Asia Tech Groups Tap Global Equity Markets at Record Pace

Featured stories from ASEAN this week include: Thai Fuel Giant Bets Billions on Gas Station of the Future; Super App Grab Helps Japanese Retailer Don Quijote Expand in ASEAN; and Philippines Creating $5M USD Venture Fund for Local Startups.

Asia Tech Groups Tap Global Equity Markets at Record Pace

Asia-Pacific tech teams have raised report funds from fairness markets within the first quarter, with much more fast-growing start-ups from the area set to hurry on to international inventory exchanges within the coming months.

Financial Times reports that Asian know-how, media and telecommunications corporations raised more than $47 billion USD from new listings within the first three months of 2021, in line with Dealogic knowledge. The whole fundraising climbs to $120 billion USD when follow-on share placements and gross sales of equity-linked devices are included. Each figure marks the perfect first quarter on report for Asia’s tech sector. Bankers from throughout China, India, south-east Asia and South Korea say the listings growth has solely begun.

Fueled by digitization in the course of the pandemic, corporations are tapping the surging public markets for monetary firepower to scale up and increase their companies. Concurrently, enterprise and personal fairness funds are capitalizing on growing demand to exit investments they’ve held in some instances for greater than a decade.

The checklist of Asian know-how corporations trying to promote shares within the coming months “is unmatched," noted Jung Min, theinternational co-chief working officer of Goldman Sachs’ know-how, media and telecoms enterprise.

Bankers confirm that a batch of various of tech corporations from elsewhere within the area can also be set to check public markets, together with south-east Asian ride-hailing group Seize, Indonesian ecommerce platform Tokopedia, Indian meals supply app Zomato, and South Korean funds enterprise Kakao Financial institution.

Thai Fuel Giant Bets Billions on Gas Station of the Future

Jiraporn Kaosawad, chief executive of PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR), the head of Thailand's biggest gas station network, is betting $1.5 billion on the assumption motorists will soon be stocking up on a different kind of fuel: coffee.

PTTOR is developing thousands of coffee shops at home and abroad in addition to other non-oil businesses as global auto and fuel players gear up for a near future dominated by electric car growth.

Reuters reports that a month on from Thailand's biggest initial public offering of the year, Jiraporn's plans for the Cafe Amazon business – already the number one Thai coffee shop chain – present PTTOR's take on the task facing oil majors from BP to Total: how to maximize profit from fuel networks as drivers of the near future wait for their electric cars to be charged up.

These strategies are dependent on mass-scale take-up of electric vehicles (EVs), now being promoted by governments and international organizations as one key to capping and ultimately reducing the emissions that stoke climate change.

"Our investments and partnerships have to build on the company's strength, and align with consumer demand," Jiraporn told Reuters in a recent interview. "Charging EVs takes about 20 minutes; while you wait, you can have a meal, buy things in the service station."

PTTOR's network now stands at 2,000 gas stations across Thailand: it plans to add another 500 by 2025 and rapidly ramp up the number equipped with EV charging points to 300 by 2022 from just 30 currently. That surge will come as the Thai government seeks to implement plans to have 1.05 million EVs on the road by 2025, up from current levels of about 200,000.

PTTOR's expansion plans beyond oil require heavy investment, with oil business still accounting for 90% of its revenue. Some point out that its dominance within Thailand won't do anything per se to further its international ambitions.

"The retail business has had a competitive advantage in Thailand," said Maybank Kim Eng analyst Kaushal Ladha. "This advantage of course will be significantly reduced if it goes to international markets."

Super App Grab Helps Japanese Retailer Don Quijote Expand in ASEAN

Singapore-based ride-hailing app operator Grab has partnered with the Japanese operator of Don Quijote discount stores to deliver food, cosmetics and other everyday goods to customers in Southeast Asia.

Nikkei Asia reports that Grab's on-demand grocery and essentials delivery service GrabMart has added a feature allowing shoppers in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to order goods from Don Don Donki, the overseas chain launched by parent Pan Pacific International Holdings Group.

Under the agreement, Don Don Donki stores will accept payments through GrabPay, Grab's cashless payment service. The digital wallet grants reward points that can be exchanged for discounts on Grab's mainstay ride-hailing platform, among other services.

"This partnership with Grab will allow us to gain a foothold online and reach out to more consumers," said Satoshi Machida, president of Pan Pacific International arms in Singapore and Malaysia.

GrabPay payments will first be accepted at Don Don Donki outlets in Malaysia, with the service to be expanded later in the region. Don Don Donki will make use of a Grab tool that sends promotions to app users to draw them to nearby stores.

Pan Pacific International has been ramping up store openings in Southeast Asia. There are currently eight Don Don Donki locations in Singapore, two in Thailand and one in Malaysia.

Philippines Creating $5M USD Venture Fund for Local Startups

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Philippines is creating a P250-million ($50 million) venture fund aimed at investing in local startups, as reported by BusinessMirror.

The fund is line with the Innovative Startup Act 2019 and is aimed at supporting product research and development, product manufacturing, sales and marketing of startups. Although the draft guidelines are yet to be finalized, the venture fund aims to provide equity financing.

According to Rafaelita M. Aldaba, Trade undersecretary for competitiveness and innovation, the fund may provide between P5 million and P25 million ($100,000 and $500,000) to each startup, which means five to ten startups are likely to receive funding.

E27 reports that on Monday, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez informed that the program's money was included in the budget during its meeting with the National Development Company (NDC) last week.

“Although we were affected by the pandemic and there was a bit of difficulty in completing the process, nevertheless, it is in our agenda for this year and hopefully we will be able to launch that venture fund to be managed by NDC,” Lopez noted.

Currently, DTI is working on another initiative, called Startup Business One-Stop Shop, which intends to facilitate end-to-end registration of startups, and serve as a portal keeping startup-related information.

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