Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Singtel to help F&B businesses go digital

Singtel has announced a new initiative with the two Singapore-based polytechnics — Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to help F&B and retail businesses go digital.

It will collaborate with the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies to help these SMEs hire digital professionals who will offer their expertise in ecommerce, retail analytics and digital marketing solutions such as SEO and SEM.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Central Group to focus on ecommerce

Central Group aims to raise the share of its ecommerce sales to 15% over five years, up from the present 1%.

About 10% of the $1.3 billion capital investment allocation this year will be devoted to online business.

The funds will mainly go toward developing a logistics network and an omni-channel platform.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: How luxury fashion brands in China use WeChat in 2017 

Luxury fashion brands started to develop WeChat-specific features through their official accounts, that took advantage of the added-value services offered by WeChat.

Today, two-thirds of the luxury fashion brands active on WeChat now operate a service account, a step up from subscription accounts, which are primarily used by news and media entities.

Something to think about: Only 24% of the luxury fashion brands analyzed were integrating call-to-actions and links to an ecommerce platform, no brands currently offer the possibility to set up an appointment in-store or request a call-back from the sales staff.

Read the rest of the story here.

US payments giant PayPal Inc has launched an Innovation Lab in Singapore, its first outside the United States, to collaborate with government agencies, industry associations and SMEs, reports Digital News Asia. The lab aims to foster innovation, research and development (R&D), entrepreneurship, talent and expertise in Singapore.

“Singapore is a perfect melting-pot for ideas and innovation, given the strong support from the government, its massive talent pool backed by a world-class educational system, vibrant startup ecosystem, and diverse merchant profiles,” according to Dr. Rohan Mahadevan, CEO of PayPal Pte Ltd.

Rohan said that PayPal is partnering with all the universities in Singapore, working with their Deans and graduate students.

The first project the Innovation Lab will undertake be around SMEs in the food and beverage (F&B) business. 

“Singapore is a known food capital, and food is something that is very close to the hearts of Singaporeans,” said Rohan. The project will aim to improve productivity at F&B businesses, with Japanese restaurant Enbu having embedded digital payments into its business.

By this time next year, PayPal and its payment solutions partners such as TabSquare and Integral Solutions, will aim to provide more than 200 F&B establishments with in-store digital payment capability.

Other initiatives in the pipeline include the PayPal Business Challenge, which aims to help SMEs with their business challenges, not just payments.

In terms of PayPal’s ‘Innovation Lab’, it will aim to develop and nurture the next generation of fintech startups through an incubation program. The PayPal Incubator program will also offer coaching and mentorship by PayPal executives and various subject matter experts. Currently, there are three startups on board: OnePay, and InvoiceInterchange.

A version of this appeared in Digital News Asia on August 18. Read the full version here.