Welcome back from the weekend. Here’s what you should know today.

1. Viva Republica raises $48M to boost p2p money, eyes Southeast Asia expansion

South Korea-based fintech startup Viva Republica has raised a US$48 million in a Series C round led by Goodwater Capital. Viva will use the newly-raised capital to acquire users and launch new products.

Going forward, the platform plans to introduce three new services: loan brokerage, overseas transfer, and micro insurance and foreign exchange. Viva also has plans to expand to Southeast Asia through an M&A but said that it would not disclose specific plans.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Zalora invests $4.2mil on regional e-fulfilment hub in Malaysia

The e-fulfilment hub handles thousands of orders per day, approximately 4.5 million items and serves as the company’s sole fulfillment hub for Malaysia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It also provides stock support for Indonesia and the Philippines.

Why Malaysia? One of the main things Zalora looked at in deciding the location for its e-fulfillment hub was the geographic density of orders and customers. The highest density comes from West Malaysia and Singapore. The hub is located in Shah Alam, an industry-heavy city accessible by seaport and airport, and close to Kuala Lumpur.

Lower cost markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines were not picked because of higher risks and complexities in dealing with customs controls.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Why Alibaba’s latest Paytm buy proves Amazon is playing a losing game in Asia

Alibaba’s latest investments into Paytm is a clear signal of its growing investment presence. Fintech is one of Alibaba’s domineering tentacles into the region. Then there’s Lazada with its recent investment in Redmart.

 We need to see Alibaba in the context of Chinese investors’ overarching trend of divestment from the mainland and heightened interest in the global economy.

But Alibaba’s tech investments and acquisitions are not the only parts of the whole. With Jack Ma personally advising Malaysia’s digital economy, it’s hard not to see how Alibaba can potentially become a regional champion.

Read the rest of the story here.

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