From CES 2024 to a new Star Wars film – Here are today's Headlines

CES, the yearly global tech event organized by the Consumer Technology Association, has kicked off in Las Vegas for its 58th year.

From CES 2024 to a new Star Wars film – Here are today's Headlines
Barbara Lavernos, deputy chief executive officer in charge of research and technology at L'Oreal, speaks during a L'Oreal keynote at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2024. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

To start off, we're looking into:

A quick peek at CES 2024

The backstory: CES, the yearly global tech event organized by the Consumer Technology Association, has kicked off in Las Vegas for its 58th year. Originally known as the Consumer Electronics Show, it's a major tech conference drawing industry leaders and startups to showcase their newest innovations. Famous for cutting-edge tech, it features all the newest gadgetry with big presentations and attention-grabbing product launches – like last year's pricey self-driving stroller. Running from January 9 to January 12, this year is aiming for a turnout of some 130,000 attendees.

The development: So, what can we expect this year? At CES 2024, more than 4,000 exhibitors, including over 1,200 startups, are coming together for a hub of innovation. Big players like Samsung and Microsoft are in the mix. Apple is expected to be absent again this year, although the company typically skips the event. Notably, nearly 60% of Fortune 500 companies are partaking. Also, beauty is now an official category, with L'Oreal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus giving the first keynote from a beauty company. Click the link here for more.

KeeTa's rise in Hong Kong

KeeTa Hong Kong
Source: KeeTa

The backstory: Ever since COVID locked everyone down in their homes, delivery apps have really taken off. Especially when it comes to grocery and food delivery. Meituan, a major Chinese tech and shopping giant, launched its sister food delivery app KeeTa in Hong Kong last May. It first kicked off in Mong Kok and Tai Kok Tsui, and the positive response led to a swift expansion to Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong a month later. Before this, Foodpanda and Deliveroo dominated domestically with 64% and 36%, respectively, of the market share, while Uber Eats pulled out of Hong Kong at the end of 2021, leaving around a 5% market share up for grabs. 

The development: Since arriving in Hong Kong, KeeTa has become the city's second-largest food delivery platform, grabbing a 37% share of the local market in December, according to Measurable AI. Click the link here for more.

What’s going on between India and the Maldives?

Maldives India
President of the Maldives Mohamed Muizzu delivers a national statement at the World Climate Action Summit during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo

The backstory: Tense relations with India aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the picturesque Maldives. But the small Indian Ocean nation has more strained ties with its neighbor ever since President Mohamed Muizzu took office. Muizzu is known for favoring relations with China, having also run on an “India Out” campaign to distance the country from the “India first” policy of the previous administration. His campaign argued that India is trying to erode the nation’s autonomy, something that India has rejected. But since taking office, Muizzu has seemed to tone down his stance on India, as well as rejecting comments that he’s “pro-Beijing,” saying he is only “pro-Maldives.”

But typically, after a president is sworn in in the Maldives, New Delhi is their first stop. But for Muizzu, it was Ankara, Turkey. Now, he’s on a state visit to China, which began January 7. Many see the fact that he’s yet to visit India as a snub. 

The development: If you’ve been on social media lately, you may have come across the #BoycottMaldives trends going viral and even drawing in bigwigs and celebs across India. Essentially what happened is that Maldives is facing major backlash and boycotts from India, one of its largest tourism income sources. Click the link here for more on what's going on.

To end, we'll look into:

South Korea bans dog meat

South Korea dog meat
A dog in a cage is pictured during a protest to demand the government to scrap plans to pass a bill that would ban eating dog meat, in front of the Presidential Office in Seoul, South Korea, November 30, 2023. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

Eating dog meat has been a centuries-old practice on the Korean Peninsula but has never been explicitly banned or legalized in South Korea. For example, bosintang is a soup that uses dog meat as its primary ingredient. Aside from being a thing in the countryside, it’s also seen by some Koreans as a way to beat the summer heat.

Dogs are also eaten in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and some African countries. But South Korea in particular has faced a lot of heat over the practice because of its status as a major, progressive economic hub and the fact that it’s the only country with industrial-scale dog farms.  

While dog meat tends to be more popular among older generations, recent surveys have suggested that there has been growing support for a ban, especially among younger Koreans, with most South Koreans saying that they don’t eat dog meat. And while there have been efforts to try to ban it in the past, all have failed because of industry protests and worries for the farmers and restaurant owners. 

On Tuesday, South Korea's Parliament passed landmark legislation to ban the country's dwindling dog meat industry. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks were modestly down on Tuesday, adding to the ongoing slump of the stock market in 2024. 
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Tuesday as worries about China's economy took precedence over hopes for US interest rate cuts.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Unity Software dropped almost 8% after the company announced a workforce reduction of about 25%.
  • Netflix lost over 0.6% following a downgrade from Citi.
  • Juniper Networks rose more than 21% on hints of a possible US$13 billion acquisition deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
  • In Hong Kong: Meituan slumped 4.6%, fell by over 3%, and Alibaba dipped by almost 1%.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: This week featured key data releases, such as US CPI, wholesale inventories and PPI.
  • In Hong Kong: China is set to release important economic indicators, including China CPI, PPI and trade data on Friday.

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

More headlines ...

📃New French PM: After a tumultuous year of controversial policies that led to protests and legislative defeats for French President Emmanuel Macron, it seems an overhaul of his top team is on deck ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections. France's Élisabeth Borne resigned as prime minister of the country this week, and she's being replaced by Gabriel Attal, the youngest (34) in modern history and the first openly gay person to take on the role. Macron has a little over three years left in his presidency.

✈️Boeing investigation: We mentioned yesterday that the door plug that should've stopped the Boeing 737 Max 9 fuselage panel blowing out had been found. Now, investigators are turning their attention to four missing bolts that were meant to secure the panel. Also, some other Max 9 planes have been found with loose bolts since they've been grounded for inspections. In the backdrop, though, Boeing had a really good end to 2023, with 301 orders for the 737 Max in December. But with the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 incident overshadowing that, Boeing's CEO, Dave Calhoun, addressed employees on Tuesday at noon to stress safety.

🚧Haneda airport crash report: On January 2, a Japan Airlines passenger jet crashed into a parked Coast Guard plane while landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. While all 379 passengers and crew survived, 14 injuries were reported, and two pets died. Five of the six crew members on the Japanese Coast Guard plane were also killed. A Yomiuri news report says the crash may have been due to miscommunication, with unidentified sources saying that the control tower's instruction that the Coast Guard plane was "number one" might have been interpreted as a signal to enter the runway rather than the order of departure. 

🕵️Dada Nexus "suspicious" revenue: Dada Nexus is a unit of, one of China's largest e-commerce companies, operating JD Daojia and delivery service Dada Now. During COVID, with deliveries skyrocketing, the platforms gained popularity as consumers sought local and quick delivery services. But now, that unit is being probed for potential overstatements of around 1 billion yuan (US$140 million) in revenue and costs, leading to a 46% drop in its share price. The investigation focuses on approximately 500 million yuan overstatement in sales from online advertising and marketing and a similar amount in operating and support costs. 

🧑‍⚖️Google's in the hot seat again: Google is facing an infringement lawsuit from Singular Computing, a company founded by computer scientist Joseph Bates. Singular Computing argues that Google used Bates' innovations in its Tensor Processing Units, which were used to support artificial intelligence (AI) features in various Google services. The lawsuit seeks US$1.67 billion in damages. Google says its employees designed the chips independently and that Bates is described as a "disappointed inventor" whose technology involves approximate math that can generate "incorrect" calculations. The trial is ongoing.

🗨️Elon goes on the offense: We mentioned earlier this week that the WSJ reported that inside sources have said that Elon Musk's use of drugs, including LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, psychedelic mushrooms and ketamine, has raised concerns among execs and board members at the companies he leads. Of course, the billionaire took to X to fight back, pulling out a favorite emoji for the attack – the poo emoji. The WSJ "is not fit to line a parrot cage for bird 💩," the 52-year-old wrote. 

🛰️China launches X-ray observatory: China has successfully launched the Einstein Probe, a new-generation X-ray observatory expected to operate for five years. It's equipped with the Wide-field X-ray Telescope and Follow-up X-ray Telescope, which will monitor flashes in the night sky, helping to study cosmic events like neutron star collisions and black holes consuming companion stars. From its orbit 600 kilometers above the ground, it'll detect X-ray sources with greater precision and sensitivity than similar telescopes worldwide.

💰China is big for business: Global management and consulting firm Bain & Company collects data to understand international markets better. According to a recent report, China is a crucial market for multinational corporations (MNCs) in 2024, with execs eyeing opportunities amid a rebound in consumption. According to the firm's data, despite geopolitical tensions and local competition, China made up about 15% of global revenue for 200 major MNCs from Japan, Europe and the US in 2022. Some, like Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Shiseido, earned 22-37% of their revenue from China. So, experts advise taking a longer-term perspective on China's growth potential rather than concentrating on short-term headwinds. 

💔An angry ex and a shaming breakup banner: Last month, a man from China sought revenge on his ex-girlfriend by hanging a banner accusing her of cheating and having her "feet in two boots." When he couldn't save the relationship, he ordered the banner online and, with the help of a friend, displayed it outside his ex-girlfriend's workplace and other high-traffic places. It "congratulated" her on a "seamless transition," implying infidelity. Police detained the man and his friend, and they were arrested for over a week. The incident sparked lots of chatter online about relationships, with many saying it was petty.

🎞️Cruise partners with Warner Bros: Tom Cruise is known for some major films produced by Paramount Pictures, like the "Top Gun" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises. But now, he's teaming up with Warner Bros. Discovery to develop new film franchises. Paramount still has another "Mission: Impossible" film in the works. Meanwhile, the two media giants reportedly had talks late in 2023 about a possible merger.

🍿Mando on the big screen: Disney has officially announced that its newest Star Wars film, "The Mandalorian & Grogu," will go into production this year. It's the first new movie from the popular franchise in more than four years, as Star Wars projects haven't been doing very well, at least in theaters. The film is based on its namesake TV series and will be directed by showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. All we have to say is, "patu!"

Quiz Time!

Which food delivery app is the second-biggest in Hong Kong?

  1. Foodpanda
  2. KeeTa
  3. Deliveroo
  4. Uber Eats

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Krystal Lai and Christine Dulion

**The answer to the quiz is [2]