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Business

Hongkongers jump on live streaming e-commerce trend

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰、Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿Edited by: Alison Leung
  • 2021-03-25

Standing in the spotlight, Connie Hung enthusiastically sold a range of products to more than 30,000 people watching her live streaming. "Our products are of high quality and low price. Don't hesitate to buy them," said Ms Hung, a former insurance broker and veteran marketer. Numerous messages concerning the products pop up continuously from the viewers. In this Facebook Live with Group Buyer, one of the most popular group-buying websites in Hong Kong, Ms Hung pitched the company's products, mainly daily groceries, and the two hours’ sales exceeded the company's sales volume for three days. "More and more merchants are willing to come to me to do live streaming for their products because it can save the high cost of online advertising," said Ms Hung. "Every live streaming is watched by tens of thousands of people. Through interaction with fans, the sales are much higher than just advertising," she said. More Hongkongers like Ms Hung are becoming livestreamers, jumping on the new e-commerce bandwagon to tap into the profit as COVID-19 lingering and more brick-and-mortar stores sorting alternative ways to stay afloat. China’s live-streaming craze Influencer streaming has first shown prosperity in the mainland and has already become a new normal in China retail industry. According to iiMedia Research, the market size of the country’s live streaming e-commerce reached 961 billion yuan (HK$1.15 trillion) in 2020, with a year-on-year growth of 121.5%. As of June 2020, China has 309 million live-streaming consumers, accounting for about a third of its internet population. During the live interactive online video shopping, the influencer, as a host, hawks on viewers by introducing products and services, meanwhile adding non-shopping contents to make the whole session attractive. They will also answer viewers’ questions on-site and many offer exclusive discounts to lure customers. The top influencers such …

Politics

RTHK producer Bao Choy goes on trial for false declaration while searching public database

  RTHK producer Bao Choy went on trial on Wednesday, charged with two counts of making false declarations in breach of the Road Traffic Ordinance. Ms Choy pleaded not guilty to two counts of making a false statement in obtaining license information from an online vehicle registration department. Prosecutors said Ms Choy used the public database for her reporting rather than for traffic issues as she indicated on her user application. The defense attorney played Ms Choy’s RTHK documentary episode, “Hong Kong Connection: 7.21 Who Owns the Truth”, to show her use of the database was related to traffic issues. Prosecutors read out a witness statement by an employee from the Transport Department who said people should only make a vehicle registration search for transport-related proceedings or traffic and transport-related matters. Before the hearing, around a dozen members of the RTHK Programme Staff Union staged a demonstration outside the court. They shouted slogans -- including “Support Choy Yuk-ling! Fearless and selfless! Protect the truth and freedom!” -- and held up placards that read “Journalism is not a crime” and “Without fear or favour”. Principal Magistrate Chui Yee-mei adjourned the case until April 22, extending her bail period.

Health & Environment

Chief Executive Carrie Lam: “Large-scale vaccination programme is key to normalcy”

  Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor said that a large-scale vaccination programme is needed so citizens can go back to their normal lives at the Executive Council meeting. About 379,600 people are vaccinated in Hong Kong. 243,000 people have received the Sinovac vaccine and 135,800 people have received the BioNTech vaccine. “Hong Kong is very fortunate in terms of vaccination programme. We are doing great in vaccine supply, the community centre for vaccination and the release of vaccine information.” Mrs Lam said. She encouraged people in priority groups to receive the vaccine as soon as possible in order to protect themselves. Mrs Lam also added that she would look into whether the 21-day quarantine restrictions for overseas travellers could be eased. “I am certainly, fully and acutely aware of the pressure that has been put on a lot of people. To be isolated for 21 days is a huge load in terms of physical, psychological and other aspects." Lam said. Lam added she felt fine after receiving the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine on Mar 22. Seven people aged between 55 and 80 have died after receiving the Sinovac jab. However, the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment said the deaths were unlinked to the vaccine.

Society

Hong Kong Vaccination

Hong Kong has expanded the Covid vaccination programme to include students over 16 years old who study abroad. Kylan Goh qualifies and he shares his experience.

Business

Bilibili raises up to $3.2 billion in Hong Kong secondary listing amid a cooling market

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰Edited by: Kwok Chiu Tung 郭昭彤
  • 2021-03-19

Chineses video-sharing platform Bilibili Inc. (9626) planned to raise as much as $3.2 billion (HK$ 24.85 billion) in its secondary listing in Hong Kong, while the recent corrections in the market may force the company to price the stock below its maximum offering price. The public offer commenced on Thursday and would run through Mar.23, with trading expected to start on Mar.29, its listing document said. The Shanghai-based Bilibili, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., went public on Nasdaq in March 2018 (Nasdaq: BILI). Its 25 million Hong Kong shares are on offer at a maximum price of HK$988 apiece, 16.9% higher than its U.S. stock closing price of $108.82 (HK$ 845.18) on Thursday. Each American depositary receipt represents one ordinary share to be listed in Hong Kong. "Recent declines in the share prices of many US technology stocks and the volatility in the Hong Kong stock market could depress Bilibili's final price," said Wang Hui, a portfolio manager at Haitong Securities. "The final offer price will have a lot to do with the value of Bilibili’s American Depositary Receipts in the coming week, as well as the investor demand level." Baidu, another technology stock listed in the U.S, just completed its Hong Kong IPO on March 17. It initially priced its shares at HK$295 based on the average trading price of its US stocks in the previous period of time. But eventually, Baidu cut its offer price by 14.6% to HK$252 due to the recent decline in its US share price. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7.5% from its 2021 high of 14,175.12 to close at 13,116.17 overnight. The Hang Seng Index closed at 29,405.72 on Wednesday, down 5.7% from its 2021 peak of 31,183.36. Bilibili generates its revenues primarily from mobile games, value-added services, …

Society

Hong Kong releases electric vehicle roadmap, to ban petrol cars from 2035

Hong Kong will ban fossil-fuel powered cars from 2035 with a target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, the government announced yesterday. Up to 5,000 public charging stations and 150,000 charging facilities in private buildings will be built by 2025, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said in a press conference. "There are many challenges, I have to admit. But the intention is clear, we want the city to become carbon neutral, to provide clean air and to make Hong Kong a smart city."Mr Wong said. Electric vehicles in Hong Kong have increased from 180 in 2010 to more than 18,500 at the end of 2020 with around 1,200 public charging stations, including 106 fast chargers, according to the Hong Kong Electric report on installation of electric chargers. Chan Kwok-chung, 45, who has been driving a petrol car for more than 20, said the government's plan to popularise electric vehicles won’t work. “We have insufficient parking spaces right now. Where can we still get room for additional charging parking spaces for electric vehicles?” Mr Chan said. “Especially when an electric vehicle takes a very long time to charge, it will worsen the insufficient parking situation.” Popularising electric vehicles depends on the Hong Kong economy, car dealerships and the number of chargers, Fung Ho-yin, Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection department, said in a RTHK interview. “Most public charging services are medium-speed, and the waiting time is at least four to eight hours, which is not the main charging spot that car owners can rely on,” Mr Fung said to RTHK. In October last year, the government launched a $2 billion subsidy scheme to upgrade electric charging stations in private residential buildings. “We received more than 200 application forms from housing estates, with more than 60,000 parking spaces,” he said. In …

Health & Environment

Carrie Lam: More “incentives” needed for Hongkongers to get vaccinated

The Hong Kong leader addressed concerns about vaccine hesitancy in her first question and answer session at the Legislative Council today, after seven deaths were reported from Sinovac vaccine recipients. “In order to make people be really motivated to get vaccinated, in addition to trust, more incentives are needed,” Mrs Lam said.  “For example, vaccinators can enjoy certain conveniences,” she said, adding that authorities are considering relaxing social distancing measures for those who are vaccinated. The chief executive also said the incentive might include the easing of travel and border restrictions with the mainland. Hong Kong’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2% in January, the highest level since 2004, with food and entertainment venues, such as restaurants, pubs and karaoke lounges, seriously affected by the pandemic restrictions. “In addition to the government’s efforts and the assistance of experts, the full support of citizens is required,” Mrs Lam said.   “If we encourage people to get the vaccine but they don’t, and they do not follow social distancing measures such as wearing masks, we will be always fighting the virus.”  “We need to do a lot of work to contain every outbreak,” she added. Mrs. Lam said she is unable to promise another round of government subsidies. 

Health & Environment

Increase in online bookings for Covid vaccines as priority groups expand

The Covid-19 vaccination has expanded to include residents aged between 30 and 59 years old, students aged 16 years or above studying overseas and foreign domestic helpers. When the online booking system started at 9 am, the waiting time was up to 30 minutes. Bookings for the Sinovac jab at the selected General Outpatient Clinics of the Hospital Authority are full for the next two weeks. For BioNTech, the earliest available slots are now on March 20. Wang Tsz-nam, 20, who is now in Hong Kong but normally studies in the UK, says she would not take either of the vaccines. “The vaccine inoculation is still in the preliminary stage and there is insufficient data available at the moment. I need more time and information to decide before getting the vaccine,” Ms Wang said. She said she was worried about the safety of vaccines after seven people died in Hong Kong after getting the Sinovac jab. There was also a case of facial paralysis. Katie De la Cruz, a 28 year-old Filipino domestic helper, says she asked her employer to make a BioNTech vaccine appointment for her. “It’s better to receive the vaccine as soon as possible, because I always have friends gathering during the weekend. I trust its [the vaccine’s] protection,” she says. Professor Ivan Hung Fan-ngai, co-convenor of the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation, said in a press conference this afternoon that the deaths are not linked to the vaccine. People with cardiovascular diseases are still encouraged to receive the vaccines if their condition is stable.

Society

Surge in complaints on wedding services amid Covid

The number of complaints against wedding-related services has reached a three-year high, according to the Consumer Council. Of 233 complaints the Council received last year, more than half were about catering services, and 122 had to do with wedding banquets, the Council said in an online press conference today. In January, the consumer watchdog conducted a survey on cancellation and postponement policies for Chinese wedding banquets. All 10 catering providers said they allowed special arrangements because of the pandemic, customers were guaranteed the same services or menu prices despite the cancellation. Deadlines for cancellation also varied. The sum involved in the complaints to the Council ranged from HK$250,000 to HK$400,000, according to Gilly Wong, the council’s chief executive. In one case, a couple had paid a $72,000 deposit, but when they wanted to cancel the booking after several postponements, they were asked to pay the remaining sum as compensation for terminating the contract. “The couple ended up giving 30% of the deposit to the venue”, Ms Wong said. “Don’t trust verbal contracts, this is the most important advice that we would offer to consumers,” she added. “Think of all the ‘devil in the details’, and think through before you talk to the provider.” The Council has outlined a number of guidelines for consumers before signing up for a wedding banquet contract: Understand the service terms and conditions carefully and thoroughly before signing the contract. Retain all relevant records and important information such as promotional flyers, quotations, contracts or receipts, so it can be used as evidence and for follow-up in case of future disputes. Ask the provider to put all verbal promises in writing, and request confirmation of all phone and text communications in an official company email; Should both sides agree to postpone the wedding banquet, set up a …

Business

Baidu raises up to HK$28 billion in Hong Kong secondary listing

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vikki Cai ChuchuEdited by: Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰
  • 2021-03-12

Baidu Inc. (9888), China's search engine giant, plans to issue 95 million shares at a maximum global offering price of $38 (HK$295) each, raising up to $3.6 billion (HK$28 billion) in a Hong Kong offering starting today till 12:00 noon on Mar. 17. Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) shares, which were listed on the Nasdaq in August 2005 in terms of American Depositary Shares (ADSs), increased 12% to $272.38 (HK$2113.82) overnight boosted by its secondary listing plan in Hong Kong. Each ADS represents eight ordinary shares to be listed in Hong Kong. The ADS hit a record of  $339.91 (HK$2637.33) on Feb. 19. The company will sell a total of 95 million shares under the global offering.  The final pricing of Hong Kong shares will be fixed on Mar. 17. Dealing in shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is scheduled to start at 9 am on Mar. 23, Baidu said in its listing document. Baidu generated a net income of 22.5 billion yuan (HK$ 26.92 billion), 2.1 yuan billion (HK$ 2.51 billion), and 27.6 billion yuan (HK$33.02 billion) in 2020, 2019, and 2018 respectively.  The 21-year-old company has three main growth engines: mobile ecosystem, AI cloud and intelligent driving. The core of Baidu Mobile Ecosystem is Baidu App with a monthly active user of 544 million in December 2020. “We intend to pursue the following strategies to further grow our business:  continue to invest in technology; continue to scale our AI Cloud; further develop and commercialize intelligent driving and other growth initiatives; continue to grow our Mobile Ecosystem; and selectively pursue M&A and strategic investments,” said in its prospectus. Baidu’s listing will make it one of the Chinese technology companies that are listed in the US and have secondary offerings in Hong Kong, joining Alibaba, JD.com and NetEase. The joint sponsors of …