Here are the key headlines for today:

1. Apple Pay and Android Pay purchases may hit $8 billion by 2018

In-app purchases and website retail payments are projected to drive annual spend via Apple Pay and Android Pay up to $8 billion in 2018, up from $540 million this year. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Frost & Sullivan: Southeast Asia’s ecommerce market to surpass $25 billion by 2020 

Despite the region’s market challenges, Frost & Sullivan has forecasted that Southeast Asia will continue on the path of rapid growth, with B2C ecommerce to lead the way. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Indonesia’s Fintech investments to reach $8 billion in two years

According to The Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), transactions through fintech in have escalated along with the number of people going online. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Google takes on Uber with the launch of its new ride-sharing service

Google is moving onto Uber’s turf with a ride-sharing service to help San Francisco commuters join carpools through Alphabet, at a cheaper rate. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Southeast Asia’s VCs join forces to boost startups

The new group was started by Indonesian venture capital association Amvesindo and its pendant in Singapore, SVCA. Read the rest of the story here.

Southeast Asia’s most prominent and active venture capital firms like Gobi Partners, East Ventures, and Convergence Ventures have formed a lobby group called ASEAN Venture Council to develop the venture capital industry in the region, reports Tech in Asia.

The new group was started by Indonesian venture capital association Amvesindo and its pendant in Singapore, SVCA.

VC associations in Malaysia and Thailand are expected to join at a later date.

Southeast Asia’s startup industry is enjoying a high, $799 million has been pumped into growing tech firms across the region.

ASEAN Venture Council goals

One aim of the group, which was announced today at a fintech conference in Jakarta, is to learn from each other’s experience and to lobby respective governments for favorable conditions. An important aspect to fintech services and products is taxation.

For example, Singapore can teach a lot about creating regulations that differentiate accredited and retail investors. This distinction has not been made clear in Indonesia.

Ku Kay Mok of Gobi Partners has also raised a point about crowdfunding, another area that the council aims to address as it has the potential to disrupt venture capital.

The council will assist each country’s associations with regulatory issues, which will be updated regularly. The council will also organize events and share best practices, as well as assist firms with deal flow.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on August 30. Read the rest of the version here

Missed the usual headline scan this morning? Here are today’s top stories.

1. ZhongAn is preparing for an IPO in 12-18 months

The Ant Financial and Tencent backed online insurance company targets young insurance buyers in the areas of automotive, health and online shopping. Read the rest of the story here

 

2. Indonesia’s Airbnb, Travelio, raises $2 million pre Series A round led by Gobi Partners

Travelio offers accommodation in hotel rooms, apartments, and private villas. Its unique proposition is that it gives travellers a chance to negotiate the price. Read the rest  of the story here.

 

3. Indonesian fashion ecommerce app ‘Lyke’ raises $4 million series A funding led by Holtzbrinck Ventures

Lyke’s app combines several online fashion and lifestyle retailers, allowing users to browse through products and make purchases without leaving the platform. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Kayne West: Retail visionary and mobile payments leader?

On average, 7% of transactions at the Pablo shops (Kanye’s pop-up stores) worldwide were through contactless payments. That blows away the US industry average, which is about 1%. And those percentages varied quite a bit by city. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Samsonite’s profit falls 12.7% , as online shopping crimps demand for luggage

The company, which is facing the most challenging market conditions since  2008, is shifting to online sales. Read the rest of the story here.

Zhongan Online P&C Insurance Co., with more than 400 million customers, is targeting an initial public offering in the next 12 to 18 months, reports Bloomberg.

The company is currently eyeing listing in Hong Kong, but it is also considering holding the IPO in the US, according to CFO John Bi. Zhongan is also considering holding a pre-IPO private funding round to attract global investors and provide strategic value to its insurance business.

Backed by Chinese giants Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings Ltd., Zhongan works with internet companies to provide policies for China’s younger users in the automotive, health care and online shopping sectors.

Zhongan operates in an online insurance market that is expected to reach $300 billion by 2025.

Zhongan focuses on users who are used to simple procedures when shopping online and have no patience to fill in traditional insurance application forms. This kind of method makes it perfectly suitable for younger insurance buyers.

Ant Financial, formally known as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, is Zhongan’s largest shareholder with a 16% stake. Tencent and Ping An each hold 12% stakes.

Zhongan’s flagship product is one that allow merchants who sell on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. cover shipping losses when customers return goods, ranging anywhere from 10 to 100 yuan, depending on the performance history of the seller.

 A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on August 29. Read the full version here

Busy weekend? Don’t worry, here’s the weekend re-cap of headlines you should know.

1. Google and Temasek Report: By 2025, Indonesia will dominate 52% of all ecommerce activity in Southeast Asia

Google and Temasek released an Indonesia specific report last week, following their Southeast Asian report that came out in May. The report is optimistic about the growth of ecommerce in Indonesia, including the country’s internet adoption and opportunities of ecommerce. Read the rest of the story here

 

2. China Post launches WeChat account

Following the announcement of China Post and Tencent’s strategic alliance, the postal giant has release a statement regarding its official WeChat account which will offer  customers mail and ecommerce services. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Fynd is the Uber for gadget repairs, raised $385,000 in pre-series A funding round

The funding was led by Far East Ventures, the venture capital arm of Singaporean property developer Far East Organization. The startup will use this funding to grow its services in Southeast Asia. Currently, it is available in Singapore and Hong Kong, with plans to launch in Jakarta this year. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Global ecommerce logistics market will be worth $781 billion by 2024

A key factor to growth acceleration is the rise of cross-border ecommerce and low-cost cargo options. FedEx and DHL International currently lead the global ecommerce logistics market. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Amazon sends Chinese email to suspended US sellers

In midst of major ecommerce counterfeit issues in the last few months, Amazon has increased efforts to openly court Chinese manufacturers, resulting in a string of bizarre emails being sent to sellers. Read the rest of the story here.

 

6. HappyFresh Exits Philippines and Taiwan, Raises an undisclosed series B funding round

It will “concentrate” on its three other markets: Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand Southeast Asia as it aims to become a sustainable business. Read the rest of the story here.

In midst of major ecommerce counterfeit issues in the last few months, Amazon has increased efforts to openly court Chinese manufacturers, resulting in a string of bizarre emails being sent to sellers, reports CNBC.

In 2015, Amazon’s ecommerce revenue topped $100 billion – the marketplace being a big driver, with sales from Chinese merchants more than doubling last year. Buyers love the cheap goodsand if a customer has problems with a product, they can simply contact customer service and get a refund.

Although counterfeit products have become a big problem, Amazon is benefiting from having Chinese merchants on board, with US sellers getting the bad end of the deal. 

Within the last week, Amazon sent emails in Chinese to a number of non-Chinese US sellers, whose accounts were suspended for one reason or another, telling them they can resume business. When put into Google translate, the email simply read: Your account information you provided was reviewed and we decided to allow you to re-sell on Amazon.com.

That was followed by a line telling the merchant where to find a list of seller best practices.

The growth of Chinese sellers on the marketplace has caused many problems with US merchants, who see counterfeits and manipulative tactics creeping into their listings.

A seller of mobile phone accessories forwarded the email Amazon sent to him on August 18 to CNBC.com on the condition that he and his company not be named. His account was suspended in late July after a few buyers of phone chargers complained the products were defective.

Amazon, which now counts on outside sellers for almost half of its retail volume, routinely shuts accounts after mounting customer complaints without giving sellers a chance to fight the claims. To get reinstated, merchants have to take measures that can take weeks.

This leads to sellers spreading out their products on different marketplaces, such as eBay. Suspensions can be tied to slow delivery times, alleged rights infringements or selling potentially unsafe products or expired items.

But the Chinese email is a first for Amazon and the problem was compounded when the sellers were again shut down after being reinstated. Making all the sellers re-appeal and go through this all again is a nightmare for them. 

A version of this appeared in CNBC on August 26. Read the full version here