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India bans 43 more Chinese apps including AliExpress

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India has banned 43 more Chinese apps, including Alibaba’s online shopping site AliExpress, as its campaign against its neighbour’s tech companies shows no sign of abating.

India’s Electronics and Information Technology ministry said in an order on Tuesday that the apps were blocked for “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India”.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s government has banned more than 200 apps since relations between the two countries deteriorated in June, after a border clash claimed the lives of 21 Indian soldiers.

India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar has called the stand-off the “most serious crisis” in relations since 1962.

The bans, described as a “digital strike” by the country’s Technology minister, have hit large Chinese tech companies including Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance, who were all investing in the Indian market.

Alibaba, for example, has invested in the Indian payments company Paytm and food delivery start-up Zomato while Tencent has backed the education app Byju’s and fantasy sports platform Dream11.

But Chinese investment has slowed after New Delhi required all new investments to be vetted by the government in order to block “opportunistic takeovers”.

Indian companies have sought to capitalise on the nationalist anger against Beijing as consumers spurn Chinese apps in favour of homegrown versions. Indian start-ups Roposo, Chingari and Mitron are all trying to step in and fill the void left by the ban on TikTok, for example.

But they were still behind Snack Video, owned by the Chinese company Kuaishou, which had racked up a total of 166m downloads, according to Sensor Tower data, until it was banned on Tuesday.

After the first batch of 59 apps was banned in June, the companies were asked to submit answers to a list of over 50 questions from New Delhi. But there has not been any indication of when the apps will be unbanned.

PUBG Mobile, the hit game that was initially distributed by Tencent Games in India, is working to re-enter the country after being banned this year. PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary South Korean company Bluehole, said in a September statement that it would “take on all publishing responsibilities within the country” from Tencent.

The latest 43 banned apps:

  1. AliSuppliers Mobile App

  2. Alibaba Workbench

  3. AliExpress — Smarter Shopping, Better Living

  4. Alipay Cashier

  5. Lalamove India — Delivery App

  6. Drive with Lalamove India

  7. Snack Video

  8. CamCard — Business Card Reader

  9. CamCard — BCR (Western)

  10. Soul- Follow the soul to find you

  11. Chinese Social — Free Online Dating Video App & Chat

  12. Date in Asia — Dating & Chat For Asian Singles

  13. WeDate-Dating App

  14. Free dating app-Singol, start your date!

  15. Adore App

  16. TrulyChinese — Chinese Dating App

  17. TrulyAsian — Asian Dating App

  18. ChinaLove: dating app for Chinese singles

  19. DateMyAge: Chat, Meet, Date Mature Singles Online

  20. AsianDate: find Asian singles

  21. FlirtWish: chat with singles

  22. Guys Only Dating: Gay Chat

  23. Tubit: Live Streams

  24. WeWorkChina

  25. First Love Live- super hot live beauties live online

  26. Real — Lesbian Social Network

  27. Cashier Wallet

  28. MangoTV

  29. MGTV-HunanTV official TV APP

  30. WeTV — TV version

  31. WeTV — Cdrama, Kdrama & More

  32. WeTV Lite

  33. Lucky Live-Live Video Streaming App

  34. Taobao Live

  35. DingTalk

  36. Identity V

  37. Isoland 2: Ashes of Time

  38. BoxStar (Early Access)

  39. Heroes Evolved

  40. Happy Fish

  41. Jellipop Match — Decorate your dream island!

  42. Munchkin Match: magic home building

  43. Conquista Online II



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Emerging Markets

Tech-heavy Taiwan stock index plunges on Covid outbreak

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Taiwan’s stock market, home to some of the world’s biggest tech companies, suffered one of the largest drops in its history as investors were rocked by a worsening Covid-19 outbreak.

The Taiex fell as much as 8.55 per cent on Wednesday, the index’s worst intraday fall since 1969, according to Bloomberg. It finished down 4.1 per cent.

Construction, rubber, automotive and financials — sectors retail investors had been shifting into from technology in recent months — were the worst hit in the sell-off.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which has a 30 per cent weighting in the index, fell as much as 9.3 before recovering ground to be down 1.9, while Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, dropped 9.8 per cent before paring losses to be down 4.7 per cent.

While Taiwan’s sell-off was related to domestic Covid-19 problems, it followed recent declines in global markets as investors worried about possible inflationary pressures.

The falls came as Taiwan’s government was expected to partially close down public life to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak — something the country had managed to avoid for more than a year.

“The reason that triggered the escalated sell-off during the trading session is the new [Covid-19] cases to be reported this afternoon, and probably the raising of the pandemic alert level,” said Patrick Chen, head of Taiwan research at CLSA. “On top of that, the market before today was already at a point where the index was at an inflection point.”

Taiwan’s strict border controls and quarantine system and meticulous contact tracing measures had helped it avoid community spread of Covid-19 until recently.

That success, which allowed Taipei to forego lockdowns, helped boost the local economy, which grew about 3 per cent last year and 8.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.

But health authorities announced 16 locally transmitted confirmed cases on Wednesday, for three of which the infection source was unclear — a sign of widening spread in the community. Authorities had confirmed seven untraced cases on Tuesday, and domestic media reported that the government might introduce partial lockdown measures.

President Tsai Ing-wen called on the public to be vigilant but avoid panicking.

Taiwan’s stock market rose almost 80 per cent over the past year, peaking at a historical high late last month. It is now down 8.5 per cent from that mark.

Retail investors have increasingly moved out of technology stocks in recent weeks, reducing the sector’s weight in trading volume from almost 80 per cent at its height to just over 50 per cent.

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China factory gate prices climb on global commodities boom

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The price of goods leaving factories in China rose at the fastest pace in more than three years, on the back of a rally in commodities supported by the country’s economic recovery.

The producer price index rose 6.8 per cent in April year-on-year, beating economists’ expectations and surpassing March’s increase of 4.4 per cent.

The rate was driven in part by comparison with a low base last year in the early stages of the pandemic. But it also reflects a global surge in the prices of raw materials that was first stoked by China and now incorporates expectations of recovering global demand.

While PPI prices in China have leapt, economists suggested there was limited spillover into consumer prices and that the central bank was unlikely to react. China’s consumer price index added just 0.9 per cent in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, although it touched a seven-month high.

“It tells us that demand at this moment is super strong,” said Larry Hu, head of greater China economics at Macquarie, of the PPI data, although he suggested policymakers would see the increase as “transitory” and “look through it”.

“We’re going to see some reflation trends,” he added.

Signs of tightening in China’s credit conditions have drawn scrutiny from global investors eyeing the prospect of higher inflation as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, especially in the US, which releases consumer price data on Wednesday.

China’s PPI index remained mired in negative territory for most of 2020 following the outbreak of coronavirus, but has started to gather momentum this year. Gross domestic product growth in China returned to pre-pandemic levels in the final quarter of 2020.

An industrial frenzy in China has stoked demand for commodities such as oil, copper and iron ore that make up a significant portion of the index and have helped to push it higher. 

Policymakers in China have moved to tighten credit conditions, as well as attempted to rein in the steel sector. Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, said the relevant question now was “whether the rapid rise of raw materials prices will dent real demand, given pre-determined credit growth”.

Retail sales in China have lagged behind the growth rate of industrial production, putting downward pressure on CPI, which has also been weakened by lower pork prices that rose sharply on the back of African swine fever. Core CPI, which strips out food and energy, rose 0.7 per cent in April 

Julian Pritchard-Evans, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said that producer prices were feeding through into the rebound in consumer prices, but also suggested that pressures on the former were “likely to be mostly transient”.

He added that output prices for durable consumer goods were rising at their fastest level on record.

China’s rapid recovery has been driven by its industrial sector, which has churned out record quantities of steel and fed into a construction boom that policymakers are now trying to constrain. On Monday, iron ore prices hit their highest level on record, while copper prices also surged.



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Iron ore hits record high as commodities continue to boom

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The price of iron ore hit a record high on Monday in the latest sign of booming commodity markets, which have gone into overdrive in recent weeks as large economies recover from the pandemic.

The steelmaking ingredient, an important source of income for the mining industry, rose 8.5 per cent to a record high of almost $230 a tonne fuelled by strong demand from China where mills have cranked up production.

Other commodities also rose sharply, including copper, which hit a record high of $10,747 a tonne before paring gains. The increases are part of a broad surge in the cost of raw materials that has lasted more than a year and which is fanning talk of another supercycle — a prolonged period where prices remain significantly above their long term trend.

The price of timber has also hit a record high as US sawmills struggle to keep pace with demand in the run-up to peak homebuilding season in the summer.

“Commodity demand signals are firing on all cylinders amid a synchronised recovery across the world’s economic powerhouses,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities.

Strong demand from China, the world’s biggest consumer of commodities, international spending on post-pandemic recovery programmes, supply disruptions and big bets on the green energy transition explain the surge in commodity prices.

Commodities have also been boosted by a weaker US dollar and moves by investors to stock up on assets that can act as a hedge against inflation.

The S&P GSCI spot index, which tracks price movements for 24 raw materials, is up 26 per cent this year.

Strong investor demand pushed commodity assets held by fund managers to a new record of $648bn in April, according to Citigroup. All sectors saw monthly gains with agriculture and precious metals leading the way, the bank said.

Agricultural commodities have had an especially strong run owing to rising Chinese demand and concerns of a drought in Brazil. Dryness in the US, where planting for this year is under way, is also adding to the upward rise in prices. Corn, which is trading at $7.60 a bushel and soyabeans at $16.22, are at levels not seen since 2013.

“From a macro economic environment to strong demand and production concerns, the ingredients are all there for the supercycle,” said Dave Whitcomb of commodity specialist Peak Trading Research.

Rising copper and iron ore prices are a boon for big miners, which are on course to record earnings that will surpass records set during the China-driven commodity boom of the early 2000s.

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JPMorgan reckons Rio Tinto and BHP will be the largest corporate dividend payers in Europe this year, paying out almost $40bn to shareholders. Shares in Rio, the world’s biggest iron ore producer, hit a record high above £67 on Monday.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, has crept back up
towards $70 a barrel, which it surpassed in March for the first time in
more than a year, recovering ground lost as the pandemic
slashed demand for crude and roiled markets.

Supply cuts by leading oil producers have helped to bolster the market
as consumption has begun to recover around the world.

While some Wall Street banks have hailed the start of a new supercycle, with some traders talking of a return to $100 a barrel oil, others are less convinced. The International Energy Agency said oil supplies still remain plentiful meaning any talk of a supercycle is premature.



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