11/02/2016 Asia Business Report


11/02/2016

Live from Singapore, the essential business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day.


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Now on BBC News, all the latest business news live from Singapore.

:00:00.:00:14.

It is hard to turn a profit in under 140 characters. The latest earnings

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results from social media site Twitter.

:00:22.:00:25.

Markets in Hong Kong reopened after the Chinese New Year holidays.

:00:26.:00:37.

Hello and welcome to Asia Business Report. I'm Rico Hizon.

:00:38.:00:43.

Starting with Twitter. It has just reported its results for the last

:00:44.:00:49.

three months of 2015 and it has been disappointing. It lost money again.

:00:50.:00:55.

The loss has no road to $90 million, but the bigger news is it's user

:00:56.:00:59.

number has not grown for the first time since the company listed in

:01:00.:01:06.

2013. -- has narrowed. Its shares are down 70% since the highs of last

:01:07.:01:11.

April. Investors have been unhappy because of concern about the

:01:12.:01:16.

company's inability to retain senior executives, with four vice

:01:17.:01:23.

presidents leaving in January. Early I asked what our technology

:01:24.:01:26.

correspondent made of the results. This showed something we didn't

:01:27.:01:31.

think was possible. Twitter has eventually lost active users. They

:01:32.:01:34.

share a different way of counting how many users they have. One of

:01:35.:01:37.

their council put the active user base down, which is unthinkable for

:01:38.:01:43.

a social network, especially on that trades because they need user growth

:01:44.:01:47.

to make sure investors are still interested. The fact that Twitter

:01:48.:01:51.

has never made a profit isn't a problem. But it is you that growth

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-- user growth that is a huge problem and the fact that they are

:01:59.:02:01.

going in reverse is a big problem. They are very disappointing. The

:02:02.:02:08.

co-founder has his work cut out for him. He says becoming CEO of the

:02:09.:02:15.

company late last year has been about trying to improve the website

:02:16.:02:20.

user experience, but many users are disappointed. Here is the problem.

:02:21.:02:25.

The active users of Twitter, about 300 million, they like it how it is.

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Any time there's any kind of minor change to the service or even a

:02:32.:02:34.

suggestion of a minor change they are up in arms and not very happy

:02:35.:02:39.

about that. The problem is that for Twitter to attract new people it

:02:40.:02:42.

needs to make big changes to the site. Whenever it does it runs the

:02:43.:02:45.

risk of annoying those people who use it, so loyally already. We saw

:02:46.:02:52.

worries over the weekend how people were tweeting hashtag RIP Twitter,

:02:53.:03:00.

after rumours that they might be changing how the timeline appears on

:03:01.:03:07.

people's apps and so on. Any change makes people nervous and therefore

:03:08.:03:11.

Twitter tends to shy away from big decisions. And it isn't only this

:03:12.:03:16.

changing timeline that is basically disappointing investors, it is also

:03:17.:03:20.

an exodus of some top executives last month?

:03:21.:03:26.

Yes. There was a kind of half clear out, half exodus. Some managers were

:03:27.:03:32.

pushed, some seemed to seek changes elsewhere, such as YouTube. At the

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bottom end of the company, many of the development staff, around 300

:03:37.:03:40.

people, were let go at the end of last year. There is a sense that

:03:41.:03:43.

Twitter has become quite a bloated company. It grew fast and has

:03:44.:03:50.

offices all over the world. One of the things they are trying to get

:03:51.:03:54.

under control is to simplify the company, downsize it slightly and

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perhaps be the nimble start-up it was in the beginning when things

:03:58.:04:03.

were going so well. Dave Lee in San Francisco.

:04:04.:04:07.

Starting out with markets in Hong Kong which opened this Thursday

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after closing for the Chinese New Year holiday. The last few days have

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been brutal for Japanese and Australian shares. Right now the

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Hang Seng index has fallen by more than 4%, this is led by HSBC. HSBC

:04:19.:04:28.

is down by a hefty five -- by over 5%. Investors have today ingested a

:04:29.:04:38.

whole lot of issues, especially the falling Asian markets and oil

:04:39.:04:44.

prices. That's right. This is the year of the monkey. Astrologically

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it is meant to be a good year for global growth. As well as for the

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stock market, especially here in Hong Kong. It looks like certainly

:04:55.:05:01.

at the beginning of the year those expectations will be very difficult

:05:02.:05:06.

to meet. As you know, Hong Kong essentially imports US interest rate

:05:07.:05:14.

policy and we heard from the chair of the Fed reserve yesterday. She

:05:15.:05:17.

says she doesn't intend to back off from a rate hike in cycle, although

:05:18.:05:22.

it isn't a pre- chartered course, so they may hold back. Certainly next

:05:23.:05:28.

month when they decide whether or not to hike rates. Investors are

:05:29.:05:34.

digestive that, but clearly they don't seem to like what they've

:05:35.:05:37.

heard and of course overnight oil prices have fallen again, suggesting

:05:38.:05:46.

weak demand globally. Hong Kong is an export oriented economy to some

:05:47.:05:50.

extent, facing a lot of other headwinds such as uncertainty in the

:05:51.:05:55.

Chinese economy. Chinese markets aren't open today. Didn't open until

:05:56.:06:00.

next week. But this could be a sign of what we might be able to expect

:06:01.:06:06.

when they do open. Hong Kong isn't just an export created economy but

:06:07.:06:12.

also a tourism back. Will the clashes last week between police

:06:13.:06:18.

authorities and stall vendor owners impact retail and tourism? That's

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the big question. Last year 46 million visitors came to Hong Kong.

:06:27.:06:33.

That's still more than six times the local population. But it is down

:06:34.:06:38.

from what we can see in previous years and big tourist attractions

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have certainly reported falls in visitor numbers. These tourists at a

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crucial not just for the tourism industry directly but they also

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account for a lot of retail. Certainly visitors, especially

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Chinese visitors, not coming to Hong Kong, we will see the impact of the

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2014 umbrella movement on that and it will certainly not bode well for

:07:05.:07:07.

the year of the monkey. And queues are much for updating us. -- thank

:07:08.:07:14.

you. The Hang Seng is down by more than 4% at the open.

:07:15.:07:19.

Tesla motors has lost money for the 11th quarter in a row. The firm,

:07:20.:07:24.

owned by a billionaire, says its loss has tripled over 300 million

:07:25.:07:30.

dollars in the last three months of 2015 and this is due to rising

:07:31.:07:36.

costs. Japan's biggest brewer Asahi is in exclusive negotiations to buy

:07:37.:07:42.

Peroni and other brands. The firm wants to offset slower growth in the

:07:43.:07:47.

market and is willing to pay $3 million for the brands. The US

:07:48.:07:54.

Senate has voted to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea following

:07:55.:07:58.

its recent nuclear and missile tests. South Korea and Japan have

:07:59.:08:02.

also announced further measures to punish their neighbour. It is no

:08:03.:08:04.

secret that Asia's population is ageing, what for Thailand declined

:08:05.:08:09.

in the number of working age citizens is expected to be the

:08:10.:08:12.

fastest of any developing country in Southeast Asia. To ease the

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pressure, the World Bank says Thailand will need to employ more

:08:17.:08:21.

women and migrant workers and the later retirement age. The government

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is encouraging businesses to hire all the people and keep them on for

:08:26.:08:34.

much longer. At 72, this woman is still cleaning the floors of this

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rice noodle factory outside Bangkok. TRANSLATION: I am not ready to

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retire yet. I still have the support two of my grandchildren to study.

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But working is a pleasure here. It is like working with brothers and

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sisters. And she isn't the only older worker. TRANSLATION: The

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factory owner is so kind. He told me not to retire if I would be staying

:08:59.:09:02.

home and doing nothing. It would be too quiet and lonely. Encouraging

:09:03.:09:07.

more older workers to stay on the job, past retirement age, is part of

:09:08.:09:11.

a government project aimed at easing the burden of its rapidly ageing

:09:12.:09:14.

population. For the factory owner it makes sense. TRANSLATION: It takes

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so much time to train new workers. Some of them don't work hard and

:09:22.:09:26.

lack responsibility. It can't be compared to the older workers. So I

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would rather have confidence in older workers and some of them work

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so hard. The saying at this factory is expected to become a common one

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across Thailand. -- the scene. The World Bank says the country's

:09:42.:09:46.

working population would shrink by 11% by 2040, faster than Thailand's

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developing neighbours. TRANSLATION: When older people have an income

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they will spend money, which will generate cash flow. If there are

:09:55.:09:58.

many old people who don't have an income or money to spend, the

:09:59.:10:04.

economy will not go smoothly. Already nearly 40% of Thai people

:10:05.:10:08.

who are above the retirement age of 60 are still working. TRANSLATION: I

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have children but they are all married and I don't know whether

:10:16.:10:20.

they will take care of me. So I am still working here. Even without the

:10:21.:10:23.

government's encouragement, limited pensions leave many with little

:10:24.:10:26.

choice but to remain in the workforce.

:10:27.:10:31.

Thank you so much for investing your time with us. I'm Rico Hizon. See

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you again soon. The top stories this hour: There's

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been more fallout from North Korea's

:10:43.:10:48.

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