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Asia venture capital deal volume shows strong uptick in Q3 2019 but total investment declines, according to KPMG analysis

Photo source: scitecheuropa.eu
Vlad Poptamas

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The number of venture capital (VC) deals in Asia saw a sharp increase in the third quarter of 2019 to 922 deals, up from 839 in the second quarter, while global VC deal volume dipped from 5,138 deals in the second quarter to 4,154, according to KPMG report, Venture Pulse Q3’2019. VC investment in Asia remained subdued, falling from USD 18.61 billion in the second quarter of 2019 to USD 14.92 billion in the third quarter, which was consistent with the fall in VC investment globally from USD 64.96 billion to USD 55.71 billion in the same period.

Egidio Zarrella, Partner and Head of Clients and Innovation, KPMG China, said, “There is a lot of interest in the Asian market, but investors have really slowed down their activity. They are being conservative, waiting to see where things go from an economic and geopolitical perspective. This does not mean activity is not happening at all.”

Chinese companies accounted for seven of the top 10 VC deals in Asia Pacific, taking the top four spots in the ranking. These comprise entertainment software company NetEase Cloud Music, which raised USD 700 million, as well as automotive companies Didi Chuxing (USD 600 million), CHJ Automotive (USD 530 million) and Byton (USD 500 million). Information services company Zhihu (USD 434 million), transportation firm Hellobike (USD 400 million) and office services provider D&J China (USD 300 million) ranked sixth, seventh and tenth respectively.

Investors to focus on strong business models and profitability in mainland China

With transportation and mobility sectors in mainland China accounting for five of the top 10 deals in Asia Pacific, it is clear that they have become the hottest sectors for VC investment in mainland China. AI and healthcare are also continuing to attract investment as both sectors start to see some consolidation. Health and biotech companies focusing on R&D in innovative drugs continue to benefit from regulatory reforms in mainland China, while the long-term prospects for companies developing drugs with differentiated profiles and meaningful supportive clinical data remain strong.

Philip Ng, Partner and Head of Technology, KPMG China, said, “Despite the challenges in the market, a number of sectors continued to attract investment, including fintech, autotech and biotech. Start-ups also need to focus on profitability and cashflow planning to build a sustainable business.”

Looking ahead, the VC market in mainland China is likely to feel the positive effects of the central government’s plans to forge ahead with policy reforms aimed at improving and modernising regulations across a wide range of industries, including insurance, finance, capital markets and healthcare.

Hong Kong capital market steady with IPO pipeline looking strong

Despite the short-term slowdown in IPO activity, the pipeline of companies applying for IPOs in Hong Kong has remained strong. The city saw Anheuser-Bush’s InBev Asia Pacific unit launch its IPO locally in the third quarter of 2019, the second largest globally behind Uber this year.

Irene Chu, Partner and Head of New Economy & Life Sciences, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “We continue to see economic volatility in Hong Kong this quarter which has affected a number of industries and investor sentiment. While the amount of funds raised for IPOs have dipped, the number of Main Board deals in the first three quarters is similar to that of last year and Hong Kong remains a top destination for IPOs. The pipeline of companies applying for IPO in Hong Kong is still very strong – but whether they will go out before the end of the year will depend on changing market conditions. InBev’s successful IPO could help spur activity.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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Suning Finance Receives AAA Rating for Domestic Credit

Vlad Poptamas

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On February 14th, Suning Finance entered the ranks of the highest domestic credit rating for the first time. Its long-term credit rating was determined as AAA, and its rating outlook was “stable”. Currently, only 52 private enterprises nationwide have received AAA ratings. It means that Suning Finance has obtained the same credit rating as large state-owned commercial banks and national joint-stock commercial banks.

Regarding the above decision, United Credit believes that Suning Finance has a strong shareholder background and capital strength. After years of development, it has now established a diversified financial main business structure, relying on the resource advantages of the Suning ecosystem and the omni-channel layout of O2O integration. The financial business scale and income continued to grow rapidly.

As a pioneer of online-to-offline (O2O) finance in China, Suning Finance is positioned as a fintech company featuring O2O integration and development. It has always adhered to and practiced the development model of “scenario finance + fintech = inclusive finance”, focusing on supply chain finance, commercial finance, consumer finance, payments, wealth management, and fintech export “5 + 1” core businesses.

In 2019, Suning Finance successfully completed the C round of tens of billions of financing, the post-investment valuation reached 56 billion, the transaction volume exceeded the trillion marks for three consecutive years, and the number of active customers exceeded 70 million. Suning Pay daily offline scan code breakthrough 100,000 transactions, the supply chain financial investment exceeded 100 billion. And has successfully obtained 2 international syndicated loans, and successively issued 6 phases of supply chain finance ABS and 1 phase of consumer finance ABS, which fully demonstrates that Suning Finance’s business capabilities, asset quality, and market reputation have been highly recognized by domestic and foreign financial institutions.

Based on the root ‘innovative financial technology leads the development’, Suning Finance keeps enhancing its technological capabilities, especially the block chain techs to apply in many scenarios, such as data sharing, payment, mortgage and BaaS. In the future, Suning Finance will continue to provide premium financial services and operate under the concept of integrity, stable and discretion to become a reliable and widely influential comprehensive financial service company.

 

SOURCE Suning Holdings Group

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in Opera Limited of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – OPRA

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: shavitech.com

 

Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Opera Limited (“Opera” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:  OPRA) and certain of its officers.  The class action, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and indexed under 20-cv-00674, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons and entities other than Defendants who purchased or otherwise acquired: (a) Opera American depositary shares (“ADSs”) pursuant and/or traceable to the Company’s initial public offering commenced on or about July 27, 2018 (the “IPO” or “Offering”); and/or (b) Opera securities between July 27, 2018 and January 15, 2020, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”).  Plaintiff pursues claims against the Defendants under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).

If you are a shareholder who purchased Opera securities pursuant and/or traceable to the IPO and/or during the Class Period, you have until March 24, 2020, to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com.   To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.

[Click here for information about joining the class action]

Opera was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway.  The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides mobile and Personal Computer web browser applications in IrelandRussia, and internationally, under the Opera Mini, Opera for Android, Opera Touch, and Opera for Computers brand names. 

Opera has also increasingly invested in its fintech businesses, providing mobile loan and financing applications marketed to KenyaNigeria, and India, under the OKash, OPesa, CashBean, and OPay brand names, which are offered on Google LLC’s (“Google”) Play Store marketplace, as downloadable applications.

On August 9, 2018, Opera completed its IPO, issuing 9,600,000 ADSs priced at $12.00 per share, raising approximately $115.2 million in proceeds before underwriting discounts and commissions, and other expenses.

The Complaint alleges that the offering documents were negligently prepared and, as a result, contained untrue statements of material fact or omitted to state other facts necessary to make the statements made not misleading and were not prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations governing their preparation.  Additionally, throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies.  Specifically, the Offering Documents and Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Opera’s sustainable growth and market opportunity for its browser applications was significantly overstated; (ii) Defendants’ funded, owned, or otherwise controlled loan services applications and/or businesses relied on predatory lending practices; (iii) all the foregoing, once revealed, were reasonably likely to have a material negative impact on Opera’s financial prospects, especially with respect to its lending applications’ continued availability on the Google Play Store; and (iv) as a result, the Offering Documents and Defendants’ statements were materially false and/or misleading and failed to state information required to be stated therein.

On January 16, 2020, Hindenburg Research (“Hindenburg”) published a report asserting that Hindenburg had “a 12-month price target of $2.60 on Opera, representing a 70% downside.”  Among other issues, Hindenburg reported that Opera’s “browser market share is declining rapidly, down ~30% since its IPO”; that Opera was involved in “predatory short-term loans in Africa and India, deploying deceptive ‘bait and switch’ tactics to lure in borrowers and charging egregious interest rates ranging from ~365-876%”; that Opera’s lending business applications, many of which are offered on Google’s Play Store—particularly, OKash, OPesa, CashBean, and Opay—were “in black and white violation of numerous Google rules” aimed at “curtail[ing] predatory lending”; and that consequently, Opera’s entire lending business was “at risk of disappearing or being severely curtailed when Google notices” Opera’s alleged violation of its rules.

On this news, Opera’s ADS price fell $1.69 per share, or 18.74%, to close at $7.33 per share on January 16, 2020.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New YorkChicagoLos Angeles, and Paris, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

 

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

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Addepar Broadens Reach with Expanded Offerings for RIAs

Vlad Poptamas

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Addepar, Inc., a leading technology platform for wealth management, announced a number of releases aimed at helping RIAs that serve a variety of client types excel in an increasingly competitive market. The new capabilities and features make it easier than ever for firms to adopt Addepar’s modern technology stack, streamline their operations and offer a truly differentiated client experience powered by best in class data, analytics and reporting.

“As the wealth management industry continues to undergo a dramatic transformation, we’re making good on our goal to meet wealth advisors where they are. We’re delivering new functionality in our platform that empowers RIAs to navigate these changes with purpose-built, intuitive solutions so that they can deliver lasting value to clients and grow their business for years to come,” said Addepar CEO Eric Poirier.

Making it easier for RIAs to modernize their tech stack
For established RIAs who want to modernize their reporting technology but find it daunting to make the switch, Addepar is introducing a broader and more flexible set of data migration options to efficiently and precisely fulfill each client’s data onboarding needs. This includes a newly introduced “Advent Converter,” which streamlines migrating data from Advent’s APX and Axys systems into Addepar. Addepar will continue investing in additional data management and conversion solutions to make it easy for any firm to upgrade to Addepar’s technology.

Addressing emerging demand and delivering more client value
Addepar’s strong traction with large RIA firms, banks and broker-dealers has exposed a previously unmet need in the market: the power to use Addepar’s platform for all advisor teams, from those with ultra-high net worth clients to those who serve the mass affluent. Today, the company is introducing AddeparGoSM, an offering that tailors Addepar’s software to the specific needs of these larger firms. AddeparGo is designed with a set of features, capabilities and custodial data feeds that optimize for speedy implementation and make it easy for larger firms who have a range of advisor teams to adopt. The company is making AddeparGo available to key partners and clients now, and will continue shaping this offering based on feedback.

Helping the back-office streamline operations and scale productivity
Many well-established firms have turned to Addepar for its ability to support sizable and complex implementations and provide data aggregation, analytics and reporting at scale. To offer even greater support, the company is pleased to announce the release of Addepar Teams. Teams is a set of advanced controls and permissions to serve firms that need to grant varying access by team, branch, role and functional responsibility. This set of digital capabilities dramatically simplifies the previously time-intensive and error-prone operational process of managing reporting controls, while achieving legal, risk and compliance goals.

 

SOURCE Addepar

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