Here’s what you should know:

1. Indonesia’s ecommerce transactions reach $5.6 billion in 2016

Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo revealed that ecommerce transactions in the country amounted to $5.6 billion in 2016.

The immense growth potential of digital economy in the country was also indicated by 78% growth of the fintech industry in the last two years.

However, many things needed to be addressed to make business online more efficient. Internet penetration rate in Indonesia is still low if compared to neighbour countries. According to Statista, there 24.74 million of internet users in Indonesia.

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2. Amazon has joined Tencents to back new smartphone brand created by ex-Googler

Amazon has joined major Asian companies in backing Essential, the startup co-founded by Android-creator Andy Rubin that’s getting ready to sell a new smartphone.

Tencent and Foxconn Group took part in a $300 million funding round for Essential alongside Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Access Technology Ventures. Other backers included Redpoint Ventures, Altimeter Capital and Vy Capital.

Essential is looking to break into the increasingly competitive field of consumer electronics. The startup is said to be valued at $900 million to $1 billion.

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3. Singapore DBS Bank launches online car portal

DBS Bank entered the car sales industry with the launch of its online consumer marketplace for car buyers and sellers dubbed as DBS Car Marketplace.

The move came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) announcement to make it easier for banks to invest in non-financial sector.

Partnering with other car marketplaces sgCarMart and Carro, sellers who use DBS’ platform will be able to list on both marketplace for free.

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1. Singapore-based ShopBack expands to Thailand

Cashback startup Shopback has announced its official expansion to Thailand – making it the sixth markets in Southeast Asia.

There are currently over 100 merchants in its Thai platform to date, including big names like Expedia,, Sephora, Pomelo, Lazada, Grab, and Uber. Consumers can expect to receive maximum 30% of rebate when using ShopBack.

Besides Thailand, ShopBack also present in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan. The company currently has 3 million users and has paid over $10 million in cashback to its customers.

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2. Amazon Prime Day breaks record, sales grew by more than 60% 

Amazon announced that its third annual Prime Day was its biggest day ever, with sales grew by more than 60% from the same period last year and surpassed its 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday results.

However, the results maybe skewed as last year’s event was shorter as it was only last for 24 hours (compared to this year’s 30 hours) and involved fewer countries. However, the results is still notably impressive given that July tends to be a sluggish time for retailers.

Amazon has successfully using Prime Day to drive both sign-ups for its annual Prime membership and promote its products.

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3. can soon replace Baidu’s place among China’s internet giants has experienced a very good year so far as the recorded strong revenue growth and signed a major partnership deal Farfetch, a global luxury fashion site. For these reasons, the analysts are predicting will soon overtake Baidu in term of market capitalisation. is also gaining ground in market share. While Alibaba’s Tmall controls nearly half (48.5%) of China’s B2C ecommerce market, now controls 33.8% market share, according to figures from iResearch China.

Their recent partnership with Farfetch will also gives a significant boost over Alibaba as it will reinforced’s reputation for authentic and high-quality goods, an issue that continues to plague Alibaba.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. Omni-channel customers tend to spend more in store

The latest Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) for retail sector have revealed the benefit of providing online shopping services on top of the in-store experience as department stores offering digital platforms recorded higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and average spend.

Released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at Singapore Management University, the research also found that customers with exposures on both platforms showed higher satisfaction than the one who only shopped in-store, showing the digital platforms could be a complementary presence to brick and mortar.

The retail sector scored 72.1 points on a scale of 0 to 100 for the first quarter of CSISG 2017 with fashion and apparel sub-sector recorded the highest increase of point to 72.4 point – 0.90 more than last year on the same period.

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2. Qoo10 Singapore signed MoU to help SMEs getting a digital boost

Singapore’s branch of Japanese marketplace, Qoo10, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) to help SMEs maximise their opportunity in modern online marketplace.

The program will support local companies with the resources through a series of training workshops, which will cover operational and marketing aspects of ecommerce. The audience will consists of both current merchants in the marketplace, as well as local SMEs want to jumpstart their online business.

As a part of the MoU, students from NYP will also have a chance to do internships at Qoo10.

“Students emerge with wider perspectives of how their skills can be applied, they will be able to offer a multidisciplinary perspective. These students will thrive in this rapidly-changing economy,” commented Jeanne Liew, NYP Principal & CEO

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3. Tencent Holdings targets Malaysia for local payments via WeChat

Malaysia will soon be the first market outside Mainland China and Hongkong where WeChat offer a local payment service, as Tencent Holdings is applying for license in the country. The reason? Its large Chinese community.

If approved, Malaysian users will be able to link their bank accounts to the service and pay for goods and service using the local currency in ringgit. WeChat can be used at more than 130,000 shops in 13 foreign markets and support 10 currencies.

To expand overseas, they understand the need to have extra layers of regulatory approval, as well as explain the system to local business.

As of now the company has more than 600 million users in its QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay. Meanwhile Alibaba’s Alipay has more than 450 million users.

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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Indonesian state-owned bank BRI to acquires a venture capital firm

Indonesian state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is preparing $37 million (IDR 500 billion) of funding to acquire a venture capital, among the few, adding the business of venture capital and security among its subsidiaries.

The minimum funding required to set up a venture capital firm in Indonesia is $3.7 million (IDR 50 billion) for limited liability companies, and $1.8 million (IDR 25 billion) for cooperations or CV.

“We hope that the due diligence period may wrap up soon and the acquisition process can be finalised by this year,” expressed Suprajarto, BRI Managing Director.

The bank will be the latest Indonesian bank to owned a venture capital arm after Bank Mandiri (Mandiri Capital Indonesia) and BCA (Capital Central Ventura). BRI currently also operates five subsidiaries; BRI Syariah, BRI Agro, BRI Remittance, BRI Life, and BRI Finance.

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2. CompareAsia Raises $50 million from investors including Alibaba, IFC, and Goldman Sachs 

CompareAsia Group has closed a $50 million Series B led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participations from new and existing investors including Alibaba, SBI Group, H&Q Utrust, Nova Founders and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

The company runs online financial marketplaces in seven Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, under several different names and claimed to have more than 28 million people used its sites last year.

The new funding will be used to improve user experience across its sites, which uses machine learning and AI to match consumers with financial products based on their needs and risk profiles. The marketplace currently works with about 100 brands and financial institutions and makes money by sharing revenue with companies when customers sign up for their services through one of its sites.

Revenue-sharing incentivizes CompareAsia to remain neutral and provide accurate information in order to convince customers to continue using the site, which in turn convinces financial companies to stay on its marketplaces, said CEO Sam Allen

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3. Amazon pours more money to its Indian business

Amazon reportedly has injected $260 million of new funding to its Indian business in the anticipation of the holiday shopping season, which centers around the Dussehra and Diwali festivals in the fall.


The company is looking more serious about its business in India. Amazon pumped $2 billion into its Indian marketplace in 2014 and Jeff Besoz has promised to invest $5 billion more in India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

However, Amazon is still facing a fierce competition in the country, as main rival Flipkart also recently bagged a $1.5 billion from noteworthy investors including Microsoft, Tencent, and Amazon’s rival eBay.

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1. Tencent’s investment in Go-Jek is ‘around $100m to $150m’

Tencent has invested around $100 million to US$150 million in Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek. Neither Tencent nor Go-Jek have confirmed the sources’ claims.

Tencent, with a current market capitalization of $341 billion, has previously bought a stake in Singapore-based gaming startup Sea Ltd, formerly known as Garena, which was valued at $3.75 billion after a March 2016 funding round.

Go-Jek, which started as a hailing app for motorbike taxis, also operates a food delivery business that a source said yields a much higher margin than ride-hailing. Its mobile payment business, Go-Pay, is growing rapidly as it is complementary with all the other Go-Jek offerings.

The Chinese giant’s investment in Southeast Asia’s biggest ride hailing startup shows its growth ambitions in the region.

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2. Indonesian edutech startup Ruangguru raises Series B round led by UOB Venture Management

Indonesian edutech startup Ruangguru today announced that it has raised an undisclosed Series B round led by UOB Venture Management.

The South Jakarta-based startup plans to use the new funding to “strengthen its team in the areas of educational content, technology, marketing and operations, and deepen its product adoption in Indonesia.”

The platform include features such as question banks, classroom management and exam simulations, and the startup claimed that it has helped the government conduct data-driven policy-making through its dashboard and insights.

The startup also offers other services such as video subscription service and tutoring marketplace. It also partners with LINE to launch LINE Academy, which allows students to take simulated online national examinations on the chat platform.

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3. Singapore’s online gaming studio, Mighty Bear lands pre-seed funding round from Rocket Internet

Singapore gaming studio Mighty Bear has raised a US$775,000 pre-seed funding round led by Global Founders Capital, the venture capital arm of Rocket Internet.

The studio says it’s out to build the next generation of massively multiplayer online mobile games. The first title, Project Loot, is still under development and due to be released in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Global Founders Capital is associated with German venture builder Rocket Internet. All three Samwer brothers – the founders of Rocket Internet – are partners in GFC.

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Here’s what you should know.

1. In China, Amazon’s ‘store of the future’ is already open

One Chinese startup, however, is steaming ahead with its own version – and has already opened a handful of staffless convenience stores where customers open the door and pay the bill with their phone.

This is a typical Bingobox store. Last month, the startup opened its first outlet in Shanghai after a few months of testing in its home city, Zhongshan.

Although small, the Bingobox store stocks hundreds of items – including a small selection of fresh foods.

The startup has already partnered with French supermarket giant Auchan – which is huge in China – to handle store inventory.

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2. Cross-border payment startup InstaRem eyes IPO in 2020 after closing $13M Series B

Cross-border payment startup InstaRem has raised $13 million in new financing as it looks to expand its business, which is rooted in Asia, into Europe and North America ahead of an eventual public listing as soon as 2020.

The Singapore-based startup said the raise was led by China’s GSR Ventures, an early investor in Didi among others.

InstaRem operates a cross-border payment service that is targeted at business users, including banks and retailers, although it does operate a consumer service. By working with banks and using wholesale rates, the firm is able to get good cross-border rates for its retail customers, too.

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3. Tencent’s online publishing arm files for IPO in Hong Kong

China Literature is akin to Amazon’s Kindle service, with 8.4 million pieces of content from more than five million writers. It counts 175.3 million monthly users across all services, of which more than 90 percent are on mobile.

The service is being spun out of Tencent, Asia’s highest valued tech firm, which currently owns a 65 percent share of the business. Tencent plans to sell part of its equity for the listing, but it seeking to retain at least 50 percent control as China Literature becomes a subsidiary.

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