Industry News & Trends Recap: May Week 1

Industry News & Trends Recap: May Week 1

Industry News & Trends Recap: May Week 1

This week’s summary, more openings are created, as AIA Singapore looks to establish a new wealth team, while HSBC and Value Partners commence the search for successors following the departure of their CEOs. Other highlights include legal giants Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling’s merger and Singaporean chipmakers’ plans to gear up for expansion amid the boom in artificial intelligence (AI).


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 sector market news


AIA Singapore to Invest Over $20m and Start New 30-Member Wealth Team to Target Rich Clients

AIA Singapore is investing over $20 million to establish a new wealth division targeting affluent clients in the region amidst expected growth in the wealthy population in Asia. The division, comprising AIA International Wealth and a physical wealth centre in the CBD, focuses on individuals with at least $200,000 in assets under management. The new division is expected to contribute to AIA Singapore’s regional offshore wealth volume significantly. The division plans to hire about 30 staff members by year-end, half of whom are wealth management consultants, to offer solutions for wealth and legacy planning, tax, trust, and legal issues.

Read the full article about AIA Singapore’s hiring plans.



People Moves: HSBC, Temasek Trust, Guotai Junan and JPMorgan

HSBC: CEO Noel Quinn announced his plans to step down, citing a desire for a better work-life balance and plans to take on a portfolio role. Under his leadership, the bank has seen significant asset sales, record profits, and a rise in share price. The succession process is expected to be completed in the second half of 2024 and open to internal and external candidates. CFO Georges Elhedery and the bank’s global head for wealth and personal banking, Nuno Matos, are believed to be possible internal contenders. Quinn’s tenure has been marked by strategic transformations, including cutting underperforming businesses in the West and navigating geopolitical tensions. Despite regulatory issues and geopolitical pressures, HSBC reported a pre-tax profit of US$12.7 billion for the quarter ended March, ahead of forecasts.

Temasek Trust: Temasek Trust launched a new TT Foundation Advisors (TTFA) to provide advisory and management services to impact organisations in Asia. TTFA aims to streamline access to Temasek Trust’s networks and resources, allowing clients to engage with various entities for philanthropic endeavours. This initiative responds to Singapore’s emergence as a regional philanthropic hub, where growing demand for such services is anticipated. It also comes amidst changing philanthropic trends in Asia, including a focus on sustainability, impact measurement and evidence-based giving. TTFA will be led by former UBS executive director and head of philanthropy and community impact, Dickson Lim.

Guotai Junan: Jaclyn Kaur, a former private banker at Indosuez Wealth Management, has left from her position as head of private client services at Guotai Junan International. She announced her departure on her LinkedIn less than a year after joining the Chinese investment banking and securities firm.

JPMorgan: JPMorgan Chase promoted 48 executives in Asia and over 100 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) to managing director roles as part of a global promotion initiative. These changes reflect a broader leadership restructuring, with Sjoerd Leenart set to replace Filippo Gori as the head of Asia Pacific (APAC) as the latter moves to co-lead global banking in London. Meanwhile, the China onshore securities business chairman, Park Pu, has recently stepped down while retirement is in the plans for the head of China, Grace Lin.

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

Read the full article about Temasek Trust’s new philanthropy advisory services.

Read the full article about JPMorgan’s promotions in Asia and EMEA.


Investment, PE & VC News

private equity and venture capital deals


Tikehau Capital Partners Flow Capital; to Launch New Hong Kong Office

Global alternative asset manager Tikehau Capital formed a new partnership with an APAC real estate debt investment-focused private credit firm, Flow Capital. This collaboration will explore co-investment opportunities, leveraging Tikehau Capital’s institutional relationships and Flow Capital’s local connections with institutional partners and family offices in Greater China. Tikehau Capital will also open a new office in Hong Kong, the 17th globally and fourth in Asia. This move indicates Tikehau Capital’s strategic focus on the APAC region for growth. The partnership will also help Flow Capital enhance its presence in Asia and establish a foothold in European markets to seize opportunities across both regions.



Temasek-BlackRock JV Secures US$1.4b for Decarbonisation-Focused Fund

Decarbonisation Partners, a joint venture between Temasek and BlackRock, raised US$1.4 billion for its inaugural fund for investing in decarbonisation technologies. The fund surpassed its initial target of US$1 billion and attracted over 30 institutional investors from 18 countries, including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, and corporates. The fund focuses on companies in fields like sustainable materials, clean hydrogen, and carbon management services. Approximately half of the capital has been invested in US-based companies, with the rest distributed between Europe and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The team is actively expanding its pipeline of investable companies in the APAC, recognising the region’s importance in the transition to lower-carbon solutions. Despite the changing investment landscape, significant investor appetite remains for decarbonisation strategies.

Read the full article about Decarbonisation Partners.



Chinese Investments Abroad Grow at Fastest Pace in Eight Years

Chinese overseas investments are surging, reaching an eight-year high in the first quarter of the year, with a focus on industries like electric vehicles and solar energy. This move is expected to reduce trade tensions by creating jobs abroad instead of flooding markets with exports. However, geopolitical competition, especially with the US and Europe, poses challenges, with suspicion against Chinese investments in these regions. The top destinations of investments in 2024 are not yet reported, but in 2022, much of Chinese FDI went to Asia, particularly to countries like Hong Kong. The manufacturing sector, especially in key materials processing, has been a significant recipient of Chinese investment. This shift towards factory-building represents a change from previous infrastructure-focused investments that were recently the focus of Chinese investments abroad.

Read the full article about Chinese firms’ investments abroad.



State Street: APAC Institutional Investors Seeks to Increase Private Markets Exposure

Despite concerns about inflation and borrowing costs, institutional investors in the APAC remain keen on increasing their allocations in private assets. This is mainly in private debt and real estate, as noted in a report by State Street. Private debt emerges as the most attractive asset class as investors seek alpha in a crowded marketplace. The survey indicates a trend towards higher allocations to private markets, with nearly half of the investors planning to allocate over 30% of their portfolios to private assets in the next three years. Meanwhile, 64% intend to grow their investments in real estate investments in the medium term, driven by expectations of growth in China’s real estate market. However, compared to global counterparts, APAC investors show less interest in infrastructure and private equity.

Read the full paid article about APAC’s growing interest in private markets.



Morgan Stanley Asia PE Unit Restructures After CEO Departs

Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (PEA) is undergoing restructuring in the wake of the retirement of its Asia chief executive, Chou Chin, who served at the Wall Street Bank’s private equity unit for 35 years. Xu Jun, who currently heads yuan-denominated investment funds, will lead a dedicated team for onshore and offshore China-focused investments. The present co-heads of India private equity, Nirav Mehta and Arjun Saigal, will jointly lead PEA ex-China, focusing on investments across the region, particularly in India. Concurrently, 24-year veteran Andrew Hawkyard will both retire from his position as the chief investment officer of the PEA unit.

Read the full article about Chou Chin and Andre Hawkyard’s retirement.


Legal News

legal and in-house lawyer moves


Linklaters and White & Case Swap Indian Finance and M&A Partners

Linklaters strengthened its India-focused corporate practice in Singapore by hiring Sayak Maity as a partner. Maity, formerly from White & Case, was a partner for the firm’s mergers & acquisitions (M&As) and private equity practice. He specialises in financial sponsors, and his experience spans across various sectors, including infrastructure, technology and e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and manufacturing. Meanwhile, White & Case recruited M&A partner Savi Hebbur from Linklaters in London. Hebbur brings nearly 19 years of experience and specialises in advising international companies, sponsors, and Indian corporates on their M&A transactions. He previously served as head of corporate for the Magic Circle firm’s India group. Hebbur’s appointment follows several other notable partner additions to the firm’s Global M&A Practice across different regions since the beginning of 2024.

Read the full article about Linklaters’s new partner.

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



Weil Gotshal’s Hong Kong Managing Partner Leaves for Asian PE Firm PAG

Tim Gardner, the managing partner of Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Hong Kong office and co-head of its Asia private equity practice, has left the firm. He will be stepping into a new role as the general counsel at PAG, an Asian private equity investment firm. Gardner, who has been practising in Asia since 2006, specialises in private equity, M&A, and advisory work for cross-border transactions in APAC.

Read the full paid article about Gardner’s departure from Weil Gotshal.



Haikan’s Private Equity Expert and Team Join Co-Effort’s Guiyang Office

Co-Effort Law Firm expanded its Guiyang office by hiring private equity expert Yang Wen as a senior partner. Yang joins from Haikan Law Firm alongside her team. She has eight years of experience in private equity, bankruptcy, restructuring, corporate law, and dispute resolution. Her addition enhances Co-Effort’s legal services in financial funds.

Read the full article about Co-Effort’s new PE senior partner.



Former Judge Joins Han Kun’s Shanghai Criminal Law Practice

Han Kun Law Offices bolstered its criminal law capabilities in Shanghai by hiring former judge Liu Xin. Liu has close to 30 years of experience in criminal defence, accusations, compliance, and successful handling of cases, including corruption, bribery, illegal fundraising, contract fraud, smuggling, IP crimes, and administrative and civil liability. Liu previously served as Grandall Law Firm’s senior partner and director of the criminal practice committee. He also held positions as a deputy chief judge at both the Shanghai High People’s Court and Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. Notably, Liu presided over the Rio Tinto espionage case in 2010.

Read the full article about Han Kun’s criminal practice hire.



Business Moves: Mayer Brown and A&O x Shearman

Mayer Brown: Mayer Brown reportedly plans to part ways with its China offices. The firm, which has a significant presence in the country with around 170 lawyers across offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, will maintain a smaller office in Hong Kong. Most of the Hong Kong staff are expected to join a separate firm led by current Mayer Brown partners, operating under the name Johnson Stokes & Master. This move comes amidst escalating tensions between the US and China and worsening business prospects for foreign companies in China due to tightened cybersecurity and data protection laws.

A&O x Shearman: Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling finalised their long-planned merger, creating the largest transatlantic law firm combination in years. The newly formed firm, A&O Shearman, has nearly 4,000 lawyers and 3,000 other employees across 47 offices, generating combined revenues of about $3.5 billion. Appointments include:

  • Shearman & Sterling: Adam Hakki was appointed co-chair of the global A&O Shearman board and executive committee, and Doreen Lilienfeld was appointed US co-managing partner.
  • A&O: Hervé Ekué (Paris) and Denise Gibson (London) were appointed as managing partners, Khalid Garousha (Abu Dhabi) was appointed senior partner, and Dave Lewis was appointed US co-managing partner.

The merger marks a significant move in the legal industry, where transatlantic mergers of this scale have been relatively rare due to challenges like client conflicts and compensation disparities.

Read the full article about Mayer Brown’s potential split.

Read the full article about A&O and Shearman’s merger.

Read the full analysis of A&O and Shearman’s merger.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

life sciences clinical trials development and news


Global Accelerators and Incubators to Launch Hong Kong Teams to Support Local Ventures

Global accelerators and incubators are establishing branches and building teams in Hong Kong to support the city’s ambition of becoming a leading tech hub. ATLATL Innovation Centre and Founder Institute are among the organisations setting up offices in collaboration with the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP). ATLATL plans to invest HK$50 million over three years to bring 20 startups to Hong Kong, leveraging the city’s scientific research capabilities and talent pool. Meanwhile, Founder Institute aims to cultivate at least 100 global startups annually in sectors like life science, big data, and artificial intelligence. The two firms are among the over 60 leading organisations that partnered with the HSITP last Thursday. Among these, 24 plan to launch and grow their operations in the city, bringing in significant investments and hundreds of jobs.

Read the full paid article about startup interest in Hong Kong.



China’s Investigator Trials Drive Competitive CAR T Development

China’s CAR T market is set to experience substantial growth, projected to increase from $72 million in 2022 to $342 million within the next decade. Currently, China leads globally in CAR T therapy clinical trials, with over 300 trials registered as of January 31, 2024, surpassing the US. There are also over 400 CAR T therapies in the pipeline, predominantly by specialised Chinese biotech firms. Strategic partnerships and joint ventures between multinational corporations and domestic companies are driving the development of many late-phase CAR T-cell therapies.

Read the full article about China’s booming CAR T market.



Gracell CBO Joins Innovent Biologics as Global CBO

Innovent Biologics, Inc. appointed  Dr. Samuel Zhang as its Global Chief Business Officer (CBO). Zhang, former CBO of Gracell Biotechnologies Inc., will be responsible for global strategy and business development. Beyond his tenure at Gracell, Zhang has served at NeoImmuneTech and has 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. His successful track record includes:

  • Identifying industry trends and promising early-stage assets.
  • Designing market development strategies and realising commercial value.
  • Facilitating R&D decisions, partnerships, and strategic transactions.

Read the full article about Innovent’s new Global CBO.



China’s Demand for 10,000 RMB Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Soars

Novartis’ long-acting cholesterol-lowering drug, Leqvio, priced at 10,000 RMB per injection, has defied market expectations by gaining significant popularity despite concerns about affordability. This success challenges notions about payment capabilities in the Chinese pharmaceutical landscape. The therapy attracted 250 new patients daily, and surpassed initial sales projections and may result in a revenue close to approach 3 billion RMB if the sales trend continues. The therapy’s success lies in its effectiveness in further reducing LDL-C levels in patients receiving statins, individuals intolerant to them, and those unable to achieve target LDL-C levels with statins alone.

Read the full article about the demand for Leqvio.

Read the full Chinese analysis about Leqvio.



Takeda Bags CHMP Recommendation for Fruquintinib

Takeda received a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for the approval of Fruquintinib. Fruquintinib is a targeted therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). If approved by the European Commission, it would be the first novel targeted therapy for mCRC in over a decade, offering a potential survival benefit to patients. The recommendation was based on positive results from a Phase 3 clinical trial (FRESCO-2), which demonstrated significant improvements in overall survival and progression-free survival compared to placebo plus best supportive care.

Read the full article about Takeda’s positive recommendation from CHMP.


Luxury & Retail News

luxury and retail fashion and beauty industry news


Louis Vuitton Returns to Hong Kong’s Times Square After Three Years

Louis Vuitton makes a comeback to Times Square in Causeway Bay after a three-year absence with the signing of a five-year lease for a larger space, indicating a positive outlook for Hong Kong’s luxury retail market. This move reflects growing confidence in the city, with other high-end brands also returning. Sales of luxury items have seen an uptick, driven by both mainland Chinese visitors and local consumers. Retailers in Hong Kong’s core shopping districts are attracted by reduced leasing rates, prompting a resurgence in leasing activities. High-end retailers, including luxury watchmakers, fashion brands, and jewellery sellers like Emperor, Chow Tai Fook, and 3D-Gold, are actively seeking leasing opportunities in the country. A major player in the luxury accessories sector is also reportedly preparing to introduce a unique retail concept that has not been seen before in the city.

Read the full paid article about Louis Vuitton’s return to Hong Kong.



Business Moves

i. China’s Largest Pearl Supplier Partners Cangyuan Ziben to Launch Pearl Brand Accelerator

Cangyuan Ziben was officially established recently alongside the rollout of the first Chinese fund for the wearables industry, which raised an initial fund of close to 300 million yuan. Cangyuan Capital is an investment institution newly formed by a group of venture capital and industry veterans. The team has previously invested in projects such as MeiONE, Himalaya, Spiritual Wealth Club, YIT, and Bananain. Cangyuan Ziben has also joined forces with China’s largest comprehensive pearl supplier, ANGEPERLE, to launch the first Chinese pearl brand accelerator in Shanghai. The move aims to improve the pearl industry ecosystem and promote the branding upgrade of the Chinese pearl industry.

Read the full Chinese article about Cangyuan Capital’s pearl brand accelerator.


ii. Shein Eyes Expansion into Skincare, Toothpaste and Toy Categories

Fast-fashion giant Shein is expanding its platform to include skincare, toothpaste, and toys by collaborating with well-known brands. This move is part of Shein’s strategy to diversify its offerings with more household names, build credibility and attract more shoppers to compete more effectively with e-commerce giants like Amazon.

Read the full article about Shein’s interest in new categories.


iii. DRUNK ELEPHANT Debuts in Sephora China

Sephora launched DRUNK ELEPHANT across all its online channels and 250 physical stores in Mainland China, with plans to expand to 300 stores by year-end. This exclusive launch marks a significant move for Sephora in diversifying its brand and product offerings in the Chinese market. The brand is available at Sephora stores in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, as well as on Sephora’s digital platforms and DRUNK ELEPHANT’s TMall storefront.

Read the full article about the launch of Drunk Elephant in Sephora China.


iv. Estée Lauder Partners Microsoft to Launch AI Innovation Lab

Estée Lauder partnered with Microsoft to establish an AI innovation lab that integrates generative AI across its 20+ brands, including Clinique, Mac, and Too Faced. The collaboration involves leveraging Azure OpenAI Service and developing solutions like a generative AI chatbot for employees. This initiative follows Estée Lauder’s previous use of Azure AI for its Voice-enabled Makeup Assistant app. The move aligns with a broader trend in the cosmetics sector, where companies like L’Oréal leverage AI for enhanced efficiency, customer experiences, and data analytics.

Read the full article about Estee Lauder’s investment in AI.




i. L’Occitane International Privatise for US$1.8b

L’Occitane International, the owner of brands like L’Occitane en Provence and Sol de Janeiro, is set to go private in a US$1.8 billion deal led by its majority shareholder and Austrian billionaire Reinold Geiger. Geiger aims to acquire all shares not already owned, citing a strategic move to focus on sustainable long-term growth amidst changes in the cosmetics sector. The offer price of HK$34 per share represents a significant premium. The deal will be backed by Blackstone and Goldman Sachs funds, and debt from Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank. The delisting values L’Occitane International at €6 billion.

Read the full article about L’Occitane’s privatisation.


ii. L Catterton Buys Majority Stake in Kiko Milano

LVMH-backed L Catterton acquired a majority stake in Italian beauty brand Kiko Milano. Kiko Milano reported nearly €800m in net revenue last year, with about 20% year-over-year growth. Established in 1997, Kiko Milano has experienced significant growth, with sales reaching €798 million in 2023 and expansion into more than 66 markets worldwide. While the financial terms were not disclosed, the founding family of Kiko Milano will retain a stake, with Antonio Percassi remaining as president and Simone Dominici as CEO. The partnership aims to leverage L Catterton’s expertise to further accelerate Kiko’s global expansion, especially through an omnichannel strategy and establishing a presence in new markets like the US. This acquisition adds to L Catterton’s portfolio of investments in the beauty sector, which includes well-known brands like Tula, Merit, and Elemis.

Read the full article about L Catterton’s acquisition of Kiko’s stakes.


iii. Moncler Owner Ruffini Buys Stake in Pas Normal Studio

The Ruffini family, owner of Moncler, expanded their investment portfolio by acquiring a stake in Danish cycling brand Pas Normal Studios through their investment firm Archive. Led by Pietro Ruffini, Archive seeks to support Pas Normal Studios in enhancing its global presence and positioning within the performance cycling apparel market. Founded in 2014, Pas Normal Studios has gained recognition for its contemporary approach to cycling gear, which is marked by innovative design, advanced technology, and collaborations.

Read the full article about Ruffini’s stake in Pas Normal Studios.



Uniqlo Parent to Diversify Management Teams and Hire More Foreign Talent

Fast Retailing, the parent company behind Uniqlo, announced plans to significantly increase the percentage of foreign nationals in its management and executive ranks by fiscal 2030. The plan for foreign nationals to make up 80% of management and 40% of executive officers is part of their strategy to globalise operations, given the company’s core functions are now based in Japan and the US. Fast Retailing is actively recruiting talent and offering opportunities for career advancement and competitive compensation packages. This initiative aligns with a broader trend among Japanese companies to increase diversity in leadership roles.

Read the full paid article about Uniqlo’s DEI plans.



People Moves: Kering Beauté, Louis Vuitton, Theory and Gymshark

Kering Beauté: Kering Beauté appointed Alexandre Choueiri as the new president and CEO for the Americas. Choueiri, a 20-year veteran at L’Oréal, brings rich experience in various leadership positions, including his most recent role as the global brand president of Ralph Lauren fragrances. His extensive background includes overseeing prestigious brands like Armani Beauty, YSL Beauté, and all L’Oréal Designer fragrances. Kering also announced plans to bring beauty licenses in-house and launch high-end fragrance ranges for Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen in the coming years.

Louis Vuitton: Louis Vuitton announced promotions within its communications department, appointing Cécile Durieux and Bianca Manley as vice presidents. Durieux, who served at Louis Vuitton for over 15 years, will become the Vice President of Menswear and Corporate Communications. Meanwhile, Manley, who joined in 2019, will become Vice President of Womenswear Communications. These changes follow the appointment of Blake Harrop as Executive Vice President of Image and Communications. Harrop, formerly of Wieden+Kennedy, is expected to play a significant role in Louis Vuitton’s future under CEO Pietro Beccari, succeeding Stefano Cantino, who left to join Gucci.

Theory: Jeffrey Kalinsky, Chief Creative Officer and Chief Merchant of Theory, has stepped down from his role after two-and-a-half years. His departure coincides with that of several other executives from the company, including Lucas Ossendrijver, Tiffany Wang, and Jacob Brown. Kalinsky, known for his background in luxury retail, brought a modern point of view to Theory’s collections, which received critical acclaim.

Gymshark: Gymshark appointed Hannah Mercer to the newly created role of General Manager for Wholesale and Retail to drive the brand’s growth across physical channels. Mercer brings extensive experience from her previous role as Global Vice-President at Adidas, where she led the company’s retail strategy and diversity initiatives. With a background in senior retail roles at Nike, Harrods, and House of Fraser, Mercer will focus on increasing market share and optimising turnover through consumer conversion. Her appointment is part of Gymshark’s strategic expansion efforts, which include recent senior hires from companies like ASOS and Lacoste.

Read the full article about Kering’s new president and CEO for the Americas.

Read the full article about Louis Vuitton’s new communication VPs.

Read the full artice about Jeffrey Kalinsky’s departure.

Read the full article about Gymshark’s new retail and wholesale head.


Tech Industry News

tech and semiconductor industry news



i. Singapore Chipmakers Look to Grow Teams and Capacity Amidst Growth from AI Boom

Singapore is positioned to become a crucial hub for semiconductor supply and processing nodes to support the computing and memory requirements of generative AI applications on compact devices like smartphones. With the anticipated growth in the global generative AI market, both hardware and software, chipmakers in Singapore and around the world are gearing up to expand production capacity and enhance their talent pool.

Read the full article about the growth prospects for Singapore’s chipmaking sector.


ii. Hai Robotics Launches Singapore Headquarters and Plans to Hire

Chinese technology company Hai Robotics inaugurated its Singapore headquarters on April 30. Hai Robotics’ SEA and Australia and New Zealand president highlighted Singapore’s strong business demand and strategic position as reasons for expanding the headquarters. The company plans to expand its engineering and product management workforce based on its financial performance. Founded in 2016, Hai Robotics specialises in manufacturing autonomous vehicles for warehouse operations and has clients like General Electric, DHL Supply Chain and Skechers. The company raised over US$100 million in funding in 2022 from significant industry players like Jintai Capital, Sequoia Capital and Source Code Capital.

Read the full article about Hai Robotic’s Singapore expansion plans.



EU and Singapore Boost Business ties; Firms Encouraged to use Republic as ASEAN Gateway

European businesses are strengthening collaboration with Singapore in digital technology and sustainability. The EU-ASEAN Business Council led its inaugural business mission to Singapore to facilitate discussions between leaders, industry experts and key government ministries. This coincides with record-high trade and investment flows between the EU and Singapore. Business sentiment among EU firms in ASEAN is also optimistic, with a majority seeing ASEAN as the region with the best economic opportunity over the next five years. Deputy Prime Minister (PM) Heng Swee Keat invited the EU to utilise Singapore as a test bed. Negotiations for a digital trade agreement between the EU and Singapore are underway to enhance digital connectivity and provide firms with clarity on how to transact in the digital economy. Deputy PM Heng also expressed optimism for an eventual ASEAN-EU free trade agreement (FTA).

Read the full article about European business’s interest in Singapore.



Beijing Offers Subsidies for Local AI Chips with Aims for Self-Reliance by 2027

Beijing is offering subsidies to companies purchasing domestically made AI chips, aiming to boost China’s semiconductor industry and reduce reliance on foreign tech. The subsidies, whose amounts were not specified, target companies acquiring domestically controlled GPU chips for intelligent computing services. China aims to achieve complete self-reliance in smart computing infrastructure by 2027. This move comes as the US tightens restrictions on exporting advanced computing products to China, prompting the country to develop its own AI chip industry. Huawei’s Ascend 910 chips are considered a potential alternative to US products.

Read the full article about Beijing’s AI subsidies.



Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu to Step Up as Tech Giant’s Consumer Business Group Chairman

Huawei Technologies has reshuffled its consumer business leadership, moving the head of consumer unit, Richard Yu Chengdong, to the role of chairman. Yu will take charge of business strategy and administrative matters in his new role. He Gang, the chief operating officer of the consumer business group, will step in as the new CEO. This change was internally announced last week, with Yu maintaining his position as chairman of Huawei’s smart car solutions business. The reason for the shift was not provided in the announcement. Yu, a prominent figure in Huawei, has been instrumental in the company’s growth, particularly in its smartphone business. Despite US sanctions affecting Huawei’s supply chain, the company has experienced a sales rebound under Yu’s leadership.

Read the full article on Huawei CEO’s shift in role.



Temasek-Backed Quantum Computing Firm Races to Construct World’s First Viable Model

Temasek-backed PsiQuantum secured a substantial funding injection of A$940 million from the Australian government to advance its quest for the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer. The company plans to establish its regional headquarters near Brisbane Airport, Queensland, and build a utility-scale quantum computer. While traditional computers use silicon chips, quantum computers employ “qubits”, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously, enabling faster parallel computations. Despite qubit reliability and stability challenges, PsiQuantum aims to have a one million qubit-capable computer operational by 2027. Competitors like IBM and Google also vie for quantum supremacy with ambitious plans to advance their quantum processors.

Read the full article about the funding for PsiQuantum.


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