Malaysia – Car e-commerce platform Carsome has started its workforce reduction across all operations in SEA. The move will impact a number of employees, who will receive their full severance package and extended health benefits until the end of the year, as per Carsome.

In a report made by Tech Wire Asia, Carsome stated that it will now be focusing on enhancing productivity by aligning resources with contributions to the bottom line and enforcing stricter performance management, which is part of employee base optimisation.

Moreover, the same report said that the layoffs follow Carsome’s announcement of its group-wide accelerated profitability plan to achieve its target of positive EBITDA within the next few quarters. 

In a statement, Carsome said, “This plan includes accelerating its integration with the newly-acquired iCar and WapCar ecosystem of companies, as well as employee base optimization, and automation of processes to further increase group efficiency.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia AirAsia Academy, RedBeat Capital’s education arm under Capital A Berhad has recently joined forces with Malaysia’s automotive marketplace and tech unicorn Carsome to develop in-demand marketable tech skills for underprivileged women through #RatuTech. The campaign aims to encourage women to not only develop marketable skills but also to expand their economic opportunities, participate in decision-making, network, grow as individuals, and simply have fun with technology.

To commemorate the partnership, Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A and Co-Founder and Group CEO of Carsome, Eric Cheng, met at Carsome’s Headquarters in Petaling Jaya. 

Cheng said that Carsome’s journey from only a lean team of five which has now expanded to become Southeast Asia’s largest car e-commerce platform was inspired by entrepreneurial stories and figures the founders respect like Tony. They also discussed ways to expand collaboration between the two digital platforms through #RatuTech.

Cheng added, “As one of the fastest growing tech companies in the Southeast Asian region, Carsome understands the shortage of tech talent to fill the growing demand for STEM jobs. We are happy to support AirAsia Academy’s efforts to expand the digital talent pool by helping women gain access to education, training, or networks that can make a career in technology possible. We are actively exploring creating job opportunities for the graduates of RatuTech, as we are confident that they will be capable and competent after taking Academy’s digital courses.”

The group of female students are part of the 200 women from underprivileged backgrounds, especially those in the B40 income group, taking digital fundamental courses including Data Analytics, Digital Marketing, Cybersecurity, Cloud Infrastructure, and Software Engineering, in hopes of becoming data analysts, digital marketers, cloud experts, and cyber security specialists. Some of the other sponsors include the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC), the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC), Google Cloud as well as Yayasan Peneraju.

Fernandes commented, “AirAsia Academy’s vision of making education accessible, affordable and inclusive is very much in line with Capital A’s mission of serving the underserved and democratising our services for all. We are excited that Malaysia’s leading tech player Carsome has put faith behind our digital edutech platform and joined in our efforts to educate and cultivate the next generation of female tech talents, and also creating job placement opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Aireen Omar, President (Ventures) Capital A and CEO of AirAsia Academy, said, “We are grateful that Carsome is lending their support to our initiatives of addressing the underrepresentation of women in tech, and are confident that they can add value to their future company of employment. It’s inspiring that the women we are training as part of this campaign come from all walks of life, with great stories of overcoming personal and circumstantial struggles.”

“We have a stay-at-home mum who’s being upskilled to learn to grow her business and get into a new career to fund her business, along with a hearing impaired student who is learning to rise beyond her physical challenges to develop in-demand marketable digital skills,” Omar adds.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Car e-commerce platform Carsome has announced the acquisition of the businesses of WapCar and AutoFun. Upon the completion of the acquisition, Carsome set up the parent company, WapCar AutoFun Sdn Bhd (WapCar), as a fully-owned subsidiary of the Carsome group in Malaysia.

WapCar first established its first flagship brands, WapCar and AutoFun in 2019. Today, it operates a number of automotive content websites and social media channels across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. WapCar provides a full range of content which covers car exploration, transaction, and ownership experiences, using industry-leading technology to help customers in Southeast Asia find their perfect car and immerse themselves in all things related to automotive. 

The platform also produces, distributes and manages highly-engaging professionally generated content (PGC) and user generated content (UGC) at scale.

According to Eric Cheng, co-founder and group CEO at Carsome, WapCar has built a strong automotive content strategy in Southeast Asia, liked by a large and engaging customer base. He added that the partnership will enable Carsome to capture and serve customers from their early stage of car exploration and bring a more engaging and fun experience to the car transaction and ownership journey.

“We are thrilled to announce the partnership with WapCar and a team with seasoned expertise in the content space. We believe our collaboration through content, technology and data will augment our ability to bring trust, transparency and choice to customers together,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sting Peng, general manager at WapCar, commented, “We are excited to work with Carsome to collectively provide a smooth car buying and selling experience to millions of WapCar users on our platform across the region, as well as an end-to-end solution in their car transaction and ownership journey.”

Jakarta, Indonesia – Southeast Asia’s used car e-commerce platform, Carsome, has appointed Andrew Mawikere, former president of technology company Warung Pintar, to be its new CEO for the Indonesia team.

Bringing more than 14 years of experience, Mawikere is a seasoned business executive with previous careers in Indonesia, the United States, and Singapore, as well as an experienced entrepreneur where previously he and other founders started their own company, a marketplace for B2B e-procurement called Mbiz. 

Aside from his role at Warung Pintar, Mawikere has led Bizzy Digital, a business-to-business (B2B) platform for integrated supply chain logistics and distribution. He has also previously held a leadership role at Astra International in the corporate strategy and business development department. Moreover, Mawikere has financial experience from his tenure in investment banking and multinational finance company JP Morgan and global investment company Temasek. 

In his new role, Mawikere will be a major force in ensuring Carsome Indonesia’s position as a market and industry leader in the country. He will also be responsible for driving strategic initiatives, and developing Carsome’s fast-growing business in Indonesia.

Commenting on his new appointment, Mawikere said that he feels grateful and happy to be a part of Carsome’s journey in digitising the process of buying and selling cars that are still conventional in Indonesia.

Mawikere said that he carries the vision to make Carsome Indonesia a user and stakeholder centred organisation with an emphasis on developing, investing, and empowering its employees. He is determined to make Carsome a leader in Indonesia by combining effective business and branding strategies supported by the power of technology and data.

“I am optimistic that Carsome is on track with a strong position, especially with the recent acquisition of Southeast Asia’s leading automotive listing and content platform, iCar Asia Limited. Relying on our core values, namely trust and transparency, we can create a more integrated automotive ecosystem that will benefit consumers and provide added value to the industry,” added Mawikere.

Meanwhile, Eric Cheng, Carsome’s co-founder and group CEO, shared that the appointment of Mawikere was a form of the company’s commitment to continue to grow in key markets such as Indonesia. 

“Joining Andrew will increase the strength of the team in Indonesia. With his combined financial and technological experience, we look forward to the breakthroughs Andrew will bring to enhance business growth and help Carsome’s mission of setting new standards for buying and selling cars,” said Cheng.

Malaysia – Used car e-commerce platform Carsome in Malaysia has launched its new Chinese New Year campaign titled ‘Carsome New Year: Love Is The Greatest Prosperity’, a bold two-page print wrap that seeks to dominate Malaysia’s top five biggest English and Chinese-language daily newspapers.

The campaign, which was created with creative commerce agency VMLY&R COMMERCE Malaysia, features irreverent headlines like ‘This Chinese New Year, give your mother the boot’ and ‘Stop buying your brother new things! He doesn’t deserve it’, followed by heart-warming handwritten notes. These go on to express the love that family members have for each other and wish readers a ‘Happy Carsome New Year.’

VMLY&R COMMERCE said that the campaign elevates awareness of Carsome, illustrating that everyone is loved by their families and that a pre-loved car is a perfect present. It also moves away from seeing prosperity purely as financial wealth, redefining it as love given and received.

Moreover, the choice of medium moves away from the conventional ‘family-love’ short films usually produced for Chinese New Year, as print newspapers are still a popular and pre-loved medium in Malaysia, especially amongst the primary target audience of older readers. The declarations of familial love were crowd-sourced, then literally handwritten and illustrated by local artist, SshownC in her unique style.

Derek Tan, Carsome’s chief brand officer, commented that they are fortunate to have partners who understand Carsome’s take and voice of what is meaningful for their loved ones, the people they cherish and how they can move forward with them this Chinese New Year. 

“We are happy that the VMLY&R team rose with us to the occasion with this heart-felt campaign which sends a message that used cars need not be a compromise,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Woei Hern Chan, VMLY&R’s executive creative director for Malaysia and SEA, shared that the brief and strategy from the clients were very clear, as a pre-loved car brings just as much value and sometimes even more than a brand new one, and that inspired them to think of individuals. 

“And as we celebrate the idea of prosperity, maybe it’s an opportunity to look at where we are, and how prosperity is all around us in the form of our loved ones. What if we were ‘pre-loved’ year after year by our families to get to where we are? This is, literally a love letter to each and every one of our family. And how Carsome can help you be part of their narrative for a change,” said Chan.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Used car e-commerce platform Carsome has appointed Ravi Shankar Mallavarapu, former chief growth officer at AirAsia, as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Through his new role, he will be heading multidisciplinary functions and continue to drive Carsome’s leadership in all marketing-related aspects.

As part of his chief marketing officer role, Mallavarapu will be overseeing Carsome’s brand, marketing, digital, social media, public relations, growth, market research and customer experience. He will also work closely with Derek Tan, chief brand officer at Carsome, on brand, creative, production and sponsorships.

He brings with him close to 15 years of experience in digital, brand and growth marketing. He spent six years across multiple firms in India, before moving to Malaysia. During his latest stint at AirAsia, he has built an in-house digital marketing team and transformed it into a growth team, which runs ads to develop marketing products, in line with the company’s business direction of pivoting from an airline to a super-app.

Speaking about his appointment, Mallavarapu said, “I am thrilled to be a part of Carsome’s journey of building a trusted car ownership ecosystem using data and technology. Being the industry leader, Carsome is in a good position to bring change to user behaviour in the Southeast Asian region, where most car transactions are done offline.”

He added, “We can move this online by establishing trust and the best customer experience at every touchpoint. I look forward to making Carsome the top-of-mind brand in this region and connecting the dots between brand, marketing, technology and data.”

Meanwhile, Eric Cheng, group CEO and co-founder at Carsome, commented that said appointment is an important move to continue strengthening Carsome’s leadership team to achieve greater heights.

“Ravi is a data-driven marketer who balances creativity with excellent execution. We are very excited to have him onboard to accelerate our business growth and help establish Carsome’s mission in the market, which is to create a new standard of buying and selling cars,” Cheng added.

Bangkok, Thailand – Following the launch of their Malaysian and Indonesian campaign as part of the Hari Raya celebration, used car sales platform Carsome has launched a new campaign for their Thailand market, demonstrating that buying and selling used cars on the platform is easy and safe using a tongue-in-cheek narrative.

Titled ‘Mr. Handsome’, the campaign features a married couple, where the wife scolds her husband for checking in used cars on Carsome, which quite literally ‘drops’ at their home. For every concern the wife raises regarding transacting on the platform, a Carsome salesperson enters the scene, noting that all cars enter a 175-point inspection, prices are set with no hidden fees, every car has a 1-year warranty, plus other services.

The ad continues to take a more quirky turn as for every promise the salesperson makes, the husband ‘takes off’ parts of his body, until both him and his wife are ‘left’ later with hands as she sold the car as well, showing that at the tip of our fingers, transacting on Carsome is as easy as scrolling on our phones–whether buying or selling.

Speaking about the creative process for the ad, Chaval Sindhusingha, creative group head at VMLY&R Thailand, stated that through the ad, they used bold and quirky sense of humor plus a touch of Thai insights, along with impactful visuals to create a positive brand association, register top-of-mind awareness and be the most recalled brand when it comes to used car purchase.

“At VMLY&R it’s our mission to build connected brands. Carsome is an online used car platform that offers exceptional ease and confidence when buying and selling used cars. The challenge was to differentiate the brand from all existing others in the market, while also highlighting the many selling points it offers,” Sindhusingha stated.

Meanwhile, Derek Tan, chief brand officer at Carsome, remarked that they are happy to work with VMLY&R to bring their vision and ideas to life through their brand film in Thailand.

“At Carsome, we understand the pain point of the used car industry which is fragmented and marred by distrust. We leverage on data and technology innovation to streamline the used car transaction process, with the aim of helping our customers move forward with peace of mind – per the film, Aud doesn’t need a head to worry about his purchase, a heart to go through a heart attack over prices or problems, nor even legs to go out and buy a car. Buying a car from Carsome is as easy as counting 1-2-3: only a single hand is required,” Tan said.

The film is part of a wider campaign across online and offline channels including TV, radio, billboards, digital LED screens and showrooms in Bangkok including location-based ad optimization for digital.

Malaysia – Global creative commerce company VMLY&R Commerce has recently unveiled its innovative data unit – the ‘Muslim Intel Lab’ – an insights hub catered to helping brands understand the needs and behaviors of Muslim consumers particularly in the Southeast Asia region – the Malaysia and Indonesia markets. 

The agency has officially shared one of the first campaigns it developed leveraging the agency of the Muslim Intel Lab; a campaign that is none other than for leading car e-commerce and Malaysia-headquartered Carsome, and for no less, the Hari Raya celebration. 

The end of Ramadan was celebrated by Muslims around the world last May, and the campaign for Carsome is a short comic that asserts both the values of Raya as well as Carsome’s brand promise. This also comes on the back of the agency being officially appointed as the company’s agency of record for Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Carsome_Muslim lab

With the film titled ‘Setelus Raya Carsome’ or when translated, ‘Make It A Transparent/Honest Raya with Carsome’, the agency brought a humorous tongue-in-cheek narrative to reinforce Carsome’s proposition of being a ‘hassle free’ partner, providing a service based on ‘honesty,’ ‘trust’ and ‘transparency’.

The story revolves around women in the family boasting and competing which among them has a more glamorous and luxurious delivery, showing off to each other whenever a new item arrives for them. In the end, the elder woman in the family ‘wins’ revealing that the delivery she had is none other than a big-purchase car, brought at her doorstep by Carsome. 

The creative is one of the first projects the agency undertook using the capabilities of its new Muslim Intel Lab which aims to give brands an authentic as well as an accurate representation of the culture of Muslims by bringing to light nuances among members’ practices and beliefs.

Chan Woei Hern, VMLY&R’s ECD for Malaysia and Southeast Asia, shared that a central theme that emerged was around the importance of transparency.

“That was the connection with Carsome’s purpose of transforming the used car industry, an industry traditionally marred by distrust. Add in a little dose of good old Raya family rivalry, and we have Setelus Raya Carsome!” Chan Woei Hern said. 

Meanwhile, Derek Tan, chief brand officer at Carsome, commented, “We are delighted to be working with the team at VMLY&R Commerce, who have succeeded in bringing the Carsome ethos to light in a way that is fun, relevant, meaningful, and authentic to the true meaning of Raya.”

The digital brand campaign spans film and radio, along with a full social media campaign, engaging influencers across Instagram and Facebook, along with the creation of digital ads for Grab, Facebook and Carousel to spread the message. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Following the company’s endeavor to launch a new data center of excellence (COE) in response to the digitalization of the company’s business decisions for the used car industry, Carsome has recently appointed Piyush Palkar as the company’s latest chief data officer.

The former head of data at iflix and subsequently WeTV iflix brings to Carsome a vast experience in data and analytics across banking, energy, media and entertainment, and retail. Despite being a construction engineer by qualification, he ventured into data since his varsity days.

Palkar will lead data maturity, data engineering and management, ML/AI-based data-driven innovations, business intelligence, insights and data analytics in Carsome. He will also embed data culture in the organization to support organizational efficiency and agility through data.

Speaking about his announcement, he stated, “I am very excited to be part of the team that digitalizes the used car industry, now further strengthened by cutting-edge data technologies, as democratizing data and providing near-real time insights to different business functions are vital in driving innovation and efficiency. We will leverage data to improve customer experience via personalization, customer segmentation and propensity models.”

Palkar’s appointment by Carsome will also aid the company in its quest to use data, which allows Carsome to power its business at all stages while supporting strategic decisions. The combination of auction and market data, and machine learning (ML) model backs Carsome’s proprietary vehicle pricing optimization and inventory support system. It also helps the company in understanding different user personas and their journey as a customer, and allows for analytics-backed inventory acquisition and liquidation strategy.

Carsome co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng explained that the company has amassed a wealth of data after six years in business, where data of hundreds of cars pass through Carsome’s platforms every single day. “By setting up our data COE, we are on full throttle in implementing data science solutions, along with data-driven insights to increase operational efficiency.”

“Our in-house data capabilities and machine learning automations increase work efficiency and enhance timely, evidence-based decision-making abilities, which in turn helps our customers get good quality services from Carsome,” Cheng added. 

The company also believes that data helps in digitalizing workflows and processes by improving internal products with artificial intelligence (AI) and ML capabilities. Application of AI and ML include automating various operations tasks, such as car number plate masking and car scoring engine; these reduce the time an inspector takes to inspect a car and therefore promote better efficiency internally while providing faster car-selling process for consumers.

Carsome is on track to hit an annualized US$1 billion in revenue by the end of the second quarter (Q2 2021). The company is also expected to complete a number of major merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions that will further cement its market leadership position in the next six months.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – New report from integrated car e-commerce platform Carsome showed a significant change in private car ownership and the aspect of buying and selling of cars among consumers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand despite COVID-19.

Malaysian and Indonesia consumers have shown a greater interest in buying cars after the pandemic lockdowns, with up to 32% and 12% of consumers respectively showing interest compared to pre-lockdown behavior.

Meanwhile, all three markets saw an increase in consumers wanting to sell their cars, with Malaysia registering a 133% spike of consumers, followed by Indonesians (up 52%) and Thais (up 15%). 

As more and more consumers are selling their old cars due to getting more cash on hand, the usage of car selling platforms, including Carsome, also became popular 55% among Malaysian respondents, 34% among Indonesian respondents and 19% among Thai respondents. 

The increase of consumers selling their cars all have primary reasons in doing so due to financial constraints brought by unstable income and lack of budget. Other reasons include selling the much older car in favor of an existing usable car in their property, savings for future circumstances, and uncertainty of the economy after the pandemic woes.

On average, most Malaysian respondents (58%) plan to buy a car in a span of 1-6 months, while Indonesians (64%) and Thais (63%) plan to buy a car in a span of 7-12 months. Those that buy a car in a shorter time span reason out that a car is urgent to carry on daily duties. 

In terms of selling their cars, all the three markets shared an equal view of selling their cars in a span of 12 months, adding up the reason for replacing the car and optimism for the economy post-pandemic on reasons why to sell the car, aside from extra finances. In addition, all markets have shared the same perception that car dealers and car inspection centers are vital in selling cars to reduce contact of COVID-19 (Malaysians, 83%; Indonesians, 92%; Thai, 94%)

More than 50% of Malaysian and Indonesian respondents have lessened their car usage, while Thais have maintained the level of car usage pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Southeast Asians think of car ownership and mobility. The need to balance socially distancing and financial stability is leading many to a conclusion that the idea of car ownership is valuable to them during the pandemic. The car industry will continue to thrive as more Southeast Asians plan their car buying and selling within one to six months, creating a significant flow of car sales in the industry,” Carsome said in a statement.

Carsome conducted the survey in October 2020 among 1,000 Malaysian consumers, 1,005 Indonesian consumers and 1,055 Thai consumers. The survey was carried out through online panels sourced by research agencies.