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Weekly thoughts: Private equity focuses on Asia; Sequoia goes big; Indonesia's linguistic spat

News:

  • Western private equity firms are deploying record amounts in south-east Asia, with a particular focus on former state firms in ASEAN countries.
  • And on the same subject: Sequoia Capital has raised the bulk of a new $8bn fund that is ostensibly global but actually focused on China and Asia, as the venture capital firm seeks to compete more directly with Softbank.
  • Does Indonesia want to attract foreign workers or not? A new decree that is supposed to make it easier for expatriates to get work permits has attracted controversy for a clause supposedly requiring all foreigners to learn Bahasa - something the government now denies.

Analysis:

  • President Trump has a double-edged relationship with Asia. A sentiment analysis of his tweets shows that the strident criticism he showed on the campaign trail (especially against China on trade), has been replaced by a more positive attitude once he got into office and began his 'bromances' with Abe in Japan, China's Xi and latterly Kim in North Korea.
    By contrast, Asian attitudes to the US president have gone the other way - from cautious neutrality to outright disapproval, with the sharpest falls occurring in East Asia.   

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