China cinemas reopen, STAR Market anniversary, PAL Holdings AGM

Welcome to Nikkei Asian Preview.

Adding to the gloom of an unusually long rainy season settling over Tokyo is the reminder that tens of thousands of athletes and spectators were supposed to arrive this week for the Summer Olympics. Instead of the opening ceremony, Friday will mark the one-year countdown for the Games postponed by COVID-19. But the four-day weekend meant to celebrate the XXXII Olympiad will still begin on Thursday.

The sun is rising, however, on China’s entertainment industry where cinemas are set to reopen, and play will resume for the country’s professional soccer league. Shanghai’s STAR market will also celebrate its anniversary after a successful first year.

An economic update from Australia is expected on Thursday, as well as second-quarter GDP figures from South Korea.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NAR.


Myanmar candidate registration begins

Ahead of a general election on Nov. 8, Myanmar will begin registering candidates for 498 national and 673 regional parliament seats. The campaign period is expected to begin in early September.

State of play: Although State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader, remains extremely popular, stalled peace negotiations between the military and armed ethnic groups have largely disappointed the country’s minorities, which comprise around 30% of the population.

Why it matters: Given that 25% of each parliament is allocated to military-appointed members, “Mother Suu’s” National League for Democracy party has to win more than two-thirds of constituencies to secure a parliamentary majority.

Hong Kong unemployment data

Hong Kong is set to post its highest unemployment rate in more than a decade as the city struggles to confront a third wave of coronavirus infections and protests against the new national security law.

Also this week, the Legislative Council session will debate a controversial land reclamation proposal which critics say is too expensive and will push a budget already strained by the coronavirus stimulus plan further into the red.

China movie theaters reopen

Cinemas in “low-risk areas” in China will reopen, after being closed for much of this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. The China Film Administration will allow movie theaters to “resume business in an orderly manner,” but they must adhere to strict rules to control the pandemic. Cinemas in middle and high-risk areas will remain temporarily closed, with reports that cinema seating will be limited to 30% capacity.

Why it matters: China’s box office earned $9.2 billion last year, making it the world’s second-largest film market behind the U.S., but the industry has suffered huge losses this year due to both domestic and Hollywood new releases being either postponed or canceled.


Nidec posts quarterly results

Japanese electric motor manufacturer Nidec will release April-June earnings, giving investors a chance to assess the Kyoto-based company’s big bet on the Chinese electric vehicle market. Despite the recent recovery in auto sales in China, EV sales remain stagnant, with analysts now predicting that Nidec will take longer than expected to see returns. In the meantime, the company is expected to report strong sales of motors for laptop computers, benefiting from the spread of work-from-home around the world.

STAR Market anniversary

China’s STAR market will celebrate one year in operation and launch the STAR Market 50 Index to reflect the price performance of the 128 companies currently listed with a total market capitalization of 2.43 trillion yuan ($347 billion). The brainchild of President Xi Jinping, the Nasdaq-style board has been in the limelight despite the pandemic, outperforming other exchanges in terms of valuation and nabbing high-profile companies such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International, China’s largest chipmaker.

Go deeper: Shanghai’s STAR Market brings in new dawn for Chinese tech


China lifts more foreign ownership caps

Foreign investors will be given more access to some of China’s services and the country’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors when caps on foreign ownership of securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies are lifted.

The move, announced by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce last month, is part of China’s Phase One trade deal with the U.S.

Restrictions on foreign investment in commercial vehicle making and smelting have previously been lifted. While the breeding of new wheat varieties and seed production no longer needs to be controlled by Chinese companies, domestic ones must still hold a stake of no less than 34%.

Quarterly earnings from SK Hynix

SK Hynix will announce second-quarter earnings on Thursday. The world’s second-largest DRAM chipmaker may have proved resilient for the three months through June, thanks to rising demand for server chips because of remote working and schooling.

Philippine Airlines shareholders’ meeting

Shareholders of PAL Holdings, the parent of the Philippines’ largest airline, will meet virtually amid turmoil in the aviation industry due to the coronavirus. The meeting’s agenda includes a vote to increase the number of board directors from nine to 11.

Partly owned by Japan’s ANA Holdings, the company has said it was losing around $300 million a month during the height of the lockdown of the Philippines’ biggest island of Luzon, grounding most of its planes. The country’s largest carrier has retrenched hundreds of employees under a business restructuring.

LG Display announces mid-year earnings

Analysts say that Seoul-based panel maker LG Display may post an operating loss of about 400 billion won ($332 million) in the second quarter, following a 362 billion-won loss in the first.

But the company may rebound in the second half of the year. Its factory in Guangzhou, China, is set to mass produce premium organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, panels later this month, to be sold to global TV makers including Sony and Toshiba, as well as its parent LG Electronics.


APEC trade ministers meet virtually

Trade ministers from the Asia Pacific will evaluate regional policy responses to the coronavirus in a virtual meeting on Saturday. Top of the agenda will be keeping markets and borders open to facilitate the free flow of essential goods to fight the pandemic, after several countries in the region imposed export controls on medical supplies and drug components.

China Super League resumes play

China’s professional soccer league will kick off its 2020 season, five months later than scheduled. Like the basketball league, which resumed last month, the Chinese Super League’s 16 teams will play without the usual crowds in two separate cities, Dalian and Suzhou. Players will be tested for the coronavirus before they are allowed to play.

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