Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 3

Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 3

Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 3

In this week’s news recap, private equity dollars are flowing to clinical trial sites as CRO consolidation continues in the life sciences industry. On the financial services front, studies show that hedge funds focused on M&A outperformed in May. Other notable industry developments include:

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

banking private credit hedging trend

1. Trend: More Investors Turn to Private Credit for Hedging

Investors seeking to hedge against stock market volatility are moving away from bonds and towards “uncorrelated assets” like private credit, according to Bobby Jain, CEO of Jain Global. At the UBS Singapore Family Wealth Forum, Jain also noted that the traditional 60/40 portfolio, with 40% in bonds, is no longer a reliable strategy as a decline in the bond market can similarly affect equity. As a result, investors are increasingly turning to private equity and private credit, which are less affected by traditional asset classes. Research supports this shift, forecasting that private credit could nearly double to US$2.8 trillion by 2028. Interest in alternative investments is also growing among Asia-Pacific (APAC) family offices, with many planning to raise allocations in private equity, private debt, and hedge funds over the next five years.

Read the full article about the interest in private credit.


2. Business Moves

i. Cathay United Bank Expands Into Singapore with Plans to Hire

Taiwan’s largest financial firm, Cathay Financial Holding, is increasing its Singapore headcount from 100 to 200 by 2025 to follow regional money flows as clients grow in Southeast Asia (SEA). Recent hires included relationship managers and private bankers. The bank will focus on adding staff in IT, risk, transaction management, and capital solutions this year. This expansion reflects companies’ diversification in investments due to geopolitical tensions. The bank’s shift also highlights a broader trend of Taiwanese investments moving towards regions SEA.

Read the full article about Cathay United Bank’s expansion into Singapore.


ii. Li Ka-Shing-Backed WeLab Looks to Launch Digital Banks Targeting SEA

Hong Kong-based fintech unicorn WeLab, backed by billionaire Li Ka-Shing, is targeting SEA for growth by setting up digital banks and exporting technology services. The move aims to serve conglomerates in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines and tap into SEA’s strong demand for fintech. WeLab aims to expand its user base to 500 million by 2032 and is in talks with HSBC to provide its service to its Malaysia unit. Meanwhile, their Indonesian digital bank, Bank Saqu, has gained a million users since its launch in November.

Read the full article about WeLab’s plans to expand in SEA.


3. People Moves: Natixis CIB, Deutsche Bank, Citi, Credit Agricole and DBS

Natixis CIB: Paris-based Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking hired former Bank of America executive Arnaud Davoust as head of equity derivatives sales and structuring for the APAC region. Before joining Natixis, Davoust led equity derivatives sales and structuring for APAC and headed equities for SEA at the Bank of America in Singapore. He also spent 13 years at Société Générale Corporate Investment Bank in Tokyo, New York, and France.

Deutsche Bank: Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s private wealth unit reorganised its SEA investment management team following similar changes in North Asia. Chin-Kit Lee was named the head investment manager for the region. A dedicated team, comprising Seok-Peng Ang, Hui-Ling Lim, and Inka-Kristie Yohanda, was also formed to support relationship managers serving ultra-high net worth and family office clients in SEA.

Concurrently, the bank is expanding its Middle East team and recently hired seven private bankers for its Dubai and Saudi Arabia branches, with three more set to join soon. These include:

  • June Joiners: Emilie Zein and Mirna Al Khalil from Credit Suisse, Samer Feghali (relationship manager), Ziad Moubarak (investment manager).
  • July Joiners: Fayez El-Hajj (managing director) and Emad Amro (director) from Credit Suisse, Marina Itani (service executive).
  • August Joiners: Ziad Al Kouatly from Bank Aljazira.

Most of these new hires are from Credit Suisse, aligning with the integration led by Saad Osseiran, who joined Deutsche Bank in 2023 with a team of 10 from Credit Suisse.

Citi: Citi relocated Cécile Gambardella from Paris to Hong Kong, appointing her as the head of sales for markets in Japan, Asia North & South, and Australia. Gambardella joined Citi in 2022 and was previously head of markets for France & BeNeLux. She also worked at the Bank of America and J.P. Morgan in local and G10 market positions. This move highlights Citi’s focus on the APAC region’s strong growth potential in financing and cross-border transactions.

Credit Agricole: Credit Agricole CIB appointed Alexis Rafidison as the new chief representative officer for Indonesia, effective from July 15. He will replace Xavier Roux, who is retiring. In his role, Rafidison will focus on exploring local business opportunities and supporting Credit Agricole’s developments in Indonesia.

DBS: DBS Hong Kong appointed Edward Sung-Lai Lam, CEO of LFX Limited, to its board of directors effective June 18. Lam is an executive board director at Li & Fung and was previously its CFO. He has 30 years of experience in supply chains, venture investments, digital transformation, banking, finance, and accounting. His professional experience includes tenures at Citi, Morgan Stanley, PwC, and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, where he worked in the takeovers and mergers panel.


Investment, PE & VC News

hedge funds m&a

1. Trends

i. Goldman Sachs: Hedge Funds Focused on M&A Outperform in May

Hedge fund managers focusing on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) achieved a 7.7% return in the first five months of 2024, outperforming other strategies, as noted by Goldman Sachs. This marks a significant recovery from the -0.8% return during the same period in 2023, which is attributed to high interest rates. Despite the rebound, global deal-making has yet to reach the record levels of 2021. In the first five months of 2024, worldwide M&A activity totalled US$1.3 trillion, up 23% from 2023 but below the US$1.8 trillion in early 2022. US-targeted M&A dominated, comprising 56% of the total. Notable deals included Capital One’s US$35.3 billion bid for Discover Financial Services and ConocoPhillips’ US$22.5 billion offer for Marathon Oil.

Read the full article about M&A hedge funds’ performance.


ii. More Singapore Companies Invest in Cambodia

Singaporean companies are increasingly investing in Cambodia, emerging as the country’s second-largest source of FDI in 2023. The growing interest is driven by the country’s progressive economic roadmap and improved business environment. Key sectors attracting investment include green energy, healthcare, and agri-food. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, who is on his first official visit to Singapore, outlined incentives such as tax breaks of up to 15 years for priority sectors at the Cambodia-Singapore Business Forum. He emphasised the green economy and digitalisation as crucial sectors where Singaporean investors can significantly contribute to Cambodia’s development. Agreements were signed to deepen cooperation in trade, economic linkages, and financial transparency. Concurrently, a memorandum marking the start of the Singapore-Cambodia Financial Transparency Corridor was inked.

Read the full article about Singapore companies’ interest in Cambodia.


2. Business Moves

i. Blackstone Places a $1.74b Bid for Digital Comics Platform Infocom

Blackstone launched a US$1.74 billion bid to take private Infocom, a Japanese digital comic distributor. This includes a tender offer at 6,060 yen per share, totalling 141.4 billion yen. After the buyout, Infocom’s parent company, Teijin, will sell its 58% stake for 134.4 billion yen in a share buyback. Infocom operates one of Japan’s largest digital comic sites, Mecha Comic. The weak yen and corporate governance changes have driven investor interest in Japanese companies, with M&A in Japan hitting a record US$35.5 billion in 2023. This deal marks the largest private equity transaction in Japan this year. Infocom’s share price has more than doubled since the potential buyout news emerged.

Read the full article about Blackstone’s investment in Infocom.


ii. Australian ETF Manager Betashares Gets A$300m in Funds from Temasek

Temasek, Singapore’s investment firm, plans to inject up to A$300 million into Betashares, an Australian ETF manager. This investment is intended to boost Betashares’ expansion domestically and globally through organic development and strategic acquisitions. Temasek will acquire an undisclosed minority stake, joining Betashares’ staff and TA Associates as stakeholders. As one of the country’s biggest ETF firms, Betashares oversees more than A$38 billion in assets.

Read the full article about Temasek’s investment in Betashares.


iii. Private Markets Firm Partners Group Sets Up Hong Kong Office

Swiss-based private markets firm Partners Group launched a new office in Hong Kong led by Henry Chui, the head of private wealth APAC. The office will focus on client activities in Greater China and grow the firm’s private wealth client base through local strategic distribution partners. The new office reflects the growing investor interest in private markets in Greater China. This expansion adds to Partners Group’s global network of 21 offices, including locations in Singapore, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo, with 550 staff in the region.


3. People Moves: St James’s Place, Meituan and Aspenwood

St James’s Place: St James’s Place hired Credit Suisse’s UK chief financial office (CFO) Caroline Waddington as its new CFO. Waddington will join the UK’s largest wealth manager in the latter half of the year to succeed Craig Gentle, who is retiring. Waddington also worked at Deutsche Bank and Barclays. This leadership change occurs amidst recent issues at St James’s Place, including customer complaints and regulatory scrutiny over fees.

Meituan: Neil Shen, the founder of the Chinese venture capital firm HongShan (formerly Sequoia China), stepped down as a non-executive director at Meituan after nine years. This move is attributed to Shen’s pursuit of other business commitments, and there is no conflict with Meituan’s board. Shen, often called China’s venture capital “godfather,” ranked No. 3 in Forbes’ 2024 Midas List for his successful investments, including in ByteDance. Shen’s exit follows his departures from roles at BTG Hotels and Pinduoduo.

Aspenwood: Alex Chang joined Aspenwood Capital as a managing partner after 16 months as EFG Bank’s vice president. Before EFG, Chang was a senior director at Nomura. He also held positions at CIC, RBC Wealth Management, and KB Kookmin Bank and started his career at Citi. Recently, EFG appointed Ravi Ramakrishnan and Alex See as market group heads in Singapore. In May, EFG reported a net profit of CHF110 million and $3.6 billion in net inflows amid rumours of a potential acquisition by Julius Baer.

Read the full article about St James’s Place’s CFO from Credit Suisse.

Read the full paid article about Neil Shen’s departure from Meituan.


Legal News

lawyer moves and litigation tracker

1. Trend: Surge in Convertible Bonds Issuance Aids Hong Kong Capital Markets’ Revival

In recent months, Chinese companies like, Lenovo, Alibaba, and successively issued convertible bond issuances totalling $10.5 billion, breathing new life into Hong Kong’s capital markets. Alibaba’s $5 billion issuance set a record for the largest US dollar-denominated convertible bond by an Asian company. These issuances are seen as a confidence boost for Hong Kong’s market, potentially attracting more investors and increasing liquidity. Differences in capital markets, like those between A-share and Hong Kong markets, allow issuers to leverage varying requirements to their advantage. For Chinese companies issuing these bonds overseas, obtaining pre-approval from Chinese regulatory bodies is advised for smoother execution, necessitating early preparation with professional institutions.

Read the full article about the growth in convertible bond issuance.


2. People Moves: Hogan Lovells and DOCVIT

Hogan: Hogan Lovells strengthened its M&A practice in Greater China by hiring White & Case’s Beijing partner, Jiang Shaohui, along with two team members. Jiang brings extensive experience working in Greater China and with Chinese state-owned enterprises. He has cross-border expertise, particularly in the infrastructure and energy sectors. Besides M&A, Jiang specialises in private equity investments and project development and finance for energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and technology businesses. Jiang also served as counsel at K&L Gates.

DOCVIT: DOCVIT Law Firm has expanded its Jinan office by adding three real estate experts.

  • Zhang Xuexue, who joins as a senior partner, focuses on infrastructure, real estate, construction engineering, urban renewal, corporate governance, state-owned enterprises, and dispute resolution.
  • Wei Botian, who joins as a partner, specialises in construction contract disputes, real estate development, corporate disputes, and legal risk management.
  • Liu Shanshan, who joins as a partner, concentrates on real estate and construction engineering, corporate compliance, risk prevention and control, corporate employment compliance and labour and personnel dispute resolution.

Read the full article about Hogan’s M&A partner from White & Case.

Read the full article about DOCVIT’s real estate partners in Jinan.


3. Litigation Tracker

ii. A&G, WongPartnership Advice on OCBC’s Buyout of Great Eastern

Singapore’s OCBC bank made a voluntary unconditional general offer to buy the remaining 11.56% stake in Great Eastern Holdings, valued at S$1.4 billion. Singapore’s Big Four law firm, WongPartnership, advises Great Eastern, Singapore’s largest insurer, with partners Ng Wai King, Chan Sing Yee, and Soong Wen E leading the team. Meanwhile, Allen & Gledhill is representing OCBC, and the team is led by partners Lim Mei, Prawiro Widjaja, Lee Kee Yeng, and Jerald Soon.

Read the full article about OCBC’s GE buyout case.


ii. Latham and Freshfields Advice on ST Telemedia Global Data Centres’ Investment

Latham & Watkins represented ST Telemedia Global Data Centres in securing a S$1.75 billion investment from KKR and Singapore Telecommunications, which is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. This deal marks SEA’s largest digital infrastructure investment in 2024, driven by the increasing demand for data centres amid the AI boom. Latham’s team was led by Sharon Lau, who received support on merger control and tax matters from partners Derek Chua, Luca Crocco, Elena Romanova, and Aoife McCabe. Freshfields’ team was led by Nigel Gleeson, with support on securities, IP/IT, English and German law from partners Arun Balasubramanian, Richard Bird, Victoria Hills, Douglas Bryden and Niko Schultz-Suechting.

Read the full article about ST Telemedia GDC’s case.


iii. KWM and Baker Mckenzie Advise on Yankuang’s H-Share Placement

King & Wood Mallesons and Baker McKenzie advised Yankuang Energy Group Company on its HKD5 billion H-share placement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). This sale of 285 million shares marks the largest H-share placement of the year and the first by an “A+H” listed company under new regulations for cross-border PRC company listings. King & Wood Mallesons’ team was led by partners Tang Lizi, Han Jie, Sun Yong, and Yu Rui. Meanwhile, Baker McKenzie’s team was led by partner Wang Hang and supported by Chen Sheng and lawyers from FenXun Partners.

Read the full article about Yankuang’s H-share placement case.


iv. Sidley Austin Advise on IBRD’S CAT Bond Issuance

Sidley Austin advised the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) on its US$150 million catastrophe (CAT) bond, the second such issuance in Hong Kong. This follows Hong Kong’s first private 144A CAT bond issuance in 2022 and IBRD’s US$350 million CAT bonds a year later, the first of their kind listed in the Asia financial hub. Partners Joseph Gottlieb, Sherlyn Lau, and Dominic James led the case.

Read the full article about IBRD’s CAT bond case.


v. Five Firms Advise on Hong Kong’s First Chapter 18C IPO Case

QuantumPharm (XtalPi), a Chinese AI-driven R&D platform company, successfully raised approximately $126.7 million through its listing on the HKEX. This marks the first IPO under the new “Chapter 18C” rules introduced by HKEX for specialist technology companies in March 2023. Fangda Partners and Sidley Austin provided legal services for the issuer. The sponsor’s legal advisors were JunHe and Herbert Smith Freehills, with Maples and Calder offering offshore legal services. Key teams involved included:

  • Fangda Partners: Jeffrey Ding, Diana Li, and Lu Chen;
  • JunHe: Tao Xudong, Lin Jiayu, Zhang Jianwei, and Zhang Zhijin
  • Sidley Austin: Constance Choy, Dr. Meng Ding, and Claudia Yu
  • HSF: Matt Emsley, Stanley Xie, and Kong Jin, supported by Jin Shen and his Digital Legal Delivery team.

Read the full article about XtalPi’s Chapter 18C IPO case.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

biopharma and private equity deal-making

1. Trends

i. Growth in Biopharma Deal-Making

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the US have ramped up dealmaking. A 20% increase in deal volume in the pharma and life sciences sector was observed as of May 15 compared to the previous year, according to PwC. However, while the number of deals has risen to 257, the total value of these deals dipped by 2% to $209 billion. Notably, the value of pharma deals doubled to $60 billion. The surge in deal activity is driven by significant strides in innovation and numerous novel therapeutic approvals.

Key areas of interest include antibody-drug conjugates, MASH, radiopharmaceuticals, and cell and gene therapies. Dealmakers are focusing on mid-sized deals ($5 billion to $15 billion) due to regulatory uncertainties. Increased biotech IPOs also reflect investor confidence in a stable macroeconomic environment. Among the top deals include:

Read the full article about the increase in biopharma dealmaking.


ii. Private Equity Investments in Trial Sites Increase

Private equity investment is increasingly targeting clinical trial sites due to the growing need for larger site networks, according to PitchBook’s first-quarter 2024 analysis. This trend sees firms historically focused on physician practice management pivoting to life sciences, driven by new cell and gene therapies, immunotherapies, and mRNA-based vaccines. Significant deals include Kohlberg & Co.’s acquisition of Worldwide Clinical Trials and VSS Capital Partners’ investment in Eximia Research Network.

The fragmented nature of the trial site niche suggests ample room for M&A activity. Contract research organisations (CROs) are seizing these opportunities. The push for new therapies and stricter FDA requirements has made drug development more complex and costly. This thus prompts pharmaceutical companies to outsource specialised support to cut costs and speed up time to market. Despite a cooling in activity in 2023 and early 2024, the total deal activity remained 50% higher than between 2017 and 2019, driven by interest in M&A-heavy strategies.

Read the full article about private equities’ interest in trial sites.


2. Business Moves

i. Sanofi Embarks on $700m Biobucks Immunology Partnership with Belharra

Sanofi entered a deal with Belharra Therapeutics worth up to $700 million, focusing on small molecule drug discovery in immunology. The agreement includes an initial $40 million payment, subsequent milestones, and royalties. Belharra will use its non-covalent chemoproteomics platform to target previously undruggable immunology targets selected by Sanofi. This collaboration is part of Sanofi’s broader strategy to revamp its pipeline and become a leader in immunoscience. This strategic shift includes resource reallocation towards therapeutic areas like immunology.

Read the full article about Sanofi’s immunology deal.


ii. Gilead’s PrEP Drug Reports 100% Efficacy for HIV Prevention

For the first time, a phase 3 trial of an HIV PrEP drug has shown zero infections. The PURPOSE 1 trial tested Gilead Sciences’ lenacapavir, a twice-yearly subcutaneous injection, on cisgender women and adolescent girls in South Africa and Uganda and recorded no infections. The success of lenacapavir could address stigma and adherence issues linked to daily oral PrEP. Gilead plans to combine data from this trial with the ongoing PURPOSE 2 trial, which focuses on men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, and others, to seek FDA approval. The PrEP market is expected to grow significantly, with long-acting injectables taking a share of 80%. Gilead’s lenacapavir is projected to reach $3 billion in global sales for HIV prevention and treatment, potentially up to $4 billion.

Read the full article about Gilead’s PReP drug.


iii. Merck Gets FDA Approval for World’s First Adult Pneumococcal Vaccine

The FDA approved Merck’s Capvaxive (formerly V116), the first pneumococcal disease vaccine specifically designed for adults. This vaccine, intended primarily for people aged 50 and older, covers 21 serotypes responsible for 84% of pneumococcal disease in this age group. Merck’s accelerated approval for Capvaxive hinges on confirmatory studies, with the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices (ACIP) set to discuss its use on June 27. This development positions Merck to expand its market share in the pneumococcal vaccine market.

Read the full article about Merck’s adult pneumococcal vaccine approval.


3. People Moves: Sinopharm, CR Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim

Sinopharm: The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council announced Bai Zhongquan as the Party Secretary and Chairman of Sinopharm. Bai succeeds Liu Jingzhen, who moved to China Railway Materials. Bai previously held similar roles at China Electrical Equipment Group. Following his appointment, Bai Zhongquan met with Hebei Governor Wang Zhengpu to discuss expanding cooperation in biopharmaceuticals and modern trade logistics. The company is actively pursuing partnerships and acquisitions to strengthen its position in the biopharmaceutical sector.

CR Pharma: CR Pharma appointed Guo Ting as the general manager (GM) on June 14. Guo, a long-time member of the CR group, previously held positions such as GM and deputy GM at various units under the CR group. In addition to his new role, he is also a board member of KPC Pharmaceuticals and vice president of the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Internal mobility of executives is common within the group, and is often aimed at developing versatile senior managers.

Boehringer Ingelheim: Boehringer Ingelheim announced Xavier Andivia as the head of animal health for Greater China, effective August 1. He will join the leadership teams for Greater China and the global animal health commercial division. The current head, Liu Jingxian, will retire on August 31, 2024. Xavier joined Boehringer Ingelheim in 2019, and has led the Brazilian animal health business since February 2022 and driven significant market growth. He has extensive experience in the animal health sector and held various roles across different regions and countries.

Read the full Chinese article about Sinopharm’s chairman and CR Pharma’s GM.

Read the full Chinese article about Boehringer Ingelheim’s Greater China animal health head.


Luxury & Retail News

luxury hospitality trends

1. Business Moves

i. Laopu Gold Plans for Hong Kong IPO

Laopu Gold plans to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with an IPO set for June 28. Founded in 2009, the company specialises in designing, manufacturing, and selling gold products and specialises in using traditional Chinese royal gold-making techniques. According to its prospectus, Laopu Gold’s revenue grew from RMB 1.265 billion in 2021 to RMB 3.18 billion in 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 58.56%. Its gross profit also increased from RMB 521 million to RMB 1.332 billion during the same period, with a CAGR of 59.89%.

Read the full Chinese article about Laopu Gold’s IPO plans.


ii. LVMH Partners French Hotel Group Accor for Orient Express Brand

French hotel group Accor and luxury goods giant LVMH have formed a strategic partnership to develop the iconic Orient Express brand. LVMH will invest in the company operating future Orient Express hotels and trains and the entity owning two sailing ships. The first ship is being built in France, and both companies are looking for a third partner. Accor, which acquired the Orient Express brand in 2022, plans to open luxury hotels in Rome and Venice and launch the first sailing ship by 2026. LVMH also operates the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train service through its subsidiary, Belmond.

Read the full article about LVMH and Accor’s partnership.


iii. OTB Partners Chalhoub Group to Grow its Presence in the Middle East

OTB partnered with the Chalhoub Group to expand its luxury brand presence in the Middle East. This strategic joint venture involves launching 15 stores over the next five years, complementing the existing Maison Margiela boutique in Dubai Mall. The focus will be on key markets such as the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, targeting major shopping centres and concept stores. The initiative also includes major investments to create a robust retail network, enhance e-commerce platforms, and engage in local marketing. Chalhoub Group will incorporate these new brands into its portfolio.

Read the full article about OTB’s partnership with Chalhoub.


iv. Italian Couture House Curiel Eyes International Expansion

Curiel, a historic Italian couture house known for pioneering the Little Black Dress, is preparing for an international expansion under the direction of Rafael Jimenez. Curiel aims to target independent and key department stores in Europe and America. Curiel’s strategic plan includes opening flagship stores in major cities like Milan, Hong Kong, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, and Seoul by 2026. Currently, the brand has a strong presence in China with 29 retail points. The brand plans to present its main collection in Milan and Paris later this year.

Read the full article about Curiel’s international expansion plans.


v. EssilorLuxottica Inks 10-Year License

EssilorLuxottica secured an exclusive 10-year licence to design, produce, and distribute eyewear collections for Diesel, an Italian denim brand. Effective immediately and valid until December 2029 with a five-year renewal option, the first collection will launch in Q1 2025. Under Diesel’s creative director, Glenn Martens, the eyewear will target Gen Z, featuring genderless designs and innovative materials and technology. This agreement expands on their partnership from 2022.

Read the full article about EssilorLuxottica’s partnership with Diesel.


 2.People Moves: Lanvin and Bottega Veneta

Lanvin: Lanvin Group appointed Regis Rimbert as the new CEO of its iconic brand, Wolford AG, effective June 14, 2024. The move follows the departure of former CEO Silvia Azzali. Rimbert brings over two decades of experience in fashion and luxury, having held key roles at Prada and Dior. He previously worked for Wolford from 2009 to 2013 in senior management roles and significantly boosted the brand’s sales and profitability. Rimbert will focus on leading Wolford’s strategic transformation, international development, product line enhancement, and technological innovation.

Bottega Veneta: Bottega Veneta appointed Thierry Conrad Reutenauer as its new global communications director, starting June 20. Reutenauer, who joined the luxury label in April 2020, will report to Samuel Diep, the chief merchandising and marketing officer. Reutenauer previously held roles as senior PR manager and head of global PR and communication. He has prior experience at Chloé and the Karla Otto agency.

Read the full article about the new CEO of Wolford AG.

Read the full article about Bottega Veneta’s communications director.


Tech & Semiconductor Industry News

chip manufacturing industry

1. Trend: Chinese Tech Firms’ Interest in Sports Events Grow

Chinese technology brands, including Alibaba, BYD, Hisense, Ant Group, and Vivo, comprise a third of the 13 worldwide sponsors for the Euro 2024 football tournament. Amid slow growth at home, Chinese companies are increasingly investing in major global sporting events to expand their international presence. Beyond just sponsoring, brands are actively engaging with the event. Some examples include:

  • Ant’s Alipay+ is running a ticket giveaway.
  • AliExpress has a summer sales campaign featuring David Beckham
  • Hisense is supporting the video assistant referee system.
  • BYD became the event’s official vehicle supplier.

This strategy mirrors past efforts, such as PDD Holdings’ Super Bowl campaign, which significantly boosted its visibility. The European Championship, expected to attract over 5 billion viewers, provides a substantial platform for these brands.

Read the full article about the Chinese tech companies’ interest in sports events.


2. Business Moves

i. Singtel and KKR Invests $1.75b in Data Centre Provider STT GDC

A consortium led by Singtel and KKR is investing $1.75 billion in ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC). This marks the largest digital infrastructure investment in SEA this year. This initial investment includes redeemable preference shares with detachable warrants, and an additional $1.24 billion will be invested upon full exercise of the warrants. The consortium, chosen for its expertise, financial strength, and strategy, aims to enhance STT GDC’s market position and support its international expansion. STT GDC, with more than 95 data centres in 11 geographies, will remain majority-owned by ST Telemedia post-transaction. Meanwhile, Singtel’s data centre business, Nxera, is also partnering with Malaysia’s TM to develop a data centre campus in Johor to cater to hyper scalers and AI application providers. Nxera’s capacity is expected to grow significantly in the next three years.

Read the full article about Singtel and KKR’s investment in STT GDC.


ii. US Chip Giant Applied Materials Plans for Expansion in Singapore

Applied Materials (AM), a supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, plans to double its manufacturing capacity, workforce, and research activities in Singapore. This expansion includes expanding its advanced semiconductor packaging-focused innovation centre. AM, already a major player in Singapore’s semiconductor equipment industry, recently opened a S$600 million plant in Tampines Industrial Crescent, which will eventually employ 1,000 staff. The global shift towards integrated chip solutions, as noted by Boston Consulting Group, underscores the importance of such advanced packaging technologies. Additionally, while Singapore’s semiconductor fabrications predominantly produce mature node chips used in various high-growth applications, the continued demand for these Icaps supports the industry’s sustained growth. AM sees significant future opportunities for Singapore in both mature and advanced chip markets driven by technologies like AI and renewable energy.

Read the full paid article about Applied Materials’ growth plans.


iii. Intel’s China Arm Buys Minority Stake in Apple Supplier’s Subsidiary

Intel’s China arm acquired a 3% stake in Dongguan Luxshare Technology, a telecommunications subsidiary of Apple supplier Luxshare Precision Industry. This move is seen as the US semiconductor giant’s strategy to manage geopolitical tensions between the US and China. Luxshare Precision manufactures a range of Apple products and holds nearly 90% of its telecom subsidiary. Dongguan Luxshare Technology produces 5G-related products, and its key clients include Huawei and Lenovo. The investment supports Intel’s efforts to expand data centrets and its key clie capabilities for AI development despite recent US tech sanctions that have led Intel to create China-specific versions of its Gaudi accelerators.

Read the full article about the acquisition of a minority stake in Dongguan.


iv. Stanley Ho’s Son Eyes First Chinese Esports IPO

Mario Ho Yau-kwan, the youngest son of the late Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, is preparing his esports organisation, NIP Group, for an IPO in the US. NIP Group, which operates through subsidiaries in Sweden and China, plans to list on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, making it the first Chinese company in the esports industry to go public. NIP Group aims to use the IPO proceeds for working capital, expanding its esports teams, marketing, and strategic acquisitions. The global esports market is expected to grow significantly, reaching $102.4 billion by 2027. The IPO comes as local Chinese governments, including those in Shanghai and Shenzhen, increase support for the esports industry to boost the country’s digital economy.

Read the full article about Mario Ho’s interest in esports IPO.


v. Chinese Microchip Maker Innoscience Files for Hong Kong IPO

Suzhou-based Chinese microchip maker InnoScience filed for a Hong Kong IPO, making it a rare instance of a Chinese chip company seeking international funding. The company saw a fourfold revenue increase last year due to the maturation of its gallium nitride (GaN) technology. The company is founded by Dr. Weiwei Luo, a former NASA chief scientist. Luo led the company to achieve significant technological advancements and secured numerous investors, including Zeng Yuqun. Historically known for its biomedical industry, Suzhou is emerging as a semiconductor hub, supported by strategic policies and investments. Despite this growth, InnoScience faces potential challenges from geopolitical tensions and patent lawsuits, particularly from US and European entities. The company remains unprofitable but shows improving gross margins and a significant decrease in net losses. The IPO aims to bolster the company’s cash reserves and capitalise on its promising technology.

Read the full Chinese article about Innoscience’s Hong Kong IPO.


vi. ByteDance to Take Subsidiary DCar Public

ByteDance, the world’s highest-valued private company, is planning to take its subsidiary, Dongchedi (DCar), public. DCar, an automotive information and trading platform, aims to raise US$700-800 million in its first financing, valuing the company at around US$3 billion. This IPO, backed by longtime ByteDance investors like Sequoia China, KKR, and General Atlantic, would mark ByteDance’s first entry into the public market.

DCar, initially incubated from ByteDance’s Jinri Toutiao platform, has grown significantly, reaching over seven million daily active users by mid-2023. It has expanded into car trading and aftermarket services. Choosing Dongchedi for the IPO reflects ByteDance’s strategy to spin off non-core businesses, especially given challenges faced by other units. The success of Dongchedi’s IPO could pave the way for more subsidiary IPOs.

Read the full article about DCar’s potential IPO.


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