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Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Online marketplace 11Street has launched in Thailand

The Korean marketplace has launched its soft opening today in Thailand. Shoppers can now shop for products such as Korean ramen to electronics and clothing. It seems like the new entry will be a sizable rival for Lazada. Welcome to Thailand’s growing ecommerce landscape!

Visit the website here.

 

2. Nike Singapore turns its back on small outlets

Sports brand Nike Singapore will stop supplying smaller retailers from next month.

This is a huge blow for mom-and-pop stores in Peninsula Plaza and Queensway Shopping Centre, which rely on top-selling brands to attract customers, as reported. In a move that signals towards brand consolidation, Nike has also been pushing an ecommerce strategy, with ecommerce contributing to a 51% increase in sneakers sales in Thailand.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. China moves to regulate ecommerce

Explaining the draft to lawmakers on Monday morning, Lyu Zushan, deputy director with the NPC’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, said booming ecommerce in recent years had served to reveal loopholes in China’s legal system and commercial rules.

The draft law will facilitate ecommerce growth, help maintain market order and protect consumer rights. The draft law said the nation should put online and offline commercial activities on an equal footing and protect the safety of ecommerce transactions.

All ecommerce operators have an obligation to pay taxes and should acquire the necessary business certificates, under the draft

Read the rest of the story here.

 

Interested in learning more about Thailand’s growing ecommerce landscape? Learn how Thai merchants are using Facebook Live as a marketing tool here.

Catch up on the latest ecommerce headlines here.

1. ‘World’s largest fintech hub’ to launch in Singapore in November

 Lattice80 will help fintech startups prototype, develop, and expand their business models overseas, support traditional companies in adopting innovation, and form tie-ups with the government for new fintech infrastructure. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Revenue-funded Hangrr aims to disrupt high-end suit tailoring business

Singapore figures prominently in Hangrr’s plans, and this is the beginning of an expansion that will continue through the year. “Having doorstep services in the country will allow us to communicate our brand value to a broader set of people, customers can call our measurement experts and can get measured at their convenience. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. New roadmap issued for Singapore retail

Retailers can look to expand their markets locally and internationally through e-channels, which encourages retailers to adopt an omni-channel strategy to better reach out and support targeted end-to-end consumer needs across both online and offline channels. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Amazon makes non-Prime customers work harder to find the lowest price

An investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, published Tuesday, found that Amazon’s price comparison pages favored goods that were either sold by Amazon or through Amazon’s program for sellers who pay the company to warehouse and ship their products. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. New Facebook dynamic retail ad shows in-store product availability, aims to push more sales

To help offline stores push more sales, and gain more ad budget, Facebook is introducing a new ad format that highlights available products at nearby stores, and targeting users who are most likely to go inside those stores. Read the rest of the story here.

Rakuten has acquired Fablic, provider of C2C marketplace app, Fril, reports Japan Today.

The undisclosed, 100% stake has made Rakuten the sole owner of the Japanese app. Japan is seeing an increase in popularity in C2C marketplace platforms that make it possible to buy and sell speedily and at predetermined prices, as well as a transition away from auction services that involve a bidding process.

Fril launched in 2012 as Japan’s first C2C marketplace mobile app, and has cumulative downloads of the app now exceeding 5 million. 

In November 2014, Rakuten also launched Rakuma, a C2C marketplace app for use mainly on smartphones, and this is also seeing a rapid expansion in gross merchandise sales. Rakuten in Japan has considerably been performing better than its Southeast Asian branches, as the company has shut down operations in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The combined monthly GMS of the two companies’ services already exceed several billion yen. The addition of Fril will further accelerate Rakuten’s dominance of the C2C market in Japan.

Rakuten is currently planning to allow users to use their Rakuten member ID to log into Fril, and implement point campaigns utilizing Rakuten Super Points. These features are already integral to the Rakuma platform. This will contribute to enhanced convenience for Fril users and broaden Rakuten Group’s overall user base.

By exploring ways to collaborate and enhancing on each other’s strengths, the addition of Fril into Rakuen’s ecosystem should further innovate the C2C landscape in Japan.

A version of this appeared in Japan Today on September 5. Read the full version here.

In midst of major ecommerce counterfeit issues in the last few months, Amazon has increased efforts to openly court Chinese manufacturers, resulting in a string of bizarre emails being sent to sellers, reports CNBC.

In 2015, Amazon’s ecommerce revenue topped $100 billion – the marketplace being a big driver, with sales from Chinese merchants more than doubling last year. Buyers love the cheap goodsand if a customer has problems with a product, they can simply contact customer service and get a refund.

Although counterfeit products have become a big problem, Amazon is benefiting from having Chinese merchants on board, with US sellers getting the bad end of the deal. 

Within the last week, Amazon sent emails in Chinese to a number of non-Chinese US sellers, whose accounts were suspended for one reason or another, telling them they can resume business. When put into Google translate, the email simply read: Your account information you provided was reviewed and we decided to allow you to re-sell on Amazon.com.

That was followed by a line telling the merchant where to find a list of seller best practices.

The growth of Chinese sellers on the marketplace has caused many problems with US merchants, who see counterfeits and manipulative tactics creeping into their listings.

A seller of mobile phone accessories forwarded the email Amazon sent to him on August 18 to CNBC.com on the condition that he and his company not be named. His account was suspended in late July after a few buyers of phone chargers complained the products were defective.

Amazon, which now counts on outside sellers for almost half of its retail volume, routinely shuts accounts after mounting customer complaints without giving sellers a chance to fight the claims. To get reinstated, merchants have to take measures that can take weeks.

This leads to sellers spreading out their products on different marketplaces, such as eBay. Suspensions can be tied to slow delivery times, alleged rights infringements or selling potentially unsafe products or expired items.

But the Chinese email is a first for Amazon and the problem was compounded when the sellers were again shut down after being reinstated. Making all the sellers re-appeal and go through this all again is a nightmare for them. 

A version of this appeared in CNBC on August 26. Read the full version here

Online marketplace Supplybunny recently secured $300,000 in seed funding from Shanghai based venture capital firm, Gobi Partners, reports Tech in Asia.

Supplybunny operates as an online marketplace that connects restaurant owners with wholesale food and beverage suppliers in Malaysia. The startup was founded by Tham Kengyew a year ago. Funds will be used to expand its team and boost marketing efforts.

Many restaurants are stuck in the old era of ordering kitchen supplies by phone or email, and paying by cash or check.

Supplybunny aims to change this in Malaysia.

Supplybunny makes ordering food supplies as easy as how consumers order meals online. The website features an inventory of what’s available, from canned goods to meat and fresh produce, and their prices per kilogram or pack.

It also serves as a directory of verified suppliers, giving users the ability to filter the data on the site by supplier name. For wholesalers, the site simplifies the billing process by eliminating the need to manually collate orders and chase invoices.

“Supplybunny offers a functional solution which fills an industry gap in reducing operational cost issues that suppliers regularly face while also providing a one-stop marketplace for restaurateurs to conveniently get all of their F&B supplies,” says Gobi Partners managing partner, Thomas Tsao.

Supplybunny has signed a partnership with Offpeak, a restaurant booking startup in Malaysia, also part of Gobi Partner’s portfolio. Under the partnership, Offpeak will introduce its existing base of over 1,600 partner restaurants to Supplybunny’s platform.

Supplybunny has plans for expansion in Southeast Asia.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on August 23. Read the full version here

Hong Kong tackles online counterfeit products with the launch of the ‘Hong Kong Trust Mark’ electronic logo, reports Enterprise Innovation.

Small and medium enterprises are expected to benefit from the initiative, launched by the Hong Kong Federation of ecommerce. Hong Kong’s retail industry offers a wide variety of goods and services. However, due to the rampant selling of fake goods online, a lot of consumers feel reluctant of buying goods on the internet.

The Hong Kong Trust Mark is recognized by the ‘Belt And Road Ecommerce Strategic Alliance’, including the Thailand ecommerce association.

A trust mark will improve confidence of new customers in purchasing from unfamiliar websites, including a guarantee against the risk of fraud and non-payment.

Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder of tarad.com and President of the Thai Ecommerce Association comments, “For a healthy growth of ecommerce in Thailand and surrounding countries, a well developed trust system is necessary. Our association will give full support to this Trust Mark in the ASEAN market.”

The scheme could build a trust worthy image for Hong Kong’s online trading platforms. The Trust Mark will also provide a channel for complaints and legal consultations. Meanwhile, HKFEC will actively communicate with local government and organizations to make Hong Kong a better place for ecommerce.

HKFEC will aggressively promote the “Hong Kong Trust Mark” and encourage more online retailers to participate. It will also raise awareness regarding IP rights.

Those who obtained the Trust Mark would be authorized to post the electronic logo of the “Hong Kong Trust Mark” issued by HKFEC on their website and linked to a given webpage. Online consumers can click the “Hong Kong Trust Mark” logo on the approved website to review the details and status of that particular site.

Following Alibaba’s various initiatives at battling counterfeit, more ecommerce organizations are stepping up to battle fake goods to better the ecommerce landscape for consumers.

A version of this appeared in Enterprise Innovation on August 18. Read the full version here.