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Asia Venture Capital Forum 2020

6 July, 2020

The HKVCA’s Asia Venture Capital Forum 2020 was held on Monday, July 6, 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was held via a virtual platform – the first time in fact that the HKVCA has hosted a fully virtual conference event. We were extremely pleased to receive more than 500 registrations by PE and VC practitioners from locations around the world.

The event featured a jam-packed, three-hour program that included four fireside chats and three panel discussions. Chief among the many and varied topics was the impact of COVID-19, both in the long and short-term, with many of the speakers noting the rapid way the industry has adapted its work processes to the changing physical realities and embraced digitization. Speakers also shared their thoughts on those investment sectors they expected to do well and those that will continue to struggle. Among the sectors that continued to be well-funded, for example, were healthcare and digital payment and remit platforms. Nonetheless, there appeared to be a degree of consensus among the speakers that startups, particularly those at early stage, would continue to face fundraising challenges, with most funds going to already successful ventures closer to exits. This did not mean, however, that bargains could not be found, with some speakers noting this was a good time to invest given current low valuations. Finally, there was discussion on what all acknowledged was a still turbulent US-China trade relationship.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park for co-hosting the event. We would also like to thank our sponsors, specifically Citi and KPMG, our Platinum Sponsors, and Ogier and Wood Mallesons. The loyalty of our great sponsors is what made this event possible. Of course, our thanks to all the speakers and attendees for their enthusiastic participation, especially to those who voted in our polls and asked our speakers such though provoking questions. It was the enthusiasm of our participants that made this, our first virtual event, so successful.

Webinar: PE and VC valuation practice for 1Q2020

18 June, 2020

Private equity and venture capital valuation practice for the first quarter of 2020 was the topic of an HKVCA webinar for LPs held on June 1, 2020. Hosted by Jie Gong, HKVCA Vice-Chairman and Partner at Pantheon, more than 100 participants registered for the online event, which featured an in-depth discussion with Janet Cheung, Partner and Head of Valuation and Financial Modelling for KPMG China.

Among the important observations noted by Cheung was the fact that many managers did not update valuations for Q1 for unlisted investments, adopting instead 2019 year-end valuations. The rationale, she said, was that while the market generally reacted negatively to the pandemic, many saw the impact as temporary. While LPs have reached out to GPS for updates on key investments, this was more for a qualitative description on the company's current situation - its financial performance, liquidity position, as well as a take on the outlook for the company, especially for those looking at IPOs scheduled to happen sooner rather than later.

After a review of the fundamental principles and methods around valuation calculations, Cheung went on to note the uncertainty around Q2 where GPs will have to refresh valuations due to interim audit and review requirements. Expectations for Q2, she said, depended on the sector and industry, as different markets are recovering at different rates. However, as a general matter, except for those sectors that have done well out of the pandemic, the outlook for unlisted investments are unlikely to be more optimistic than Q1 given the pandemic is ongoing and economies are not really showing signs of recovery. Liquidity too continues to be a concern.

The HKVCA would like to thank Janet Cheung and Jie Gong for what proved to be a popular event. The HKVCA also thanks the participants, many of whom submitted their own questions for discussion throughout the presentation.

Webinar:  Tax issues on cross-border investment in PE funds in a post-pandemic world

16 June, 2020

The HKVCA held a Mandarin language webinar on June 16, 2020, which featured speaker Danielle Zhang, Lead Consultant, China at RGP. Among the diverse issues discussed were the planning needs for different stages of investment in RMB funds, the difficulties around the design of VIE structures for domestic investment in RMB funds, issues around exit for foreign investors, and the impact of the economic substance laws that have come into force in both the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

The HKVCA would like to extend our sincere thanks to RGP for their sponsorship, to our own PRC Committee, and to Co-Chairman Conrad Tsang, who served as moderator of the event.



Webinar: An overview of the PE market in APAC

11 June, 2020

An overview of the PE market in APAC was the topic of an HKVCA webinar held on June 11, 2020. Focusing largely on Greater China, Vinit Bhatia and Hao Zhou, both partners at Bain & Company, drew a picture of the market in 2019 and provided the outlook for the year ahead.  Moderated by HKVCA Vice Chairman John Levack, more than 150 people registered for what was one of the Association’s most popular virtual events to date.  

After outlining the data on 2019, which showed a dramatic slowing in terms of deal value, deal activity and exits, Vinit Bhatia went on to observe that, despite the current turbulence, he did not see a shift in the overall traditional approach to investing in the coming one to two years. He also added that, as with any crisis or downturn, opportunities emerge within certain verticals, and after COVID-19, different sectors would evolve differently, impacting both deal opportunities and portfolio management. Hao Zhou then discussed the need for CEOs to take immediate action to safeguard their companies and ensure both their survival and mid and long-term success. He offered a checklist of actions to be taken, noting the two most important measures for companies to undertake were cost transformation and enhancement of their digital capabilities to improve efficiency. An active Q&A session followed as the speakers and participants continued their deep dive into what was clearly a topic of great interest.

The HKVCA would like to extend its appreciation to our expert speakers, to those who participated, and to John Levack for his continued support of our webinar series.   

Webinar: The perspectives of GPs and LPs globally

9 June, 2020

Mounir Guen, CEO of MVision, featured as the guest speaker at a recent HKVCA webinar, providing an update on the state of private equity at the global level from the perspective of GPs and LPs. Held on June 9, 2020, the webinar saw more than 140 members and non-members register to participate.

Following an introduction by HKVCA Vice Chairman John Levack, Guen described the environment pre-COVID-19, noting that investors entering 2020 had expected a significant market correction. Portfolios were more structured; middle market funds and lower mid-market funds were seeing money either going direct or into larger funds; and GPs were seeking dry powder. The impact of the pandemic, Guen said, has varied according to country, with Asian portfolios likely less impacted than in the US and Europe because lockdowns have been less severe. With the outlook for venture capital still bullish though, he stressed the importance of GPs’ communication with their companies and discussing how their businesses are doing. He also talked about the possibility that the investor decision working process would change because of social distancing rules pre-vaccine. The event ended with an enthusiastic Q & A session involving event participants.  

The HKVCA would like to thank both Mounir Guen and John Levack for making this webinar such a success, with the Association receiving a great deal of positive feedback from many participants.

Webinar: Managing an early stage portfolio through Covid 19

27 May, 2020

The HKVCA held a webinar on May 27, 2020 featuring a number of speakers addressing a range of timely topics around how to manage an early stage portfolio through Covid-19. Melissa Guzy, Managing Partner at Arbor Ventures; Jarlon Tsang, Head of China, Managing Partner at Eight Roads Ventures; Yinglan Tan, CEO and Founding Managing Partner at Insignia Ventures Partners; and Judith Li, Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures, spoke at the event, while HKVCA Vice Chairman John Levack served as moderator.

The speakers described the particular environments they faced and what they expected to see in the coming months. Yinglan Tan noted the impact the pandemic has had on Southeast Asia, while Judith Li discussed recent vaccine developments in the healthcare sector. Jarlon Tsang highlighted the challenges facing the TMT sector in China and Melissa Guzy outlined the importance of guiding portfolio companies through the crisis with positive cash flow. All agreed that businesses will need to develop longer term strategies, in part due to the ongoing trade war but also because of the likelihood of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The HKVCA was extremely pleased to be able to host such a large number of participants representing the different industry sectors. The HKVCA extends its sincere thanks to all those who participated.   

Webinar: The Cayman Islands Private Funds Law 2020 – a new regulatory regime for closed-end private funds

26 May, 2020

May 26, 2020 saw the HKVCA hold a webinar featuring speaker Nicholas Plowman, Managing Partner at Ogier, who discussed the Cayman Islands’ Private Funds Law, 2020, its new regulatory regime for closed-end private funds.

After providing an introduction to the new regulatory framework, Plowman went on to examine the vehicles that fall within the regime and the practical implications for fund sponsors. He also touched upon the definition of “private funds” and the key concepts around offering and issuing investment interests and the spreading of investment risk.  

Plowman made note of the transition period and the requirement for existing entities to submit registration applications by August 7, 2020, and the requirement for new funds to submit an application to CIMA with 21 days of accepting capital commitments. Lastly, he provided an overall summary of the operating conditions under the Private Funds Law, 2020, including valuation, custody and title verification, cash monitoring, annual audits, securities identification and use of the four eyes principle.

More than 170 practitioners registered for the virtual event, and the HKVCA was pleased to note the high level of participation exhibited by the attendees. The HKVCA extends its sincere appreciation to Nicholas Plowman, our Vice Chairman John Levack, and all the participants who were involved in the event. We also extend our special thanks to Ogier for their valued sponsorship.

Webinar: Fund-Level Liquidity Options, including Preferred Equity and Fund Financing Market Update

18 May, 2020

May 18, 2020 saw the HKVCA hold another of its increasingly popular webinars. Gavin Anderson and Thomas Smith, partners at global law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, delivered a virtual talk on the subject of fund level liquidity options and the status of the fund financing market.  

Central to the discussion was the current market disruption and how it was creating a need for liquidity and capital at the fund level. After noting the pros and cons related to the various options aimed at increasing liquidity, the speakers went on to examine structured equity and offered sample structures pre-and post-transaction and the key legal and commercial considerations they raised. The speakers also touched on fund restructuring and NAV facilities for a typical structure.

Participants made it clear that they found the webinar an extremely useful event, especially in the light of current market conditions. More than 150 practitioners registered for the event, and there was lively interaction between the speakers and participants throughout. The HKVCA extends its sincere appreciation to both Gavin Anderson and Thomas Smith, as well as to our own Vice-Chairman, John Levack. Finally, we thank all the participants who were involved in the event, with a special thanks to Debevoise & Plimpton for their sponsorship.

Webinar: Understanding the SFC Circular on External Electronic Data Storage Providers

7 May, 2020

The HKVCA held a webinar on May 7, 2020 as part of its popular ongoing series of virtual events. Mark Shipman, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance and a member of the Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) Advisory Committee, delivered a talk on the SFC’s recent circular providing guidance to licensed corporations (LC) on the use of external electronic data storage providers (EDSP).

After noting that LCs must be in full compliance with existing regulatory requirements when using EDSPs for keeping required regulatory records under section 130 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO), Shipman went on to discuss what an EDS is and the use of SaaS platforms for record keeping. He also discussed the due diligence requirements, the necessity of an audit trail, issues around governance, and the definition of approved premises under section 130 of the SFO.

Feedback received from participants indicates that the they found the webinar extremely helpful and a great knowledge resource. The HKVCA offers its sincere thanks to Mark Shipman for his excellent presentation, to our own John Levack, Vice Chairmen of the HKVCA, and to the more than 70 people who signed up and were involved in the event.

Webinar: Hong Kong New Limited Partnership Fund Regime

5 May, 2020

The HKVCA held another of its increasingly popular webinars on May 5, 2020. Jacqueline Bennett and Vanessa Chan, both partners at Ernst & Young Tax Services Limited in Hong Kong, joined Anson Law from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Effie Vasilopoulos, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP in Hong Kong, on an expert panel to discuss the new limited partnership fund (LPF) regime. More than 200 people participated in the event.

The HKMA’s Law began with a series of slides illustrating the position of Hong Kong as one of Asia’s premier private equity hubs, the largest in terms of total capital under management after only Mainland China. He also provided figures showing that Hong Kong was either the origin or the intermediary of more than 60% of China’s inward foreign direct investment and outward direct investment, and is continuing to grow in terms of both conventional and alternative asset management.

A discussion was then had on the legal aspects of private fund structuring in the territory, including the need for the new onshore private fund regime, a comparison of the differences between Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and Singapore, and the key advantages of the new LPF regime for fund managers. From a tax perspective, there was discussion of how LPFs should be taxed in Hong Kong, the unified funds tax exemption legislation, as well as the licensing requirements for private fund managers. The presentation was then followed by a robust discussion of the opportunities arising from the new LPF regime.

The HKVCA was pleased to receive an enormous amount of positive feedback on the virtual event, with many participants noting the practical knowledge they gained from the discussions and the high degree of interaction that existed between the speakers and participants. The Association would like to thank all those who participated, with a special thanks also to John Levack, the HKVCA’S Vice -Chairmen, who opened the session and delivered a final wrap up of the event.  

HKVCA Webinar: Managing cash and working capital at the portfolio company level

16 April, 2020

In response to the recent social distancing measures required because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the HKVCA hosted its first webinar on April 16, 2020. Christopher Ball, Director of Advisory at KPMG, delivered a presentation to participants that included a series of slides showing the far-reaching impact Covid-19 has had on businesses and the crisis it has created in terms of working capital and cash management. He also discussed the operational cycles involved in working capital, forecasting to fulfill inventory, and used charts illustrating the long-term assessment of capacity to operate within debt limits.

More than 100 practitioners registered for the webinar, and there was robust interaction between speaker and participants. The HKVCA was pleased to receive a great deal of positive feedback, with participants confirming they found the information extremely timely and of real practical value. The Association would like to thank Christopher Ball and all the participants, and a special thanks is extended to KPMG for sponsoring the event.

HKVCA Asia Private Equity Forum 2020

15 January, 2020

The Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s (HKVCA) 10th Asia Private Equity Forum (APEF) was convened on January 15, 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The annual event featured as many as 80 expert speakers and panelists representing general partners, limited partners and advisors. Its positioning as the region’s premier private equity forum was illustrated by the attendance of 750 delegates, more than half of whom were senior level and C-suite executives.     
As in previous years, APEF 2020 brought together a diverse and well-practiced group of private equity and venture capital professionals who invest across all stages and geographies in Asia, including private equity real estate and private credit. The event program was designed to ensure vigorous discussion of the many opportunities and current issues that face investors in Hong Kong, China, India, Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea. This year also saw the introduction of two new topics to the focused sessions - LPA negotiation and 2020 hindsight – with the former session covering such issues as fund formation and structuring, and the latter prompting expert predictions for 2020 and beyond.

Distinguished guests at this annual flagship HKVCA event included the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR, Paul Mo-Po Chan, GBM, GBS, MH, JP; David Liu, Chairman of DCP Capital; Chang Sun, Managing Partner of TPG China; Jim Hildebrandt, Managing Director of Bain Capital; and Georg Wunderlin, Global Head of Private Assets of Schroders.
Feedback received by the HKVCA during and after the event confirmed that year after year, APEF continues to be regarded by industry practitioners as an indispensable platform for them to meet and discuss issues with their peers as well as government representatives and professional colleagues from other industry associations across the globe. We would like to thank all attendees, many of whom traveled from countries within the region and beyond, for joining us. Our most sincere appreciation extends also to our valuable media partners and supporting organizations and, finally, to our generous sponsors, whose substantial contributions and support made this year’s event possible.

Paul Chan's speech:
Media coverage:  
Video highlights:

HKVCA Gala Dinner 2020

14 January, 2020

The evening of Tuesday, January 14th was a special night for guests at the HKVCA’s annual 2020 Gala Dinner. The event was a sell out with more than 200 attendees gathering to enjoy a wonderful evening of splendid food and entertainment. Chin Chou, Chairman of the HKVCA, delivered a rousing speech that described some of the major activities that made up the HKVCA’s work in 2019. The dinner also featured an award ceremony where the two winners of the HKVCA’s ESG Award of Excellence 2020 received certificates in recognition of their achievements.

The evening’s entertainment was among the major highlights of the night, featuring a wonderful and spirited performance by two young Hong Kong pianists. And, with the Chinese New Year starting on January 25th, it seemed fitting that each dining table was decorated with colorful figures representing the upcoming year of the rat. The HKVCA was also pleased to be able to make a significant donation to a worthwhile charity, the Hong Kong Evangelical Dancing Troop Limited, which offers scholarship programs to talented youngsters in Hong Kong to support their development in the arts and music.

We would like to extend our very special thanks to our cocktail sponsors, King & Wood Mallesons and MVision, and to all of our guests, whose support helped make our annual dinner a truly unforgettable evening.

Please click here to view the photo album.