Asia News Bulletin - July 23


Due to Singapore’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the long-awaited Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble is further delayed and will be subject to review in late August. As China considers serious penalties for Didi Global following its controversial US IPO last month, global investment banks are racing to redirect Chinese groups' IPOs towards Hong Kong. Despite the Biden Administration's latest advisory note warning businesses in Hong Kong of heightened risks, AmCham Hong Kong signals its long-term commitment to the city.



MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA

This section tracks major political, economic and business news from the key economies in Asia.

  • The United States has issued an advisory note warning businesses in Hong Kong of the heightened risks to their operations and activities in the city after China's imposition of a national security law last year. While Hong Kong senior Government officials published multiple statements in defence of Hong Kong’s business environment and competitiveness, AmCham Hong Kong also said the city will remain a critical and vibrant facilitator of trade and financial flow between East and West. – Reuters, Financial Times, AmCham

  • Xi Jinping has made his first visit to Tibet as Chinese president, seeking to affirm Beijing’s control over a region where its military build-up and ethnic-assimilation polices have drawn international criticism. Much like its northern neighbour Xinjiang, Tibet has been subject to intense social, security and religious controls. – Bloomberg

  • The chief of Monetary Authority of Singapore said there may be a need for a property gains tax or an inheritance tax to address wealth inequality in the Republic, which he noted will worsen over time if price increases in private housing consistently outstrip that in public housing. – The Straits Times

  • Environment and energy ministers from the Group of 20 rich nations were making little progress on how to reach climate goals, with diplomats struggling days to find meaningful common ground and a cluster of countries resisting any firm commitments. – Reuters

  • By Sept 24, all cryptocurrency exchanges using Korean currency must register with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit under the nation's new regulation that aims to prevent money laundering, otherwise they will face blocked access to their websites and criminal probes. – The Korea Times


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.

CHINA

  • July 22 was the second anniversary of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market. A total of 311 firms have landed on the Nasdaq-style board so far, raising more than US$58.8 billion in IPOs. – Yicai Global

  • Chinese regulators are considering serious, perhaps unprecedented, penalties for Didi Global after its controversial US IPO last month, as regulators see its decision to go public despite pushback from the Cyberspace Administration of China as a challenge to Beijing’s authority. – Bloomberg

HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong has a detailed series of weather alerts that determine whether businesses, schools and public transport operate, including the stock market. Hong Kong Exchange CEO Nicolas Aguzin is exploring the possibility to end bad weather trading halt as the pandemic has shown that markets are able to operate remotely. – Bloomberg

  • Global investment banks are racing to redirect Chinese groups’ IPOs towards Hong Kong after new cybersecurity rules instituted by Beijing halted lucrative tech listings previously heading for New York. Wall Street bankers in Hong Kong said companies with large data components to the business were among those most rapidly switching listing plans to the Asia financial hub and swallowing the associated delays and costs. – Financial Times


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

  • BeijingCloudwise Technology Co., Ltd which specialises in AI for IT operations, has received a US$150 million Series E round funding led by Sequoia Capital China. – DealStreetAsia

  • China’s Meiwei Dental Group has raised a US$150 million Series B round from Fortune Capital, TFTR Investment, and local conglomerate New Hope Group. – AVCJ

  • PatPat, a Chinese-founded children’s wear brand that claims to be the world’s largest direct-to-consumer player in its segment, has raised US$510 million across Series C and D rounds. – AVCJ

  • Chinese oral care brand NYSCPS has raised nearly US$62 million led by Huaxing Growth Capital. – DealStreetAsia

JAPAN AND KOREA

  • Yanolja, which claims to be South Korea’s only travel industry unicorn, has received US$1.7 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund 2. – AVCJ

  • BlackRock Real Assets has acquired a 100% stake in Korea Renewable Energy Development & Operation Holdings Co Ltd, previously known as IGIS Private Equity. – DealStreetAsia

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • LeapFrong Investments and Khosla Ventures have led a US$75 million Series C round for HealthifyMe, a mobile fitness app operator with a presence in India and Southeast Asia. – AVCJ

  • Vietnam-based food-tech startup KAMEREO has raised a US$4.6 million funding co-led by CPF Group, Quest Ventures, and Genesia Ventures. – DealStreetAsia

  • Indonesian social commerce enabling platform Desty has closed its pre-Series A round led by 5Y Capital, raising over US$3 million. – DealStreetAsia


REGULATORY UPDATES

This section highlights the major regulations, policy changes and political developments in China and Hong Kong that have implications for the business environment.

CHINA

  • China’s Commerce Ministry revealed plans to remove unreasonable restrictions on second-hand vehicle trading and improve management of the auto industry in areas such as scrappage standards to release the potential for automobile consumption. – Yicai Global

  • A landmark personal bankruptcy ruling by a court in Shenzhen could pave the way for the nationwide rollout of a legal system that would allow individuals and private businesspeople who can’t repay their loans to undergo debt workouts or be declared bankrupt. – Caixin Global

HONG KONG

  • The Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Bill 2021, which aims to combat doxing acts, will be introduced into the LegCo for the First Reading and the Second Reading. The city’s Privacy Commissioner warns that if online platforms do not cooperate with the enforcement and fails to follow the instructions to remove the original content, as a last resort, the authority may ask the internal service provider to take down the entire website. – Hong Kong Free Press, Reuters


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


The future of work planning is one of the most urgent executive priorities going forward, with worker-employer relationships permanently changed by the pandemic, said Deloitte on July 21 as it releases its 2021 Global Human Capital Trends research. Read the findings here to explore the potential futures that illustrate how the world of work could evolve.



THE WEEK AHEAD

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit China next week as part of a larger Asia group, marking the highest-level visit by a US official to China in months. Sherman's visit has been anticipated in foreign policy circles, and could help set the stage for additional exchanges and a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping this year, possibly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Italy in late October. – Reuters



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