, Hong Kong

Weekly News Wrap: New virus wave threatens Hong Kong's retail recovery; Hainan's mall enjoy surging tourist arrivals

And former Don Quijote CEO was arrested over insider trading charges.

From Bloomberg:

Hong Kong’s subdued retail environment showed signs of improvement in October, though a new wave of virus cases threatens that progress as the city tightened social-distancing rules again.

Retail sales by value fell 8.8% from a year earlier to $3.5b (HK$27.4b), better than the median forecast of -10.3% in a Bloomberg survey of economists, and compared with a revised -12.8% in September. Sales by volume fell 9.3%.

A resurgent wave of infections and new social-distancing restrictions, however, threaten to upend the nascent signs of an economic recovery. The new virus cases have already forced Hong Kong to delay a travel bubble with Singapore and worsens pressure on retailers ahead of the critical December shopping season.

Read more here.

From Reuters:

Millions of domestic tourists are descending on China’s southernmost island province of Hainan, presenting a surreal contrast with grim hospital scenes, shuttered restaurants and stifling home quarantine elsewhere in a virus-ravaged world.

Known at home as the “Hawaii of China”, the island, about the size of Taiwan, has been free of coronavirus for six months, drawing eager shoppers to duty-free malls, couples seeking a sub-tropical backdrop for wedding pictures, and surfers just looking to “breathe freely”.

October arrivals of 9.6 million, according to official data, exceeded the year-earlier figure, before the pandemic struck, by 3.1%, although foreign visitors slumped 87%. That was a far cry from February, when arrivals had dropped almost 90%.

The rapid surge in tourism shows China’s consumer sector may be throwing off its virus-induced slumber as the closure of many international borders pushes travellers to destinations such as Hainan, traditionally costlier than most of Southeast Asia.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg:

The former CEO of Pan Pacific International, the operator of discount chain store Don Quijote, has been arrested on charges of insider trading in 2018, according to an announcement from the Tokyo District Court.

Koji Ohara, who left his post as CEO of the company in September 2019, was arrested by prosecutors on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act in Japan. Don Quijote Holdings Co. formally changed its name to Pan Pacific International in early 2019.

Ohara is alleged to have on multiple occasions recommended the purchase of his company’s stock to an acquaintance, with the aim of profiting before Familymart UNY Holdings Co. announced it intended to acquire a stake in Don Quijote, according to the court. The acquaintance allegedly bought 76,500 shares of Don Quijjote for around $4.1m (JPY430m) between early September to early October in 2018.

Read more here.

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