Hong Kong enters recession as protests show no sign of relenting

Hong Kong enters recession as protests show no sign of relenting
It would be ‘extremely difficult’ to achieve the government’s pre-protest forecast of zero to one percent annual economic growth, a Hong Kong official said. (AFP)
Updated 28 October 2019

Hong Kong enters recession as protests show no sign of relenting

Hong Kong enters recession as protests show no sign of relenting
  • ‘The blow to our economy is comprehensive,’ Paul Chan, the city’s financial secretary, said in a blog
  • It would be ‘extremely difficult’ to achieve the government’s pre-protest forecast of zero to one percent annual economic growth

HONG KONG: Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by more than five months of anti-government protests that show no signs of relenting, and is unlikely to achieve annual economic growth this year, the city’s financial secretary said.
“The blow to our economy is comprehensive,” Paul Chan said in a blog post on Sunday, adding that a preliminary estimate for third-quarter GDP on Thursday would show two successive quarters of contraction — the technical definition of a recession.
He also said it would be “extremely difficult” to achieve the government’s pre-protest forecast of zero to one percent annual economic growth.
Protests in the former British colony have reached their 21st week. On Sunday, black-clad and masked demonstrators set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.
Protesters have routinely torched store fronts and businesses including banks, particularly those owned by mainland Chinese companies and vandalized the city’s metro system MTR Corp. as they view it as acting at the government’s behest to curtail protests.
The MTR has shut services early for the past few weeks and said it will close around two hours earlier than normal on Monday by 11 p.m. to repair damaged facilities.
Tourists numbers have plummeted, a decline Chan called an “emergency” with the drop in visitor numbers worsening in October, down nearly 50 percent.
Retail operators, from prime shopping malls to mom and pop businesses, have been forced to shutter for multiple days over the past few months.
While authorities have announced measures to support local small and medium-sized enterprises, Chan said the measures could only “slightly reduce the pressure.”
“Let citizens return to normal life, let industry and commerce to operate normally, and create more space for rational dialogue,” he wrote.
Protesters are angry about what they view as increasing interference by Beijing in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula intended to guarantee freedoms not seen on the mainland.
China denies meddling. It has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of stirring up trouble.


Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
Updated 15 January 2021

Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
  • Samsung is set to release the S21 series at a cheaper rates
  • The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online

SEOUL, South Korea: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Thursday unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with a stylus for on-screen work called the S Pen, more than a month ahead of its usual annual release schedule for models of its flagship compact phone.
Analysts have said offering a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series might signal the South Korean tech giant will merge the S line with its other premium smartphone range, the Note, already equipped with a note-taking stylus. That could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices.
Samsung is also looking to grab market share after China’s Huawei Technologies was hit with US sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts have said.
An early Galaxy S21 launch is a likely tactic to capitalize on Huawei’s woes, said Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year.
Lim said Samsung faces intense competition in the high-end category from Chinese vendors amid growing demand for devices that can be used for remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as play like videogaming.
In the United States, the Galaxy S21 price range starts at $799.99, the S21 Plus version at $999.99, and the S21 Ultra at $1,199.99.
The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online, Samsung said.
With the most advanced processing chip in any Galaxy device, the S21 is 5G compatible and designed for shooting and viewing video and images as well as on-screen work. The top end of the range, the Ultra — the only version compliant with the S Pen stylus, which has to be bought separately — sports a four-lens rear camera that allows different angles and zoom shots.
Samsung plans to offer the stylus with other devices, said TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business.
The standard S21’s screen size is 6.2 inches, with the S21 Plus at 6.7 inches and S21 Ultra is 6.8 inches, optimal for watching videos and gaming. The latter two are close in size to last year’s Galaxy Note ‘phablets’ — a cross between a phone and a tablet.
The S21 series is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 888 chips or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chips depending on the region, Samsung said. Qualcomm said last month the 5G chips will be manufactured by Samsung’s chipmaking division.