Will Hong Kong Airlines flights to Gold Coast boost the economy?
With an anticipated influx of Chinese visitors on the horizon, Hong Kong Airlines will begin offering direct flights to the Aussie resort town of Gold Coast.
The flights began on Friday and are expected to provide the area a $10 million economic boost, in addition to building momentum for Hong Kong’s aviation industry. The first plane brought in about 200 visitors.
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With a lack of concern for the falling number of incoming tourists to Hong Kong, the airline intends to add nine aircrafts by the end of 2016. It also has plans to add 1000 more employees throughout this year.
According to the Airport Authority, the Hong Kong International Airport had an 8.3 per cent year-on-year increase with 68.2 million passengers between 2014 and 2015. This year is expected to be one of the area’s biggest tourism periods in recent years.
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“People’s urge to travel is now stronger than what it was 10 years ago, whether in Hong Kong and on the mainland,” said Hong Kong Airlines COO Ben Wong Ching-ho. “This drives demand.
“The overall economy isn’t bad now. Spending power of families remains high.”
Despite the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link completion set for 2018, Wong said he doesn’t believe it will harm the airline’s profits.
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“People said the high-speed rail to Lhasa would make airlines perform badly, but they grew,” said Wong. “The high-speed rail drove local economic development, from exports of agricultural products to exchanges between people and business turnover.”
Hong Kong Airlines also recently announced the return of direct flights between Hong Kong and Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.