France sets up initiative to attract tech startups from Southeast Asia. According to Tech Wire Asia, they will have the opportunity to compete for relocation to France, thanks to the “French Tech Ticket” competition launched by the French government, which is now entering its second season.

The French Tech Ticket competition aims to absorb entrepreneurs from across the globe for a year. 70 winning early-stage tech startups are chosen to to be hosted in one of 41 incubators in France.

Successful applicants will also receive $49,835 (€45,000 ) per project with no loss of equity, a tailored program of masterclasses and events, a dedicated workspace within the assigned partner incubators, and a “Soft Landing Pack”, which is meant to help foreign entrepreneurs relocate to France.

Startups dealing in big data, financial technology (fintech), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are of particular interest to the French Tech Ticket competition, said Muriel Pénicaud, chief executive officer of Business France and French Ambassador for international investment.

“Asian startups and entrepreneurial talent are now becoming fully recognized on the international scene”

Muriel Pénicaud, chief executive officer of Business France

Eligibility for the competition depends on several factors: the startup must be at an early stage, have plans to develop the business in France, and be a team of just two or three co-founders.

The teams must also be able to speak English, have a maximum of one French citizen or none at all, be ready to relocate and be fully-devoted to the project by January 2017 in order to participate to the program to attract tech startups from Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asian ecommerce entrepreneurs interested in this opportunity to expand into a more mature market, with higher per capita spending and more refined taste can find a link to the website here, deadline is August 24. Bonne chance!

A version of this appeared in TechWireAsia, read full story here

Mobile App Usage


comScore data shows that as the US ecommerce sector matures, consumption shifts from mobile web usage to mobile app usage. From a Southeast Asia perspective, where ecommerce is already mostly driven by mobile, it means that players must adopt app-focused ecommerce strategy to better retain and attract new customers. Gian Fulgoni, Chairman Emeritus at comScore Inc. comments,

Mobile app visits were up 70% in Q1, and mobile site visits were up 40%, but there’s a user challenge because while consumers may have many apps on a phone, not many are used

Even if desktop ecommerce still grows, mobile ecommerce is doing better

In May, desktop ecommerce increased 15.5% year over year, and if early 2016 ecommerce trends hold, the coming holiday season will be stronger than in 2015.

“Last year was a little softer than we had anticipated, but it still was pretty good by every measure,” says Fulgoni.

Holiday 2015 e-retail growth increased 13% year over year to $69.08 billion, according to comScore, slightly off projections of 14% growth to $70 billion.

Mobile sales increased nearly 60% last year during the holidays, and that trend will only grow.

In Q1 2016, comScore found that mobile app usage—total visits to sites in the retail category through apps—surpassed mobile browser numbers for the first time.

Mobile app usage for shopping is getting more popular, especially among return customers

Retailers with frequently used apps—think Inc.—will find the shift to app be an advantage, especially during the holidays. “For someone who’s an Amazon Prime customer, it’s second nature to use the app. If you’re a specialty retailer where shopping frequency is much lower, consumers are less likely to use the app.” Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

The US Commerce Department on Tuesday released May’s retail sales data, and while that report doesn’t break out ecommerce data, it found nonstore sales increased 12.2% and total retail sales grew 2.5% year over year. Nonstore sales mostly occur online but also includes sales via catalogs, telephone and door-to-door orders.

The West is highly influential to Southeast Asia especially as more international brands look to the booming region. Mobile app adoption could come even earlier in Southeast Asia than it did in the US seeing as Amazon is already eyeing Indonesia as its first entrance into the market.

A version of this appeared in Internet Retailer on June 17. Read the full article here.

 Southeast Asian Stocks Rise As Brexit Concerns Drop


Stocks across Southeast Asia in four countries rose as possibility of Britain remaining in the European Union increased, reducing market risks.

  • Singapore stocks closed more than 1%, led by oil and gas stocks
  • Philippines closed 0.6% higher with consumer cyclical such as Bloomberry Resorts Corp leading the market
  • Vietnam was up more than 1%, as oil and gas stocks such as Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp rose
  • Indonesia ended higher, helped by energy shares

Britons will cast their votes on June 23 in a referendum on whether to leave the EU. The probability of Britain remaining in the union rose to 72%, up from 60% in the previous week.

“Perception is that the British public is likely to vote in favour of remaining in the EU. If that is the case, it would remove the overhang of risk in the markets,” said Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, an analyst with Religare Capital Markets in Singapore.

Southeast Asian optimism in the context of Brexit

Initially, panic was spreading across markets in fear of Britain exiting the European Union but now it serves as an important reminder to protect the global market.

Countries such as Philippines has expressed optimism about the new President-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, who is beginning his six-year term on June 30.  Duterte’s economic team will be committed to boosting infrastructure, fixing traffic congestion and improve investment frameworks. Not only will this serve to improve ecommerce infrastructure and transportation roadblocks, it will also improve Philippines’ economic growth as a whole.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Globe on June 21. Read the full article here.