Box-Office Record, EV Graveyards and China Woes: Saturday Asia Briefing

Something for the weekend.

(Bloomberg) — When the going gets tough, the tough go to the movies. Or so it seems in China, where box-office records were broken in a week that saw the government step in to stabilize markets as faith in the country’s economy plunged.The latest box-office data show that China’s consumers are still spending on in-person activities such as movies and restaurants despite holding back on big-ticket items amid a shadow banking crisis, a property selloff, and deteriorating investor confidence.The Asian nation that everyone had expected to revive the global post-Covid economy, is now seen as one of the world’s major risk factors. Global stock managers are concerned the selloff in Chinese shares could spread to Europe, the US and other parts of Asia, whose businesses look to China for growth.  

Another arresting symbol of China’s faltering growth lies in graveyards with hundreds of discarded electric vehicles, the result of a consolidation in the ride-hailing industry that left many casualties. The country now has about 100 EV makers, down from around 500 in 2019.

Vietnam’s richest person also felt the effects of a volatile EV market this week. VinFast Auto Ltd.’s wild debut as a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq brought its founder along for the ride.

One market that seems oblivious to risks and conditions, is Hong Kong’s luxury home sector, with one mansion on sale for a whopping HK$2.2 billion ($281 million), a price that would that make it among the city’s most expensive transactions. The 11-bedroom house in Repulse Bay was completed over four years ago, before protests and the pandemic hit and when wealthy mainland buyers flocked to the city for trophy homes.Also bucking trends and conventions are Australia’s Matildas, who face Sweden in the playoffs for third and fourth place in football’s Women’s World Cup. The team’s impressive performance in the tournament inspired the Australian government to pledge a A$200 million ($128 million) funding boost for women’s sport in the country.

Have a goal-filled weekend.

(China’s box-office record, EV graveyards and a Hong Kong mansion for sale: Saturday Asia Briefing)

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