Here’s what you should know today:

1. Alibaba-backed Grana takes aim at Mainland China

Hong Kong online fashion retailer Grana has expand to mainland China via an official store on Tmall. The company has recently scored a $10 million series A funding led by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

Grana built a name for itself in the online fashion industry by cutting out the middleman – it manufactures and sells clothes directly to customers. It allows them to reduce the cost the prices for clothes made out of expensive fabrics such as silk or cashmere.

The company expects China to be its next biggest market after the US.

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2. Flipkart raises offer to buy Snapdeal for $850 million

Flipkart revised its bid for Snapdeal to $850 million after its initial offer of $600 million was rejected. In an unexpected turn of event, however, Ahmedabad-based ecommerce Infibeam has jumped into the fray with a proposal to buy for $1 billion.

Founded in February 2010, Snapdeal was the second biggest ecommerce company after Flipkart until 2015. It was valued US$6.5 billion when it raised funding early last year. The company began to crash after Amazon’s entry to the country.

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3. Shopee launches Shopee Mall, expands to B2C space

Shopee has launched Shopee Mall, a dedicated in-app space for B2C sellers. This portal is separate from the regular Shopee marketplace and provide access to products from brands such as 3M, L’Oreal, Philips and Reckitt Benckiser.

All products listed on the Shopee Mall are guaranteed to be authentic. Shoppers can easily identify Shopee Mall product listings with the newly added red ‘Mall’ label.

Within the portal, shoppers can also navigate easily between key brands, category campaigns and personalised recommendations.

Shopee Mall aims to bolster both attributes and assure consumers by ensuring that all sellers on Shopee Mall are verified with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, a locally registered entity.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Indonesian state-owned bank BRI to acquires a venture capital firm

Indonesian state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is preparing $37 million (IDR 500 billion) of funding to acquire a venture capital, among the few, adding the business of venture capital and security among its subsidiaries.

The minimum funding required to set up a venture capital firm in Indonesia is $3.7 million (IDR 50 billion) for limited liability companies, and $1.8 million (IDR 25 billion) for cooperations or CV.

“We hope that the due diligence period may wrap up soon and the acquisition process can be finalised by this year,” expressed Suprajarto, BRI Managing Director.

The bank will be the latest Indonesian bank to owned a venture capital arm after Bank Mandiri (Mandiri Capital Indonesia) and BCA (Capital Central Ventura). BRI currently also operates five subsidiaries; BRI Syariah, BRI Agro, BRI Remittance, BRI Life, and BRI Finance.

Read the full story here.

2. CompareAsia Raises $50 million from investors including Alibaba, IFC, and Goldman Sachs 

CompareAsia Group has closed a $50 million Series B led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participations from new and existing investors including Alibaba, SBI Group, H&Q Utrust, Nova Founders and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

The company runs online financial marketplaces in seven Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, under several different names and claimed to have more than 28 million people used its sites last year.

The new funding will be used to improve user experience across its sites, which uses machine learning and AI to match consumers with financial products based on their needs and risk profiles. The marketplace currently works with about 100 brands and financial institutions and makes money by sharing revenue with companies when customers sign up for their services through one of its sites.

Revenue-sharing incentivizes CompareAsia to remain neutral and provide accurate information in order to convince customers to continue using the site, which in turn convinces financial companies to stay on its marketplaces, said CEO Sam Allen

Read the full story here.

3. Amazon pours more money to its Indian business

Amazon reportedly has injected $260 million of new funding to its Indian business in the anticipation of the holiday shopping season, which centers around the Dussehra and Diwali festivals in the fall.


The company is looking more serious about its business in India. Amazon pumped $2 billion into its Indian marketplace in 2014 and Jeff Besoz has promised to invest $5 billion more in India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

However, Amazon is still facing a fierce competition in the country, as main rival Flipkart also recently bagged a $1.5 billion from noteworthy investors including Microsoft, Tencent, and Amazon’s rival eBay.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1.Amazon is tightening its grip to India’s mobile shoppers

US-based ecommerce giant Amazon is almost neck-to-neck with Flipkart in winning India’s mobile ecommerce users, according to the latest data by 7Park.

Amazon captured 30.3% of the country’s mobile shoppers, just slightly lower from Flipkart’s 30.7%. Meanwhile, Snapdeal lagged behind at 10.8%.

At a closer look, Amazon’s growth has been at the expense of Flipkart. From Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, the company saw a spike of 46%. Flipkart’s app engagement in the meantime has declined 11.5% during the same period.

Mobile plays an important in India’s ecommerce market, especially since 80% of traffic to both Flipkart and Snapdeal came from their respective apps or mobile sites.

Amazon also had 10 times more browsers turning into buyers than Flipkart did. Amazon’s unique purchasers reportedly grew 113.1%, far above Flipkart at 10.8%.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Gojek is raising $1 billion of funding for Southeast Asia expansion

Gojek is looking to raise a $1 billion worth of funding, cited anonymous sources close to process as first reported by Wall Street Journal.

The ride-hailing app is looking to raise capital at a $2 billion pre-money valuation.

The fund is said to be used for their regional expansion plan to Southeast Asia countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

In August 2016, Gojek has raised $550 million from various investors including KKR, Warburg Pincus, Farallon Capital, and Capital Group Private Markets.

The company has branching out to fintech by building and promoting their own e-wallet service with much success. Gojek’s direct competitor, Grab has recently following their footsteps by acquiring Indonesian O2O ecommerce platform, Kudo.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Recommended Reading: Luxury brands are going more and more digital

According to the fifth edition of Contactlab and Exane BNP Paribas’ ‘Digital Competitive Map’, luxury brands’ digital performance was up +5% overall.

The research, which encompasses a range of evaluation parameters, has included social media reach for the first time this year.

Burberry claimed the throne out of the 32 international luxury brands for two consecutive years now. Among the top five are also Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Gucci, and Fendi.

“Catering to millennial consumers is especially crucial in order to improve digital sales (…) The beauty of social media platforms, such as Instagram, is that they allow customers and brands to communicate globally, catalyse organic engagement, form creative communities and drive sales.” commented Contactlab’s Senior Advisor, Marco Pozzi.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Philips Lightings introduces Facebook ‘chatbot’

Philip Lightings has launched a chatbot on its Singapore Facebook page to help users make a purchase decision and buying products directly on the platform.

The move is part of its LEDs Get Smart Campaign, aimed at educating consumers of the benefit of installing the right lights at home. People from anywhere in the world can try out the chatbot, providing they access it via the Philips Singapore Facebook page.

The company has also partnered with Lazada Singapore to launch its first-ever specialty e-store on the ecommerce platform. Alok Ghose, MD of Philips Lighting, said that the partnership will serve as an excellent opportunity for the company to tap into the growing ecommerce segment.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from eBay, Microsoft, and Tencent

Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart has confirmed that it has raised $1.4 billion in new funding with some big names like China’s Tencent, eBay and Microsoft as strategic investors.

These names join the existing Flipkart backers that include Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel and DST Global as strategic investors. The company is now valued at $11.6 billion and getting ready to battle Amazon and Alibaba.

The investment will also see Flipkart take control of eBay India, which will remain an independent ecommerce site.

“This is a landmark deal for Flipkart and for India as it endorses our tech prowess, our innovative mindset and the potential we have to disrupt traditional markets. It is a resounding acknowledgment that the homegrown tech ecosystem is indeed thriving and succeeding in solving genuine problems in people’s daily lives across all of India,” founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said in a statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. New report by Criteo reveals a distorted view of Southeast Asian online retailers

According to the new report published by Criteo, Southeast Asian retailers lacking a cross-device perspective will have a distorted view up to 41% of their online transactions.

The company indicates that in the long run, this distorted view results in inefficient allocation of marketing spend which in turn has a direct impact on the quality of shopper engagement and the volume of customer acquisitions.

It emphasizes the need for retailers to deepen their understanding of cross-device consumer behavior and align marketing strategies.

“In today’s competitive landscape, ecommerce businesses cannot afford to draw the wrong conclusions and waste money on the wrong channels,” explained Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Criteo.

Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you should know today.

1. Lalamove partners with point accumulation app ChomChob 

on-demand delivery startup Lalamove has partnered up with ChomCHOB, a point accumulation app that converts a customer’s credit and debit card points into reward points. The app allows users to purchase a range of products and services from over 1000 merchants.

ChomCHOB points can be redeemed through Lalamove motorbike on-demand services from now until the end of April.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alibaba makes investment in AR for cars startup

Alibaba led an $18 million series B round for WayRay, a Switzerland-based startup specializing in augmented reality products for cars, such as its AR navigation system that overlays directions onto the car’s windshield.

Each car has a windshield and inside windows. These surfaces could be used as augmented reality displays and content could be placed anywhere in the car.

WayRay will also partner with Banma Technologies, a joint venture by Alibaba and SAIC, one of China’s largest automakers. The startup is building an AR interface for one of Banma’s 2018 models, capable of displaying driving assistant notifications and navigation information.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: India’s ecommerce groups take on Amazon and Alibaba

Since launching its Indian operation in 2013, Amazon has enjoyed rapid market share gains at the expense of local leaders Flipkart and Snapdeal, with each of the three burning through tens of millions of dollars a month as competition intensified.

These deep pockets could prove crucial in the long and expensive war for the Indian digital consumer. “It’s not about who’s got the biggest business right now. It’s about who’s willing to invest the most money in making this happen,” says Kashyap Deorah, technology entrepreneur during an interview with the Financial Times.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know before the weekend starts.

1. Alibaba raises stake in India’s crowded ecommerce market

Alibaba is leading a $200 million funding round in India’s Paytm to give it a controlling stake of 60% percent in the mobile shopping and payments app.

The funding is for Paytm’s ecommerce business, which the startup decided to split from its payments unit last year. It puts Alibaba closer to a formal entry into India’s burgeoning ecommerce market to combat market leaders Flipkart and Amazon. A clear indicator that Alibaba is intending to compete for market share.

Trouble for India’s incumbents? Alibaba’s investment in Paytm can pose trouble for local players Flipkart and Snapdeal. Both have been struggling to raise funds, with Flipkart’s valuation cut several times, and Snapdeal recently announced a 100% pay cut for its founders.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Goldman Sachs: online shopping in China to double by 2020

Already the world’s largest, China’s online retailing market will grow to $1.7 trillion by 2020 compared with $750 billion last year. Perhaps more important to continuing growth is Goldman’s expectation that 200 million new Chinese shoppers will come online by 2020.

The biggest opportunity is the expansion of online sales of FMCG items such as groceries, personal care and healthcare, packaged foods and other everyday items typically found in supermarkets.

Tmall is also expected to control 70% of China’s online B2C market by 2020

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Insights: Target to overhaul stores and digital operations

Another reaction to the Amazon effect?

Target unveiled a series of initiatives designed to reverse the big box retailer’s same-store sales declines, including an investment of more than $2 billion of capital in 2017 and more than $7 billion over the next three years. The company will use about $1 billion of operating profits this year to improve brick-and-mortar and digital operations.

Insights from Retail Dive

“Target just took longer to feel the ‘Amazon digital effect’ than Best Buy, due to the categories and customer base they play within. Amazon initially went after books (successfully destroying physical book retailers), and then went onto CE and office supplies, and now are expanding into food and apparel,” said Matt Sargent, Senior Vice President of Retail at Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc.

The retailer should return to their legacy ability to differentiate with exclusive, affordable ‘fresh’ product offerings coupled with clean & easy shopper experiences.

Read the rest of the story here.