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Asia News Bulletin - July 16


One week ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, a six-month high COVID-19 case count in Japan has raised concerns about infections at the Games. The US is poised to issue its first ever business advisory in relation to Hong Kong to warn US companies of the risks of doing business in the city, while Singapore mulls deeper collaboration with China’s Greater Bay Area. While China increases scrutiny on overseas listings and its homegrown exchanges, regulators plan to exempt Hong Kong IPOs from cybersecurity reviews.


MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA

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

  • President Joe Biden on Thursday confirmed his plan to issue a new statement this week warning American companies about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong. It is expected to highlight a range of threats including China’s ability to obtain data that foreign companies store in Hong Kong, and Beijing’s new law to impose sanctions against anyone enabling foreign penalties to be implemented against Chinese groups and officials. – South China Morning Post

  • Rumours suggest that the US is discussing proposals for a digital trade agreement covering Indo-Pacific economies as the administration seeks ways to check China’s influence in the region. The pact could set out standards for the digital economy, including rules on the use of data, trade facilitation and electronic customs arrangements. – Bloomberg

  • Singapore is looking to strengthen bilateral collaboration with China’s Greater Bay Area on multiple fronts, including facilitating investments and knowledge exchange, and joining on green projects and sustainable development. – The Business Times

  • The US Senate passed the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act on Wednesday to ban the import of products from China's Xinjiang region, the latest effort in Washington to punish Beijing for what US officials say is an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. – Reuters

  • The South Korean government and business circles are working together to cope with the implementation of the European Union's carbon border adjustment measure (CBAM), which is expected to have a heavy impact on Korea's steel and other industries that are not categorized as eco-friendly. – 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

  • With China set to launch its long-awaited national carbon emissions trading market this Friday, spokesperson of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission suggested that carbon credits may be used as collateral to obtain bank loans. – Caixin Global

  • Global index publisher FTSE Russell said it will delete a further 20 Chinese companies from its indexes after user feedback on an updated US executive order that bars US investment in companies with alleged ties to China's military. –Reuters

HONG KONG

  • Logistics and delivery firm Lalamove is the latest weighing moving its US IPO plan to Hong Kong, following Beijing’s pledge to tighten cybersecurity oversight that could block start-ups from holding first-time share sales outside the country. China’s stricter screening for its Nasdaq-style STAR board has also prompted companies such as Neusoft Medical Systems Co. to switch to Hong Kong. – Bloomberg

  • Hong Kong stocks rose to a one-week high as China injected liquidity to ease a crunch in the system amid reports showing the economy lost some growth momentum last quarter. – South China Morning Post

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • Indian digital payments provider Mobikwik is looking to raise up to INR19 billion (US$255 million) through a domestic IPO that would facilitate partial exits for a string of investors. – AVCJ

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 last-mile logistics company Gogox has raised US$100 million in funding led by the international arm of China Bank of Communications and Cyberport Macro Fund. – AVCJ

  • Adlai Nortye, a Chinese biopharma player specialising in cancer treatments, has raised US$100 million in Series D funding led by CMG-SDIC Capital Management and Tigermed. – AVCJ

  • Hangzhou-headquartered cell therapy company Westlake Therapeutics has bagged US$15 million in a new round co-led by Sequoia Capital China and Eight Road Ventures. – DealStreetAsia

  • Blockchain security player CertiK with significant operations in China has raised US$37 million in its Series B round co-led by Xiaomi’s Shunwei Capital and Caotue Management. – DealStreetAsia

JAPAN AND KOREA

  • Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, Japan’s second-largest lender by assets, plans to buy 5% of Jefferies Financial Group Inc shares for around US$380.19 million. – Reuters

  • Baring Private Equity Asia has secured a US$324 million exit from Korean courier business Logen in a sale to CVC Capital Partners. – AVCJ

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • Singapore’s Next Gen Foods, which markets the vegetarian chicken brand Tindle, has raised US$20 million from VCs including GGV Capital, with a view to entering the US. – AVCJ

  • Indonesia-based tax compliance solutions provider OnlinePajak has raised US$12 million from Tencent Holdings, Altos Ventures and Warburg Pincus. – 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 on Thursday issued a guideline (link in Chinese) to support high-level reform and opening-up of the Pudong New Area in Shanghai, and increase capability in innovation, strengthen high-end industries and upgrade national industrial chains. The city aims to take the lead in establishing a new system for an open economy that is compatible with prevailing international rules. – Yicai Global

  • Chinese regulators blacklisted 25 more apps associated with the ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing on Friday, the latest blow to the company as it reckons with a government crackdown at home and litigation overseas. – South China Morning Post

HONG KONG

  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam has commenced the consultation period for her fifth and final Policy Address, which will be delivered on Oct 6. While Lam has yet to disclose plan for re-election, commentators said this latest approach to design a “visionary” Policy Address with a focus on Hong Kong’s housing woes strongly hints that she wants to seek re-election and could serve as a “remarketing” targeting Beijing officials. – 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


Gender discrimination is on the rise since the Chinese government began dismantling the one-child policy in China, with the latest three-child policy being a huge blow to working women. Managers and recruiters interviewed by Bloomberg revealed employers’ reluctance to pay for maternity leave and common practices to side-line female employees after they got pregnant. Read here for the full article.


THE WEEK AHEAD

7 more days until the Tokyo Olympic Games, with the opening ceremony to go ahead on the 23rd – which will take place this year without spectators in the host city to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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