Asia News Bulletin - May 7


Singapore said it is assessing potential changes to the planned travel bubble with Hong Kong after a flareup of Covid-19 cases triggered fresh restrictions in the city-state. Hong Kong is expecting to receive a fresh injection of interest from family offices following the launch of the cross-border Wealth Management Connect scheme.



MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA

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


  • The Biden administration is likely to maintain pressure on China by preserving limits on US investments in certain Chinese companies imposed under former President Donald Trump. – Bloomberg

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the new Investment Ministry and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology in an effort to make it easier for companies to do business in the country as it struggles to recover from the pandemic. – The Straits Times

  • Japanese companies are increasing scrutiny over their global supply chains to ensure they are not dealing with suppliers with questionable human rights records in response to international investor pressure. – Nikkei Asia

  • Australian companies are rushing into public markets to raise funds via first-time share sales at the fastest pace in 14 years. Companies have priced nearly US$2.3 billion of IPO so far in 2021, the most year-to-date since 2007. – Bloomberg

  • Companies in Asia are beginning to bet on cryptocurrencies, with South Korean gaming giant Nexon following the lead of companies such as Tesla and digital payments specialist Square, with a US$100 million allocation into bitcoin. Earlier last month, Chinese photo-editing app Meitu also revealed its US$100 million worth of cryptocurrencies. – Nikkei Asia


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

  • Beijing is expected to loosen capital controls further to give mainland investors a new outbound channel to buy bonds in Hong Kong, providing investment alternatives for Chinese households and companies while boosting liquidity in the city and cementing its status as a global financial hub. – South China Morning Post

  • China's securities regulator has approved the IPO applications of three companies. Qilu Bank Co. Ltd., Bondex Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. and Eastroc Beverage (Group) Co., Ltd. will be listed on the A-share market. – Xinhua

HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited has decided to water down its proposal to drastically raise the profit qualification for a Main Board listing after receiving overwhelming opposition. It is reported that companies seeking to raise funds on the Main Board must have earned at least HK$80 million in combined profits in the three years prior to the listing, compared to HKEX’s original plan to raise the threshold to HK$125 million. – South China Morning Post

  • S.F. Holding, operator of SF Express, is looking to raise up to US$345 million through listing its SF Real Estate Investment Trust (SF Reit) in Hong Kong, which is expected to debut on May 17. – Global Capital Asia


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

  • Chinese genetic and enzyme engineering technology company Abiochem Biotechnology has raised nearly US$46 million in a Series C round financing from Temasek and China Merchants Bank’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary CMB International. – DealStreetAsia

  • Shanghai-headquartered contact lens manufacturer Dearer has raised US$65 million in a Series B round of financing from CITIC Private Equity, Legend Capital, BioTrack Capital and Insight Capital. – DealStreetAsia

  • China’s Buhuo Ventures has closed its first US dollar-denominated fund at US$100 million, following a GP-led cross-currency restructuring of a renminbi vehicle. – AVCJ

JAPAN AND KOREA

  • Japanese engineering conglomerate JGC Group has teamed up with local VC Global Brain to establish a US$46 million fund targeting industrial sector technology start-ups. – AVCJ

  • IMM Private Equity has made the first investment under its newly launched credit strategy, picking up a 40% stake in SK Lubricants. – AVCJ

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • Indonesia’s Social Bella, a beauty and personal care tech startup, has raised US$56 million as part of its latest round led by L Catterton. – TechinAsia

  • Singapore-headquartered digital entertainment company POPS WORLDWIDE is targeting to raise US$50 million in a Series D funding round this year to drive its growth strategy. – DealStreetAsia

  • Singapore-based e-commerce aggregator Una Brands has raised US$40 million in its seed round of equity and debt financing, marking one of the biggest seed funding rounds in the region. – TechinAsia


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 is collecting public comment on its first Futures Law, which looks to govern far more than futures, as the latest draft of the legislation defines which derivatives will be covered under the law. The draft legislation brings complex financial instruments besides futures under the purview of Chinese law and raises the size of fines for violators. – Caixin Global

  • China's central bank is devising structural monetary policy tools that can provide direct support to the economy in the pursuit of cutting carbon emissions. – Yicai Global

HONG KONG

  • After twelve meetings held since April, the LegCo committee has wrapped up scrutiny of the electoral reform bill and unanimously endorsed a series of changes put forward by the government. The legislature will proceed with a second debate on May 26 to further discuss implementation. – South China Morning Post


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


Three months after the military coup in Myanmar, many fled to the jungles, including thousands of white and blue-collar workers, who left their jobs to disrupt the economy in resistance to the coup. The Irrawaddy calls for tougher action to cut off foreign currency flowing into the Myanmar military regime, and states that the international community has a critical role to put pressure on the military’s financial lifeline.



THE WEEK AHEAD

Adidas has launched the sale of its Reebok brand in an auction with first-round bids to be submitted next week, expecting China’s Anta Sports and Li Night to hand in offers. Financial investors including TPG, Sycamore, Cerberus and Apollo are also likely to join the fray. – Reuters



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