Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Messaging app Line lost more users, still focusing on key markets

Line has told Tech in Asia today that it’s another three million down, dipping to 214 million users in total.

Source: Tech in Asia

The $7.6 billion company surprisingly did not disclose its total number of active users in its latest earnings report, which came out towards the end of last month – the first time it has not revealed that figure since late 2014.

Line – which makes money from ads and content in an array of spin-off apps and services such as Line Pay, Line Music, and Line Moments – focuses its business interests on those four markets, therefore those are where most of the money comes from.

So as long as Line is growing in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia, the company seems unperturbed by the loss of global users to the increasingly indispensable WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alipay to launch in Malaysia

Malaysian merchants are set to accept the use of Alipay, China’s indigenous mobile wallet, in stores around the country this month.

Six local banks have received regulatory approval from the Malaysian Central Bank to process Alipay-enabled settlements, according to a company statement. Alipay will also be scheduled to be accepted as a payment option across the Southeast Asian nation by 2018.

Malaysia is surely making strides with their partnership with Alibaba as of late, following the announcement of the collaborative Digital Free Trade Zone.

Read about eIQ’s take on the Digital Free Trade Zone here.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Malaysia and Alibaba sign MOU to launch e-trade initiative

Alibaba, state-run development agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corp. (MDEC) and the Hangzhou municipal government signed a memorandum of understanding to connect the first two hubs in the Electronic World Trade Platform in Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur.

The eWTP is Ma’s vision of digital free trade via ecommerce as a way to bring small and medium enterprises into the global economy.

Now, the parties will “explore linkages” between the Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur projects to create an “e-road” for cross-border trade.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Amazon Wins Battle to Buy

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed in a joint statement from Amazon and Amazon trumped an offer from Emaar Malls PJSC, the operator of the world’s biggest shopping center, which bid $800 million for was valued at $1 billion in its last funding round.

Amazon has been making moves beyond its home country as of late, with talks of entering Australia, and most recently, a delayed entry into Singapore.

Read the rest of the story here.

Interested in reading more about Amazon? Check out eIQ’s insights on whether the ecommerce giant is really making a move into Southeast Asia here.


2. China’s Tencent has bought a 5% stake in Tesla

Tencent, maker of the popular WeChat messaging app, has taken a 5% stake in Tesla for nearly $2 billion.

It comes months ahead of Tesla’s biggest ever test as Elon Musk’s electric automaker prepares to ramp up production far beyond its current tiny output for the $35,000 Model 3.

Tencent is perhaps the most prolific investor and acquirer among China’s multiple tech titans. It has stakes in Snap, Kik, and ride hailing app Didi

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Alibaba gets serious in Southeast Asia in preparation for battle with Amazon

Two smaller, but important developments this week show Alibaba is executing on a plan to build out a strong presence in Southeast Asia.

  • Ma partnered up with the Malaysian government to launch a series of initiatives aimed at easing red tape and barriers around cross border ecommerce, a sector that is poised for growth. Alibaba also launched a hub in Malaysia, a physical location to handle inbound and outbound deliveries, and other aspects of the initiative
  • Ma bridged Taobao with Lazada through a new feature that debuted in Singapore this past week. Lazada Singapore is boosting its existing catalog with the addition of 400,000 listings that have been selected from Taobao, called “the Taobao collection”.

Viewed separately, the Malaysia project and Taobao Selection are interesting developments, but occurring in the same week, they reveal much of the blueprint that Alibaba is building for domination in Southeast Asia.

Read the rest of the story here.

Interested in reading more about Jack Ma’s plans for Southeast Asia? Read here for eIQ’s analysis on Alibaba’s Trojan Horse strategy for the region.

Thailand Commerce Ministry to boost SMEs

Ministry of Thailand promoting Thai products in Global Market, Source:

Thailand’s Commerce Ministry has developed to link SMEs to trade in the international arena with websites such as Amazon and Alibaba, reports the Nation. This move will encourage small and medium sized enterprises to expand from their usual local landscape.

According to Malee Choklumlerd, Director General of the International Trade Promotion Department,

The Internal Trade Promotion department would talk with Amazon and Alibaba about creating links with to get international buyers interested in purchasing goods from Thai traders.

The department will also launch a project called “Small Order OK” (SOOK) which will encourage small goods companies to trade online, both domestically and internationally.

Thailand Commerce Ministry to boost SMEs

Under this new initiative, SMEs will be able to advertise their products via and consumers will be able to browse and purchase goods through an e-payment platform. The website will also have a partnership with DHL Express for worldwide shipping allowing business owners to focus on developing their business and products without having to worry about international logistics and supply chain.

Prior to this new international trade initiative, was only facilitating business-to-business (B2B) transactions and buyers had to order in bulk volumes or large quantities.

The new platform, SOOK will help SMEs generate sales of small orders coming directly from customers.

Over the next three years, the department aims to get 15,000 SMEs to go online.

Recently, there has been more initiatives in getting local trade players to sell internationally online. Most recently, local Thai fruit companies have been establishing an online presence through Alibaba’s Tmall with successful results. This government initiative is a positive step in encouraging SMEs to think on an international scale.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 6. Read the full article here.