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Bottled water, vaccines and electric vehicles propel China’s biggest earners

(Corrects Country Garden’s Yang Huiyan’s title to co-chairwoman from vice-chairwoman in paragraph 9)

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Bottled water, vaccines and electric vehicles propel China's biggest earners
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Zhang Yiming, founder and global CEO of ByteDance, poses in Palo Alto, California, U.S., March 4, 2020. Picture taken March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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(Corrects Country Garden’s Yang Huiyan’s title to co-chairwoman from vice-chairwoman in paragraph 9)

By Eduardo Baptista

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Bottled water, vaccine development, short video platform TikTok and electric vehicle technology propelled the big earners on China’s rich list this year, as embattled property moguls and others facing regulatory scrutiny slipped down the rankings.

Zhong Shanshan was No. 1 on the Hurun China Rich List 2021 published on Wednesday, with personal wealth of $60.6 billion thanks to a surge in the value of his listed companies, Nongfu Spring and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise.

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming, battery maker CATL https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/exclusive-apples-talks-with-chinese-battery-makers-catl-byd-mostly-stalled-2021-10-22 Chairman Zeng Yuqun, Tencent Holdings (OTC:) Pony Ma, and Jack Ma https://www.reuters.com/business/billionaire-alibaba-founder-jack-ma-touring-dutch-research-institutes-scmp-2021-10-27, founder of Alibaba (NYSE:) Group and Ant Group, rounded out the top five.

Ma, who had previously topped the rich list for three years running, dropped places following the suspension of Ant Group’s initial public offering and the slapping of a record fine on Alibaba for monopolistic behaviour.

Also falling down the list of the country’s 100 wealthiest people amid regulatory scrutiny was China Evergrande Group founder Hui Ka Yan, who lost around 70% of his net worth to be left with around $11.3 billion.

Xu’s personal finances have plummeted as the country’s second largest property developer reels under https://www.reuters.com/business/how-china-evergrandes-debt-troubles-pose-systemic-risk-2021-09-16 more than $300 billion in liabilities.

With the broader property sector facing a funding crunch after a regulatory crackdown on excessive borrowing and land buying, the Hurun Report said it was the first time since it began compiling the report in 1999 that a real estate developer was not in the top ten.

China Fortune Land founder Wang Wenxue lost his billionaire status altogether, with his net worth plunging 88% from last year to $930 million.

Yang Huiyan, co-chairwoman at and majority shareholder of real estate developer Country Garden, the highest woman on the list, fell five places to 11th.

Zhang Bangxin, founder of home-tutoring service TAL Education Group (NYSE:), also dropped off the list, losing 94% of his net worth after China introduced new rules banning for-profit tutoring.

Tencent’s Ma, whose wealth swelled 70% last year, saw it decrease 19% this year as his company’s video games business was rattled by new, stricter limits on gaming time for minors.

WINNERS

In a country of 1.4 billion people, just 2,769 people were worth more than 2 billion yuan ($313 million) each, the report said.

The biggest mover in the top 100 was Luo Liguo, the chief executive of solar product firm Hoshine Silicon Industry Co , who multiplied his net worth 6.5 times, vaulting from 220th to 21st spot.

The Biden administration earlier this year banned U.S. imports https://www.reuters.com/business/us-targets-five-chinese-companies-over-alleged-forced-labour-xinjiang-2021-06-24 of Hoshine’s materials, citing allegations of forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region. In response to the action, China said it would take “all necessary measures” to protect its’ companies rights and interests.

ByteDance’s Zhang, which owns short-video platform TikTok, tripled his wealth from last year to $52.8 billion and is likely to take the No. 1 spot next year, particularly if persistent rumours https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bytedance-ipo-douyin-idUSKBN2BN1JQ about a company listing are realised, the Hurun Report said.

Zhang “is a likely candidate to become the next Number One in China, especially if he gets to list ByteDance”, according to Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report’s chairman.

Stock Markets

European shares rebound from Omicron-spurred rout

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European shares rebound from Omicron-spurred rout
© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

By Anisha Sircar and Susan Mathew

(Reuters) -European shares posted their best session in almost six months on Wednesday, as investors picked up beaten down stocks that were hammered in the past few sessions by fears of the spread of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus.

The pan-European rose 1.7%, recovering from a sharp sell-off in the previous session that had sent it to a seven-week low. The index ended November with a 2.6% drop and is 4% away from the record high it hit in the middle of last month. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Europe was already imposing lockdowns before Omicron. Since valuations are still elevated, earnings need to do the heavy lifting from here; that task has now become harder in the EU …. relative to the U.S.,” TS Lombard research head Andrea Cicione said.

A recent Reuters poll of strategists and brokers suggests that European stocks may hit record highs in 2022, boosted by a recovery in corporate profits.

The poll also says that and 40 indexes would hit uncharted peaks by mid-2022, while the STOXX 600 would gain 7% and reach 500 points by July.

“In the short term, uncertainty and therefore market volatility will continue until we get greater clarity on the resistance to vaccines and the lethality and transmissibility of Omicron,” TS Lombard’s Cicione said.

Industrial stocks were the biggest boost to the STOXX 600 on Wednesday. Among sectors, autos as well as travel and leisure rose 3.8% and 3.1%, respectively.

Miners gained 2.3% after prices rebounded on easing concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant, while oil stocks jumped 2.1% as crude prices rose as OPEC meets. [MET/L] [O/R]

The European Union could greenlight COVID-19 vaccines tailored to target the new variant in three to four months, the region’s drug regulator chief Emer Cooke said on Tuesday, adding that existing shots would continue to provide protection.

A survey showed manufacturing growth in the euro zone accelerated slightly last month, but supply chain bottlenecks worsened.

Among individual stocks, Husqvarna, the world’s biggest maker of power gardening tools, jumped 5.4% after raising its overall financial targets and growth ambitions for robotic lawn mowers and other battery-powered products.

Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena surged 16.7% after saying it had begun a dialogue with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to restart discussions on its plans to raise capital.

Battered German property group Adler’s shares surged 34.5%, pulling up from all-time lows, after announcing divestitures.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Stock Markets

Jewellery maker Pandora has no plans to join platforms like Amazon or Farfetch -CEO

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Jewellery maker Pandora has no plans to join platforms like Amazon or Farfetch -CEO
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jewels are seen in a Pandora jewellery shop in downtown Rome, Italy, August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Jewellery maker Pandora (OTC:) would prefer to invest in physical stores or its own online sales platform rather than join large e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon (NASDAQ:) or Farfetch (NYSE:), its chief executive said on Wednesday.

“If you’re a small and unknown brand, marketplaces offer a great opportunity, because they provide you with an audience. I already have an audience,” CEO Alexander Lacik said during an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday.

Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery maker by production capacity, has found a niche between cheaper accessories sold by the likes of H&M and more expensive jewellery like that of Tiffany & Co (NYSE:).

“Eight out of ten women globally are aware of our brand, so I don’t need to make you aware of me. What I need to do is to show you what I’ve got, and I can to this much better if I have a direct relationship with my customer,” he said.

The $12.3 billion company, headquartered in Copenhagen, has increased investment in e-commerce during the pandemic. It is present on China’s T-mall platform but not on large global platforms like Amazon or Farfetch.

“Marketplaces always have to make a compromise for all the clients they are serving. I don’t have to compromise,” he said.

Pandora’s more than 2,600 physical stores remain the core of its business and still account for 75% of global sales.

“Nearly two-thirds of my customers are men buying jewellery for their girlfriends, wifes, grandmothers or children. And we know that men buying jewellery need help,” he said.

To watch the Reuters Next conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next/

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Stock Markets

Global airlines prepare for Omicron volatility, agility will be key

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Global airlines prepare for Omicron volatility, agility will be key
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A notice about COVID-19 safety measures is pictured next to closed doors at a departure hall of Narita international airport on the first day of closed borders to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus Omicron variant in Narita, east of Tok

By Jamie Freed and Rajesh Kumar Singh

SYDNEY/CHICAGO (Reuters) -Global airlines are bracing for more volatility due to the Omicron coronavirus variant that could force them to juggle schedules and destinations at short notice and rely more on domestic markets where possible, analysts say.

Many travellers have already booked trips for the Christmas period, a peak season for airlines, but there are growing industry concerns over a pause in future bookings and further delays to the already slow recovery in business travel.

Fitch Ratings said it had lowered its global passenger traffic forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with the emergence of new variants like Omicron highlighting the likelihood that conditions would remain volatile for airlines.

“It feels a little bit like we are back to where we were a year ago and that’s not a great prospect for the industry and beyond,” Deidre Fulton, a partner at consultancy MIDAS Aviation, said at an industry webinar on Wednesday.

Airlines have been blaming a lack of consistent and stable health protocols as well as border restrictions for depressed international travel demand.

New protocols in the wake of the Omicron variant are expected to add to their headache.

The United States https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/us-cdc-urges-americans-avoid-travel-niger-poland-over-covid-19-2021-11-30, for example, is moving to require that all air travellers entering the country show a negative COVID-19 test performed within one day of departure.

All non-EU travellers to mainland France, where the Omicron variant has not been detected yet, will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. Ireland and Portugal are also demanding that travellers produce a negative test.

Airlines are currently using a range of apps to verify test results. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) said it would comply with Washington’s directives, but did not say if the new testing requirement would need the carrier to make any changes to its verification app.

Omicron’s impact will vary by country and region due to each government’s response and the diverse nature of global airlines as well as their business models.

Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings on Wednesday suspended new reservations for international flights arriving into Japan until the end of December as the country tightens border controls.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways (OTC:), which lacks a domestic market and is operating at only 10% of pre-pandemic capacity, said it was too early to assess Omicron’s impact on demand.

Airlines in countries with large, strong domestic markets like the United States, China and Russia are better shielded from the greater uncertainties of international travel.

An analysis by UBS shows U.S. carriers have not yet changed their scheduled capacity, which is running at 87% of 2019 levels in December and is expected to reach 92% of pre-COVID capacity in January.

United Airlines is launching its Newark-Cape Town route on Wednesday despite a U.S. ban on non-citizens entering from South Africa and Delta Air is expecting strong bookings over the Christmas period.

“In the past year, each new variant has brought a decline in bookings, but then an increase once the surge dissipates. We expect the same pattern to emerge,” said Helane Becker, an analyst at Cowen and Co.

Travel booking website Kayak said international travel searches from the United States were down only 5% on Sunday – a stark contrast to a 26% fall in searches from Britain, which had tightened testing requirements for arrivals.

Major European airlines are far more dependent on international travel than their U.S. counterparts, placing them more at risk of fallout from the Omicron variant.

In Asia, countries like Australia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand had only begun to cautiously lift border restrictions in recent weeks and passenger numbers remained at fractions of pre-pandemic levels before the Omicron variant was discovered.

John Grant, chief analyst at travel data firm OAG, said moves by Japan and Australia to delay entry to some foreigners due to Omicron were “sad and frustrating” but the proportionate impact on travel was “relatively insignificant.”

Airlines globally have been more agile about quickly adjusting their schedules and destinations during the pandemic and that is expected to continue, he said.

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