Amazon backs Essentials

Here’s what you should know:

1. Indonesia’s ecommerce transactions reach $5.6 billion in 2016

Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo revealed that ecommerce transactions in the country amounted to $5.6 billion in 2016.

The immense growth potential of digital economy in the country was also indicated by 78% growth of the fintech industry in the last two years.

However, many things needed to be addressed to make business online more efficient. Internet penetration rate in Indonesia is still low if compared to neighbour countries. According to Statista, there 24.74 million of internet users in Indonesia.

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2. Amazon has joined Tencents to back new smartphone brand created by ex-Googler

Amazon has joined major Asian companies in backing Essential, the startup co-founded by Android-creator Andy Rubin that’s getting ready to sell a new smartphone.

Tencent and Foxconn Group took part in a $300 million funding round for Essential alongside Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Access Technology Ventures. Other backers included Redpoint Ventures, Altimeter Capital and Vy Capital.

Essential is looking to break into the increasingly competitive field of consumer electronics. The startup is said to be valued at $900 million to $1 billion.

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3. Singapore DBS Bank launches online car portal

DBS Bank entered the car sales industry with the launch of its online consumer marketplace for car buyers and sellers dubbed as DBS Car Marketplace.

The move came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) announcement to make it easier for banks to invest in non-financial sector.

Partnering with other car marketplaces sgCarMart and Carro, sellers who use DBS’ platform will be able to list on both marketplace for free.

Read the full story here.

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