Asia News Bulletin - July 30




While Singapore is looking at relaxing its border rules this September, China’s COVID-19 control measures are under intense pressure after an airport cluster in Nanjing is believed to have led to infections in 15 cities across the country in just over a week. Following China’s latest tough new restrictions on the private education sector, the country’s regulator has sought to ease concerns among international investors and banks.



MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA

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

  • China’s top legislative body is set to impose a new anti-sanctions law on Hong Kong by inserting the provisions into the city’s mini-constitution as soon as next month, a move to ensure Hong Kong officials could coordinate with the rest of the nation in retaliating against punitive actions the West imposed on authorities. – South China Morning Post

  • Singapore’s opposition politicians are stepping up scrutiny of jobs taken up by ex-pats, as the perennial debate about Singapore’s reliance on foreign labour sharpens. Survey showed some 70% of the residents called for strict limits on the number of foreigners coming into the country, as the city-state battles to recover from recession. – Bloomberg

  • Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges must disclose the risks of the Chinese government interfering in their businesses as part of their regular reporting obligations, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said. – Reuters

  • Some US$5.85 billion in investment contracts were signed with foreign enterprises in Shanghai this week. Thirty-six projects worth nearly US$3 billion are in key industries such as integrated circuits, biomedicine, artificial intelligence, health products, automobiles, high-end equipment, advanced materials as well as consumer fashion, underscoring multinational firms’ confidence in the Chinese market. – Yicai Global

  • As part of broader tax code revisions announced by Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, the country’s tax authorities will be able to seize and sell cryptocurrencies held by tax dodgers starting January 2022. Crypto exchanges will be required to transfer their virtual assets to the government immediately upon request. – The Korea Times

  • As the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group enters the South China Sea with the intention of carrying out “freedom of navigation exercises”, it has received a less than enthusiastic welcome. - BBC


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

  • China’s securities regulator convened executives of major investment banks in an attempt to ease market fears about Beijing’s crackdown on the private education industry, the latest sign that Chinese authorities have become uncomfortable with a sell-off that sent the country’s key stock indexes to the brink of a bear market on Wednesday morning. – South China Morning Post

  • Didi surged as much as 49 per cent in pre-market trading after The Wall Street Journal reported it was considering going private to placate Chinese authorities Chinese regulators. However, its shares pared gains after the company denied the report. – South China Morning Post

HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong stocks sank to an eight-month low as investors dumped their holdings to avoid growing risks in China’s regulatory rampage, accelerated by concerns about US’ investment curbs. – South China Morning Post

  • Beijing-based WM Tech Corp.’s planned IPO in Hong Kong is facing delays as the city’s bourse questions the supermarket owner on its business operations. – Bloomberg


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

  • Hong-Kong headquartered Allianz Global Investors Asia Pacific Limited, together with PT Asuransi Allianz Life Indonesia, is set to acquire RHB Asset Management Indonesia. – Pensions & Investments

  • GLP has announced the close of its newest China-focused logistics fund – GLP China Income Fund III – with a total investment capacity of about US$700 million. – DealStreetAsia

  • TransThera, a China-based drug developer, has raised US$100 million in Series D funding led by CPE and China Structural Reform Fund. – AVCJ

  • CalmCar, a China-based provider of self-driving solutions, has closed a US$150 million Series C round led by German auto parts supplier ZF Group. – Caixin Global

JAPAN AND KOREA

  • SoftBank Ventures Asia has led the US$56.4-million Series C funding in SODA, a Japanese e-commerce startup that also runs online sneakers marketplace SNKRDUNK. – TechinAsia

  • Japan Growth Investments Alliance has agreed to buy a majority stake in home décor business Francfranc from Seven & i Holdings, the parent of 7-Eleven. – AVCJ

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • Indonesia-based grocery platform HappyFresh has closed a US$65 million Series D round led by Korean internet giant Naver and Netherlands-based investor Gafina. – The Jakarta Post

  • FPT Software, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s earliest tech group FPT, has invested an undisclosed amount in US-based IT services provider Intertec International. – DealStreetAsia

  • Singapore-based cross-border payments firm Nium has raised over US$200 million in a Series D led by Riverwood Capital, making it Southeast Asia’s first B2B payments unicorn. – TechCrunch


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 unveiled a sweeping overhaul of its US$100 billion education tech sector – companies that teach school subjects can no longer accept overseas investment, which could include capital from the offshore registered entities of Chinese firms, according to a notice (link in Chinese) released by the State Council. – Bloomberg

HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong is poised to sentence the first person convicted under the national security law. 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit faces up to life in prison after being found guilty of incitement to secession and engaging in terrorist activities, convictions that stem from an incident last year when Tong drove a motorcycle carrying a flag with the banned protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times” into a group of police officers, injuring three. – Bloomberg

  • The national security police have arrested five members of a speech therapists trade union for an alleged "conspiracy to distribute seditious materials", as the union published a series of children’s story books about the Hong Kong protests in 2019. – Hong Kong Free Press


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


Global governments are getting uneasy with the pervasive power of Big Tech. While nothing substantial has come about from anti-trust lawsuits in the West, China’s political leadership is willing to go a lot further to rein in the clout of its tech giants. Read here for Bloomberg’s view on how Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on fintech to education to ride-hailing would alter the corporate landscape and affect foreign investment.



THE WEEK AHEAD

The Macau International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition, hosted by the Macau Government and co-organised by the governments of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region, will take place on 5-7 Aug. With the theme “Towards a Green and Low Carbon New Era”, the forum brings together businesses, experts and officials through case and policy analysis, technology demonstrations and networking. The exhibition is accessible online via an interactive page.



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