Here’s what you should know:

1. Indonesia is the largest Instagram users in APAC

Instagram claims it records more than 45 million active users every month in Indonesia and a user growth of more than 100% since last year, from 22 million in early 2016 to 45 million as of July 2017.

Instagram has 700 million active users globally and Indonesia is one of its most exciting markets with the most active users for ‘Instagram story’ feature, using it twice more frequently than the average user. The company also has the largest Instagram community in Asia Pasific.

 However, Facebook remains the most favored social media platform for Indonesians, where it is also the biggest Facebook users in Southeast Asia.

Read the full story here.

2. Walmart and JD.com launch an omni-channel shopping festival

Walmart and JD.com aim to intensify integration of bricks-and-mortar stores with ecommerce platforms through their launch of a new omni-channel shopping festival on August 8 in Mainland China.

The event will be supported by their expanded cooperation to combine domestic supply chains, operating platforms and customer resources.

The JD-Walmart 8.8 shopping festival is expected to help Walmart extend its reach to the 99% of the country’s population covered by JD.com’s delivery network.

With their combined resources, the two firms could “define the future of retail in China”, said Carol Fung, the president for fast moving consumer goods at JD.com

Read the full story here

3. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation will launch ecommerce academy

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said an ecommerce academy tailored to the industry would be launched later this year.

The initiative is important as Malaysian retail industry is the largest segment within the small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) market. She was heartened by the growth of Malaysian SMEs’ online presence to 26% last year from 7% in 2014.

The Internet is also disrupting business models that rely on the ownership and control of physical infrastructure.

“Digital innovation is an opportunity first and foremost, but also a threat if not embraced,” she added.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today:

1. HappyFresh is hitting business targets in Thailand

HappyFresh Thailand announced earlier this year that it would invest over Bt200 million, or $5.9 million, to grow by more than 500%. The company’s investment focuses on marketing, operations and human resources.

Benjamin Koellmann, managing director and co-founder of the HappyFresh group, said the Thai operation had a very successful first half where it was meeting or exceeding almost all targets and is expecting the trend to continue.

Online grocery currently represents less than one percent the total grocery market in Thailand, but HappyFresh expects it to grow to three-five percent in the next three years.

HappyFresh is in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, where the subsidiary was launched in Bangkok in September 2015. The startup is focusing its service in the Greater Bangkok Area but not ruling out the launch in other cities within the next six to nine months.

Read the full story here.

2. NUS Enterprise and Salim Group officially launched BLOCK71 in Jakarta

NUS Enterprise, entrepreneurial arm of National University of Singapore (NUS), is teaming up with Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group to officially launch BLOCK71.

The 1500sqm hub is located in Kuningan, South Jakarta and has already operating in Jakarta since March. The concept is modeled after JTC LaunchPad @ one-north startup hub in the Ayer Rajah industrial estate in Singapore.

BLOCK71 Jakarta will provide entrepreneurs with access to NUS Enterprise networks, incubation support, opportunities to participate in entrepreneurial initiatives organised by NUS Enterprise. Some 20 startups, mostly came from Singapore, are based at the facility already.

Read the full story here.

3. Tencent-backed on-demand services ecommerce eyes Indonesia market

Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest provider of on-demand services, reportedly eyeing Indonesia for expansion.

The Chinese firm is learnt to be exploring all options, including picking up a stake in one of Indonesia’s leading ecommerce companies.

Meituan-Dianping, was valued at $18 billion following its 2016 funding round in which Tencent was a returning investor. Tencent will be, by proxy, another China’s largest ecommerce firm making a foray in Indonesia after Alibaba and JD.com. Both companies have been reportedly in talks with Indonesia’s ecommerce site Tokopedia.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know:

1. Grab starts full operations in Myanmar

After four-month trial period, Grab has begun full operations in Myanmar by launching localised apps with new safety and technology features.

Myanmar is the seventh market for Grab where it already has 5,000 drivers registered in its Myanmar’s network. The drivers is said to have seen 30% growth in their average income during the trial period.

Grab is also rolling out GrabVenue terminals at major shopping malls in Yangon that will allow customers without a smartphone to access the service.

The company claimed to have more than 1.1 million drivers in 65 cities across the seven countries and has recently raised $2 billion to strengthen its operations in Southeast Asia.

Read the full story here.

2. Malaysia’s parliament passed two bills legalizing e-hailing services 

Malaysia’s parliament passed two bills that will legalize the e-hailing services like Grab and Uber in the country.

The amendments will allow the services to operate on an “intermediation business license”, a new category specific for the service.

The new license will regulate “the business of facilitating arrangements, bookings or transactions of an e-hailing vehicle whether for any valuable consideration or money’s worth or otherwise”, according to Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Act and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) bill.

The bill is supported by the cabinet even as taxi driver associations protested. The CVLB had previously declared that both Uber and Grab drivers were operating illegally in the country.

Read the full story here.

3. Amazon’s entry into Singapore marred by delivery problem

The company is unable to deliver goods to customers in Singapore after introducing its Prime Now two-hour delivery service in the state-country.

As of Friday afternoon, its Prime Now app was telling users that “delivery is currently sold out. Check back soon.” The service appeared to go down hours after its official launch on Thursday, according to media reports.

The company launched Prime Now app for customers in Singapore where they can shop and get tens of thousands of items delivered to their door with free delivery on orders of more than S$40 ($29). The service is available for trial for free for a limited time in Singapore, before the company rolls out its Prime membership program.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know today:

1. Shoppers at Qoo10 can now insure against defective goods

A new partnership between Qoo10 and local insurer NTUC Income will allows shoppers at Qoo10 Singapore to purchase insurance protection against defective or malfunctioned electronic goods worth at least S$100 or $73,58.

The insurance policy offers customers added protection and assurance when purchasing electronic products. Customers have the option to add on Purchase Guard as a product warranty for over 250,000 items on the Qoo10 website.

The premiums for the Purchase Guard policy are within a range of 5 and 8 percent of the retail price of the product, and final pricing will depend on whether the insurance coverage period is for three or six months.

Read the full story here.

2. Expedia is investing $350 million in Traveloka

Expedia has reportedly invested $350 million in Indonesian online travel booking site Traveloka, which also the biggest local online travel portal in Southeast Asia.

Traveloka is raising the total of $400 million, including Expedia’s. The financing round will put the valuation of Traveloka at $2 billion.

Traveloka is present in Southeast Asian markets and has so far received two funding rounds, one seed round led by East Ventures and one by Global Founders Capital, and retailer JD.com.

In Southeast Asia, Expedia also invests in a joint-venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia.

Read the full story here.

3. Amazon’s stock surges, Jeff Bezos became the richest guy on earth 

Amazon’s shares skyrocketed in overnight trading, with the opening at about $1.066, up about $16 (1.5%) from their close on Wednesday, July 26.

That price hike was enough to made Bezos rise the top and surpass Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, as the world’s richest person. Bezos owns over 80 million shares of Amazon, which after today’s hike, are worth over $86 billion.

In addition to Amazon, Bezos’ net worth also stretch to his stake in the Washington Post and space company Blue Origin.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know today:

1. Baidu partners with PayPal for mobile wallet service

PayPal is expanding its presence on mobile by pairing up with Baidu, allowing the Chinese company’s 100 million users to make payment to PayPal’s 17 million merchants.

The news is the latest in a series of partnership from PayPal after integrating with Apple and Samsung Pay, as well with banks Citi and Chase.

For Baidu, the partnership offers a way to increase the odd in their favor on the competition in China’s mobile wallet landscape that currently dominated by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChatPay.

Read the full story here

2. Whatsapp hits 1 billion daily users, Whatsapp Status has more users than Snapchat

Chat messengers app Whatsapp records 1 billion daily users as revealed during the Q2 2017 Facebook Earning calls. The company only has 350 million daily users when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

Facebook has also successfully rolling out Snapchat’s Stories format to a much wider audience than the original inventor.

Instagram Story and Whatsapp Status are each used by 250 million people every day, meanwhile Snapchat only has 166 million daily users on its app. Facebook itself records 2 billion monthly users.

Read the full story here.

3. Snapdeal to sell its digital payment platform FreeCharge to Axis Bank

After accepting the buyout from Flipkart for $950 million, Snapdeal is also selling its digital payment platforms FreeCharge to Axis Bank for $60 million.

Axis Bank will have access to FreeCharge’s base of over 50 million mobile wallet users, its staff of about 150 – 200 and its resources and proprietary tech.

FreeCharge was first acquired by Snapdeal in 2015. The deal was reportedly worth about $400 million.

Read the full story here.

THE BACKGROUND

Started by a former Japanese military officer Kihachiro Onitsuka in 1949, the brand Onitsuka Tiger was born in hopes of raising the spirit and health of the postwar youth in Japan through athletics.

The first shoe ever developed by the brand was for basketball with anti-slip sole and a suction patterning on the outsole, which would remain an iconic staple in future designs.

The company later branched out to develop a running shoe that prevented blisters and managed to convince even the legendary Olympic-champion barefoot runner Abebe Bikila to wear shoes for the first time in his running career.

The brand gained global popularity for its premium performance running shoes during the 1966 pre-trial for Olympics 1968 in Mexico. The introduced shoe, formerly known as Limber, adorned the distinctive crossed stripes that became the trademark of the brand.

ASICS brand series

The original ‘Limber’ edition that was renamed Mexico 66 to mark its rise to fame. Credit: size?.

In 1977, the company changed its name to ASICS after merging with sportswear-manufacturer GTO, and knitwear-manufacturer Jelenk. The name is an acronym derived from the latin phrase ‘Anima Sana in Corpore Sano’ — a sound mind in a sound body.

The ‘Onitsuka Tigers’ are now the ASICS vintage line and still offered at stores.

THE CHALLENGE

ASICS has successfully created a name for itself among amateur and professional athletes as a trusted performance brand through a range of high quality footwear made for running, tennis, wrestling, and volleyball.

Alistair Cameron, CEO of ASICS EMEA, admitted, however, that the brand was only ‘internally’ well known. More than half of the participants in the 2011 New York marathon wore ASICS running shoes but not everyone could identify the brand.

The company decided to increase its reach by focusing on lifestyle-oriented products to become known for more than just a good running shoe.

THE INNOVATION

In 2013, the brand launched a year-long multi-channel global campaign called ‘The Journey of Improvement’ that was delivered across television, print, and ASICS’ social channels.

Aimed to encourage people to develop and improve their exercise regime with the slogan ‘Better Your Best’, ASICS emphasized the importance of tech and product innovation to stimulate, motivate and inspire others.

ASICS brand series

ASICS video campaign showing its product in everyday scenarios.

The company also launched its mobile app MY ASICS in 2013 to complement and improve its training program. The app was able to track the runners’ time and distance and customize training to fit each runner, greatly improving a user’s experience.

In addition to enhancing its digital capabilities, ASICS decided to appeal to new demographics. By combining sports performance and the distinctive cult cumulated by Onitsuka Tiger sneakerheads, the company introduced the label ‘Asics Tiger’ to serve the luxury sports lifestyle market.

Asics Tiger offers trendy designs and collaborates with famous domestic and overseas sneaker boutiques including Colette in Paris, Slam Jam in Milan, and Patta in Amsterdam to target the younger, more fashionable, and streetwear conscious enthusiasts.

An example of this is the Gel-Kayano Trainer Knit that ASICS is marketing through a series of videos highlighting creatives around the world – wearing the Knits, of course.

 

ASICS brand series

First promotional video for Gel-Kayano Trainer Knit featuring video stars London-based model and visual artist Daniel Pacitti. Source: ASICS Youtube.

ASICS brand series

Asics Tiger concept store in Japan.

“We wanted to evolve the core of the brand’s heritage. To achieve this, we designed a bold graphic type that can be broken apart and layered over image,” expressed Laura Stein, Creative Director of Brau Mau Design, the company in charge of keeping Asics Tiger fresh.

THE STRATEGY

“Our aim is to now make it [ASICS] become more attractive among sneakerheads and squad leaders,” commented Luca Bacherotti, Regional Managing Director South Europe ASICS.

In order to do so, the company has made use of different labels to target different audiences:  ASICS, Onitsuka Tiger, and Asics Tiger. They give the company image flexibility among audiences and still market the quality they are known for.

“Our strategy is about being number one in running. That won’t change – but there’s a natural affinity to running and other sports. Three out of four people who buy ASICS (products) use it for sport. That’s almost double the rate of the market, which is more like four out of 10 because people use them for leisure also,” said Max Keen, Marketing Manager for ASICS.

In Q1 2017, the company’s consolidated net sales were down four percent due to weak results in the US and Europe whereas, Asia saw an increase of 11.3%.

ASICS has already opened more retail stores in Asia Pacific, including India, Korea and Singapore, as the majority of its sales came from brick and mortar.

ASICS believes that identifying an underserved populace is the key to in-person shopping.

“Around 15-20% of our total sales in the country (India) comes from the online and ecommerce channel while the remaining comes from the physical stores and that is where our focus is. But we are happy with our online sales number,” said Rajat Khurana, Managing Director of ASICS India.

THE FUTURE

The company’s goal is to change the ratio of revenues from its lifestyle labels to 40% from the current 20% ratio.

With the rise of athleisure in retail, customers are placing more importance on meaningful brand identity to choose what to wear and ASICS have taken the necessary steps to evolve its brand story.  

The company seems to be running on the right path in line with Nike and adidas by showing full dedication to multi-channel and will continue to be under the spotlight as a Gold Sponsor for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.