☕️ Payment giant Visa bought a "JPEG" file for USD150,000

KL ranked 32nd in a global Safe Cities Index 2021. Listed co, Serba Dinamik suing a small Malaysian stock app. NUS study: eat mushrooms - protect brain's cognitive function (ie. memory, learning)

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

168% — the increase in valuation of ByteDance, the parent of TikTok and Chinese sister app Douyin, between Dec 1, 2020, and July 15, 2021, with a valuation of USD280 bil.

32nd — the ranking of Kuala Lumpur in a global Safe Cities Index 2021 carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ahead of Dubai, Jakarta and Manila.

USD12.5 tril — the potential economic gains to be made in Southeast Asia if it takes urgent moves to slow down climate change, according to the Deloitte Economics Institute. Inaction could yield losses more than double that size. The figure is based on the region’s forecasted GDP growth of 3.5% p.a. over the next five decades if it nurtures industries and technologies to keep global average warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY

  • New PM had announced on Sunday that the government announced an additional purchase of six million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which will arrive in early September 2021.

  • We can finally breathe a sigh of relief as yesterday’s Covid-19 recoveries outpaced new cases for the first time since June. Health Ministry reported 17,672 new cases and 19,053 recoveries.


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

Politics and Local

  1. PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob visited flood-hit areas in Kedah to check on the situation. Subsequently, he announced an immediate aid of RM75 million for Kedah to repair all damaged infrastructure and public facilities in Yan and Merbok.

    National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) will channel RM500 to each family affected by the incident and an immediate aid of RM5,000 would be given to those families who lost their loved ones in the incident.

    Oh, he got a pretty nice welcome in Kedah — look at the billboard. They even had the time to erect a billboard to congratulate the PM on his appointment. Wow. The amount spent on the billboard could go as aid to the flood victims..

  2. The 9th PM has ruled out the possibility of including opposition members in his cabinet — sorry guys, no unity government. The PM will release his cabinet listing sometime this week after obtaining the King’s blessings.

  3. The outspoken Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said has confirmed her resignation as the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, hoping for a ‘reset’ in Parliament.

  4. Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s (Pejuang) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad aims to contest up to 120 Parliament seats in the coming 15th general election. Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan (PH) will adopt a ‘big tent’ concept based on PH’s agenda for reformation heading into GE15.

  5. The logjam in Rejang River, Sibu, Sarawak has caused water treatment plants there to shut down. Water treatment plants along the affected areas of the river are unable to operate owing to high pollutant content in the water. The Sarawak government has been urged to investigate the cause of Saturday's logjam.

Business

  1. Fitch Ratings said it plans to withdraw its ratings of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and international ratings of PT Bank Maybank Indonesia Tbk (Maybank Indonesia) bonds due to ‘commercial reasons’.

    It seems the decision came about after Maybank decided to discontinue bond rating services by Fitch Ratings, which was undertaken as part of Maybank’s overall effort "to streamline" debt-rating assessments by rating agencies.

  2. Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd, along with group managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Dr Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah is taking legal action against KLSE Screenerover the alleged publication of false and defamatory comments posted by a user account impersonating the group’s CEO. Apparently, the comments posted by the user-led to undesirable speculations on Serba Dinamik’s stocks.

    We do not condone speculative behaviours but instead, we encourage healthy discussion on the Malaysian stock markets. One of the best places to do it — Stockbit Malaysia (they are powering our daily market updates if you have not noticed!).

  3. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) assistant governor Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are in dire need of trade-based solutions to ease liquidity constraints brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has created a liquidity squeeze among Malaysian businesses due to subdued domestic demand and stringent containment measures.

    What can the businesses do? Take more on more debt to meet payment obligations when they are not covered by the government’s assistance packages or the amount offered is insufficient. It’s unsustainable because, down the road, it’ll reduce the businesses’ financial flexibility.

  4. Airports operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) reported a higher net loss of RM226.09 mil for 2QFY21 ended June 30, 2021, compared to RM91.07 mil a year earlier despite higher revenue registered, helped mainly by a significant rise in revenue from MAHB’s Turkey operations. However, the higher depreciation and amortisation, decrease in other income and a marginal increase in operational expenses resulted in the airport operator reporting a net loss.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. Visa, the payment network giant, got onto the NFT bandwagon. It has purchased a CryptoPunk #7610 for 49.5 ether or about USD150,000. Cryptopunk #7610 is one of the 3,840 female punks made by artists Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs in 2017. Cynics would call this purchasing a JPEG file as owns a digital copy of it.

    There is a total of 10,000 24 x 24-pixel CryptoPunks with no 2 that are exactly alike. The rarest and most expensive are the 9 alien versions. In June, one alien punk fetched USD11.8 mil, setting the record for a single CryptoPunk according to auction house Sotheby’s. 

    Visit CryptoPunk here to see the rest of the collection. 

  2. If you have been avoiding eating mushrooms, do reconsider. A study by the National University of Singapore shows that seniors that eat more than 2 standard portions of mushrooms (about 300gm) per week may have reduced the probability of having mild cognitive impairment (ie. subtle memory loss, forgetfulness and deficit in other cognitive functions like language, attention). This is due to the presence of an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in almost all mushrooms - ergothioneine

    Read the research here.

    Deals:

  3. Opay, the Nigerian mobile payments platform raised USD400 mil funding led by SoftBank at a valuation of ISD2 bil. This marks SoftBank’s first investment in Africa via its SoftBank Vision Fund 2 entity. Also participating in the round is Sequoia Capital China, DragonBall Capital (the venture arm of Chinese food-delivery giant Meituan), amongst others.

    Founded in 2018, the company’s monthly transaction volume exceeds USD3 bil. Apart from expansion in African countries, the company also has presence in the Middle East. It previously counted ride-hailing and logistics services as part of its offerings but had to shut down its ride-hailing business due to government ban and the pandemic. 

  4. Kuaikan, a comics app, raised USD240 mil Series F funding valuing it at USD1.25 bil, marking China’s largest fundraising deal in the comics industry with returning backers like Tencent and Coatue Management. The company was founded in 2014 by cartoonist Anni Chen as a digital library for original comics by Chinese artists. 

    It has a monthly active user base of 50 mil. In 2020, it grew revenue by 27% to RMB437.7 mil (USD67.4 mil).

    News in Brief:

  5. The driving force of Indonesia’s tech economy definitely isn’t by the old money, but by their younger generations. The scions from family-owned conglomerates are pouring their families’ fortune into Indonesia’s tech sector, becoming an important catalyst in growing Indonesia’s USD44 bil digital economy. 

  6. PayPal has expanded its crypto offering to the UK, allowing its customers there to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through its service beginning this week. PayPal has 403 mil active accounts globally.


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁

  1. The Paralympic Games will be held from 24 August till 5 September and Malaysia will be sending 22 athletes to compete for medals, all the best #TeamMalaysia!

  2. According to The Edge’s infographic on the Malaysia e-Wallet trends, Maybank’s e-wallet is more popular than Grab in all six but one quarter.

  1. How an old couple used ‘“basic arithmetic” to beat the lottery system and won USD26 mil doing it