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Here’s what you should know today.

1. ‘China’s greatest angel investor’ has made his first Southeast Asian investment- in Silot

Silot, an ambitious fintech startup, has just launched in Southeast Asia and bagged a US$800,000 seed round from China’s ZhenFund to get started.

Silot can be imagined as a software that connects offline merchants with apps and consumers.

Merchants plug into Silot’s platform through a point-of-sales device and use it to process different types of payments, including through digital wallets.

This activity – processing payments and driving more consumers to merchants – results in a collection of data, which is interesting, for example, to financial institutions seeking to understand consumer behavior.

“It’s a B2B solution,” stresses co-founder and CEO Andy Li. The platform is meant to be implemented by financial institutions and so-called merchant acquirers.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Tracing Baidu’s decline from search engine emperor to the “Yahoo of China”

While the kingdom of Tencent and Alibaba have continued their upward run, Baidu, which comes first in the acronym, is gradually lagging behind.

Baidu is highly reliant on its search service and has few successful investment cases to boast about. Alibaba and Tencent’s startup investment strategy looks like a trawler net fishing,  while Baidu seems to be going for precision strikes.

However, precision takes time and the search company has been consistently derided for coming late to the game.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Why J.Crew’s version of preppy America failed

Sales at J. Crew have fallen for two years. The company is two billion dollars in debt, putting it in danger of bankruptcy. A few months ago, J. Crew shuttered its bridal business; earlier this month, Jenna Lyons, its president and creative director, announced that she would be stepping down.

And yet J. Crew has also faced fundamental problems beyond its control.

The short answer is the Internet. Millennials tend to spend money on gadgets, rather than clothes, and rarely go to the mall; savvier customers have learned to wait for coupon codes. The middle of the market has disappeared.

Then there is Amazon, which accounts, by itself, for more than half of all growth in online retail, according to the market-research company Slice Intelligence.

Read the rest of the story here.

Chinese-investors-eye-Indonesia

There are several factors drawing Chinese investors to look into the Indonesian market, e27 reported at the Convergence Ventures event.

Multi-Racial Background

According to Horizon-China & Feimalv Capital Founder Victor Yuan Yuan, Indonesia’s multiracial background makes it easier for foreign investors to bridge-the-gap between their own culture and that of locals. The country also has a “stronger Chinese connection” compared to other emerging markets. He also saw some similarities between Indonesian and Chinese technopreneurs.

Younger Demographics 

“The big innovation is done by people who are even younger [than most Asian markets]. If I look at the average age of innovators [in Indonesia] are younger than in China, so it’s even more promising,” Yuan said. When it comes to focus, Yuan believed that the service sector will remain popular in the next years. The investors will also focus on pre-Series A and Series A rounds of investments.

The big innovation is done by people who are even younger [than most Asian markets]. If I look at the average age of innovators [in Indonesia] are younger than in China, so it’s even more promising.”

The Gold Rush of Southeast Asia

The past year has seen China big players make their presence known in Indonesian tech startup scene. Alibaba had tried to expand its coverage in the country by launching Aliexpress before changing its strategy by acquiring Lazada in Southeast Asia. Alibaba’s competitor, JD, also has launched quietly last October. This article on Tech Crunch, urges business to “forget China because there is an ecommerce gold rush in Southeast Asia.”

“What we are going to do is set up a club, then probably an incubator, a multidimensional mechanism to support local startups,” he said. “Our own organisations will also invest in here, especially since this is a scalable market with [a] rising economy,” he added.

Likening today’s Indonesia to China seven years ago, he also called for local investors and businesses to collaborate together. As investments and attention has been turning to Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular, there are factors that indicate how the region can be seen as China’s younger sister. However, the region is slowly catching up and showing a lot of potential, which explains why Chinese investors are looking in.

 

A version of this appeared in e27 on June 22. Read the full article here.