Hong Kong’s finance chief pushes for lead role in global supply chain
Paul Chan Mo-po, Hong Kong’s finance chief, is pushing for adaptation to a city that has been hit by closed borders and geopolitical challenges. Chan has suggested a policy rethink of the city’s strategy for surviving Covid-19 and a rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape. He warns of a slow economic recovery made worse by border closures that look unlikely to be reversed any time soon. He said the city of Hong Kong should position itself to take a leading role in the world’s supply and capital chains, as well as in the race for global technology. However, local economists suggested the city was ill-suited for the role.
While the third wave of outbreak in Hong Kong is mostly under control, according to Chan, on the other side of the world there is a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe, which he says „the situation is worrying. The global economy is falling into a deep recession. Job markets have continuously been under great pressure. Judging by this, it is hard to envision a revival of mutual visits of people on a reasonably large scale for the rest of the year. This will restrain the room for economic recovery.“
The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to inflict a 5.2% contraction in global GDP this year, according to the World Bank. This will mark the deepest recession suffered by advanced economies since World War II.
Hong Kong’s GDP fell by 1.2% in 2019, amid months of social unrest and an escalating US-China trade war. Then in the first two quarters of 2020, the city’s GDP dropped by 9.1% and 9%, respectively, year-on-year. The latest jobless rate is at 6.1%.
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Aldi pledges $1.6 billion investment as sales soar
Aldi has pledged to invest £1.3 billion (approximately $17 USD) over the next two years between 2020 and 2021 with new and upgraded stores, distribution centers and further innovations across its business in the United Kingdom.
These plans are expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year which will add to the 3,000 permanent roles that have already been created in 2020.
The supermarket chain said its continued investment in Britain was recognition for three decades of trust and loyalty shown by its growing base of loyal customers.
With its investment plan, Aldi expects to open around 100 new stores across the UK in line with its long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025, alongside over 100 store upgrades. Other investments will include new and expanded distribution centers as well as the rollout of recent innovations and developments such as a new ‚Click and Collect‘ online delivery service which was successfully launched to customers a week prior.
Looking ahead, the most important thing for the supermarket is its commitment to customers by continuing to keep prices the lowest in the market, which comes as household budgets become under greater pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
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John Lewis launches virtual Christmas store for the first time ever.
John Lewis, a brand of high-end department stores in the United Kingdom, has launched a virtual Christmas store for the first time in its history.
The virtual experience will allow customers to take a 3D tour of their London flagship store from the comfort of their own homes. Using footage captured in-store, shoppers will be able to navigate through the Oxford Street store easily via their smartphone, tablet, or computer. They can then click on tagged products to find out more and buy.
Items from the Christmas store will be available to examine and purchase during the virtual tour, which this year features the largest ever Christmas tree forest, seven new festive trends and room sets, and a one-stop gift emporium.
The brand has taken its Christmas store online 10 days earlier than last year, which comes amid a sharp increase in demand for early Christmas purchases, amounting to a 112% rise in sales in comparison with 2019. Dan Cooper, head of Christmas at John Lewis & Partners said, „We know that Christmas might look a little different to our customers this year, with smaller celebrations at home and video calls to loved ones.“ He went on to say that their customers are planning earlier than ever to „revel in the festivities“, and to most likely avoid any last-minute rushes or delays for items.
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