Posts Tagged ‘Liao’

Amid Deepening Economic Worries, Hong Kong Starts Job Cuts

June 2, 2016

By Alun John
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong lender Bank of East Asia Ltd announced Thursday it will reduce the size of it brokerage operations in the city, cutting 180 jobs, or 3.8 per cent of its workforce, as part of a cost cut and operational consolidation, amid a downturn in trading volumes on the local stock exchange.

One economist warned the lay-offs were a symptom of the deepening economic malaise affecting the financial sector, and that more staff cuts were in the offing from other companies in the days ahead.

This is just the beginning. We will see more local banks follow suit,” Citic Ka Wah Bank Chief Economist Liao Qun said. Liao added that the layoffs had been triggered by the weakening economy and the rapid development of financial technology automation, or fintech.

Hong Kong’s economy grew 0.8 per cent in the first quarter on year, its slowest pace of growth in four years, down from 1.93 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015. Turnover on the Hong Kong stock exchange during the first quarter is down 23 per cent on year.

“The securities brokerage business in Hong Kong is quite challenged today,” said Brett McGonnegal, chairman of Capital Link International, “Volumes are down and the fintech revolution is in full force … the result will be that the industry will no longer be able to support brick and mortar outlets as the costs will overrun profits.”

BEA said the cuts will affect head count at its brokerage business, East Asia Securities. The bank said it conducted a review of its operations in light of falling profit and decided to push increased automation in an effort to contain costs. BEA’s profit last year dropped by 17 per cent.

East Asia Securities will close all of its 22 retail outlets in Hong Kong by July 8, but will continue to provide telephone and internet banking services to customers, which already facilitate over 90 per cent of transactions.

David Li Po Kwok, BEA chairman and chief executive said in a letter to staff that BEA had decided to cancel or remove a number of out-of-date and repetitive procedures and structures, so as to reallocate these resources to more value added areas, according to reports in local media.

BEA has been making a push to become a leading player in digital banking solutions in Hong Kong. It is plans to transform its 90 branches into Hong Kong to a digital model by 2018.

Other banks in the city said they have no plans to cut back on staff.

“At our Investor Update we said we expected an overall reduction in headcount at HSBC Group worldwide, but we do not expect any net headcount reduction in Hong Kong, where we continue to invest and build out our Pearl River Delta business,” said Gareth Hewett, a spokesman for HSBC.

A recent stress test of 13 Hong Kong banks, including BEA, carried out by Fitch Ratings, concluded that Hong Kong banks were well prepared to withstand challenges from a downturn in the credit cycle due to their sound capital positions and earnings buffers.

CY Leung urges young Hongkongers to ‘fight back’ against radicals

March 8, 2015

Chief executive tells supporters that it’s time to voice their opposition as he fields questions on everything from jobs to housing at a youth forum

By Peter So
The South China Morning Post

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying takes questions from people in their 20s at the youth forum in Chai Wan yesterday. Photo: ISD Photo

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying turned combative yesterday, telling a youthful audience it was time for the public to “fight back” against radicals in the city.

Without specifying whom he was referring to, he said allowing such people to hold his job would not be in the interests of the city.

His comments came on the last day of a consultation on the 2017 chief executive poll, amid complaints from pan-democrats that the electoral system would likely bar critics of Beijing from the race.

The venue was also significant. Leung was addressing a forum organised by the government’s Commission on Youth, days after Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong affairs told local representatives to step up their youth work after last year’s student-led Occupy protests.

Leung faced questions from 300 people in their 20s, selected by the organiser, on everything from education and jobs to housing and the political deadlock.

“If young people with radical views dominated the development of the city or became leaders … I believe it would not be in the interests of society,” Leung told the forum in Chai Wan.

He then called on those who supported the administration to voice opposition to the radicals and their illegal acts.

“What should we do to have less radical behaviour in society?” he asked. “I think we need public opinion to fight back.”

He reiterated that neither Hong Kong nor Beijing would allow the public to nominate candidates in 2017. The task will be left to a committee of 1,200 that must give majority approval to the two or three candidates. Pan-democrats say voters won’t get a real choice under that system.

Leung also addressed housing, saying the government could waive land premiums and spend public money on infrastructure to increase the supply of land for homes on the city’s outskirts. But such ideas would still face opposition from local residents.

“There are many voices in society opposing development here and there … and some will try to delay decisions at the Town Planning Board or file judicial review [applications],” he said.

Leung’s remarks follow his return from meeting state leaders on the sidelines of the annual National People’s Congress session.

Local delegates to the NPC heard a call from NPC chairman Zhang Dejiang , the top state official on Hong Kong matters, to step up youth work by promoting national education and understanding of the Basic Law. Other state leaders have made similar calls, including President Xi Jinping , whose comments on youth work in Macau during a visit in December were widely thought to be aimed at Hong Kong.

China's parliament chief Zhang Dejiang delivers a work report during the second plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 8, 2015.

China’s parliament chief Zhang Dejiang delivers a work report during the second plenary session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 8, 2015.

Meanwhile, about a dozen students protested outside Leung’s forum over the appointment of Executive Council member Andrew Liao Cheung-sing to head the University of Science and Technology’s council. Leung took a detour to avoid them.

The HKUST student union questioned Liao’s credentials and expressed worries about academic independence, given Liao was a staunch Leung supporter. A government spokesman said the administration had “abided by the ‘meritocracy’ principle” in identifying the right candidate.

Chinese Nobel Laureate Sends Message From Jail — Forgives His Tormentors

December 12, 2014


Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo

The Associated Press

Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has told an overseas friend that he is relatively healthy and wants the world to pay more attention to other Chinese activists, in a rare message smuggled out of prison.

“The aura around me is enough already. I hope the world can pay more attention to other victims who are not well known, or not known at all,” said a message sent by Liu to dissident writer Liao Yiwu, who lives in exile in Berlin.

Liao, who posted the message Thursday on Facebook, did not say how he received it from Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence on charges of inciting state subversion, but Liu’s friends have said the message is genuine.

While in prison, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his calls for political reforms. The Nobel committee held Liu’s award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, with an empty chair on stage to mark his absence. Beijing condemned the award and put his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest.  

The empty chair with a diploma and medal that should have been awarded to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo  stands in Oslo City Hall

The empty chair with a diploma and medal that should have been awarded to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo stands in Oslo City Hall Photo: 2010 AFP

Liu Xia still can visit her husband in prison, although their meetings are under tight watch. Because she is kept largely incommunicado, it is rare for the public to hear from the Nobel laureate. The message to Liao is possibly the first of its kind.

Liao said it was the first time he had heard from Liu in more than six years.

“My eyes are suddenly moist,” Liao said on Facebook.

In the message, Liu said he was doing well and had been reading and thinking.

“Through studies, I have become even more convinced that I have no personal enemies,” Liu said, repeating a statement from his trial five years ago that he held no grudge against those who prosecuted him.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took power two years ago, the stifling of dissent has been on the rise, with authorities hauling away human rights lawyers, social activists, journalists, writers, scholars and artists, most of whom are largely unknown to the outside world.


Photo: Chinese people wear face masks with “No to Kunming PX,” paraxylene, written, chant slogans as they hold protest against a planned refinery project in downtown Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan province Saturday, May 4, 2013. After word spread about an environmental protest that was planned for Saturday in the central Chinese city of Chengdu, drugstores and printing shops were ordered to report anyone making certain purchases. Microbloggers say government fliers urged people not to demonstrate, and schools were told to stay open to keep students on campus. Meanwhile, hundreds of people – many wearing mouth masks – gathered in Kunming to protest a planned refinery project in the area. The demonstrators demanded information transparency and that public health be safeguarded. (AP Photo)

Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli died after falling critically ill in police detention in China

Officials in eastern China must abandon plans to demolish churches and crosses and stop their

Parishioners line up outside the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to save it from demolition by the Chinese Communist government Photo: Tom

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama delivers a speech at the Stanford Center at Peking University on March 22, 2014 in Beijing, China

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama on her way to deliver a speech at the Stanford Center at Peking University on March 22, 2014 in Beijing, China Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Beijing's No 1 detention centre

Outside Beijing’s No 1 detention centre. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Xi Jinping

Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion, the New York Times reported, citing corporate and regulatory records and unidentified people familiar with the family’s investments.