Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Kumu, Huawei Ads announce collaborative partnership to enhance UX through advertising

Manila, Philippines – Local live-streaming platform Kumu has announced a collaborative partnership with Huawei Ads through the platform’s ad agency AVOW to enhance user experience by improving advertising on the platform.

In this campaign, AVOW made use of the various ad solutions offered such as AppGallery, Petal Search and display ads to balance out their ad placements to generate the best results. 

Additionally, incorporating HUAWEI Ads multiple targeting options such as location, demographics and user behaviour into Kumu’s ad strategy brought about greater brand exposure to a diverse audience base. These features collectively amplified Kumu’s presence and audience conversion rates.

Furthermore, HUAWEI Ads Data Management Platform (DMP) provided Kumu with insights on the campaign performance through a comprehensive breakdown of key metrics. This information allows Kumu to make targeted improvements that will optimise their future ad strategies, with the help of AVOW.

Alex Tshering, chief growth officer at Kumu, said, “Thanks to the delivery of premium advertisements on HUAWEI Ads, Kumu has grown to be one of the highest grossing applications in the markets. Our partnership with HUAWEI Ads have helped us to generate leads far greater than our initial campaign goals.”

Based on activity data gathered from algorithms across all Huawei devices, HUAWEI Ads identified and recommended potential audiences who fit Kumu’s target profile, which ultimately helped them broaden their target audience and user base. In addition to growing Kumu’s user base and maximising its ad performance, the algorithm detects and filters out fraudulent inventory, effectively countering the issue of inflated ad performance metrics.

Meanwhile, Rei Xiao, director of mobile ecosystem business growth at Huawei Asia Pacific Region, commented, “Our partnership with Kumu highlights our commitment to delivering high quality ads that drive user growth and engagement. We have dedicated teams that work closely with our clients to get the best returns on their investment. We greatly look forward to deepening our strong partnership with Kumu, and to continue working as one team to meet their business objectives.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

kumu, Komiket partner to produce comic content in PH

Manila, Philippines – Live-streaming platform kumu in the Philippines has partnered with Komiket, the Filipino comics and art market, aimed at empowering the Philippine comics community globally. 

Komiket serves as an entry point for first-time comics creators, artists, and readers. It provides accessible markets for creators to showcase their work, discover and nurture new talent, and bridge Filipino comics to the rest of the world through the Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF).

Through the partnership with kumu, Komiket will be able to bring the Filipino comics community together. Its artists can easily share their work with the entire kumunity, and enthusiasts can meet and interact with some of their favourite comic artists, as well as conversations on comics—from lighthearted ones to more important discussions—will have a space of their own. Beyond that, Komiket will be able to connect with young individuals with aspirations to become comic artists and provide them with the tools and guidance that they need to make their dreams a reality.

Moreover, kumu and Komiket will also be funding ₱500,000 worth of awards and publishing deals to comics creators in the Komiket community. All creators included in various genres published by Komiket in 2022 will be eligible, with the top prize being ₱150,000 in cash and a publishing deal with Komiket for both the Komiket Awards and the Kumu Kumunity’s Choice winners.

The partnership kicked off last 13 February 2022 on the @komiket kumu account with legendary comic artist Whilce Portacio announcing the launch of the Stone Omnibus, an epic revival of one of the 90’s top-selling indie comics. This entire series, which spans eight issues, will be bound together in an ultimate collector’s edition. 

Rexy Dorado, kumu’s co-founder and president, shared that local comics, or komiks in Filipino, have historically been one of the cradles of Filipino storytelling and imagination.

“In line with our goals to create the best platform for Filipino creators, we are excited to partner with Komiket, one of the leading organizations in the industry, to make Kumu the best place for fans and creators of Pinoy komiks,” said Dorado.

Kumu said that this is just the beginning of a promising partnership between two organisations rooted in community and culture. It aims to uplift Filipino creators, readers, and budding artists. 

Future streams will be announced on the @komiket channel in the kumu app.

Main Feature Platforms Southeast Asia

Industry Leader of The Year: kumu’s Crystal Widjaja

We have witnessed momentous and pivotal elevations and hires this year, but kumu’s Chief Product Officer Crystal Widjaja ultimately comes out as our Industry Leader of The Year

The homegrown and now leading live streaming platform in the Philippines unveiled ex-GoJek Widjaja as an addition to the team in June 2021. Widjaja is a fixture in business and tech, where in GoJek, she took on roles in business intelligence and growth. At kumu, Widjaja is charged to strengthen the platform’s overall product strategy and leverage her extensive experience in helping startups in growth, data, and strategy. 

The Filipino platform has earned supercharged traction over the course of the pandemic, becoming the go-to destination for creators and audiences; today, kumu fully realizes its leadership, becoming the partner of Pinoy Big Brother, one of the top reality TV shows in the country.

Here’s our exclusive conversation with Widjaja who shared with us her biggest challenge in the role, the new experiences they’re looking to build, and her forecast into content creation in 2022 – one she sees as authentic and ‘perfectly imperfect’ content making the biggest impact.

Stepping into the role of chief product officer, what has been the biggest challenge for you?

Like everyone else this year, working with a remote team in the middle of a global pandemic! Building and showing empathy to a team who has never seen you in person is challenging, but what’s more is that everyone is going through exceptional hardship. From a pure product standpoint, I think the challenge for newer businesses will be differentiating ‘pulled forward’ covid-era user behaviors from sustainable growth — and knowing which ones are opportunities vs dead ends.

What new products can we expect from the platform?

We’re excited to continue building exceptional consumer experiences as the best place for filipino-friendly creators, aspiring PBB housemates, artists, musicians, magicians, BPO communities… our ‘kumuverse’ is filled with so many creative groups. We plan on building stronger Trust & Safety tools to keep our safe, authentic community healthy as well as new features that help friendships grow. You never know who you’ll meet on kumu!

The platform has been recently hinting on its international expansion, how does this affect your current product development?

The Philippines has often been the testing ground for companies looking to go international. This time, kumu has the homegrown advantage – building in the Philippines for the Philippines gives us the upper hand. 

What do you think are the new trends and opportunities in the live streaming space as we approach 2022?

The past few years gave the world an opportunity to see how quick and talented a creative content creator could be with viral trends! I’m encouraged by the democratization of content creation in this semi-crowdsourced format. In the next year, however, I want to pay special attention to the content creators that embrace the ‘build in public’ ethos. 

I think there’s a lot less appeal in the overly-manicured, picture-perfect social media – much of it isn’t representative, authentic, nor relatable. And after what a horrible year we’ve all had, it’s rather disingenuous. The beauty of live streaming is seeing it happen for real – building in public – even if that means ‘failing’ in public. 

You might see this manifest in broken soldering attempts in a live mechanical keyboard build, an eyeliner that’s out of ink during a makeup tutorial, or a meringue that just won’t look like the recipe book (disclaimer: I’ve absolutely done all three of these in the last year). I look forward to embracing the perfectly imperfect in each and every individual creator out there.

This recognition is based on the results of Google Analytics on the most-read stories of 2021 with editorial validation on the significance of a leader’s contribution, campaigns results, and overall impact.

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MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for November: A Disney veteran joins local Filipino live streaming platform

The penultimate year-end is not backing off on a lighter note. In its own right, the month of November ends with a bang with new marketing leaders inducted in the digital space, a launch of an industry-first partnership, and a massive contest marketing from an e-commerce brand.

In Singapore, a top e-commerce has unveiled its biggest giveaway yet for its campaign on 11.11. Meanwhile, in APAC, a communications firm has revealed in one fell swoop its new digital leaders for its different markets in the region. This month, a media giant’s creative agency has also announced its new MD for APAC. 

Still region-wide, a creative and communications network has specially partnered with TikTok to specifically build capabilities for brands to conquer audiences on the platform. 

Most interestingly, we have seen, this month, a veteran from the world’s favorite content creator joining a fast-growing live streaming platform in the Philippines.

Get to know more the top-read stories this month.

Top 5: Lazada launches massive 11.11 giveaway: An SG$1m-worth condo unit


Regional e-commerce platform Lazada in Singapore, in a bid to further encourage 11.11 sales, has launched one of its biggest giveaways yet: a S$1m-worth condominium unit at the Normanton Park. The initiative, co-sponsored by real estate company PropNex, has concluded with a 70-year-old retiree as the winner, who interestingly just entered the contest with S$3.41 for Aloe Vera Gel and a digital voucher for a Nasi Lemak as investments. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Wook Kwon, chief marketing officer at Lazada Singapore, said that through these giveaways, they aim to reel in more customers to go back to their platform.

“The world of e-commerce can bring on an array of possibilities. So in this way, the latest giveaway, we strive to keep our customers going back to our platform, keep them engaged to go back to our sellers on the platform,” Kwon stated.

A major part of the campaign is gamification, where eligibility to enter and win is through collecting ‘golden keys’ on various missions in the Lazada app, and that more keys collected grant a higher chance of winning. 

Kwon added, “Gamification is important in customer experience. It’s the best experience that keeps our customers going back to our platform. Gamification is part of our ‘shoppertainment’ strategy to enhance the shopping experience.”

Top 4: Virtue appoints former MediaMonks’ Lesley John as managing director for APAC


Virtue, the creative agency under media company VICE, has appointed former head of client services at MediaMonks Singapore Lesley John, to be its managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. 

Through her new role, John will be overseeing Virtue’s business and teams across the region including offices in India, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan from its Singapore hub.

Regarding her view on the state of content creation within APAC, John told MARKETECH APAC that there is diversity shown across the region, amplified by global cultural phenomena such as K-pop and J-pop.

“If you were to look at streaming platforms like Netflix, they’re starting to surface more cross-cultural content pollination,” she stated.

John also noted various cultural tropes that make the region’s content consumption unique, such as the rise of anime and idol content in homegrown platforms like Bilibili, or how a universal theme such as humor can vary from region to region, just like how Thailand’s approach to humor is ‘deadpan’.

When asked what advice can be given to brands when creating content for APAC audiences, she shared that the first thing is always finding an ‘interesting story’, and then finding the most compelling way to deliver it.

“Don’t be afraid to tap into emerging themes or subcultures if they’re relevant to the theme [or] story you want to deliver. Be authentic, reward your audience intellectually. I guess there’s always a temptation about going to the lowest common denominator, [and] that results to very bland, inauthentic, doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a real point of view,” John concluded.

Top 3: Edelman announces new roster of digital hires


Global communications firm has unveiled the new executives that will be at the wheel of its digital business in APAC, namely the heads of digital for its India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Australia teams. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Matt Collette, Edelman’s APAC vice-chair for digital, shared that the new hires are the firm’s response to brands’ stronger commitment to deliver greater digital experiences over the pandemic. 

On the top challenge digital marketers are facing today, Collette specifically cited reduced ad targeting opportunities brought about by stricter privacy features from tech giants such as Apple.

“The implications for that…had been on the quality of data that companies are receiving with respect to how people are engaging with ads specifically; [that] has deteriorated significantly. What we’ve seen [is an] increase in costs for performance campaigns,” said Collette. 

Collette said that, hence, this is a major area the communications firm is helping out clients on today – figuring out what other strategies and tactics they can deploy to effectively build first-party data. 

“We want to make sure that we have digital teams across all of our markets in Asia-Pacific that are able to engage with the clients in a way that demonstrates deep expertise and knowledge of the digital space,” said Collette. 

Top 2: dentsu APAC, TikTok partner to help brands win on the short-video platform

Creative and communications network dentsu in APAC has unveiled in October a partnership that will see the network building commerce and media capabilities to effectively elevate brands’ presence in TikTok. 

Interestingly, within the tie-up is a program called ‘Test with TikTok’ which brings together the performance team from dentsu and product team from TikTok to test several performance and commerce hypotheses on the platform.

In an interview with Sunil Naryani, dentsu APAC’s president for product, commercials & partnerships, he shared that oftentimes, testings within the market ecosystem do not yield in valuable results and insights for reasons such as failure to establish a clear hypothesis on what must be tested and at times, tests’ misalignment to a brand or media’s objective. 

“This is what we’re trying to solve with ‘Test with TikTok’. It is essentially a structured way in which we are testing various TikTok products and solutions so we could unlock the full potential of the platform for our clients,” Naryani said. 

Naryani further shared that most of all, the whole objective of the partnership is to deliver differentiated value to brands. 

“The key discussion that takes place is what is important for our [clients] and we’re looking at the full funnel. At this stage, there is a lot of focus on the mid and the bottom funnel,” added Naryani.

Top 1: Former Disney exec Anand Roy joins kumu as SVP of strategy, international

Anand Roy Kumu

And our top story for the month of November is none other than live streaming platform kumu in the Philippines, with its recent appointment of Anand Roy, former regional director of music and live entertainment for SEA at Disney, to be its new senior vice president for strategy and international.

According to Roy, he first heard about the kumu platform from Open Space Ventures, one of the company’s investors, and at that time, was feeling quite unhappy with the state of social media generally. 

In a MARKETECH APAC interview, Roy shared what themes of online content will be the next big thing among audiences.

“One big seismic change which has happened in consumers’ lives for the past two years has been the realization that both work and study can happen online. This is a fact which has been brought to the surface because of the realities around the pandemic, and it promises to be an absolutely monumental change in the way people work,” he said.

Roy believes that over the next period, people will try to find balance between online image and research projection and offline detox and offline unwind.

Regarding his new role, Roy also shared the international plans of the proudly Philippine-made live streaming platform.

“The international strategy will be built on the authenticity of the platform. kumu stands for optimism, hope, positivity, and community; these are values which translate across the planet,” said Roy.

He added, “My endeavor would be to ensure that these fundamental principles get translated in every market we go to, and these guiding principles become the bedrock on which the platform is built.”

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌October to 15th‌ ‌November.

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Former Disney exec Anand Roy joins kumu as SVP of strategy, international

Manila, Philippines – Live-streaming platform kumu in the Philippines has appointed Anand Roy, former regional director of music and live entertainment for SEA at Disney, as its new senior vice president for strategy and international.

Roy brings with him more than 17 years of experience from Disney and has mainly worked with international markets. 

Roy shared that he first heard about the platform from Open Space Ventures, one of the company’s investors, and at that time, was feeling quite unhappy with the state of social media generally, but with Kumu, he viewed the business as brimming with positivity, optimism, and community. 

Roy believes in the field of entertainment and technology,and that there has never been a better time to be in the international marketplace than today. 

“In many ways, this should have been what social media is about—bringing out the best of humanity, and not what we are seeing right now. Social media should not be dividing and polarising society. The basic, most vital ingredients are already in place here at kumu,” said Roy.

He added, “What I’m hoping to add to the team is that pursuit of excellence, and an ambition to be the best in the world in what we’re doing. That’s the recipe for global success.”

Rexy Dorado, kumu’s president and co-founder, commented, “We’ve always looked up to Disney as a reference for their work in media, entertainment, and the business of inspiring love and imagination. We’re excited for Anand to tap into his experience leading Disney’s music and content efforts in the region in pursuit of our growing ambitions.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Following tie-up, kumu, Wattpad finally launches first-ever virtual fanfest on platform

Manila, Philippines – Following the announcement of the partnership between global platform for user-generated stories, Wattpad, and Filipino live streaming platform, kumu, in July, the tie-up has finally come out with its very first ‘Wattpad Fan Fest’, a virtual event where fans, readers, and authors can engage and celebrate with the Filipino Wattpad Community. 

The ‘Wattpad Fan Fest’, which will happen on 31 October 2021, aims to bring exciting shows and surprises to delight the reading and writing community for a full day, starting at 10:30 am until 10:00 pm PHT on the @wattpadPH kumu channel. 

Through the event, fans can get a chance to attend multiple ‘Meet and Greets’ throughout the day, play interactive quiz games such as ‘Guess The Story’ and ‘Guess the Star’, and attend a workshop called ‘From Stories to Stars’, featuring writers Loridee DeVilla, Claudia Tan, and Wattpad representatives Aron Levitz, the president of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios and Maria Hall, the international writer lead of Wattpad. 

In addition, the virtual fanfest includes a panel discussion on ‘Publishing as a Passion’ by Wattpad authors Greenwriter, TheCatWhoDoesntMeow, Patyeah, heartlessnostalgia, and kissmyredlips, as well as publishing experts Ryan Benitez of Wattpad, and Anvil’s Arlyn Dimayuga and AJ Villamar. It will also feature ‘Wattpad Fanfest Special’, a live reading of excerpts from Wattpad story ‘He’s Into Her and The Four Bad Boys and Me!’.

Kyla Relucio, kumu’s content partnerships director, said, “kumu has always been groundbreaking in its efforts – from its digital capabilities to innovative show concepts, to its culture that celebrates all creative talents. Kumu is the world we’ve always wanted to build, and we’re so happy to be growing along with them every day.”

Chris Stefanyk, the head of brand partnerships at Wattpad, commented that they appreciate kumu as its safe space allows people to directly engage with their readers, fans, and even idols.

“Through the different live streams, activities, and events, the community is able to come together in a new way and build this exciting culture powered by fresh, creative energy. This is what the writing community has always sought to achieve on a deeper level, and it’s been amazing,” said Stefanyk.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for July: Asian food delivery’s new offering bags top spot

For the month of July, the Southeast Asia region once again snitches the spotlight with stories ranging from K-pop research, a fast-food chain’s case study, to an app that aims to cater to a country’s long-standing culture in trading. 

This period, we see a very interesting study that has put an official percentage of how much a brand can benefit from web searches upon roping in K-pop group BTS as an endorser. Food delivery is also a highlight this month, with a leading food delivery platform in Asia launching a new offer, and a fast-food brand in Malaysia releasing its case study on a successful 2020 campaign that helped save its delivery business in the face of home cooking-loving consumers. 

In the Philippines, we see a live-streaming platform unveiling an ex-Gojek exec as one of its new heads, and from the same country as well as a top story on a commerce enabler that aims to bring digitization to a traditional type of minimart that has been around in the country for years. 

With rankings based on Google Analytics for the period of 16th June to 15th July, here are the brands that had you turning with a second look.

Top 5: BTS ambassadorships can boost brand searches by up to 50%, iPrice study shows

Celebrities have undoubtedly been the primary faces of brands, and the new wave of K-pop groups and personalities have just turned to be the novel key to impactfully lift their awareness among consumers. In particular, global superstars BTS; In their multiple stints as global and regional ambassadors, it is no wonder how the latest data from e-commerce aggregator iPrice shows the sheer impact BTS can have on brands when tapping the group as their brand ambassadors.

According to their data, search results for brands can jump up to 50% after signing on BTS as their ambassador, which has long been evident across brands three years ago when the prominence of K-pop brand ambassadors started to materialize.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Isabelle Romualdez, senior content marketing executive at iPrice stated that such affiliation can drive up web traffic of the websites of these brands, which can eventually help drive up their sales online. 

She also added that ‘BTS’ influence is so strong that they create a lot of ‘noise’ on social media.’

Citing the campaign for global fast-food chain McDonald’s, for instance, she notes that in Vietnam, the fast-food chain was able to sell 10,000 BTS Meals in one day, and that in the Philippines, they were able to sell 3.5 million pieces of chicken nuggets on the day of the launch.

The best possible outcome for brands which I think is also how BTS affects them is that their partnership [with them] can increase their sales. BTS fans are really devoted, they really spend on their merch. They spend around US$1,400 for their merch, tickets, and other things. And so for them to line up and spend for a special meal or product, it’s really no big deal for them.

Asked about what smaller brands can do who might not be able to afford to partner K-pop personalities, she states this:

“One of the challenges for these smaller brands is that they can’t afford big brand ambassadors, so they have this responsibility to be creative with their campaigns but they can still achieve as much success if they create creative campaigns. Another way is to create content that interests the K-pop fanbase, [such as] talking about their behavior.”

Top 4: Former Gojek growth leader Crystal Widjaja joins kumu as new chief product officer

Filipino live-streaming platform, kumu, has appointed the former chief of staff and senior vice president of growth at Indonesia’s Gojek, Crystal Widjaja, to now assume the role of chief product officer.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Widjaja to know more about what kumu products she is looking to develop and prioritize.

“We need to start building out products that really do unlock experiences, better than online and offline experiences,” said Widjaja in the interview.

Widjaja shared that the platform will be developing its creator base, building out the best creator tools so that content creators can host game shows, create amazing vlogs, and have fun, among others.

“I think what’s really important is to actually build an enablement platform, where people who want to be a community builder and to engage one another have the tools and [apps] to do that,” she said.

The core of kumu is beyond just a social network for content creators. It really is a social participatory network, and that means we are highly engaging and we allow users to reward one another.

Widjaja will be leveraging her extensive experience in helping startups with growth, data, and strategy, as well as bolstering the platform’s overall product strategy. 

In the same interview, Widjaja bared that building kumu has always been about creating opportunities for people to create their small social spaces and a safe environment, one where they can be themselves with people they admire.

Top 3: KFC turned every Malaysian Kitchen into a KEPCI Kitchen

At the start of the Covid in 2020, fast food brand KFC in Malaysia was faced with a dilemma – how does it maintain its delivery business, when consumers, even despite its initial surge, had easily grown tired of ordering take-out? In trying to find a solution, KFC soon found it was not other QSR brands that were the enemy, but the newfound love of home cooking. 

In partnership with digital creative agency Reprise, KFC released the campaign KEPCI Kitchen based on this insight, and turned the present trend in their favor – building the excitement of Malaysians to repurpose KFC items in their personal recipes, and therefore, turning their kitchen into a KEPCI kitchen. 

Due to a highly engaging integrated campaign which included a dedicated ‘KFC’ cookbook, consistent recipe sharing on Instagram, and also a sponsored cooking show, the campaign soon achieved its target and even more. 

In an exclusive chat with KFC Malaysia’s CEO Chan May Ling and Reprise’s Creative Director Eddy Nazarullah, the two both chalked it up to great teamwork and relationship between the brand and agency. 

“I think the lovely thing about this case study, I think, is the client-agency partnership, and how fast the team reacted because nobody knew how to react during a lockdown,” Chan said.

“[We’re] very close to our agency partner to uncover the insight and to have a common agreement on how we want to build the brand, and how we want to engage, and I think that’s very important in a relationship; and that’s how it sparked,” she added.

I think what’s key is the collaboration between KFC and [Reprise]. It’s the agency and client relationship that’s definitely made this happen. For us to achieve this, it’s definitely something we can’t do alone, and we definitely need the support from the team.

Nazarullah echoing Chan’s statement

Top 2: PH commerce enabler GrowSari secures US$30m funding for operation expansion

Philippine-borne business-to-business commerce enabler GrowSari has announced that the company has secured more than US$30m in funding from various companies and venture capitals, which include Gokongwei-led listed Philippine retailer Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) and JG Digital Equity Ventures, as well as Wavemaker Partners.

Other funding participants include Pavilion Capital, Tencent, Saison Capital, ICCP SBI Venture Partners, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a member of the World Bank Group.

For GrowSari, said funding will help fuel the company’s vision of tapping into sari-sari stores, the Filipino version of neighborhood mom-and-pop stores, which according to GrowSari, has the potential to be the biggest and most accessible distribution channel in the Philippines through driving efficiencies in route planning while collecting valuable insights on store behavior.

In an interview with MARKETECH APAC, Maimai Punzalan, chief marketing officer at GrowSari stated aside from creating more offerings and establishing bigger suppliers and market supply for their clients, they envision expanding from their current 50,000 store base across 100 municipalities in mainland Luzon to around 300,000 store bases in the next two years.

She also added that as they started GrowSari in the first place, there were two things that they needed to address in order to aid these sari-sari store owners: access to affordable goods and assortment of goods, ranging from dry goods to basic necessities. Such aspirations stem from the company’s observation of the current status quo of these local neighborhood stores in the country.

We recognize that the sari-sari store segment is such, maybe an underserved channel for the Philippines, despite it’s serving [about] 84% of Filipinos [who] would shop in a sari-sari store, and it makes it relevant for all of the Filipinos out there. There are about 1 million sari-sari stores spread across the archipelago. I think what’s tough for them though is despite being so important to the lives of the Filipino people, they’re barely making enough really to keep running their business.

GrowSari outfits Philippine sari-sari store owners with inventory, infrastructure, and tools to manage and grow their business while generating crucial data and market insights for manufacturers and distributors.

Top 1: foodpanda ties up with Unilever to now deliver on-demand ice cream products

For our top story for the month, we have the leading food delivery platform in Asia, foodpanda, and its recent partnership with Unilever. The digital change for all economies continues to accelerate, especially now that new consumers migrate online for shopping due to the pandemic, and with this, quick-commerce – the super fast delivery of anything to customers in under one hour or often much faster – is becoming the standard of service.

Unilever and foodpanda’s team-up is aimed at offering 24/7 on-demand ice cream deliveries through foodpanda shops and pandamart – foodpanda’s cloud grocery network. This move targets to reach a wider customer base via foodpanda’s q-commerce across Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Abhishek Sahay, foodpanda’s senior director of new business, said, “We did find speed as one of the customer insights that [really] people want, and it wasn’t just food deliveries but in every aspect of life. They are becoming much more used to on-demand stuff.”

He adds that the intention behind q-commerce is to provide speed and choice for customers.

Aside from delivering a variety of ice cream, the partnership also includes new product launches, bundle deals, and promotional campaigns, as well as optimized digital advertising and customer engagement on the platform, such as strategic placements of digital banners on the platform, the creative use of in-app notifications, and campaigns on social media.

We are no longer just a food delivery company. We are expanding into new verticals. In terms of future plans, we definitely have a long way to go, specifically on quick commerce. And as we think of expansion, we have three different ways. One is we want more and more stores. Secondly, we think of new country expansion, launching in Japan, Cambodia, and Myanmar. And the third is category expansion,” said Sahay, regarding foodpanda’s future plans.

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Wattpad takes a new digital format as it partners with PH’s live streaming platform kumu

Singapore – Within the recent period that digital has seen a surge in adoption, the format of live streaming has proven to be a powerful channel in offering audiences a new and exciting way of engaging with brands. The most prominent being is the emergence of live streaming specifically in e-commerce. This time, we see another brand take on the trend and probably a one-of-its-kind – Wattpad, the global platform for user-generated stories that we’ve come to love, has partnered with kumu, the fast-growing live streaming platform in the Philippines.

Kumu is a live streaming platform that is rising in popularity among Filipino viewers. Aside from presenting creators and performers opportunities to be a live streamer, the platform also runs game shows where users can win cash prizes. Through the partnership with the platform, Wattpad looks to diversify its stories into exciting digital formats such as live streaming, audio streaming, and social commerce. 

Facilitated by marketing agency Culture Group, the partnership will give some of Wattpad’s most popular influencers the opportunity to connect with their fans in the region, developing a slate of interactive social streaming content exclusive to kumu. 

Starting 16 July, exclusive Wattpad live streams will be held at the official @WattpadPH account on kumu. Through this, fans and aspiring writers can come together to discuss their passion and appreciation for all things storytelling. Every Friday at 7pm PHT, viewers can tune in to join the ‘Write With Me’ livestream series, a special live show where fans can meet and interact with Wattpad stars.

According to the two platforms, the tie-up is also their answer to the digitally-savvy Gen Z consumer.

“The Gen Z community on Wattpad is passionate and highly engaged, and we’re excited for this new opportunity to connect readers with their favorite indie writers,” said Chris Stefanyk, head of brand partnerships at Wattpad.

Meanwhile, Angelo Mendez, co-founder and chief of content at kumu, added, “Wattpad is a big part of Gen Z Filipino culture, and this partnership will allow us to broaden our audiences by giving them an opportunity to foster authentic connections with their favorite Wattpad stars and new ways to enjoy their favorite Wattpad content.”

Kumu will also be allowing audiences to send virtual gifts to their favorite Wattpad stars. Furthermore, the partnership will be enabling social commerce, and will see upcoming opportunities for ticketed events, merchandise, and apparel in the near future. Said other initiatives will be unveiled in the coming weeks. 

According to Wattpad, it now records 90 million readers globally where more than 6 million are in the Philippines. A number of original stories from Wattpad have already been turned into films in the country such as She’s Dating the Gangster, Diary ng Panget (Diary of the Ugly), and Just The Way You Are, which featured some of the brightest stars in the country. 

Just recently, kumu announced a new type of event hosting in its platform – the kumu ‘Live Events’. The new platform aims to replicate the real-life live events and concerts complete with being ticketed and gated as well as coming with post-show engagements. This is in contrast to the standard kumu live stream shows that are open to public viewing.

MARKETECH APAC reached out to Michael Patent, founder and president of Culture Group, who shared exclusive bits on the upcoming engagements of Wattpad on kumu, including a fan-centric mega event in the future that would involve kumu’s ticketing, social commerce, and social streaming features.

MARKETECH APAC: What makes this partnership different? Was there a specific rise in demand for stars and fans’ engagement?

Patent: We (Culture Group) recognized that Wattpad and Kumu play a critical role in the creator economy; Wattpad on user-generated content and Kumu in the formation of creator-driven communities. We knew a marriage of the two would lead to greater exposure for creators and greater engagement for the Wattpad fandom. It’s a first of its kind between a live-streaming platform and a creator platform.

The success of the partnership is rooted in the behaviors of Gen Z in Southeast Asia. They are the ‘creation generation’, and this partnership allows both brands to engage deeper with their community. The intersection of content, community, and commerce allows Wattpad’s fandoms to support the creators they love.

MARKETECH APAC: How will this specific engagement go about on kumu? What must users and fans do in order to be part of this? 

Patent: Wattpad’s leading stars will have a presence on Kumu with unique content formats such as ‘Write with Me’, ‘Wattpad Fan Quiz Show’, and ‘Ask me Anything’. This means there is a deeper level of engagement, never previously seen before for kumu fans. The fans will have more control over the narrative. What makes this great is that any member of Wattpad’s fandom can log into Kumu and engage with their favorite writers through social streaming. 

There’s also a significant ‘gamification’ of the program. This means fans who engage with Wattpad Stars can now win unique prizes and access. This is a key feature and is available via Kumu.

Highlights of the features include: 

Write with me Livestream: While writing, the Wattpad Star will ask viewers to vote on specific choices to determine what happens in the story. Imagine being able to decide what the character is wearing, where the scene will occur, or even the time of the day for a critical location. 

Fan Quiz Show: Fans will play a quiz with their favorite stars on their stories. The host will have the ability to ask fans to send as many virtual gifts (VG/diamonds) as they can while they play music. When the music stops, one of the hosts will take a screenshot of the stream to reveal a winner. They will be gifted signed books and other Wattpad merchandise.

MARKETECH APAC: What other upcoming projects can we expect in line with this new initiative? 

Patent: There’s a fan-centric mega event planned that involves Kumu’s ticketing, social commerce, and social streaming features. There’s also the possibility for capsule collections of merchandise and apparel from Wattpad IP to be sold on Kumu. 

Recognizing the power of fandoms and communities, I think we’re likely to see much more from Wattpad and Kumu, two of the hottest engagement platforms for Gen Z consumers in the Philippines.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Former Gojek growth leader Crystal Widjaja joins kumu as new chief product officer

Manila, Philippines – Live-streaming platform kumu in the Philippines has welcomed a new chief product officer, Crystal Widjaja, the former chief of staff and senior vice president of growth at Indonesia’s Gojek.

Currently, Widjaja is the entrepreneur-in-residence at e-learning company Reforge. Prior to joining Reforge, she led a team of engineers, analysts, and product managers in Gojek, and was responsible for growing orders from 30,000 to over 5 million per day. 

In her new role, Widjaja will be leveraging her extensive experience in helping startups with growth, data, and strategy, alongside bolstering the platform’s overall product strategy. 

Commenting on her appointment, Widjaja said that she is honored to join kumu and take on its mission of building the largest participatory social network in the world. 

“For us, the ultimate goal is to be there and provide authentic connections when you’re bored, lonely, or feel disconnected. I’m thrilled and inspired to see how we become a larger part of the world’s everyday life, and the friendships we make along the way,” said Widjaja. 

Meanwhile, kumu’s Founder and CEO Roland Ros commented that they are absolutely delighted to have Widjaja as part of the kumu family. 

“With our commitment to building kumu as the best place for content creators to engage and scale authentic communities, we believe she is the transformational partner that we need to get to the next level,” said Ros. 

Rexy Dorado, the president and co-founder at kumu, said, “Our people are the most important part of kumu. With this new wave of world-class leaders, we believe we can build a product and company that raises the bar not just in the Philippines, not just in the region, but the entire global community.”

Just recently, the platform has just also announced the appointment of Alex Tshering, the new chief growth officer.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 stories for May: Southeast Asian brands sweep this month’s top spots

This month of May, the region of Southeast Asia took the reigns, with four out of five stories coming from the region, with one global brand entering the list. This month is all about the area of producing fresh content and platforms. 

One live streaming platform launched a new feature that would see the replication of physical ‘live events’, while another brand, top e-commerce in fashion and lifestyle, is jumping on the trend of podcasts but with a novel take. 

The end of Ramadan or the celebration of Hari Raya was commemorated by Muslims throughout the world this month, with one brand coming out on the top with its sentimental and touching Hari Raya short film. 

Meanwhile, in the area of content regulation, we also saw a new leadership being announced that marks a new era of regulating content in one SEA country. Last but not the least, readers were hooked on the story of the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight where we gave the seat to global CMS provider Magnolia. 

The top stories were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 April to 15 May. Take a look. 

Top 5: Zalora launches ‘Zalora Talks’

Entering in our Top 5 stories for May is fashion and lifestyle e-commerce Zalora in Southeast Asia. While fashion is a realm that’s highly visual and not often ‘talked’ about through conversations alone, Zalora aims to break the norm through the launch of its podcast, ’Zalora Talks’ on Spotify, the first-ever fashion and lifestyle podcast in Asia. 

While Chris Daguimol, Zalora’s group director and head of corporate communications, agrees to this, he said that in today’s time, Fashion has evolved into becoming a platform to raise pertinent social issues such as sustainability. 

“Right now, we actually have people who are big in sustainability. It’s a healthy kind of conversation, and I think this is the right time to start being part of that conversation, and Zalora’s very proud to be part of that initiative and conversation and to have all this put out there as a Southeast Asian point of view, and with [matters] that resonate with consumers in Southeast Asia,” said Daguimol in a MARKETECH APAC interview.

Daguimol said that the United States remains the main fashion hub and that conversations on fashion often revolve around the western point of view. With ‘Zalora Talks’, the e-commerce aims to make the Southeast Asian voice be heard, which boasts a fashion and lifestyle culture that’s rich and vibrant as any other. 

The series was launched on 4 May and currently has five episodes. The series, which is made to comprise two seasons, is hosted by Amy Yasmine, the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia, and will have six episodes for each season. The series brings together industry experts, brand partners, and fashion and lifestyle key opinion leaders from countries all over Southeast Asia.

Top 4: CMS Magnolia on the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight

For the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight, our deep dive into organizations and companies that have recently achieved an industry milestone, we featured global tech company and CMS provider Magnolia. 

Magnolia which has presence in Europe and APAC, and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently entered the leading list of top tech providers in the world: Global advisory Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The report method uses a quadrant to identify the top-performing tech systems in the world, and Magnolia was recently identified as a ‘niche player’ for its digital experience platform (DXP) Magnolia DX Core. 

In the episode, we conversed with Magnolia’s General Manager for APAC Don Lee, who aside from sharing the company’s response to Gartner’s report, also gave informative insights to companies that are looking to adopt a digital experience platform themselves. 

Among the tips he shared are: focusing on the facet of digital experience that one wants to succeed in and building a modular and organic DXP for faster DX development. Learn more about his insights here

Top 3: kumu launches ‘Live Events’ platform

Even over a year of the pandemic, most nations in the world are still grappling with lockdowns, with countries even dealing with new waves of the virus. With this, in-person interactions are still far from reality. 

Local and emerging top live streaming platform in the Philippines, kumu, has recently responded to this call, coming up with a new feature for Filipinos that aims to replicate real-life ‘live events’. 

With the new kumu ‘live events’, kumu aims to provide the biggest virtual stage in the country to offer its viewers live concert experiences, festivals, and parties from the comfort of their own homes. To give that full ‘live show’ experience, kumu will be enabling features that model the physical version that we all have come to enjoy such as post-show engagement with the artists. in contrast to the standard Kumu live stream shows that are open to public viewing, live events will be ticketed and gated. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Mariel Bitanga, head of kumu Live Events, shared that aside from the benefit of the users and viewers, the new feature is very much for its performers and top streamers in the platform, making possible the opportunity to have a special type of production for their fans. 

“Kumu is a fast-growing app and platform, and we wanted as a company to have an offering other than the usual app features that we wanted to have a platform on the web. Kumu Live is actually not just events, it actually has gaming, and you could actually live streams there,” said Bitanga

Top 2: Kärcher Malaysia’s Hari Raya short film 

As a Muslim-wide country, Malaysia has been all spirits for the month of May as it approached the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri. 

Different brands and companies came in solidarity with Muslims in the country, showcasing each of their creative campaigns that all echoed the importance of making time for family even amid one of the most difficult times for social connections. 

One particular campaign stood out and entered the top 5 stories this month – the Hari Raya short film of professional cleaning tools and equipment supplier, Kärcher Malaysia. 

The brand took quite a different turn on its theme on family, using ‘memories’ as the element to bring the message that when members come together to bond, old memories are sometimes sidelined. The narrative revolves around a son who wishes to sell the family house but is contested by his parents as it holds lots of precious memories. As they clean and prepare the house for sale, Zack, the son, realizes his parents are right all along.

The campaign was spearheaded by social agency Kingdom Digital together with Untitled Films. 

In a conversation with Kingdom Digital’s head for account servicing Lui Xiao Yee, she shared that through the film, they wanted to show that not everything old is bad and that not everything old should be thrown away. 

“As we all know Karcher sells professional cleaning products, basically cleaning equipment and tools. We thought that it’s really relevant for the brand as well as the end consumer to tap into this spring cleaning kind of tradition,’ she said. 

Top 1: Malaysia’s The Content Forum names Astro Radio’s Kenny Ong as new chairman

For our top 1 story for the month of May, we have another news from Malaysia. The country’s independent self-regulatory body, The Content Forum, has recently elected Astro Radio’s CEO Kenny Ong to be its new chairman

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, or simply The Content Forum, is made up of various organizations representing the communications and multimedia industry. It governs content by self-regulation in line with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code – a set of rules that are applied to all content in the networked medium such as radio, television, audio text, and internet content from the country, as well as electronic boards, and public transport, among others.

The appointment will see Ong assuming the position for a two-year term, succeeding outgoing chairman Y.Bhg. Dato’ Khairul Anwar Salleh, the CEO of Media Prima Television Networks. In his new role, Ong will be bringing over 25 years of knowledge and experience across different industries to lead the council that sets the agenda on building a strong and agile self-regulatory framework for the communications and multimedia content industry. Together with members of the council, he is charged with executing strategies to achieve the vision of the Content Forum, which includes facilitating self-regulation and establishing best practices necessary for the growth of the content industry and the protection of its consumers.

When we caught up with Kenny to tell us more about the role, he said that the change in leadership will give The Content Forum a fresh start with new ideas and a new agenda. He further shared that one of the priorities of the forum would be the revamp of the content code. 

“Getting a revamp will be important because of the new changes that are in the market when we talk about content. When it was first set up many years ago, the definition of content is different from what we have now, when we talk about broadcasters, when we talk about media and a lot of things coming [out] online. We need to revamp the content code to make sure that it takes care of the current situation and what we foresee for the next couple of years,” he said. 

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.