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Chocolates and a fox hunt


News overnight that Belgian chocolate maker Godiva has sold its Asian business to MBK Partners, a South Korean private equity firm, allows a neat illustration of scoutAsia's versatility. Not only do we specialise in providing data about standalone private companies in Asia - we also cover subsidiaries of other businesses - no matter whether the subsidiaries or their parents are private or listed or whether the parents are domiciled in Asia or not.

In this case, Godiva is owned by a Turkish conglomerate called Yildiz, that is outside the scope of scoutAsia. But you can quickly find its main Asian subsidiary - Godiva Chocolatier (Asia) Limited - through a simple News or Company search with the key word "Godiva". The same News search also provides useful context - not only about Godiva's operations in Asia themselves, but also about who else was bidding for these assets - including Mitsubishi Corp and Baring Private Equity Asia. And there is plenty more here about other deals recently done by MBK, including its investments in two other scoutAsia companies: Coway and Nexon.

In less than five minutes, then, our combination of Data and News sources allows our users to put together a rounded picture of a particular event, such as an M&A transaction.

Meanwhile, on January 7, in one of our first original "scoutAsia Research" pieces, we made a prediction: there would be a continued and increasingly vicious shake out in China's peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market. This is a sector that has already seen 2,000 such lending platforms disappear since it peaked in 2015. But there are still more than 1,000 operating and our view was that this number would shrink to 200 or less as regulators cracked down further.

It has not taken long for this prediction to prove out: last Sunday, the Chinese police announced an investigation into more than 380 P2P lending platforms, following allegations of missing funds and executives that had fled across the border into Cambodia, Thailand and elsewhere. The operation, which detained more than 60 people, was labelled a "fox hunt" by Beijing's Ministry of Public Security, which is on a mission to reduce risks in the Chinese financial system.

We will now see whether the second prediction in our original article comes true: namely that this crackdown will ultimately strengthen the best of the P2P lenders, foremost among them Renrendai. Those interested should set up an email alert to keep track of Renrendai's ongoing fortunes.

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