From SoFi exiting crypto to Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong – Here are today's Headlines

The crypto scene has been under the regulatory microscope lately, and it's been a bit of a rollercoaster.

From SoFi exiting crypto to Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong – Here are today's Headlines
A representation of cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph and U.S. dollar in this illustration taken January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

SoFi's crypto exit

The backstory: In 2011, SoFi started as a student-loan refinancing platform but gradually expanded its horizons. In 2019, it decided to join the crypto party with SoFi Invest, letting users trade various cryptocurrencies on its platform. The company even went public in 2021.

More recently: In a big move last year, the company secured a bank charter, which is essentially getting official permission to operate as a bank. But there was a catch. With the amount of regulatory scrutiny in the industry, it had a two-year window to either get a thumbs-up for its crypto game or exit the scene. So during this time, SoFi continued making waves in the crypto waters, even though crypto isn’t where it makes most of its money. In fact, financial statements show crypto is more of a side hustle for the platform, bringing in around US$6 million in the three months ending in September. For some context, the company is expected to pull US$2 billion in revenue this year, according to Bloomberg.

The development: SoFi has officially decided to bow out of the crypto sector, even though these digital tokens have been doing well lately. The reason? It's feeling the pressure from banking authorities closely monitoring the crypto landscape. Click the link here for more.

Xi's Shanghai visit

China's President Xi Jinping Shanghai
China's President Xi Jinping attends the Leaders Retreat at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, California, U.S. November 17, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The backstory: Shanghai, a global business hub, is home to major banks, investment firms and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It also hosts China's biggest foreign business community. Multinational giants like Tesla, Apple and L'Oreal have set up shop in the city to access China's vast market. But Shanghai faced some economic challenges last year during a two-month COVID lockdown, which affected its global standing.

More recently: Notably, China, dealing with a slower-than-expected recovery after COVID and a declining population, has been looking to boost its economy through strategies like attracting foreign investments and fine-tuning the rules for artificial intelligence (AI) to support the developing tech sector.

The development: For the first time in three years, President Xi visited Shanghai this week, shining a light on the Chinese financial hub. Click the link here for more.

China’s satellite internet launch

China space satellites
Source: Pexels/Pixabay

The backstory: Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites have been becoming more popular lately. This kind of tech is ideal for providing broadband internet. Networks, or “constellations” of these satellites, can provide broadband internet access worldwide and be especially useful in areas that don’t have access to regular, ground-based internet.

More recently: There are two major LEO satellite constellation networks for broadband internet. SpaceX’s Starlink is the biggest one, with over 5,000 satellites currently in orbit. The other is the UK government-owned OneWeb, which has about 650 satellites in orbit. More players have been entering this field, though, and the competition is heating up.

The development: Starting in December, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASC) plans to launch its first satellites, which will make up a fleet of 300 by 2030. It’s all part of its Guowang megaconstellation project. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

The problem with megaconstellations

The concept of a commercial satellite constellation is relatively new but becoming increasingly popular. A megaconstellation like this is a group of satellites that work together, collectively orbiting Earth, to send broadband internet access to different parts of the world. SpaceX’s Starlink project is one of these megaconstellations and was first launched in 2019. The other is OneWeb, which began launching in 2019 and sent 34 satellites on the second launch in 2020.

It’s estimated that more than half of all active satellites are part of a megaconstellation. Starlink has almost 5,000 satellites in orbit, and the company’s aiming for an eventual 40,000. Megaconstellations have really taken over low Earth orbit (LEO).

Getting internet access to more people – especially in less accessible parts of the world – is widely considered a beneficial project. But these megaconstellations also pose problems for us on Earth, especially when we start talking about overcrowding. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks went up on Thursday, boosted by positive inflation data, making November the best month on Wall Street in over a year.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks bounced back on Thursday, recovering from a four-day dip, driven by the anticipation of crucial US inflation data. 

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Salesforce jumped more than 9% after reporting better-than-expected earnings for the Q3. 
  • Nutanix climbed 3.7% after the computer software company reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that topped estimates.
  • Snowflake rose 7% as its Q3 earnings exceeded what analysts predicted.
  • In Hong Kong: Tencent rose by over 3%, Longfor Group climbed 1.5% and China Mobile gained 1.3%.
  • Mainland tourism and health care stocks were up 1.3% and 1.2%, respectively, after President Xi Jinping’s visit to Shanghai to put focus on the financial hub.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In Hong Kong: China’s factory activity decreased for the second consecutive month in November. The official index dropped from 49.5 in October to 49.4, below the expected 49.7 in a Reuters poll.

📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.

More headlines ...

📰Israel/Palestine updates: In some relieving news, the temporary truce between Hamas and Israel has been extended by another day. Mediators hope this pause paves the way for a more stable peace. But, on Thursday, two Hamas gunmen shot and killed three people at a Jerusalem bus stop, then were shot and killed by off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian. Israel then doubled down on promises to wipe out Hamas. Also, on Thursday, 17 Thai hostages who had been taken by Hamas before being released during the truce finally landed back in Bangkok to a big welcome. After being called out by many for remaining relatively silent on the issue, UN Women called for a "rigorous investigation" of reports that Hamas committed acts of sexual assault and gender-based violence against Israelis when the militants attacked Israel last month. And China called on the UN Security Council to put together a "concrete" plan for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine to get a "comprehensive, just and lasting" resolution to continued conflicts in the region.

💐Kissinger dead at 100: Serving as the US Secretary of State and then as an adviser to multiple presidents, Henry Kissinger helped the US open inroads with China, coordinated nuclear arms controls with the USSR and arranged for the US to pull out of Vietnam to end the war. But, Kissinger is largely considered the brain behind President Richard Nixon's efforts to cut out Chile's democratically elected Socialist president, Salvador Allende. In maybe his most condemned act, Kissinger is accused of setting up the secret carpet bombing of Cambodia in 1969-70 to get rid of Vietcong forces. Kissinger is also blamed for fueling the US-backed genocide in East Pakistan back in 1971. He just died at age 100.

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and this year's co-chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), attends the opening news conference of the annual WEF meeting in the Swiss Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland January 23, 2008. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

🤝COP28 disaster fund deal reached: For years, the international community has been negotiating how to support damage control efforts in developing countries that are suffering from the effects of climate change – largely caused by bigger, richer countries. Just as COP28 kicks off, there's some good news on that front. On Thursday, countries agreed on a deal for a climate disaster fund at the summit. So far, payments made into the fund are voluntary, and the World Bank will be the interim host for four years. All developing countries can access this money, with hundreds of millions already pledged.

🏳️‍🌈Russia outlaws international LGBTQ+ movement: For years now, the Russian government has been cutting LGBTQ+ rights and protections. In its latest move, Russia's Supreme Court just outlawed the "international LGBTQ+ public movement," calling it extremist. Human rights activists are saying that this ruling is so vague that it could allow authorities to persecute anyone considered part of this "movement."

✈️Japan asks US to ground Osprey flights: On Wednesday, a US Osprey aircraft crashed into the ocean off the coast of Japan, killing at least one person. The cause of the crash is still unknown. Now, Japan has asked the US to pause all non-emergency V-22 Osprey flights over its territory. But on Thursday, the US Pentagon said the flights were still operating as usual.

🐘"World's Saddest Elephant" dies: 43-year-old elephant Mali lived in the Manila Zoo, but animal rights activists have been campaigning to get her relocated to an elephant sanctuary. Mali was labeled the "World's Saddest Elephant" because she was kept in a small enclosure all by herself. An official announced on Wednesday that Mali had died from pancreatic cancer.

🏠Hong Kong property slump: Hong Kong has been looking at slow movement in the property sector lately. According to a report from Colliers International Group Inc, the city only sold a third of land plots in public tenders in the first 11 months. This marks a record for failed bids in Hong Kong, and plot sales revenue is headed for a record low because of the slump.

👩‍💻Meta shuts down fake Facebook accounts: Social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook are often used by bad actors to make fake accounts used to meddle in foreign elections. Meta just reported that someone in China had created a network of almost 4,800 fake Facebook accounts posing as American to build up an audience and spread controversial political posts as the US prepares for next year's presidential election. Meta says that it shut down these accounts.

📺Elon Musk interview: Tesla CEO and X owner Elon Musk recently got in trouble for seeming to support an antisemitic post on X, and a media report has also shown ads next to far-right, offensive content on the platform. Major advertisers quickly pulled their ads from X, even after the platform tried to do damage control. At the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday, Musk was on a panel where he said, "If somebody's going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f—yourself. Go. F—. Yourself. Is that clear?"

🛻Cybertruck delivery begins: Tesla's Cybertruck model has been in the works for over four years, but its release has been delayed again and again because of complications. Finally, on Thursday, Elon Musk himself handed the first Cybertrucks over to customers.

Cybertruck Tesla
Tesla's new Cybertruck is shown on display at a Tesla store in San Diego, California, U.S., November 20, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

📉Hong Kong emissions down: Some data from the Hong Kong government came out on Thursday that showed the city's greenhouse gases emissions in 2022 decreased by 4% from the previous year. This also indicates a 24% reduction from the city's peak of about 44.2 million tons in 2014. Electricity is still the main source of local greenhouse gas emissions, with transport and waste management following behind.

🎵Clockenflap swaps: Yesterday, we reported on how several performers for Hong Kong's Clockenflap music festival this weekend had pulled out of the show, and organizers were looking into replacements. Well, now, US rapper Swae Lee and local band N.Y.P.D. will perform in their place this weekend.

👜Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong: The Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2024 Men's Collection show was held on November 30 in Hong Kong, with designer Pharrell Williams showing off his designs to about 1,200 guests. The show at the iconic Avenue of Stars promenade brought the beach into the city, complete with a sandy runway. LVMH, Louis Vuitton's parent company, will return to Hong Kong next year when Dior shows its men's pre-fall collection.

Louis Vuitton Hong Kong
A model presents a creation designed by Musician Pharrell Williams for fashion house Louis Vuitton during its Men's Pre-Fall 2024 Fashion Show, in Hong Kong, China November 30, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Enjoying our TMS Headlines?

Forward it to a friend! After all, sharing is caring.

Anything else? Hit reply to send us feedback or say hello. We don't bite!

Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz and Christine Dulion