Samsung Asset Management, the South Korean manager that oversees $1 billion in hedge fund assets, will start a global macro fund next quarter as it seeks to diversify outside of its home market.The fund, yet to be named, will start with $20 million and seek to profit from broad trends in currency, stock, bond and commodity markets, Yoonho Heo, head of the firm s hedge fund division, said in an interview in his office in the Jung-gu district in Seoul."We have had issues with liquidity in trading Korean stock markets as most of our equity hedge funds only invest in Korean stocks, so we have been preparing the macro fund for a long time," he said.Samsung Asset Management s decision to start the fund comes as global macro hedge funds have come under pressure from investors.Since 2014, 255 such strategies have closed, compared to 460 in the entire 2003 to 2013 period, according to data compiled by Eurekahedge Pte.London-based Omni Partners announced plans to shut down last month, while investors in Brevan Howard Asset Management s macro fund asked to pull $1.4 billion from the strategy in April.Samsung Asset Management was founded in 1998 as Samsung Life Investment Trust Management Co. and managed $168 billion as of Dec. 31, including three hedge fund strategies.In March, it started a fund of hedge funds with Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, Heo said.The Global Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund has $10 million in assets and invests in long-short equity, relative-value and event-driven strategies.Heo will be the lead portfolio manager for the new macro fund, which will invest in developed and emerging markets.
HONG KONG—The latest step in a global ride-sharing alliance between rivals of Uber Technologies Inc. goes into effect Thursday, when users of a popular Southeast Asia-focused transportation app can begin making car bookings via Lyft Inc. in the U.S.Users of the app from GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.Ltd., which operates in 30 cities across six Southeast Asian countries, can now use the service to hail vehicles in more than 200 U.S. cities via Lyft.In December, Lyft said it was teaming up with Grab, as the company is known, after announcing a similar agreement with Chinese startup Didi Chuxing Technology Co. in September, bolstering the competitive field against the much larger Uber.Indian ride-hailing app Ola also plans to connect its app to Lyft in the coming months.The tie-up enables our customers to focus more on whatever they re in the U.S. for, Grab s co-founder, Tan Hooi Ling, told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday on the sidelines of a tech conference in Hong Kong.The company last year said it raised more than $350 million in a round led by U.S. hedge fund Coatue Management LLC, and was valued at $1.6 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.
None would speak on the record, but executives from firms including Trafigura Group Pte and Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. said they also were searching for a chat platform to replace Yahoo in the event the old service were to disappear.It s a tall order.For starters, Yahoo Messenger is free and has been the chat tool of choice for nearly all those working in the sector for more than a decade.For a live blog of Yahoo s strategy announcement, click hereWhile there are no official market share figures, oil traders say Yahoo Messenger is by far the dominant platform and has been since the 2000s.It s great to hear positive feedback around Yahoo s legacy messenger product, Yahoo spokeswoman Ana Braskamp said in an e-mail in response to questions about the trading industry s reliance on Yahoo Messenger and concerns about its future.Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, includes an instant-messaging service in the Bloomberg Professional Service that competes with Yahoo Messenger.The things that Yahoo chat offers are so important to traders, said Craig Pirrong, a finance professor at the University of Houston.A senior executive at Gunvor Group Ltd., one of the world s largest independent oil traders, said the company isn t particularly worried about the potential demise of Yahoo Messenger.
GrabTaxi Holdings Pte and Lyft Inc. have linked their apps so customers of Southeast Asia s largest ride-hailing service can hail a car in the U.S., and vice versa.The integration goes live in coming weeks and stems from a global alliance between China s Didi Chuxing, Singapore-based Grab, San Francisco-based Lyft and India s Ola to curb Uber Technologies Inc. s international expansion.The two-way tie-up announced Thursday comes after Didi first began letting Chinese customers order Lyft cars through the Didi app when visiting the U.S.Grab gains access to a network of more than 200 U.S. cities, while Lyft s users will be able to call up cars in 30 cities across the six Southeast Asian countries where Grab operates, they said in a statement.Their four-way coalition reaches almost half of the world s population.Southeast Asia is a popular tourist destination.The number of travelers to a region that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam is expected to almost double from 2015 to about 200 million in the next 10 years, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.The Grab-Lyft tie-up will let travelers call up on-demand rides without having to worry about local currency, language or setting up new accounts.They pay for rides via credit cards or services such as PayPal and Alipay.As more and more people travel to and from the U.S. and Southeast Asia, our work with Grab gives travelers peace of mind when abroad, Kristina Gibson, Lyft s head of international product, said in the statement.
Between Southeast Asia and India there are about two billion people, said Facebook Inc. FB -0.53 % co-founder Eduardo Saverin, speaking on a panel about investment opportunities in the region.Still, the deal pace has accelerated a great deal, said Vinnie Lauria, a founder of Singapore-based venture-capital firm Golden Gate Ventures, which was born in 2011 and invests throughout the region.U.S. investors eyeing Asia once thought only of China or India, but are now increasingly turning to Southeast Asia, Mr. Lauria said.A survey released in April by consulting firm Bain & Co. noted that the region s e-commerce firms, which have attracted much of the venture capital, have to grapple with disparate languages, regulations and consumer preferences that often vary by country.While hot spots like Silicon Valley are teeming with tech industry veterans who can provide mentoring and money, there are few entrepreneurs and investors who have the insights on nuances of each of the countries in the region, Mr. Jung said.Last year, Singapore s GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.
Didi has been raising money from investors for a monster financing round that would top $3.5 billion, including the China Life and Apple money, and would value the company at more than $25 billion.China-based investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group was an early investor in Didi but also led a convertible bond deal to invest in Uber s global operations.Didi has, for example, invested in U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc. and Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.It has also run into the greatest competition in that country from Didi, which was formed last year by the merger of two rival Chinese taxi-hailing apps.Meanwhile, Uber and Didi both have strategic investors in China that can help broaden their reach.Didi, on the other hand, has been working closely with Tencent, operator of the popular WeChat messaging application whose 762 million monthly active users are predominantly in China.
China s top life insurer, which has invested in Uber Technologies Inc., is now pouring $600 million into its Chinese ride-hailing rival.Didi has been raising money from investors for a massive financing round that would top $3.5 billion, including the China Life and Apple money, and would value the company at more than $25 billion, people familiar with the matter said.China-based investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group was an early investor in Didi, but also led a convertible bond deal to invest in Uber s global operations.Didi has, for example, invested in U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc. and Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.Meanwhile, Uber and Didi both have strategic investors in China that can help broaden their reach.Didi, on the other hand, has been working closely with Tencent, operator of the popular WeChat messaging application whose 762 million monthly active users are predominantly in China.
View photosMoreMesitis' co-founder and CEO Tanmai Sharma speaks to journalists during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Singapore, June 15, 2016.REUTERS/Raj NarwaniSINGAPORE Reuters - Financial technology firm Mesitis Pte Ltd plans to launch a robo-advisory business for high net worth individuals in the next two months, its CEO said, capitalizing on a growing trend by the rich to seek online investment advice at a lower cost.Asia has been slow so far to join that trend but this year fintech firms are gearing up to launch such products in Singapore and Hong Kong.Singapore-based Mesitis' robo adviser will offer advice to those who typically hold investable assets worth at least $1 million.Based on a computer algorithm, it aims to make money by charging clients 30 basis points on assets, its CEO Tanmai Sharma told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit on Wednesday.The company, which Sharma founded in mid-2013 after a 15-year career at Deutsche Bank, currently mainly helps 90 rich clients keep track of their $3.6 billion worth of investments.
In Vietnam, where motorbikes outnumber cars by a factor of 16, Uber Technologies Inc. is helping to create a new generation of auto drivers with first-time bank loans for vehicle purchases.Vu Ngoc Hung traded his 12-year-old Taiwanese scooter for a brand-new $28,500 Honda City after a lender financed 80 percent of his white four-door sedan based on his Uber fares.The program with Viet Capital Bank enabled him to more than triple his income to $850 a month through the app-based taxi service to support his wife and parents, who previously sold stationary from home to help make ends meet.In Vietnam, the San Francisco-based startup competes with GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.like it battles Lyft Inc. in the U.S. and Didi Chuxing in China.Hung is one of the first Uber drivers in Vietnam to use the program that could be tapped into by tens of thousands of other Vietnamese, said Dang Viet Dung, Uber Vietnam general manager.Viet Capital Bank expects to increase its car loans six-fold in the next five years to represent one-third of its retail banking.Grab, though, is not participating in vehicle financing programs and urges its partners not to buy new cars to drive Grab as that would increase the numbers of vehicles on the roads, worsening the traffic situation and going against our company s policy and goal, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Grab Vietnam director, said in an e-mail.Still, owning a car in Vietnam can be as difficult as navigating four-wheels on streets packed with motorbikes overloaded with everything from pigs and chickens to giant panes of glass.The government imposes tariffs ranging from 55 percent to 75 percent on imported vehicles, depending on engine size, said Anna-Marie Baisden, head of BMI s auto analysis in London.It opens the door for drivers with limited capital to get into the business, he said.Driver Hung says his car payments are deducted from his fares, which amounts to about half his monthly income and makes his take-home pay about $450 a month.
SINGAPORE—Uber Technologies Inc. is locked in major tussles with local rivals in China and India, but a homegrown upstart is also grabbing an advantage in the race for another Asia prize.A startup called Grab is winning ride-hailing turf in Southeast Asia—home to 600 million people, almost double the population of the U.S.Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd., as it is formally known, launched in 2012 and offers locally tailored services such as motorcycle taxis—a popular method for negotiating the region s traffic-clogged cities—package deliveries and cash payment.In four years, the company, valued at $1.6 billion in its most recent funding round last year, has expanded to 1,600 employees.It operates in 30 Southeast Asian cities—twice as many as Uber—in six countries.Even so, Grab faces a tough fight against Uber, a global powerhouse valued at close to $68 billion.
Asian stocks climbed for a third day as Japanese shares rallied on a report that the government is preparing a stimulus package worth more than 28 trillion yen $265 billion .Chinese equities in Shanghai tumbled the most in six weeks.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 134.84 as of 4:10 p.m. in Hong Kong.The Shanghai Composite Index was the worst benchmark decliner in Asia after a report about possible curbs on wealth-management products added to concern that regulatory efforts to reduce risks in the financial system will limit flows into equities.Asian shares are poised for the best monthly gain since March amid bets that central banks around the world will take steps to limit any fallout from the U.K. s vote to exit the European Union.The Bank of Japan is widely expected to add to stimulus at the end of a two-day meeting on July 29.The Federal Reserve is likely to leave interest rates unchanged at the end of its meeting Wednesday, even as futures traders are predicting a 49 percent chance borrowing costs will rise by December.Central bank moves this week will still remain key to market direction, said Nicholas Teo, a strategist at KGI Fraser Securities Pte in Singapore.
JAKARTA—Indonesian President Joko Widodo removed a transport minister widely seen as blocking ride-sharing companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and GrabTaxi Holdings Pte., spurring hope of a breakthrough for the services.Ignasius Jonan, who had also come under fire over a high-speed-rail project and airport expansion, was replaced in a sweeping cabinet reshuffle Wednesday by Budi Karya Sumadi, director of state-owned airport manager PT Angkasa Pura II.The arriving and departing ministers will discuss ride-sharing at a handover meeting Thursday, Mr. Sumadi said at the swearing-in ceremony, adding that he will follow the president s mandates.Analysts expect him to loosen regulations implemented following protests by taxi drivers and companies claiming the upstart rivals face a lower tax burden and threaten their livelihoods.Although he was viewed as playing by the rules in the ride-hailing dispute, his decisions made his ouster inevitable, said Hendri Satrio, political analyst at Paramadina University in Jakarta.Ridzki Kramadibrata, managing director of Grab Indonesia, said his company, seeking to boost the economy and create jobs, looks forward to supporting Mr. Sumadi to develop regulations that benefit the whole industry.
SINGAPORE— Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. SGAPY -1.03 % has restarted discussions to buy a portion of Temasek Holdings Pte.Ltd. s $2.4 billion stake in one of Thailand s largest telecommunications companies, according to people familiar with the situation.The stake purchase would further boost SingTel s presence in Thailand as Intouch owns a 40.6% stake in the country s largest mobile operator Advanced Info Services PCL.SingTel already holds a 23.3% stake in Advanced Info.SingTel, Southeast Asia s largest telecom firm and the biggest company in Singapore by market capitalization, has chased growth across the globe to expand beyond its saturated local market.The company snapped up U.S. managed-security services specialist firm Trustwave for $810 million last year.
Singapore s move to allow more than one class of shares for its public companies won t be enough on its own to lure international businesses, according to executives and asset managers.Some of the world s largest companies, including Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., have multiple share classes, which usually are in place to allow minority shareholders to have majority voting rights.An independent body on Monday said it was in favor of permitting weighted-voting rights for new listings on Singapore Exchange Ltd., in what is the city s latest bid to draw initial share sales.The move may help narrow the gap with Hong Kong, Asia s biggest market for initial public offerings, where minority-control voting structures aren t permitted.Hong Kong lost Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. s $25 billion IPO to the U.S. after regulators rejected the Chinese e-commerce company s governance structure.Technology companies would typically first consider the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange, and then the Hong Kong stock exchange, said Chua Kee Lock, chief executive officer of Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd., a unit of state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte.Companies in Vertex s portfolio include Reebonz Pte, Southeast Asia s biggest luxury e-commerce company, and online grocer HappyFresh.Until you attract good companies, no institutional investor will spend time, said Chua, the head of Singapore s largest venture capital firm.
Emerging market stocks fell toward the lowest level in more than three weeks after a slump in oil prices curbed demand for higher-yielding assets amid prospects U.S. interest rates will climb this month.The MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped for a second day after Brent crude declined 2.8 percent Wednesday to trade near $47 per barrel, pushing down Malaysia s ringgit to its weakest in more than two months.The rand halted a nine-day rout as a technical indicator signaled the currency s losses may have been too rapid.Given that commodities continue to be under pressure, we re going to see Asian currencies generally remain under pressure, particularly the commodity-based currencies, said Jeffrey Halley, a market strategist at Oanda Asia Pacific Pte in Singapore.The MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped 0.3 percent as of 9:06 a.m. in London, paring its advance this year to 12 percent.Six industry gauges dropped, led by utility and technology companies.China Gas Holdings Ltd. fell 9.9 percent, the most in four months in Hong Kong, leading a drop in gas distributors on concern natural gas selling prices and margins may be curbed by the government.Battery maker Samsung SDI Co. fell 6.1 percent, the most in more than two months, after Chosun Ilbo reported that parent Samsung Electronics Co. will recall its new phone model over faulty batteries.
Southeast Asia-focused online entertainment and e-commerce startup Garena Interactive Holding Ltd. has raised additional funding from some high-profile investors as it seeks to expand across the populous region.The amount of the cash injection, and the valuation at which Garena raised the funds, weren't disclosed.Singapore-based Garena said Monday that it raised the money from SeaTown Holdings International, a subsidiary of Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte.Ltd. and Indonesia s Global Digital Prima, an investment fund also known as GDP Venture that billionaire Martin Hartono founded in 2010.Also contributing funds was Japan s Mistletoe Inc., which Taizo Son, serial entrepreneur and youngest brother of SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son, founded in 2013 to invest in and cofound startups.Garena s new investment comes after the company in March said it raised some $170 million in fresh capital in a fundraising round led by Malaysia s state investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Indonesia s tax agency plans to bill Alphabet Inc. s Google unit for up to $380 million in back taxes and fines that the search giant allegedly owes from 2015.Muhammad Haniv, head of the tax office s special cases unit, said in an interview that a team of four tax investigators met with Google s Indonesian unit Monday, the latest escalation in a growing dispute between government and the technology firm.If we take this case to court, Google could be fined four times the tax it owes us, Mr. Haniv said.He added that Indonesia will also pursue taxes from as far back as 2011, when Google first established a presence in the country.Now we are still investigating them, he said.Mr. Haniv said Indonesian tax authorities believe that Google s regional headquarters in Singapore, Google Asia Pacific Pte.
RedMart Ltd., the Singapore online grocer backed by billionaire Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin, is seeking a buyer as competition intensifies in the city-state, people with knowledge of the matter said.RedMart is working with an investment bank on options including a possible sale of the grocer, which delivers products ranging from fresh dragonfruit to frozen dumplings, according to the people.The company has reached out to potential buyers including Singapore supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd. to gauge their interest, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private.The Singapore company has raised tens of millions of dollars from investors including Garena, Southeast Asia s biggest tech startup, and SoftBank Ventures Korea amid an increasingly competitive funding environment in the region.Indonesian online grocer HappyFresh raised more than $12 million last month, while Singapore concierge and delivery firm Honestbee Pte completed a $15 million funding round last year and formed a delivery partnership with NTUC Fairprice.RedMart, founded in 2011, would also consider another round of funding instead of an outright sale, the people said.Its $23 million funding round in 2014 attracted new investors SoftBank and San Franciso-based Visionnaire Ventures, as well as existing backers including Saverin, according to its website.RedMart has built a strong team of investors and, in the normal course of business, we continue to engage with potential new investors who can add value as we scale, the company said in an e-mailed statement.The business continues to grow rapidly and we have more than doubled our revenue thus far in 2016, while remaining on a clear path to profitability.
A nuTonomy self-driving taxi on the road during its public trial in Singapore in August.The rivalry between Uber Technologies Inc. and GrabTaxi Holdings Pte.Selected Grab customers in the city-state will be able to register to use the ride-hailing app to book a nuTonomy vehicle.Founded by two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nuTonomy began testing its self-driving taxi service in Singapore last month with government approval, beating Uber s trials in Pittsburgh by days.The public trial is still small-scale: NuTonomy said it plans to have a dozen self-driving cars available by the end of the year; Grab has more than 40,000 drivers in the city.Like Uber s test fleet, Grab and nuTonomy will provide a backup human driver behind the wheel and a support engineer in the front passenger seat.
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Indonesia will postpone enforcing new rules on online ride-hailing apps for six months to give drivers and companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Grab Taxi Holdings Pte.Ltd. more time to comply, the Transportation Ministry said.The rules, adopted in April, had been set to take effect Oct. 1.We are hearing feedback from all parties involved, Pudji Hartanto Iskandar, director general of land transport, said Wednesday.We know that drivers have been protesting, so this is our solution to their demand.During the six months, he added, drivers breaking the rules will be given a warning and not face fines or confiscation of their cars.