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Asia News Bulletin - May 14


Hong Kong has logged its sixth straight day without untraceable local infections, and quarantine and testing arrangements for vaccinated travellers are to marginally relax from May 12. Shanghai and South Korea are to collaborate to tap each other’s equity markets, and the American Chamber of Commerce found in a survey that a significant proportion of expats are planning to move away from Hong Kong.


MAJOR HEADLINES IN ASIA

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

  • The Shanghai Stock Exchange and South Korea’s Korea Exchange have agreed to work on a program for investors from both sides to tap into each other’s markets through ETF, according to a memorandum of understanding (link in Chinese) they signed on Tuesday. The two sides will also promote cooperation on indexes and bond markets. – Caixin Global

  • After recouping more than US$3 billion from firms including Goldman Sachs, Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB is casting a wider net to sue companies including JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank to recover assets worth more than US$23 billion. 1MDB and a former unit filed a combined 22 civil suits against entities and individuals for various alleged wrongdoings including fraud and conspiracy to defraud the fund, the Finance Ministry said. – Bloomberg

  • Taiwan is reimposing social distancing and mask rules as it grapples with an outbreak of coronavirus cases after months of no local infections. - SCMP

  • As protests in Myanmar continue, a number of international big-name tenants of a high-end office block in Myanmar, Sule Square, which the United Nations said is built on military-owned land, have moved out or are reviewing their leases, including McKinsey, Coca-Cola and Reuters.- Reuters

  • The Temperature Testing Survey on Expats, conducted by AmCham Hong Kong in early May, found that 58% of responded expats have no plans to leave Hong Kong, while 42 % say they are considering or planning a move away. The most widely shared concerns were discomfort due to the National Security Law, quarantine requirements, a bearish outlook on Hong Kong’s competitiveness, etc. – AmCham Hong Kong


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

  • Chinese corporations are defaulting on local bonds at the fastest pace on record, as authorities ramp up efforts to introduce more financial discipline and transparency in the world’s second-largest debt market. Firms so far this year have failed to make payments on nearly 100 billion yuan (US$15.5 billion) of onshore bonds. – Bloomberg

  • The share price of the Chinese food delivery app Meituan fell nearly ten percent after its chief executive posted an ancient poem that investors interpreted as criticising Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media. – Financial Times

HONG KONG

  • China’s snack maker Weilong Delicious Global Holdings has filed for a Hong Kong IPO. The firm did not disclose the target fundraising size. – Reuters

  • S.F. Holding’s SF Real Estate Investment Trust has set the final offer price at HK$4.98 per unit, enabling the largest listed courier provider in China to raise about HK$2.6 billion (US$334.7 million) from its Hong Kong IPO. – South China Morning Post


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

  • Dingdong Macai, a China-based online fresh produce delivery business, has raised US$330 million in an extended Series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund. – Caixin Global

  • Hong Kong cryptocurrency services provider Babel Finance has raised US$40 million in a Series A funding round led by Zoo Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Tiger Global Management and other investors. – CoinDesk

  • DAC Biotech, a Chinese biotech company specializing in antibody-drug conjugates commonly used as targeted therapies for treating cancer, has raised US$160 million in Series C funding led by GL Ventures, CDG Capital, and CPE. – AVCJ

  • Access Medical Systems, parent company ET Healthcare, has raised a US$100 million round co-led by Sequoia Capital China and GL Ventures. – DealStreetAsia

JAPAN AND KOREA

  • Radish, a Korea and US-based mobile fiction platform, will be acquired by a unit of Kakao Corporation for US$440 million. – AVCJ

  • LG Chem, a chemicals and battery unit of LG Corp, is investing US$134 million in a new fund that will invest in companies focused on battery tech and eco-friendly materials. – DealStreetAsia

SOUTHEAST ASIA

  • TA Associates has acquired a majority stake in In.Corp Group, a Singapore-headquartered corporate services provider, facilitating an exit for EQT. – AVCJ

  • VNLIFE, the parent firm of Vietnam’s digital payments major VNPAY, is said to be near the completion of an over US$200 million fundraising round. – 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

  • Pinduoduo and Meituan were summoned by Shanghai Consumer Council on Monday over consumer protection issues. The consumer protection watchdog told the companies to focus less on boosting traffic and more on protecting consumers, as part of an ongoing national campaign against market abuses by internet giants. – Caixin Global

  • China's central bank has handed eight firms, including Western China's Changji Country Garden Real Estate Development and Huatai Life Insurance, fines ranging up to US$7,795 for refusing to accept cash payments. – Yicai Global

HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong authorities has been given new powers to unseat “unpatriotic” district councillors and recover their salaries under an oath-taking bill swiftly passed by the legislature on Wednesday. The secretary for justice can also initiate investigations into the past behaviour of district councillors suspected of being insufficiently unpatriotic. – 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


China released results from its 2020 census this week, reporting that its population grew to 1.41 billion last year, a narrow increase from the previous year, and a sign that the country’s population may be near its peak. This looming “demographic crisis” will have repercussions across numerous sectors, from healthcare to pension funds. The Diplomat, Reuters, South China Morning Post.



THE WEEK AHEAD

The logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will kick off the marketing of its Hong Kong initial public offering to retail investors early next week, with the firm seeking to raise US$3.4 billion to US$3.9 billion. This listing is expected to be the second-biggest deal on the Hong Kong bourse this year, after Kuaishou Tech raised US$6.2 billion in January in the biggest IPO globally year-to-date. – South China Morning Post



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