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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab is adding Myanmar’s Wave Money to its mobile wallet

Ride-hailing and mobile payments startup Grab is partnering with Wave Money in Myanmar.

Drivers will be able to sign up for e-money accounts that let them cash out their daily earnings at one of Wave’s 9,000 shops across Myanmar, Grab said in a statement.

Grab also plans to integrate Wave Money’s digital wallet with its own wallet, GrabPay, so that passengers in Myanmar can use Wave Money’s ecash to pay for Grab rides.

Grab’s strategy of choosing to pair up with local payment options, such as Kudo in Indonesia and now Wave Money in Myanmar shows how importance catering to local tastes are.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. TenX raises roughly $80 million for cryptocurrency payment system for everyday life

the company is proud to report following a 1 million USD seed round at the beginning of 2017 with famous lead investor Fenbushi.

TenX completed a successful token raise over this past weekend on June 24, 2017, 1 pm UTC. It exchanged an equivalent of 245,832 Ether (valued at roughly 80 million USD at the time of the swap) to the company’s PAY tokens at a rate of 350 PAY tokens per 1 Ether (with a 20% bonus during the first 24 hours).

The PAY tokens will provide access to part of TenX’s revenue of their already live payment service and also serves as a loyalty program to its own users.

During the token swap, TenX accepted one of the most diverse ranges of tokens any company has ever provided. In addition to Ethereum, also ERC20 tokens, Bitcoin, Dash, and Litecoin were accepted.

3. Bangkok based Digio gets series A investment

Among the participants in the round was InVent, a VC arm of telecoms-focused holding company InTouch.

Bangkok-based Digio – which aims to turn your smartphone into a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system – counts payments giants Mastercard and Visa among its partners, as well as big tech corporates including Epson and Samsung.

It develops a range of products, including a device that allows vendors to take card payments on their smartphones, an ewallet, and a secure solution for receiving customers’ signatures electronically.

Digio’s founder and CEO Nopphorn Danchainam said that Digio’s system can now accept payments from third-party ewallets, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Hike beats Whatsapp to launching messenger app payments in India

The launch of Hike Pay not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is typically coy about future updates and services, but co-founder Brian Acton has spoken publicly of plans to launch digital payments in India.

Hike, which is introducing version 5.0 today, is starting out with peer-to-peer and bank-to-bank payment options, the former being an in-app wallet that is not dependent on a bank account and the latter a service powered by India’s government-backed UPI payment system.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Hike CEO and founder Kavin Bharti Mittal described a product very much like WeChat’s red envelopes.

“We’ve drawn some inspiration from our friends in China,” he explained. “We think it’s going to be extremely exciting.”

WhatsApp is one thing, but India’s mobile payment space is already condensed with specialists. Paytm, which has raised money from Alibaba and most recently SoftBank via a $1.4 billion investment, leads the pack with over 200 million registered users. MobiKwik is purely focused on payments and claims 50 million users, fast growth and a potential $1 billion valuation soon.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Bebe relaunches ecommerce under new ownership

Global Brands Group Holding clarified the strategy for its new interest in bebe, saying it will relaunch a newly transformed ecommerce platform and its international brick-and-mortar stores.

The announcement represents the first initiative under Global Brands’ direction of bebe’s ecommerce platform, direct-to-consumer divisions and international operations, according to a Global Brands press release.

Thanks to $67 million in cash in the bank as of the end of last year and little debt, Bebe has been able to make a graceful exit from the retail landscape, in contrast to some of the messier jockeying for assets that is often a hallmark of the bankruptcy process.

Bluestar CEO Joseph Gabbay said that Global Brands’ ownership will facilitate the e-commerce efforts that had already begun. “Global Brands Group has been a strategic licensee and can now seamlessly synergize the international distribution, ecommerce platform and wholesale business,” he said in a statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Community Chatter: Bangkok’s old-school noodle shop is now accepting bitcoin payments

A branch of the popular Lim Lao Ngow fish noodle shop is one of the first restaurants in Thailand to set up bitcoin payment. The chain has been a local favorite for 80 years.

The shop lets visitors pay for their meals (a bowl of noodles is about B35) with bitcoin, where the price in baht is converted to bitcoin currency upon payment according to the blockchain system.  Bitcoin became legal in Thailand in 2014 and, according to the Coinmap, there are currently 13 services that accept bitcoin payment in Bangkok. – See more at:

In an announcement on the official website, the Lim Lao Ngow team says that accepting bitcoin payment is an investment in a digital currency that will only continue to grow in the future

Read the rest of the story here.

 

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Vietnam’s ‘NextTech’ aims to bring retailers online

NextTech is becoming a gateway in Vietnam to digitize traditional business into ecommerce.

Small business owners installing the online payment is still not easy. On the other hand, ecommerce companies are not connected to traditional businesses. NextTech, formerly PeaceSoft, provides information technology to traditional businesses to help them go online.

NextTech invests and partners with startups across their three main verticals: payment, logistics and sourcing.

The company shares similarities to Alibaba, as it tries to improve Vietnam’s ecommerce ecosystem.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Alipay extends reach to big spenders in Italy

Italian bank UniCredit announced that it has opened up Alibaba Group’s payment solution to its network of 120,000 merchants in Italy, allowing visitors from China to pay for services and products in Italy by simply scanning a barcode with their phones.

According to Euromonitor, the growth of Italian luxury businesses in 2016 greatly benefited from the influx of luxury shopping tourism, where Chinese travelers’ contribution was notably significant.

The Alipay app also supports a geo-location feature that offers a marketing opportunity for niche and local brands in Italy that are less known to Chinese consumers.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: The new meaning of fast fashion

The fashion resale market is currently worth $18 billion and is expected to grow to $33 billion by 2021, and the average American woman does not wear 60% of the pieces in her closet.

A handbag is not a bottle of milk for a baby. It’s not a staple. And it’s not necessarily a good idea to create a situation in which it is equated to one.

It may not be sustainable, in any sense of the word. How can fast fashion in this age be defined?

Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Recommended Reading: How WeChat Pay became Alipay’s largest rival

“Because of WeChat’s traffic and social advantage, in these past two years, WeChat Pay has become Alipay’s biggest competitor,” Wang Pengbo, finance analyst at research firm Analysys.

Last month, Analysys published a report on China’s mobile payment market for the fourth quarter of 2016. Alipay had a market share of 54.7%; Tenpay – which includes WeChat Pay – came in second with about 37%.

So how did WeChat Pay catch up? By doubling down on two key areas: social payments and offline retail.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Alibaba makes its move in Indonesia, partners Emtek on mobile payments

Alibaba’s Ant Financial has locked in a partnership with Indonesian media conglomerate Emtek. Together, they’ll launch a new mobile payments product as well as other financial services.

The payments solution will be offered on Blackberry Messenger (BBM), which is operated by an Emtek subsidiary and has 63 million monthly active users in Indonesia. 

Emtek is turning BBM into much more than just a chat app. It allows people to shop, play games, watch videos, and more.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Amazon gets a wallet license in India

Amazon India has received permission to run a wallet license in India, becoming one of the 84 companies authorised by the Reserve Bank of India to operate payment licenses.

The wallet will probably be linked to Amazon Pay, which Amazon introduced in India last December, although then it was seen as a rebranding of its gift cards business.

A one-click payment option doesn’t work in India without a wallet

Amazon also offers customers faster refunds with Amazon Pay, within 24 hours. Storing money in the wallet will help Amazon ensure that the money is spend on Amazon directly, and also allows it to offer cashbacks on purchases to wallets.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Closing shop on China’s online platforms

The online store closures of a number of retail and luxury brand giants indicate that the competition is no less fierce online.

The closure of Lotte’s Tmall store seems to have stemmed from the fact that China is Lotte’s only international market where growth is stymying. Sales fell during the last three months of 2016, year-on-year. ASOS, the UK’s largest online fashion retailer, entered China in 2013 with high expectations but announced its closure in April 2016 due to a running loss of 4 million GBP.

Companies looking to take advantage of China’s market size and sell to Chinese consumers often mistakenly believe that ecommerce offers a shortcut to success because there are fewer licensing requirements to operate through ecommerce, and customs clearance is faster.

However, as high-profile store closures in 2016 demonstrate, ecommerce requires extensive pre-entry knowledge of regulations, a realistic logistics plan, and a local marketing strategy.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab confirms it will acquire Kudo to boost digital payments

The ride-hailing startup confirmed in a statement today it has signed an agreement to buy Kudo for an undisclosed sum.

Behind the acquisition is Grab’s interest in expanding its digital payments ecosystem, GrabPay.

Through Kudo, it taps into an already existing payments platform and online-to-offline channel. The startup’s most obvious asset is approximately 40,0000 agents who use the app to sell things like prepaid phone credit, tickets, household items, and fashion.

Read the rest of the story here

 

2. Indonesia’s Bhinneka shares updates on IPO goals

The Indonesian ecommerce platform for electronic goods and gadgets has the ambition to strengthen its offline store network.

The company plans to open another five to 10 offline stores, though they did not give further details in which city they are going to locate in

Bhinneka has implemented several business models, including B2C, B2B, and B2G.

This year, Bhinneka also aims to increase revenue from its B2B line for up to 40%. The company is also still on track for an IPO.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Amazon is trying to push past Walmart by going directly to big brands

Amazon is working to convince major brands they’d be better off selling their goods directly to shoppers.The news service obtained an invitation Amazon sent to packaged goods companies for a meeting to discuss the initiative, which would require them to package their products in new ways.

The grocery business has been one of the most resistant categories in the shift to online spending. Not only do most shoppers prefer to pick their own produce, but fresh food is a notoriously low-margin business. It requires a sophisticated supply chain and quick sales to prevent items from spoiling.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Recommended Reading: What does Amazon’s acquisition of Zouq mean for the future of retail?

Retailers are already reporting lower revenues and rents in malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are stagnant, according to JLL consultants, and likely to decline in secondary locations.

Retailers are battling a higher US dollar, which erodes any price advantage, particularly for tourists, and a weaker economy

S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani told Arabian Business in February that “footfalls in the malls are stable”. However, shoppers are buying less. The deep pockets, data and experience of Amazon in the Middle East will speed up the region’s ecommerce boom.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Lazada partners with Unilever to capture Southeast Asia’s online retail growth

Lazada, has joined hands with Unilever in hopes of grabbing a bigger slice of the region’s online retail market in fast-moving consumer goods.

Lazada’s FMCG product category grew by 181% in 2016 over 2015, making it the platform’s strongest growth category.

The two companies will work closely together on supply chain, fulfillment, data, marketing, social commerce and talent development to grow their business’ reach in the region.

The partnership will allow Unilever to test new products before deciding whether to send them offline, while also allowing the company to offer exclusive products to Lazada shoppers.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Unilever acquires minority stake in direct-to-consumer skincare brand True Botanicals

The deal is Unilever Ventures’ first with a direct-to-consumer luxury skincare brand, and demonstrates the appeal of natural products and digital business models to beauty investors.

Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures said:

From a business perspective, the direct distribution enables the company to invest much more than has been traditional in the product quality and the shopping experience

True Botanicals is available at Barneys New York and natural beauty retailer Follain, but the company doesn’t anticipate brick-and-mortar sales ever exceeding 20% of its turnover.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. WeChat expands in Europe in bid for global advertisers and payments partners

Owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., WeChat is looking to launch an office in the U.K. and another European country, alongside its existing presence in Italy.

WeChat is now focusing more on business-to-business, encouraging Western brands to sell products on the WeChat platform.

In Europe, the focus is first on fashion and luxury goods, and will in time expand to travel and broader retail services. WeChat is hoping its expansion in Europe will convince more high-profile brands onto the platform, to also reach Chinese tourists visiting Europe.

Tencent could be trying to do what Alipay is doing, but there’s much more uncertainty in terms of when the business could take off, as it would need to overcome many regulatory hurdles.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

Events

Ecommerce Indonesia 2017 will be the first event in the region to bring together policy makers, BFSI experts, startup community, ICT technologists together to present you with the latest in:

 

Key Topics & Case Studies:

  • Upcoming ICT Projects and Policies
  • Startups : Driving the  digitization of Indonesia
  • Data Analytics To Cement Customer Loyalty
  • Building Trust in Online Payments
  • Personalizing IOT for mcommerce
  • Beefing Cyber-Security to increase confidence in online payments