Cashback News – Feb 19: SE Asia e-commerce weekly news roundup

SE Asia e-commerceToday, we’re doing a quick roundup of e-commerce news in SE Asia. Aberdeen Asset Management reports that 40% of Chinese consumers now use e-commerce and is still growing. Venture deals dropped 29% in China in Q4 2015 according to KPMG and CB Insights 2015 Venture Capital Report. Rakuten’s selloff in SE Asia may be a precursor for a steep drop in other VC investment. Alibaba has a strategy to take on Amazon in India with several strategic e-commerce investments. Alibaba also surprised the market by buying 33 million shares of Groupon to own 5.6%.

Asian Development Bank reported some interesting e-commerce developments in the Central Asia region (CAREC). With only 5% of Malaysia companies using e-commerce, iPay88 expects that to double in 2016. In a strategic move, Google acquired Singapore-based workplace app chat Pie. While Vietnam has more than 90 million residents, 40% are Internet users and some expect double-digit growth despite the challenges for e-commerce. DHL e-commerce expanded to Thailand with plans for a 3000 m² distribution center and 20 depots.

Aberdeen Asset Management’s Carol Yuan on China then e-commerce users accounted for less than 15% of China’s total population. Today that figure has increased to near 40%, overtaking the United States to become the world’s largest e-commerce market.

This trend is still gaining momentum. The range of products and the clientele has evolved. Services such as home delivery, beauty and spa, renovations and maintenance and financial services including insurance, wealth management, and peer-to-peer lending are the latest sectors to join the trend.

Additionally, we’re witnessing a snowballing effect as technology evolves. The launch of mobile payments in China has accelerated the online purchasing trend at a rapid pace. In China, 55% of internet users have made at least one mobile payment versus only 19% in the US. Via

Slowdown In The East: Venture Deals And Funding Sputter In India and China funding and deal activity in Asia took a serious dip in Q4’15 compared to Q3’15. Not surprisingly, this also held true in Asia’s two largest markets: China and India. In the KPMG and CB Insights 2015 Venture Capital Report, we dug into global investment data including regional looks at Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as analyses of the funding climates in China and India.

Deal volume in China fell nearly 39% quarter-over-quarter in Q4’15 to 71 deals, the lowest amount for deal activity in at least 5 quarters (a more dramatic drop than the 13% fall in deal count globally). In terms of funding dollars invested, there was a 29% drop in China over the same period (roughly the same as the 30% drop in venture funding globally). China was home to 8 of the top 10 biggest deals in Asia in 2015, the largest of which was China Internet Plus Holding‘s $2.8B mega-round in Q4’15 Via

Japanese e-commerce hangover forming in SE Asia? Japanese investors in the South-east Asian e-commerce space beginning to suffer from a hangover? And could the startups they have invested in suffer an even larger one? Let’s start with the Japanese investors first. While it is too soon to make conclusions, two recent moves by large Japanese companies to divest their interests in the South-east Asian e-commerce space suggests that corporate culture could be at fault.

Rakuten’s announcement last week that it was shutting down its e-commerce operations in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, while putting up its stake in Thai e-commerce site Tarad for sale, to refocus on mobile C2C (consumer-to-consumer) commerce in the region, has grabbed all the attention.

But it was not the only exit by a Japanese company. On January 6, Sumisho Ecommerce Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a Sumitomo Corp subsidiary, sent a letter to some of its partners in Malaysia announcing that it sold its e-commerce site, which it had been running since early 2014, to Malaysian company Hermo (M) Sdn Bhd. Via

Here’s How Alibaba Plans to Take on Amazon in India Amazon increases its investment in India, terming it to the next trillion dollar opportunity, its Asian rival Alibaba is not far behind. Reports suggest that Alibaba is looking to a buy stake in Flipkart, India’s leading e-commerce company. Flipkart is also Amazon’s biggest competitor in India, which commands a 44% market share in the Indian e-commerce market, nearly three times that of Amazon’s 15%.

Alibaba already holds a stake in an Indian e-commerce company, Snapdeal, and a 40% stake in Indian online payments firm PayTM. It thus appears that the company is now looking to expand its footprint in India through Flipkart. If Alibaba’s deal with Flipkart goes through, it might indicate a consolidation of e-commerce players in India, creating a strong competitive front against Amazon providing Alibaba a strong foot holding in the growing Indian e-commerce market. Via

Alibaba surprises the market by buying 33 million shares in Groupon week, Alibaba revealed in an SEC filing that it had bought a 5.6 per cent stake in social deals site Groupon, driving-up share prices for the previously troubled internet retail giant. The transaction makes Alibaba the fourth-largest owner of Groupon, according to CNN Money. This, coupled with better than expected profits, has surprised Wall Street and driven share prices up.

The company has suffered from interest in the daily deals market slowing down and recently announced that it would cut almost 1000 jobs from international offices. Many rivals, such as LivingSocial have also had to announce staff cuts. Amazon shut down its version, Amazon Local, last year. At its peak, Groupon had turned down a $6 billion offer from Google and, according to CNN Money, even with the recent hike in share price, the business is now worth $2.3 billion. Via

THINK TANK | A Snapshot of e-Commerce in Central Asia needs a trusted regulatory framework in place to protect both buyers and sellers. Within CAREC, data show countries implementing facilitating legislation at different speeds.

The first group of countries—including Azerbaijan, PRC, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan—has complete legal coverage of cybercrime, and nearly all have data and privacy protection laws, with the PRC including consumer protection as well. The second group has laws in two or fewer areas. Of the four major legislative areas, all countries have at least a draft law on electronic transactions. There is, however, no evidence that any country in this group aside from the PRC has implemented consumer protection legislation. Via

Malaysia’s e-commerce penetration to double in 2016: iPay88 the economic gloom, with GDP (gross domestic products) growth expected to slow down, Kuala Lumpur-based online payment systems provider iPay88 Sdn Bhd believes that the e-commerce sector in Malaysia is poised for “strong growth” in 2016. The time is ripe, with domestic market demand “well-supported by wide and stable online connectivity and broadband solutions,” according to its cofounder and executive director Chan Kok Long.

“We see more and more Malaysian companies moving their businesses online,” he told a recent media briefing at iPay88’s office in Kuala Lumpur. Only a mere 5% of Malaysia companies have adopted e-commerce, Chan said, adding however that he is hopeful that the percentage will double by the end of 2016. Via

Google acquires Singapore-based workplace chat app Pie, its first in the region

pie-founders-engineersSingapore-based work chat app Pie is Google’s first acquisition in Southeast Asia, according to a Facebook update by Grace Chng, a senior reporter at Singaporean daily The Straits Times. If the post (accessible only to friends) is accurate, the chat app startup’s engineering team of nine people will join the big G as early as tomorrow. She adds that Pie’s service will shut down.

Interestingly, Pie’s engineers will supposedly kickstart the team Google intended to build in Singapore to tackle emerging markets. Google’s VP of product management Caesar Sengupta is quoted as saying that the company bought Pie because of its mobile direction and entrepreneurial spirit. Via

e-commerce scene in Vietnam presents multiple challenges is home to some 90 million people, with more than 40 per cent of the population being Internet users. It poses great opportunities for online businesses like e-commerce to grow vigorously.

Vietnam was the smallest B2C e-commerce market in Southeast Asia two years ago, but online trade is gaining momentum in the country, triggered by even increasing internet penetration and higher online spending per shopper, according to a Research and Markets report. The growth of B2C e-commerce in Vietnam is predicted to be of two-digit figures within the next five years. Via

MIS-Asia – DHL eCommerce expands in Thailand eCommerce has expanded its footprint into Thailand and is offering end-to-end domestic delivery service for Thai e-commerce merchants. A range of unique service options will cater to Thailand’s fast expanding e-commerce market.

DHL’s delivery infrastructure will be overhauled in the country, which will include the setting up of a 3,000 sqm central distribution center in Bangkok. A network of more than 20 depots will also be located throughout Thailand to ensure full coverage across the entire country. Via

That’s it for this week in Cashback Industry News. Enjoy your weekend and join us again Monday for more global cashback, e-commerce, retail, mobile and business news you can use.