Earnings season is on, and names in sports betting, cruise lines, and cannabis are next on the docket.
While his girlfriend’s mother was sleeping, a man got aroused by her exposed breast and molested the woman.
Top Republicans have urged US President Joe Biden to take tougher action against China, after Beijing announced sanctions on outgoing American officials just minutes into Biden taking office.Jim Risch, head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted on Thursday that in sanctioning 28 national security officials, China’s Communist Party was already testing the Biden administration’s “resolve to continue a tougher, competitive approach towards China”.“Together, Republicans [and] Democrats must show Beijing we will not be deterred from defending US interests,” he tweeted.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. China sanctions US lawmakers, officials over Hong Kong, Taiwan movesChina’s foreign ministry announced the sanctions against a list of US individuals and their families just 20 minutes after Biden was sworn in on Thursday, accusing those targeted of having “seriously violated China’s sovereignty” and being largely responsible for a “series of crazy moves” in US policy on China.Ten of the people on the list were former members of the Trump administration, including secretary of state Mike Pompeo, trade adviser Peter Navarro, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, health secretary Alex Azar and deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger.“China has pointed out multiple times that these anti-China politicians will pay for their crazy acts,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.“We hope the new US administration will view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational manner.”China’s action came after Pompeo said Beijing’s repression in the far western region of Xinjiang against Uygurs and members of other ethnic minorities amounted to ongoing “genocide and crimes”.Washington has imposed its own sanctions on Chinese officials and entities over the policies in Xinjiang, as well as on Hong Kong and Chinese officials over Beijing’s political crackdown in Hong Kong.Michael McCaul, the leading Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted that Beijing had showed its true colours by sanctioning US officials for telling the truth – that the Communist Party was “guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide”.“I strongly urge the Biden administration to quickly condemn these baseless, impotent sanctions and make good on its early commitments to prioritise strategic competition with the [Communist Party],” he said.Biden’s National Security Council also weighed in, calling the sanctions “unproductive and cynical”, urging Americans from both parties to criticise the move.“Imposing these sanctions on Inauguration Day is seemingly an attempt to play to partisan divides,” council spokeswoman Emily Horne told Reuters. “President Biden looks forward to working with leaders in both parties to position America to out-compete China.”Hua, from the Chinese foreign ministry, responded on Friday by accusing the Trump administration of having imposed thousands of sanctions on China.She said Beijing’s measures were “completely appropriate and necessary, fully demonstrating the Chinese government’s firm determination to safeguard national interests”.“We have long said that unilateral sanctions harm others and hurt oneself, and just like a boomerang, sooner or later it will fly back,” she said.“McCaul’s comments fully expose how some US politicians only allow the US to engage in arbitrary suppression and do not allow others to justly defend themselves against bullying, hegemony and hegemonic logic.” China sanctions US lawmakers, officials over Hong Kong, Taiwan movesBeijing has called for a reset in relations with Washington, after months of disputes over issues including trade, technology, strategic influence, ideology, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.But analysts said the political consensus in Washington for a tougher policy on China had hardened and Beijing’s increasingly assertive foreign policy would make it difficult for an easing in the strategic rivalry.Drew Thompson, a former US Defence Department official responsible for China, Taiwan and Mongolia, said he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping would seek to reverse some of the Trump administration’s measures on China, but Biden had little incentive to compromise.While Biden would certainly seek to engage with Xi, China was deeply committed to its existing model of governance and its more aggressive and often antagonistic foreign policy, he said.“This leaves little room for Biden to explore areas of meaningful cooperation, leaving the two sides to manage differences and focus on reducing the risk of miscalculation and avoiding conflict,” he said. “There is a strong bipartisan consensus in the United States about the challenge that China presents to US interests, and the need to be more forceful and assertive to protect them,” he said.More from South China Morning Post: * Will Joe Biden meet Xi Jinping? China awaits clues to future of US relations * China says it wants to get relations with US ‘back on the right track’ * China sanctions US lawmakers, officials over Hong Kong, Taiwan moves * Pompeo among key Trump officials sanctioned by Beijing for ‘disrupting China-US relations’ * Joe Biden taps Asia expert Ely Ratner as top Pentagon adviser on ChinaThis article Hit back at China, US Republicans tell Joe Biden after American officials targeted with sanctions first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Friday (22 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,250.
Bid farewell to the year that didn’t happen (also known as 2020), and say hello to the fortunes and opportunities that await you in the Year of the Ox. Fortune favours the bold! Come 12 February 2021, we will be entering the Year of the […] The post Financial Chinese Horoscope Reading For The Year Of The Metal Ox (2021) appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
Former Mediacorp actor Ng Aik Leong, known by his Chinese name as Huang Yiliang, was found guilty of assaulting a worker in his employ with a metal scraper.
Tokyo has retained its top position as the most preferred city for cross-border investment, attributed to the availability of high-quality assets and strong liquidity in the Japanese city. In fact, the city has made the top-three investment destinations since 2018. This is followed by Seoul, ranking third.Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen have taken the fourth, sixth and seventh places respectively, with investors likely attracted by China’s relatively quick containment of the pandemic and swift economic recovery, says CBRE.Read more: Positioning investment strategies in a post-Covid world: BlackRockAnother major mover is Ho Chi Minh City, which has taken fifth place for the first time. “Ho Chi Minh City has already been on the radar of investors in recent years, especially those who are looking to invest in Southeast Asia, as the city is viewed as having the potential for greater appreciation in property values and higher yields,” observes Desmond Sim, head of research, Southeast Asia, CBRE.“Singapore remains an important hub for foreign corporations looking to access Southeast Asia. Although CBD rents declined in 2020, rents are forecast to display growth over the next three years, supported by low vacancy and strong demand,” Sim says.“We expect office demand in 2021 to be fuelled by Chinese technology firms and non-bank financial services firms such as investment managers and hedge funds,” he adds.See Also: Singapore Property for Sale & Rent, Latest Property News, Advanced Analytics Tools New Launch Condo & Landed Property in Singapore (COMPLETE list & updates) Hong Kong falls off global real estate investors' radars even as they eye more assets in Asia-Pacific Asia Pacific to shine over this decade Offices downsize space as flexible working holds sway En Bloc Calculator, Find Out If Your Condo Will Be The Next en-bloc HDB Resale Flats Up For Sale, Affordable Units Available
Japan has joined a battle of diplomatic notes over the South China Sea dispute, adding to pressure on Beijing over its expansive claims in the strategically important waterway.In a note verbale – a type of diplomatic communication – sent on Tuesday, Japan’s permanent mission to the United Nations said China’s “drawing of territorial sea baselines … on relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea” failed to satisfy conditions set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.It also accused China of restricting freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Beijing’s claims to most of the waterway were rejected in 2016 by a tribunal in The Hague that ruled several of the land features were “low-tide elevations” without territorial waters.“China has not accepted this  award, and has asserted that it has ‘sovereignty’ in sea and airspace surrounding and above those maritime features found to be low-tide elevations,” Japan said in the note addressing UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.“As a matter of fact, China protests the overflight of Japanese aircraft in the surrounding Mischief Reef and attempts to restrict the freedom of overflight in the South China Sea,” it said.While Tokyo has previously urged Beijing to recognise the tribunal ruling, it is rare for Japan – which has its own territorial disputes with China in the East China Sea – to openly push back over its activities in the South China Sea, a potential military flashpoint between China and the US because of its geostrategic location.The note was issued hours before a high-level consultation on maritime affairs between China and Japan during which Japanese diplomats lodged a protest against the growing presence of Chinese coastguard vessels near the Senkaku Islands, according to Stars and Stripes. Known as the Diaoyus in China, the islands are controlled by Japan but also claimed by Beijing and Taipei. China’s two-pronged strategy to grind Japan down over disputed islandsChen Xiangmiao, an associate research fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan, said the timing of the note was significant.“This could be a way for Japan to raise the stakes in its [East China Sea] negotiations with China,” Chen said. “As Japan and the US are close allies, a hardened stance by Japan on the South China Sea will be welcomed by the US, whether it’s the Donald Trump administration or the Joe Biden administration.”Japan’s diplomatic note follows similar submissions urging Beijing to comply with the landmark 2016 ruling from the US, Australia, Britain, France and Germany, as well as rival claimants Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, the nation that took the case to The Hague.“The addition of Japan to the international legal coalition adds weight to the 2016 tribunal ruling,” said Yoichiro Sato, a professor of Indo-Pacific security with Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University in Japan. South China Sea: the dispute that could start a military conflictBut unlike the US and its allies – which rejected what Beijing calls its historic rights to the South China Sea – Japan’s diplomatic note mentioned China’s obstruction of freedom of navigation and overflight only around submerged features and low-tide elevations that are not deemed to have territorial waters. Observers said that could have been an attempt to avoid pushing China too far.Japan also stopped short of going into detail about these features, making a specific reference only to Mischief Reef, Sato noted.Part of the disputed Spratly Islands, China has occupied Mischief Reef and has a military base there after turning it into an artificial island. The reef is also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.Sato said the dispute with Beijing in the East China Sea may complicate Tokyo’s position in the South China Sea.“Japan’s reluctance is most focused on a fear that its involvement in the South China Sea may result in China’s retaliation in the East China Sea over the Senkaku Islands,” Sato said.He added that the presence of Chinese coastguard vessels near the Senkakus “has convinced Japan that the growing Chinese assertiveness in both seas has common roots in nationalism and expansionist intent”.However, Chen said Beijing was unlikely to change its position on the South China Sea despite the increasing international pressure.More from South China Morning Post: * East China Sea: why giant Chinese territory marker may be leagues above old buoy network * Vietnam pins hopes on Japan to face down Beijing in South China Sea oil hunt * PLA troops in South China Sea learn ‘essential’ battlefield English * Why China is now looking to have its say on international lawThis article Japan weighs in on South China Sea dispute, adding to pressure on Beijing first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Here are three Singapore companies you can safely buy and keep for the rest of your life. The post 3 Singapore Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever appeared first on The Smart Investor.
Real Madrid hope to put an embarrassing midweek cup exit behind them, while Andre Villas-Boas's future is under scrutiny at Marseille and AC Milan look to keep their rivals in the rearview mirror with Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from injury.
The school in the case of the transgender student, which has gone viral online, has allegedly barred the student from attending classes again.
The head of France's main Muslim organisation on Thursday slammed a "unilateral" move by three Islamic groups not to sign up to an anti-extremism charter championed by President Emmanuel Macron.
As US President Joe Biden takes the helm, he will need to reckon with a very different China than the country he dealt with as vice-president more than four years ago.The new White House has signalled that Biden’s initial telephone calls to world leaders will be first to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, then to other US partners and allies to “rebuild those relationships and to address the challenges and threats we’re facing”, as White House press secretary Jen Psaki put it on Wednesday.Given that “threats” perceived during the Donald Trump administration had included China’s ruling Communist Party, it raises the question of whether early talks between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are feasible and could help fix a relationship at a 40-year low on nearly all fronts.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Beijing has called for communication to resume between the major powers after four years of a norm-busting, hawkish approach from the Trump administration, which in its final few months in particular needled China on issues such as Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.Opportunities for Biden and Xi to meet this year could include the Group of 20 summit in late October in Rome. The pair’s last sit-down was in September 2015 when Xi visited Washington during Barack Obama’s presidency.Hours into his term, Biden recalled a chat with Xi during his visit to China in 2011, saying he told Xi the US was about “possibilities”. He did not connect the anecdote to current tensions, but Beijing has been watching for any sign of the future path of relations.Days before Biden’s inauguration, China’s state media played up Xi’s reply to a letter from Starbucks’ former chairman Howard Schultz, in which Xi called on the coffee chain to play an active role in promoting trade cooperation, indicating a wish to improve ties with the new administration.A strategic rivalry has developed as Beijing pushes more assertively against the US-led international order and the political consensus in Washington hardens against China.Analysts say Xi will be the more eager to speak, to avert a decoupling between the world’s two largest economies, whereas Biden will be more focused on domestic priorities including dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis and racial tensions.American views on China have also sharpened since Biden was vice-president, and the US will be unlikely to return to a policy of engagement because that failed to change China, observers say.Zhao Minghao, a non-resident senior fellow at Tsinghua University, said the influence of personal relations between the Chinese and US presidents had waned, and any talks were more likely to happen in multilateral settings – but were still not imminent.“The importance of head-of-state diplomacy to Sino-US relations has declined over the past 10 years,” Zhao said.“Xi and Biden are familiar with each other. But such familiarity can become either a positive asset or a burden, especially when Biden has been attacked at home for being weak towards China.“With deteriorating Sino-US relations, it is hard for the two heads of state to meet on bilateral occasions. They are more likely to hold bilateral meetings under a multilateral framework, such as the G20 and [any future] summit on fighting Covid-19. And they are not expected to meet soon.”John Lee, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said Xi would want to talk to Biden as soon as possible to move the relationship on from the tense Trump period, and that even without an early phone call the two would probably talk when they are next attending the same event, such as the G20.“Xi will quickly find out that Biden will not return to the complacency of the Obama years when it comes to confronting difficult issues with China,” he said. “Biden’s approach will be less overtly antagonistic than Trump’s but will continue to press very similar issues.”Under Trump, who first met Xi in 2017, China and the US sparred on fronts including trade, technology, influence in multilateral spheres, human rights and ideology.Observers say China will seek to shift the relationship back from the rhetoric of Trump figures such as his secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who called China’s Communist Party the “central threat of our times”. South China Sea: the dispute that could start a military conflictDenny Roy, senior fellow at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, said Xi would want to engage Biden on issues such as climate change and a return to pre-Trump economic relations, but Biden would raise more contentious issues such as human rights and Chinese intellectual property theft.Cooperation will be difficult now that Americans see China as having betrayed any faith that it would liberalise and accept international norms, while Chinese elites consider the US intolerant of China because of its strength rather than its behaviour, he said. “The context has completely changed since the Obama years,” Roy said. “Because they see each other as security threats, the two countries will think more about relative gains than absolute gains. The United States, in particular, is more likely to refuse cooperation in which Americans would gain, to prevent the Chinese from gaining.”Biden has a long history with China in his more than four decades of political life.He was in the first US congressional delegation to China in 1979 after the US and China normalised ties, visited Beijing in 2001 before China joined the World Trade Organization, and during the 2011 visit told Xi he hoped their “personal relationship” would “continue to grow”. World powers hopeful for reset with US under Joe BidenWhile on the campaign trail – with growing criticism of China in the US over the pandemic and the spectre of a new cold war between the countries – Biden had harsher words for the Chinese leader, calling him a “thug” over Beijing’s repression in Xinjiang.“I spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had by the time we left office,” he said of the Obama presidency. “This is a guy who doesn’t have a democratic – with a small ‘d’ – bone in his body.”Wei Zongyou, professor of the Centre for American Studies at Fudan University, said after “four years of collision” it was necessary to “lower the tone of criticism on both sides”.Additional reporting by Rachel ZhangMore from South China Morning Post: * As Biden takes office, US still viewed as ‘grey rhino’ risk for Chinese economy * China says it wants to get relations with US ‘back on the right track’ * Antony Blinken, US secretary of state nominee, says Trump’s tough approach to China was right but tactics were wrongThis article Will Joe Biden meet Xi Jinping? China awaits clues to future of US relations first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Indulge in leisurely high tea buffets in Singapore with these credit card deals that make time with loved ones — or yourself — even sweeter. We’re now in 2021, and it’s an understatement to say that we’ve been through a year of challenges. It’s time to […] The post High Tea Promotions In Singapore (2021) appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten run in the Premier League at Anfield came to a stunning end as Ashley Barnes's late penalty earned struggling Burnley a 1-0 win on Thursday.
As China battles a new spike of Covid-19 infections, stringent pandemic precautions for visitors to the country’s rural areas over Lunar New Year have drawn criticism online.The National Health Commission announced late on Wednesday that people returning to rural areas from other provinces over the holiday would have to produce a negative Covid-19 test taken within seven days and undergo 14 days of “health monitoring” at their rural home.“Sporadic and cluster outbreaks in rural areas have markedly increased this winter, which has severely affected the normal order of life and production,” the commission said in a notice on its website after social media users complained about the inconvenience.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“The pandemic control and prevention capacity is weak in rural areas. Great numbers of people are expected to be travelling during Lunar New Year, increasing the transmission risk and making prevention and control even harder,” the commission said.Amid the biggest wave of new infections since March, millions of residents in Hebei province surrounding Beijing and in the northeastern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang have been put into lockdown in recent weeks.In all, 144 new cases were reported on Wednesday, marking the highest number of daily infections since March 1, although this still remains a fraction of what China saw during the height of the epidemic last winter.Among them, 126 cases were new locally transmitted cases, with 68 in Heilongjiang, 33 in Jilin, 20 in Hebei, two in Beijing, two in Shanxi and one in Shandong. China also reported 97 local asymptomatic carriers, which are not included in the official tally.Roughly 2,400 people are in hospital or under medical observation across the nation, according to the health authorities.To try to reduce the chance of transmission, the Chinese government has been advising people to stay put, especially for Lunar New Year, a traditional family holiday which falls on February 12.However, China’s railway authorities still expect some 296 million train journeys to be taken from January 28 to March 8 during what is known as chunyun, or the Spring Festival travel rush.By Thursday noon, the social media platform for Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily had more than 8,000 reposts of an article on the rural restrictions and 44,000 comments, many of which were complaints.“I have three questions,” one user said in a popular post. “First, everyone has a health QR code as a proof of our health status. Why do we need a Covid-19 test result? Second, China categorises the country into three transmission risk zones: high, medium and low. Why should people from low-risk zones have a test? Last but not least, why does the policy only target people going to rural areas? Is it discrimination against migrant workers?” Coronavirus: is China ready for the mRNA vaccine revolution?Most of China’s 280 million rural migrant workers usually travel home to their villages at this time of year.Zhou Wei, a migrant worker in Beijing, said he was dismayed learning about the measures and planned to cancel his trip home to Henan province.“I had a tough year finding odd jobs in Beijing last year. A nucleic acid test costs around 100 yuan (US$15.50), which is not a small amount of money,” Zhou said. “Even if I return to my hometown, the 14-day health monitoring period will deprive me of all the joys of the festival. Our village party secretary is always strict. I bet he would not allow me to move as I please.” Coronavirus in China: residents of five Beijing neighbourhoods told to stay homeAccording to health authorities, people should “avoid unnecessary gathering or going outside” and must take a Covid-19 test every seven days during their rural stays. Local party committees are responsible for monitoring the temperature of visitors daily.People who work with imported cold chain products and quarantine facility workers, among other groups, must have a test before making a trip, even if it is within the same province.For mainland people going to urban areas during the period, it is up to authorities in the destination to decide what kind of precautions are needed.More from South China Morning Post: * 15 million people given Covid-19 vaccines in China as Spring Festival nears * Coronavirus: China grapples with ‘mini Wuhan’ as cases rise in the north * Coronavirus in China: residents of five Beijing neighbourhoods told to stay home * Wuhan mayor to step down, a year after he came under fire over coronavirus response * Coronavirus: Chinese local authorities step up efforts to convince migrant workers to stay put over Lunar New YearThis article Coronavirus: Chinese travellers chafe at tough rural Lunar New Year restrictions first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A man who broke into an acquaintance’s home to steal a tortoise during the circuit breaker period has pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal trespass.
Facebook on Thursday said it is asking its independent experts to rule on whether former president Donald Trump's suspension for "fomenting insurrection" should stand.
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Entering Ikea’s latest planning studio in Jurong Point shopping mall is a little like playing The Sims, a video game popular for its theme of emulating life. Homeowners will not get to pick out virtual characters at the design studio — unlike in the game. But like playing it, they will get to visualise, design and fit out a virtual home from scratch.Ikea’s planning studio, in partnership with Livspace, occupies some 1,033 sq ft on level one of Jurong Point mall (Credit: Ikea, Livspace)Taking after an Ikea showroom, the retail space mirrors the layout of a 1,033 sq ft, three-room HDB flat. Customers can use their smartphones (or the iPads provided) to scan a QR code in any room, and change out the furniture, fittings and decor, opting from an exhaustive catalogue of Ikea merchandise. As the products are being swapped out on the platform, the cost for the fit-out will also be updated in real-time, providing home-owners with a sense of how much the aesthetics would cost.The end-product is a collaboration between the Swedish furniture giant and start-up Livspace, an interior and renovations platform first launched in India in 2015. In 2019, Ingka Investments, the venture-capital arm of Ikea parent company Ingka Group, invested an undisclosed sum in Livspace. That same year, Livspace also opened an office and set up operations in Singapore.The master bedroom in a three-room HDB flat, featuring Ikea’s smart home lighting solution and its Wi-Fi speaker that doubles as a bookshelf (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)Partnership with LivspaceMuch like how Ikea is known for its affordable furniture and fittings, the retailer now also wants to dominate the affordable interiors market. In its partnership with Livspace, the renovations start-up will allow for an end-to-end solution to be provided. This ranges from renovation works, fitting out flooring, to opting for the right shade of wall paint.“Ikea is very good with the furnishing and the furniture side of the story,” shares Janice Ong, Ikea services business leader, but "we don’t do the wet work, we don’t do the tiles.”Catering to the mass market, interior design and renovation packages for a two-room HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) unit is priced at $9,900; a three-room HDB BTO, at $12,500; and a four-room HDB BTO, at $15,600. In its design packages, rooms can be decked out in different themes, depending on client preferences and quirks.Timeline-wise, the whole process from design to fruition would take “anywhere from four to six weeks” pre-pandemic, says Ravindran Shanmugam, country head at Livspace Singapore. But right now, with border closures constraining labour supply, this might look more like eight to 10 weeks, he says.To streamline the process, potential homeowners keen on taking on a renovation and interior design package with Ikea and Livspace will be assigned to just one Livspace interior designer, who will be the same point of contact throughout the whole affair.Ikea, in partnership with Livspace, offers a full suite of interior design, planning and renovation services (Credit: Ikea, Livspace) How it all startedThe partnership between Ikea and Livspace began in October 2019, when the furniture giant was still in the nascent stages of trialling a workable model for its renovation and interior designs solution. Then, Livspace consultants “were a little bit like gypsies, walking around the stores, trying to find a home” within the Ikea Tampines showroom, keen to speak to any homeowner who appeared interested in renovating and designing their homes, says Ong.Read more: Small Space Solutions for Condos: 6 Ingenious Floor Plan Ideas for Haus on HandyA sweet spot was eventually found within the dining and kitchen area. “You realised that once they hit the dining area, customers seemed to be prepared to share a little bit more on their needs for renovation and design,” she explains.By March 2020, a dedicated corner within the dining and kitchen area of Ikea’s Alexandra outlet had also been carved out, with the intention of serving clients looking at renovation and interior design services.“We've looked at it, and from the time that we started until now, we’ve already served over 1,000 customers,” says Ong.Interior design and renovation packages for a two-room HDB Build-To-Order unit are priced at $9,900, a three-room BTO unit at $12,500, and a four-room BTO unit at $15,600 (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)But even though Ikea already had two dedicated carved-out zones for its new service, there was still a need to roll out a standalone studio focusing on renovation and design. “The whole mindset actually changes when you actually show customers that you mean business. That was then what our gut feel was, and so far it seems to be the right gut feel,” Ong says.“The customer that enters an Ikea store has a different shopping journey, they have a different mindset — they go in there for meatballs, walk around the store, maybe they might do a renovation, but at times it might be a little late in the journey, or too early in the journey, they’re just here to get inspired.”“But with our standalone planning studio, even from yesterday, we already had so many queries on renovations,” says Ong, referring to the studio in Jurong Point one day before the store was officially launched on Jan 12.Of its customers, some 60% are HDB homeowners, while 30% reside in condos. “We do get some homeowners from landed homes, and the occasional commercial interest, but the majority is still very much those that are within the vicinity of Tampines, and within the vicinity of Alexander,” says Ong. she says. “So the buying patterns do not stray very far away from the proximity of the store itself.”At the Jurong Point outlet, homeowners will get to visualise, design and fit out a virtual home from scratch (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)Aggressive expansion If buying patterns for Ikea’s renovation and fitting packages are tied to a physical store, then it makes sense to have more retail shopfronts, which can capture walk-in demand.In the second quarter of this year, Ikea will be opening its third store in Singapore, taking up 6,500 sq m (about 70,000 sq ft) across three floors of Jem shopping centre. Customers will also be able to speak to Livspace consultants, although this outlet will not be a dedicated planning studio like its counterpart in Jurong Point.By opening up more retail stores, “we would like to offer convenience”, says Ong. “We don’t want to make customers travel all the way from one end of Singapore to the other.”Shanmugam says Ikea may be looking at opening “three to five more” planning studios throughout Singapore in the next 18 to 24 months.In the second quarter of this year, Ikea will be opening its third store in Singapore, taking up 6,500 sq m (about 70,000 sq ft) across three floors at Jem shopping centre (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)Beyond Singapore, Ikea is also keen on expanding its interior design and renovation partnership with Livspace throughout the region. “Every market in Southeast Asia wants affordable renovations, and they want the end-to-end service,” says Ong, recognising several untapped markets.The partnership is targeting capital cities in Southeast Asia such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila. “We are very, very excited about the possibility of rolling this out, with aggressive launch timelines,” says Shanmugam.If expansion in the region is successful, besides being popular for its furniture and meatballs, the Swedish retailer would soon also be known for hacking down walls.See Also: Singapore Property for Sale & Rent, Latest Property News, Advanced Analytics Tools New Launch Condo & Landed Property in Singapore (COMPLETE list & updates) Ikea launches interior design and renovation studio in Jurong Point Supermarket sales rise 41.7% y-o-y in June: Knight Frank HDB ‘Sky’ flats in Queenstown sought-after despite no viewings En Bloc Calculator, Find Out If Your Condo Will Be The Next en-bloc HDB Resale Flats Up For Sale, Affordable Units Available
A new regulation drafted by China’s central bank, which seeks to determine whether nonbank institutions qualify as monopolies, has analysts and legal scholars pondering on the potential of Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay being subject to penalties or broken up.The draft, which was published on Thursday to solicit public feedback through February 19, uses both “nonbank payment service market” and “nationwide electronic payments market” to refer to different markets. How the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) defines the terms could have far-reaching consequences for the future of China’s US$29 trillion e-payment market and the country’s two largest mobile payment service providers.The new rules also put China’s central bank in an unusual position. Angela Zhang, director of the Centre for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong, said that it is “problematic” for the central bank to define a market in the context of antitrust regulation.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.When deciding whether an institution qualifies as a monopoly, “the boundary of a market should be defined by antitrust regulators and the courts”, Zhang said. “In electronic payments, do you calculate market share by turnover or volume? It’s not that simple and easy.”Article 55 of the draft stipulates that the PBOC can ask the antitrust authority of China’s State Council to summon and warn potential monopolies in cases when one institution owns more than a third of China’s “nonbank payment service market”, two institutions own over half of the market, or three institutions own more than three-fifths of the market. China defines monopoly in antitrust curb of online payment servicesThe central bank did not offer details clearly defining the market. But according to the bank’s quarterly payment reports, the “turnover of e-payments handled by nonbank payment institutions” totalled 264 trillion yuan (US$40.8 trillion) in the 12 months through June 2020. Alipay handled 118 trillion yuan in payments in China during the same period, according to the October initial public offering prospects from Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of the South China Morning Post.If Ant’s numbers are part of the PBOC’s calculations, that would give Alipay 44.7 per cent of China’s nonbank e-payment market. WeChat Pay does not publish its payment volumes, but Beijing-based consultancy Analysys estimates that the value of the service’s total payments is about 70 per cent that of Alipay. However, WeChat Pay handles a larger number of transactions.Article 56 deals with the “nationwide electronic payments market”. The article stipulates that any nonbank service provider controlling half of this market could qualify as a monopoly. This also applies to two entities with two-thirds of the market or three providers with three-quarters of the market.As in the previous article, the PBOC did not clearly define the market. However, according to the bank’s quarterly payment reports, China’s total electronic payments market turnover was 2.6 quadrillion yuan. If this figure is used, Alipay’s 118 trillion yuan transaction volume would account for less than 5 per cent of the whole market, far from the proposed monopoly redlines.The PBOC did not immediately respond to questions. Alipay declined to comment on the draft rules. Tencent Holdings, the owner of WeChat Pay, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.How broad or narrowly a market is defined can greatly impact a firm’s perceived market power. In smartphone mobile payments, for example, Alipay had 55.4 per cent of the market in China as of June 2020 and WeChat Pay had 38.5 per cent, according to Analysys. The markets specified by the PBOC appear to cover more than just mobile payments.Liu Cheng, a partner at the law firm King & Wood Mallesons who is experienced in antitrust law, said the central bank is sowing confusion by adopting two different terms for measuring market share.“The two seem to be two different things. What do the terms mean exactly, and how to define them?” Liu said. “It’s debatable whether [the central bank] can define a market. In fact, a better approach is … to leave the job to antitrust regulators and antitrust courts.”While it is unknown what effect the new regulation might have on Alipay or WeChat Pay, industry insiders said the central bank is sending a strong message that it is looking to give its antitrust regulations more teeth in its fight against Big Tech’s expansion in financial services.A Beijing-based antitrust lawyer, who declined to be named because he is not allowed to speak publicly on the matter, said that although the central bank does not have its own antitrust law enforcement authority, it is using enhanced regulations to threaten antitrust action through other authorities.According to the draft rules, the PBOC can report suspected monopolistic practices to China’s antitrust authority and ask it to decide whether certain entities have built up dominant market positions. The central bank can also ask regulators to take corrective measures, including suspension of service, vetoing merger plans that produce monopolies, or “carving up nonbank payment institutions”, according to the draft regulation.Additional reporting by Xinmei ShenMore from South China Morning Post: * Can TikTok owner ByteDance break the mobile payments duopoly of Alipay, WeChat Pay? * Tencent super app WeChat celebrates a decade of influence in China’s online world, but are its best years behind? * China’s top regulator launches probe into e-commerce platform Vipshop over alleged ‘improper competition behaviour’ * China’s fintech platforms face increased scrutiny amid broader regulatory efforts to rein in financial risks * ByteDance, Meituan and Pinduoduo: China’s second tier tech giants poised to challenge payments duopolyThis article Do fintech giants Alipay and WeChat Pay have monopoly power? China’s new regulation leaves experts guessing first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A newborn girl with complex congenital heart disease suffered a cardiac arrest before doctors discovered she had been injected with excessive potassium in a suspected medical blunder at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital.The incident had no “apparent adverse effect” on the baby as she was already connected to a life support machine, a hospital spokesman said on Thursday, but a panel would investigate the reason for her high potassium levels.“The hospital is very concerned about the event, and has reported it to the Hospital Authority Head Office via the Advance Incident Reporting System,” he said.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.It was the first publicised medical incident at the city’s only children’s hospital, which opened at Kai Tak in 2018.On January 13, three days after her birth, the baby had suffered heart failure and required urgent cardiac surgery. She was also hooked up to a life support machine that pumped blood from her body through an artificial lung in a technique known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).After surgery, the girl was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit for observation. She was also given renal replacement therapy for a kidney problem.The next day, the infant was found to have hypokalaemia, or low levels of potassium in the blood. An intravenous potassium chloride infusion was prescribed in a bid to raise the level. But it remained low after two rounds of infusion, prompting a third dose on the morning of January 15.The hospital spokesman said during the infusion, the baby developed bradycardia, a slower than normal heart rate. That was followed by asystole, a form of cardiac arrest in which the heart stops beating. Doctors stopped the infusion immediately. Hong Kong hospital to look into case of severed finger thrown away mid-surgeryHer potassium level was then found to be higher than normal. Medications were given, with the renal replacement therapy enhanced to clear the excessive potassium.“The baby’s sinus rhythm returned and her heart rate picked up within five minutes,” the spokesman said, adding the potassium level went down gradually.The authority categorised the incident as “a serious untoward event”.“Since the patient was on ECMO which replaced her circulatory functions, her blood pressure and oxygenation were maintained during the event. Besides, relevant treatment was given immediately. As a result, no apparent adverse effect was caused,” the spokesman said.The hospital had explained the event to the parents and the girl would be closely monitored, the spokesman added.More from South China Morning Post: * Coronavirus: Hong Kong public hospitals to require day-ward patients to undergo testing; 32 new cases confirmed * Hong Kong fourth wave: new private hospital under Chinese University to ease burden on public sector by accepting Covid-19 patients * Coronavirus cluster at Hong Kong public hospital triggers mandatory screening, while city records 70 new cases and another deathThis article Newborn girl’s heart stopped beating in suspected blunder at Hong Kong Children’s Hospital first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.