Shares across Asia plunged Thursday, with technology firms in Hong Kong and Shanghai battered after the arrest of a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei that has also fuelled fears about the recent China-US trade deal. As Donald Trump and Xi Jinping’s tariffs ceasefire last weekend — which sparked a one-day rally — fades to a distant memory, investors are back in selling mood as they fret over a range of issues including the state of the world economy, oil prices and Brexit.
The chances of trade peace between the US and China took a blow Thursday as it emerged Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou had been held in Canada and faces extradition to the United States over alleged Iran sanctions breaches by the firm. Meng is also the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese People’s Liberation Army engineer. The company had been investigated by US intelligence, who deemed it a national security threat.
However, the arrest drew a swift response from China, which said it “firmly opposes and strongly protests” the move, adding it had urged Canada and the US to “immediately correct the wrongdoing”. The news sent shudders through Hong Kong and Shanghai markets, where tech firms were hammered. Hong Kong-listed ZTE, which was subject to a US banning order earlier his year over security fears before that was reduced to a massive fine, was almost five percent down. Market heavyweight Tencent was two percent lower and AAC Technologies was five percent off.
And in Shanghai, Wingtech Technology was four percent down, Raisecome Technology sank 2.8 percent and Fujian Raynen Technology lost 2.6 percent.—AFP