11/02/2016 Asia Business Report


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.


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


results from social media site Twitter.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


April. Investors have been unhappy because of concern about the


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


presidents leaving in January. Early I asked what our technology


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


changing timeline that is basically disappointing investors, it is also


an exodus of some top executives last month?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


were going so well. Dave Lee in San Francisco.


Starting out with markets in Hong Kong which opened this Thursday


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


been brutal for Japanese and Australian shares. Right now the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


crucial not just for the tourism industry directly but they also


account for a lot of retail. Certainly visitors, especially


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Senate has voted to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea following


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


developing neighbours. TRANSLATION: When older people have an income


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


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


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


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


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


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


government's encouragement, limited pensions leave many with little


choice but to remain in the workforce.


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


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


been more fallout from North Korea's


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