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The Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has registered with the Malaysian Trade Ministry’s halal ecommerce portal, ehalal.comreports Jakarta Post.

The portal serves not as an online store to sell products but rather as a catalogue that lists halal products available for sale. The portal directs buyers to verified suppliers or its ecommerce partners.

Halal products account for 11% of total products in the world. Around 67% is food and beverages, 22% pharmaceutical and the remainder beauty products.

What is ehalal.com?

ehalal is an initiative by the Halah Industry Corporation, which is expected to generate a turnover of approximately $73M this year, its first year of operations. The platform is rolling out to China, South Korea and Singapore, along with Indonesia, to bridge all Halal suppliers in the country, in order to expand the ecommerce business.

Besides Indonesian and Malaysian products, ones from India can also be found on ehalal.com. The Malaysian Trade Ministry would conduct a road show in Thailand, Australia, Japan and Europe in August and September to attract more partners.

ehalal.com also works with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to incorporate MUI’s database to verify a product’s halal certificate, allowing users to view it on the product page.

More countries are viewing the halal market as an emerging market force, a sector which can significantly contribute to economic growth in Asia.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Post on August 2. Read the full version here.

China Post Group, China’s state owned postal service provider and Lazada Group have entered a strategic agreement to enhance cross-border logistics solutions for Chinese sellers on the ecommerce platform, reports Yahoo Finance.

The collaboration will simplify the cross-border processes for Chinese sellers who want to expand their consumer market to the Southeast Asian region.

By specifically targeting Chinese sellers who wish to deliver lighter parcels, this partnership could trim down certain logistics costs for smaller merchants on Lazada and simplify the cross-border delivery process.

The partnership will also see the two companies collaborating on enhancing current delivery options for merchants selling small and light items. The companies hope to develop financial solutions such as micro-credit loans and online payment options for logistics fees.

Both China Post Group and Lazada have also expressed an interest in collaborating to find cross-border warehousing solutions, providing logistics training and seller-on boarding in the long term.

As Lazada looks to attract more brands and online merchants in the Southeast Asian region to bring a wider product assortment to consumers, China Post’s extensive network in the region will enhance the cross border partnership.

A version of this appeared in Yahoo Finance on July 12. Read the full version here.

CIMB Niaga and Lazada Partnership

Source: Lazada

CIMB Niaga and Lazada partner to offer CIMB Bank’s Enterprise Clean Loans (ECL) to Lazada Malaysia’s merchants in an effort to support the expansion of Malaysian SMEs. The partnership enables CIMB Bank to customize and streamline the approval and disbursement process for top-tiered Lazada merchants, providing the merchants with swift access to financing.

“With approximately 12,000 sellers on board, the collaboration is a strong testament to our track record of helping merchants succeed online,” said Hans-Peter Ressel, CEO of Lazada Malaysia.

The simplified application process and fast turnaround time for approval and disbursement allows merchants to focus on building businesses and enhance its speed to market in the digital ecommerce space.

“At Lazada, we are fully committed to supporting the growth of our home-grown SMEs through hassle-free fulfillment services, ecommerce trainings as well as marketing and analytical support,” Ressel added. “The partnership with CIMB Bank affirms the strategic choices Lazada has made in building the ecommerce ecosystem in Malaysia. It will bring significant synergies by giving Lazada merchants the option to enhance its online business and provide its customers with the best choices, convenience, and value.”

This ECL is non-collateral financing with competitive interest rates and offers financing of up to 300,000 RM, approximately $75,000 US per company with loan tenures of up to 7 years. It also offers a 48-hour approval timeline with a loan disbursement within 24 hours upon full document execution, giving companies efficient access to the needed funds to fuel its business growth.

A version of this appeared in Marketing Interactive on June 21. Read the full article here.

thailand-hubba-startup, Thai Government's Efforts In Seeding Startups

Source: Tech in Asia, Hubba

The Thai Government announced a 20 Billion THB investment to accelerate 2,500 existing startups, with a target to increase the number to 10,000 by 2018. The government’s efforts in seeding startups will be a very important one, but they must ensure the program’s effectiveness and transparency. According to Pumin Yuvacharuskul, CEO at Eatigo,

Thailand’s ecommerce landscape is held back by unfavorable cross border investment policies and limited talent pool, which means that the government should roll out initiatives to sustain and grow start-ups as well as getting it off the ground.

Thai laws limit foreigners to holding 49% of the shares in an ecommerce business, as opposed to Singapore’s 100%. Law also states that the company needs to hire four Thai people to one foreigner. In order for Southeast Asia’s ecommerce landscape to flourish, opening up the market would help foster the local economy.  Indonesia has taken initiative and currently the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is finalizing guidelines that will allow 100% foreign ownership of an ecommerce business with a minimum investment of US$8 million, or businesses that create 1,000 employment opportunities. In China, the government has poured a lot of money into startups and there are well established tax and tech-park incentives.

Governments can help create incentives for banks to support funding to help startups that have potential, and not only to SMEsAlthough this is a good initiative for a growing digital economy, it will take a long time to see results if local and international VCs are not involved in seed funding. Opportunities for  regional collaborations will also boost business. Recently, The governments of Thailand and Singapore announced a partnership to promote digital start-ups and mentoring for existing startups.

“Several drawbacks for startups operating in Southeast Asia are the limitations on users and monetisation given the combination of low GDP per capita and low credit card penetration in the region,” said Eddie Thai, a venture partner with the early-stage VC firm 500 Startups. “These challenges will be overcome with time in most countries, but it will be hard for any country to match Singapore, let alone Silicon Valley, without overcoming infrastructure and corruption issues.”

A version of this appeared in Bangkok Post on June 20. Read the full article here.