Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hong Kong news 9 November

At last, I have the South China Morning Post AND the internet at the same time, so stand by for today's news, brought to you by my favourite Beijing-biased publication.

Tencent and Qihoo are China's two top online companies: (Naspers-owned) Tencent is the country's top free messaging service (called QQ - they tried to punt it in SA a few years ago), and Qihoo its top anti-virus company. Combined they have 400 million-500 million users and are currently spatting, with each company accusing the other of privacy theft. Qihoo kicked proceedings off initially accusing QQ of scanning software and files without users’ permission or knowledge. Tencent hit back with accusations that it was Qihoo's new tool called Bodyguard which scanned users' passwords, accounts and more when they logged onto QQ. On Wednesday last week Tecent upped the ante by declaring that it would shut down QQ on all computers which used Qihoo software but on Friday backtracked somewhat and said this would only apply to computers with the Koukou Bodyguard product. Qihoo are playing it diplomatically with their VP saying that he hoped the internet would return to normal as soon as possible. Tencent have taken the other tack, declaring "we will never compromise on this and will fight to the end". It is estimated that 100 million Chinese internet users use both Tencent and Qihoo products. I back Tencent here, even though it has been said that government will involve itself.

Today's front page headline: Chinese fans take loss to Japan sitting down. Remember how I have mentioned that China and Japan aren't the best of friends lately? Well I wasn't joking. They are currently undergoing territory disputes, there are protests in each country against the other and some Japanese politicians have insulted their Chinese counterparts. Well, the Asia Games commenced yesterday, and in in the first round of football fixtures, Japan trollied China 3-0. That's far more important that any politics and Japan should be given the disputed territories as a prize.

I want to cry from delirious laughter. In case anyone doubts that China is shaking up the world: the notoriously capitalist USA is about to jump into some quantative easing - basically printing more money - and good ol' commie China has kakked all over it for doing so.

Myanmar is to Thailand what Zimbabwe is to South Africa: countries so incredibly shockingly run that citizens of them have no option but to flee. At least 10 000 Burmese (Myanmarese?) crossed the border into Thailand yesterday after post-pretend-election violence in the country. Beijing reckons it's a step forward for the country. I think that's complete crap.

Taiwan has called off the search for victims who are still missing due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Megi last month.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is stopping in China en route to the G20 summit in Seoul next week. It is expected he will bring with him a large delegation with the intent of promoting trade with China. The SCMP makes mention of China hoping that Cameron does not bring up social issues such as the continued imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiabo. Cameron has been fairly outspoken about foreign policy since he took the reins of the country though.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (Democrats for short) - the administrative region's biggest political party - wants to reform HK's parliamentary structure after elections in 2012. Although much of HK's politics are dictated by China, there is a 60-seat decision making body called Legco (Legislative Council of Hong Kong), 30 seats of which are chosen by permanent HK residents, and 30 of which are voted for by about 200 000 people in functional constituencies like business, special interest groups etc. It is these in the functional constituencies who are going to block the Democrats reforms. The politicians on each side will go head-to-head in the next few weeks.

The minimum wage in Hong Kong is expected to be set at HK$28 (R25) today due, to some extent, to the politicisation of the wage changes at Cafe de Coral. Cafe de Coral is HK's largest food outlet and recently took strife for giving workers 2.5%-3.5% salary increases at the expense of their paid lunch breaks which turned into a net loss. Cafe de Coral says this new wage could cost the company an extra HK$120 million (R108 million) in salaries and wages per month. KFC pays the least in the industry with HK$21 (R19) but has a far more hard-line approach to complaining employees: it ignores them, says the Catering and Hotels Employees' General Union.

Hong Kong's next football fixture in the Asia Games kicks off tonight against Group E favourites Uzbekistan. That's the team ranked 127 vs the team ranked 75 respectively. In the first round, Hong Kong drew 1-1 with the UAE.

South Africa drilled Pakistan in the last match of the ODI series between the two countries. I report this because it's fucking great, even though it is not relevant to HK at all.

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