Search for:
More SE Asia companies consider US IPOs, filling void left by China peers

More SE Asia companies consider US IPOs, filling void left by China peers

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY — Several Southeast Asian companies are considering listing in the United States, banking on strong investor appetite for emerging market growth in the absence of Chinese stock offerings.

Senior executives in leading SME digital financing platform Funding Societies, Singapore-based entertainment firm Gushcloud International and Thai insurance technology firm Sunday told Reuters they were looking into New York as one of their initial public offering (IPO) venues.

This comes on top of recently announced plans by Vietnamese internet company VNG Corp and Philippine real estate company DoubleDragon Corp’s Hotel101 Global to list in the US, filling a void left by Chinese companies which hit the pause button on US IPOs after political tensions with Washington intensified, Beijing tightened scrutiny of domestic firms seeking overseas listings and China’s own economy slowed.

“China’s shadow into the ASEAN region has shrunk since the world reopened after the pandemic,” said Leif Schneider, senior legal adviser at law firm DFDL Vietnam.

“Chinese competitors have gradually been pushed to the sidelines due to homemade restrictions and the ensuing domestic economic fallout,” he added. “These factors have enabled some of their ASEAN rivals to step out into the spotlight.”

ASEAN, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, includes Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. The bloc’s biggest car e-commerce platform Carsome Group has also said it was considering various global exchanges, including those in the US, for a potential listing.

Southeast Asian firms have raised about $101 million via IPOs in the US so far this year, way below last year’s $919 million, but bankers expect the pace to pick up over the next 12 months as companies hunt for new sources of capital after relying on private funds for the last few years.

In contrast, Chinese firms have raised $463.7 million via USlistings so far this year, slightly above 2022 levels but a fraction of the $12.96 billion and $12.48 billion raised in 2021 and 2020 respectively, according to LSEG data.

For investors seeking emerging market exposure, Southeast Asia fits the bill, because of the region’s strong economic growth and increasing population, analysts say.

For example, growth in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, accelerated at its highest rate in three quarters in the latest April-June period, boosted by strong household and government spending, data showed.

Some Southeast Asia companies seeking listings in the US look to raise between $300 million and $1 billion, with valuations ranging from $1.5 billion to $8 billion, bankers said, without naming any firms.

The plans by Southeast Asian firms to list in the US should also cheer Wall Street banks in Asia, who generate about a third of their revenues from equity capital market (ECM) deals which all but dried up with Chinese IPOs.

“For some of the US investors who were focused on emerging markets, their tech exposure largely came from Chinese companies because they were the biggest names listed in the US,” said Sunil Khaitan, Bank of America’s ECM head for Southeast Asia. “With the current cautious stance around China, these investors are on the lookout for some of the other emerging markets names,” he added.

For companies, the US offers several advantages.

Funding Societies’ co-founder and group CEO Kelvin Teo told Reuters the US was one of the company’s preferred options because of it would provide a deep pool of capital and global investor base.

Andrew Lim, Gushcloud’s chief financial officer, also said a US listing would expose the company to “investor familiarity with fast growing new economy companies”.

Companies in sectors including logistics, technology, mining, electric vehicles and renewable energy are most likely to seek IPOs both locally and abroad, said Deloitte Southeast Asia Disruptive Events Advisory Leader Tay Hwee Ling.

“International investors are seeing the value of portfolio diversification that Southeast Asia provides,” Tay added.

The expected pickup in Southeast Asian listings, however, could get derailed by share volatility and stringent investor scrutiny, analysts say.

Shares of Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast have jumped some 75% since its debut in August, but not without strong volatility in thin trade.

Most US investors, however, are savvy enough when it comes to due diligence.

“US investors are generally proficient and experienced in evaluating opportunities across different sectors, but it is usually helpful for Southeast Asia companies to educate investors on any country specific factors that may affect their business,” said Art Anuruk Karoonyavanich, head of capital markets at DBS based in Singapore. — Reuters

#Asia #companies #IPOs #filling #void #left #China #peers

Nickel Asia awards research grant to 15 university teams nationwide

Nickel Asia awards research grant to 15 university teams nationwide

Listed mineral resource development company Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) has awarded P1.5 million worth of grant to 15 teams from different universities nationwide during its first-ever Sustainability Contest held in BGC, Taguig City.

The NAC Sustainability Contest is part of the company’s Sustainability stakeholder’s engagement plan. Part of that is encouraging students to engage in research projects that utilize science-based techniques to enhance environmental practices and promote responsible utilization of natural resources.

“We made sustainability a company priority and one of our main achievements is that we were able to map an ESG roadmap, one of the objectives of the roadmap is to have events like this, to promote sustainability to as many people as possible, most especially to the youth who have a large role to play going forward,” said Martin Antonio G. Zamora, NAC CEO and President.

The 15 teams were selected by a panel of expert judges from entries received by the company between February to June. This panel included Ms. Jasmin Agbon, Senior Vice President at Emerging Power, Inc.; Ms. Agnes Alonsozana, Administrative Assistant to the President of La Salle Greenhills; Dr. Florencia Pulhin, Scientist III at the University of the Philippines Los Baños; Atty. Angelo Valencia, Independent Director of Nickel Asia Corporation; and Dr. Graciano Yumul Jr., Senior Vice President at Cordillera Exploration Co., Inc.

One of the winning entries was from Caraga State University titled “Synergistic Integration of Phytoremediation and Hydroponics System for Optimal Silt Removal in Runoff Water from Surface Mines,” which involves the cultivation of plants to remove silt and contaminants from water while also establishing a natural infiltration system.

Additionally, Saint Paul University in Surigao proposed the utilization of advanced technology for risk management. Their project employs artificial intelligence to predict potential risks and hazards in mining operations.

Students from Ateneo de Davao University focused on improving structural safety by using drones to detect cracks in concrete structures. Data sets from the drones, in turn, will be analyzed through computer algorithms.

Other recipient universities included the University of Mindanao-Matina Campus, Bataan Peninsula State University-Main Campus, St. Paul University Surigao (St. Paul University System), Visayas State University, Batangas State University-Alangilan Campus, Partido State University, STI College Surigao, Saint Louis University, Cebu Technological University-Tuburan Campus, Bicol University, and the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Each of the 15 teams received a research grant of P100,000 in support of their proposals.

“It’s fulfilling kasi lahat ng pagod namin, mga sleepless nights namin, ‘yung hard work namin is worth it,” said Acel Carreon, one of the presenters from the Batangas State University

Winners of the Sustainability Contest will have the chance to execute and show their research next year at the NAC Sustainability Fair, wherein each team will present the results of their research. The fair would also provide a platform for the students to exchange knowledge and showcase their respective sustainable solutions to the public.

“Nickel Asia Corporation is firmly committed to promoting sustainability, responsible resource management, and ethical practices in the mining industry. We believe that our future leaders, when empowered, can help create a circular economy for all. This initiative reflects our dedication to building a better and more sustainable future for all,” said Jose Bayani Baylon, Senior Vice President for Sustainability, Risk, Corporate Affairs, and Communications.


Spotlight is BusinessWorld’s sponsored section that allows advertisers to amplify their brand and connect with BusinessWorld’s audience by enabling them to publish their stories directly on the BusinessWorld website. For more information, send an email to [email protected].

Join us on Viber at to get more updates and subscribe to BusinessWorld’s titles and get exclusive content through

#Nickel #Asia #awards #research #grant #university #teams #nationwide

From wedding rituals to fancy distilleries, Asia is taking over the world’s whisky market

From wedding rituals to fancy distilleries, Asia is taking over the world’s whisky market

By David Ramli

IF YOU’RE invited to a wedding in Southern China you might see couples perform an unexpected ritual. First their hands are bound together, then the pair imbibe a shared toast of Scotch whisky. It’s an invariably heart-warming symbol of shared destiny that might seem to hark back to ancient Celtic lore.

In fact, according to Chivas Brothers Chief Executive Officer Jean-Etienne Gourgues, the whole thing is a modern invention by his firm’s parent company French drinks giant Pernod Ricard SA — promoted to wedding planners who work with the brand to boost its premium booze to couples who’d otherwise toast with Chinese maotai (a fiery distillation of fermented sorghum).

The yearslong efforts by Pernod, Diageo Plc and other major whiskey producers to get Asian drinkers to spend more on their premium spirits are finally paying off, just as sales in established markets in the US and Europe show signs of slowing. Last year, the Asia-Pacific region overtook the European Union to become the biggest buyer in the £6 billion ($7.5 billion) Scotch whisky export market, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. In the first half of this year, six of the 10 largest export destinations for the vaunted spirit — which must be distilled in Scotland following specific processes to have a “Scotch” designation — were in Asia.

“Asia is where the longer-term growth will be, especially as you convert people from whatever the local whiskies are or the cheaper blends to more expensive whiskies over time,” said Bloomberg Intelligence consumer goods analyst Duncan Fox. Euromonitor International valued the global market for whiskies at $139.5 billion in 2022.

Asians will soon become the world’s biggest drinkers of all whiskies, Fox added. That’s as long as countries there don’t introduce additional hurdles, such as the alcohol bans in some states in India or the government-led drives against conspicuous consumption sometimes seen in China.

“You’re probably looking at a five-year horizon because they will just buy more,” Mr. Fox says about the potential timeline for Asia becoming the largest consumers of the spirit.

Recent earnings reports bear this out. In late August, Pernod announced that Scotch sales had increased 17% for the year ended in June to hit a 10-year high; Asia was the biggest contributor to that growth, with sales up 21% there. Chivas’ Royal Salute, whose bottles can sell for tens of thousands of dollars each, saw revenue rise 32% — an increase Mr. Gourgues says was mostly driven by rising Asian consumption. And while Johnnie Walker distributor Diageo only saw 2% growth in the volume of Scotch it shipped, net sales leapt by 12% — evidence that more buyers in places like Asia are willing to pay more money for less volume.

The process of getting Asians to spend increasingly large sums on whiskey, even as the global economy slows, has been a blend of education, marketing, and wile. Diageo and Pernod — two of the world’s largest liquor companies — have spent huge amounts on digital and traditional marketing and promotional events, even launching production distilleries in India and China.

Take Pernod’s $150 million Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery on Mount Emei in the Sichuan province of China. With its sleek concrete and stone structures embedded into the mountainside and subterranean whisky lounges, the focus is very much on luxe experiences rather than mass production.

Understanding the hyper-niche areas in Asia’s markets has been key to beverage producers making inroads in the region. India’s cultures and regulations vary state by state, while the Chinese market requires focusing on individual cities and age groups divided into targeted five-year segments (Mr. Gourgues argues generational tastes in Europe, by contrast, coalesce into 20-year blocks). That’s why weddings have been such a good opportunity for the whisky industry, bringing together cultures and generations. Pernod’s research showed nuptials in Guangdong province are often elaborate multi-day affairs with several dinners offering more drinking opportunities than the lunch banquets common in the Sichuan region.

“What is interesting with the whisky category is that it’s where consumers are more attracted to try new brands or products — usually three times the average compared to any other spirits in the world,” says Mr. Gourgues, who led Pernod’s operations in China until 2021. “The beauty of a place like China is that you have a lot of consumers and opportunities and possibilities. It’s not a question of purchasing power. It’s much more a question of cultural relevance.”

The tiny city-state of Singapore is an example of the strategy’s success: an increasingly wealthy community buying more high-priced liquor as they also buy the stories behind them. Take James Phang who, as a young corporate consultant in 2015, was introduced by friends to the world of premium whiskies, when most Singapore bars served relatively generic pours available in supermarkets.

“It was pretty dead — there were seven or eight bars for whiskey and they didn’t bring in many different products,” he says.

So, Mr. Phang joined with friends and fellow fanatics to get better options. He created a Facebook page for bottle swaps and sales while organizing gatherings where connoisseurs shared their collections and knowledge. Eight years later, Singapore is replete with whisky-focused bars and even private members clubs focused on the spirit such as 35A Scotts. Mr. Phang is advising a whiskies and cognac investment vehicle set to be called the JAG Liquid Gold Fund.

The island nation has even become the world’s third-largest Scotch whisky importer behind the US and France. In the first half of 2023, sales rose 59% from a year earlier, to £165 million. Some of this business is due to Singapore’s position as a regional hub for distributing goods across Southeast Asia, where sales are rising overall. But local interest is at an all-time high.

In November, fans of the spirit will make their way to the annual Whiskey Live Singapore event at the Singapore Flyer, an observation wheel that dominates the bay-front skyline. There, they’ll have the chance to experience a ritualistic toast where participants yell “dram full” before they down their glass. It’s an invented take on the celebratory, and extended, Yam Seng cry that’s a staple of weddings in Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese communities.

The popularity of such events is yet another indication of the region’s increasing devotion to whiskey. “Asia’s share of the market will go up, because you’ve got 50% of the [world’s] population or more there and a huge percentage of newborns are in Asia,” BI’s Mr. Fox says. “It’s just going to be bigger in terms of math, and it should grow in value as well as volume.” — Bloomberg

#wedding #rituals #fancy #distilleries #Asia #worlds #whisky #market

Basketball World Cup remains in Asia for third session in row

Basketball World Cup remains in Asia for third session in row

As Qatar formally received the hosting ball from the Philippines

THE BIGGEST basketball event in the world will stay in the Asian continent.

For the third straight edition, Asia will host the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2027 as Qatar formally received the hosting ball from the Philippines, which co-hosted this year’s Cup with neighbors Japan and Indonesia.

Outgoing FIBA President Hamane Niang, with no less than Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, handed the golden FIBA ball to the Qatar Basketball Federation at the sidelines of the World Cup finale over the weekend at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Mr. Pangilinan, also the chair of the Philippine Local Organizing Committee, first passed the ball to Mr. Niang before handing it over to Mohammed Saad Al Meghaiseeb, president of Qatar Basketball Federation, and Sheikha Asma Al Thani, director of marketing and communications for the Qatar Olympic Committee.

“We are very proud to receive the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 as the next hosts of this fantastic event. Hosting such a huge event for one of the most popular sports in the world is a huge honor for Qatar,” said Mr. Al Almoghaiseb.

“We are grateful to our colleagues in FIBA and the Philippines for giving us the opportunity to see closely the organizational delivery of the World Cup.”

The turnover ceremony from the Philippines to Qatar served as the fitting finale to a memorable World Cup that started with the FIBA congress, where FIBA Asia Chief Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani was elected as the new world basketball president to succeed Mr. Niang from Mali.

He was also the former president of Qatar federation and vice president of the Qatar Olympic Committee. Qatar prior to the FIBA World Cup came off a successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup last year.

In Qatar, leading Philippine mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), has renewed its Global Partnership with the world basketball federation until the 2027 World Cup.

It’s a new four-year partnership between FIBA and Smart following an excellent team-up in bringing the 2023 World Cup closer to basketball fans around the world marked by the construction of the Mall of Asia Ball as “one of the most breathtaking and monumental basketball tributes ever seen at a FIBA event.”

SBP President Al Panlilio, for his part, beamed with honor and pride as the Philippines hosted the World Cup in flying colors for the second time around since 1978.

“I’m extremely proud of all the LOC [Local Organizing Committee] staff and volunteers. And (feel) extreme joy for the coming together of the FIBA community to make this World Cup a memorable one,” said Mr. Panlilio as the Philippines set a new World Cup gate-attendance record.

“But there’s also a feeling of extreme bittersweetness as it comes to an end, yet overshadowed by extreme hopefulness for the 2027 World Cup in Qatar.”

Home team Gilas Pilipinas finished 24th in the 32-team World Cup to earn a ticket in the Paris Olympic Qualifying Tournament in front of huge crowds, highlighted by 38,115 fans during the opener against the Dominican Republic at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. — John Bryan Ulanday

#Basketball #World #Cup #remains #Asia #session #row

Mosquito-borne dengue grows deadlier in South Asia as planet warms

Mosquito-borne dengue grows deadlier in South Asia as planet warms

 – Mosquito-borne dengue fever is taking a heavy toll on South Asian nations this year as Bangladesh grapples with record deaths and Nepal faces cases in new areas, with disease experts linking worsening outbreaks to the impacts of climate change.

Authorities in the two countries are scrambling to contain and treat the disease – which is also known as “breakbone fever” for the severe muscle and joint pains it induces. Entomologists and epidemiologists say rising temperatures and longer monsoon seasons are providing ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes.

The threat is not restricted to South Asia as dengue rates are rising globally with 4.2 million cases reported in 2022 – up eight-fold from 2000 – the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Earlier this year, WHO said dengue is the fastest-spreading tropical disease worldwide and represents a “pandemic threat”.

In Bangladesh, at least 691 people have died so far in 2023, and more than 138,000 have been infected, official figures show, making this the deadliest year since the first recorded epidemic in 2000. The previous record toll was 281 deaths last year.

A lack of proper prevention measures has allowed the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito to spread across almost all of Bangladesh, said Kabirul Bashar, an entomologist and zoology professor at Jahangirnagar University in the capital Dhaka.

He said this raised the risk of more infections occurring during September. Dengue is common during the June-to-September monsoon season, when mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water.

“This climate is favorable for the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes,” Bashar said in an interview. “Dengue is not only a problem for Dhaka, it is now a problem for the entire country.”



Meanwhile, Nepal – which first recorded dengue in 2004 – has had at least 13 dengue deaths and more than 21,200 cases so far this year across 75 of its 77 districts, according to officials.

This year could match the 2022 toll of 88 deaths and 54,000 cases, said Uttam Koirala, a senior public health officer at the national epidemiology and disease control division.

Meghnath Dhimal, a senior research officer at the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC), said the incidence and spread of dengue had been rising quickly nationwide in recent years.

Rising temperatures mean cases have started occurring in colder autumn monthswhile Nepal’s higher mountain districts that never before had the disease are now struggling to curb its spread, he said, describing the shifting patterns as “strange”.

For example, the city of Dharan in the mountainous east has been hit particularly hard this year – with dengue cases rising so fast that hospitals and ambulances are overwhelmed by demand, according to Umesh Mehta, the local health division chief.

The city of more than 160,000 people saw the number of dengue cases peak at 1,700 a day as of late August, he said.

Amrit Kumar Thakur, a Dharan resident, was one of four members of his family to contract dengue last month. The 27-year-old said the disease started with a mild body ache and got steadily worse before he was treated at a temporary health centre set up to deal with the fast-growing number of cases.

“Dengue was the worst health experience of my life,” said Mr. Thakur, adding that he and his relatives had fully recovered.



WHO says dengue is rising partly because global warming benefits mosquitoes, along with other factors including movement of people and goods, urbanization and problems with sanitation.

In July, WHO said an unusual episodic amount of rainfall in Bangladesh, together with high temperatures and high humidity, had helped the mosquito population to grow across the nation.

Furthermore, Bangladesh has experienced longer-than-usual monsoon seasons in recent years, with erratic rainfall over the March-to-October period and more breeding grounds popping up for mosquitoes, according to various disease and health experts.

The number of potential breeding sites identified in 2023 is the highest in the last five years, said Nazmul Islam, director of the disease control branch of Bangladesh’s health department.

Fiercer floods fueled by heavy rains and melting glaciers – driven by climate change – are another major factor behind the spread of dengue, said Mohammad Mushtuq Husain, an advisor at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

The Bangladeshi government has also cited climate change as a driver behind the country’s worsening dengue outbreak.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the prime minister’s special envoy on climate change, said last month on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that the nation’s record dengue cases are “a clear instance of (the) climate change health nexus”.

Bangladesh needs to think about a national plan for adapting its health system to prevent diseases like dengue from turning into major disasters, Mr. Chowdhury said in an interview.



As dengue lacks a specific cure, health experts say the disease must be kept at bay through control of mosquito breeding, engaging with the public, and managing symptoms.

In Dhaka, officials are going around the city spraying insecticide to kill mosquitoes and imposing fines on people if breeding sites for the larvae are found.

Atiqul Islam, mayor of the Dhaka North City Corporation, said the authorities would have to keep informing residents of the risks, and monitoring the situation, throughout the year.

“It’s not the time for pinning blame, rather everyone should come forward to deal with the dengue situation – for their love of this city where we are born, live and die,” said Islam.

In Nepal, Dhimal from the NHRC said no authority alone could stop dengue as mosquitoes are found everywhere from garages to the corners of houses which are out of reach of the government.

“Everyone should be aware and proactive, and contribute from their side to control the spread of the vector,” he added.

Civil society and development organizations are also helping to tackle the disease.

Sanjeev Kafley, head of the Bangladesh delegation for the International Red Cross, said it was helping to raise public awareness, procuring testing kits, and boosting the availability of platelets used in blood transfusions to treat some patients.

Yet when it comes to treatment broadly, ordinary families face high costs. Researchers from Dhaka University’s Institute of Health Economics have warned that total medical expenses for dengue patients may exceed 10 billion taka ($91 million) this year, up from 4.5 billion taka ($41 million) in 2019.

Dhaka resident Akhtar Hossain spent 60,000 taka ($545) on private hospital care for his daughter, Ayesha Tabassum Taqwa, who ultimately died of dengue last month at the age of 10.

Hossain cried as he spoke of Taqwa’s love of learning.

“Her books, notebooks … are all still on the reading table. (She) will never arrange new books,” he said. “(But) who can we blame and what is the point of talking about it?” – Reuters

#Mosquitoborne #dengue #grows #deadlier #South #Asia #planet #warms