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Here’s what you should know today:

1. iPay88 expects more revenue from international market

Malaysian payment gateway provider iPay88 expects more revenue contribution from international market by end of this year in accordance to its expansion plan.

The company is looking at contribution ratio of 80% and 20% for local and international market respectively. At the moment, international revenue contribution stands at five percent.

“We are seeing a 34% growth in Indonesia for the first and second quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Number of transaction in Indonesia also grew by 97% in the same period,” Co-Founder and Executive Director Chan Kok Long said.

In addition to Southeast Asian countries, iPay88 also presence in Hong Kong and Bangladesh. The company expects its investment in Bangladesh to break even in three years.

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2. Malaysian retailers urged to go digital

The Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) wants to drive the retail industry to go online for better opportunities and competitive advantages. The support from the government with the Digital Free Trade Zone (DTFZ) should help the adoption faster.

“Since the government is bringing in Alibaba, we have to rely on that wave to benefit the retailers and SMEs to the maximum,” said MRCA President Datuk Garry Chua.

Online contribution to the total sales is growing but it’s still on a gradual mode. He expects the growth to reach double-digit after the DFTZ truly kicks off.

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3. Grab and Uber subjected to tax checks in Vietnam

The General Department of Taxation recently sent a document requesting the HCM City Department to inspect the tax payments of Uber and Grab.

The request came after traditional taxi firms claims that they have been subject to a variety of taxes and charges which accumulates to an average tax of VNĐ 2 trillion ($91.7 million) annually, while Uber and Grab were only subject to a tax of 4-5% of revenue and only paid VNĐ 20 billion ($8.8 million) annually.

The Ministry of Transport will provide information to the tax agencies to clarify Uber and Grab taxes soon and will work with the Ministry of Finance, especially the General Department of Taxation, to share documents and calculate tax management options more tightly to avoid inequality in tax collection.

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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab is adding Myanmar’s Wave Money to its mobile wallet

Ride-hailing and mobile payments startup Grab is partnering with Wave Money in Myanmar.

Drivers will be able to sign up for e-money accounts that let them cash out their daily earnings at one of Wave’s 9,000 shops across Myanmar, Grab said in a statement.

Grab also plans to integrate Wave Money’s digital wallet with its own wallet, GrabPay, so that passengers in Myanmar can use Wave Money’s ecash to pay for Grab rides.

Grab’s strategy of choosing to pair up with local payment options, such as Kudo in Indonesia and now Wave Money in Myanmar shows how importance catering to local tastes are.

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2. TenX raises roughly $80 million for cryptocurrency payment system for everyday life

the company is proud to report following a 1 million USD seed round at the beginning of 2017 with famous lead investor Fenbushi.

TenX completed a successful token raise over this past weekend on June 24, 2017, 1 pm UTC. It exchanged an equivalent of 245,832 Ether (valued at roughly 80 million USD at the time of the swap) to the company’s PAY tokens at a rate of 350 PAY tokens per 1 Ether (with a 20% bonus during the first 24 hours).

The PAY tokens will provide access to part of TenX’s revenue of their already live payment service and also serves as a loyalty program to its own users.

During the token swap, TenX accepted one of the most diverse ranges of tokens any company has ever provided. In addition to Ethereum, also ERC20 tokens, Bitcoin, Dash, and Litecoin were accepted.

3. Bangkok based Digio gets series A investment

Among the participants in the round was InVent, a VC arm of telecoms-focused holding company InTouch.

Bangkok-based Digio – which aims to turn your smartphone into a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system – counts payments giants Mastercard and Visa among its partners, as well as big tech corporates including Epson and Samsung.

It develops a range of products, including a device that allows vendors to take card payments on their smartphones, an ewallet, and a secure solution for receiving customers’ signatures electronically.

Digio’s founder and CEO Nopphorn Danchainam said that Digio’s system can now accept payments from third-party ewallets, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab wants to offer more consumer services

Grab wants to be the number one provider of online-to-offline (O2O) services, said founder Anthony Tan. O2O is a term to describe services that bridge the digital and offline worlds. Grab has been trialing food and parcel delivery in some of its markets. But so far, it hasn’t diversified as much as Go-Jek when it comes to types of services it offers.

“There are many O2O consumer services waiting to be disrupted,” Tan said but didn’t specify if Grab plans to launch any that are similar to Go-Jek’s.

However, he emphasized the importance of first- and last-mile services, which include deliveries and transportation, and mentioned the potential of retail, hospitality, and lifestyle sectors. Tan said that Grab wants to “win payments in Southeast Asia.” He pointed to the example of PayPal and how it leveraged eBay’s massive reach to cement its position as a payment platform, saying that Grab’s installed base can be the groundwork for its payments services.

While payments and commerce is an important new frontier for Grab, its transportation features are still evolving.

In Jakarta, Grab plans to test GrabNow, a feature which lets riders book a GrabBike rider they just flagged down, without having to wait for the app to run through its match-making algorithm.

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2. LINE starts to attract luxury brands in Japan

There are signs that the luxury industry is taking more interest in the platform in 2017, as several major fashion labels have flocked to the app this year. LVMH brands Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Dior launched official LINE accounts at the beginning of the year, and were joined by Prada in February.

As these new brands launch on the platform, they’re forcing early adopters including Coach, Michael Kors, and Burberry to step up their game to keep up with luxury marketing innovations. In the months since its January launch, Louis Vuitton has surged ahead of competitors, generating 237% more interactions per post in April than the Index Luxury brand average, despite a lower follower base.

Fendi is also investing in LINE with a strategy that understands the role of LINE as a closed one-to-one communication tool, where users expect brands to behave more like their friends and less like advertisers.

The brand used chatbots to reveal exclusive celebrity content when users message a designated keyword, and utilized gamification for a virtual slot machine that offered the chance to win an original Fendi USB flash memory stick. The collaborations with luxury brands may be a good move for Line,

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3. Amazon’s pivot to lower tier consumers

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it will slash the price of membership to its Prime program by almost 50 percent for low-income shoppers on federal welfare.

It’s a direct challenge to Walmart, the reigning king of American retail, which relies heavily on low-income shoppers and receives nearly one of every five dollars of its revenue through SNAP, or food stamps, each year.

Prime, which includes fast premium shipping and access to movies, games, and exclusive Amazon television shows, typically costs $99 upfront or $10.99 a month. Households that can show they’re receiving public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will be able to subscribe to Amazon Prime for just $5.99 a month.

With today’s announcement, Amazon is trying to become Walmart faster than Walmart can become Amazon.

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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab opens R&D center in Indonesia

Grab announced the opening of its new R&D centre in South Jakarta, in a media conference. The sixth Grab R&D center will employ up to 200 engineers by end of 2017, and is situated on a 4,500 square meter land.

According to Kudo CEO and Co-Founder Albert Lucius, the center will focus on researching and developing technology to be used by Grab drivers and Kudo agents, as well as data on consumer behavior and pattern.

For the next step, Grab announced that it aimed to build five million new micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia by 2018, and to increase the number of its local engineering talents by the hundreds by end of year. It also announced that it will be looking for more Indonesia startups to invest in.

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2.Walmart reports 63% rise in online sales

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%.

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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.

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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.

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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab confirms it will acquire Kudo to boost digital payments

The ride-hailing startup confirmed in a statement today it has signed an agreement to buy Kudo for an undisclosed sum.

Behind the acquisition is Grab’s interest in expanding its digital payments ecosystem, GrabPay.

Through Kudo, it taps into an already existing payments platform and online-to-offline channel. The startup’s most obvious asset is approximately 40,0000 agents who use the app to sell things like prepaid phone credit, tickets, household items, and fashion.

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2. Indonesia’s Bhinneka shares updates on IPO goals

The Indonesian ecommerce platform for electronic goods and gadgets has the ambition to strengthen its offline store network.

The company plans to open another five to 10 offline stores, though they did not give further details in which city they are going to locate in

Bhinneka has implemented several business models, including B2C, B2B, and B2G.

This year, Bhinneka also aims to increase revenue from its B2B line for up to 40%. The company is also still on track for an IPO.

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3. Amazon is trying to push past Walmart by going directly to big brands

Amazon is working to convince major brands they’d be better off selling their goods directly to shoppers.The news service obtained an invitation Amazon sent to packaged goods companies for a meeting to discuss the initiative, which would require them to package their products in new ways.

The grocery business has been one of the most resistant categories in the shift to online spending. Not only do most shoppers prefer to pick their own produce, but fresh food is a notoriously low-margin business. It requires a sophisticated supply chain and quick sales to prevent items from spoiling.

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4. Recommended Reading: What does Amazon’s acquisition of Zouq mean for the future of retail?

Retailers are already reporting lower revenues and rents in malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are stagnant, according to JLL consultants, and likely to decline in secondary locations.

Retailers are battling a higher US dollar, which erodes any price advantage, particularly for tourists, and a weaker economy

S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani told Arabian Business in February that “footfalls in the malls are stable”. However, shoppers are buying less. The deep pockets, data and experience of Amazon in the Middle East will speed up the region’s ecommerce boom.

Read the rest of the story here.