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Acer expects business to slip – layoffs are ‘last resort’, says CEO

Taiwanese electronics company Acer expects business to continue to slide in the first half of 2023, but laying off employees is a last resort, CEO Jason Chen told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah on the sidelines of APEC.

“We predict that the first half of 2023 will continue to slide, it will continue to decline,” said Chen, adding that he estimated that the PC market will bottom in the middle of next year.

Acer recently posted a 20% decrease in third quarter revenue compared to last year.

However, the CEO said that the company is not plagued by supply shortage issues, and that Acer is focused on reducing inventory as soon as possible.

“Layoffs [are] our last resort now,” said Chen, who added that he is more in favor of saving on operating costs.

— Lee Ying Shan

Blinken says that addressing the consequences of war in Ukraine is a key focus of APEC

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State speaking to the media during APEC 2022 held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) in Bangkok.

Addressing the consequences of the war in Ukraine on global economic challenges is a key focus of the APEC meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.

“People in all APEC economies are struggling with global economic challenges exacerbated by the Russian war. Addressing those consequences together has been a key focus of our meetings here in Bangkok,” he told journalists.

The IMF has previously issued warnings about the fragmentation of the global economy as a result of the war on Ukraine, and cut its 2023 growth forecasts to 2.7% – predicting a slowdown from the 3.2% expected in 2022.

Blinken praised Thailand’s “exceptional leadership” for guiding the APEC bloc through challenging times, as well as the country’s efforts to ensure environmental sustainability​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​at the heart of all discussions.

“The United States is committed to building on these and other areas of Thailand’s leadership when we take over the presidency of APEC next year,” he said. “Our focus will be on creating a resilient and sustainable future for all by building a more interconnected, innovative and inclusive region.”

— Lee Ying Shan

Diplomats make last push for Ukraine crisis at APEC meeting

After the ASEAN and G-20 meetings, the possible fallout of the war in Ukraine into eastern Europe escalated over the two-day APEC summit.

The meeting of world leaders in the Thai capital of Bangkok may be the last chance in many recent diplomatic efforts in the region to try to find a consensus to pave the way for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

“How can we help all the parties in the conflict here to the table and try to find a solution? We need to get to that point as soon as we can,” Kasemsit Pathosak, executive director of the Summit APEC CEO told CNBC.

Among those attending the group’s first in-person summit in four years are Chinese President Xi Jinping, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Major stakeholders such as US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will not be there.

— Lee Ying Shan, Sri Jegarajah

China’s Xi warns against ‘great power contest’ in Asia-Pacific

China’s president, Xi Jinping, warned in a keynote address on Thursday against the militarization of economic relations and turning the Asia-Pacific region into a power struggle.

“Everyone should also try to reject the politicization and armament of economic and trade relations,” said the president, who warned that the Asia-Pacific region should not become “an arena for power competition large.”

His comments come on the heels of increased competition between the US and China for influence in the region.

The president said China is committed to promoting “stability and prosperity” in the area. He acknowledged that economies were grappling with supply chain disruptions as well as energy and food supply issues.

“”Openness brings progress and closing the door can be left behind. Any attempt to disrupt or even dismantle the industrial and supply chains that have been formed in the Asia-Pacific for decades will only end Asia-Pacific economic cooperation.”

— Lee Ying Shan

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