Kick start your Monday morning with these headlines you should know.

1. Xiaomi begins manufacturing in Indonesia

Amid a global decline in sales, Xiaomi has seen recent success in India and it is determined to remain a key player in Indonesia’s smartphone market, which remains one of the largest in the world.

Since January, foreign smartphone makers must prove that 4G LTE phones sold in Indonesia are made up of least 30% “local content.” Assembly, packaging, design, and even software and R&D investments factor into that number.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Thailand’s T2P wants to improve mobile payments in Burma

Earlier this week, T2P signed a joint venture deal with City Mart Holdings Co.,Ltd, a leading Myanmar retail chain with over 200 outlets across the nation, which includes fast food restaurants, bookstores and supermarkets. The joint venture will see T2P integrate its suite of fintech offerings including its payment platform, loyalty and e-gift platforms, as well as e-wallets.

Fact of the day: mobile penetration in Myanmar has reached 90%. 80% of users own smartphones.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. More pure-play retailers go offline: Hong Kong’s SmartBuyGlasses launches store

The brand has been purely online for 10 years prior to the launch in Kennedy Town.

Co-founder David Menning said, “the decision to branch out into brick-and-mortar stores reflects the wider industry omnichannel trend, which involves brands and businesses linking their online and offline strategies in order to provide a truly comprehensive customer experience across all touch points.”

Read the rest of the story here.


For more on the omnichannel retail strategy, check out Pomelo co-founder’s David Jou’s insights here.

Tencent, China’s biggest brand has announced its plans for western expansion through a focus on content, messaging and major global brand investment, reports Marketing Week.

The company currently has more than 1 billion monthly users, and runs the country’s most popular internet portal and messaging services. It is also the most valuable brand in the country, worth one hundred billion dollars, according to Millward Brown’s BrandZ research.

That valuation puts it ahead of the likes of Coca-Cola, Disney and MasterCard.

Regardless of the scale, the company is relatively unknown in the west.

China’s Internet market is so big that it offers an ideal environment for massive Chinese firms like Tencent, owner of WeChat, to establish itself before going global.

In China, trust is one of the most important, so the company itself represents a lot of value and meaning. – Steven Chang, Tencent’s corporate Vice President.

You can have the iPhone but you buy into the Apple brand. And in China, people buy into the Tencent brand. – Steven Chang, Corporate Vice Price of Tencent.

While Tencent may not be that well known among Western consumers, it is a different story with Western brands. And the likes of BMW, Burberry and Nike are all working with Tencent as they look to quickly transition their brands to a Chinese audience.

The ecosystem for China digital advertising is evolving but it will be a China edition. We are not behind; the speed of change is very fast but development is different.

Tencent is also buying in content through exclusive deals with creators such as HBO and NBA, but it is adapting the ‘Netflix Model’ and creating its own content.

A version of this appeared in Marketing Week on August 4. Read the full version here.

Starting as a gaming platform in 2009, Garena has steadily added feature extensions to its original platform, and making breakthroughs in ecommerce, messaging and payments, reports Tech In Asia.

The Singapore based startup has demonstrated its stronghold and established presence in the Southeast Asia region, an accomplishment uncommon for startups in the region.

Based on the talks given by Nick Nash, Garena’s Group President, there are four key important factors when attempting to conquer the Southeast Asian market:

1. Internal consolidation

Tightly integrating existing products should take top priority to ensure best performance output. Garena has no plans to launch new products since it has reached the maximum number it is able to handle, mainly by paying attention to the optimization of existing businesses.

2. Pixel level localization

Due to the segmented geography and complicated historical issues, the alliance of Southeast Asian nations doesn’t significantly alleviate the burdens of operating businesses across countries. As a result, it becomes a challenge to appeal to customers from different countries.

Resorting to a high-resolution strategy, or the ability to meticulously pinpoint the invisible distinctions, makes marketing campaigns more productive. Although this proves more costly in the short term, it will pay off in the long term. Low resolution strategy may be more cost efficient, but will not lead to a deep understanding of local markets.

3. Pursuits of profit growth

For Garena, the two metrics of revenue or Gross Merchandise value (GMV), do not represent the translation of cash flow and profitability for the company’s projections. In other words, a company’s real progression is only reflected in profit growth.

4. Integration of data

Garen’a most valuable assets is data itself. This is largely because of its application gives a company deeper understanding about the market. With data acquired from the gaming platform, Garena+ and Shopee, Garena now has the potential to predict customer behavior. The integration of data could accelerate its product development and company growth, owing to a more accurate outline of a customer profile.

With these guidelines in mind, startups can find the key takeaways and come up with better tactics to cement their footing in an increasingly competitive landscape.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on July 29. Read the full version here.

Mars partners with Alibaba

Some of the key brands under Mars. Inc, Source: Daily Mail

Mars Inc, the company that produces iconic candy bars such as Mars Bars, M&Ms and Maltesers, is the latest global consumer food brand to partner with Alibaba, according to Alizila.

The partnership will see all of Mars’ products be made available through Alibaba’s online marketplaces, and Taobao. In an effort to grow the company’s online presence in China, Mars will also leverage Alibaba’s marketing and data capabilities to drive engagement with local consumers and use Alibaba’s logistics network.

Many of Mars’ products are already selling on Tmall, including Wringley’s flagship online store which launched in 2009. However, this official partnership will give consumers access to an ‘international one-stop shopping experience’ through Alibaba’s  platforms directly benefiting China’s rural consumers gaining them access to international products online. Cecilia Li, Vice President and Managing Director of Wringley China comments,

China’s younger generation is the new driving force of consumption, they rely on ecommerce.

Global brands such as Unilever and Hershey’s are also leveraging Alibaba’s various platforms to break into China. Alibaba offers more than just a virtual shelf and instead pairs brands with local logistics services and marketing tailored specifically to Chinese consumers. The nature of these partnerships highlight the importance in finding local partners when global brands enter a foreign market. Alibaba not only facilitates the ecosystem for these brands but also offer an inside ‘know how’.

A version of this appeared in Alizila on June 29. Read the full article here.