Business Chief Brief: 8 things to know this week in APAC

By Kate Birch
From sustainability plaudits to executive reshuffles and fintech acquisitions – our roundup of the main business stories across Asia-Pacific this week

1. Samsung Electronics announces executive reshuffle

Samsung Electronics has replaced and slimmed down its executive leadership team and streamlined its corporate structure into two business divisions, as chairman Lee, recently released from prison, seeks a new direction for the company. Head of Samsung Electro-Mechanics has been named CEO of Samsung’s device solutions division, which focuses on semiconductors; while head of the company’s TV business has been appointed CEO of the division looking after smartphones, TVs and other appliances.

2. Tech Mahindra lauded for its sustainability efforts

Digital transformation consultancy Tech Mahindra has been recognised for leadership in corporate sustainability by global environmental non-profit CDP. The firm is one of 57 organisations (out of 12,000 assessed) and the only Indian IT company to score the prestigious ‘A’ for tackling climate change and taking action to protect water security. Tech Mahindra has implemented Carbon Price to abate greenhouse gas emissions, has adopted an action plan that provides a roadmap to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and net-zero way before 2050, and invested in various sustainability projects.

3Indian professional services firm Cyient launches management consulting practice Leading global engineering, manufacturing and digital technology solutions firm Cyient has launched a new management consulting brand, to complement its engineering and tech services with organisational consulting expertise. This comes at a time of heightened demand for consultancy services. Founded in 1991, Cyient has grown to a 15,000-strong team working in 20-plus offices across four continents. The firm works with organisations on tech design and build, IT engineering, manufacturing and digital transformation. The new consultancy’s offer includes organisation effectiveness, governance, performance improvement, asset optimisation and digital transformation.

4. Alibaba separates global and local ecommerce businesses

Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group has announced a major restructuring plan, as part of its efforts to become more agile. This comes as China continues to clamp down on the country’s tech firms with its roll out of industry regulations and penalties. The Group has reorganised its ecommerce businesses by forming two new units, international digital commerce and China digital commerce. As part of this strategy, the company is also reshuffling its executive finance team with current deputy CFO Toby Xu tapped as the new finance executive.

5. Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka in top 10 most expensive cities

Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka are no longer the three most expensive cities to live in globally, according to the just-released Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Instead, the Israeli city of Tel Aviv has climbed to top spot in 2021 pushing all three Asian cities further down the top 10 ranking, as soaring inflation pushes up living costs in different cities. Singapore is now the second most expensive alongside Paris, while Hong Kong has fallen to fifth place on the list and Osaka City, Japan, is now at number 10.

6. Fintech platform announces acquisition of Indonesia’s Bank Jasa Jakarta

Leading pan-Asian fintech platform WeLab has announced the acquisition of PT Bank Jasa Jakarta (BJJ), a commercial bank in Indonesia. A WeLab-led consortium raised US$240 million, marking the largest fintech fundraising in Indonesia in 2021. This move comes as WeLab plans to launch its second digital bank in Asia in the second half of 2022, further to its successful launch of WeLab Bank in Hong Kong.

7. Investments in India’s SaaS startups double this year

Funding of software-as-a-service startups in India is set to more than double this year to US$4.5bn, up from US$1.7bn last year and US$1.3bn in 2019, according to Bain’s just-released Indian SaaS Report 2021. Research reveals that the average value of seed rounds has surged 85% from 2019, while the average deal value for the SaaS sector has also increased. In 2021, more than 35 Indian SaaS companies had more than US$20 million revenue run rates, a sevenfold jump over five years. There are almost 9,000 SaaS startups that have been founded by entrepreneurs of Indian origin or have a large base of their workforce in India – almost double that of five years ago. Bain predicts revenues of SaaS firms in India to grow from US$7bn to US$8bn, at present, to around US$25bn over the next few years, according to Prabhav Kashyap, Bain’s associate partner.

8. TikTok rival Kuaishou announces lay off of 30% of its staff

Beijing-based short video-sharing company Kuaishou, a rival to TikTok, is rumoured to be laying off nearly a third (30%) of staff, as the tech giant restructures amid China’s widening clampdown on internet firms. The government clampdown, which has led to an early 12% decline in the company’s shares, means the Tencent-backed company is streamlining to cut costs. The layoffs will focus on mid-level employees. This follows the stepping down of co-founder Su Hua in October who had been CEO since the company’s founding in 2012. Kuaishou went public in Hong Kong in February 2021, marking the world’s biggest IPO since 2019.


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