Here’s what you should know:

1. Amazon hiring taxis to fulfill the demand of Amazon Prime in Singapore

As the launch of Amazon’s Prime Now Singapore is met with a high demand, the company has resorted to booking taxis — on top of tapping freelance drivers — to make deliveries.

Transport operator ComfortDelGro confirmed bookings through its call centre by Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber have said their drivers are also free to explore other sources of income.

Drivers in Singapore is said to earned an hourly rate of up to S$30 from making Amazon Prime deliveries.

This move is likely taken as temporary measure before Amazon put a more efficient delivery infrastructure as it is defied the company’s strategy in the US, said transport economist Walter Theseira from the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Read the full story here.

2. PayPal opens innovation labs in India

US-based PayPal has launched its third Innovation Labs at the Chennai and Bengaluru technology centres, after opening such facility in the US and Singapore.

The lab will serve as a platform to promote innovation in the newest technology areas across diverse fields including machine learning, AI data science, internet of things (IoT), and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR).

The company is looking to diversify its employee pool to address new age innovation so that new solutions can come from mobile first and mobile savvy countries like India which is innovating solutions for the other emerging economies as well.

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3. Singapore’s Temasek may come to the SoundCloud’s rescue

Temasek Holdings and boutique-bank Raine Group are buying SoundCloud’s stakes that would help stabilize the owner of the popular music-streaming service.

The deal could be closed by the end of this week but the terms of the deals weren’t immediately available.

The Berlin-based startup has failed to generate money despite attracting more than 175 million users. As a result, it laid off 40% of its staff earlier this month, and closed offices in San Francisco and London.

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1. Baidu partners with PayPal for mobile wallet service

PayPal is expanding its presence on mobile by pairing up with Baidu, allowing the Chinese company’s 100 million users to make payment to PayPal’s 17 million merchants.

The news is the latest in a series of partnership from PayPal after integrating with Apple and Samsung Pay, as well with banks Citi and Chase.

For Baidu, the partnership offers a way to increase the odd in their favor on the competition in China’s mobile wallet landscape that currently dominated by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChatPay.

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2. Whatsapp hits 1 billion daily users, Whatsapp Status has more users than Snapchat

Chat messengers app Whatsapp records 1 billion daily users as revealed during the Q2 2017 Facebook Earning calls. The company only has 350 million daily users when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

Facebook has also successfully rolling out Snapchat’s Stories format to a much wider audience than the original inventor.

Instagram Story and Whatsapp Status are each used by 250 million people every day, meanwhile Snapchat only has 166 million daily users on its app. Facebook itself records 2 billion monthly users.

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3. Snapdeal to sell its digital payment platform FreeCharge to Axis Bank

After accepting the buyout from Flipkart for $950 million, Snapdeal is also selling its digital payment platforms FreeCharge to Axis Bank for $60 million.

Axis Bank will have access to FreeCharge’s base of over 50 million mobile wallet users, its staff of about 150 – 200 and its resources and proprietary tech.

FreeCharge was first acquired by Snapdeal in 2015. The deal was reportedly worth about $400 million.

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1. Intudo Ventures venture capital debut with $10 million of capital fund

The launch debut fund is contributed by undisclosed limited partners as the founding general partners at leading venture capital firms, corporate investors, and top-tier family offices and founders from the US, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Intudo Ventures targets 12 to 16 early stage companies in the field of consumer, finance, healthcare, education, and media led by local founders and returnee talents from overseas market.

The founders has invested in dozens early-stage companies in Silicon Valley, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia since the 1990s. Their portfolio includes PayPal, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies, Netscreen Technologies, and Fortinet.

Read the full story here.

2. The biggest private bank in Indonesia BCA launched chat-based virtual assistant

Since its launch on February, the virtual assistant provided by Indonesia’s BCA (Bank Central Asia) has attract more customer because of its faster response time compared to the bank’s conventional call center.

The AI-based service has gained more than 180,000 users from various messenger apps, including Facebook Messenger, Line, and Kaskus Chat.

Through the virtual assistant, customers can also access a range of information, including exchange rates, transaction information and appointments for credit card and mortgage applications.

Read the full story here.

3. Alibaba launches Tmall World to serve overseas Chinese

Alibaba Group has launched Tmall World, a service aimed at giving 100 million overseas Chinese access to 1.2 billion products it sells through its Mobile Taobao app and other online platforms.

Tmall World is primarily targeting Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, all of which have significant Chinese-speaking populations. It will offer logistics and localisation for each market.

Alibaba is also aiming to tap more English-speaking consumers in Southeast Asia. Under Tmall World, Chinese speakers can tap into Tmall and all other Alibaba marketplaces through PC or mobile devices.

Hong Kong users will see expanded product categories, and in Malaysia Alibaba is launching a Tmall shopping festival from June 18 to 20, offering discounts to customers in Mainland China and overseas.

Jack Ma says the company intends to have 2 billion customers by 2036, with a large proportion living and shopping outside China.

Read the full story here.


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1. PayPal shares up 7% after better-than-expected earnings

PayPal, the payments company, posted first-quarter earnings results after the bell on Wednesday. After surpassing analyst estimates with an adjusted 44 cents per share, compared to the 41 cents that many were predicting.

PayPal also announced a $5 billion share repurchase program

PayPal says they added 6 million new accounts in the quarter, bringing the total to 203 million active users.Total payments volume for the company was $99 billion, in line with analyst expectations. This is up 23% from last year or 25%.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Line and Kakao among the top non-gaming apps that are making serious money

The share of revenue for non-game apps in app stores worldwide rose marginally from 15 percent in 2015 to 16 percent last year.

 Chat apps Line and Kakao – from Japan and South Korea respectively – topped the revenue list on Google Play. Tinder – the leader in dating apps from the US – came in third.
Apart from new ways of monetization, revenue growth for apps will come from the continuing rise in smartphone users from 2.6 billion currently to 3.6 billion in 2020.
More than a quarter of the next billion smartphone users will be from India, which overtook the US last year to be next only to China in number of users.
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3. Amazon’s newest product wants to judge your outfit

“Alexa, do these jeans make my butt look big?”

The release has been met with mixed responses.

No one really asked for this product, and fashion is one of the most unpredictable human behaviors on earth. Providing a fashion service is different to growing a fashion apparel business inside Amazon.

Smart home products are disrupting the home security market, and there is growing demand for products like smart locks and security cameras. The overall security solutions market is expected to grow to over $370 billion by 2022.

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1. PayPal partners with Android Pay for in-store payments push

PayPal has entered a partnership with Google’s Android Pay to further expand PayPal’s presence in offline stores.

The partnership will allow US customers to use PayPal as a payment method within Android Pay wherever Android Pay is accepted, be it in-store, in-app, or online.

The deal is hoped to extend the company’s reach amid a crowded mobile wallet landscape. PayPal processed $102 billion in mobile payment volume and two billion mobile transactions in the last year.

PayPal has made a series of a deal over the last year aimed at giving its mobile wallet more exposure. Most recently with Discover that gave PayPal access to their tokenization services. Similar partnerships have been made with Visa and Mastercard.

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2. Deliveree Thailand expects to break even this year

Bangkok-based on-demand delivery service app, Deliveree, is expecting to break even this year, as stated by Country Director Chanisa Rueangkirianya.

“Our Bangkok operation is on the right track to break even by year-end, helped by our cost efficiency and business development strategies,”

The growth is fueled by the growing ecommerce retail market and greater demand for fast delivery services. The company also wrapping up its series A funding this year.

Deliveree also has a presence in Jakarta and Manila. The app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times, while the company boasts 9,000 drivers in its transport network.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Ant Financial announces merger with Lazada’s HelloPay Group

Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Financial announced today that it merged with HelloPay Group, Lazada’s online payment platform.

The deal came one year after Alibaba purchased $1 billion of a controlling stake in Lazada, currently the largest online marketplace in Southeast Asia.

Following the merger, HelloPay will be rebranded as Ant Financial’s online and mobile payment solution, Alipay. All of HelloPay’s features and services, however, will remain unchanged.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. How will Amazon will take a stab at Google’s ad business?

Amazon has articulated a strategy for its advertising business at an internal event. It promises advertisers the chance to target Amazon buyers who are ready to purchase something. This makes it instantly intriguing for advertisers, as the chance of conversion is higher than with Google.

The ecommerce giant is betting on a strategy of using ads as an additional revenue stream to lower the price of the goods it sells

As of late, Amazon has even started placing ads directly on Google to promote products on its marketplace.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. PayPal extends partnership with Visa to expand into Asia Pacific

PayPal Holdings Inc. and Visa Inc. said they are extending into the Asia-Pacific region a partnership that currently covers only the U.S.

The collaboration will allow users of PayPal and Visa cards to choose either mode of payment.

PayPal had sparred for years with credit-card firms for control over online and in-store transactions.

The payment firm last year shifted its strategy to become a global digital platform that works with banks, card issuers and ecommerce companies including Alibaba Group. PayPal is also looking to increase usage of digital payments in developing Asian markets such as India and Indonesia, as the two countries are very mobile dependent, a third of PayPal transactions come directly from mobile.

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3. Latest retail casualty: Ralph Lauren

The luxury brand is closing its iconic Polo store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue as it looks to kickstart a tentative turnaround.

The latest moves will save Ralph Lauren about $140 million a year but the company will incur some $370 million in one-time restructuring charges.

The moves come on top of 50 store closures last year, a decision stemming from dwindling sales at its own stores as well as at the department stores like Macy’s that carry its products.

Ralph Lauren reported early this year that net revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31, which included the holiday shopping season, fell 11.9% to $1.7 billion. The fashion house’s chief financial officer, Jane Nielsen said in a statement that the closing was aimed to free up the company to explore other retail concepts.

Read the rest of the story here.