Here’s what you should know today:

1. HappyFresh is hitting business targets in Thailand

HappyFresh Thailand announced earlier this year that it would invest over Bt200 million, or $5.9 million, to grow by more than 500%. The company’s investment focuses on marketing, operations and human resources.

Benjamin Koellmann, managing director and co-founder of the HappyFresh group, said the Thai operation had a very successful first half where it was meeting or exceeding almost all targets and is expecting the trend to continue.

Online grocery currently represents less than one percent the total grocery market in Thailand, but HappyFresh expects it to grow to three-five percent in the next three years.

HappyFresh is in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, where the subsidiary was launched in Bangkok in September 2015. The startup is focusing its service in the Greater Bangkok Area but not ruling out the launch in other cities within the next six to nine months.

Read the full story here.

2. NUS Enterprise and Salim Group officially launched BLOCK71 in Jakarta

NUS Enterprise, entrepreneurial arm of National University of Singapore (NUS), is teaming up with Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group to officially launch BLOCK71.

The 1500sqm hub is located in Kuningan, South Jakarta and has already operating in Jakarta since March. The concept is modeled after JTC LaunchPad @ one-north startup hub in the Ayer Rajah industrial estate in Singapore.

BLOCK71 Jakarta will provide entrepreneurs with access to NUS Enterprise networks, incubation support, opportunities to participate in entrepreneurial initiatives organised by NUS Enterprise. Some 20 startups, mostly came from Singapore, are based at the facility already.

Read the full story here.

3. Tencent-backed on-demand services ecommerce eyes Indonesia market

Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest provider of on-demand services, reportedly eyeing Indonesia for expansion.

The Chinese firm is learnt to be exploring all options, including picking up a stake in one of Indonesia’s leading ecommerce companies.

Meituan-Dianping, was valued at $18 billion following its 2016 funding round in which Tencent was a returning investor. Tencent will be, by proxy, another China’s largest ecommerce firm making a foray in Indonesia after Alibaba and Both companies have been reportedly in talks with Indonesia’s ecommerce site Tokopedia.

Read the full story here.

[Updated July 27 11:12am]: A light version of Amazon Prime, Prime Now has become available in the App Store for Singaporeans (previously only a redirect) as well as the website is live:

Updated July 26 6:23pm]: The Amazon Prime Now app has become available to download in Singapore (Prime Now is the two-hour delivery service for Prime members meaning). It can only be downloaded through redirect.

Amazon in Singapore

Amazon Prime Now app now available for download in Singapore.

Amazon in Singapore

Available inventory for Amazon Singapore Prime Now.

Recent headlines, first reported by TechCrunch, say that the US retail giant is finally (finally) coming to Southeast Asia, Singapore first.

There hasn’t been any official word from Amazon as the company told e27 it would not comment on speculation.

Taking a look at the Amazon website for job postings in Singapore also hasn’t given any further signs of an aggressive hiring spree for local retail employees though it would be wise to keep an eye for updates.

So what points to the retailer’s confirmation landing in Singapore?

Social media influencers.

Popular accounts such as “theramengirl” and “superadrianme“, each with thousands of followers have posted sponsored photos in the last week alluding to Amazon’s Prime service soon to be available in Singapore.

Amazon in Singapore

Source: superadrianme

Amazon in Singapore

Where could that familiar ‘a to z’ blue packaging be from? Source: theramengirl

Impact of Amazon in Singapore

Everyone, e-marketplaces and traditional retailers alike, has been holding their breath ever since the circulation of Amazon’s Singapore Q1 launch rumours began in November 2016.

It’s not wrong to be worried if one has followed the disruption caused by Amazon in the US retail industry. Brick and mortar businesses have filed for bankruptcy, 25% of shopping malls in the US are expected to shut down by 2022, and brands (Nike) that were likely to never go ‘marketplace-strategy’ have hopped onto The Everything Store to gain control over third-party pricing and distribution.

In Southeast Asia, ambitious plans to build more stores in the next five months by retailers in Thailand may slow down. Service providers, namely logistics players with strong regional networks, are ready to offer a helping hand in Amazon’s initial business growth but should stay weary if the giant plans to replicate its impressive logistics network in-house in the region.

Alibaba has recently doubled down on its Southeast Asian efforts by investing another $1 billion in Lazada for 83% stake and rumoured to be competing with Inc to lead a funding round in Tokopedia, one of Indonesia’s largest marketplaces. Inc, China’s number two ecommerce player has also announced plans to enter Thailand by end of the year to increase their regional footprint.

Lazada, arguably the leading online retailer in Southeast Asia, began offering a Prime-like membership program called LiveUp in April in hopes of keeping customers loyal.

Sign-ups for the program have been quite healthy, tells a source from Lazada to eIQ.

Aimone Ripa di Meana, co-founder and Chief Marketplace Officer at Lazada, recently commented that Lazada was confident about its position in the region.

“It’s not an easy balance [being local and nimble], but it’s something that we’ve invested a lot of time to get to and I don’t think it’s acquired or built in a day,” says Aimone.

Shopee, another strong contender affected by news of Amazon’s arrival, has also been quite active in strong arming its retail strategy. The once only C2C marketplace announced “Shopee Mall” earlier this month, a new in-app platform that follows the same Lazada B2C model and already offers products from over 200 brands.

Shoppers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum spend and a 15-day return policy when they make a purchase. But will it all be enough?

Survival in one of the last battlegrounds Amazon has not yet stepped into will boil down to which company has successfully created a loyal fan base by fulfilling promised perks of fast shipping, cheap prices and an endless assortment of products.

These are already the cornerstones of Amazon thanks to Bezos’ long-standing and highly touted ‘customer obsession’ and what will ultimately give them an advantage in acquiring shoppers without any heavy marketing

For those holding their breath, it’s time to let it go because the “Amazon Effect” is coming.

Amazon in Singapore

And you’re done. Source: Flickr

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. Tokopedia in talks with Alibaba, JD’s deal fall through?

After rumoured for months about possible investment from, Bloomberg reported that Tokopedia is in talks with another Chinese ecommerce giant, Alibaba.

The company is in negotiations to lead a funding round up to $500 million, joining Tokopedia’s existing investors Sequoia Capital and Softbank – which is also Alibaba’s backer.

An alliance with Alibaba would likely to preclude a deal with, Alibaba’s biggest rival in China. The deal potentially be the second major investment Alibaba made in Southeast Asia after acquiring 83% of Lazada’s stakes.

Read the full story here

2. Rakuten TV rebrands to take on Netflix and Amazon 

Rakuten’s on-demand video service Wuaki rebranded as Rakuten TV and seek to challenge the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

To promote the new brand, the company also kicked off a four-year global sponsorship with Spanish soccer club, FC Barcelona, which will feature the company name on its players’ jersey, among other things.

The service is currently available in a dozen European countries and Japan.

Read the full story here.

3. Blue Apron shares surge after Amazon scare

Shares of Blue Apron, US-based meal-kit service company, jumped as much as 20% after heavy losses last week caused by the concern about the latest move from Amazon would mean to the industry.

Amazon filed for a trademark for a possible rival service last week, causing frenzy among the analysts.

Blue Apron shares were last up 12% at $7.35, but still well below their $10 initial public offering price. The shares hit a low of $6.23 last week.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today:

1. Google Lounge is launched in Indonesia for budding entrepreneurs

Google for Entrepreneurs and KIBAR announced the opening of Google Lounge in Central Jakarta. Sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs, it’s providing financial support and Google’s resources to strengthen the startup ecosystem in Indonesia.

KIBAR and Google for Entrepreneurs will create a series of programmes to empower Indonesian members. Google Indonesia is committed to training up to 100,000 mobile developers.

The collaboration complements Google’s broader efforts to invest in the startup and developer ecosystem. The government also supports the collaboration and encourages startups to join in and contribute to nation’s growth in digital and creative economy.

Read the full story here.

2. Tokopedia accidentally confirms the fundraising rumor

After keeping mum about rumors relating to the potential of JD’s investment, Tokopedia’s Founder Leonitus Alpha Edison and Vice President Amit Lakhotia accidentally revealed to DealStreetAsia that they are indeed in talks with potentials investors.

They then hastily clarified, “Well, everybody is fundraising. Everybody is talking to VCs right now.”

Tokopedia is the first Indonesia’s tech company valued over $1 billion and has raised around $250 million. The company records more than 7.5 million transactions monthly and rank #8 in most popular sites in Indonesia.

Read the full story here

3. VISA signs MOU as the payment partner of Phuket Smart City 

VISA Thailand has signed MOU with Phuket City Development (PKCD) as the official partner of Phuket Smart City to develop payment solutions for both residents and tourists on the island-province.

PKCD was founded by local businesses in September 2016, with initial investment from 25 prominent Phuket families. The province is among the first in Thailand to embrace the Smart City concept

The project aims to transform Phuket into a fully integrated digital economy, assisting business owners, managers, start-up entrepreneurs and residents in the transition.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Cyber attack ‘WannaCry worm’ spurs concern for critical infrastructure

A Thai cybersecurity expert has urged all Window-based computer users to update their software to defend against the latest global cyberattack, which has already hit more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.

“We should be vigilant and well-|disciplined in protecting the country’s critical infrastructure such as ATMs, airports, hospitals, telecoms, mass |transit, etc, from cyberattacks,” said Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Thailand’s critical infrastructure was vulnerable, according Prinya Homanek, president and founder of ACIS Professional Centre and Cybertron, adding that while the risk was low, the impact would be high and widespread if critical infrastructure is hit.

This morning, it was reported that a game by Garena Thailand has been shut down as a result of the cyber attack.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Coke is hurting from the switch to online shopping

Consumers are increasingly shopping online, spending more time on mobile apps, and getting groceries delivered to their homes. And that’s hitting Coca-Cola in ways you might not expect.

As its sales slip, Coca-Cola has seen its stock decline 4.9 percent in the past year. That compares with a 15 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Fewer trips to the mall means that fewer people are buying cokes in the US

The shops themselves weren’t the problem, as they were still selling large quantities of food, but more customers were ordering online and having their meals delivered. The problem for Coca-Cola: The restaurants offered glass bottles and sizes that weren’t suited to being transported via scooter.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Indonesian P2P lending platform Taralite raises $6.3 million

Jakarta-based P2P lending platform Taralite today announced that it has a raised a funding round from Japanese fintech conglomerate SBI Group.

According to a press statement, the valuation of the round was undisclosed, but the total commitment is $6.3 million, “including funds for Taralite’s lending services.”

Taralite plans to use the funding to build a “world class” R&D team that would build algorithm for its future plan to be a one stop shop.

The company focuses on providing working capital for small businesses that operate online. To achieve this, it partners with various online marketplaces and booking platform such as Tokopedia and Lazada. Taralite offers swift application processes and affordable loans starting from 0.99 per cent per month.

Read the rest of the story here.


4. Recommended Reading: In cashless Sweden, even God now takes collection via an app

A growing number of Swedish parishes have started taking donations via mobile apps. Uppsala’s 13th-century cathedral also accepts credit cards.

The churches’ drive to keep up with the times is the latest sign of Sweden’s rapid shift to a world without notes and coins. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; some shops and museums now only accept plastic.

Swedes’ aversion to cash is increasingly showing up in money supply data. According to Statistics Sweden, notes and coins in public circulation dropped to an average of 56.8 billion kronor ($6.4 billion) in the first quarter of this year.

Read the rest of the story here.

Following the ECOMScape series that revealed the ecommerce landscapes in Southeast Asia’s largest six economies, eIQ is sharing a comparison of each country’s top e-marketplaces.

A marketplace is defined as the arena of competitive or commercial dealings. An e-marketplace can be horizontal – offering products from various categories – or vertical – offering only products of a specific category. Read more