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Here are some of the ecommerce headlines you should know from this weekend

1. Singapore’s ‘sustainable ecommerce’ startup Refash raises seed funding

 Singapore-based Refash is a place for people to “recycle” unwanted clothes  has raised a $294,000 seed round. The funding round was led by Singapore’s Tri5 Ventures and joined by Malaysia-based Tinkbig Ventures and an angel investor who was not named. Read the rest of the story here.
 

2. Amazon and Flipkart are going head-to-head in India’s biggest sale period

Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal are now standing on the brink of what analysts think could be a defining point for the country’s online shopping industry, as discounts go down and sales flatten.  The pressure is piling on Flipkart, which has to defend its turf as market leader. Read the rest of the story here.
 

3. Hello Health enters Malaysia, launches HelloDoktor.com

The website, the company says, is tailored for Malaysians and will help to educate them on health issues and find answers to all their health dilemmas. Read the rest of the story here.
 

4. DTAC calls for spectrum roadmap

The roadmap would allow operators to efficiently plan their investments in line with technological development and demand for high-speed mobile broadband internet. Read the rest of the story here.

Another busy Tuesday? Don’t worry, below are the big ecommerce headlines you should know about.

1. Alipay strikes partnership with DTAC subsidiary Paysbuy 

Under the “Paysbuy Alipay Online-to-Offline (Alipay O2O)” service, merchants and businesses can accept online payments for the purchases of goods and services by Chinese customers in yuan. Over 10 million Chinese tourists are expected to travel to Thailand in 2016. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Santa Rita wine launches on Tmall

The Santa Rita online flagship store will offer key wines from their portfolio along with specific offers and promotions targeted China’s 688 million internet users. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Online grocery delivery startup Honest Bee launches on-demand laundry service in Singapore

The startup made the announcement at an event in Singapore. The mobile apps for iOS and Android have just been updated to add in a laundry section. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Coupang sales growth bolsters SoftBank’s bet on the Korean retailer

SoftBank, whose investment in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has zoomed past $70 billion, backed Coupang in June 2015 with $1 billion in financing that valued the Seoul-based company at $5 billion. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Alipay To Start Charging Fee For Transfers, Users Are Already Complaining

Users accuse Alibaba of ‘fattening the pig and then slaughtering it’. Read the rest of the story here.

 

6. How Orami is winning female shoppers in Southeast Asia

In an interview with Inc. Southeast Asia, co-founder Shannon Kalayanamitr says the company expanding its creative service to brands by offering them content partnerships, advertorials, guest posts, and celebrity reviews. Read the rest of the story here.

DTAC, Thailand’s second largest GSM mobile phone provider, is striving to extend digital-based technology to transform small farmers into ‘smart farmers’, reports The Nation.

The cellular operator signed a memorandum of understanding with the Agricultural Extension Department of the Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Ministry, and the “Ruam Duay Chuay Kan Sam Nuek Rak Ban Kerd” Foundation (’hand-in-hand with recognition of love you hometowns’ foundation), to promote the use of communication tech for agriculture development.

Under the collaboration guideline, the three parties aim to create smart farmers through mobile learning centers in all regions in Thailand where a smart-farmer mobile training course will provide knowledge on ecommerce for agricultural products.

According to On-uma Vattanasuk Rerkpattanapipat, DTAC’s senior vice president and head of corporate communications,

Although Thailand had experienced rapid development of mobile-phone technology from mobility to data and then digital service, most people still primarily used smart phones for basic communications.

DTAC’s mobile training course

At the workshop, farmers learn tips and techniques to develop effective online markets via website and social media, including product descriptions, optimal posting times, uploading photos and connecting with shops on Facebook. The class also extends to packaging, distribution, brand building and financial transactions via smartphones.

This year, DTAC will arrange 30 training classes for 40-60 farmers to participate in the workshops, which are held in provincial agricultural centers.

In addition to the mobile learning centers, DTAC has partnered with the Ruam Duay Chuay Kan Sam Nuek Rak Ban Kerd Foundation to develop the Farmer Info application.

Through this express information channel on mobile phones, farmers benefit from real-time data on agriculture and other useful information on farming that they can share with fellow farmers in their communities.

DTAC has also planned to initiate agri-tech by supporting a startup under the DTAC Accelerate program to develop the Freshket application as a marketplace to form a bridge between suppliers of fresh products and restaurants.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on August 14. Read the full version here.

One of Thailand’s biggest telecom companies, Dtac, has reported a record 90% slump in net profit for the second quarter of the year, reports Retail News Asia.

Net profit for the quarter fell to $4 million (141 million baht). The company’s total subscriber base shrank by 524,000 to 25 million, with prepaid subscribers falling by 715,000.

However, postpaid net additions increased by 77%.

In its quarterly report, Dtac blamed the weak performance on competitors’ aggressive subscriber acquisition activities, especially through strong distribution channels.

In response to the decline, Dtac has re-introduced prepaid handset subsidies and launched new Dtac prepaid branded SIMs, targeting data-orientated users.

Dtac’s 4G user base meanwhile increased from 2.9 million in Q1 to 3.5 million in Q2, and the operator aims to grow this to 6 million by the end of the year.

Dtac warned it expects intense market competition to continue into the second half. As a result, the company expects service revenues to slightly decline from the previous year.

A version of this appeared in Retail News Asia on July 14. Read the full version here.

Sigve Brekke, Head of Asian Operations at Telenor Group with DTAC CEO Lars Norling Source: Telenor.com

Sigve Brekke, Head of Asian Operations at Telenor Group with Dtac CEO Lars Norling, Source: Telenor.com

Thailand’s most popular mobile carriers, Dtac and AIS are pushing new data driven initiatives as data has surpassed traditional voice services as their key revenue mainstay. As Southeast Asia becomes more inherently focused on using internet on mobile, demands for data bundle deals will surge.

“Today we are experiencing a big, important shift from voice to data and digital,” CEO of Dtac Lars Norling told the press conference

The shift from voice to data and digital means mobile carriers shifting marketing strategies as heavy data users will be loyal to companies that provide them with the best deals. This explains why Dtac partners with YouTube to offer unlimited streaming in one of its packages.

Advanced Info Service (AIS), Thailand’s largest mobile carrier, also follows suit with a new prepaid sim card that offers 500MB a month of free internet access and 2GB of Youtube viewing.

AIS data revenue increased 21% in Q1 of ths year while voice revenue dropped 17%.

The big mobile carrier players have the capacity to expand, but with stocks down by more than 30 percent from 2015, it will be difficult to convince investors that their growth in a data driven market is viable.

Thai smartphone owners really care about data

The surging importance of data demand for mobile carriers signify the rising mobile consumer trend in Thailand, and the rest of the Southeast Asian region. As consumers look for more data heavy deals, it creates more opportunities for mobile commerce and mobile focused campaigns by agencies.

A version of this appeared in Nikkei Asia on June 21. Read the full article here.

Thais are Digital Frontrunners

Source: Bangkok Post

Young smartphone users in Thailand are making up majority of mobile service usage in Southeast Asia, according to a recent study by Telenor Research. It revealed that Thailand’s young smartphone owners are leading the pack in terms of utilizing the internet on their mobile phones.

Respondents were spread out among seven countries; Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Serbia, Hungary, Sweden and Norway and all identified as ‘digital frontiers’ within ages 16-35. The survey examined usage patterns across a wide range of internet activities, from browsing, messaging and sharing, to shopping and watching videos. Here are Southeast Asia’s numbers:

  • Internet video call was the most popular among Thai users, with 65% using them daily
  • 68% of Thai users also said that they use messaging apps several times a day, compared to a high 71% in Malaysia
  • 49% Thai smartphone owners also admit to only using the SMS function on their phones once a month, or never

Thais are ‘Digital Frontrunners’, what does this mean?

The high percentage suggests that young consumers are adopting mobile browsing behavior and opting for internet services rather than old fashioned SMS messages. This could be one of the key reasons why Thailand has a high percentage of social commerce transactions through mobile phone applications and explains why Facebook chose Thailand as the first country to test out its social commerce payment system.

In Thailand, 32% use internet voice calls compared to 35% ordinary mobile calls. The small gap between indicate a shift regarding the future of mobile usage in Thailand and already evident growth of m-commerce.

A version of this appeared in Bangkok Post on June 22. Read the full article here.