.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
Production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s (TSMC, 台積電) fabs was not affected by a fire at a construction site for a water recycling facility in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that the construction site is not adjacent to its fabs, which were unaffected. CTCI Corp (中鼎工程) is responsible for the construction of the facility, which it is to operate itself once it is completed, the chipmaker said. The facility caught fire at about 11am, and the blaze was brought under control about 30 minutes after the incident was reported, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
SUBSIDIES NEEDED: Legislation to provide grants and incentives to the semiconductor industry has been stalled by lawmakers, to the frustration of chipmaker Intel Corp’s plans for a multibillion-dollar investment in a new US semiconductor plant hang in part on the US Congress moving on a stalled plan to bolster the domestic chip industry, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said. “The capital plans that we’ve laid out do not presume anything heroic on the part of the government, but we’d like to go bigger and faster as a result of the investments from the US government,” Gelsinger said on Bloomberg Television. Intel’s earnings report on Thursday underscored the costs of returning the world’s largest chipmaker to global industry leadership. A bipartisan push to make the US more