Industry News & Trends Recap: Mar Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap: Mar Week 2

Weekly Industry News & Trends Recap

This week, our roundup spotlights key moves in the finance and legal industries. In the luxury domain, CELINE has emerged as the newest entrant in the cosmetics market, joining a growing list of European luxury brands expanding their offerings. This move reflects the trend of luxury houses venturing into new territories to capture evolving consumer interests. Meanwhile, on the tech front, the competition is heating up in the AI chip market.


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 and finance news


OKX Secures Major Payment Institution License from MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) granted OKX in-principal approval for a major payment institution (MPI) license. The approval comes after Upbit’s MPI license has been approved, and it will allow the crypto exchange to offer digital payment tokens and cross-border money transfer services in Singapore. It also positions OKX among a select few licensed entities, including Independent Reserve and Coinhako. OKX plans to expand its product offerings and establish local banking connections to enhance its services in Singapore’s crypto ecosystem.

Read the full article about MAS’ approval for OKX.



Moves: Credit Suisse Banker Joins BoS, HSBC Makes Key Hires to Target UNHW

Bank of Singapore: Bank of Singapore appointed veteran banker Ronnie Cheung as COO for Greater China. Cheung, who has two decades of banking experience, joins from Credit Suisse, where she served as the COO of the Hong Kong office. She will oversee governance and operations in Hong Kong, driving the bank’s growth across Greater China and its regional efforts.

HSBC: HSBC Global Private Banking strengthens its team for ultra-high-net-worth (UNHW) clients in Asia with two key appointments: Kerri Lim as head of the UHNW segment and Pritash Mathur as head of family office coverage for global India and South Asia. Previously from UBS, Lim brings over 20 years of experience and will lead the growth strategy for UHNW clients. Meanwhile, Mathur’s background is in private banking at HSBC and Credit Suisse.

Read the full article about the Bank of Singapore’s new COO.

Read the full article about HSBC’s new hires.



HKMA Initiates Wholesale CBDC Pilot Programme to Strengthen City’s Blockchain Credentials

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched a pilot project for a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC). The initiative will create an ecosystem for digital deposits, financial products, and central bank money using distributed ledger technology. It will address current payment system challenges while exploring new opportunities in tokenised assets. Known internally as “Project Ensemble”, the pilot project seeks to enhance efficiency, transparency, and financial inclusion by integrating various systems and stakeholders in the monetary and financial sectors. Several prominent entities, including Hashkey Group, Ant Group’s Digital Technologies unit, and HSBC, are participating in the project.

Read the full article about HKMA’s wholesale CBDC pilot.



Workforce Adjustments: UBS to Cut Jobs at Asia Wealth Unit, StanChart Overhauls Workforce

UBS: UBS Group initiated job cuts in its Asia private banking division amid a profit downturn. The move affects about 70 positions, including relationship managers. The cut mainly concerns the Hong Kong and Singapore markets, and will come into force by the end of March. It comes amidst challenges in wealth generation in China and a wider industry trend of downsizing wealth and investment banking roles in the region.

Standard Chartered: Standard Chartered’s CEO successor frontrunner, Simon Cooper, departs as the bank undergoes management reshuffling to enhance returns. Roberto Hoornweg and Sunil Kaushal are set to replace him and lead the newly renamed corporate and investment banking unit. The changes aim to streamline operations, and possible job cuts may follow. Amidst these shifts, StanChart seeks to strengthen leadership and strategy, including appointing Diego De Giorgi as CFO and relocating key executives to strategic hubs like Hong Kong and Dubai.

Read the full article about UBS Group’s job cuts.

Read the full article about Standard Chartered’s workforce overhaul.



UXLINK Secured $9m+ with Major Backers like OKX Ventures and UOB Ventures

UXLINK, a Web3 social platform, recently secured over $9 million in funding from investors, including OKX Ventures, UOB Ventures and HongShan Capital, among others. Unlike traditional social platforms, UXLINK focuses on bi-directional, acquaintance-based relationships, akin to Facebook rather than Twitter. With innovative features like Social DEX and plans for a Social Liquidity Chain, UXLINK has rapidly amassed over 3.5 million verified users within 10 months of its launch, particularly in regions like SEA, the Middle East, and Africa.

Read the full article about UXLINK’s funding.


Investment, PE & VC News

mergers and acquisitions news


Google Co-Founder’s Singapore Family Office Hires GIC Sustainability Head

Bayshore Global Management, the family office of Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, has enlisted GIC’s head of sustainability, Rachel Teo, to oversee green investments from its Singapore office. Family offices like Bayshore increasingly focus on ESG investments, aligning with Singapore’s push to become a hub for green finance and philanthropy.

Read the full article about the new hire by Google’s family office.



Former Permanent Secretary Appointed as Successor to CLCT’s Outgoing Chairman

Former permanent secretary Tan Tee How was named the new chairman of the board and the nominating and remuneration committee (NRC) at CapitaLand China Trust’s (CLCT) Management. Tan joined CLCT’s manager as a non-executive independent director in August 2023. He is also the chairman of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore and the National Healthcare Group, as well as a director at Hong Leong Finance, the Singapore-listed financial services arm of Hong Leong. Tan will succeed retiring chairman Soh Kim Soon, who is also stepping down as a non-executive independent director as part of the renewal process. These changes will take effect after CLCT’s upcoming annual general meeting in April 2024.

Read the full article about CLCT’s change in leadership.



Indosuez Wealth Management Hires Senior Bankers for its North Asia Team

Indosuez Wealth Management strengthened its North Asia team by adding two senior bankers, Hank Chiu and Renee Wu. Chiu has over two decades of wealth management experience and has assumed senior roles at UBS Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Singapore. He specialises in priority banking and building investment portfolios for high-net-worth individuals and will focus on Taiwanese clients following his appointment as executive director. Wu’s expertise includes private banking and the acquisition of high-net-worth clients. She has served at Taipei Fubon Bank, ANZ Bank, and Citibank, and she will assume the role of senior director.

Read the full article about Indosuez’s new hires.



HQ Capital Boots Asian Presence with Singapore Office and ex-Ardian MD Appointment

HQ Capital, a global private equity specialist, inaugurated a new office in Singapore and appointed former managing director of Ardian, Michael Hu, as the managing director and head of Asia. The office aims to cater to the region’s expanding private wealth and institutional investor base, serving as a gateway for investment activities across various markets. With extensive experience in private equity, Hu will lead investment and business development in Asia, pending regulatory approval for capital markets services.

Read the full article about HQ Capital’s expansion plans.



Kamet Capital Boosts Leadership Team with EDB VP and Veteran Banker Hires

Kamet Capital appointed former Singapore Economic Development Board Senior Vice-President Matthew Lee as a partner. Concurrently, veteran investment banker Foo Khai Lin joined as Senior Advisor. Lee will leverage his regulatory insights and economic development strategies to support clients’ localisation and integration into Singapore. Meanwhile, Foo will play a vital role in offering strategic financial advice and investment management services. Their appointments will strengthen Kamet’s capacity to serve and shape the family office sector.

Read the full article about Kamet Capital’s new leadership team members.


Legal News

law firm and legal industry news


Moves in Singapore: BTPLaw, Greenberg, Dentons Rodyk and WKW

BTPLaw: Singapore’s BTPLaw bolsters its team by appointing Lynn Ariele Soh and Leeza Lee as partners. Soh has over 14 years of experience as a corporate lawyer and specialises in M&A, fundraising, venture capital, employment law and general corporate advisory. She helms from Eng & Co and has served at Allen & Overy and WongPartnership as well as Fullerton Health, where she was the vice president of legal. Meanwhile, Lee brings over eight years of international financing experience. She focuses on equity and debt capital markets and has previously served at links Hong Kong Linklaters and WongPartnership.

Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig expands its Singapore office by appointing Jake Robson as co-leader and head of M&A for South and Southeast Asia (SEA). Robson helms from King & Wood Mallesons and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions, venture capital fundraising, and financial services distribution services across various sectors.

Dentons Rodyk: Dentons Rodyk welcomes private wealth expert Linda Bai Lu from Taxise Asia, enhancing its ability to support the needs of Chinese clients related to Singapore. Bai has provided wealth and estate management advice to high-net-worth individuals and families. She is also experienced in offering advisory services to corporate clients for tax-related matters and investing outside of China using Singapore as a base. Apart from Taxise, Bai has also served at Rajah & Tann, KPMG, and RSM Chio Lim.

WKW: After 10 years as managing partner, Deborah Barker of Withers KhattarWong (WKW) is transitioning leadership to two partners, Shashi Nathan and Daniel Yong, effective March 31. Mr Nathan, known for his work in white-collar defence, and Mr Yong, who specialises in investment funds, will jointly lead WKW. Barker will focus on her litigation and arbitration practice, marking a shift in her role while WKW celebrates its 50th anniversary and relocates to Cross Street Exchange.

Read the full article about BTPLaw’s new corporate partners.

Read the full article about Greenberg Traurig’s new head of M&A.

Read the full article about Denton’s new private wealth expert.

Read the full article about WKW’s succession plan.



Moves in China: JunHe Hires Two Dispute Resolution Experts from TianTong

JunHe: JunHe expands its Xi’an office by recruiting two dispute resolution experts, Shi Qi and Wang Boyang, from TianTong Law Firm. Shi specialises in commercial dispute resolution, particularly in the corporate finance, energy, factoring and financial leasing, and mining sectors. Meanwhile, Wang focuses on commercial dispute resolution in the mineral resources and new energy fields.

Read the full article about JunHe’s dispute resolution experts.



Perkins Coie Latest US Firm to Close its Office in China

US law firm Perkins Coie closed its Shanghai office, following a trend where international firms scaled back operations in mainland China. Recent closures by other firms include Proskauer Rose and Akin Gump in Beijing and Latham in Shanghai.

Read the full article about Perkins Coie’s closure.



Moves in Hong Kong: Jingtian & Gongcheng, Appleby and Dechert

Jingtian & Gongcheng: Beijing-based law firm Jingtian & Gongcheng welcomes Li Fai back as a partner in its Hong Kong office. Li recently served at EY member firm LC Lawyers, which closed earlier this year. He specialises in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions and is experienced in IPOs, corporate restructuring, and compliance matters, particularly for Chinese companies listing in Hong Kong. Jingtian & Gongcheng’s Hong Kong office currently has 15 partners, many of whom are primarily focused on capital markets.

Appleby: Offshore law firm Appleby expands its Hong Kong team with the addition of litigation and insolvency expert John McCarroll SC from rival Harneys’ BVI office, pending regulatory approvals. This marks the second lateral partner hire in days, following the addition of Lily Miao from Mourant Ozannes. McCarroll brings over 30 years of experience in commercial disputes, company law, trusts, financial services, regulatory, insolvency and receivership. Appleby’s managing partner in Hong Kong, David Bulley, sees McCarroll’s addition as complementing their existing offering for high-value offshore disputes.

Dechert: Dechert laid off partner Stephen Chan and three corporate associates in Hong Kong as part of a downsizing effort in its corporate services division in Greater China. Chan, who focuses on corporate finance, private equity, and public and private M&As, was informed of the arrangement in January.

Read the full article about Jingtian & Gongcheng’s partner.

Read the full article about Appleby’s litigation and insolvency partner.

Read the full paid article about Dechert’s downsizing.



Moves in Korea: Yulchon Hires IP & Tech Experts from Samsung & Jipyong

Yulchon bolsters its offerings in IP disputes and entertainment law by appointing partners Jong Cheol Lee and Mun Hui Kim, focusing on e-discovery, compliance, and media. The move aims to address the evolving needs of Korean enterprises domestically and internationally. Lee, a former Samsung Electronics executive, brings expertise in compliance, while Kim, with a background in entertainment law, aims to elevate Yulchon’s presence in the sector.

Read the full article about Yulchon’s IP and tech experts.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

biotech and pharma news


Asean License Granted for Hyphens Pharma’s Psoriasis Treatment Wynzora Cream

Hyphens Pharma International announced an exclusive agreement with MC2 Therapeutics regarding the right to register and distribute Wynzora Cream in the ASEAN region. The Wynzora Cream is a treatment for plaque psoriasis and the deal involves a total payment of EUR2.5 million ($3.6 million) to MC2. This includes upfront and milestone fees, with additional royalties on net sales. Both companies express optimism about expanding access to Wynzora in the ASEAN market, leveraging Hyphens’ commercial capabilities and MC2’s innovative treatment paradigm in dermatology.

Read the full article about Hyphen’s ASEAN license.



Fosun Pharma Launches ¥5b Fund for Shenzhen Biotech Investments

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd has joined hands with seven other investors to establish an investment fund of ¥5 billion (US$695 million) to support local biotech and med-tech firms in Shenzhen, China. The fund will prioritise investments in biotech sectors such as cell and gene therapy, allocating 70% of its resources to the biomedical industry.

Read the full Chinese article about Fosun’s biotech fund.

Read the full English article about Fosun’s biotech fund.



Chinese Diabetes-Focused Biotech Firm Pegbio to launch IPO in Hong Kong

PegBio recently officially submitted a prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and plans to list on the main board. According to the prospectus, PegBio focuses on independent R&D of innovative treatments for chronic diseases. The company has received over 1.3 billion yuan in financing since its establishment 16 years ago. This includes the support from multiple VCs and PEs, such as Legend Capital, Oriza Holdings, Co-Win Ventures, Legend Star, YF Capital, Yingke PE, Tigermed, Tasly, Qianhai FOF, and V-Capital, among others.

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

Read the full Chinese analysis of PegBio’s IPO plans.



Rigaku Sets Up Taiwan Branch to Advance Life Sciences, Semiconductor & Material Science

Global X-ray-analysis solutions partner Rigaku established its new Rigaku Taiwan Branch (RCTW) to advance technology in Taiwan’s semiconductor, life sciences, and material science sectors. Led by industry veteran Sam Chao, Rigaku plans to establish the Rigaku Taiwan Technical Centre to further enhance its support and accelerate development for customers in the region.

Read the full article about Rigaku’s new Taiwan branch.



Calliditas Secures Seven More Years of Exclusivity for Nefecon® with FDA Approval

The US FDA granted Everest Medicines’ licensing partner Calliditas Therapeutics AB drug Nefecon® an extra seven years of orphan drug exclusivity period, with the expiry in December 2030. The exclusivity period recognises the expanded indication for adult patients with primary IgAN at risk of disease progression, validated by a confirmed reduction in kidney loss, demonstrating a clinical benefit on kidney function. After its approval and successful commercialisation in Macau, Everest Medicines anticipates launching Nefecon® in mainland China, where it is estimated to benefit 5 million IgAN patients.

Read the full article about Nefecon®’s extended orphan drug exclusivity period.


Luxury & Retail News

luxury and retail news


Moves: Luxury Veteran to Leave Kering, LVMH Appoints New Fashion Group MD

Kering: Valérie Duport, Kering’s chief communications officer, is departing the luxury group to pursue other endeavours, marking the end of her six-year tenure. Duport, who previously served at rival Chanel for 27 years, played a pivotal role in enhancing Kering’s corporate image and overseeing significant milestones. These include Kering’s 10th anniversary and the company’s 60th founding anniversary.

LVMH: LVMH Group appointed Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou as its fashion group’s managing director. Angeloglou, previously with L’Oréal and Louis Vuitton, officially started on March 11 and reports to CEO Michael Burke. His responsibilities include leading fashion brands like Fendi, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Pucci, Patou, Off-White and Stella McCartney. His appointment follows a recent executive reshuffling at LVMH.

Read the full article about Duport’s departure from Kering.

Read the full article about LVHM’s new fashion group MD.



American Barker Wellness Ventures into APAC Market

Barker Wellness is expanding its footprint to Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, Australia, and Indonesia. The move aims to tap into growth opportunities in the APAC region. With the region’s strong demand for health and wellness products, the American wellness brand expects the expansion to drive sales and revenue while allowing it to introduce its vegan products to a new audience.

Read the full article about Barker Wellness’ APAC launch.



Asia and Miu Miu’s Strong Performance Drives 17% Increase in Prada’s 2023 Sales

Prada reports a 17% increase in net revenues for 2023, driven by strong growth in Asia and the exceptional performance of its Miu Miu brand. The company anticipates outperforming the market in 2024. In 2024, its sales in the APAC region rose by 24% and Europe grew by 14%, while the Americas remained flat. Prada’s adjusted operating profit also saw a significant rise of 26% to €1.06 billion in 2023.

Read the full article about Prada’s sales performance.



China’s Champion Gymnast Li Ning Considers Privatisation: Sources

Chinese billionaire and former Olympic champion Li Ning is contemplating privatising his sportswear company from the Hong Kong stock exchange. Li is exploring the possibility of leading a consortium to acquire Li Ning Co Ltd, which currently holds a market capitalisation of HK$52.85 billion (S$9 billion), according to sources familiar with the matter. The discussions involving potential investors like TPG, PAG, and Hillhouse Investment are in the preliminary stages. The news saw Li Ning Co’s shares surge by up to 20% to HK$24.55, marking its highest level since November.

Read the full article about Li Ning’s privatisation plans.



CELINE is the Latest Luxury Brand to Venture Into Beauty

CELINE is expanding its beauty offerings with the introduction of a makeup line starting in the autumn of next year under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane. This follows its launch of the haute parfumerie collection in 2019 and aligns with the brand’s continuous reinvention under Slimane’s leadership. The company’s first cosmetics line, “Céline beauté,” will debut with a collection of fifteen lipstick shades designed by Slimane. The move reflects the major trend of luxury houses, including Balmain, Kering and Richemont, venturing into the prestigious beauty market.

Read the full article about CELINE’s new makeup line.


Tech & AI News

AI and semiconductor news


More Chipmakers Drawn to Malaysia for ‘China Plus 1’

Several European and American companies have recently moved to or expressed the intention to expand operations in Malaysia’s electronics manufacturing hub. Some of these companies include notable AT&S, Intel, Infineon, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Ericsson, Bosch, and Lam Research. This shift is driven by geopolitical tensions, which pushed firms in crucial sectors, like semiconductors and electric vehicles, to seek to strengthen their supply chains and production capabilities. Malaysia’s established tech ecosystem, workforce and government support make it an attractive destination for firms looking to diversify from China and Taiwan.

Read the full article about chipmakers’ interest in Malaysia.



Data Centre Firm GDS Discusses Potential Investments Outside China

Chinese data centre developer GDS Holdings is in discussions with private equity investors, including Hillhouse, Boyu Capital, and CDH Investments, about potential investments in its operations outside China. While reports hint at a total investment of US$500 million to US$600 million, GDS clarified in a stock exchange filing that no definitive agreements have been reached yet. Infrastructure assets like data centres have become increasingly attractive to investors in Asia, with companies like KKR acquiring a stake in Singapore Telecommunications’ data centre business last year.

Read the full article about GDS’s potential investment.



Foxconn’s Doubling in Value May Continue Amidst China’s AI Craze

Chinese investors are favouring Taiwan’s Foxconn Industrial Internet over domestic AI companies amid the global AI boom, leading to a significant surge in its stock price since mid-January. Foxconn Industrial’s stock has more than doubled in Shanghai this year, outperforming all others on the CSI 300 Index. It is expected to benefit further from the demand for AI servers, prompting Goldman Sachs to raise its price target. The surge in US and Taiwan chip stocks is fuelled by growing interest in AI, particularly following Nvidia’s strong earnings, and has contributed to Foxconn Industrial’s bullish outlook.

Read the full article about investors’ interest in Taiwan’s Foxconn.



Samsung Embraces Chip Technology Favoured by SK Hynix Amid AI Chip Race

Samsung Electronics plans to adopt chip-making technology from rival SK Hynix to produce high-end chips for AI to catch up in the race. Samsung has been using non-conductive film (NCF) technology, which causes production issues. The decision comes as demand surges for high bandwidth memory chips used in AI applications and after SK Hynix experienced success in addressing NCF’s issues with the mass reflow moulded underfill (MR-MUF) method. Samsung plans to use both NCF and MUF techniques for its latest HBM chip. This follows SK Hynix’s earlier announcement about its plans to invest over US$1 billion in chip packaging to solidify its position in the HBM market amidst growing competition.

Read the full article about Samsung’s plans to adopt MUF.

Read the full article about SK Hynix’s US$1 billion investment.



China Commences Testing of AI Chatbot for Neurosurgeons

China is testing an AI assistant for neurosurgeons in several hospitals as part of its broader effort to harness AI technology and create its home-grown AI resembling OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Developed by a Hong Kong-based agency affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the AI model, Cares Copilot 1.0, will process diagnostics data and eventually adopt a more active role in supporting doctors. The model is trained on data obtained from leading local hospitals unavailable to OpenAI and is built with Nvidia’s A100 high-end chips and Huawei Technologies’ Ascend 910B.

Read the full article about China’s AI model for hospitals.


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