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Here’s what you should know.

1. Omise launches Alipay ewallet payments

Online payment platform Omise announced its support for Alipay, China’s largest payment processor. This is another step closer towards creating a borderless online payments market for Asia as well as bridging the gap between Chinese consumers and businesses in Thailand.

With 9.8 million Chinese citizens expected to visit Thailand in 2017 (Tourism Authority Thailand) and accounting for up to 30% of the THB 2.6 trillion spent by foreign tourists, the potential for online merchants in Thailand to capture some of this revenue is huge.

“With Alipay payment acceptance, Omise merchants in Thailand can now increase the opportunity to take more sales from visiting Chinese citizens maximising sales revenue from this growing market,” said Jun Hasegawa, founder of Omise.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Berrybenka launched its offline store in Jakarta

It’s the company’s second permanent store so far – there’s another one in a different mall, in addition to a handful of temporary pop-up stores.

Besides raising brand awareness, the offline shops have proven to help boost Berrybenka’s sales
These stores serve multiple purposes. You can buy Berrybenka clothes on display. But you can also have your online orders delivered there and pay for them in cash.
Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Clothes may help Amazon kill department stores

Amazon has major plans to increase its apparel sales. The company is preparing for a massive hiring push in the space and has a number of new private-label brands. Perhaps most importantly, it also has a new Alexa-enabled tool designed to help customers look their best.

“Amazon will use private label selectively, which should both enhance the offering and induce traditional apparel vendors to sell to Amazon,” KeyBanc Capital analyst Ed Yruma wrote in a research note, continuing:

While apparel is one of Amazon’s fastest-growing categories, more work must be done for the business to scale. We expect the challenges the company has faced in courting the fashion community to remain, but we think Amazon will continue to evolve its strategy.

Amazon can beat most retailers on price, and if it can establish its private brands as hip — or at least as hip as what gets sold in department stores — it can eliminate the need for people to go to a department store.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know before wrapping up the day.

1. Korea’s AIM raises $1.6M for its mobile trading service

Seoul-based startup AIM has closed $1.6 million in seed funding to bring its artificial intelligence-powered app for financial investments to market in Korea, and potentially other parts of Asia.

What is AIM: The fintech company has developed a system which works alongside existing investment institutions to allow users in Korea to make trades and investments via their smartphone.

AIM is already planning a launch in Singapore.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. S.F. Express to build Asia’s largest air freight hub in China

Chinese private logistics giant S.F. Express Co Ltd has pledged to build the busiest air cargo hub in Asia, reaching areas accounting for 80% of the country’s GDP within two hours. The firm said it would construct an airport in Ezhou city, Hubei province in central China, that could handle more than 2.6 million tonnes of freight and 1.5 million passengers by 2025.

 

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: A day of reckoning for America’s department stores 

On January 6, the Neiman Marcus Group, currently owned by asset management firm Ares and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, withdrew its initial public offering a year and a half after filing with regulators.

Around the same time Neiman Marcus’ plans were publicly unraveling, Macy’s announced plans to close 68 of its 730 stores, eliminating more than 10,000 jobs along the way, many of them management positions.

What went wrong?  The convenience of ecommerce and a lack of progress in business models and lack of innovative customer experience.

Meanwhile, pureplay online players are venturing into offline popup shops and re-thinking the future of retail.  Fast fashion powerhouse Pomelo’s David Jou shares his view on a 360 retail experience here.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know for today.

1. Starbucks launches mobile payment app in Indonesia

Starbucks recently launched a mobile application in Indonesia to allow customers to pay for in-store purchases at the coffee marker’s more than 260 stores across the country. The new Starbucks Indonesia Mobile App for iPhone and Android allows customers to quickly pay for in-store purchases by scanning the barcode linked to a registered Starbucks Card.

Read the rest of the story here

 

2. Mobile payment gaining in popularity among consumers in Thailand

Around half the smartphone owners in Thailand are already using some form of mobile payment via their devices, according to a survey. The survey involving 2,000 respondents by mobile marketing research.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. UPS launches chatbot

The UPS chatbot, available through Facebook Messenger, Skype and Amazon platforms, provides users with a convenient and conversational interface that is different from those offered on the UPS website or UPS mobile apps.

Read the rest of the story here

 

Fortumo and Indonesia’s leading digital telco, Indosat Ooredoo, today announced the launch of direct carrier billing, reports Retail News Asia. This partnership will allow 69.8 million Indosat Ooredoo subscribers to make online payments by charging purchases to their mobile account without the need to use a credit card.

Carrier billing is reportedly the payment method with the widest coverage in Indonesia.

Carrier billing is reportedly the payment method with the widest coverage in Indonesia. By simplifying mobile payment methods, Ooredoo customers will be able to make quick, efficient payments through their mobile phones without needing credit cards. This initiative will also tap into the country’s low credit card penetration rate.

The initiative is a major driver of mobile commerce and will bring more benefits to Ooredoo customers and enable transactions at a wider network of merchants and SMEs. This is also a push on Indosat’s end in order to become the leading digital Telco in Indonesia as the race heats up.

Fortumo’s direct carrier billing platform is used by leading app stores (Google Play, Windows Phone Store), digital media companies (Sony, HOOQ, Gaana) and gaming companies (EA Mobile, Gameloft, Kinguin, Rovio). 

To enable global carrier billing for these merchants, Fortumo has partnered with over 350 mobile operators across the world.

“Connecting with Fortumo gives mobile operators immediate access to additional revenue from all the segments of the digital industry,” comments Siddarth Sahi, Vice President of Business Development and Carrier Relations at Fortumo.

A version of this appeared in Retail News Asia on August 8. Read the full version here.

Chinese based third-party payment platform WeChat Pay’s mobile payment has rolled out its “No Cash Day” campaign this week to boost mobile payment rates, reports China Daily.

From August 1-7, the first payment made of the day by WeChat Pay’s users to any offline store (with a WeChat partnership), could have rewarded the user with a random cash prize up to $133 dollars (888 yuan).

When users use WeChat Pay to make payments on August 8, they can spend the accumulated money rewarded to them over the previous seven days. In addition to this, they have the opportunity to get a direct discount on payments.

WeChat Pay’s main rival, Alibaba’s Alipay, plans to spend over $15 million (100 million yuan) on rewarding its users.

From July 20 to Octover 31, Alipay’s users can receive a direct discount of less than $150 dollars (999 yuan) every time they use Alipay to make payments to offline stores.

Both of the offline mobile payment initiatives by WeChat Pay and Alipay were launched last year.

The number of offline stores cooperating with WeChat Pay in its campaign increased from 80,000 last year to 700,000 this year, following 2015’s success.

China’s third-party mobile payment market scale is experiencing a year on year increase of 111%, according to Chinese research firm Analysys.

The firm still cites Alipay as the leader in the mobile payment market, occupying 63.41% of the marketshare in Q1 this year, while Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Tenpay takes 23% of the market share.

WeChat Pay is an in-app payment feature of Tencent’s WeChat, which means it was launched by both companies in 2013. Its earnings contributed 84% of Tenpay’s mobile payment market share in Q1 this year.

The generalization of no cash payments was originally boosted by WeChat Pay, according to a report by donews.com. During the Spring Festival of 2013, WeChat Pay successfully used the Chinese tradition of sending red envelopes containing money as blessings to promote mobile payments to the masses.

WeChat targets those aged 23-29 years, as they are the main force for driving mobile payment in China.

A version of this appeared in China Daily on August 8. Read the full version here.

Indonesia’s Indosat Ooredoo has launched a new mobile payment service for retailers, reports Retail News Asia.

The platform titled D-Pay is a collaborative project with GoSwift International and Indonesian banking chain BNI.

D-Pay will allow merchants to use their existing mobile devices as multifunctional payment platforms, accepts Visa, MasterCard or JCB credit and debit cards, as well as eWallet services.

D-Pay services for retailers come bundled with data, voice and SMS allocations from the operator.

“In addition to our current products – electronic wallet, bill payments, ecommerce payments, domestic and international money transfer and branchless banking, D-Pay will help reduce cash collection and logistics costs for our ecommerce partners, which will in turn benefit customers with lower prices and assured deliveries,” said Prashat Gokarn, Indosat Oolerdoo’s Chief Officer New Business And Innovation

The service is tailored for ecommerce companies, as well as SME retailers in need of alternative payment methods but unable to easily afford standard banking solutions.

This service simplifies things by allowing merchants who do not have access to traditional point of sale services to still accept card payments. This initiative should be particularly popular with smaller merchants who want to penetrate a wide range of customers without investing heavily in banking infrastructure.

A version of this appeared in Retail News Asia on August 7. Read the full version here.