From LinkedIn's job market insights to China at Davos – Here are today's Headlines

According to a recent LinkedIn report, there's a big change happening in the Asia-Pacific job market.

From LinkedIn's job market insights to China at Davos – Here are today's Headlines
A worker arrives at his office in the Canary Wharf business district in London Feb. 26, 2014./File Photo/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

LinkedIn's job market insights

The backstory: LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, now has over 1 billion members. Originally known for connecting professionals and business networking, it's now a major player in global social media, with around 80% of its new members from outside the US.

Turning to the job market, recent years have shaken up business per usual after headwinds like the pandemic, inflation and a high cost of living. In 2023, a survey of 196 companies by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce found that 74% of employers were struggling to find talent.

More recently: In a recent study by Randstad, the world's largest employment agency, a shift in job seekers' priorities came to light. Last year, 57% of participants valued work-life balance more than pay when thinking about changing jobs. This trend is significant – 93% of workers surveyed consider both work-life balance and pay equally important.

The development: According to a recent LinkedIn report, there's a big change happening in the Asia-Pacific job market. LinkedIn found that many professionals, especially younger ones (Gen Z and millennials), are considering changing jobs this year. And it's not just a local thing – around the world, 73% of people share this sentiment, indicating a widespread reluctance to stick with less-than-ideal jobs. Click the link here for more.

TMSC’s bright outlook

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The company logo for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 26, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The backstory: The tech sector has been in a years-long slump, with things like geopolitical tensions, wars, inflation, high interest rates, economic uncertainty, fears of a recession and declining consumer demand wearing on the industry. This has especially been noticeable in areas like computers and smartphones. But, after seven quarters in a row of decline, some data is suggesting that 2024 might bring a recovery. According to Canalys’ latest research, smartphone shipments around the world grew 8% year on year in the fourth quarter last year. On top of that, the firm estimates that the world’s computer market will grow by 8% this year, especially boosted by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). 

More recently: But, there are still some uncertainties looming. For example, tech giant Samsung just reported its sixth successive quarter of declining operating profit. And Apple, although just recently topping Samsung for the first time since 2010 as the world’s top smartphone brand, is still forecast to see lukewarm demand this year in China, its largest market, according to Jeffries. 

The development: It seems like eight is the magic number for this year. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC), the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, has predicted major growth in the smartphone and computer market this year. Click the link here for more.

China at Davos

China Davos
Klaus Schwab, founder World Economic Forum (WEF), and China's Premier Li Qiang greet each other during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 16, 2024. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The backstory: Established in 1971, the World Economic Forum (WEF) brings together political and business leaders to address global economic challenges. The annual Davos meeting from January 15 - 19 in Davos-Knosters, Switzerland, is a crucial event in the headlines lately. The 54th Annual Meeting for the WEF is prioritizing trust principles like transparency, consistency and accountability, according to organizers.

Key attendees this year included Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, French President Emmanuel Macron and China's Premier Li Qiang. The US delegation featured Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Noteworthy business figures like Microsoft's Satya Nadella and OpenAI’s Sam Altman have also attended.

The development: So what are some highlights from China’s participation at the forum? China was back in action at the WEF, with its largest delegation since 2017, led by Premier Li. He assured everyone that the country’s open for business, easing worries about recent industry crackdowns. He pointed out that investing in China is more of an opportunity than a risk. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

Disease X?

Oh, please, no. Not another one. Before you panic and start hoarding toilet paper, there isn’t another looming global pandemic on the horizon. Yet. But scientists believe it's important to stay prepared for unknown infectious threats – novel coronaviruses like the one that causes COVID, for example – instead of just the ones we’re familiar with, like Ebola.

This is where “Disease X” comes in. Yes, it sounds like some sort of virus cooked up in a Bond villain’s lab, but it’s actually a term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO). So what is it? In 2017, the WHO added Disease X to a short list of pathogens it considered a major priority for research. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks closed higher on Thursday, especially with tech stocks powering the market. 
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks jumped slightly on Thursday as traders were cautious about China's economy and less hopeful for an early US interest rate cut.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In Hong Kong: lost over 1.6%, while Alibaba and Meituan both jumped over 1%. 
  • In the US: Apple rose 3.2% after Bank of America gave a thumbs-up, expecting a 20% or higher rise in the next year.
  • Health insurer Humana about 8%, hitting a new low after lower-than-expected quarterly results.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: New jobless claims dropped to 187,000 last week, beating expectations. 

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

More headlines ...

🗞️Middle East update: With worries escalating over the Israel-Palestine war spreading into a larger regional conflict, there's been a lot of back and forth between neighboring countries. In response to Iran's strike against Jaish al-Adl, a separatist group, in Pakistan this week, the Pakistani military carried out targeted strikes against "militant hideouts" in Iran on Thursday, killing at least nine people. The US launched more strikes against Houthi anti-ship missiles aimed at the Red Sea on Thursday, and the Indian Navy said it had rescued the crew of the Genco Picardy, a ship that Houthis attacked on Wednesday. The Iran-backed group Hezbollah, which has said it will continue firing rockets at Israel until there's a ceasefire in the Gaza war, has rejected calls to cool tensions and pull its fighters further from the border. But Lebanese officials have said Hezbollah is open to diplomatic efforts to avoid a wider war, saying it's "ready to listen."

📰Ecuadorean prosecutor assassinated: We recently reported on the rise of gang violence in Ecuador, with a TV station broadcasting live in the country being stormed by armed men on January 9. The prosecutor investigating that attack, Cesar Suarez, was shot and killed on Wednesday. So far, two men have been arrested for their alleged participation in the assassination. 

📄Singapore's transport minister resigns: After working in Singapore's public service sector for over 25 years, Singapore's transport minister, S. Iswaran, has resigned this week after facing 27 charges, including graft, obstruction of justice and obtaining "valuable things" from a real estate tycoon, totaling more than S$384,000 (US$285,770). Iswaran said he's innocent and has rejected the allegations in his resignation letter, sent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, and "will now focus on clearing [his] name."

📺Teens in North Korea sentenced over K-drama: Rare footage out of North Korea from 2022 has been obtained by BBC Korean. It shows two 16-year-old boys handcuffed by uniformed officers at an outdoor stadium in front of hundreds of students and being sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for watching K-dramas. While K-dramas have become vastly popular across the globe, South Korean entertainment is banned in the North, with the government even creating a law in 2020 to make watching or distributing South Korean entertainment punishable by death. 

✈️Chinese wind tunnel complex: After 16 years of engineering and constructing wind tunnels across China, the nation built its first large civil aircraft, the C919, to compete with Boeing and Airbus. And now, we're getting a look at the scale of China's wind tunnel complex (the world's largest civil one), which is equivalent to the combined total of similar facilities across the US and Europe. A paper published last month details how the C919 was created entirely with China's 18 wind tunnels, a "fundamental and original technological breakthrough" for the non-Western world. Wind tunnels help scientists and engineers test different things while developing aircraft, like the aerodynamic shape, extreme operating conditions, vibration, noise, icing and flight control systems.

💰Hong Kong Christian charity fraud: The principal and two other directors of a long-standing Hong Kong Christian charity, the Christian Zheng Sheng Association, are on the run overseas after senior police officials announced that they allegedly stole HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in donations. Four other charity directors have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. 

😲China finds giant lithium deposit: China, a big producer of EV batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), has access to about 7% of the world's identified lithium resources. But it refines around half of the world's lithium and relies heavily on imports. Now, China has discovered a massive deposit of lithium in Yajiang County, Sichuan province, of about 1 million tonnes, which will give the nation more security as the global race for resources intensifies. 

🕶️Netflix takes a pass on the Vision Pro: Apple's Vision Pro headset, set to be released on February 2 for US$3,499, is relying on entertainment platforms to entice customers. But, the must-have streaming platform Netflix has seemingly passed on collaborating with Apple for now and isn't planning on developing an app for the device. Netflix said in a statement that if users want to watch its content on the headset, they can do it from the web browser.

💼Canada ranked safest country to travel to in 2024: Travel insurance company Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has released its report of the safest countries to travel to in 2024, with Canada taking the lead due to its cold weather, low population density and low violent or gun-related crime rates. Other countries that ranked high on the list are Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK. 

⌚Arnie detained over luxury watch: Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained at Munich airport on Wednesday after not declaring a custom-made Audemars Piguet wristwatch in his luggage that he planned to auction off on Thursday for charity. Customs officials said that "the watch should have been registered because it is an import … you have to pay tax and duty on them. That applies to everyone." After a few hours, the actor and former senator paid a fine and was able to resume his journey.

🔭World's oldest black hole: The world's oldest black hole has been discovered by the James Webb telescope, with astronomer Jan Scholtz stating that it's 200 million years older than any other massive blackhole ever observed and a mass of 1.6 million times greater than the sun. This discovery now challenges what we know about these gigantic celestial forms, as it was thriving soon after the Big Bang.

🎁China sends Lunar New Year gifts to space:  One of the world's most powerful spacecraft, China's Tianzhou 7, delivered 5.6 tonnes of cargo to astronauts at the Tiangong space station just three hours after launching Wednesday night. The cargo included 2 tonnes of daily necessities and 90 kilograms of fruit and other foods – and, to make the Year of the Dragon unique for the astronauts, "blind boxes" for the crew to open during the Lunar New Year.

Quiz Time!

How much revenue growth is TSMC forecasting for this year?

  1. At least 8%
  2. At least 10%
  3. At least 6%
  4. It’s expecting to see a contraction

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

**The answer to the quiz is [1]