☕️ Malaysian passport ranked 12th in the world with 179 visa-free destinations
Now you can buy US shares using Rakuten Trade. The reason Google founders decided to list the company - Warren Buffett. Back Market, used electronic reseller raised USD510 mil, valued at USD5.7 bil.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD3.13 trillion — the amount of loans given by banks in China in 2021, more than the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom. The trigger happy lending resulted from the central bank’s policy to cushion the slowing economy. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) cut the reserve requirement ratio for banks and the rates on its relending facility by 25 basis points.
152.8 mil people will live with dementia by 2050, according to a new study published in Lancet Public Health. Women will be disproportionately affected by the condition, unfortunately.
Some bought as many as 106 buckets to get an entire collection of toys from the toymaker Pop Mart’s collaboration with KFC. KFC has been criticised by the China Consumers Association for using a limited number of blind box sales to lure customers to over purchase its food and cause food waste.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Researchers affiliated with Oregon State University found compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes Covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells.
French residents will be required to prove their vaccination status to access restaurants and bars, cultural venues, or interregional public transport. President Emmanuel Macron had undoubtedly achieved his goal of wanting to "piss off" unvaccinated people.
AstraZeneca said its third dose helps against Omicron, according to early trial data. The company said its third booster dose increased antibodies against the Omicron and other variants.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki has been issued a subpoena to appear before the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the Agencies under the PM’s Department on Jan 19 over his shareholding controversy. The PSC report will be tabled to the Dewan Rakyat after the inquiry has been completed.
Meanwhile, his brother, Nasir Baki, will be called up by the Securities Commission (SC) for an interview over alleged violation of stock trading laws under the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act as he used Azam Baki’s account to purchase shares.
The Malaysian passport has been ranked 12th in the Henley Passport Index 2022, which allows its holders to enter 179 countries without applying for a visa. Topping the list is Japan and Singapore passports with 192 destinations their holders can enter without a visa and sitting at the bottom is Afghanistan, with only 26 visa-free destinations.
Check out Henley’s interactive site here to see where the Malaysian passport can travel without a visa.
The two tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will be used to excavate the twin-bore Genting Tunnel portion of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) are the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia, claimed by Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong. This rail tunnel would also be the longest rail tunnel in Southeast Asia. Neither are really meaningful achievements tbh, given Malaysia’s context of having a habit to claim non-worthwhile achievements.
On to the more interesting technical stuff - the three main tasks of the TBM are tunnel excavation, removing excavation waste to the surface and installing concrete walls in the tunnel. The TBM has a maximum digging capacity of 700m per month at the 16.39 km Genting Tunnel between Bentong and Gombak.
A common question being asked is how to buy US stocks? Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd now announced the expansion of its Cash Upfront Trading Account to include access into foreign markets, beginning with the US. Rakuten Trade hopes to launch HK share-trading service by Q2 of this year.
As of 31 Dec 2021, Rakuten Trade had activated more than 236,000 share-trading accounts and handled more than RM95 bil in total trading volume on Bursa Malaysia since it started business in May 2017. Its retail market share stood at 8%, with clients’ assets under trust exceeding RM3.7 bil.
For beginners, Rakuten Trade has amongst the cheapest brokerage commissions in town. Sign up here.
Sime Darby Plantation Bhd expects the labour shortage situation to worsen for plantation companies in Q1 2022. Managing Director Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said the industry is short of 70,000 workers as borders were shut due to the pandemic. Production of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) has fallen by 20-30% due to the shortage of workers.
AirAsia Group Bhd (Capital A Bhd soon) has failed to extend its relief period from being classified as a Practice Note 17 company and is now deemed a PN17 company. The company triggered the PN17 suspension criteria in July 2020, but due to relief measures introduced by Bursa Malaysia and the SC, AirAsia was not classified as a PN17 listed issuer.
Losses keep piling for the airline - RM283 mil net loss recorded in FY2019, RM5,89 bil in FY2020 and for the nine months ending 31 Sep 2021, RM2.23 bil loss was recorded.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The parent company of fast retailer Uniqlo, Fast Retailing Co., reported a profit of 119 bil yen (USD1 bil) in the latest fiscal quarter ended Nov 2021, beating analysts’ projection of 99 bil yen. However, the company is feeling the impact of material prices and higher yen. Its CEO Takeshi Okazaki said the company would review and increase prices of some items. The review will happen after the autumn and winter season.
Paris-based Back Market has raised USD510 mil funding that boosts its valuation to USD5.7 bil. The investment is a bet on growing consumer demand for products that reduce electronic waste and offer discounted prices. Back Market is an online market place fixes and resells electronic goods, ranging from Apple smartphones and laptops to Dyson hair dryers.
Its latest valuation is almost an 80% jump from the USD3.2 bil the company achieved less than a year ago in May. The funds will be used to double the size of its staff in the US as the company expects to generate triple-digit annual revenue growth this year.
Block founder and CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that the company is officially building an open bitcoin mining system in a tweet. The project’s aim is to make mining bitcoin more distributed and efficient, allowing more people to have access to bitcoin mining. The big picture goal — making the Bitcoin network more secure.
North Korea is asking its citizen to use their poop to make manure because the country is struggling to source enough fertiliser for its crops. Citizens were told to produce a quota of 150 kilograms of manure between Jan 4 and Jan 14. The people who hit the quota will be given a pass to trade manure. Mindblown.
Fun fact: An average person produces between 500 and 1,100 grams of poop weekly.
How to find love during Covid-19? In China, it can be found in lockdowns! Ms Wang said she had got locked down with her date after visiting his house for a meal. During the meal, she discovered that her date's community had gone into swift lockdown due to cases of Covid-19 and ended up being unable to leave his house for several days. It is unclear if the two actually ended up together.
Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace. Prince Andrew faces a US civil action over sexual allegations by Virginia Giuffre— claims he has denied. Prince Andrew will have to defend himself against Giuffre as a private citizen, not His Royal Highness (HRH), in the court case even though he retains the HRH title.
While Boris Johnson has apologised for the way he handled the event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, senior Tories (members from his political party) has asked for the PM to resign over the fiasco. Ministers have urged MPs to wait for the outcome of an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray into the party, which is expected to be published next week.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were reluctant to take their company public until they met the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. Buffett introduced the two young founders to the dual-class stock structure, ensuring they would keep control of their company. When the search giant went public in 2004, it had two classes of shares:
A — carry single voting right each.
B — carry 10 voting rights each.
Both Page and Brin hoarded B shares. We did a Twitter thread about how Google works a couple of weeks back. Give it a read if you have time today.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
Samsung’s The Freestyle Projector. Awesome ad - I am convinced!
Close to perfect editing - Avengers visiting a Malaysian home.