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Here’s what you should know today.

1. 99.co raises $7.9m as Singapore’s online property battle heats up

 Singapore property portal 99.co has raised US$7.9 million in fresh funding. The round, dubbed “series A-plus” by the startup, was co-led by Sequoia India and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
99.co offers residential property listings for sale or rent. Agents can list their properties on the website and homeseekers can browse houses, compare prices, and book viewing appointments.
It’s currently active in Singapore and Indonesia, where it operates in Jakarta and Surabaya. 99.co will seek to expand into two more Southeast Asian markets.
Candidates include “the usual suspects,” as Darius puts it, like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Read the rest of the story here.

2. Card payment compulsory soon for ecommerce businesses in Vietnam

Ecommerce businesses may have to accept card payments as a way to offering more options of payment when shopping online, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

Accordingly, accepting card payment might be compulsory for ecommerce companies

Payment values by domestic-payment cards jumped 597% and by international cards by 319% in the five-year period. The values are expected to increase rapidly if accepting card payment is made compulsory for ecommerce transactions.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Thailand’s Wongnai teams up with Alipay

Wongnai, Thailand’s leading restaurant review and search platform has recently partnered with Alibaba’s Alipay, as part of the platform’s quest in becoming an all-inclusive lifestyle platform.

To date, Wongnai has 2,500,000 registered members and 200,000 restaurants on its database

In Q2 2017, Wongnai has announced 3 key partnerships and have expressed its determination in offering more e-payment options, in order to attract more international users of the platform.

LINE Thailand counts itself as Wongnai’s partners, and the partnership gives consumers the option of using Wongnai LINEMAN Delivery which allows users to order food from Wongnai’s platform to be delivered by LINEMAN.

The second and third partnerships are with Alipay and TrueMoney. The enabling of e-payment is aimed at attract more Chinese tourists who will be able to pay for food via Alipay Wallet. Currently, about 10 million Chinese tourists enter the country each year.

Wongnai has also launched a new vertical, Wongnai Beauty, which sees the platform consolidate various salons and spas onto the platform. This will also be used to attract an influx of Chinese tourists via Alipay.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

 

 

Welcome back from the weekend. Here’s what you should know today.

1. Line Man introduces postal service for android in Thailand

The chat platform said the “Postal” function was built with SMEs in mind. The feature will offer nationwide, door-to-door parcel delivery service which is fast and affordable.

The service is a collaboration with Alpha, an ecommerce delivery service. The Postal feature will pick up parcels between 8am-10pm  and delivers them via two options including delivery by Alpha, which handles all deliveries, from pick up to destination.

The merchant will be able to save a reasonable amount of time, they can simply drop a pin on their phones to specify an address.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alibaba to launch distribution hub in Malaysia

Alibaba Group plans to set up a regional distribution hub in Malaysia to cater to its fast-growing business in Southeast Asia. The hub would be sited within KLIA Aeropolis, a 24,700-acre development led by airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

Many people see Malaysia as an emerging hub next to Singapore. Malaysia may not be able to take all of Singapore’s business but it is a good choice logistically

According to sources, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are expected to announce the plans at an event in Kuala Lumpur next week.

This would mark Alibaba’s first investment in Malaysia.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Salim Group joins fight for Indonesian ecommerce share

Indonesia’s Salim Group is planning a major foray into ecommerce this year in partnership with South Korea’s Lotte Group. The 50-50 joint venture by the two conglomerates, will launch the iLotte online shopping platform as soon as July, injecting $88 million into the project initially.

The service will be geared primarily toward 20- and 30-something women and feature brandname cosmetics sold in South Korea

Drawing on a robust infrastructure built up over the course of years will let Salim achieve economies of scale for the ecommerce business

Salim Group’s infrastructure investment and know-how will benefit its foray into ecommerce.

Read the rest of the story here.

LINE And WeChat Boost Mobile Marketing

Source: wsj.com

Marketing on mobile messaging apps has yet to take root in the US and Europe in a big way, but it is already in full swing in Asia. The operators of Line and WeChat, Asia’s most popular chat apps, are enabling marketers to tap into platforms that provide hundreds of millions of users with a variety of customized services beyond messaging, including hailing taxis, streaming music, ordering food and making payments.

Unlike its Asian counterparts, Facebook Inc. doesn’t make money from its two mobile messaging services, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. But both apps are testing models that could potentially generate revenue, such as showing users messages sponsored by advertisers.

Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based mobile industry consultant, comments,

In terms of monetization, the messenger apps in Asia like WeChat and Line are light years ahead of Western messaging apps. 

Advertisements accounted for a third of LINE’s $1.1 billion in revenue last year. The company also earned revenue from mobile games and virtual stickers that people can buy and send to one another in conversations. The platform allows businesses to create official accounts for free, for instance, brands can set up a LINE account to stay in touch with its consumers, allowing them to be updated on promotions, launches and general news about the brand. Some accounts use LINE to directly communicate with consumers.

The company has also recently begun providing optimized advertisements based on user demographics and interests.

WeChat has more than 762 million monthly active users world-wide, mainly in China. Many businesses communicate with consumers and share discount coupons to draw people to their products, for example, luxury fashion brand Chanel used WeChat to interact with fashion show guests in May, sharing videos and snapshots of its new collection on the messaging platform.

Although the two messaging platform giants are pushing the boundaries of mobile marketing and creating new opportunities for brands to elevate consumer experience, both LINE and Wechat are struggling to expand beyond its core user base, serving as a bottleneck to their growth as game-changers. However, as they continue to influence how brands interact with consumers, they remain key mobile players in Asia.

A version of this appeared in The Wall Street Journal on June 22. Read the full article here.