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Asia PE Investment hits $183b in 2018

Monday, January 14, 2019

(AVCJ by Tim Burroughs) - Private equity investment in Asia slowed to $183.3 billion in 2018 – from $207.3 billion the previous year – as a decline in large-scale buyout activity offset a surge in late-stage rounds for technology companies. 

China once again accounted for the bulk of investment, and although the $91.5 billion deployed represents a relatively small year-on-year decline, activity slowed markedly in the second half to coincide with the increasingly bleak macro picture. Notably, growthstage tech investment peaked at $25.6 billion in April-June, before falling to $18.1 billion and $13.6 billion in the next two quarters.

Nevertheless, 2018 still represented a runaway year for private market participation in late stage rounds for businesses with specializations ranging from ride-sharing to artificial intelligence. These deals attracted $52.4 billion in China, more than three-and-a-half times the 2017 figure. The $14 billion round for Ant Financial was one of 21 deals of $500 million or above, compared to five in 2017.

Growth-stage tech activity across all of Asia accounted for just under one-third of investment, up from 7.7% in 2017. Meanwhile, the buyout share fell from 40% to 27%. The largest transaction was the $3.7 billion acquisition of SK Shipping in Korea, which pales into significance alongside the $18 billion for Japan’s Toshiba Memory Corporation (it closed in 2018 but was announced in 2017).


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