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To start off, we're looking into:
TikTok's GoTo partnership
The backstory: TikTok, the popular app among Gen Z and millennials, is about more than just viral dances and funny videos. The company behind it, ByteDance is also venturing into e-commerce. In 2021, it introduced TikTok Shop an online marketplace where local sellers can showcase their products to TikTok users in specific regions. Its first market was Indonesia, where it took off in popularity and gained around 6 million sellers in just a year.
More recently: In July, Teten Masduki, Indonesia's Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, started expressing concerns about TikTok squeezing out local e-commerce, like GoTo’s Tokopedia. Jakarta took action in September by making new rules that said social media platforms couldn’t handle direct payments. This meant TikTok, the only one in the country doing it, had to separate payments from its shopping features.
The development: ByteDance's TikTok has reportedly made a deal to invest in a unit of Indonesia's GoTo Group. The plan is to work with GoTo's Tokopedia across several areas instead of competing with it. While the final details are still being worked out, insiders say an announcement could come as soon as next week. Click the link here for more.
Hong Kong's advanced manufacturing
The backstory: Advanced manufacturing involves using innovative tech like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and 3D printing to make production more efficient. Most people think it’s crucial when it comes to developing advanced technologies like semiconductors and electric vehicles (EVs).
Because Hong Kong doesn’t have a lot of land to spare, it’s not super big on traditional manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing typically makes up less than 1% of the city’s GDP. But advanced manufacturing doesn’t take up as much space, so Hong Kong is a good match for ramping up this industry. It’s also ideal because of its world-class talent and access to China and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The development: This week, InvestHK held an Advanced Manufacturing Forum, where Hong Kong officials emphasized their commitment to the industry. Sun Dong, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, stressed the importance of integrating advanced manufacturing into the city for technological growth. Sun also said boosting Hong Kong’s advanced manufacturing sector is a top priority for the government. Click the link here for more.
The world’s biggest nuclear fusion reactor
The backstory: Nuclear power uses nuclear reactions to produce electricity, and its popularity started growing at a fast rate in the 1970s. This was driven by oil price shocks at the time brought on by geopolitical situations in the Middle East. But the growth of the nuclear power sector began to plateau in the 80s, and by the turn of the 21st century, the nuclear age was starting to decline overall.
More recently: In 2021, the world’s interest in nuclear energy was on the rise again. The war in Ukraine led to an international energy crisis – which ended up causing us to look into alternative energy sources (like nuclear power). On top of that, the global climate crisis has highlighted the need to reduce emissions and develop cleaner forms of energy.
The development: Japan has launched the world’s biggest experimental nuclear fusion reactor. The team behind the reactor is using it to test if nuclear fusion can be used as a safe form of clean energy on a large scale. The EU is also involved in the project, which is called the JT-60SA. Click the link here for more.
To end, we'll look into:
How to fix falling birthrates
This week, news came out about North Korea appealing to its women to have more babies. The country is experiencing a falling birth rate, which is bad if it wants to continue sustaining its economy by replacing older generations of the population with younger ones. North Korea isn’t really open about releasing its demographic statistics, but South Korea has estimated that the nation’s birth rate has been falling for at least the past decade. North Korean state media also released a video of its leader, Kim Jong Un, appearing to cry as he talked about the country’s falling birth rate.
But North Korea isn’t the only one with a falling birth rate; China, Japan, South Korea, the US and others are dealing with this same challenge. So, how exactly do you convince people to start having more kids? Click the link here for more.
In other news ...
📉Market snapshot and key quotes:
- In the US: US stocks rose on Wednesday, riding high on news of decreasing inflation that got investors buzzing.
- In Hong Kong: Despite Moody's credit rating warning for China yesterday, Hong Kong stocks posted gains, even with softer US job data in the mix. Moody’s also downgraded the outlook on Macau and Hong Kong's credit rating to negative from stable on Wednesday.
📊Top gainers/losers and company news:
- In the US: Cloud company Box dropped over 10% after disappointing Q3 results.
- Brown-Forman fell over 10%, missing earnings estimates and tempering its outlook for next year.
- In Hong Kong: WuXi Biologics rose over 1%, committing US$600 million for a share buyback after a 30% value drop.
👀The numbers everyone is watching:
- In the US: Private payrolls grew less than expected in November, signaling a slowdown in the job market, with only 103,000 workers added, falling short of the anticipated 128,000 forecasts.
- Government data also revealed lower-than-expected labor costs and higher-than-anticipated productivity.
📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.
More headlines ...
📰Israel/Palestine updates: Two journalists, one with CNN and the other with Al Jazeera, reported that their family members were killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza. With the crisis in Gaza becoming more dire, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since he took on his position, which allows the UN chief to bring any issue to the Security Council that he thinks threatens international peace and security. He's calling on the Council to discuss a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Families of Hamas-taken hostages in Israel also appear to be calling for a ceasefire so that the rest of the hostages can be returned to Israel. But, Israel seems to be considering opening up a second war front with Lebanon as fighting continues between its military and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant group. One of Hamas's former hostages, a teen girl, has come forward about how having her dog with her in captivity helped her deal with the experience. They're both safely back home.
🗺️Guyana and Venezuela tensions rise: Guyana has controlled the oil-rich, disputed territory of Essequibo for decades, but Venezuela is trying to claim it after getting approval through a national referendum earlier this week. Now, Venezuela has mobilized its army and is calling for oil exploration there. Guyana has appealed to the UN and the US to help stop Venezuela, and it's also getting its own military prepared to defend the territory.
✈️Putin in the UAE: Yesterday, we reported on Russian President Putin's upcoming trip to the Middle East, the UAE and Saudi Arabia specifically. The UAE is hosting the COP28 climate conference, and Putin just landed there on Wednesday for unrelated talks with UAE officials. He's trying to drum up more support for Russia's war in Ukraine and also strengthen relations with other oil producers.
📰Ukraine kills former lawmaker: Illya Kyva used to be a lawmaker in Ukraine but was deemed a traitor for his pro-Russia views. He left for Russia a month before the invasion and has been openly criticizing Ukrainian authorities. Kyva was convicted in absentia for treason and calling publicly for the occupation of Ukraine and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Now, Ukraine sources have told BBC Ukraine that its SBU security assassinated him near Moscow.
💼EU-China Summit: Leaders from the EU and China are set to hold a summit on Thursday in Beijing. This is the first in-person summit between the two groups since 2019. They plan to discuss building a better trade relationship, climate change, food security, global health and pandemic readiness. More sensitive topics are also likely to come up.
👋Italy pulls out of the Belt and Road Initiative: China's Belt and Road Initiative is an international infrastructure project investing in the development of over 150 countries worldwide. Italy has decided to pull itself out of the initiative after nine years, and it notified China that it'd withdraw before the year's end.
🥵2023 is officially the hottest year on record: With many of the hottest months on record occurring this past year, it is no surprise that 2023 is now officially the hottest year on record. Between January and November, the world's average temperature hit 15.1 C, which is 1.46 C higher than pre-industrial levels. The limit the world hopes to stay below in terms of average increased temperature is 1.5 C.
👨⚖️Meta child protection lawsuit: Social media giants have been getting in hot water recently over seeming to attract younger children purposely or at least negligently to use their platforms without offering necessary protections. On Wednesday, the state of New Mexico in the US filed a lawsuit against Meta over creating a "breeding ground" for child predators on Facebook and Instagram.
🪙JPMorgan CEO talks on crypto: Even though bitcoin has been seeing its value rally recently, that doesn't mean that crypto isn't a volatile market – and it's also notoriously difficult to regulate. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is a notable figure against crypto. On Wednesday, he announced that if it were up to him, he'd "close" down crypto altogether if he were in charge of the government.
🖋️Blackpink renews contracts: Fans have been concerned that Blackpink might be over after the K-pop performers' contracts expired in August. But now YG Entertainment has confirmed that all four members have renewed their contracts and are still in talks for exclusive solo contracts with the agency.
🦘Kangaroo punch: A kangaroo in Canada escaped its handlers during transport to a new home at the end of last week and spent the weekend roaming around on its own. Officers spotted the 'roo on the run early Monday morning and called the handlers for guidance. They grabbed the animal's tail as instructed while trying to capture it, and the kangaroo punched one of the officers square in the face. The kangaroo received some medical treatment and will stay at the Oshawa Zoo for a few days of rest before heading to a zoo in Quebec.
🏆Person of the Year: Every year, Time magazine names someone as its "Person of the Year," and this year's winner is Taylor Swift. The musician has been having a stellar year so far, breaking records and claiming accolades left and right, so this wraps things up nicely for her and her devoted Swifties. Time said she was chosen because she gave people around the world hope in dark times.
Who did Time magazine name as its Person of the Year?
- Donald Trump
- Elon Musk
- Taylor Swift
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