Here’s ecommerce news you should know:

1. Alibaba sees massive customer growth

Alibaba released its Q2 results which saw the growth of its active users to 529 million on mobile platforms and 466 million on marketplaces, up from 22 million and 12 during the same period last year. 

Other important numbers to know from this quarterly report include:

  • Consolidated sales growth hit 56%  in the quarter to June 30, turnover reaching $7.4 billion;
  • Core ecommerce business activities grew by 58% to $6.347 billion, while the cloud computing business posted 96%;
  • Net income was $2 billion and an operating margin of 35%;
  • Alibaba’s cross-border and international consumer businesses achieved 136% growth.

The company also improving its digital media and entertainment division with the development of new business models and products in Youku and UCWeb.

Read the full story here.

2. LINE launched ‘Chat Live’ with to accommodate 200 people in a single group chat

LINE launched the latest update to its app by adding a livestreaming feature, called Chat Live, which can be used in group or multi-person chats of up to 200 people. 

Incorporating the feature to its platform is part of LINE’s ongoing efforts in providing users with rich communications experience.

The competition in the social comms space is accelerating and companies are pressured to develop more fun feature, like Snapchat’s recent play with augmented reality (AR) in its ‘real-time selfie lenses’. 

Read the full story here.

3. BSNL and MobiKwik launched mobile wallet for bill-payments and online transaction in India

BSNL and Mobikwik co-launched a mobile wallet to help over 100 million customers make bill payments and purchase online.

The app aims to increase financial inclusion the rural hinterlands and strengthen mobile payment in the urban area in India. Both BSNL and MobiKwik are confident they are on the right track.

The wallet app enables fast online recharges, bill payments, shopping and bus booking, among many other activities.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know today:

1. LINE expands with DGM59 acquisition

LINE has acquired Thai-startup, DGM59 Co, to join its engineering development sources where it’s expected to enhance the capabilities of Line’s existing products. Previously, its engineering development teams located in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Ariya Banomyong, MD of Line Thailand said the company is committed to investing and localising their product in Thailand, the second largest base of its users – boasting 41 million users as of July 2017.

The deal is completed in mid-June and DGM59 team has already transferred to Line Thailand.

Read the full story here

2. Paytm Mall delists 85,000 sellers on its platform

India-based Paytm Mall is revamping the onboarding process for sellers to ensure quality control on its brand-new platform. So far, as many as 85,000 sellers are delisted due to the failure of meeting Paytm Mall’s standard.

As part of the new guidelines, the company has made it mandatory for sellers to furnish brand authorisation letters. Paytm Mall will also enable brands and shopkeepers to set the return, exchange and refund policies for their products being sold on the platform.

The company is set to hire around 2,000 people across various verticals as it is trying to expands its operations.

Read the full story here.

3. Online-only platform for retail investors will launch in Singapore

China’s Ping An Group announced today that Lu International – the spin-off of its subsidiary Lufax, has received an in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for capital market services (CMS) license.

Lufax was set up in 2011 as a peer-to-peer lender backed by Ping An Insurance and has more than 31 million registered users. In Singapore, Lu International will offer investments via mobile devices with no face-to-face encounters to attract customers who may have less wealth than those served by private banks.

The platform will launch in the third quarter.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Naver eyes online financial services with Mirae deal

Naver, the owner of LINE app is laying the grounds for becoming an online financial services provider by swapping its treasury shares with Mirae Asset Daewoo, the nation’s No. 1 brokerage house.

“Naver will cooperate with Mirae Asset Daewoo closely in the future, introducing new global businesses integrating artificial intelligence technology and financial content,” said Naver Chief Financial Officer Park Sang-jin in a statement.

Park Hye-jin, an analyst at Kyobo Securities, said that it was a good deal for Mirae Asset Daewoo too. “It is positive that [Mirae Asset Daewoo] takes a platform for overseas market through Line’s overwhelming market share in the Southeast Asia.”

Read the rest of the story here.


2.Amazon hosts merchants in New York as marketplace competition heats up

Amazon is hosting a meet-and-greet with merchants in New York on Wednesday, offering 1,5000 attendees a chance to network with each other. The event is seen as a move to court merchants and stand up to competition from rivals Walmart, Alibaba and eBay.

As its marketplace has grown, however, many Amazon sellers have complained that its policies are too Draconian and that its communications with them impersonal

This could be a move to woo back sellers.

Sellers on Amazon enjoy several advantages. The ecommerce giant’s Fulfillment by Amazon program allows marketplace sellers to store and ship goods from Amazon warehouses, while its fledgling Seller Fulfilled Prime program enables larger retailers and manufacturers to ship from their own centers.

Read the rest of the story here.


3.Desperate landlords turn to Airbnb-like sites to make up for abandoned retail spaces

All across the US, physical stores have been struggling to compete with online commerce. Retail is in a state of upheaval, with record vacancy rates even on shopping streets like Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

This gap between supply and demand presents a ripe economic opportunity for several sharing companies. Storefront, for instance, is a platform that connects those who have shops or empty real estate in areas with high foot traffic and visibility with merchants seeking to peddle their wares. It’s essentially an Airbnb for merchants.

The platform is attractive for new brands in particular, and thousands of merchants have used the platform to open up shops in places like New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Milan.

The platform isn’t the only company to seize on this opportunity. Appear Here, which recently raised more than US$12 million in series B funding, is another marketplace for short-term retail space.

Read the rest of the story here.

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.

Read the rest of the story here.


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,

Read the rest of the story here


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.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Messaging app Line lost more users, still focusing on key markets

Line has told Tech in Asia today that it’s another three million down, dipping to 214 million users in total.

Source: Tech in Asia

The $7.6 billion company surprisingly did not disclose its total number of active users in its latest earnings report, which came out towards the end of last month – the first time it has not revealed that figure since late 2014.

Line – which makes money from ads and content in an array of spin-off apps and services such as Line Pay, Line Music, and Line Moments – focuses its business interests on those four markets, therefore those are where most of the money comes from.

So as long as Line is growing in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia, the company seems unperturbed by the loss of global users to the increasingly indispensable WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alipay to launch in Malaysia

Malaysian merchants are set to accept the use of Alipay, China’s indigenous mobile wallet, in stores around the country this month.

Six local banks have received regulatory approval from the Malaysian Central Bank to process Alipay-enabled settlements, according to a company statement. Alipay will also be scheduled to be accepted as a payment option across the Southeast Asian nation by 2018.

Malaysia is surely making strides with their partnership with Alibaba as of late, following the announcement of the collaborative Digital Free Trade Zone.

Read about eIQ’s take on the Digital Free Trade Zone here.

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3. Malaysia and Alibaba sign MOU to launch e-trade initiative

Alibaba, state-run development agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corp. (MDEC) and the Hangzhou municipal government signed a memorandum of understanding to connect the first two hubs in the Electronic World Trade Platform in Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur.

The eWTP is Ma’s vision of digital free trade via ecommerce as a way to bring small and medium enterprises into the global economy.

Now, the parties will “explore linkages” between the Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur projects to create an “e-road” for cross-border trade.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Chat app Line is developing an AI assistant and Amazon Echo-style smart speaker

A voice-powered concierge service called Clova — short for “Cloud Virtual Assistant” — is the centerpiece of the service, much like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant.

Line has also acquired a majority stake in the Japanese company behind a ‘holographic’ AI service. Vinclu is the startup, and its Gatebox is its ‘virtual robot’ that gives AI a graphical presence in the form of manga cartoon-style female.

But don’t get too excited While an AI might help increase engagement with existing users, it doesn’t seem like a bridge to bring new users into the fold and that is among the key issues Line is currently grappling with.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Luxury brands are becoming big players in ecommerce

The face of luxury buyers is changing. Well-to-do shoppers now expect brands they support to be online. They’ll shop somewhere else if they can’t hit a website.

The average age of luxury shoppers has gone down from 48 to 34-Infinitum Ecommerce agency

McKinsey & Company predicts that online sales of luxury goods will triple in the next 10 years, and that by 2025, the online share of total luxury sales will reach 18%. But the move online happens for individual companies only when those businesses feel their clients are online themselves.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Contrary to rumours, Zalora to double down on expansion in the Philippines

The store, which last month sold a portion of its operations to Filipino conglomerate Ayala Group, expects the new alliance to give it a boost not just in terms of funding for growing its user base, but also co-marketing and other partnerships.

Seeing growth, Zalora intends to stay in the Philippines, contrary to what some reports have suggested. Paulo Campos III, CEO of Zalora Philippines clarifies that its parent, Rocket Internet-backed Global Fashion Group, didn’t sell any of its own stake. What it sold Ayala were new shares.

The fresh funds will be spent acquiring more inventory from fashion brands, creating more exclusive brands, increasing online as well as offline marketing, and expanding logistics.

Read the rest of the story here.