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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; Chinese online gaming stocks come under pressure again

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday. Investors also monitored Hong Kong-listed shares of firms related to the Chinese video game sector after China's state media once again took aim at the industry.

By Thursday's market close in Hong Kong, shares of Tencent in the city slipped 3.9% while Netease dropped 3.76%. The Hang Seng Tech index declined 2.1% to 6,715.33.

The Securities Times, a publication under the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper People's Daily, published an article on Thursday arguing that gaming firms should not have preferential tax measures that were introduced to encourage the development of the domestic software sector — as the gaming industry is more developed now.

It said that gaming should share the same tax policies as other industries, and warned that the industry should be "mentally prepared for this."

Shares of Tencent and Netease tanked earlier this week after Chinese state media branded online gaming "opium" in an article that was deleted a few hours after publication and later republished with a new headline and a removal of the reference to the word.

Hong Kong's broader Hang Seng index closed 0.84% lower at 26,204.69.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China fell 0.31% to close at 3,466.55 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.786% on the day to about 14,872.23.

Other Asia-Pacific markets

Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.52% to close at 27,728.12 while the Topix index advanced 0.39% to finish the trading day at 1,928.98. South Korea's Kospi closed 0.13% lower at 3,276.13.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.11% to close at 7,511.10. Australia recorded a trade surplus of around 10.5 billion Australian dollars (about $7.75 billion) in July, according to data released by the country's Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. That was above forecasts for a 10.45 billion Australian dollar trade surplus, according to a Reuters poll.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3%.

The Covid situation in China may have weighed on investor sentiment regionally. Daily infections have bene rising again in the country as the delta variant spreads across China, with authorities imposing mass testing and widespread travel restrictions in some areas.

Elsewhere, South Korean news agency Yonhap News reported Thursday that the toughest restrictions in the greater Seoul area are "highly likely to be extended again" as cases remain persistently high.

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Overnight stateside, the Dow dropped 323.73 points to 34,792.67 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.46% to 4,402.66. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed as it rose 0.13% to 14,780.53.

The moves on Wall Street came after jobs data from payroll processing firm ADP came in well below expectations. The ADP private payroll survey showed a gain of 330,000 jobs for July, well below the consensus estimate of 653,000. The more closely watched Labor Department nonfarm payrolls release is set to be out on Friday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.203 following a recent bounce from below 92.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.58 per dollar following a weakening yesterday from levels below 109 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.74, still higher than levels below $0.735 seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 0.13% to $70.29 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.12% to $68.07 per barrel.

Source: Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; Chinese online gaming stocks come under pressure again

India steps up maritime presence in Asia-Pacific – just as US and China conduct separate exercises

map: India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant commences sea trials. Photo: AFP © AFP India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant commences sea trials. Photo: AFP

The Indian Navy is set to deploy a task force of four warships to the South China Sea and Western Pacific for two months, in what analysts say is a bid by New Delhi to step up its presence in the region - just as the United States and China embark on separate large-scale maritime exercises there.

The Indian warships - apart from patrolling the waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has made expansive claims - will also take part in multiple maritime exercises, from bilateral drills with the navies of Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines, to the annual Malabar exercise with the Quad countries.

The deployment includes INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer; the guided missile frigate INS Shivalik; anti-submarine corvette INS Kadmatt; and INS Kora, a guided missile corvette. Three of the warships were designed and manufactured by India, the exception being Ranvijay.

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In an official statement, the Indian Navy said the move served to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity with "friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain".

What was left unspoken, analysts said, was New Delhi's objective to draw closer to Southeast Asia and demonstrate its presence in the region, with its ongoing border conflict with China pushing it to join the US in efforts to counter Beijing's growing influence. India has in recent months played a more active role in the Quad, an informal US-led security alliance that also includes Japan and Australia.

Rajiv Bhatia, a former Indian ambassador to Myanmar and an expert on Southeast Asia, said the upcoming naval exercises were "evidence of increasing coordination" in the region among the Quad countries.

"These exercises and India's deployment of its warships to the region are key pillars of the Quad strategy," said Bhatia, who is currently a distinguished fellow at the Mumbai-based Gateway House think tank. "The diplomatic aspect of maritime security is discussed by the Quad foreign ministers, but the strategy is being operationalised through such naval channels."

New Delhi is increasingly using its maritime presence to send strategic signals. Last year, immediately after the Galwan clash, the Indian government quietly deployed a frontline warship to the South China Sea, leading Beijing to raise objections to its presence.

India is also conducting sea trials on its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which began trials off the southern state of Kerala on Wednesday and will be India's second aircraft carrier in operation.

The Indian Navy said the country can now "join a select group of nations with the capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier, which will be a real testimony to the 'Make in India' thrust of the Indian government".

India, mindful of the Chinese base in Djibouti, is also building a naval base on the Mauritanian island of Agalega, according to reports by broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Mauritius on Wednesday said that although work was under way on an air strip and a jetty on the island of Agalega, they would not be used for military purposes. The Indian foreign ministry declined to comment.

China and India agree to withdraw soldiers near site of deadly border clash A changed approach

Experts believe the task force's deployment is in keeping with New Delhi's view on how central the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is to its policy in the Asia-Pacific.

On Wednesday, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar said the bloc was "the widely perceived foundation of the evolving strategic and economic architecture in the region".

"Much of India's interests and relationships now lie to its East, a testimony of its ties with Asean," he tweeted after a meeting with the association's foreign ministers.

The outreach also comes at a crucial time - Asean, one of the largest trading blocs in the world, is finalising a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which will lay down rules and guidelines for resolving maritime disputes in the waterway - most of which involve China.

Amid this, New Delhi has been slowly increasing its scrutiny on Chinese activities in the region. While addressing the East Asia summit in November last year, Jaishankar said Chinese actions and incidents in the South China Sea had eroded trust in negotiations on the code of conduct.

a man standing in front of a flag: An Indian Navy sailor stands guard on the deck of the INS Shivalik in 2017. Photo: AFP © Provided by South China Morning Post An Indian Navy sailor stands guard on the deck of the INS Shivalik in 2017. Photo: AFP

On Wednesday, addressing the Asean foreign ministers, Jaishankar highlighted the "growing convergence" of how the bloc's members approached the Asia-Pacific, while also signalling its concerns on China's role in negotiations on the code of conduct - which the Indian foreign minister said should be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

All this reflects a changed approach in New Delhi towards the South China Sea dispute. Premesha Saha, an associate fellow with the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, said India had gone from neutrality in the past - to avoid provoking Beijing - to calling out China for its actions in the region.

One factor, she said, that had led to this change was the continuing border stand-off between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control, which saw at least 20 Indian soldiers and five Chinese troops killed in a deadly clash in June last year.

"The other reason for India's change in approach is that China's presence in the Indian Ocean has been intensifying. This has pushed India to do the same in China's backyard," she said.

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Retired rear admiral K. Mohanan said while task forces such as the one the Indian Navy had deployed to the South China Sea were common, generally "only one or two" ships had been sent on such missions.

"The message in sending four ships is to show the countries in the region that India is engaged there and that the South China Sea belongs to everyone," added Mohanan, who served as the last active captain of a former Indian aircraft carrier that was also named INS Vikrant.

The view from Asean

Lucio Blanco Pitlo III, a research fellow at the Manila-based Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, said Asean would welcome such attention from New Delhi.

"Security cooperation has long remained an underdeveloped dimension of Delhi's Act East policy. Hence, increased attention on this area may open a new facet for India's strategic overtures to Southeast Asia," he said.

The Indian and Indonesian navies last week conducted a coordinated patrol "to keep the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial fishing (and) international trade", according to a statement from the Indian Navy.

But Pitlo said many Asean nations would be worried about getting embroiled in India-China tensions. "Such security engagement may be downplayed, if not put off, when Sino-Indian tensions are high," he said.

India's efforts to step up its presence in Southeast Asia come at a time when there is a flurry of diplomatic and military activity in the region, including high-level visits by US officials.

On the military front, the Australia-led Talisman Sabre exercise that also involved the navies of the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Britain concluded last weekend. London has sent a warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to sail through the region, while Germany is slated to do the same.

The four Quad countries are also set to conduct their annual Malabar exercise, which this year will take place off the coast of Guam in the western Pacific, while US Vice-President Kamala Harris is expected to visit Singapore and Vietnam later in the month.

Kamala Harris to defend international rules in South China Sea during Asia trip

On the other hand, China and Russia are set to conduct joint military exercises between August 9 and 13 in China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Experts such Bhatia from Gateway House believe this activity is part of a "deliberate refocus" by the Biden administration towards Southeast Asia, as a bid to counter China in its own backyard.

The outreach by the US and countries such as India is also likely to soothe ruffled feathers about the worries around the centrality of the Asean grouping, Pitlo said.

"The concern that Quad or other extra-regional minilaterals, especially those dominated by major and middle powers, may undermine Asean centrality persists (among members of the bloc)," he said.

Meanwhile, maritime strategy experts such as Saha from the Observer Research Foundation also warn that the rivalries of the western Pacific could possibly spill over into the Indian Ocean.

"If (Chinese) maritime activities happen in the Indian Ocean, India might get the Quad to step up its presence there," she said. Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (, the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: India steps up maritime presence in Asia-Pacific – just as US and China conduct separate exercises

TripleLift Expands Global Footprint With New Business Operations In Asia Pacific

SINGAPORE, Aug. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- TripleLift, one of the fastest-growing ad tech companies in the world, today announced an expansion in their Asia Pacific (APAC) operations with Henry Shelley appointed as Managing Director, based in Singapore. Fueling TripleLift's expansion in APAC is its success in Australia, where the company works with 70% of the top 50 comScore publishers.

TripleLift Logo (PRNewsfoto/TripleLift)

"As the home to several of the worlds' largest and fastest-growing digital ad markets, Asia Pacific presents publishers and advertisers with an enormous opportunity to harness the power of programmatic to achieve their business objectives," said Jacqueline Quantrell, Chief Revenue Officer, TripleLift. "With our established suite of ad formats, increased investment in new technologies, and Henry at the helm of our business in APAC, we're poised to help more publishers grow their share of budget and help advertisers reach their target audiences."

In two short years, TripleLift grew APAC/Australia publisher partnerships by over 250%. TripleLift's multiple ad formats have become an integral part of the programmatic revenue strategies for most of those publishers. Since launching the industry's first native ad exchange in 2014, TripleLift has expanded its marketplace and offerings to include display and video. Specifically, TripleLift's Branded Video solution drives 4X more engagement than a standard outstream format, as measured by time spent.

Shelley brings extensive experience accelerating client business and expanding company operations across regions, including London, Australia, and Singapore. He most recently served as general manager for The Trade Desk, leading its expansion across Southeast Asia. Prior, he was global account lead for Amnet Programmatic Experts (Dentsu Aegis Network) and held positions at Columbus Agency and Latitude.

"Programmatic native advertising is now an essential and permanent fixture on media plans across the APAC region. With good reason. Great-looking ad formats enrich people's experience with brands. This gives advertisers, publishers, and broadcasters performance that scales," said Henry Shelley, Managing Director, TripleLift.  "TripleLift quickly established itself as a trusted partner in Australia, and with the company's acquisition - one of the largest transactions in ad tech history - expansion in key markets across APAC is accelerating. I am beyond thrilled to lead TripleLift's next phase of growth in APAC, helping shape the future of digital advertising and making advertising work better for everyone in the region."

TripleLift first launched its native programmatic product 7 years ago to help publishers compete with large media platforms that were grabbing an increasingly disproportionate slice of ad budgets and squeezing publishers across the open web in the process. Since then, the company expanded its product portfolio to support every major programmatically transactable ad format from display to Connected TV. Today, 75% of TripleLift publishers transact on multiple ad formats, and 73% offer video inventory on the platform.

This announcement comes on the heels of TripleLift surpassing $1.5 billion in lifetime advertising spend through its platform last month, marking a 50% increase in spend since last reported less than one year earlier.  Additionally, its recent acquisition by Vista Equity Partners for $1.4B accelerates global growth and investment in its technology and product innovation.

Find out more information about how TripleLift is shaping the future of advertising at

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Source: TripleLift Expands Global Footprint With New Business Operations In Asia Pacific

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