Air miles are a big part of credit card incentive schemes. People get points for spending, and if they manage their spending and pay their credit card bills each month, they can score a free trip to Thailand.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius highlighted the need for his country to regain its competitiveness in order to rebalance bilateral trade. "Although our trade deficit with China decreased by €1.5 billion (HK$15.2 billion) in 2012, it is still very large at about €26 billion, which is 40 per cent of our overall trade deficit," Fabius told a press conference at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS, speaking at a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce conference on the outlook for emerging markets in Asia, said: "Asean is experiencing strong growth across the board."

The Hong Kong Investment Funds Association announced yesterday that over 70 per cent of fund management companies are overweight on equities whereas only 20 per cent are overweight on bonds.


Internet giant Yahoo launched in Hong Kong yesterday Yahoo Outlet, an online shop selling discounted branded products ranging from apparel, electronic devices, stereo and hobby items to home decor and appliances.

Prada remains confident about its prospects this year, despite fears of poor consumer demand in Asia because of the weakening yen and Beijing's clampdown on lavish gift-giving.

Scandals involving foodstuffs such as horsemeat and melamine-tainted milk have incited global public anger, and to avoid future problems food and agricultural companies are now looking at their supply chains to remedy the issues.

Convenience Retail Asia, operator of Circle K convenience stores and Saint Honore cake shops, is looking to double the number of Saint Honore outlets in Guangzhou and other surrounding cities to approximately 80 this year.

Initial public offerings by resource and mining companies could rebound this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers says. The firm expects 10 to 15 such companies to list in Hong Kong and raise HK$20 billion to HK$30 billion this year.

Planning is under way for the combined redevelopment of Sunning Plaza and Sunning Court in Causeway Bay into a mixed-use office and retail complex, Hysan Development said yesterday.

Persistent heavy rain from April to August last year led to higher production costs for orange plantation operator Asian Citrus. Typhoon Vicente triggered rainstorms and gales in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where the company's plantations are located.

Coming off a gloomy couple of years, the Asia-Pacific Loan Market Association has a positive outlook on the global loan market, because of the impact emerging markets are expected to have on it.