2016 Year in review: Hanjin Shipping collapses, John Little shuts its last store

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Amidst changing dynamics on the world stage (think Brexit and the unstable oil market), the global economy in 2016 was mostly filled with uncertainty. Many of the world's largest companies found themselves struggling to cope and could barely keep their heads above water.

In Singapore, the sudden closure of California Fitness and the impending end to the 174-year-old John Little department store took locals by surprise.

On the global stage, South Korean phone maker Samsung found itself battling a major PR crisis after news of the exploding Samsung Note Galaxy Note7 caught fire. Around US$18 billion (S$24.8 billion) was wiped off the company's shares after it announced that it would be scrapping production of the Note7. Meanwhile, iconic British retailer Marks and Spencer announced in early November that it would close 60 stores in Britain and retreat from 10 countries after years of underperformance.

Our pick for business crisis of the year would have to be the collapse of Hanjin Shipping, formerly the world's seventh largest shipping company. In September, it was reported that Hanjin was over $8 billion in debt. Hanjin's debts caused for many of its crew and billions of dollars in cargo to be stranded at sea, disrupting supply chains worldwide. As of November 23, shipping operator Korea Line Corp agreed to acquire some of the company's assets for S$44.9 million.