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Grab and other IPOs highlight major opportunities and hidden risks

Southeast Asian tech boom is an important test of governance standards

Grab Holdings plans to go public in the U.S. by merging with a listed SPAC called Altimeter Growth. (Source photo by Ken Kobayashi)

SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asia is enjoying a technology boom. Grab's record blank-check deal with a special purpose acquisition company, which will value the business at nearly $40 billion, rings in a new era for a region whose tech industry has trailed behind Asian peers including China and India.

Grab, which offers ride-hailing, deliveries and financial services, will join Sea Group, the Tencent-backed ecommerce and gaming group, in being listed in the U.S. Sea, also headquartered in Singapore, was one of the best-performing stocks globally in 2020 thanks to its surging Shoppee online commerce platform.

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