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Here’s what you should know today:

1. Amazon Prime Now launched in Singapore offering two-hours delivery

Amazon officially launched its service in Southeast Asia starting with Singapore. The company is also rolling out its express, same-day delivery Prime Now services.

The service will see Singaporeans get their orders delivered as fast as one-hour in some areas. The app is available for download in Singapore both on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App store.

Prime Now is a part of Amazon Prime membership but Amazon is making this available for non-members in Singapore for a limited period of time.

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2. Didi combined valuation with its allies in Asia is likely worth more than Uber’s

Valued at $68 billion, Uber still holds the title of the world’s most valuable private tech company. But the number two Didi Chuxing is catching up, especially with its latest investment in Grab.

Didi and Grab latest valuations combined are worth $48.5 billion.

If you add the latest valuation of Didi’s allies in Asia like India’s Ola ($3.6 billion) and Lyft ($6.9 billion) the combined value of the firms already exceeds Uber’s.

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3. Visa opens new data center in Singapore

Global payments company Visa is expanding its transaction processing capabilities by opening the new data centers in Singapore and the U.K.

The new global processing hubs will increase the speed, resilience and geo-diversity of Visa’s infrastructure. The Singapore and UK data centers will complement Visa’s existing processing facilities in North America.

“With our technology investments in Asia and Europe, we’re scaling up our infrastructure to meet the explosive growth in digital and mobile payments, while maintaining the secure, convenient and always-on service that our clients and partners expect.” said Rajat Taneja, executive vice president of technology at Visa.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. Amazon’s launch in Southeast Asia could happen this week

The news about Amazon’s expansion to Southeast Asia has been circulating for the past year. Latest report from TechCrunch said the launch to Southeast Asia via Singapore could finally happen as soon as this week.

The plan for Singapore launch was first revealed last November with original window in Q1 2017, but it got pushed back following complications.

Amazon might already begun its promotional activity through online influencers as some high-profile Instagram users in Singapore have posted sponsored teasers with Amazon’s distinctive tick on the packaging.

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2. Softbank might go after Uber after freshly investing in its Southeast Asian rival

Not a week after the news of its $2 billion investment in Grab alongside Didi Chuxing was out, Softbank is reported to have also approached Uber about taking a multi-billion dollar stake in the company.

However, the talks are said to be preliminary and nothing is expected to happen until Uber names a CEO to replaced Travis Kalanick.

SoftBank already commands a pretty significant share of the ride-hailing market in Asia. In addition to its most recent investment in Grab, it also owns stakes in ride-sharing companies Ola and Didi Chuxing.

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3. Grab can now spots unsafe drivers

Ride-hailing app Grab incorporated telematics into its app to automatically spot drivers behaving unsafely. It also now has emergency 191 button for passengers in Thailand.

The feature can spots behavior such as speeding, swerving and hard braking and accelerating, and “educate” the driver about safer ways to drive.

The company ran the successful trial in Singapore last June where it helped reduce driver speeding by 15%, instances of hard braking by 11% and instances of sudden hard acceleration by 18%.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. DHL deploys electric motorbike for ecommerce delivery in Vietnam

Ecommerce division of DHL Group, DHL eCommerce, has launched its nationwide domestic delivery operations in Vietnam, managed by hubs and depots strategically located throughout the country.

The network also support cash-on-delivery (CoD) service and consumers will also be able to open, check and return goods at the point of receipt thanks to DHL’s Open Box Delivery service.

“Only 15% of Vietnam’s ecommerce shoppers paid online in 2016,” said Thomas Harris, Managing Director, DHL eCommerce Vietnam.

In line with its recent announcement to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050, DHL eCommerce has begun deploying the use of electric motorbikes in its domestic delivery operations in Vietnam.

Read the full story here.

2. Cambodia ad agency MSA join forces with Malaysia-based VLT

Malaysia-based VLT, one of Southeast Asia’s leading independent digital advertising agencies, has formed a joint venture with Cambodia-owned advertising firm MSA to take advantage of the growth in Cambodia’s digital advertising, media and services market.

Adrian Lim, CEO of VLT, said Cambodia was one of the young and dynamic business growth areas in Asia, and there was a huge need of digital advertising solutions here.

“I’d like to say, what no one has dared to say. Digital is a mainstream,” Phirun Kao, CEO of MSA said. “Digital is at the core of all advertising in every communication we do for our clients.” he added.

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3. Uber and Grab are set to pay P5 million fine in the Philippines

Online ride-hailing companies, Grab and Uber are set to finalize their payments for the P5 million fine ordered by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) of the Philippines.

According to Grab Philippines Public Affairs Head Leo Emmanuel Gonzales the company will complete the payment of its fine on Wednesday, July 19. Meanwhile, Uber Philippines Communications Head Cat Avelino said its payment is already on its way to the LTFRB.

The LTFRB slapped both Grab and Uber with a P5-million fine on July 11 for various violations, such as allowing drivers to operate without the necessary permits from the regulatory body.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. Restaurant booking platform Eatigo expands to India

Bangkok-headquartered startup Eatigo announced the expansion of its services to users in Indian cities, Mumbai and Pune. The company, which offers time-based discounts, already has presence in Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Eatigo has partnered with 300 restaurant partners in both Mumbai and Pune, including Grand Hyatt and Renaissance Mumbai. Users can use Eatigo website or mobile app to reserve a table and avail of discounts of up to 50%.

Eatigo plans to have 700-1,000 restaurant partners across Mumbai and Pune by the end of the year and hopes to breakeven in India in the next 12-18 months.

“This will not be a two-city play. We will look to expand pan-India once we have developed Mumbai and Pune,” said Siddhanta Kothari, CFO of Eatigo.

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2. Grab raises $2 billion from Softbank and Didi Chuxing

Uber’s biggest rival in Southeast Asia, Grab, is raising $2 billion in funding from Japan’s Softbank and China’s Didi Chuxing. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks and would value Grab more than $5 billion.

The news came amid efforts made by Grab to transform into a consumer technology firms that also offer loans, electronic money transfer and money market funds.

Grab is present in more than 55 cities across seven countries.

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3. Indonesia’s BlackGarlic closes as market is not familiar with the concept

Meal ingredient catering startup, BlackGarlic, decided to cease operations as of Friday as the company experienced a difficult time in retaining the customers.

The company is founded in 2015, providing individually packaged MSG-free ingredients complete with step-by-step recipes. The recipes were developed under the local culinary expert William Wongso.

The concept is similar like US-based company Blue Apron, that went public last month.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. RedMart hired ex-Amazon and Facebook exec as Chief Product Officer

Singapore-based RedMart has appointed Patrick Teo as its new Chief Product Officer (CPO) and Executive VP Engineering. Teo is hailed from Silicon Valley where he previously posted in as Head of Tech and Site Leader for Amazon.

His impressive CV also including Head of Engineering for Facebook’s Local and Entities division, VP Engineering for Shutterfly. Under his stewardship, the startup went public for IPO in 2006.

RedMart’s President, Vikram Rupani said that Teo’s appointment is “a stamp of validation for Singapore’s maturing tech ecosystem and the quality of our own engineering core.”

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2. Uber fled Russia after $3.7 billion merger agreement

Uber and Yandex are merging their ride-hailing businesses in Russia. The former will invest $225 million and take a 36.6% stake in the new venture, leaving Yandex with a controlling stake of 59.3%.

“This deal is a testament to our exceptional growth in the region and helps Uber continue to build a sustainable global business,” said Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s Chief for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Together, Uber and Yandex handle 35 million rides a month. The yet-to-be-named venture will be valued at $3.73 billion and the deal is expected to close in the last quarter of 2017.

Read the full story here.

3. CashCashPinoy shuts down in the Philippines

Founded in 2010, CashCashPinoy announced on its website that it’s “taking some time out from the spotlight.” The online company used to be a discount site offering its members bargains from various merchants.

The company has been the subject of numerous complaints of selling fake and low quality products as well as allegations of scams, leading to their payment partners like PayPal and BDO to pull the plug on the transactions coming from the site.

It is not clear yet as what to led to the shutdown of the business, although there has been a report about the company’s filing for bankruptcy posted on business rating and reviews site Jabber.

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Here’s what you should know today:

1. iPay88 expects more revenue from international market

Malaysian payment gateway provider iPay88 expects more revenue contribution from international market by end of this year in accordance to its expansion plan.

The company is looking at contribution ratio of 80% and 20% for local and international market respectively. At the moment, international revenue contribution stands at five percent.

“We are seeing a 34% growth in Indonesia for the first and second quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Number of transaction in Indonesia also grew by 97% in the same period,” Co-Founder and Executive Director Chan Kok Long said.

In addition to Southeast Asian countries, iPay88 also presence in Hong Kong and Bangladesh. The company expects its investment in Bangladesh to break even in three years.

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2. Malaysian retailers urged to go digital

The Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) wants to drive the retail industry to go online for better opportunities and competitive advantages. The support from the government with the Digital Free Trade Zone (DTFZ) should help the adoption faster.

“Since the government is bringing in Alibaba, we have to rely on that wave to benefit the retailers and SMEs to the maximum,” said MRCA President Datuk Garry Chua.

Online contribution to the total sales is growing but it’s still on a gradual mode. He expects the growth to reach double-digit after the DFTZ truly kicks off.

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3. Grab and Uber subjected to tax checks in Vietnam

The General Department of Taxation recently sent a document requesting the HCM City Department to inspect the tax payments of Uber and Grab.

The request came after traditional taxi firms claims that they have been subject to a variety of taxes and charges which accumulates to an average tax of VNĐ 2 trillion ($91.7 million) annually, while Uber and Grab were only subject to a tax of 4-5% of revenue and only paid VNĐ 20 billion ($8.8 million) annually.

The Ministry of Transport will provide information to the tax agencies to clarify Uber and Grab taxes soon and will work with the Ministry of Finance, especially the General Department of Taxation, to share documents and calculate tax management options more tightly to avoid inequality in tax collection.

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