Here’s what you should know today.

1. Uber posts $708m Q1 loss; finance chief departs

Uber has published its financial results for Q1 2017. While sequential revenue grew by an impressive 18% to hit US$3.4 billion for the quarter, the ride-hailing company also posted an overall loss of US$708 million.

Uber’s head of finance Gautam Gupta is quitting to join another San Francisco-based firm.

Despite the substantial losses, Uber’s Q1 results actually represent an improvement on the US$991 million deficit the company reported during the preceding quarter. Uber’s high profile presence but challenge in making profit in the long run represents a lot of struggles shared by many startups across the globe.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Mary Meeker’s latest trends report highlights Silicon Valley’s role in the future of healthcare

A few key insights from the report:

  • More of us are now downloading health apps and willing to share our health data, too.
  • Meeker’s report says a full 60 percent of us were willing to share our health data with Google in 2016.
  • In other good news, hospitals and doctor’s offices now offer patients access to their own digital data, as well.

Much of these insights aren’t all that surprising. Wearables are ubiquitous, there’s money to be made in disrupting old systems by making them digital and venture firms have poured a bunch of money into new health startups to do just that.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Michael Kors to Close 100-125 Stores

 Another victim of ecommerce disruption.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd gave a bleak full-year forecast and said it would shut more than 100 full-price retail stores in the next two years as it struggles in its turnaround strategy.

Total sales fell 11.2 percent to $1.06 billion in the fourth quarter, while analysts had expected $1.05 billion. The company’s comparable-store sales fell 14.1 percent in the quarter, below analysts’ estimate of 13.4 percent.

Certainly, Michael Kors’ problems mirror those of a number of major American luxury brands, an issue outlined by Luca Solca, the head of luxury goods at BNP Exane Paribas, in a recent article for BoF.

“Today’s luxury market is about maintaining the illusion of exclusivity, while selling units by the millions. Shatter the illusion and brand cachet is lost,” Solca wrote. “America’s large luxury players [have been] sprinting to sell as much as possible, as fast as possible, then suffering the consequences.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Alibaba to lead $1b round into Chinese food delivery startup

Alibaba and its finance affiliate, Ant Financial, are in talks to lead a round of at least US$1 billion into, one of China’s leading food delivery startups. The financing from Alibaba and Ant Financial will value at $5.5 billion to $6 billion and help it compete with a rival service backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Once completed, the deal would mark the country’s second-largest startup fundraising effort so far in 2017, surpassed only by ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing’s $5.5 billion round.

While meal-delivery businesses around the world have struggled for profits, China’s two largest Internet companies see on-demand services as a way to promote their lucrative online payments services. Growth in domestic food and restaurant transactions also outstrips many other retail segments in the world’s second largest economy.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Travel app Camboticket raises seed round

The ticket booking app received a US$100,000 investment from Obor Capital. Cambodia’s relatively small population means venture capital is scarce. It doesn’t present a huge market potential on its own. This has made entrepreneurs self-reliant, and sometimes forces them to wear multiple hats.

Founded in 2014, Camboticket sells tickets for buses, private taxis, and ferries for inter-city travellers within Cambodia and cross-border trips to and from neighboring countries, like Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. It claims to sell an average of 6,000 seats a month.

Ticket sales aren’t its only source of revenue. Camboticket offers booking software for transportation companies to manage their operations and distribute seat inventory.

The startup is Obor’s first tech investment. It doubles as a test bed for the VC to explore opportunities beyond traditional investment sectors.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Community Chatter: Magellan Financial Group chief executive Hamish Douglass calls Uber a Ponzi scheme 

Speaking to Fairfax Media at a financial conference in Sydney, Magellan Financial Group chief executive Hamish Douglass slammed the ride-sharing giant as “one of the stupidest businesses in history”.

“The probability of this business not going bankrupt in a decade is like 1 per cent,” Mr Magellan said, describing the company’s high-cost, owner-driver model as almost “valueless”.


Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you should know today.

1. Paytm is in talk for a $1.5 billion investment from SoftBank

Paytm is reportedly in talks with Japan’s SoftBank Group to raise $1.2-1.5 billion in cash which will place the valuation of the India-based company up to 9 billion.

Getting SoftBank on board as a large shareholder will help Paytm reduce the control of Alibaba and anticipate possible government concerns about a Chinese firm having a strong hold in Paytm.

Alibaba currently owns a controlling stake of 60% in Paytm’s ecommerce business – which was separated from its payment service last year. SoftBank is an early investor of Alibaba.

The investment in Paytm means an opening for SoftBank to the India’s big financial services market.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Malaysian government-backed agency launches digital hub and entrepreneur initiatives

Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced two new initiatives that will help boost the country’s digitalisation efforts.

First is Malaysia Digital Hub – a program that will provide the necessary resources for startups to scale globally, including funding opportunities, mentorship and other aspects of a conducive business environment such as corporate tax exemptions.

The first three digital hubs are APW, The Co. and Common Ground. They are all located in the Klang valley.

The second is Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP), aimed to attract global talents to expand or build startups in Malaysia. The agency will enlist the expertise of Microsoft, Next Academy, Maybank, and Y Academy with Kejora to run the initiatives.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Lazada teams up with Netflix and Uber ahead of Amazon’s entry into Southeast Asia

In anticipation of Amazon’s expected entry into the region this year, Lazada teaming up with Netflix and Uber to offer Amazon Prime-like membership program called LiveUp.

For a fixed yearly fee of $20 or SG$28, the subscribers will gain access a range of deals across services from these companies.

That includes free/faster delivery service from Lazada and Taobao, promotions for Redmart, free six-month subscriptions for Netflix, and discounts for rides and meal deliveries on Uber.

Lazada is not the only one benefitted from the partnership. It will give Netflix an open it’s needed in the region where people are reluctant to pay for content and Uber will have support in its competition with Grab.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Alibaba Group invests in delivery startups

Alibaba Group is boosting its efforts to grab a slice of China’s growing online grocery retail sector.

Alibaba will use start-ups courier businesses, which works much like Uber for delivery, and similar to Instacart to tackle the growing demand for online grocery shopping

The start-ups run lean, with little infrastructure. When a customer logs onto the Alibaba website or app and purchases groceries, they will send contractor couriers to supermarkets, convenience stores and local groceries, where store employees bag the orders for the courier to pick up.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Uber and Grab poised to launch in Myanmar

Southeast Asia’s ridesharing war is spreading to a new frontier after rivals Grab and Uber revealed plans to expand into Myanmar.

This marks Grab’s first international expansion in three years

Myanmar is unique because it has gone from zero internet access to widespread adoption, creating an open field of opportunities for businesses, after the country emerged from decades of military rule. Mobile operators have entered, along with the rise of chat apps and social networks. However, taxi apps have yet to take off-this should be the next step towards change.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Amazon to expand counterfeit removal program in overture to sellers is expanding a program to remove counterfeit goods from its website this spring.

As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged.

The move reflects Amazon’s efforts to court increasingly important third-party sellers

Amazon is also offering brands a program called “Transparency,” which lets them label packages with a code so shoppers can cross-check their purchase against official information.

Read the rest of the story here.


Welcome to the first of March, read on to see what you need to know this morning.

1. New tax on ecommerce in Thailand to be introduced in April

The Revenue Department says it will enforce a new law to tax cross-border ecommerce transactions by April, a move that could hinder the growth of the sector.

The development by the tax collection agency is intended to increase tax collection efficiency, particularly for fast-growing cross-border ecommerce transactions.

The Revenue department will apply e-tax invoicing via email for companies with annual revenue of less than $85,7600 (30 million baht) to facilitate small ecommerce merchants in processing VAT issues. It plans to launch a full tax invoicing system for large enterprises in the near future.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alibaba calls out China to be harder on counterfeiters 

At a press conference, Alibaba representatives said that China’s current anti-counterfeiting laws are too ambiguous, “letting products sip through the cracks along the manufacturing chain.”

Last year, while the company fought and ultimately lost the battle to stay a part of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, its team came across almost 4,500 counterfeiting leads, but had just 469 cases and ultimately just 33 convictions because of loopholes in the laws.

The latest developments in Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting saga may indicate that, down the line, there will be further support from outside parties to legitimize the products sold on its platform.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: The future of shopping is more discrimination

This new stage of retailing—a stage that harks back to 18th-century strategies of price and product discrimination—is only beginning.

Merchants, left to their own interests and in response to hypercompetition, will create a world where what individuals experience when they shop will be based on data-driven profiling.

At present, shoppers have little or no insight into the profiles and how they are used

Read the rest of the article from the Atlantic here


4. Community Chatter: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick filmed during a heated argument with Uber driver

The video shows Kalanick getting angry at the driver, Fawzi Kamel, who complained about the company decreasing prices for its UberBlack service. Kalanick claimed that wasn’t true.

Upon the release of the video, Kalanick issued an email apology to his staff at Uber.

It’s clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Uber, following sexual harassment claims.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Uber begins mapping Asia’s roads

Uber is beginning to map roads in Asia for the first time as it aims to improve its service in the region. The company said today that it has deployed mapping cars in Singapore, the first such country in Asia, in a bid to gather information that can improve its service for both drivers and passengers.

In a blog post, Uber wrote:

There are other things we need to know a lot more about, like traffic patterns and precise pick-up and drop-off locations. We need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren’t detailed maps — or street signs.

This initiative should begin to fix many local problems that the car hailing app has, such as inaccurate pick-up pins and directions.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Amazon warns that trade protectionism could hurt business warned that government actions to bolster domestic companies against foreign competition could hurt its business, in a possible reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda. In a routine description of regulatory risks in its 2016 annual filing, the world’s largest online retailer said “trade and protectionist measures” might hinder its ability to grow.

The Seattle-based company has cited trade protection in those filings as a risk to its international sales and operations specifically.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Thai B2B fresh food e-marketplace Freshket raises 6-digit funding

Freshket’s concept is to be an e-marketplace to match fresh food suppliers and restaurants and provide a workflow system to make their dealings more efficient and easier. As of January, it had 20 suppliers with 2,000 items and 50 restaurants on the platform. The startup is aiming to have around 800 restaurants and 250 suppliers by this year end.

The undisclosed funding was raised by an unidentified agricultural firm in Thailand.

Read the rest of the story here.