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Asian Equities Attract Asian Public Investors

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Shanghai SE Composite Index - July 2012Asian public investors view China and India as key growth drivers whose public equity markets are poised for increases as GDP continues to rise for these countries. Many subscribe to the notion that China and India have the capacity to maintain relatively high economic growth rates compared to European and American economies.

The Korea Investment Authority (KIC) and Korean Teachers’ Pension Fund (KTPF) plan to allocate more assets to emerging market equities particularly in Asia. The KIC plans to two-fold its exposure in emerging markets equity over the next few years. In fact, the KIC has a $200 million Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) quota in China.

The KTPF plans to give mandates to fund managers with extensive Chinese investment experience and track records.

South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea invested US$ 300 million into China’s A-shares in June 2012. The Bank of Korea has a 300 million dollar quota under the QFII program. The central bank wants to diversify its foreign reserves. The Bank of Korea has external asset managers including Chinese asset managers targeting Chinese public markets. In late April 2012, the Bank of Korea began purchasing China’s government bonds from the OTC market.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) has already chosen six asset managers to actively manage emerging market equities in its $1.35 trillion portfolio. The GPIF could not find any suitable asset management firms for passive investments in their emerging markets mandate. The GPIF still has a heavy allocation to domestic bonds and stocks.

The Qatar Investment Authority sought approval to invest up to US$ 5 billion in Chinese bonds and stocks. Chinese regulators have an upper limit set at around US$ 1 billion. More foreign investors want access to mainland Chinese publicly-traded assets. Even if the quota is fully utilized, foreign investors would represent less than 1% of total free-float market capitalization in China.

On another note, in mid-July, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) committed $100 million worth of investment to a fund which is building infrastructure projects in China. The NZSF is teaming up with other sovereign funds to invest in infrastructure projects.

Anne Sheehan to Retire, CalSTRS 1st Corp Gov Director

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Anne Sheehan, the first Corporate Governance Director at California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the current one, plans to retire March 30, 2018. Sheehan’s team manages an activist portfolio worth around US$ 4.1 billion, seeking to influence and help turnaround its large portfolio holdings in select public companies. Sheehan was hired back in 2008.

Christopher J. Ailman, CalSTRS’ chief investment officer, said in a organization release, “Anne has been my most unconventional, best hire.”

A replacement search is underway.

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Temasek Rides with Google on Go-Jek

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Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has reportedly joined forces with Google LLC and Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping as part of a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising effort for Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek that has put regional rivals like Uber and Singapore-based Grab on notice.

Screen Shot Go-Jek, January 19, 2018

Although exact figures for individual stakes have so far been kept secret, the new infusion of capital puts Go-Jek, incorporated as PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, at a valuation of roughly US$ 4 billion. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation also participated in funding, as well as existing private equity investors KKR & Co. LP and Warburg Pincus LLC.

Google’s direct involvement in Go-Jek’s growth – rather than through its Google Ventures unit – highlights its faith in the latent potential of ride-sharing services – and the tech-enabled consumer services sector as a whole – in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 640 million potential customers, the region was identified as the fastest growing emerging market for e-commerce globally in an industry report published jointly by Google and Temasek last December. According to data compiled by the internet-giant and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, ride-sharing in Southeast Asia is expected to grow into a US$ 20.1 billion industry by 2025, compared to US$ 5.1 billion in 2017.

2011 Origin Story

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Temasek Leads Series B Round for Chinese Robo Startup Rokid

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Rokid Corporation Limited, a Chinese robotics startup that specializes in smart devices assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), announced the closing of a Series B extension round through its WeChat account on January 18, 2018. The capital-raising effort was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, with additional contributions from Credit Suisse Group, China Development Bank’s overseas investment arm CDIB Capital International, and existing investor IDG Capital. Although Rokid did not disclose the size or terms of the deal in its announcement, the technology company reportedly secured US$ 100 million in funding.

Founded in 2014 by chief executive Mingming Zhu and chief financial officer Eric Wong, Rokid’s core products consist of its smart speakers, the Rokid Pebble and Alien, as well as the newly debuted Rokid Glass augmented reality spectacles. The company’s most exciting offering, however, is its Full Stack Open Platform, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Alibaba that gives third-party developers backdoor access Rokid’s software suite and hardware integration and will – it hopes – help give its offerings the accessibility and recognition they need to thrive outside its home market of China.

Rokid is particularly keen on bringing its products to the U.S., where it believes it can challenge Google and Amazon’s dominance in the smart home arena. Amazon makes the Amazon Echo, while Google has Google Home.

The Series B

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