The Daily Brief

Friday, December 2, 2016

 

With the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect about to launch, it seems likely China’s worries about outflows will be compounded. The long-awaited scheme kicks off on Monday with the promise of low valuations and high dividend yields offering an enticing prospect for mainland Chinese investors, writes Lin Wanxia. It could also spell distress in Beijing given the government’s existing anxieties about money outflows and yuan depreciation. The draw being flaunted for foreign investors is Shenzhen’s ostensibly sexy tech sector – but these are stocks fraught with market and regulatory risk.

 

More than two decades after the execution of Nie Shubin, China’s highest court has overturned the 20-year-old’s conviction in 1995 for the rape and murder of a woman in a corn field. Nie’s case highlighted the flaws in China’s criminal justice system, writes Poo Yee Kai. In overturning the verdict, China’s Supreme Court also said the confession that Nie gave was “legally and factually suspect.” It all comes 21 years too late as Nie was executed following seven months in detention.

 

Australia, one of the United State’s closest allies, is looking nominally to communist China to lead the drive for open markets in the Asia-Pacific, following Donald Trump’s election on a platform critical of free trade and globalization, writes John Power. Trump has vowed to pull the US out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on his first day in office, sounding the death knell for the economic plank of President Barack Obama’s so-called “Asian pivot.” And two options China have put forward are being considered.

 

A consortium led by private-equity firm Carlyle Group and Chinese conglomerate Citic Group Corp has neared a deal to buy McDonald’s stores in China and Hong Kong for up to US$3 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. The deal is likely to be signed before Christmas, the source said. McDonald’s in March said it was reorganizing operations in Asia, bringing in partners as it switches to a less capital-intensive franchise model.

 

There isn’t quite the glitz or red-carpet gossip of Cannes in the French Riveria, or even Telluride in Colorado, but in many ways the Luang Prabang Film Festival is far more impressive, writes Ron Gluckman. The so-called Sundance of Southeast Asia is hosted every year in this charming northern Lao town best known for its temples and austerity. And the complete lack of cinemas.

 
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