Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Fintech startup LatiPay raises funding to expand to Singapore & US

What is LatiPay? Auckland based LatiPay allows Chinese consumers to pay for goods and services using Yuan whilst merchants receive full payment for goods or services direct to their local bank account in their local currency. Chinese payers can make payment through their preferred bank payment or Alipay, WeChat pay and more.

The platform has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Singapore-based venture capital firm Jubilee Capital Management. The expansion will tap into the increasing popularity of cross-border payments.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Walmart launches free, 2-day shipping

Starting today, Walmart will begin offering free, two-day shipping on over 2 million items, with no need for a membership fee for ‘everyday essentials’. Walmart owned also offers 2-day delivery on hundreds of thousands of common items, and ships for free on orders over $35.00.

This could be seen as a response to the Amazon threat.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. US eyewear startup Warby Parker will launch 25 new stores this year

Warby Parker plans to open at least 25 retail locations this year, a rare brick-and-mortar expansion amid store closures at several chains. The eyeglasses seller said it would open stores in Miami, Los Angeles and other cities, bringing its total store count to about 70 this year.

The brand is often used as a key example for pureplay ecommerce players who have since adopted an offline strategy, bringing up observations about the changing phase of retail.

Read the rest of the story here.

Before you get started on your Tuesday, here is what you need to know.

1. Grab is now hiring government insiders to grow its business

In a move that mirrors ex-Obama advisor David Plouffe’s position at Uber, Grab’s latest hire is Badrodin Haiti, the former chief of Indonesia’s national police. Haiti will be taking on the role of President Commissioner, managing corporate governance.

This is interesting because: The Indonesian government laid out regulations for ride-hailing services last year, which place restrictions on the types of cars in service and a ban on so-called independent drivers. Grab is currently looking to expand further into the country, and would most likely benefit with an insider on board.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Recommended Reading: Online resale startups enter an international growth race

Although VCs and fashion startups tend not to see eye-to-eye, with fashion founders often having to defend their company against male investors who don’t shop online.

However, investors are seeing an opportunity in the online resale marketplace. According to data from fashion investment community FashInvest, investors funneled more than $175 million into the online reselling industry in 2016. The question of when the inevitable bubble will burst has been raised, but it hasn’t happened yet.

For investors, the marketplace makes sense: it’s steadily aligned consumer behavior, as shoppers aren’t going to simply stop buying Birkin bags or vintage Chanel.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Thailand’s PromptPay launches C2C segment

The launch of C2C PromptPay service is expected to increase the traffic of electronic money transfers, especially through mobile banking channels.

The government has also set the date to roll out the business-to-business (B2B) stage on March 1. The pre-registration for corporate clients was launched at commercial banks last Friday.

There are 20 million accounts registered for PromptPay services, with commercial banks expected to see 30 million accounts registered, with the addition of B2B clients.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Indonesia’s Bank Central Asia is to invest $15 million in fintech technology

With some 1,200 branches and 17,000 automated teller machines, BCA has one of the largest retail banking operations in Indonesia, and runs the country’s most advanced payments system. It will invest in fintech companies to have a competitive edge over rivals, who are also looking to cater towards Indonesia’s unbanked.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Thailand’s SCG launches ‘SCG Express’ with Black Cat Yamato 

The joint venture, SCG Yamato Express, will provide a full logistic service in Thailand, focusing in the B2C and C2C segments for small parcel delivery.

This year, the partnership will see the launch of over a 100 kiosks in the form of service points,

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Vietnam ecommerce is poised to meet growth targets

Last year, ecommerce revenues increased to $5 billion, accounting for about 3% of the total retail trade and services revenue.

Tran Trong Tuyen, general secretary of the Viet Nam E-commerce Association, said it was important for businesses to open their stores at a good location, but the situation has changed with 40 million Internet users having the option to buy things online.

“If retail companies do not invest properly in ecommerce, they will gradually lose customers,” Tuyen said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know after the weekend.

1. Recommended Reading: Indonesia is an investment opportunity like China was in 2008

In 2008, VCs invested $4.2 billion in China, up from $2.8 billion in 2007, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. China has since exploded as a center for venture capital. By 2015, VCs invested a record $37 billion in startups.

Three metrics in particular reveal that Indonesia is a lot like the China of 2008,  ecommerce as a percentage of retail sales (1.4 percent in 2015), Internet penetration (28 percent in 2015) and GDP per capita ($3,834 in 2015.)

Read the rest of the story here.


2. There are 619 million people in China who are not online

Last week, CNNIC released its latest user count for the Chinese internet. As usual, the numbers are staggering: 731 million internet users, 695 million of whom are also users of the mobile web.

But wait a minute: China’s population is about 1.35 billion, so if 731 million Chinese are using the internet, that means there are still 619 million people in China who aren’t online.

The real answer: Around 620 million Chinese people still live in rural areas, and according to a recent CNNIC report, only 191 million of them are online.

This means that there’s untapped opportunity in China’s rural area. CNNIC says that demand for the internet is weak in rural China, and that’s clearly true. China has almost total broadband coverage between wired networks and its near-ubiquitous 4G coverage.

Most rural residents who aren’t online, almost 70% of them say it’s because they lack computer and/or internet knowledge.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. ‘Drop Shipping’ to go mainstream as more retailers get on board

A growing number of retailers are relying on suppliers to ship online orders directly to customers, a strategy they hope will help them compete with ecommerce rivals without spending more on inventory.

More on drop-shipping: The practice, known as drop shipping, lets retailers offer more products for sale on their websites such as multiple colors of the same sweater without having to keep those items in stock.

In the SPS survey, half of the logistics firms polled predicted that drop shipping would account for more than a quarter of their sales within the next three years, up from 30% today.

Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you should know for today.

1. Thai ecommerce sector expected to expand by 20% this year

The bullish forecast came as it was revealed the Southeast Asia ecommerce market in 2015 was worth $900 million (Bt31.7 billion) and is forecast to grow up to 16 times that figure , to about $11 billion by 2025.

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency has forecast that the total ecommerce market in Thailand this year will be worth Bt2.52 trillion.

 Read the rest of the story here.

2. Kuvera Capital Group leads $3m round in Thai digital consultancy D8ii

Thailand-based investment firm Kuvera Capital Group announced today to lead the investment of $3 million in D8ii Ltd, a digital consultancy, tech and innovation solutions firm in Thailand. The deal will aim to capture at least 10% of this market and becoming a brand leader; a go-to tech partner with international standing that will drive Thai enterprise to the next level.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Rocket Internet opens its first engineering hub in Asia

Rocket Internet is increasing its focus on Asia after it opened its first engineering hub in the region.

The center is located in Bangkok, and otwill house a tech team that carries out work for Rocket Internet’s portfolio of startups. The firm currently has 20 people at the base in Thailand, and it said it plans to more than double that headcount before the end of this year.

The focus is very much on mobile, given that it dominates Asia as the primary method of internet connectivity.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know this Friday morning.

1. Berrybenka will use its new funds to launch offline stores

This year, the website plans to open 20 offline pop-up stores, along with permanent offline stores in Indonesia, following its ‘eight figure’ funding round.

Why offline stores? BerryBenka wants to introduce new services, such as ordering online but picking up in-store. Customers can try on the clothes at the store, and only pay for those they like.

What else? The website also plans to launch a chatbot this year called Stella. It will be able to handle customer complaints and inquiries on the platform.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alipay is acquiring MoneyGram in its boldest move into the US

What? Alipay is buying MoneyGram for $880 million, its boldest move yet in a series of partnerships and investments that signal an international ambition.

What executives are saying: “The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world,” Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing.

What is MoneyGram?: A direct competitor with Western Union and a Walmart transfer partner. Having MoneyGram under its umbrella would give Ant and its affiliates a foothold to serve non-Chinese consumers.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Listen up marketers: MailChimp launches support for Facebook campaigns

MailChimp has been offering its users an easy way to manage and run their email marketing campaigns. Now, for the first time in its long history, the company is going beyond email marketing

What is it doing? It has launched a new tool that will allow users to create Facebook ad campaigns from the existing MailChimp dashboard.

Why? 16% of its more than 15 million users are ecommerce companies, a number that has increased 46% over the last year. Most customers are probably using MailChimp and Facebook ads, so this will be an effective synergy.