With the global economy trying to find its feet post-pandemic, many startups are looking to Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) to launch on the stock market. In 2020, SPACs raised over $83 billion USD through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), and this interest in using so-called blank-check companies to float doesn’t appear to be waning.
With the ongoing US-China squabbles and a volatile market worldwide, some countries, like Vietnam, are poised to benefit. The government’s decision to lift the limits on foreign ownership bolsters opportunities to capitalise on IPOs in Vietnam as the country seeks to increase investment. The increased usage of SPAC in Vietnam to boost this emerging market appears to be paying dividends already, with the market growing by 20% in the first quarter of 2018 and looking set to continue to expand. SPACs seems to be the partner that many up and coming businesses in the country need to elevate their offerings.
Vietnam is emerging as the next R&D hub for tech giants in the regioh
On the home front, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange grew from 30 to 356 companies in the past year as the economy started to expand. This astronomical growth, combined with Vietnamese startups looking to expand their horizons globally, shows a country preparing to take its place amongst the region’s leading economies.
A growing SPAC ecosystem
As one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is on the radar for investors jumping at the chance to invest. SPACs are targeting the region’s startups, hoping to encourage VC funds and wealthy investors to invest large sums of money into companies and bring them to the US stock exchange.
Here are four of the most exciting SPAC deals currently on the table in Vietnam:
According to its co-founder and CEO, Trung Hoang Nguyen, the delivery startup Loship is targeting floatation on the New York Stock Exchange by 2024. The one-hour delivery eCommerce startup has flourished during the pandemic, partly thanks to increased reliance on it due to lockdowns. It has also received pre-series C round funding to the tune of $12 million USD with Ant Group venture capital firm BAce Capital and Hong Kong-based investment firm Sun Hung Kai & Co., Ltd leading the round.
The company has an eye firmly on a future exit to secure continued growth and to ensure that its staff benefit from the employee stock ownership plan currently in place.
Vietnam’s first unicorn, VNG, is eyeing up a SPAC merger worth $3 Billion USD. From its humble beginnings as a gaming company, VNG has expanded into cloud computing, media and digital payments to grow into the biggest startup in the country.
Now, it is in private discussions with a SPAC to take the company to the US stock market and increase its revenue from its $263 million USD intake in 2020.
As one of Vietnam’s most prominent eCommerce startups, Tiki is already on a secure footing financially. In July 2021, the company formed Tiki Global in Singapore to assist with its plans for expansion and flotation in the US. It transferred 90.54% of its shares to the global wing of the company in preparation for making a move on the international stock markets and is thought to be investigating going down the SPAC route.
Tiki raised $20 million USD in Series E funding led by Taiwan Mobile Co in August 2021 and has over $200 million USD in its coffers as it prepares to decide whether to launch an international IPO offering or not.
With a valuation of around $16 billion USD, Vingroup is considered one of the largest conglomerates in Southeast Asia. The company has a comprehensive portfolio of products and services with fingers in technology, property, and industrial pies. One of its most exciting subsidiaries is its automobile manufacturer, Vinfast Global, which is tapping into the growing electric car and motorbike market.
As the electric motor industry flourishes, Vinfast Global is considering a merger with a SPAC to realise its funding goals.
According to Reuters, the company is considering a US listing valued at approximately $60 billion USD, and Motor Authority states that VinFast is establishing a US headquarters ahead of sales of its products in 2022.
Vietnam Investment Review says that many of the country’s startups are seeing opportunities in US listings. This developing nation is gaining recognition as a country of opportunity for startups and investors. However, it is still not easy for a SPAC within the nation to bring companies to the international markets.
All SPACs or VCs seeking potential international IPOs in Vietnam must play by the new laws implemented by the government and have the State Security Commission’s approval for any deal. While navigating the legal and regulatory landscape may pose some challenges, the rewards of the SPAC trend make it worthwhile for investors as the country emerges as a viable market for startups and their backers.