Hong Kong marked a day of zero new coronavirus cases on Thursday for the first time in more than half a year, a milestone that has prompted politicians to call for relaxed social-distancing rules. HKEX’s new chief executive said the bourse will sharpen its role as the gateway between China and the global capital markets, while the city’s government has proposed curtailing crypto trading for retail investors.
MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA
This section tracks major political, economic and business news from the key economies in Asia.
US and Chinese trade envoys talked by phone this Thursday for the first time since President Joe Biden took office, but the two sides gave no sign when negotiations on ending their tariff war might restart. – Associated Press
Korea proposed the establishment of a multinational system to stockpile medical and quarantine supplies to respond to future health crises during the Northeast Asia Conference on Health Security, while also stressing the importance of developing joint educational programs to deal with infectious diseases. – The Korea Times
A member of the International Olympic Committee says the Tokyo Olympic Games is to go ahead this year and that the option of cancelling the event is "essentially off the table." Despite the IOC remaining resolute in its convictions, frustration is growing within the Japanese public as the country battles a fourth wave of infections. – CNN
Some of the world’s largest tech corporations – from Google to Microsoft and Amazon – are in talks with Climate Impact X, Singapore’s new carbon offset trading platform that would be among the first to be backed by a public stock exchange. – Bloomberg
As Taiwan reports record high new coronavirus infections, its financial regulator has backtracked on its policy of uninterrupted banking services and is allowing banks to adopt a flexible approach of their operations. – Taiwan News
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.
Shanghai is dedicated to further opening up a two-way financial investment with multiple measures like further promoting the Qualified Foreign Limited Partner and Qualified Domestic Limited Partner pilot programs, to accelerate building the city into a global asset management centre. – Global Times
A unit of China Oceanwide Holdings Group defaulted on US$280 million of offshore bonds in the troubled conglomerate’s ongoing crisis after years of overseas acquisitions. – Caixin Global
Chipmaker SigmaStar is rumoured to be seeking to raise at least 5 billion yuan (US$780 million) in IPO in Shanghai as China expands is semiconductor industry. – Bloomberg
Nicolas Aguzin, the new chief executive of the HKEX, said the bourse will aim to provide Chinese investors with financial products and the platform to sharpen its role as the gateway between China and the global capital markets. – South China Morning Post
Chinese gaming giant NetEase’s music streaming arm has filed for an IPO in Hong Kong. – 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
YunQuNa, a smart logistics service platform born in China, has completed a Series D1 funding round at US$100 million to achieve a unicorn valuation of over US$1 billion. – DealStreetAsia
For-U Smart Freight, a Chinese road freight logistics company, has raised a US$200 million Series E round led by China Structural Reform Fund, China life Investment, and Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments. – AVCJ
TR Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group have backed the spin-out of six healthcare assets held by Huagai Capital into a US$125 million renminbi-denominated continuation fund. – AVCJ
Chinse surgical instruments developer IntoCare Medical Technology has secured nearly US$15 million in a Series D round led by Qiming Venture Partners. – DealStreetAsia
CyberAgent Capital, a unit of Japanese advertising agency CyberAgent, has raised US$55 million for its third flagship VC fund. Details regarding the fund’s backers remain undisclosed. – AVCJ
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has invested US$175 million in Korean education app Riiid, bringing the total investment in the company to US$250 million. – AVCJ
Esco Lifesciences Group, a Singapore firm that pivoted from washing lab gowns to making high-tech equipment, has raised US$200 million from some of the world’s biggest healthcare investors including Novo, Vivo Capital and GIC. – Bloomberg
Indonesian cryptocurrency exchange Pintu has raised a US$6 million Series A led by Pantera Capital, Intudo Ventures and Coinbase Ventures. – TechCrunch
This section highlights the major regulations, policy changes and political developments in China and Hong Kong that have implications for the business environment.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has issued final rules (link in Chinese) governing sales of wealth management products, expanding them to cover commercial banks and foreign-owned companies and adding restrictions on marketing of the investments. – Caixin Global
Hong Kong's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said that cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Hong Kong will have to be licenced by the city's markets regulator and will only be allowed to provide services to professional investors. – Reuters
Beijing’s top office overseeing Hong Kong affairs will be expanded to create two new departments covering national security and propaganda, a move some observers say signals the central government’s determination to win the “ideological battle” in the city. – South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s legislature has passed the electoral reform bill that reduces the public’s ability to vote, increases the number of pro-Beijing lawmakers making decisions for the city, and empowers the city’s national security department to conduct background checks on potential candidates for public office and sets up a vetting committee to ensure candidates are patriotic. – Associated 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
Leaked documents from a classified 1966 study, first reported on by the New York Times, appear to confirm that the US military considered using nuclear weapons against China in the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis. More than six decades later, strategic ambiguity about Taiwan’s status has prompted Daniel Ellsberg, a former US military analyst and political activist, to publicise the documents due to his concerns over the possibility of a new war over Taiwan.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association will be hosting the ESG & Sustainable Finance Week on 1-4 June, bringing together key capital markets experts, policymakers and innovators at its virtual conference to discuss and debate issues from climate-related financial risk management and capacity building on sustainability, to scaling up sustainable finance and ESG across Asia.
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