Industry News & Trends Recap: Apr Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap: Apr Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap Apr Week 2

In this week’s summary, our legal executive search consultants observe more activity within the sector involving partner-level hires. Notably, V&T welcomed 14 new members to its China offices. Meanwhile, the spotlight remains on the financial services sector in the UAE. On the retail front, AliExpress is offering substantial subsidies to encourage global expansion among Chinese merchants. In the tech industry, companies are ramping up efforts to expand infrastructure and operations across Asia. Join us as we delve into these key developments shaping the business landscape.

Table of contents

  1. Finance Industry News
  2. Investment, PE & VC News
  3. Legal Industry News
  4. Healthcare & Life Sciences News
  5. Luxury & Retail News
  6. Tech & AI News


Finance Sector News

financial services industry and market news


Moves: Citibank, BNP Paribas and HSBC

Citibank: Citibank has appointed Janus Wu as Head of International Personal Bank (IPB) for Hong Kong. He will focus on utilising the One-Citi partnership to meet the needs of IPB clients and drive business growth with banking and investment services. Wu, who previously served as the Shenzhen Branch Manager, is experienced in overseeing institutional and consumer businesses. Citibank aims to leverage Wu’s expertise to capitalise on emerging opportunities and strengthen its wealth management services in the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

BNP Paribas: Euro Zone’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, appointed Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort as its new global banking head for Asia Pacific (APAC). Beaufort, who has over 30 years of experience at BNP Paribas, will enhance coordination among global banking teams in the region and foster cross-regional collaboration. His leadership is also expected to bolster the bank’s business growth in APAC.

HSBC: Greg Hingston, the head of HSBC’s insurance business in Asia, is stepping down to explore opportunities outside the firm. He will be replaced by HSBC veteran Ed Moncreiffe, who has served at HSBC for 18 years, during which he took on several leadership roles, including head of life and pensions in Brazil.

Read the full article about Janus Wu’s appointment.

Read the full article about BNP Paribas’ new banking head.

Read the full article about Hingston’s departure from HSBC.



TerraPay Secures MAS Licence for Money Transfer and Account Issuance Services

TerraPay, a global money movement company, obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) License from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The license enables TerraPay to offer services, including Account Issuance, Domestic and Cross-border Money Transfers, Merchant Acquisition, and E-money Issuance. The firm intends to leverage Singapore’s status as a financial hub to strengthen partnerships and accelerate its presence in the APAC region.

Read the full article about TerraPay’s licence.



Hong Kong Sees Growth in Buyout Activities

While deal-making activity has slowed down, buyouts of companies listed on Hong Kong’s stock exchange are thriving. This includes high-profile cases like L’Occitane International, which is considering going private with backing from Blackstone. This trend is driven by China’s economic challenges and strained relations with the US, prompting many firms listed in Hong Kong to trade at a discount compared to other global markets. As a result, there’s a growing appetite for take-private deals in Hong Kong, especially among global brands seeking better valuations and financing stability, with both private equity firms and Chinese state-owned enterprises exploring such opportunities.

Read the full article about the growth in buyout activities.



HashKey Launches Global Crypto Exchange and Aims to Overtake Coinbase

Hong Kong’s HashKey Group launched HashKey Global, aiming to surpass Coinbase in trading volume within five years. The platform operates under a Digital Asset Business licence issued in Bermuda and targets global markets except the US, China, and Hong Kong due to regulatory restrictions. The COO, Livio Weng, cites compliance and user experience as its advantage and foresees potential interest by overseas Chinese and Asian investors in regions that do not block offshore crypto exchanges.

Read the full article about HashKey Global.



UBS Contemplates Credit Suisse China Stake Swap with Chinese Government

UBS Group is in talks to acquire full ownership of its China platform by exchanging its stake in Credit Suisse’s onshore securities venture with a Beijing government investment fund. This move comes amid a bidding process for Credit Suisse’s investment bank in China, with potential buyers including Jack Ma-backed Ant Group and US billionaire investor Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities. For UBS, offloading the Credit Suisse venture to the Beijing government would be a strategic move to divert a competitor like Citadel, known for its expertise in market-making and trading execution.

Read the full article about UBS’ potential full platform ownership.


Investment, PE & VC News

private equity and venture capital deals


Moves: B Capital, Natixis IM, Fiera Capital and Pictet

B Capital: Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s investment firm, B Capital, appointed Jeff Johnson as general partner to lead its climate investment team. A former managing director at Temasek, Johnson is a seasoned investor and entrepreneur with strong expertise in scaling growth companies. Concurrently, the ex-global chair and CEO of Boston Consulting Group, Rich Lesser, joined as senior advisor and vice-chair of climate and sustainability. Lesser will still remain at BCG to strengthen ties between B Capital and BCG.

Natixis: Natixis Investment Managers appointed J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s executive director, Mark Kwek, as head of wholesale for Southeast Asia (SEA). Kwek brings experience in assisting private banks and family offices with business development, as well as driving product placement for regional fund selectors. His role will be based in Singapore, and Kwek will focus on expanding Natixis IM’s wholesale business in key SEA markets, such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. He will also drive new initiatives and deepen existing client relationships.

Fiera Capital: Canada-based asset manager Fiera Capital appointed C.J. Morrell as managing director and head of Japan to bolster its strategic focus on the Japanese market amid the nation’s economic reforms. Morrell, who has over 30 years of experience in asset management, will lead the expansion of Fiera’s presence in Japan, leveraging existing relationships and Fiera’s regionalised distribution model. This is a newly created role, and it follows recent appointments across Fiera’s global operations.

Pictet: Geneva-based Pictet chose Ann Mirjam Levy Duvernay as the new CEO for its Hong Kong branch and head of North Asia within its wealth management division to replace seasoned veteran Alex Ng, who is retiring. Levy Duvernay, who currently oversees group internal audit, previously served as Pictet’s head of finance and business insights and spent 14 years at KPMG advising clients in banking and asset management. The reshuffle also includes Christophe Kratzer, who will take over Levy Duvernay’s position in internal audit, effective May 1, 2025. Meanwhile, Pascal John will assume interim management duties.

Read the full article about B Capital’s new appointments.
Read the full article about Natixis IM’s new wholesale head.
Read the full article about Pictet’s new CEO and North Asia head.



Temasek Launches Paris Office and Plans S$20-25b Regional Investments

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings launched its Paris office and announced plans to invest S$20 to S$25 billion in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region over the next five years. The office is Temasek’s third in Europe and the 13th globally, aligning with Temasek’s intention to expand its European presence and capitalise on clean energy trends.

Read the full article about Temasek’s new Paris office.



HSBC’s CEO Aims to Strengthen Wealth Business in China and India

HSBC Holdings’ CEO, Noel Quinn, aims to enhance the firm’s wealth management services in China and India to match its strong presence in its key market, Hong Kong. The announcement was made at the bank’s inaugural Global Investment Summit in Hong Kong. HSBC and other global banks are expanding their wealth-management operations to offset volatility in earnings from deal-making and trading. HSBC has returned to India, acquired Citigroup’s retail wealth management portfolio in mainland China, and is growing its presence in Asia and the Middle East.

Read the full article about HSBC’s plans for China and India.



SC Ventures and NEXT176 to Launch AI Wealth Management Platform in UAE

Standard Chartered’s investment arm, SC Ventures, is teaming up with the investment arm of Pan-African financial services group Old Mutual, NEXT176, to launch a financial wellness platform. The platform will integrate Autumn, a Singapore-based wealth planning app, with 22seven, a South Africa-based budget management app. The partnership aims to improve access to AI-led wealth management solutions in Africa and the Middle East, where the firms anticipate growth potential and demand for advanced wealth management tools. The app is expected to be headquartered in the UAE.

Read the full article about the AI wealth management solution launch.



Hong Kong Fund Managers Eye Opportunities and Talent in the Middle East

Hong Kong fund managers are establishing offices in Middle East finance centres like Abu Dhabi. The trend comes as fund managers seek to tap into the deepening ties between China and the Middle East by bridging resources, companies and capital between both regions. As more hedge fund managers expand into the Middle East, demand for qualified talent is also expected to grow. The significant wealth derived from the oil and gas industries, especially in the GCC, increases the ease of fundraising, another factor that attracts asset managers seeking investment opportunities. Concurrently, the Middle East’s low tax environment, affordable living and accessible visa schemes attract talent, particularly from Europe. Given the rapid growth of multi-strategy, multi-manager platforms, competition for talent among portfolio managers is strong, and the talent pool in the Middle East further draws fund managers to the region.

Read the full paid article about fund managers’ interest in the Middle East.


Legal News

legal and in-house appointments


Moves in Singapore: Luo Ling Ling, Watson Farley and Wotton + Kearney

Luo Ling Ling: Singapore-based disputes boutique Luo Ling Ling expanded its team by welcoming Aileen Oh, a specialist in family and matrimonial disputes, as a director. Oh’s experience spans complex litigation and corporate counsel roles, and she previously served at USP Group, Fortis Law Corporation, and Hoh Law Corporation.

Watson Farley: Watson Farley & Williams bolstered its global energy steering committee with the appointment of Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi, a project development and finance expert from McDermott Will & Emery. Tjia-Dharmadi will also lead the strategic expansion of Watson Farley’s energy practice in APAC. Tjia-Dharmadi has strong relationships with Indonesian conglomerates and boasts over two decades of experience in power, oil and gas, petrochemicals, infrastructure, and mining project advisory work. She previously joined McDermott as part of their expansion in Singapore and had served as the global co-chair at Latham & Watkins’ energy practice. The move follows the recent addition of another former McDermott partner, Merrick White.

Wotton + Kearney: Sydney-based law firm Wotton + Kearney is opening an office in Singapore in June and hired Kennedys’ partners Ben Nicholson and Tom Morrison. This will mark the 10th branch for W+K, and it will focus on sectors like infrastructure, power generation, and renewable energy in Singapore, which is recognised as a key hub for the European insurance and reinsurance industry. Nicholson, an expert in insurance law, particularly in property, energy, engineering, and infrastructure risks, brings experience from the APAC region and will advise on disputes across various global locations. Meanwhile, Morrison specialises in insurance law, particularly in property, energy, and construction, and is experienced in international arbitrations under ICC, LCIA, and SIAC rules.

Read the full article about Luo Ling Ling’s matrimonial disputes expert.
Read the full paid article about Watson Farley’s new partner.
Read the full article about Tjia-Dharmadi.
Read the full article about W+K’s Singapore office.



Moves in Hong Kong: Yang & Yang Solicitors and Campbells

Yang & Yang Solicitors: M&A expert Dennis Yeung joined Yang & Yang Solicitors’ Hong Kong firm, associated with East & Concord Partners. Yeung comes from Akin Gump’s Beijing office, which has recently shut down. Yeung has over 20 years of experience and is expected to bolster Yang & Yang’s legal expertise in M&A, securities, public listings, private equity, regulatory compliance, commercial, and corporate matters. His appointment brings Yang & Yang’s Hong Kong headcount to 10, of which eight are partners.

Campbells: Caymans-based law firm Campbells has bolstered its Hong Kong team by recruiting banking and finance specialist Paul Trewartha from rival offshore firm Mourant. Trewartha’s expertise includes debt finance, structured finance, and debt capital market transactions, including take-private financings, private capital investment, margin loans, structured product issuances, OTC derivatives, acquisition and leveraged finance, asset finance, fund finance and general corporate lending and bond issuances. He spent almost 10 years at Mourant and previously served at Morgan Stanley and Clayton Utz. Campbells’ Hong Kong office now comprises 13 lawyers, including six partners.

Read the full article about Yang & Yang’s new M&A expert.
Read the full article about Campbell’s finance expert.



Moves in China: Hylands, TianTong, Sundial, Wintell & Co and V&T

Hylands: Qin Wen, former partner of PwC’s Chinese legal arm Rui Bai, and Jingshi Law Firm’s partner Ma Tao joined Hylands Law Firm. Qin specialises in dispute resolution and corporate and IP matters for cross-border and international firms. He was acknowledged as an A-list lawyer by China Business Law Journal in 2019 and 2020 and has served at Run Ming Law Office. Meanwhile, Ma’s expertise lies in corporate governance, M&A, compliance and investment-related dispute resolution work. Ma’s experience includes advising prominent companies like China Resources, Beijing Pharmaceutical, Dong-E-E-Jiao, and COFCO Land Holdings.

TianTong: Yin Qing, a criminal compliance specialist, joined TianTong Law Firm’s Shanghai office as a partner and head of its anti-fraud practice. Yin’s scope of practice covers anti-fraud, anti-commercial bribery, internal corporate investigations, and government investigations, with a focus on fighting money laundering, white-collar crime, and executing corporate crime prevention strategies. His background includes serving at Jin Mao Law Firm, Llinks Law Offices, the Economic Crime Investigation Corps of the Public Bureau Security, and the Bank of East Asia (China). He also holds fraud examiner, anti-money laundering specialist, and internal auditor certifications.

Sundial: Sundial Law Firm has expanded its expertise by bringing onboard cross-border specialist Liu Yishan as a partner. Liu, who comes from JunZeJun Law Offices, is proficient in cross-border investment, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), foreign compliance and foreign dispute resolution. This move marks Sundial’s first partner-level recruitment for the year.

Wintell & Co: Wintell & Co bolstered its Beijing office by welcoming Wei Yi and Li Rui as senior partners. Wei, who comes from Tahota Law Firm, focuses on investment, M&As, dispute resolution, private equity, investment funds and corporate compliance. Meanwhile, Li joins from Tisize & Partners and specialises in financial leasing, cross-border and investment, private equity and investment, M&A and IPOs, credit and trust, corporate restructuring and insolvency and bankruptcy, competition and antitrust, compliance and government regulation, and related dispute resolution. The appointments mark the firm’s first wave of partner-level additions for the year.

Anjie: Anjie Broad Law Firm expanded its Shanghai team by hiring three new partners: Liu Hongyue, Yin Ming, and Chen Haijun. Liu, who comes from King & Wood Mallesons, brings a wealth of experience in corporate compliance and dispute resolution. Yin and Chen, both from JunHe, specialise in bankruptcy reorganisation, liquidation, and international trade and criminal matters, respectively. This marks the firm’s inaugural partner-level hire for the year.

V&T: V&T Law Firm expanded its presence in Chongqing and Fuzhou offices by adding 14 new partners. Four partners—Li Yan, Wang Jia, Wu Qingshuang, and Xu Yajie—have joined the Chongqing office from Kunyuanhengtai Law Firm. Their expertise includes real estate, construction, infrastructure, dispute resolution, criminal compliance & defence, family & wealth management, and corporate & capital markets. Meanwhile, the Fuzhou office welcomed 10 partners—Li Qing, Lin Chi, Liu Pengfei, Liu Tingjie, Ma Tieming, Nie Li, Wen Yufa, Wu Guangkun, Wu Xuemei, and Wu Zhanhuo—from Rongcheng Law Firm. The 10 partners focus on real estate, construction, infrastructure, corporate law, corporate & capital markets, banking & financial legal affairs, dispute resolution, criminal compliance, and defence.

Read the full article about Hyland’s dispute resolution experts.
Read the full article about TianTong’s Head of Anti-Fraud Practice.
Read the full article about Sundial’s cross-border expert.
Read the full article about Wintell & Co’s new hires.
Read the full article about Anjie’s three new partners.
Read the full article about V&T’s 14 new partners.



China’s Guantao and Hong Kong’s Gallant Partners and Exchanges Consultants

PRC law firm Guantao partnered with Hong Kong-based Gallant to enhance their ability to handle cross-border legal matters, particularly related to the GBA. This partnership builds upon Guantao’s previous tie-up with another Hong Kong firm. During the partnership, Gallant’s senior partner, Philip Wong, will join Guantao Hong Kong as a consultant, while the managing partner of Guantao Hong Kong will join Gallant as a consultant at the same time.

Read the full article about Guantao’s partnership with Gallant.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

biotech mergers and acquisitions


Kirin to Dive Deeper Into Healthcare After Beefing Up Asia Operations

Kirin Holdings’ new president seeks to accelerate the growth of the company’s healthcare business by expanding recent acquisitions. The organisation will also seek new opportunities, particularly in North America, and aims to achieve ¥500 billion in annual sales. Despite scepticism about the synergy between its beverage and health products, Kirin plans to leverage acquisitions like Blackmores, which has robust channels in Australia, SEA and China, to expand its presence in APAC. The interest in the healthcare sector reflects a broader trend in Japan, with businesses like Fujifilm Holdings also venturing into the space.

Read the full article about Kirin’s expansion in healthcare.



89bio Partners China CDMO to Construct API Facility for MASH Candidate

89bio is progressing in its quest to develop a treatment for metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) by partnering with a China-based CDMO, BiBo Biopharma Engineering. The agreement entails a payment of $135 million to BiBo for the construction work of 89bio’s third manufacturing facility in China. The facility will support the production of the bulk active ingredient for 89bio’s potential drug, Pegozafermin.

Read the full article about 89bio’s partnership with the CDMO.



Chinese Drugmaker’s First Biosimilar Ozempic Pending Approval in China

A Chinese drugmaker has developed a biosimilar version of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes medication Ozempic, named Jiyoutai, and is seeking approval for its sale in China. This move poses a potential challenge to Novo’s expansion strategies in the country, as its patents on Ozempic expire in 2026. With Ozempic’s sales soaring in China, driven partly by its weight loss benefits, introducing cheaper alternatives could impact the demand, especially among self-paying patients.

Read the full article about the Ozempic biosimilar.



Vertex to Acquire Alpine for US$4.9b

Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced its acquisition of Alpine Immune Sciences for US$4.9 billion. The move marks the largest deal in the biopharma sector this year and highlights the significant investments the immunology and inflammation field has drawn from investors. The acquisition grants Vertex access to Alpine’s leading asset, Povetacicept, which shows promise in treating IgA nephropathy, with a recent trial demonstrating a substantial reduction in proteinuria. This move strengthens Vertex’s position in the immunology field amidst increasing interest and investment from other pharmaceutical companies.

Read the full article about Vertex’s acquisition of Alpine.



ADC: TORL Secure $158m Funds and Merck & Co Strikes ADC Deal

TORL: Benefiting from big pharma and investors’ interest in antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), TORL BioTherapeutics secured $158 million in a series B2 financing round. Led by Deep Track Capital and with continued support from established backers like Bristol Myers Squibb and Goldman Sachs Alternatives, TORL is poised to advance its ADC pipeline. Among these is TORL-1-23, which targets platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. With strong financial backing and promising candidates like TORL-2-307, TORL-3-600, and TORL-4-500 in the pipeline, TORL aims to leverage this momentum, guided by the expertise of renowned cancer researcher Dennis Slamon.

Merck & Co.: After leading a major ADC deal with Daiichi Sankyo, Merck & Co. is now focusing on enhancing its ADC pipeline with a smaller yet strategic acquisition. Merck has inked a deal worth up to $208 million to acquire Abceutics, a startup spun out of the University at Buffalo specialising in technology designed to mitigate the side effects of ADC therapies. Abceutics’ engineered “payload-binding selectivity enhancers” (PBSEs) aim to neutralise stray payload molecules, potentially reducing harm to healthy cells when administered alongside ADCs.

Read the full article about TORL’s efforts in ADC.
Read the full article about Merck & Co.’s deal.


Luxury & Retail News

retail and luxury industry moves


Moves: Giordano, Gucci, Tom Ford, Elisabetta Franchi and Morabito Paris

Giordano: Chief executive of Giordano International Limited, Peter Lau Kwok Kuen, was ousted following a shareholder vote, with 66.07% in favour of his removal. Lau’s removal resulted in him losing multiple roles within the company, including Chairman of the Board, and it also disqualified him as the company’s authorised representative. Concurrently, the shareholders appointed new directors during the special general meeting. Colin Melville Kennedy Currie will serve as the new executive director. At the same time, Sonia Cheng Chi-Man, Christopher Cheng Chi Leong, and Victor Huang were appointed as non-executive and independent non-executive directors.

Tom Ford Beauty: Dexter King has been promoted to senior vice president, global general manager at Tom Ford Beauty, effective April 1, 2024. With nine years of experience at Tom Ford Beauty, King’s leadership has contributed significantly to the brand’s global growth by elevating key fragrances and accelerating channel strategies, particularly in luxury markets. King, who served in various internal leadership functions and held strategy and marketing positions at McKinsey & Company, Diageo, and Moët Hennessy, is believed to be well-prepared for his expanded role.

Gucci: Kering, the Italian luxury group, has appointed Stefano Cantino as deputy CEO of Gucci, starting May 1, 2024. Cantino brings a wealth of experience from his tenure at Louis Vuitton and Prada, having held key roles in marketing and communications. In his new role, Cantino will share responsibility with CEO Palus in defining and executing Gucci’s brand strategy.

Elisabetta Franchi: Former Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri announced his investment in luxury fashion brand Elisabetta Franchi, acquiring 23% of the company and assuming the chairmanship. Impressed by founder Franchi’s success, the company’s profitability, and the brand’s authentic approach to social media, Bizzarri joined when Franchi approached him after his exit from Gucci. Bizzarri aims to create a sustainable structure for the brand, while Franchi focuses on design. This move is supported by CEO Gabriele Maggio, who brings extensive experience from luxury fashion houses such as Stella McCartney, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Moschino.

Morabito Paris: Renowned designer Quentin Véron was appointed as the new Artistic Director of the house of Morabito Paris. Following the appointment, Véron will take charge of leather goods, travel goods, trunks, accessories and special orders. Véron, known for his expertise in fur and craftsmanship, aims to blend contemporary designs with the brand’s iconic heritage.

AS Watsons: AS Watson promoted Malina Ngai to Group CEO, effective May 1, 2024. Ngai, currently serving as the group chief operating officer and CEO of AS Watson (Asia & Europe), has been pivotal in driving digital transformation and fostering cultural change. In her new role, Ngai will focus on formulating strategies centred on customer focus and driving global growth.

Read the full article about Giordano’s management reshuffle.
Read the full article about Dexter King’s promotion.
Read the full article about Gucci’s deputy CEO.
Read the full article about Bizzarri’s involvement in Elisabetta Franchi.
Read the full article about Morabito Paris’s new artistic director.
Read the full article about Ngai’s appointment.



AliExpress Launches 10 Billion of Yuan Subsidies for Brands Going Global

AliExpress launched the “Billion Yuan Subsidy Brand Going Global” initiative to facilitate more brands to enter overseas markets. Industry giants like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo have already come on board, and talks are underway for others like Midea, Hisense, and TCL. Participating merchants can utilise fully or semi-managed POP models. About 1,000 slots are available in the first phase of the opening, and AliExpress’s targets include cross-border sellers and Tmall brand merchants. Brands in the programme will gain access to multiple e-commerce channels under Alibaba International that span across key global markets. Participants will also receive various benefits, such as exclusive subsidies and priority exposure in search, among others.

Read the full article about AliExpress’s subsidy plan.
Read the full Chinese article about AliExpress’s subsidies.



China’s Cosmetics Conglomerate Joy Group’s 2023 Revenue Grew 48%

Shanghai Juyi Cosmetics, operating under Joy Group, achieved remarkable retail sales of US$450 million and revenue of US$360 million in 2023, marking a 48% increase excluding René Furterer. This growth underscores the company’s sustained double-digit expansion and strong profitability, positioning it as one of China’s fastest-growing cosmetics firms. With brands like Judydoll and Joocyee leading the charge, the company witnessed impressive revenue jumps, with Judydoll reaching US$232 million and Joocyee hitting US$130 million in annual revenue. Joy Group’s strategic partnership with Pierre Fabre Laboratories and its assumption of René Furterer operations in China further solidify its market presence. Operating through an extensive network, including flagship stores, e-commerce platforms, offline boutiques, and a vast distribution network, Joy Group’s comprehensive supply chain capabilities and international expansion efforts demonstrate its commitment to continued growth and market expansion.

Read the full article about Joy Group’s revenue growth.



Premium Beauty Conglomerate Puig Targets €2.5b in IPO

Spanish beauty conglomerate Puig plans to go public with an initial public offering on several stock exchanges, aiming to raise €1.25 billion initially and over €2.5 billion in total. The company possesses 14 brands, including well-known names like Charlotte Tilbury and Paco Rabanne, alongside fragrance licenses. Similar to major players such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder, it plans to prioritise fully-owned brands over licenses. While fragrance is its primary revenue source, Puig aims to expand into skincare and makeup, with recent acquisitions, including Dr. Barbara Sturm. This comes as skincare emerges as a rapidly growing segment for the company.

Read the full article about PUIG’s IPO plans.



Rebranded Marithé Partners Korea’s Layer for Asia Expansion

Layer, a South Korean brand distribution group, secured exclusive licensing rights for Marithé François Girbaud in Asia. This follows a successful rebranding effort in 2019 that revitalised the French denim label’s image and contributed to its significant growth in South Korea, with sales hitting US$74 million in 2023 and opening 61 offline stores nationwide. Negotiations are underway with local businesses in high-demand Asian markets like China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam for exclusive distribution rights. Through a unified strategy between the French headquarters and Layer, the partnership will leverage the brand’s heritage and expertise to penetrate international markets and introduce pop-up stores to reintroduce the brand to Asian customers.

Read the full article about Layer’s partnership with Marithé.


Tech Industry News

semiconductor and AI industry trends


Tech Sector’s Data Scientists’ Observe Largest Pay Growth: Report

In Singapore’s tech industry, software engineers are seeing a dip in pay while AI and cyber security specialists experience significant salary increases, reflecting shifting demand. Factors like a subdued metaverse, crypto setbacks, a cutdown on excessive hires during the Covid-19 pandemic and reduced startup funding contribute to the tech sector’s overall salary decrease. However, despite challenges, professionals in AI and cyber security are in high demand due to evolving threats and advancements in technology. As the landscape continues to evolve, skills in cloud computing and data engineering are projected to be the next sought-after expertise.

Read the full article about salary growth in the tech sector.



Microsoft Seeks to Grow AI and Cloud Business in Japan with US$2.9b Investment

Microsoft announced a US$2.9 billion investment over two years to bolster its cloud and AI infrastructure in Japan, marking its largest investment in the country. This funding will also support the training of three million people in AI and the establishment of a Microsoft Research Asia lab in Tokyo. This move aligns with a broader trend of tech giants like Amazon and Google expanding their global data centre capabilities to meet the growing demand for AI applications, following the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022.

Read the full article about Microsoft’s investment in Japan.



Nvidia and Indosat to Invest US$200m in Indonesia AI Centre: Government

NVIDIA and Indonesian telco PT Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison are teaming up to establish a US$200 million AI centre in Central Java by 2024, according to the communication minister. The centre, possibly involving telecom infrastructure or HR facilities, is slated for Surakarta city, as shared by Indosat’s CEO. The choice of Surakarta is attributed to its readiness, strong human resources, and existing 5G infrastructure. However, Indosat and Nvidia have yet to comment on the matter.

Read the full article about Nvidia’s AI centre in Indonesia.



China Has One Unicorn Per Week in 2023, Driven By the AI Industry

Last year, China defied global investment downturns by producing an average of one new unicorn per week, totalling 56, according to the Hurun Global Unicorn Index. Led by sectors like artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and new energy, China accounted for a quarter of the world’s unicorns, trailing just behind the US. Last year marked a significant shift as AI surpassed e-commerce to become one of the top three sectors for unicorn production. ByteDance and SpaceX held the top spots globally, with OpenAI experiencing the fastest valuation surge, reaching third place with its ChatGPT launch. Ant Group, Shein, WeBank, and MiHoYo also made notable appearances on the list, reflecting China’s diverse unicorn landscape.

Read the full article about the growth in Chinese unicorns.



South Korea Declares S$9.35b Investment in AI to Retain Edge in Semiconductor

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a significant investment of 9.4 trillion in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2027, alongside a 1.4 trillion fund specifically for nurturing AI semiconductor firms. This move aims to solidify South Korea’s position in the global semiconductor market, aligning with efforts from countries like the US, China, and Japan to fortify their semiconductor supply chains. With semiconductors being a linchpin of South Korea’s export-oriented economy, Yoon emphasised the competitive nature of the semiconductor industry and outlined plans to advance research and development in AI chips and related technologies to propel South Korea into a leading position in AI technology and semiconductor markets by 2030.

Read the full article about South Korea’s investment in AI.


Tap Into Market Opportunities with JC

To delve further into the market trends and explore potential opportunities, reach out to our consultants at JC Consulting today. Our executive search teams in Singapore and China specialise in various sectors, such as financial services recruitment, life sciences recruitment and luxury & retail recruitment. Positioned strategically in major business and financial hubs across APAC, we are well-equipped to offer analyses specifically tailored to the unique demands of your industry and job function.