Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – CARSOME has announced that it has secured RM100m in financing facility from AmBank Group to bolster capacity for future growth. The company’s end-to-end ecosystem has significantly expanded through its comprehensive suite of services, including car inspections, sales, financing, and after-sales support.

The RM100 million financing facility secured from AmBank Group will empower CARSOME, significantly enhancing its capacity to grow and innovate. This substantial funding will enable CARSOME to extend its reach, enhance its services, and drive sustained growth, reinforcing its commitment to delivering exceptional value across all facets of its operations.

With AmBank’s support, CARSOME will be able to further accelerate different stages of the used car trading process, offering a comprehensive, hassle-free experience to its customers. AmBank’s commitment to supporting CARSOME underscores the bank’s dedication to fostering the growth of forward-thinking businesses and driving the evolution of the automotive industry in the region.

Eric Cheng, co-founder, chairman, and CEO at CARSOME Group said, “We are thrilled to partner with AmBank, marking a pivotal moment in our journey to revolutionize the automotive industry. A financing facility at this scale is a strong validation of CARSOME’s business model and allows us to enhance CARSOME Group’s overall financing capabilities.”

He addded, “It also underscores our commitment to providing accessible solutions for our customers and elevating the car ownership experience. Through CARSOME Capital, we will leverage this partnership to further expand our service offerings, broadening our impact and continuing to innovate in the automotive ecosystem across Southeast Asia.”

Meanwhile, Christopher Yap, managing director of business banking at AmBank Group, commented, “AmBank is pleased to support CARSOME’s remarkable growth and innovation in providing end-to-end solutions for customers. Their exemplary track record in the used car market makes us proud to partner with them in revolutionising Malaysia’s automotive ecosystem. With their strong brand equity, financial standing, and extensive customer base, we look forward to seeing how this collaboration can further fortify CARSOME Capital’s operations and prospects. We hope to continue to expand opportunities with CARSOME in the coming years.”

The new funding follows a recent partnership of the company with NETA to foray into the sales of new cars, as well as closing a funding round which brought the group’s liquidity position to approximately US$200m. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Shell has partnered with GrowthOps Asia, a marketing transformation agency, to launch its latest nationwide campaign, ‘Kembara Lebih Jauh (Quest for More),’ encouraging Malaysians to embrace daily adventures.

The campaign features a film starring Malaysian film icon Remy Ishak as Roger Hensem, portraying a family man who embodies the spirit of adventure in his daily routine. Roger embarks on a journey that includes driving his daughter to a remote camping site, picking up his wife from downtown for a spontaneous date, and visiting his outstation-living parents.

Shell’s latest campaign film features an adventurous score reminiscent of films like Indiana Jones, skillfully infused with Shell’s iconic sonic branding. As the campaign unfolds, consumers will delve deeper into this cinematic universe, discovering more about the characters and the advantages of Shell FuelSave 95.

Launched by GrowthOps Asia, Shell’s lead creative agency, the campaign film will be broadcast nationwide on TV, cinema, outdoor, radio, social media, and digital platforms. 

Speaking on the campaign, Seow Lee Ming, GM of Shell Mobility Malaysia, shared, “Last year, we introduced our New + Improved Shell FuelSave 95 that delivers better by far fuel economy by up to 15 KM longer per tank*. This new campaign aims to go beyond our product benefits and connect with Malaysians by showcasing how Shell FuelSave 95 is part of their daily lives.”

Adzam Bahrin, regional creative director at GrowthOps, added, “Our inspiration came from the idea that ‘every day can be an adventure,’ or  ‘sebagai pekerja, kita hari hari jadi pengembara’. We wanted to create a campaign that resonates with Malaysians and celebrates this idea.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Around 57% of consumers in Malaysia plan to be more cautious with their spending in the next six months–yet still show a greater interest in spending and rewarding themselves. This is according to a joint research by Omnicom Media Group Malaysia (OMG Malaysia) and AI-driven research firm Vase.ai.

According to the report, low and medium-income consumers – categorised by their household income of those less than RM4,000 and those averaging between RM4,000 to RM9,000, respectively – reward themselves through functional spending, e.g eating out, groceries, homecooked food, and food delivery. 

The research also found that this contrasts with the spending habits of high-income consumers–those that earn more than RM9,000–who focus on vacations, entertainment/leisure, and electronics.

It is also worth noting that rising living costs could potentially impact consumer spending and lead brands to wonder about their sales growth in the coming months. According to the research, only 23% of low-income consumers feel confident about their financial well-being in the next six months compared to 44% of high-income consumers.

Moreover, trust and brand confidence were the primary influence of brand stickiness across all three consumer groups, the research found, followed by the brand offering the best value. Meanwhile, low-medium consumers tend to stick with a brand if it is easy to find and use, while high-income consumers gauge based on brand familiarity.

Additionally, social media platforms and e-commerce marketplaces are now present in the entire consumer purchase journey, unlike in the past where they were mainly in the top and bottom of the consumer funnel. Shopee, Shopee Live, TikTok Shop, and TikTok Live are gaining popularity and surpassing Instagram, the research found. Meanwhile, adoption for Facebook Marketplace remains low.

In terms of essentials, groceries and eating out are the top two essential items consumers spent on, followed by toiletries, homecooked foods, and household cleaning products. Spending has increased on essentials in the past six months, the research said. This category of items has become a priority for consumers due to their affordability, promotions, and discounts.

For semi-essential categories, consumers mainly spent on clothing and skincare items, followed by healthcare, entertainment/leisure, and cosmetics. Spending in this category has remained stable, with reductions in cosmetics and toys. Purchases in this segment are driven by their value for money, durability, and high-quality.

Lastly, electronics and vacations were the most common expenditures in the non-essential category and overall, the spends focused on premium quality and items that reflect personal taste. That said, 24% of consumers surveyed have not spent on non-essentials in the past six months. Spends on luxury accessories, fitness equipment, automobiles, and designer clothing have also reduced, marking a shift towards prioritising necessities over discretionary items.

Kiron Kesav, chief strategy officer at OMG Malaysia, said, “While there have been various reports regarding the economic uncertainties, rising prices and consumer confidence in Malaysia, we wanted to understand the finer nuances of the consumer sentiments and deduce what to expect in the immediate future. Leaning on the AI-driven insights gathered in the research, we unravelled a sense of how Malaysians from various walks of lives mitigate the financial uncertainties while also finding avenues to reward themselves. It also sheds light on the pockets of opportunity that the brands could capitalise on while they themselves navigate these times of uncertainties.”

Meanwhile, Julie Ng, CEO and co-Founder at Vase.ai, commented, “Amidst the economic uncertainties this year, our joint report provides vital insights into consumer spending trends. It highlights the need for brands to adapt their marketing strategies to meet changing consumer behaviours influenced by economic challenges. The report stresses the significance of crafting relevant, well-positioned, and innovative brand messages to engage a more spend-conscious audience. We hope that this can help inspire brands with practical strategies to succeed in a fluctuating market.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Regional car e-commerce platform CARSOME, known for its sales of used cars, has announced its foray into the sale of new cars via a partnership with NETA Auto Malaysia, establishing them as the official trade-in partner for the EV brand in Malaysia. They are also listing the new NETA X Electric Vehicle (EV).

This collaboration marks a significant milestone for CARSOME as it expands its ecosystem to include new car sales, reflecting its commitment to diversifying its offerings and enhancing the car-buying experience for customers.

As part of the collaboration, NETA will be able to complement its existing dealers’ network by leveraging CARSOME’s extensive online platform and customer base, allowing NETA to strengthen its digital footprint.

The MOU was signed by NETA’s Exclusive Distributor, Intro Synergy Sdn Bhd’s (ISSB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Farok Maasom, and CARSOME’s Group President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Eric Chan, witnessed by Dato’ SM Azli SM Nasimuddin Kamal, the Executive Chairman of ISSB and CARSOME Co-founder, Chairman, and Group CEO, Eric Cheng.

Eric Cheng, co-founder, chairman, and group CEO at CARSOME, said, “With the NETA X EV listing on our platform and the partnership with NETA, CARSOME is making a strategic entry into the EV and new car market, underscoring our commitment to providing sustainable and innovative automotive solutions.”

He added, “By partnering with NETA, we can cater to a new segment of buyers looking for high-quality, sustainable transportation options. This partnership not only diversifies our offerings but also enhances the car-buying experience, offering exclusive deals and comprehensive trade-in options that meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

Meanwhile, Dato SM Azli, chairman at Intro Synergy Sdn Bhd, commented, “We are thrilled to collaborate with CARSOME, a leader in the car e-commerce space. This partnership allows us to reach a broader audience and offer our innovative NETA X EV to a new segment of environmentally conscious customers. With CARSOME’s robust online platform and extensive customer base, we are confident that this collaboration will significantly enhance our market presence and drive the adoption of electric vehicles in Malaysia.”

Customers can explore the new NETA X model through CARSOME’s online platform and app, where they can place bookings seamlessly. Additionally, they can visit CARSOME’s PJ Automall, where dedicated NETA customer consultants will assist them throughout their purchase journey. This weekend, visitors to the Autofair in PJ Automall will have the opportunity to view NETA’s range of EVs up close, including the flagship NETA V, NETA X, and NETA GT models.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local telco player CelcomDigi has recently launched its CelcomDigi AI Experience Centre (AiX) – a one-stop immersive innovation and collaboration hub to lead, inspire, and advance the creation of world-class digital solutions across a range of sectors and verticals.

Supported by a wide ecosystem of leading global technology players and local partners, AiX will serve as a focal point for cross-industry collaborations, leveraging emerging technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR), robotics, analytics and metaverse. 

Moreover, this collaborative facility is designed to spur rapid technology advancements and growth of new digital start-ups, enterprises, and future skills to build a flourishing innovation ecosystem and fuel Malaysia’s digital transformation.

Build on a partnership model, AiX is powered by a strong, extensive and growing ecosystem of 40 global technology leaders, local partners and solution providers, from core partners Huawei and ZTE, to other collaborative partners AWS, Digital Nasional Berhad, Ericsson, Microsoft, SK Telecom, Softbank, Sumitomo, and Yinson, amongst others.

Launched by the Minister of Communications YB Fahmi Fadzil, AiX provides an immersive experience combining sight, sound, and touch, and features real-world solutions ready for immediate deployment. 

Built on a model of constant evolution and partnership, the technology and showcases will be refreshed periodically to bring new experiences to visitors and is set to be the epicentre of co-creation to enable rapid experimentation and development of new technology solutions for the market.

For Datuk Idham Nawawi, CEO at CelcomDigi, emerging technologies such as AI are revolutionising the world, and Malaysia must keep pace with this progress to build a flourishing digital nation. He also added that over 1.5 years ago, they have made a strong commitment to play a pivotal role to realise this ambition, leveraging their greater combined capabilities as a merged company to invest and drive digitalisation, innovation and sustainable growth for the nation.

“The AI Experience Centre is a realisation of the national benefit of the merger, where CelcomDigi’s scale and capabilities are able to attract and partner global and regional digital tech giants to accelerate the development of cutting-edge digital solutions – positioning us a strong ally to the nation’s digital aspirations,” Nawawi said.

He also added that AiX emphasises the significance of a thriving innovation ecosystem to develop a robust digital society. For him, in the fast-paced era of digital everything, speed and ferocity of innovation is essential, and therefore have designed AiX on a model of strong partnerships and constant evolution, enabling them to co-create use cases with great potential at an accelerated speed for Malaysia.

“Building with some of the most notable global tech and local ecosystem players, together we have invested RM55 million to support this ambition. We will continue to invest in the infrastructure, partnerships, and competencies needed to support Malaysia through the rapid tech changes around us. We are determined to spur digital transformations across industries and ensure the benefits of 5G, AI, and emerging technologies are realised for all Malaysians,” he concluded.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – airasia academy, Capital A’s digital edtech company, has recently rebranded as ‘Outclass’, a learning experience platform designed to enable individuals to develop in a changing workforce context. 

Outclass expands on airasia academy’s tradition of bridging the computer skills gap, it now provides a personalised learning experience to assist users in achieving their career goals.

Individuals and organisational leadership can use Outclass as a tool to meet talent development needs, enable worker potential, and get ready for a changing market. With aspirations to grow into in-demand fields like sustainability and ESG through a relationship with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), it now provides fifteen career options in the technology industry. 

Outclass also stands in contrast to typical Learning Management Systems (LMS) with its full Learning Experience Platform (LXP). This versatile platform meets both individual and organisational needs. For individuals, Outclass uses the Big Five OCEAN-based personality test, co-developed with experts from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies (UKM KITA), to personalise the learning journey and empower career growth by matching learners with the most appropriate career tracks.

The platform creates a highly dynamic environment by creating performance-based goals, providing analytical dashboards, and issuing certificates. For businesses, Outclass provides flexible, and scalable LXP solutions with white-labelling possibilities. 

YB Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Digital Malaysia, said, “The Ministry of Digital Malaysia is honoured to witness the launch of Outclass today, a pivotal step in advancing digital reskilling and upskilling in Malaysia. This initiative is a testament to our unwavering commitment to equipping the nation’s talent with the digital competencies to thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Outclass will serve as a beacon of opportunity, providing tailored courses that meet the needs of our digital economy. The ministry commends Capital A for its steadfast support and dedication to driving digital inclusion and education, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact Outclass will have on shaping the future of our workforce as we thrive in IR4.0.”

Meanwhile, Aireen Omar, president (Investment & Ventures) Capital A and executive director of Outclass, said, “As we launch Outclass, we are excited to introduce a revolutionary platform designed to empower individuals and businesses alike. Outclass personalises the learning experience, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend the best career paths based on your personality, ambitions, and skills. Soon, Outclass will be available across Asean, starting with Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia, inspiring and equipping a new generation of professionals to excel and shape the future.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local fintech company Jirnexu has announced the acquisition of CompareHero, the B2C brand exclusively operated by MoneyHero in Malaysia. Moreover, MoneyHero will retain an equity stake in Jirnexu to enhance its long-term strategy for the Malaysia market.

Through this transaction, CompareHero’s website, domain names, select user data, and IP rights will be acquired by Jirnexu. When the transaction is completed, the CompareHero brand will continue in operation under the world-class systems of Jirnexu moving forward. Terms of the deal, expected to close in early July 2024, are confidential.

CompareHero was launched by MoneyHero in 2013. Jirnexu and its brand, RinggitPlus, was founded in 2013 and focuses exclusively on Malaysia. Prior to this transaction, CompareHero and RinggitPlus were the two key operators in Malaysia.

Rohith Murthy, CEO of MoneyHero, said, “We are pivoting our Malaysia strategy to align with our next growth phase. This strategic transaction aims to maximize the value of our interests in Malaysia, both in the near and long term. It also allows us to reallocate resources towards stronger growth opportunities in our core markets—Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines. This approach positions us to drive shareholder value more effectively. By transitioning from an operator to a long-term investor in Malaysia’s leading player, we ensure continued benefit from the market’s opportunities without competing in other geographies.”

He added, “From its early development stages within MoneyHero’s portfolio, CompareHero grew into one of Malaysia’s top personal finance comparison and aggregator platforms. It is second only to our new investment in RinggitPlus. Users of CompareHero can expect continuity in service, quality, and innovation once the transaction is complete. This transaction reaffirms our commitment to the Malaysian market with a long-term, investor-focused approach, ensuring continued shareholder value and making financial decisions easier for consumers.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Grey Malaysia has kicked off a nationwide campaign for Telekom Malaysia (TM) with the rollout of ‘Unifi’s UniVerse’, a comprehensive suite of its best convergence offerings. The UniVerse includes home internet, mobile, entertainment, and lifestyle solutions that have been tailored to meet the diverse demands of today’s digital-savvy consumers.

Accompanying the launch is the ‘Choose Your UniVerse’ brand film, demonstrating how the brand’s portfolio of products converge into a seamless ecosystem. Featuring a diverse cast of family members and individuals from all walks of life, ‘Choose Your UniVerse’ showcases how everyone can experience the best of everything all at once, empowering them to create a personalised universe that meets their unique digital needs.

The campaign also showcases the updated visual identity, structure, and product offerings of Unifi, which were originally unveiled during the launch of UNI5G – Unifi’s 5G mobile offerings. This continuation underscores the brand’s commitment to innovation and adaptation, ensuring a seamless transition into the future of connectivity for all Malaysians.

Anand Vijayan, chief business and consumer officer at TM, said, “UniVerse is our most comprehensive suite of packages, integrating connectivity, entertainment, and lifestyle solutions for home, work and play. As the champion of convergence in Malaysia, these new offerings enable connected communities, reflecting TM’s aspiration to become a Digital Powerhouse by 2030, and advancing our nation towards its next digital evolution.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Yeoh, deputy executive creative director at Grey Malaysia, commented, “With ‘Unifi’s UniVerse,’ we’re evolving the brand to stay ahead of the game. It encapsulates the essence of Unifi’s quadruple platform play and solidifies our presence across all sectors we engage in.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 7DAYS, a croissant brand from Mondelēz International, has launched their latest ‘Double Cream’ flavours in Malaysia, alongside a campaign with advertising agency Naga DDB Tribal which highlights how cultures and preferences mix together.

The collaboration boasts local artists Naim Daniel and Bunga, which includes a catchy tune named ‘Gandingan Tergempak Malaysia’ (Malaysia’s Greatest Mix), accompanied by a visually striking music video.

Within the song, Naim Daniel plays the character of a suave, luxurious crooner to represent the decadent nature of the new Double Cream Chocolate Vanilla flavour; while Bunga plays an edgy, high-energy rapper that represents the fresh, sweet yet tart nature of Double Cream Vanilla Forest Berries flavour.

To get the nation excited and involved, 7DAYS also calls upon Malaysians to try the new flavours and dance to the new song’s signature moves to win weekly exclusive prizes via the #DoubleCreamChallenge, which is available until July 14, 2024.

Grand prize includes signed ‘Gandingan Tergempak’ merchandise set by Naim Daniel and Bunga with meet and greet passes, followed by first place prizes of Gandingan Tergempak 7DAYS varsity jackets, second place prizes of Gandingan Tergempak 7DAYS crossbody bags, and consolation prizes of 7DAYS Double Cream tote bags.

Talking about the campaign, Cindy Yeo, senior manager, marketing of Muchico Bakery Sdn Bhd, said, “Our commitment in fostering joy and togetherness evolves with modern consumer habits, such as the desire for new exciting flavours or participating in new online trends. So we at 7DAYS want you to come and join in the fun and show us your best moves!”

Meanwhile, a Naga DDB Tribal representative also commented, “There’s something powerful about a community coming together to share the love for food and fun. It’s the perfect combination that drives happiness, which is at the heart of what we do as experience makers.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – IPG Mediabrands Malaysia has announced the appointment of Stephanie Foong as its chief investment officer. Her appointment follows the leadership transition of Fan Chen Yip, the current chief investment officer, who departs to pursue new opportunities.

Effective immediately, Foong will step into the role of chief investment officer, responsible for all legacy and new media investments within the group, with a focus on buying accountability and innovation. Stephanie’s role will oversee all aspects of IPG Mediabrands’ investment initiatives, focusing on maximising value for clients through data-driven insights and innovative media strategies. 

Her appointment takes effect 1 July 2024, and she will report directly to CEO of IPG Mediabrands Malaysia, Bala Pomaleh.

Speaking on Foong’s appointment, Pomaleh said, “After three years of dedicated service, Fan will be moving on from our company from the end of June. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in shaping our investment strategy and fostering growth within IPG Mediabrands. We are grateful for his contribution to our leadership team and wish him all the best as he embarks on this next chapter of his career.”

He added, “We are excited to appoint Stephanie into this role as chief investment officer. Stephanie has been with the group as head of Orion for four years and played a pivotal role in nurturing our partnerships. Her wealth of industry experience and proven track record within the network gives her a deep understanding of the nuanced media investment dynamics at play today. We trust in her commitment to driving results as we look to steer our partnerships and trading capabilities through this next evolution. Stephanie’s leadership will be pivotal in helping us navigate the rapidly evolving media landscape to ensure we continue to deliver unparalleled service to our client base.”