, Hong Kong

Weekly News Wrap: H&M vows to win back China's trust; Thai fuel giant bets on coffee shops

And grocery chain Qiandama mulls Hong Kong IPO.

From CNBC:

H&M has vowed to win back trust in China amidst growing signs its fashion empire is suffering from a backlash, after it voiced concerns last year about alleged human rights abuse allegations in Xinjiang province.

The comments come as Western brands battle to strike a balance between consumers in China and public opinion at home, which has become increasingly concerned about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang. China denies the reports.

H&M, which also reported a quarterly loss due to the continued closure of some of its shops in the pandemic, has come under fire from consumers and officials in China after one of its statements from 2020 resurfaced on social media.

In it, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer expressed concern about the allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang and said it would no longer source cotton from there.

Read more here.

From Reuters:

The head of Thailand’s biggest gas station network has invested $1.5b in the hope that motorists will soon be stocking up on a different kind of fuel - coffee.

That’s the bet that Jiraporn Kaosawad, Chief Executive of PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR), is placing on rolling out thousands of coffee shops at home and abroad, along with other non-oil businesses, as global auto and fuel players gear up for a near future dominated by electric car growth.

A month on from Thailand’s biggest initial public offering of the year, Jiraporn’s plans for the Cafe Amazon business—already the top Thai coffee shop chain—present PTTOR’s take on the task facing oil majors from BP to Total: how to maximise profit from fuel networks as drivers of the near future wait for their electrics cars to be charged up.

These strategies are dependent on mass-scale take-up of electric vehicles (EV), now being promoted by governments and international organisations as one key to capping and ultimately reducing the emissions that stoke climate change.

“Our investments and partnerships have to build on the company’s strength, and align with consumer demand,” Jiraporn told Reuters in a recent interview.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg:

Chinese fresh food chain operator Qiandama is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong as soon as this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Guangzhou-based company had discussed a share sale with potential advisers, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. An offering could raise about $400m to $500m, one of the people said.

Qiandama is also planning to raise about $305m (CNY2b) in a pre-IPO funding round that could value the firm at as much as $3.81b (CNY25b), the people said. Deliberations are ongoing and details of the fundraising plans including size and timeline could still change, the people said.

Read more here.

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