Industry News & Trends Recap: Mar Week 4

Industry News & Trends Recap: Mar Week 4

Weekly Industry News & Trends Recap: Mar Week 4

In this week’s news roundup, our luxury and retail recruitment consultants observe a surge in competition within the e-commerce realm. Notably, industry giants are ramping up their efforts to maintain their leading positions. Meanwhile, AI-related job opportunities have emerged in Singapore and Apple has demonstrated a keen interest in forging tech-related partnerships and investments in Indonesia and China.


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 industry personnel moves   1.

Moves: UOB, Lombard Odier, BOS and Citigroup

UOB: UOB announced the appointment of Kelvin Ng as the new head of group global markets. Concurrently, Adaline Zheng has been appointed CEO of UOB’s Hong Kong branch. Ng replaces Leslie Foo, who is retiring, while Zheng succeeds Christine Ip, who remains UOB’s CEO of Greater China and Singapore’s head of group strategic communications and brand. Both Ng and Zheng have over two decades of market experience. Ng will oversee treasury solutions and financial products across multiple asset classes, UOB’s funding and liquidity and the bank’s asset optimisation.

Citigroup: Citigroup appointed Marc Luet head of Asia North and Australia cluster and banking. Luet succeeds Angel Ng, who is retiring after 26 years with the bank. Luet, who serves as Japan’s cluster and banking head, will be based in Hong Kong and is tasked with enhancing connectivity across the bank to serve clients effectively.

BOS: Felicia Tan, a former Deutsche Bank executive, has joined the Bank of Singapore as a team head in Singapore. She will report to Jeffrey Tan and focus on ASEAN markets. Prior to this role, she led wealth management teams at Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, and Credit Suisse, focusing on SEA. Bank of Singapore has recently been on a hiring spree, with over 40 new bankers added since January 2023.

Lombard Odier: Francis Liu, Singapore-based chief executive for Lombard Odier’s private clients business in Asia, has resigned from the Swiss bank. Liu was previously from UBS in Hong Kong and held leadership roles at Merrill Lynch before joining Lombard Odier in Asia. Following his departure, Vincent Magnenat will temporarily lead Lombard Odier’s private banking business in Asia and take on a broader role as the global head of strategic alliances.

HSBC: HSBC’s global co-head of technology, media, and telecom (TMT), Winston Cheng, is leaving to join a major tech firm after building HSBC’s investment banking team in Asia. Dan Bailey will continue to lead the TMT team, while Cheng will join a Fortune 500 tech company in mid-April. Cheng, with prior experience at and over 20 years of experience in investment banking, played a significant role in securing high-profile mandates for HSBC. These include Chinese AI company Sensetime Group’s initial public offering in Hong Kong and Lenovo Group’s acquisition of PCCW IT services.

Read the full article about UOB’s leadership appointment.

Read the full article about Citigroup’s new hire.

Read the full article about the exit of HSBC’s banker.



Alibaba-Backed Fintech Obtains Funding and Targets Strong Growth

Akulaku, a Southeast Asian (SEA) online lending platform backed by Alibaba, secured US$100 million in debt financing from HSBC. The funds will be used to settle debts, with Akulaku’s CEO noting improved financial health and a desire to improve profitability. Akulaku aims to increase revenue by up to 25% this year. It announced plans to focus on expanding its presence in Indonesia, its primary market, and recruit more local senior bankers.

Read the full article about Akulaku’s expansion and recruitment plans.



HSBC Launches US$1b Fund Targeting Digital Economy in SEA

HSBC launches the ASEAN Growth Fund, a US$1 billion initiative to support companies in SEA scaling up through digital platforms. The move aims to capitalise on the region’s rapidly growing digital economy, which is expected to reach US$600 billion by 2030. Additionally, HSBC introduced a US$150 million venture debt fund to finance Singaporean companies backed by venture capital or private equity firms.

Read the full article about HSBC’s initiatives to leverage the digital economy.


Investment, PE & VC News

private equity and venture capital news


Leading Asia-Based PE Firms Eye Alternative Assets in Asia

Private equity giants in Asia are diversifying into alternative assets like private credit and infrastructure amidst a downturn in deal value and fundraising. Despite economic challenges, they remain confident in investors’ ability to leverage inefficiencies in deglobalisation and geopolitical tensions to generate returns. Meanwhile, investors also see opportunities in buyouts, which afford investors more control.

Read the full article about top PE firms’ interest in alternative assets.



UBS to Close Smaller-Value Credit Suisse Accounts but Boost Asia Assets to 20%

UBS plans to increase assets from Asia, aiming for 20% in five to six years from the current 15%. With $5.2 trillion in global assets, UBS sees wealth and asset management industries poised for sustained growth due to retirement planning needs. The integration of UBS and Credit Suisse enabled UBS to expand its presence in North America and Asia in asset management, running $1.6 trillion in assets by the end of last year.

Read the full article about UBS’ plans to shut down Credit Suisse’s accounts.

Read the full article about UBS’ interest in Asia.



Singapore Leads as Asia’s Financial Hub & Investment Magnet

Singapore maintains its position as Asia’s leading financial, according to the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) report. Factors such as business environment, human capital, infrastructure, financial sector development, and reputation contribute to Singapore’s regional dominance. Shanghai and Seoul also see improvements in their rankings. Respondents expect Asian cities like Seoul and Singapore to gain significance in the coming years, highlighting the region’s growing influence in global finance. Notably, in a separate index, Singapore also leads its Asian counterparts in attracting foreign investments, ranking first in the Milken Institute’s Global Opportunity Index for the region in 2023.

Read the full paid article about GFCI’s report.

Read the full article about Milken Institute’s report.



Beatrice Lion Named New CEO of True Global Ventures

Beatrice Lion has been promoted to CEO of True Global Ventures (TGV), a Singapore-based VC firm, where she has been since 2017. During her tenure, TGV successfully raised US$113 million for its 4 Plus Base Fund in 2021 and US$146 million for the Opportunity Fund in 2022.

Read the full paid article about TGV’s new CEO.



Anext Bank Secures Extra US$148m from Ant Group

Anext Bank, headquartered in Singapore, has secured an extra US$148 million in capital injection from its parent company, Ant Group. This latest infusion of funds comes after Anext Bank received US$188 million from Ant Group in March of the previous year.

Read the full paid article about Anext Bank’s capital injection.


Legal News

law firms and in-house news


GEN Appoints JT&N’s IP Expert as Partner

GEN Law Firm in Shenzhen welcomes intellectual property expert Wan Peng as a partner. Wan has over 10 years of experience in IP practice areas, such as IP team management, IP representation and IP litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Wan worked at Jincheng Tongda & Neal. His arrival marks the firm’s first partner-level hire this year and reinforces its competitive edge in intellectual property.

Read the full article about GEN’s IP expert.



King & Spalding’s Arbitration Expert Joins CRS’ Singapore Office as Partner

Charles Russell Speechlys has recruited Peter Brabant, an expert in international arbitration and investigations. Brabant, formerly a counsel at King & Spalding, will join the Singapore office as a partner, strengthening the firm’s presence in the APAC region. Brabant’s addition brings the total number of partners in CRS’ Singapore office to three, alongside Simon Green and Jeffrey Lee. He will focus on resolving construction, energy disputes, and investor-state arbitrations. With over 15 years of experience, Brabant’s expertise enhances CRS’ capabilities in handling complex matters such as anti-bribery, cybersecurity, and anti-trust across Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

Read the full article about Charles Russell Speechlys’ hire.



Expansions & Consolidations: China Commercial, JT&N

China Commercial: China Commercial Law Firm expanded its presence by launching a new office in Shanghai, marking its 45th branch nationwide. The Shanghai office, led by director Wu Bo, comprised of 35 lawyers and is engaged in several practice areas. These include banking, finance, shipping, biomedicine, IP, new energy, new materials, high-end equipment manufacturing, maritime and seamanship, international trade and customs, compliance, bankruptcy and restructuring, distressed assets, intellectual property, resources and energy, capital markets, among others. The firm aims to facilitate interaction and integration between the Yangtze River Delta and the Greater Bay Area through its foreign-related legal capabilities.

JT&N: JT&N expands with new Chongqing office led by director Zhou Mingbing. This marks the firm’s third location in western China. The office will collaborate with existing branches and leverage its traditional strengths in IP, international trade, and cross-border investment to foster growth in the southwest region’s legal service market. It will also focus on the practice areas of real estate, construction engineering, finance, compliance, dispute resolution and criminal.

JunZeJun: JunZeJun Law Offices expands with a new office in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, marking its 20th branch in China. Led by partner Li Zhuang, the office boasts over 20 lawyers specialising in finance, corporate, labour, criminal, and real estate matters. This move strengthens JunZeJun’s presence in Northeast China, enabling it to tap into Shenyang’s status as a pivotal economic and transportation hub.

Orrick: Orrick consolidated its operations in Greater China, closing offices in Shanghai and Taipei due to lease expiration. The Beijing office will absorb two Shanghai partners, Ma and Jeffrey Sun, and continue to focus on litigation, IP services, cross-border corporate transactions and the tech sector. This move aligns with Orrick’s strategy to rebalance its APAC platform, and it expressed plans to shift investment to Singapore and other markets.

Read the full article about China Commercial’s new office.

Read the full article about JT&N’s new office.

Read the full article about JunZeJun’s new office.

Read the full article about Orrick’s consolidation.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

biotech industry analysis


Growing Interest in AI Pharma with NVIDIA’s Entry Alongside Tech and Pharma Giants

Major pharmaceutical companies and tech giants are increasingly embracing AI in drug design, production, and distribution, showing signs of AI pharma becoming the next emerging field.

The world’s top pharmaceutical giants, including Takeda, Eli Lilly, and GSK, have already laid out plans for AI pharma. Meanwhile, global tech giants have also made their respective investments in related AI tools and technologies. These include NVIDIA’s BioNeMo, Microsoft’s EvoDiff, Google’s AlphaFold, and SalesForce’s ProGen, among others.

Current trends also show MNCs’ enthusiasm about cooperating with AI pharmaceuticals. Chinese tech giants are also in the race, with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent establishing medical AI departments. Notably, promising Chinese firms are also fast emerging in the sector.

Read the full article about NVIDIA’s efforts in AI healthcare.

Read the full Chinese article about the potential of the AI pharma track.



Nuvation Bio Enters All-Stock Deal to Acquire AnHeart Therapeutics

Nuvation Bio will acquire the US and China-based precision oncology company AnHeart in an all-stock transaction. The acquisition propels Nuvation Bio into the ranks of late-stage global oncology companies and positions it for potential commercialisation by the close of 2025. It also brings in promising assets like taletrectinib, a next-generation ROS1 inhibitor, and safusidenib, a mutant IDH1 inhibitor. Both, which are undergoing pivotal studies for treating specific types of cancer, are poised to enrich Nuvation Bio’s pipeline.

Read the full article about Nuvation Bio’s acquisition.



Moves: China’s Takeda Appoints New Business Unit Head

Takeda China appointed Liu Yan, former head of the Haemophilia and Rare Diseases Business Unit, as the head of its Digestive Business Unit, effective March 31. With the departure of Cui Xuan on March 31 for family reasons, Liu Yan will also serve as the acting head of the Haemophilia and Rare Diseases Business Unit until the new appointee takes office. During her three-year tenure, Liu Yan achieved significant success, including establishing a rare diseases team, launching five new products, and getting three products included in the national medical insurance catalogue.

Read the full Chinese article about Takeda’s new head.



AriBio Gets Exclusive Marketing Rights in China’s Blue Ocean AD Track

AriBio signed an exclusive marketing rights agreement in China for their research drug AR1001, targeting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, for a staggering US$770 million. The deal includes a non-refundable upfront payment of ₩120 billion (roughly US$90 million). The total transaction value reaches ¥ 5.59 billion RMB (approximately US$770 million), including milestone payments and additional royalties. The Alzheimer’s disease drug market, driven by substantial market demand, is projected to see exponential growth, with an estimated global population of Alzheimer’s patients expected to reach 152 million by 2050. Major pharmaceutical companies in China are strategically positioning themselves in this sector, which is still under the blue ocean track with relatively high demand and low competition.

Read the full article about AriBio’s exclusive rights in China.

Read the full Chinese analysis of the Alzheimer’s disease market in China.



MilliporeSigma Invests €300m in Korean Biologics Plant; 300 Jobs Expected

MilliporeSigma looks to invest €300 million in a new bioprocessing plant in South Korea, with 300 jobs expected to be created by 2028. The facility will cater to biotech and pharma projects, including vaccines, cell therapies, and monoclonal antibodies. This marks the largest investment in the APAC region for MilliporeSigma’s Life Science business and is part of a broader global expansion strategy following the company’s recent investments in China, Europe and the US.

Read the full article about MilliporeSigma’s investment in Korea.



Luxury & Retail News

e-commerce and retail news


ByteDance-Owned Douyin Unveils Independent Shopping App in China

Douyin, owned by ByteDance, has launched Douyin Mall, a standalone e-commerce platform in mainland China. The move intensifies the competition with Alibaba,, and Pinduoduo. The app marks ByteDance’s effort to tap into the lucrative e-commerce sector amidst its substantial sales growth. Unlike TikTok Shop, Douyin Mall competes directly with major mainland rivals and integrates video content to engage consumers.

Read the full article about Douyin Mall.



Alibaba Integrates Taobao and 1688 to Target New Customers

Alibaba integrates its online wholesale marketplace, 1688, with Taobao to attract new users amid increasing e-commerce competition. The three 1688 stores on Taobao offer various products directly sourced from manufacturers to target different customer segments. This move is part of Alibaba’s ongoing restructuring efforts to innovate and consolidate its assets in response to slowing growth and rising competition in its core businesses.

With the need for a low-cost system to continue competing with platforms like Pinduoduo and Douyin, 1688 shows promise as a suitable carrier. It currently has over 600,000 factories, covering one-tenth of China’s total factory count and one-third of its large-scale factories.

Read the full paid article about 1688’s integration with Alibaba.

Read the Chinese analysis about 1688’s integration with Alibaba.



Luxury Shoe Brand Manolo Blahnik Inks Hong Kong Distribution Deal and Store

Manolo Blahnik, a renowned luxury shoe brand, has expanded its presence in Asia by partnering with Bluebell Group for its Hong Kong launch. The shoe brand will open a new boutique in the Lee Gardens shopping mall as part of its growth strategy in the APAC region, with plans for two more stores this year. The partnership builds on their successful collaboration in other Asian countries since 2016.

Read the full article about Manolo Blahnik’s partnership with Bluebell.



Shein to Offer Its Unique Small-Batch Production Model to Global Brands

Shein, a Chinese e-commerce company known for its pioneering small-batch production model, is opening this model to global brands and designers. The move marks a strategic shift as it faces challenges in its largest market, the US. Under this plan, external brands and designers can access Shein’s supply chain infrastructure and technology to test new fashion products in small batches and track their popularity among consumers using Shein’s system.

Read the full paid article about Shein’s plans to open its small-batch manufacturing model.

Read the full Chinese article about Shein’s plans to offer its supply chain to brands.



Moves: LVMH Bianchi Promoted and Valentino’s Creative Director Exits

LVMH: Toni Belloni is stepping down as LVMH’s group managing director in a rare top management reshuffle at the luxury group. Stephane Bianchi will replace him, overseeing operational functions and leading the executive committee alongside Bernard Arnault. Bianchi, who joined LVMH in 2018, quickly rose through the ranks. He previously led the watch label Tag Heuer before expanding his role to include jewellery and is now overseeing Tiffany & Co. Additionally, Wei Sun Christianson will be nominated to the board of directors at LVMH’s annual general meeting on April 18.

Valentino: Valentino and creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli are parting ways after 25 years. Piccioli’s departure marks the end of a significant era that saw him evolve from accessory designer to sole creative director, leaving a legacy of unbridled romanticism and fantasy in Valentino’s collections. Valentino’s new creative organisation yet to be announced.

Read the full article about LVMH’s leadership reshuffle.

Read the full article about the departure of Valentino’s Creative Director.


Tech & AI News

ai news and jobs


MAS Partners Ant International for ESG Reporting Platform for MSMEs

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) collaborated with Ant International to offer a sustainability reporting solution for small businesses in the APAC region. The partnership utilises the Greenprint platform launched by MAS. Greenprint, or, leverages technology like data integration and AI to simplify ESG reporting for MSMEs. The collaboration is part of Programme Sirius, aiming to support MSMEs on digital platforms in achieving sustainability goals, with 13 industry partners committing to exchange ideas and best practices for a low-carbon economy.

Read the full article about MAS’ partnership with Ant International.



Ant International to Expand Alipay+ Amidst Company Restructuring

Ant International plans to significantly expand its Alipay+ tourist payment service, aiming to add more partner wallets and increase partnering merchants by double digits. The company aims to expand its coverage across all Asian countries before moving into Europe and the US. This international push follows a significant re-organisation announced last week, including Ant International’s transformation into an independent unit. This restructuring, outlined in an internal letter, also involves OceanBase and Ant Digital Technologies becoming independent operations, allowing Ant Group to focus on AI, globalisation, and Alipay development. Additionally,

Read the full paid article about the expansion of Alipay+.



ByteDance Unveils New Jobs as it Eyes Singapore for GenAI Push

With a keen focus on advancing its AI capabilities, particularly in generative AI, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has recently unveiled more than 100 job openings. The roles are primarily located in Singapore and the US. Around 40 positions are dedicated to large language models (LLMs) in Singapore, and the roles aim to enhance ByteDance’s proprietary model, Yunque, and other generative AI applications. ByteDance’s interest in these regions stems from the available talent pool.

Read the full paid article on ByteDance’s GenAI push.



Microsoft and Apple Demonstrate Interest in Investing in Indonesia

Tech giants Microsoft and Apple are showing interest in investing in Indonesia, with CEOs Satya Nadella and Tim Cook reportedly seeking to meet President Joko Widodo. The collaboration aims to develop Indonesia’s human resources and manufacturing sectors, providing opportunities for the country and its people. This move is expected to bolster Indonesia’s digital talent capacity and competency, with plans for Cook to review Apple Academy and Nadella to discuss technological knowledge transfer, including AI.

Read the full article about Microsoft and Apple’s interest in Indonesia.



Apple Explores Potential Partnership with Baidu

Apple is reportedly considering a partnership with Baidu to integrate generative AI solutions into its devices sold in China, aiming to enhance its operating system and software. Baidu’s Ernie Bot is targeted for integration into Apple’s iPhone 16, Mac OS, and iOS 18 in China, with discussions still in the early stages. This collaboration reflects a strategic move for Apple amidst increasing competition in the Chinese AI market and signals China’s growing influence in global tech partnerships.

Read the full article about Apple’s potential partnership with Baidu.


Use Market Insights to Your Advantage with JC 

Interested in delving deeper into how to capitalise on opportunities and navigate industry challenges? Reach out to our consultants at JC Consulting today for a discussion. At JC Consulting, we have executive search firms strategically located in leading business hubs such as Singapore and China. Meanwhile our consultants are also grouped by specialisations, covering various sectors, including finance recruitment and biotech recruitment, making us well-positioned to provide precise insights to help you seize timely opportunities in the market.