Hong Kong, China (CNN) – After a divisive and fiery campaign season, Hong Kong has a new chief executive. His name is Chun-ying Leung, or C.Y, for short. He’s a 57-year old pro-Beijing politician who made his multi-millions in Hong Kong property.
But the city native inherits the leadership mantle as his hometown faces a series of unenviable economic challenges. And it’s not just Hong Kong’s financial problems he has to address - it’s also his own popularity problems. More precisely, lack thereof.
On Sunday, Leung could be seen giving the thumbs-up for victory in Sunday’s fourth chief executive election. But he’s gotten a thumbs-down in approval. The Hong Kong Standard, a local newspaper, said Leung only mustered a 40% approval rating. Compare that to the 70% rating of the two previous chief executives.
To change that, Leung said he would address a swath of economic woes after he takes over in July.
(CNN) – Amid a rough political battle of the U.S. Republican presidential candidates, being caught in the middle is not something companies usually want.
But Ohio Art, producer of the child’s toy Etch A Sketch, is not complaining after a political firestorm in the U.S. caused the company’s share value to more than double in less than three days.
Hong Kong (CNN) – Investors have even more proof that China’s economy is slowing down.
The country’s manufacturing sector shrank for a fifth month in a row, according to HSBC’s latest China PMI survey Wednesday. That follows news of weaker industrial output from January to February.
This news shows that Beijing’s policies to slow down the economy are in fact working. But Premier Wen Jiabao – who’s been the champion of those measures – may now be asking whether they’re working a bit too well.
HSBC’s China Flash PMI came in at 48.1 point for March. Anything under 50 means a contraction. The worrying thing is that this manufacturing index has been under that 50-point mark since November. Not only that, March’s reading is the lowest in four months.
So why this continued contraction?
London (CNN) – This week we hosted Marketplace Europe from Boycott Farm in the old English market town of Stowe. The farm's main business is eggs – laid by a flock of 6,000 chickens – and as I stood in the middle of the field they peck in, I was very quickly surrounded by what felt like most of them.
They had spotted my approach from yards away, but rather than turn on their heels, they scuttled our way en masse in a constant stream from the laying house. It turns out that chickens are incredibly nosy.
I was a lone reporter in a sea of chickens, which were pecking at the ground, my boots and sometimes even each other, but all of them gossiping loudly, cluck clucking in a synchronized murmur that grew louder and louder as the throng swelled.
Manzhouli, China (CNN) – In Inner Mongolia – the frozen grasslands between China and Russia – it's hard to imagine anything surviving. Yet in the Chinese border town of Manzhouli, business is thriving.
Manzhouli is now one of China's busiest land ports, with $10 billion dollars-worth of timber and other goods passing through every year.
Traders like Huang Jincai are shipping in Siberian timber, revitalizing this once sleepy outpost. Jincai runs a multi-million dollar business cutting and selling timber all over China – with 10% sales growth every year.
London (CNN) –It will come as no surprise that the Conservative-led UK government says lower taxes bring in more revenue, because the rich will come and business will spend.
And it is not a surprise that left leaning parties disagree and say that such a policy will get the rich off the hook while poorer workers pay too much tax.
UK finance minister George Osborne is trying to have it both ways.
Editor’s note: The Millennials are a generation that are constantly plugged in and moving fast to make their mark on the world. CNN’s Quest Means Business is tracking four of them.
(CNN) – In this episode of The Millennials, Milli travels to Cape Town looking for a new studio space, and Joe goes to Las Vegas.
Milli is visiting colorful Capetown, meeting with her business partner. But this isn't a shopping spree. Milli is here to look at a new studio space for their store MeMeMe.
Meanwhile, Joe is making his way to Las Vegas. The view and the lights are no distraction for this chief marketing officer. He is here for the world's largest consumer electronic show.
London (CNN) – For the airline industry, it seems barely does one crisis subside than the next rears up. No sooner has the European debt debacle gone to the back-burner - taking away one of the biggest threats to economic growth - than oil price rises become a concern. And it's a worry as big, if not bigger, than the debt crisis.
All the forecasts have been done on the basis of $99 to $100 per barrel of oil. Prices are now more than $120 for Brent and that is hitting airlines hard. For most airlines, more than 30% of revenues are now going on fuel. In some cases, it is the single biggest component.
Tony Tyler, head of IATA, the organization representing aviation, describes airlines as “weak but still profitable.” With prices for oil having risen more than 30% he says airlines are suffering a “double hit.” As ticket prices go up, people travel less. There is a “hit to the revenue line and the cost side,” he notes.
(CNN) – Gas prices in China rose as much as 7% Tuesday, the biggest increase since 2009 to offset rising costs for oil refineries. In the U.S., drivers are seeing pump prices inching up, slowly approaching record highs not seen since July 2008.
As gas prices rise, due largely to fears that tensions with Iran will cut off supply, is oil set to become the new Greece?
The chief economist at HSBC thinks so. Much like worries of the eurozone debt woes could weigh on the global economy, now rising oil prices are attracting similar attention.
Berlin (CNN) – A new vehicle has found its way onto Berlin’s street: a car that does not demand a driver.
Developed by Dr. Raul Rojas and his team at Berlin’s Freie University, this computer-controlled car is equipped with sophisticated lasers, radar, video cameras and a sensitive GPS system.
"What we think is that this can be the car of the future in the sense that you don't need to drive,” said Rojas. “It would be like a taxi. You don't even need to own a car, you don't have to park the car, you don't need a garage at home."
About Business 360
CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.