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.

Here are today’s top ecommerce stories.

1. Malaysia’s iPrice grew 6x, raises $4m from investors

Malaysia-headquartered iPrice, which aggregates over 50 million SKUs of products from various shopping sites in one location, saw its site visits in November grow six times compared to the same month in the previous year. Investors seem impressed. They’re putting in another US$4 million in a series A round of funding, led by Asia Venture Group and Venturra.

The company makes money through referral fees, so the more sales it drives to ecommerce sites like Lazada, the more money it makes.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Banks are now muscling into mobile payments in Singapore

Mobile payments are surging in Southeast Asia. According to a study by McKinsey, digital banking users in the region have doubled between 2011 and 2014. n countries like Indonesia and Thailand, which have a large unbanked population, telcos lead the way with apps like Mandiri E-cash and TOT Just Pay. In Singapore, banks are moving fast.

They may be late to the payments game, compared to some startups. However, they should not be ignored, due to large user bases, stable security systems and their global reach.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Online Korean beauty retailer Memebox raises $60M more to sharpen its focus on the U.S.

Memebox, a Y Combinator startup that sells Korean beauty products in the U.S. and Asia, has raised $60 million. The cash is an extension of the firm’s Series C round which initially closed at $65.95 million in August.

The company said the money will go towards continuing its operations and increasing its global footprint.

Read the rest of the story here.

Korean cosmetics are getting a lot of traction in the startup industry. Read our exclusive insights on Althea here.

Here are the key headlines for this morning:


1. DHL poised to shake up Southeast Asia ecommerce

“We want to become a true enabler for the smallest companies to the very largest ecommerce players,” Charles Brewer, the CEO of DHL eCommerce. DHL’s rising focus on Southeast Asia will certainly light the fire under SingPost, its closest analogue in the region, as well as competitors big and small like Ta-Q-Bin, Go-Jek, and Ninja Van. Read the rest of the story here.


2. 2C2P expands APAC presence to south and central Asia

2C2P will process online and offline payment transactions for Himalayan Bank Limited (HBL), Nepal’s largest private bank, Nepal Airlines, the national flag carrier of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, and Air Astana, the principal airline and flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


3. APAC consumers shop more on mobile

“Many markets in APAC are mobile-first, and consumers are now mature online buyers with more discerning tastes than the global average,” says Miranda Dimopoulos, CEO IAB Singapore. Read the rest of the story here.

Ride-hailing app Grab in collaboration with Indonesia’s Lippo Group will build a mobile payments wallet, reports Tech in Asia.

A Grab spokesperson said that the first stage of the rollout will begin in the fourth quarter.

“Lippo Group will develop a universal payments platform that enables Indonesians to top up an emoney account and use it to pay digitally at Lippo companies. Grab will integrate the payments platform into the Grab app as a mobile wallet option within GrabPay, enabling any mobile user to use the Grab app to pay for not only their daily transport needs, but also other lifestyle services.”

Indonesia’s digital payments landscape is notoriously fragmented. Each major bank is working on its own virtual wallet, roping in its network of vendors, but leaving consumers overwhelmed with options.

The Grab spokesperson comments, “the payments platform will initially be available for use at Lippo Group companies and to pay for Grab rides in Indonesia.”

This means that over 50 million existing customers from the two companies will be able to pay via their mobile phones for a full suite of services from Lippo’s retail companies.

The two companies sealed the terms of the joint venture in March. Lippo invested in Grab as part of the deal.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on July 22. Find the full version here

After Android Pay launched in in Singapore in June, Apple Pay picks up its Asia strategy and was rolled out on Wednesday in Hong Kong to eligible cardholders of American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

The city is the third major market in the Asia-Pacific where the contactless mobile payment service, introduced by Apple about 20 months ago, has been launched this year following mainland China and Singapore.

There are an estimated 10,000 merchant locations in Hong Kong that accept Apple Pay, and more than 10 million in all nine major markets where the service has launched so far.

Apple Pay uses so-called near-field communications technology built into iPhones and Apple Watch to allow for contactless payment in stores, which have the contactless point-of-sale terminals to support the service.

Participating banks in the city include Standard Chartered, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, Bank of East Asia and BOC Credit Card, a subsidiary of Bank of China (Hong Kong).

Consumers in Hong Kong are used to more familiar payment options, such as Octopus cards. Plenty of merchants are also wary of making new investments in contactless point-of-sale terminals.

Alipay, the online payments platform run by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial Services, is betting on that same trend as it plans to partner with one million offline merchants over the next three years, enabling Chinese tourists to make payments abroad using its mobile wallet service.

Visa Hong Kong has published a list of local retailers offering Apple Pay here, and Mastercard Hong Kong has published a list of local retailers offering Apple Pay here.

Excerpts were taken from the SMCP on July 20. Read the full article here.