Lots of e-commerce news to cover today from around SE Asia, so let’s get started. E-commerce is estimated to be worth $7 billion in the six major ASEAN countries according to an InvestAsian report. PM CAPITAL says look Beyond China’s short-term economic troubles for bigger growth throughout the SE Asia region. Malaysia has grown into a high-tech powerhouse and TechinAsia profiles 10 big startup success stories. E-commerce has an estimated value of $127.9 million and is expected to grow by 40% according to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh. Gormei CEO Argha Sen launched private online dinner club Once Upon A Table to enthusiastic Hong Kong diners.
New regulations on e-commerce ownership and how discounts operate may be giving Amazon India heartburn until it figures out the new regulatory e-commerce landscape. Meanwhile, Flipkart’s ‘independent’ logistics arm Ekart will now deliver competitor Paytm orders. Flipkart also is in a new partnership with Alibaba’s UCWeb to have Flipkart’s new mobile site on the home screen of UC Browser. Beijing startup e-commerce Metao appears to have failed despite big investment by several large VC leaders including Matrix Partners and MorningStar Ventures. Speaking of dying, death seems to be ripe for disruption and poised to be the next growth sector for e-commerce in China. We live in interesting times!
Southeast Asia’s E-Commerce Opportunities
As a natural continuation of our previous article, ASEAN’s Ecommerce Challenges, InvestAsian is proud to feature ASEAN’s e-commerce opportunities as well. ASEAN is looking at a prosperous future as an e-commerce retail giant with phenomenal growth rates surpassing those of the US and EU.
Just the sheer size of ASEAN makes it a viable market for e-commerce businesses. Not only does ASEAN consist of more than 600 million people, but the region has just initiated a landmark integration project called the ASEAN Economic Community. The community aims to transform the 10 member nations into a single market, greatly reducing tariffs and encouraging free trade. This environment represents a significant opportunity for both multinational e-commerce companies and smaller businesses of any size to develop business models to reach out to all of ASEAN.
There is huge growth potential in the e-commerce market of ASEAN, but this does not mean the current market is not significant now. The e-commerce retail market in just the 6 countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam is estimated to be worth around US$7 billion. It’s important to note that the market value of US$7 billion is with only 29% of ASEAN’s huge population having access to the internet. The e-commerce industry is set to grow naturally as internet penetration increases. Via investasian.com
Asia offers diversity, growth, opportunity if you look hard enough, says PM CAPITAL
The constant domestic and global media focus on the state and fate of Chinese financial markets poses potential risks to local investors, in that they may choose to ignore the region as an investment option, foregoing significant growth opportunities warns Paul Moore, Founder and Chief Investment Officer, PM CAPITAL.
This is a key message being delivered this month across Australia, in a series of investor presentations. Both Paul Moore and Kevin Bertoli, PM CAPITAL’s Asian investment portfolio manager, are suggesting to investors to look behind the headlines to understand what is occurring in the region and what is likely to occur in a geography that is host to the biggest growth story in the history of civilization.
“There is general agreement among economic commentators that Asia will be the epicentre of growth over the next decade as hundreds of millions of consumers move up the socio-economic scale to create a middle class behemoth” added Mr Bertoli. Via professionalplanner.com.au
Here are 10 Malaysian startups to watch out for
In the span of three decades, Malaysia transformed its economy from exporting raw materials to exporting electronics. Building on this, the country has been digitally transforming itself in the last 20 years, with the introduction of initiatives such as its tech hub Cyberjaya and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center, more popularly known as MaGIC. With Malaysian startups taking center stage in 2016, here are 10 more you should know about and the things they can do for you… Via techinasia.com
Bangladesh e-commerce to see explosive growth in next 3 years
Trading is increasingly entering into the world of online in Bangladesh as today’s busy people look to find a simpler way in their daily purchases and transactions. The system is popularly dubbed as e-commerce. As E-commerce Day is observed today, the Dhaka Tribune approached Rezwanul Haque Jami, vice-president of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), yesterday to talk about the new trend.
He says given the changing habits of tech-savvy people, there will be an explosive growth in the country’s e-commerce field over the next three years. According to him, the growth will increase to 40% per month from 36% now in next few years. Rezwanul said presently the monthly value of the country’s e-shopping is Tk1,000 crore ($127.9 million) which continues to rise rapidly. Via dhakatribune.com
Blow-drying Chicken with a Hairdryer: Gormei CEO Argha Sen on Crafting Exceptional Food Experiences in Hong Kong
When Argha Sen turned 45, the former CMO of Toys R Us Asia and ecommerce/ omnichannel director of Li & Fung decided to leave the corporate world to pursue his own food startup that brings bespoke dining experiences to clients, from intimate Michelin-star dinners to nose-to-tail BBQ parties. Four words guided him: ‘If not now, when?’
When Sen talks about cooking, you can tell this is a man in love: “It is the most creative, seductive and satisfying thing I can do. I love the sensual part of cooking—the fire, the sizzle, the smell of garlic seconds after it hits hot olive oil, the oozing golden yolk of a perfectly poached egg, the charred marks on a medium-rare steak, the umami bomb of anchovies as they dissolve into your sauce…”
This “all-consuming passion” for gastronomy finally led him to found Once Upon A Table—a trendy secret supper club held at home locations disclosed only to attendees—a few years ago as a hobby, and, according to Sen, “statistically… the hottest table in Hong Kong as we did 14 seats per dinner and used to always sell out within 60 seconds of opening the bookings online”. Via blouinartinfo.com
Amazon India Faces New Hurdle in Wake of India E-commerce Rules
India is far and away the most important international market to Amazon over the next decade, and it’s not even close. But if Amazon is going to become the No. 1 e-commerce company there, the traditional Amazon playbook for success will not work.
The latest reminder of this came yesterday, when the New York Times reported that Amazon may be violating new e-commerce rules in India. The rules bar any one merchant on sites like Amazon from accounting for 25 percent or more of total sales. An industry analyst told the paper that one of the sellers on Amazon’s India marketplace — in whose parent company Amazon holds significant ownership — likely accounts for between 40 percent and 50 percent of sales. That appears to be a problem.
An Amazon spokesman told the paper it was still looking into the new rules. But, at a minimum, it’s another signal that Amazon will continue to have to run its operation very differently in India if it’s going to win the wallets of the country’s growing middle class from competitors Flipkart and Snapdeal. Via recode.net
Flipkart Will Deliver Paytm Orders 3 Massive Changes in Indian Ecommerce
The equations of Indian ecommerce industry are changing faster than anyone had anticipated. Flipkart’s ‘independent’ logistics arm Ekart will now deliver Paytm orders; and this has the potential to change everything about Indian ecommerce we knew.
As per reports, Paytm and Flipkart had been talking since last three weeks, and they have finally settled for a never seen before partnership in this sector. Flipkart, whose valuation was decreased to $11 billion recently by Morgan Stanley, is still India’s largest ecommerce portal and most valued startup, while $3 billion worth Paytm is the only Indian company to have 10 crore registered users; and India’s biggest mobile wallet company.
This is a major strategic decision, which will have far-reaching impact on the entire industry. Not only Paytm’s reach will increase in Tier 2/3 cities, this news will also give Amazon quite a few sleepless nights. Amazon India, which is now 2nd biggest ecommerce portal in India would be looking at this development very closely, as the cards have now been laid and the consolidation game is about to begin. Via trak.in
Flipkart joins hands with Alibaba’s UCWeb, leaves app-only nightmare behind
Today, it announced a partnership with Alibaba’s UCWeb to have Flipkart’s new mobile site on the home screen of UC Browser. This integration is aimed at enhancing the user experience even in low-bandwidth conditions. It will also make Flipkart more easily accessible to hundreds of millions of users in India.
UC Browser is by far the most used mobile web browser in India, where 90 percent of smartphones run on Android. StatCounter puts the UC Browser market share at 52 percent; Opera and Chrome follow with 20 percent and 13 percent respectively. Via techinasia.com
How a well-funded Chinese e-commerce startup failed
Metao was a Beijing-based overseas e-commerce startup founded by guy named Xie Wenbin in 2014. After an initial angel round, it raised a US$5 million series A round from Matrix Partners China in mid-2014, and then a series B worth US$30 million that included Matrix Partners and other well-regarded VC firms like Morningside Ventures at the end of that year. Now, about a year and a half later, the company appears to be dead.
To be clear, Metao’s collapse isn’t officially confirmed. But the company’s social media accounts have been silent since January, CEO and founder Xie is incommunicado, Metao’s Beijing office space is deserted, and former employees told Chinese website iHeima that the turn of the year brought a massive round of layoffs and resignations. Neither Matrix Partners China nor Morningside Ventures currently lists Metao as an active portfolio company. Tech in Asia has contacted both firms to inquire about the status of Metao, and will update this post if we hear back. Via techinasia.com
Death e-commerce is the latest sector to feel China’s internet boom
Over the past decade, ecommerce has wormed its way into basically every level of Chinese urban life. You can buy your clothes online, buy your house online, order your food online, and book and pay for all of your transit and travel online, among many other things. But there’s one demographic that has been a bit slower to adapt to the ecommerce age: the dead.
It’s not difficult to understand why, of course. In general, the funeral industry is driven by older generations, who are less likely than young people to turn to the web for solutions when they encounter a problem. And China’s young internet entrepreneurs generally aren’t thinking about funerals and death when they’re coming up with hot startup ideas. The end result is that a lot of China’s funeral business is still done offline.
But there are a lot of problems with the offline funeral industry. It’s fragmented, meaning that finding and pricing something like an open burial plot can be a real pain; you might have to call around to dozens of different small places to ask about availability. And because offline buyers can only access local offerings and time is often a factor, it can get expensive. If there’s already been a death, the family doesn’t usually have the time or inclination to shop around for the best prices. And the elderly person in an assisted-living home planning their own funeral likely doesn’t have the mobility, inclination, or energy to spend months chasing down the most affordable options either. The end result is that many of China’s elderly complain that they “can’t afford to die.” Via techinasia.com
E-commerce growth still ahead in SE Asia?
Consensus seems to be that growth is still very much ahead for southeast Asia e-commerce. In India, the early VC money has entered, cashed in and exited where it made good strategy and is in place to cash out when the time is right. In other developing markets of SE Asia, there are still plenty of investment opportunities as the markets mature, as adoption of technology continues and as consumers in ASEAN get more comfortable with e-commerce.
Cashback Industry News will continue to bring you global insights and updates on new developments in e-commerce, cashback and loyalty programs, mobile commerce, retail and much more. Don’t forget to sign up to get morning news summaries, Monday through Friday.
Coming up this week, a US retail update, China watch and more news you can use.