The long-awaited quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Hong Kong will begin on May 26, starting with one flight a day from each city, while Hong Kong is also in talks with Macau on forming another travel bubble. China continues to put pressure on the country’s tech firms, as well as tightening rules to regulate public bond issuance and mobile app information privacy.
MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA
This section tracks major political, economic and business news from the key economies in Asia.
Japan’s parliament approved the world's largest free trade deal, signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, raising the possibility for the pact to enter into force later this year. – Kyodo News
Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand are likely to be included in the UK’s “green list” of countries from which people with negative COVID-19 test results will be able to travel to the UK without quarantine, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye revealed. – Bloomberg
Taiwan’s Labour Ministry said all staffing companies on the island may no longer post openings for jobs located in China, especially those involving critical industries such as integrated circuits and semiconductors, as a move to prevent outflow of vital tech talent. – Nikkei Asia
On Thursday, China’s central bank and other regulators ordered 13 firms, including many of the biggest names in the technology sector, to adhere to much tighter regulation on their financial businesses. – Caixin Global
The Thai central bank and the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore on Thursday unveiled the linkage of Thailand's PromptPay and Singapore's PayNow real-time retail payment systems. Customers of participating banks in the two countries will be able to transfer funds using just a mobile number. – Bangkok Post
EQUITY AND DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS
This section highlights the biggest ECM and DCM developments in China and Hong Kong which are moving markets and grabbing headlines.
The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have tightened rules for public bond issuance, releasing new guidelines (Shanghai/Shenzhen, link in Chinese) that are likely to restrict supply from weaker issuers and deter investment holding companies, local government financing vehicles and real estate developers. – Global Capital
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. delivered record earnings in the first quarter, with net income rising 70% to HK$3.84 billion on the back of a 35% increase in core revenue. Investment income swung to a HK$418 million profit from a loss a year earlier. Trading was boosted by an influx of big-name Chinese companies such as Bilibili and Baidu selling shares on the bourse. – Bloomberg
Clover Biopharmaceuticals, a Chinese pre-revenue drug developer that has raised US$315 million across several funding rounds since 2011, has filed for a Hong Kong IPO. – AVCJ
China Vanke, the country’s largest developer by market value, is preparing for a listing of its property management business in Hong Kong that could raise about US$2 billion. – The Standard
PE/VC DEAL ACTIVITY
This section tracks the fundraising, deals and other activities conducted by the PE/VC funds in Asia.
CHINA AND HONG KONG
AfterShip, a Hong Kong-based e-commerce tracking service provider, has raised a US$66 million Series B led by Tiger Global Management and joined by GL Ventures. – AVCJ
China-based medical devices manufacturer Hygea Medical Technology has raised a US$77 million Series C round led by China Growth Capital. – AVCJ
Chinese agricultural drone startup EAVision Technologies has raised US$30 million in a Series C round led by Temasek, state-sponsored fund China International Trust Investment Corporation, and agrifood tech VC Bits x Bites. – TechinAsia
GLP has closed its newest China-focused logistics fund with a total investment capacity of approximately US$900 million. – DealStreetAsia
JAPAN AND KOREA
A consortium led by Bain Capital, which includes two Japanese funds, will buy all the shares of Hitachi Metals for US$7.5 billion. – Reuters
Pavilion Capital co-led a US$177 million round for Singapore’s Cityneon, a company that markets entertainment brands by staging elaborate events, displays, and exhibitions. – AVCJ
Singapore-based investment app StashAway has raised a US$25 million Series D led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from Eight Roads Ventures and Square Peg. – TechCrunch
This section highlights the major regulations, policy changes and political developments in China and Hong Kong that have implications for the business environment.
China’s Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Administration of Market Regulation published draft guidelines (link in Chinese) calling for apps to disclose to users what personal information will be collected and for what purpose, and orders apps not to collect users' personal information without first obtaining consent. – Reuters
The Legislative Council approved a bill granting tax concessions for carried interest distributed by private equity funds operating in the city, which would attract more private equity funds to operate and be managed in Hong Kong. – News.gov.hk
Hong Kong’s government on Wednesday passed a new immigration law that allows the city's immigration chief to bar people from boarding planes to and from the city while no court order required. There is also no recourse to appeal. – AFP
ONE FOR THE WEEKEND
Each week we will select one or two articles which have caught our attention – long reads, institutional outlooks, analysis or interesting viewpoints
Goldman Sachs and quantum start-up QC Ware jointly announced that their researchers have designed new, robust quantum algorithms which can be used on near-term quantum hardware in as soon as 5 years. Here, the FT examines the implications. QC Ware’s announcement can be found here.
THE WEEK AHEAD
As China goes into its annual Labour Day “Golden Week” holidays, the country’s Ministry of Transport expects domestic travels to soar and hit a new record high driven by spiking travel enthusiasm after the pandemic.
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