Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab is in the process of buying Indonesian payment firm Kudo

Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab is in the process of buying up Indonesia-based online payment startup Kudo in its first major acquisition.

Payments are a central focus to Grab’s push, as it is a way to differentiate itself from Uber and local rival Go-Jek, which raised $550 million last year, but also because it can help win business from millions of unbanked citizens and provide a solution in the market.

Not only is Kudo focused on Indonesia, but it directly enables those without a credit card, bank account or event internet access to buy online. Initially it used point-of-sale kiosks located in public areas, but it later broadened its focus to support an agent model.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Vietnam’s Tiki looks to raise $60m in series D funding

Vietnamese ecommerce major Tiki is looking to raise a series D round of $50-60 million which is expected to close this year. Founded in 2010 as a book selling platform, Tiki did not comment when asked on the proposed Series D funding.

Part of the fundraising  is expected to be used to pare its loss. The company has recorded VD255 billion in losses since VNG Corporation’s investment until the end of last fiscal.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: With cloud, Alibaba follows the ‘build it and they will come’ approach

Alibaba quietly announced that Alibaba Cloud service has already doubled the capacity of its Hong Kong based data center in order to meet fast increasing demand in the Asia-Pacific region. The company said that the expansion in Hong Kong is part of its master plan to eventually expand into providing cloud services the world over.

 The worldwide cloud services market was projected to grow 16.5% in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015. Alibaba Cloud has operations in 14 global economic centers including mainland China, Singapore and the U.S, in addition to Hong Kong.


Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you need to know for today.

1. Alibaba’s revenue jumps 54%

The Chinese e-commerce giant reported net income of $2.47 billion with total revenue of $7.67 billion for its Q3 2016.

The primary source of revenue remains Alibaba’s core commerce businesses — its Taobao marketplace and T-Mall service for brands.

The firm is looking to plant further roots in China’s e-commerce industry by expanding its offline presence. That explains its $2.6 billion bid to fully acquire one of China’s prominent shopping mall and department store operators, Intime.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alibaba’s local commerce platform, Koubei, raises $1.1 billion

Koubei, an Alibaba affiliate company focused on enabling local commerce, closed a $1.1 billion financing round this month. The funding was led by Silver Lake, CDH Investments, Yunfeng Capital and Primavera Capital.

What is Koubei?: Koubei is a joint venture founded in 2015 by Alibaba and Ant Financial, an Alibaba offshoot that manages its Alipay service and other financial tech initiatives. The idea behind it is to generate business for local retailers by bringing them online, while also offering new commerce opportunities for consumers.

Example?: Helping a local pizza chain reach new customers or making a pop grocer more accessible to people with limited time to go in person.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Walmart will cut 200 ecommerce jobs in the US

Tuesday’s cuts are intended to shift the retailer’s ecommerce staff toward more shopper-facing roles, said spokesman Dan Toporek. For example, sells millions more products than a year ago, requiring more employees that manage those items online, he says.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Southeast Asia startup funding at record high in 2016

But it’s mainly because of GO-JEK  and GRAB.

Total funding in the region hit US$2.6 billion, up over 60 percent from the previous year’s US$1.6 billion.

Country breakdown: Singapore and Indonesia continued to figure prominently on investors’ radar, accounting for $1.4 billion and $967 million of the investments, respectively. Malaysia was next with $84.8 million, followed by Thailand at $79.3 million, Vietnam at $60.9 million and finally the Philippines at $14.6 million.

Read the rest of the story here.


2.  Vietnamese startup Leflair raises funding

500 Startups-backed ecommerce startup founded by ex Lazada colleagues, Leflair has bagged a $1 million pre-series A investment from a group of investors led by Hong Kong-based Caldera Pacific Ventures.

Leflair’s approach and focus on brands allows it to grow at a fast pace with reasonable marketing expenditures and without compromising on the quality of the products or customer service, and to work on its long-term vision. Based in Ho Chi Minh, LeFlair has around 80 employees and currently operates its own production studio, warehouse and fulfillment centre, where orders are shipped across the country.

Why is the company attractive? Vietnam is a high growth and underserved country, while the platform can eventually be expanded to the neighboring countries adding scalability to the model

Read the rest of the story here.

3. The cold war between Wal-Mart and Amazon continues

This is a battle that just keeps on going. Wal-Mart has shaken up its in-house digital team and has begun to cut prices in order to compete with Amazon.

The changes are meant to make Wal-Mart more “customer-centric,” Jet founder Marc Lore, who is now chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operation, said in a memo.

Read the rest of the story here

Welcome back from the holidays, here are the latest ecommerce headlines to keep your mind refreshed for 2017:

1. 2016 WeChat Data Report reveals some interesting numbers

  • 768,000,000 daily logged in users
  • 35% YoY growth
  • 50% of users use WeChat 90mins a day
  • 67% YoY of total messages sent per day

2,350,000,000 ‘red packets’ (money) were sent over Lunar New Year’s Eve

As chat and mobile adopting grows in Southeast Asia, it is expected that more brands will begin selling on these platforms such as LINE. Consumers are already familiar with sending money through chat apps, why wouldn’t they feel comfortable making a purchase?

Find the rest of the report here.


2. Alibaba’s on-demand services arm, Koubei, raised funding?

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s on-demand services unit is close to securing $1.2 billion of funding for expansion after getting backing from first-time investors including Silver Lake Management and China’s sovereign wealth fund, people familiar with the matter said.

The latest round for Koubei, which deals in local services such as food delivery, will surpass a $1 billion target with backing from China Investment Corp., according to the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. The round also includes Yunfeng Capital, a fund backed by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, and values the two-year-old startup at about $8 billion, they said.

Koubei was set up by Alibaba and its financial services affiliate Ant Financial to compete with Meituan Dianping, a company valued at $18 billion in 2015 that deals in businesses such as movie ticketing and group-buying discounts. O

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Thailand 4.0, are you ready?

The government launched a new flagship policy called Thailand 4.0 that will be the master plan to free Thailand from the middle-income trap, making it a high-income nation in five years.

Thailand 4.0 has in fact become the buzzword among Thai businesses, recognised as a new engine of growth that will drive the country’s economy forward through high-tech industries and innovations that will push Thailand to produce high valued-added products and services.

Chen Namchaisiri, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI):

“The hardest thing is how to change the attitude of the Thai people and also the Thai industry. It is difficult to make them see that they need to be high-tech.”

Mr Chen said the government should support the development of online facilities in order to help expand ecommerce, e-payment, e-learning and e-documents, which will lead Thailand into a fully online platform to meet the 4.0 era.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thanks for joining us for the new year. If you enjoy reading insight articles, head to our Research & Insights section here.

Here are today’s ecommerce headlines

1. With fresh funding, Grain wants to be the next McDonald’s

Grain competes in Singapore’s crowded online food delivery market with companies like Foodpanda, Deliveroo, and UberEats – all of them international players with significant brand capital (not to mention actual capital).

Grain is different in its full-stack approach: rather than partnering with restaurants that make the food, it prepares its own dishes.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Amazon patents show flying warehouses that send delivery drones to your door

Drones, including temperature-controlled models ideally suited for food delivery, could be stocked at the AFCs and sent down to make a precise, safe scheduled or on-demand delivery.

An example cited in the filing was around a sporting event. If there’s a big championship game down below, Amazon AFC’s above could be loaded with snacks and souvenirs sports fans crave. The AFCs could be flown close to a stadium to deliver audio or outdoor display advertising near the main event, as well, the filing suggested.

This could change the way football fans buy their jerseys.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Alibaba expands downtown Manhattan headquarters

The $200 billion company had leased space in a new boutique office building at 860 Washington St. in the meatpacking district, sources said. The company is now expanding its footprint at the downtown Manhattan site to more than 30,000 square feet, according to several people familiar with the deal.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here are today’s top ecommerce headlines.

1. iCommerce expands to Indonesia with pre-series A funding

Singapore-based ecommerce enabling startup iCommerce Asia announced today it has raised US$1.4 million in a pre-series A round. Nine-month-old iCommerce provides a full range of services relevant to ecommerce. It handles operations like warehouse and order management, cross-border customs clearance, and reverse logistics, as well as tech services like web and mobile development.

Its unique proposition is enabling smaller ecommerce and retail businesses in the region to export goods into Indonesia, giving them access to its promising customer base.

Read the rest of the story here


2. CIMB launches mobile wallet app for cashless payments

CIMB Bank Bhd has launched a lifestyle mobile application, CIMB Pay that provides combine secure cashless payments with deals and offers.

With Masterpass, shoppers will be able to use their CIMB Mastercard debit or credit card along with the shipping information saved on the mobile app to complete online transactions. Customers can make payments by simply tapping their phone on any contactless terminal based on Near Field Communication technology. The app also has an in-built notification system that alerts customers on nearby contactless terminals and flash deals.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Hong Kong’s Easyship raises pre-series A to expand to Singapore

Hong Kong-based logistics startup Easyship has raised an undisclosed amount of pre-series A funding from 500 Durians. The startup will be expanding into Southeast Asia via Singapore, following the validation of its business model and building of traction in the Hong Kong market.

The expansion to Singapore provides strategic access to Southeast Asia and leverages off the city-state’s logistics infrastructure and networks.

Read the rest of the story here

Interested to learn more about Asia’s logistics landscape? Check out our series on Alibaba’s Cainiao Network here: part I, part II, part III, part IV.