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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Alibaba Group invests in delivery startups

Alibaba Group is boosting its efforts to grab a slice of China’s growing online grocery retail sector.

Alibaba will use start-ups courier businesses, which works much like Uber for delivery, and similar to Instacart to tackle the growing demand for online grocery shopping

The start-ups run lean, with little infrastructure. When a customer logs onto the Alibaba website or app and purchases groceries, they will send contractor couriers to supermarkets, convenience stores and local groceries, where store employees bag the orders for the courier to pick up.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Uber and Grab poised to launch in Myanmar

Southeast Asia’s ridesharing war is spreading to a new frontier after rivals Grab and Uber revealed plans to expand into Myanmar.

This marks Grab’s first international expansion in three years

Myanmar is unique because it has gone from zero internet access to widespread adoption, creating an open field of opportunities for businesses, after the country emerged from decades of military rule. Mobile operators have entered, along with the rise of chat apps and social networks. However, taxi apps have yet to take off-this should be the next step towards change.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Amazon to expand counterfeit removal program in overture to sellers

Amazon.com is expanding a program to remove counterfeit goods from its website this spring.

As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged.

The move reflects Amazon’s efforts to court increasingly important third-party sellers

Amazon is also offering brands a program called “Transparency,” which lets them label packages with a code so shoppers can cross-check their purchase against official information.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

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 should know.

1. Ride-hailing app Grab to invest $700m in Indonesia

Grab is investing $700m in Indonesia including opening a research and development centre in Jakarta as competition to dominate the ride-hailing market in the region intensifies.

“This is about growing our user base, both on transportation and also importantly on our payments platform. Both transport and payments are local problems that require local solutions.” Said Maa Ming, President at Grab.

Grab is also looking at expanding mobile payments in Indonesia and will set up a fund to invest in Indonesian financial services start-ups.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Asia is Facebook’s biggest region

With 396 million people across Asia using Facebook each day, the continent is now larger than the “rest of the world” for the first time. WhatsApp also hit a new high with 1.2 billion active users each month.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: For couriers, China’s ecommerce boom can be a tough road

The Chinese ecommerce industry has been built on the backs of couriers .They number 1.2 million, by one survey, and online retailers like Alibaba use them to zip packages to customers by scooter or three-wheeled electric cart. Across China, the world’s largest market for package delivery, a courier shouting “kuaidi!” through a door or a phone signals your package has arrived.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

Before you get started on your Tuesday, here is what you need to know.

1. Grab is now hiring government insiders to grow its business

In a move that mirrors ex-Obama advisor David Plouffe’s position at Uber, Grab’s latest hire is Badrodin Haiti, the former chief of Indonesia’s national police. Haiti will be taking on the role of President Commissioner, managing corporate governance.

This is interesting because: The Indonesian government laid out regulations for ride-hailing services last year, which place restrictions on the types of cars in service and a ban on so-called independent drivers. Grab is currently looking to expand further into the country, and would most likely benefit with an insider on board.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Recommended Reading: Online resale startups enter an international growth race

Although VCs and fashion startups tend not to see eye-to-eye, with fashion founders often having to defend their company against male investors who don’t shop online.

However, investors are seeing an opportunity in the online resale marketplace. According to data from fashion investment community FashInvest, investors funneled more than $175 million into the online reselling industry in 2016. The question of when the inevitable bubble will burst has been raised, but it hasn’t happened yet.

For investors, the marketplace makes sense: it’s steadily aligned consumer behavior, as shoppers aren’t going to simply stop buying Birkin bags or vintage Chanel.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Thailand’s PromptPay launches C2C segment

The launch of C2C PromptPay service is expected to increase the traffic of electronic money transfers, especially through mobile banking channels.

The government has also set the date to roll out the business-to-business (B2B) stage on March 1. The pre-registration for corporate clients was launched at commercial banks last Friday.

There are 20 million accounts registered for PromptPay services, with commercial banks expected to see 30 million accounts registered, with the addition of B2B clients.

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

2016 has been somewhat of a definitive year for ecommerce in Southeast Asia. With the region poised to experience an ecommerce golden age, trends and predictions that will shape ecommerce in 2017 have been identified and there is no denying that the year will most likely bring significant milestones to the region’s development.

2016 certainly set things in motion: acquisitions, closures and entries were this year’s key themes. As the year draws to a close, we present the top 5 stories and briefs covered on eIQ that have made an impact on the development of ecommerce in Southeast Asia.

1. Battle of the giants

The first foray in a series of moves that would eventually complete Jack Ma’s trojan horse for Southeast Asia. In April, Alibaba made a $1 billion acquisition of Rocket Internet’s Lazada, effectively injecting much needed investment into the cash strapped marketplace, and hereby making an effective entry into the region.

This was followed by an announcement in November that Alibaba’s Ant Financial has invested in Thailand’s Ascend Money.

Amazon finally announced its entry into Singapore Q1 of 2017. Although a much covered angle in the media, these three stories have defined the majority of Southeast Asia ecommerce in 2016.

 

2. Indonesia’s Go-Jek, Singapore’s Garena & Grab are unicorns

After raising $550 million, Go-Jek is now valued at $1.3 billion, claiming unicorn status.

Singapore’s Garena has also maintained its status as Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup with additional funding that came through in September.

Grab also raised $600 million in funding making it another unicorn in the region.

 

3. Google and Temasek’s e-conomy SEA 2016 report

Arguably the most referenced report this year. Google and Temasek’s analysis of Southeast Asia’s ecommerce landscape has appeared in a string of interviews as references for research arguments and have shined a spotlight into the region’s developing landscape. Access the full report on eIQ’s reports section here.

 

4. LINE debuted as 2016’s largest technology IPO

The dual listing in New York and Japan occurred in July this year. The Japanese messaging app spiked 30% in market debut after opening at $42 per share in what appears to be the biggest tech IPO of this year.

The company is owned by Naver, a South Korean Internet company, who offered 22 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange and 13 million on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

But it hasn’t been all good news for Cony & Brown as news came out in October that the messaging app is struggling to acquire new users, barely moving beyond its 220 million monthly active user base.

 

5.  Goodbyes: Ensogo, Rakuten & Foodpanda

In June, Ensogo announced the closureof all business units in Southeast Asia. Following its shift from a daily deals website in 2013 to a mobile marketplace in 2015, the company was struggling to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

Rakuten also announced the closing of its Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia marketplaces in February and sold back Rakuten Thailand to original founder, Pawoot Pongvitayapanu. The company did not give a reason for the closures, but announced that the moves are in line with a new roadmap.

In December, Rocket Internet declared that it was selling online food delivery startup Foodpanda to rival, Delivery Hero for $150 million. This announcement came after a string of rumors regarding the service provider’s performance.

The series of chain reactions that occurred have shaped Southeast Asia’s potential ecommerce boom. If these developments were anything to go by, we should be seeing all the puzzle pieces being placed together within 2017. For now, it’s a wrap for 2016!