Grab headquarters in Malaysia (Shutterstock)
This Week's News Spotlight:
Grab in talks to go public in US$40 billion deal | US-China rivalry: Is the pressure on for ASEAN countries to choose sides? | Myanmar security forces arrest anti-coup protest leader, open fire on medical workers | Vietnam could export 4% of world’s electronics by 2025, but logistical bottlenecks a potential constraint | South Korea faces a public reckoning for financing coal plants in Indonesia
Grab in talks to go public in US$40 billion deal - CNA
Reuters first reported in January that Grab was exploring a listing in the United States.
Singaporean multinational ride-hailing company Grab is in talks to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a deal that could value the firm at almost US$40 billion, which would make it the largest ever blank-check deal.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Grab was in talks with Altimeter Capital Management with regards to the merger. According to the report, Grab is expected to raise between US$3 billion and US$4 billion from private investors.
US-China rivalry: Is the pressure on for ASEAN countries to choose sides? - SCMP
Khong noted that states’ positions are not cast in stone, as they often involve a strategy of public hedging to keep their options open since economic and geopolitical considerations may change.
As Washington and Beijing clash over numerous issues — such as trade, technology, and the South China Sea — countries in Southeast Asia have often opted for neutrality instead of picking a side. However, political science professor Khong Yuen Foong at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said that ASEAN’s member states have largely aligned themselves with either China or the United States.
He cited political and economic ties as primary reasons why certain countries might seem to be closer to China or the United States. Cambodia and Laos, for example, have developed stronger ties with Beijing in recent years. Mark N. Katz, government and politics professor at George Mason University, noted that states seeking closer relations with China would also not completely cut ties with the United States.
Myanmar security forces arrest anti-coup protest leader, open fire on medical workers - SCMP
The Feb 1 military coup ousted an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
On Thursday, Myanmar security forces arrested one of the main leaders of the demonstrations against military rule and opened fire on a pro-democracy protest by medical workers in the city of Mandalay. Local media reported that a man was shot and killed in a nearby mosque, and the BBC Burmese service reported that four people were wounded in the neighbourhood.
This traditional new year week, also known as Thingyan, opponents of the military coup cancelled their usual festivities to continue with marches and displays of resistance.
Vietnam could export 4% of world’s electronics by 2025, but logistical bottlenecks a potential constraint - Business Times
One of the reasons for Vietnam’s performance is its management of the pandemic, which helped its manufacturing sector normalize sooner.
Vietnam could be exporting 4 percent of the world’s electronics by 2025, with the country driving forward with its momentum as a global manufacturing hub, according to a report by Oxford Economics.
It was one of the few countries that saw economic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic, largely driven by strong recovery in its export-oriented manufacturing sector. Aside from the 2.9 percent growth in its gross domestic product, it also strengthened its world market share to 1.6 percent of goods exports last year — up from 1.4 percent the year before, and 0.5 percent in 2010.
However, the country might face logistical bottlenecks involving key ports that serve industrial sectors. Funding would be required for infrastructure upgrades to help ease these problems, said Oxford Economics’ lead Asia economist Sian Fenner.
South Korea faces a public reckoning for financing coal plants in Indonesia - Mongabay
The power plant complex in Suralaya is the oldest and largest coal-fired power plant in Indonesia, and also the largest in Southeast Asia.
South Korea’s public financial institutions are financing the expansion of coal-fired power generating facilities in Indonesia’s coastal town of Suralaya, which residents blame for respiratory ailments and declining fish catches, Mongabay reported.
Located in West Java, Suralaya has eight coal-fired power generating units. These facilities will be expanded by constructing two more units, which will be built by South Korean firm Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and operated by a power company that is partly owned by a South Korean public utility. Activists see South Korea’s support for the project as a way to prop up Doosan and better its ties with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia amid tensions in China.