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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Walmart launches startup investment arm and appoints new CEO

Store No 8, Walmart’s investment arm has hired Jenny Fleiss as the chief executive of its first portfolio company. Fleiss will run code eight, a startup that will develop personalized, one-to-one shopping experiences. Fleiss is the co-founder and former head of business development of Rent the Runway.

Silicon Valley-based Store No 8, launched in March to expand Wal-Mart’s ecommerce business, plans to work with startups that specialize in areas such as robotics, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

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2. Woomentum is bringing women-focussed crowdfunding to Vietnam

Singapore-based women entrepreneur community platform Woomentum has announced its expansion into regional emerging markets. Its first stop: Vietnam.

CrowdFundHer Live! works similarly to a pitching session — startups present their concepts live to a panel of investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs. The exceptional criterion is that each startup has to have at least one woman co-founder.

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3. Recommended Reading: How eBay Fashion is maintaining relevance in a crowded ecommerce space

Though Amazon and Walmart are quickly emerging as retail’s dubious duopoly, eBay is continuing to assert itself as a fashion destination after 20 years of selling products on its e-commerce platform.

Now eBay wants to remind consumers that it’s more than an online auctioning site — it’s also a platform for finding luxury products.

Despite its reputation for thrift, 81% of items on eBay are new and 87% are available to buy immediately, at a fixed price, no bidding required, according to Jill Ramsey, VP of soft goods at eBay.

Read to find more about eBay’s strategy here.

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1. General Electric to focus on creating startups in Singapore

The American technology conglomerate General Electric (GE) announced a string of partnerships in Singapore to help build out Industrial Internet of Things technology.

It has also launched a high-tech support centre in Singapore, aiming to fill the centre with 60 employees, including engineers and technical product managers.

The Platform E deal is interesting because it marks a convergence of a massive global tech conglomerate with a local university entrepreneurship programme. The initiative will see students trained in entrepreneurship by a group of mentors from GE.

One of the key goals of the programme is to grow GE’s Predix Marketplace — a platform that connects startups and SMEs to new customers through GE’s network.

They will also have access to GE’s Predix platform, a cloud-based platform that helps people connect to industrial machines.

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2. Speed bumps hinder Singapore’s Smart Nation drive

“We really are not going as fast we ought to,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore’s aspiration is a lofty one: While countries are working on creating “smart cities”, the Republic aims to be the first Smart Nation in the world, infusing information and communication and Internet of things (IoT) technologies into every aspect of citizens’ lives.

Hamstrung by a lack of deep technology entrepreneurs, software engineers and data scientists, the private sector here has yet to seize the initiative in most areas – except in transport, where Uber and Grab act as disruptors.

The government has the capacity to push through initiatives and achieve results, the private sector could become less pro-active as a result.

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3. Walmart in advanced talks to buy online men’s fashion brand Bonobos

Walmart and Bonobos have agreed on a price and the deal is in final due diligence, according to reports. Bonobos has $100 million to $150 million in revenue and was valued at $300 million in 2014.

The deal, if announced, would become the fourth ecommerce acquisition by the retailer in less than a year.

The world’s biggest retailer has been working aggressively to close the gap with rival Amazon.com Inc under the leadership.

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1. Grab confirms it will acquire Kudo to boost digital payments

The ride-hailing startup confirmed in a statement today it has signed an agreement to buy Kudo for an undisclosed sum.

Behind the acquisition is Grab’s interest in expanding its digital payments ecosystem, GrabPay.

Through Kudo, it taps into an already existing payments platform and online-to-offline channel. The startup’s most obvious asset is approximately 40,0000 agents who use the app to sell things like prepaid phone credit, tickets, household items, and fashion.

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2. Indonesia’s Bhinneka shares updates on IPO goals

The Indonesian ecommerce platform for electronic goods and gadgets has the ambition to strengthen its offline store network.

The company plans to open another five to 10 offline stores, though they did not give further details in which city they are going to locate in

Bhinneka has implemented several business models, including B2C, B2B, and B2G.

This year, Bhinneka also aims to increase revenue from its B2B line for up to 40%. The company is also still on track for an IPO.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Amazon is trying to push past Walmart by going directly to big brands

Amazon is working to convince major brands they’d be better off selling their goods directly to shoppers.The news service obtained an invitation Amazon sent to packaged goods companies for a meeting to discuss the initiative, which would require them to package their products in new ways.

The grocery business has been one of the most resistant categories in the shift to online spending. Not only do most shoppers prefer to pick their own produce, but fresh food is a notoriously low-margin business. It requires a sophisticated supply chain and quick sales to prevent items from spoiling.

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4. Recommended Reading: What does Amazon’s acquisition of Zouq mean for the future of retail?

Retailers are already reporting lower revenues and rents in malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are stagnant, according to JLL consultants, and likely to decline in secondary locations.

Retailers are battling a higher US dollar, which erodes any price advantage, particularly for tourists, and a weaker economy

S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani told Arabian Business in February that “footfalls in the malls are stable”. However, shoppers are buying less. The deep pockets, data and experience of Amazon in the Middle East will speed up the region’s ecommerce boom.

Read the rest of the story here.

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1. Lotte Department Stores take in Korean online retailers

Online retailers in Korea are set to open 13 outlets at Lotte Department Store branches in the next three months.

“Online brands are continuously expanding into offline stores to raise their brand value and to receive real-time feedback from consumers,” says Lotte Department Store.

As these brands gain traction against traditional fashion houses, they start opening brick-and-mortar outlets as well, first as showrooms then as stores.

Lotte Department Store’s first offline store was for Style Nanda in 2012. Now about 100 online brands have offline outlets at Lotte’s department stores.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Nestle Malaysia partners with Shopee to target growth

Nestle Malaysia has picked Shopee, a mobile-first marketplace, as its latest online shopping partner in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, targeting $225 thousand growth (RM1 million).

The company’s gross profit for the year saw an increase of 7.1% which contributed to the higher turnover resulting in favourable commodity prices and stronger operational efficiency in the factories and supply chain. The company cited ecommerce as one of the most powerful growth engines.

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3. Japanese department store Matsuya to open Chinese online shop

The department store operator will partner with Chinese businesses having know-how about the local e-commerce sector. Until now, Matsuya’s only ecommerce presence in China had been on platforms such as online malls. Products will be shipped from Japan. Matsuya will also increase advertising and promotions in China.

E-commerce sales from Japan to China are forecast to reach $20.4 billion by 2019, according to Japan’s trade ministry.

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4. Community Chatter: E-Payments and Wal-Mart

Source: Walmart ecommerce’s Mark Lore. Posted on Twitter             

India’s streetside sellers are now accepting e-payment. Source: Here

Here’s what you should know.

1. Walmart’s Jet.com to buy fashion retailer ModCloth for less than $75m

The deal, which had already been rumored, is almost finalized and will fetch a price tag between $50 million and $75 million.

Walmart has been snapping up smaller online retailers in recent months

The acquisition comes after a series of struggles for ModCloth, including several rounds of layoffs. The company saw little growth in 2014, and reduced its engineering team to just over half a dozen.

Walmart explained that it’s increasingly interested in the apparel category, given it’s now one of the largest for online retail.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. fast fashion brand Zara to launch ecommerce in Thailand

It seems that Zara is doubling down on ecommerce in Asia, having launched its online website in Singapore and Malaysia earlier this month. Thailand and Vietnam’s stores will launch within the next few weeks, with India following later this year.

Zara’s  business model allows it to get clothes to stores much faster than its rivals, who prioritize low-production costs and outsource manufacturing to China, and can react more quickly to shifting consumer tastes without holding excess inventory.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: The 2017 Indonesian startup popular sector forecast

DailySocial conducted a survey with a number of investors about which sectors are going to be hot, and what their focus in 2017 will be. Along with predictions, ecommerce influencers also share their two cents:

“From year to year, ecommerce services and online transactions will become part of Indonesians’ day-to-day activities,” says William Tanuwijaya, CEO of Tokopedia.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

Here’s what you should today.

1. Walmart makes an acquisition-buys outdoor retailer Moosejaw for $51m

Walmart announced that it has acquired a leading outdoor retailer Moosejaw for approximately $51 million in an all-cash deal. Headquartered in Michigan, the retailer has both a large online presence as well as 10 physical stores across Michigan and the midwest U.S.

Walmart’s interest in the retailer has a lot to do with the category it operates in and the industry relationships it brings to the table. The Moosejaw deal will give Walmart another entry point into apparel, a popular online retail category, as the retailer offers over 120,000 SKUs from more than 400 apparel brands, including Patagonia and The North Face.

85% of Moosejaw’s business is online.

This news comes right after Warren Buffett declares he has sold $900 million of his Walmart shares, signifying an entry into a different kind of retail era.

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2. StockX raises $6M to grow its marketplace for limited-edition products

StockX, a marketplace for sneakers, has announced that they’ve closed a $6M round from a group of high-profile investors like Mark Wahlberg.

How does it work? The startup calls itself a “stock market of things”, meaning that it uses a “bid/ask” market to connect buyers and sellers – just like an actual stock market does. For example, a buyer would place a bid for $650 for a pair of shoes, and a seller may be asking $680 for the same pair that they currently own. And when the bid/ask spread eventually meets, a transaction happens.

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3. China’s Tencent rumored to be eyeing Indonesia’s Go-Jek

Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings is in talks about a possible investment in Go-Jek, Indonesia’s biggest mobile ride-hailing and delivery service.

Why would Tencent be interested?  Go Pay could offer Tencent a way to expand its payments network beyond China, similar to how Ant Financial has backed Indian payment company Paytm. High frequency services such as ride-hailing have proven to be a driver for use of mobile wallets. In China, Tencent grew its mobile payment system by teaming up with Didi.

Read the rest of the story here.