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Want to know what you missed over the weekend and today? We got you covered.

1. Indonesia’s Buzzfeed, IDN Media has raised an undisclosed series A round

The new funds will go into developing video content, strengthening the branded content team, and building an automated ad platform that lets brands use the IDN Media sites as marketing channels. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Singapore’s crowdfunding firm, CoAssets lists in Australia

Singaporean crowdfunding platform CoAssets has listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the company announced today. It raised $5 million under its public offering at a price of $0.30 per share. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Wal-Mart and Amazon will crush, but won’t kill the neighborhood store

Ever since Kmart and Wal-Mart made their appearance in the retail space, traditional stores couldn’t match these retail giants in scale, scope, logistics, advertising budgets, and ability to raise funds among investors anxious to capitalize on the trend. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Restaurant discovery and booking app Offpeak raised undisclosed funding round led by Yahoo Japan

Offpeak plans to double down on its current markets in Southeast Asia. Planned enhancements include better search, an updated user interface, intelligent restaurant recommendation features, seamless country selection, and more. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Rakuten acquires Japanese C2C fashion marketplace FRIL

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. 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.

Been busy? Here is a quick roundup of news you should know from this weekend.

1. Thailand Post Launches Four New Services, Embraces The Digital Age

Thailand Post introduces Prompt Post, Messenger Post, the THP card and cross-border delivery service. Read more about it here.

 

2. Digital Media Company Migme Raises $6.2M in Funding

The fresh funds will be used to finance expenditures and attain cash flow positive operations by 2017. Read more about it here.

 

3. Food Panda Is Pulling Out of Indonesia

The business is reportedly up for acquisition, for less than $1 million. However, the online food delivery company still plans to stay in Southeast Asia. Read more about it here.

 

4. Rakuten Acquires Bitcoin Wallet Startup, Bitnet

Rakuten will leverage the acquisition and launch a ‘bitcoin lab’. The transaction financial figures were undisclosed. Read more about it here.

 

5. Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Reach $1.915T This Year

daily news

Double Digit growth will continue through 2020, with the bulk of retail ecommerce coming from China, where sales are expected to represent 47% of all such sales worldwide. Read more about it here.

shopback-logo-cropped, ShopBack Dominates iOS Store

Source: Tech in Asia

ShopBack, a service that lets you get cashback on your ecommerce purchases from over 500 merchants in Singapore, launched its iOS and Android apps yesterday. The app is now the top free app in the shopping category in the iOS App Store, and number four (as of July 5 at 9.45am SGT) in the top free apps category in Singapore.

Founded in August 2014, ShopBack has since raised $1.1 million from investors. It acts like an affiliate marketer for ecommerce sites, collecting a fee for every purchase made through ShopBack, part of which is passed to consumers. A variety of marketing methods such as influencer marketing through actor Tosh Zhang, Facebook paid marketing, email marketing to its existing user base, and YouTube videos were used to drive app downloads.

ShopBack Dominates iOS Store

Ecommerce cashback apps are not a new concept

San Francisco company Ebates was doing it since 1998, and in 2014 it was acquired by Rakuten for $1 billion. In Indonesia, Ardent Capital funded Snapcart, offers a cashback app for offline purchases, to encourage O2O behavior. Asia has seen an ecommerce boom only in the past few years, fueled by a combination of venture capital fervor, greater internet and smartphone penetration, and rising incomes in emerging markets. The ecommerce market is nascent but fast growing.

ShopBack doesn’t appear to have generated the same amount of enthusiasm among Android users yet, as it’s nowhere near the top rankings there. For developed countries such as Singapore, the concept may be successful as the market has reached maturity but for many countries such as Indonesia and Philippines where Android users are dominant, adopting the simplest of ecommerce behavior still has a long way to go.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on July 5. Read the full article here.

DHL Express Japan expaanding its warehouse

Source: telegraph.uk

DHL Express unveiled a new $74 million, 215,278 square foot warehouse at Shin-Kiba in Tokyo, more than double its space in the city, to fill in the gap in the modern warehousing in Japan following the fast-growth of ecommerce industry in the country.

This is also to anticipate the increasing demand for international shipping, particularly from China and Southeast Asia.

There was also a pressing need to support [Japan] domestic companies focusing on international markets.

“Business expansion in overseas markets, especially in emerging countries, has now become the critical part of growth strategies for many Japanese companies,” Taketo Yamakawa, president and representative director of DHL Japan added.

This rising demand has led to strong sustained volume growth in DHL Express Japan over the last few years — the previous Tokyo Distribution Center facility had already reached full capacity. With the relocation, the DHL Express Tokyo distribution center will be converted into the DHL Express Tokyo central service center. This service center will subsequently become DHL’s largest in Japan.

Japan’s Footprint in Southeast Asia Ecommerce

Both Southeast Asia and Japan are experiencing fast-growth in their respective commerce industries, both favoring the marketplace model, but the similarities end there. The track record of Japanese companies in Southeast Asia is not a sterling one.

While Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company based ecommerce marketplace Rakuten successfully dominated its home market, the same could not be said to its presence in Southeast Asia as the company shut down its operation in three countries earlier this year. Sumitomo Corp, a Japanese trading company, also started the year by selling its ecommerce site soukai.my to Malaysian company Hermo.

A version of this appeared in Journal of Commerce on June 29. Read the full article here.