Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Starr Insurance Companies expands in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – Starr Insurance Companies has announced its expansion of services in Thailand by announcing an agreement with FPG Insurance Holdings Limited (HK) (FPG) and local Thai shareholders to purchase FPG Insurance Public Company Limited (FPG Thailand), a Thai non-life insurance company, together with local Thai parties.

Starr expects to strengthen local product offerings with tailored commercial insurance and accident and health (A&H) products and plans to further maximise its growth by recruiting and developing local Thai insurance talent. Previously, Starr supported the Thai insurance market primarily through its provision of reinsurance products, including technical risks, casualty, marine, and A&H products.

David Zuellig, FPG regional chairman, said, “This transaction reflects the standing of our franchises and is the product of the hard work, persistence, and determination of the FPG Thailand team despite challenging market conditions. The team is excited and ready to work with Starr in bringing the company to the next level.”

Meanwhile, Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman and CEO at Starr, commented, “Thailand is an important, fast-growing insurance market — one of the cornerstones of the Southeast Asia economy. Asia is both commercially and culturally important to Starr, as we trace our roots to an American-owned company founded in Shanghai more than 100 years ago. We look forward to serving the needs of local Thai companies and consumers through this new insurance capability.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Funding Societies marks new market expansion in Vietnam

Singapore – Small-and-medium enterprise (SME) digital financing platform Funding Societies has announced their latest market expansion in Vietnam, marking the company’s fifth market expansion. Said expansion aims to tap into the country’s growing yet financially underserved SME landscape.

Kelvin Teo, co-founder and group CEO at Funding Societies, said, “Since our inception in 2015, our vision is to uplift societies in Southeast Asia. Hence, Vietnam has always been part of our roadmap. This is an opportune time as we ride out of COVID-19, build a solid team with local finTech veteran Ryan Galloway, and secure investment from tech giant VNG. We believe that Vietnam will be one of our largest markets given its enormous potential.”

Earlier this year, Vietnamese tech giant VNG Corporation invested US$22.5m in Funding Societies as part of the fintech company’s US$294m series C+ fundraise, of which US$144m was raised in equity and US$150m in debt lines. Funding Societies also received the support of other notable investors in the funding round, including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, Ascend Vietnam Ventures, and K3 Ventures, among others. 

Through the aforementioned funding, VNG will help Funding Societies to quickly adapt to the local market so it can provide solutions tailored to the unique needs of Vietnamese businesses.

Meanwhile, Ryan Galloway, country director of Funding Societies Vietnam, commented, “Vietnam SMEs don’t have the same access to venture and early-stage capital markets as other Southeast Asian markets, but the Vietnam market is equally as competitive, so Vietnamese entrepreneurs are trained to do more with less. We see lots of opportunity in Vietnam and we’re excited to support the country’s burgeoning SME landscape as we continue to serve the needs of millions of SMEs across Southeast Asia.”

Recently, Funding Societies have invested alongside automotive car marketplace platform CARRO at Bank Index, an Indonesian national Bank. The move serves as a significant milestone in Funding Societies’ entry into the neobanking space.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts expands Thailand presence with four new hotels

Bangkok, Thailand – Global hotel chain Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has expanded its presence in Thailand with four new hotels in the capital city of Bangkok. They are Ramada By Wyndham Bangkok Sukhumvit 87 and Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Bangkok Sukhumvit 48 and two hotels located in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district – Wyndham Bangkok Queen Convention Centre and Wyndham Garden Bangkok Sukhumvit 42.

All four hotels in Bangkok are signed under a licence agreement with Siamese and Kew Green Company Limited – a joint partnership between local property developer, Siamese Wealth Company Limited and international hotel management operator, Kew Green Hotels.

The addition of the four new hotels will bring the company’s total operating portfolio to 17 hotels in Thailand, located in Bangkok, Phuket, and Krabi.

Joon Aun Ooi, president for Asia-Pacific at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said, “We are honoured by the trust and confidence that Siamese and Kew Green Company Limited have in us for Thailand. Today, I am thrilled to mark the official debut of our Wyndham, Wyndham Garden, Ramada by Wyndham, and Ramada Plaza by Wyndham brands in Bangkok through our partnership with Siamese and Kew Green Company Limited. Bangkok is an exceptional travel destination that is home to historical landmarks and world-class cuisines.”

Meanwhile, Khun Kajonsit Singasansern, CEO at Siamese Asset Company, commented, “We are confident in Thailand’s position as a world-class tourism destination and we look forward to delivering world-renowned Thai hospitality alongside our partners, leading international hotel management company, Kew Green Hotels. As a prominent and award-winning property developer, we look forward to bringing together our collective expertise with the launch of these exceptional properties.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

DXP platform Magnolia opens up office in Indonesia

Singapore – Digital experience platform Magnolia has announced that it is opening up a new office in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the company’s stride to deepen its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The announcement follows after the platform has been recognised once more at the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms as a ‘Visionary’.

According to the company, they will be dedicating 30% of their operational budget to the local Indonesian office and 40% of their marketing budget for this market. Furthermore, they have four staff hired for Indonesia looking after technology, solutions and business development.

Don Lee, managing director for APAC at Magnolia, said, “Setting up operations in Indonesia was part of our plans back in early 2021 as this is a market that will require highly localised resources and consultancy, the Magnolia way. With the new office, we believe it will open up major opportunities for Magnolia and customers as more brands in Indonesia are evaluating digital tools that help them bolt on, and fully leverage, their expanding marketing ecosystems.”

Speaking about the challenges the company sees in the Indonesian market, they said that the DXP landscape is still in its infancy stage where there is a lack of awareness of DXP and the enormous business benefits it can bring.

“Many companies in Indonesia are either looking for a simple CMS, or overpaying for a complex, monolithic platform and we believe Magnolia fits perfectly into the sweet spot for what Indonesian brands look for – scalable, future-proof technology with Asian-centric pricing. Digital usage is uneven within and among various business sectors, with some departments more advanced than the others and the brand’s digital strategy can be compromised holistically,” the company explained.

This sentiment echoes Lee’s aspirations to make the DXP landscape more organic and customised to the client’s needs, as well as giving clients the ability to control their budget and strategy–which he explained to MARKETECH APAC during an episode for MARKETECH Spotlight.

“From there, they should aim to build a modular, organic DXP which has the capability to help them achieve their DX goals faster as they observe results. Investing in a composable DXP is key as it allows them to integrate with new or legacy martech functions seamlessly,” he said during the Spotlight interview.

Meanwhile, speaking about Magnolia’s placement, Lee highlighted Magnolia’s commitment to its customers. 

“It is an incredible honour for Magnolia to be recognised in the Visionary quadrant this year. We have been recognised in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the second year in a row, a testament to our constant commitment to our customers and helping them transform the performance and attractiveness of their digital interactions with their customers,” he said.

To coincide with the opening, Magnolia has also launched its first Indonesian website to meet the growing demands for best-of-breeds enterprise CMS and composable DXP solutions in the region.

Magnolia has offices in APAC located in Singapore, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh. 

Technology Featured East Asia

Wootag announces launch of HK operations

Hong Kong – Visual marketing SaaS company Wootag has announced the launch of its Hong Kong operation, aimed at supporting its growing client base in North Asia as well as expanding its global expansion blueprint.

Wootag’s expansion follows their latest US$1.7m funding round from Wavemaker, Cornerstone Venture Partners Fund (CSVP) and SEED Capital.

The company has served clients in Hong Kong since 2019, and recently launched its operations in North Asia to serve its growing list of clients in the region. The company will support the next phase of its growth through expanding its local marketing, sales, operations staff to support clients locally. 

Raj Sunder, CEO and founder at Wootag, said, “Since more and more consumers spend a quarter or more of their time on watching videos, the launch of the Hong Kong office will better position Wootag with a solid on-the-ground presence in the face of increasing demand for visual marketing solutions, and further accelerate our momentum in North Asia.”

He added, “As we are entering the era of always-on shopping, it’s now more important than ever that marketers need to engage with their target audience and better leverage the data-driven insights to adapt to the changing. We will fulfill the growing demand and empower marketers to engage meaningfully with the audience to drive better business outcomes.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Zyllem expands to PH to meet growing demand for e-commerce logistics

Manila, Philippines – Zyllem, a global logistics technology company offering enterprise SaaS solutions, has announced its further expansion in the Philippines amidst a growing e-commerce market in the country.

Zyllem is a cloud-based software that allows companies to manage and operate their entire logistics distribution network in a more efficient, simplified, and transparent way. It counts pharmaceutical giant Zuellig Pharma, Metro Drug Inc, logistics firm Airspeed, and wholesale grocery distribution company Suy Sing as key clients in the Philippines and is actively looking to acquire more players in the market.

For Lisa Nguyen, chief operations officer and co-founder at Zyllem, the Philippines presents an exciting opportunity for them to help companies digitize and optimize their logistics network, eliminating legacy systems, despite the numerous unique logistical challenges that the country presents.

“Southeast Asia’s digital economy has been spurred on by the rapid pace of digitalisation from consumers and businesses and has witnessed unprecedented acceleration by the pandemic. Zyllem is poised to capitalize on this growth as more businesses are seeing the necessity to provide better and faster services, and look to optimize their logistics network to meet their customer’s orders. As the fastest growing digital economy in the region, the Philippines is an important market for us to achieve that,” Nguyen explained.

Meanwhile, Joanna Pawluczuk, head of sales at Zyllem, commented, “Logistics networks are often fragmented with companies having to manage multiple third party logistics partners and middlemen. Zyllem solves operational pain points with data gathered and fed into a unified dashboard, where customers will be able to take control of their logistic network and streamline their operations.”

She added, “We are able to optimize routes and reduce time spent on planning by 85%, allowing drivers to complete up to 30% more deliveries per day. With more predictable deliveries and real-time tracking, we also enhanced the experience for the end customer and eliminated the need for any customer calls

Since its go-to market in 2017, Zyllem has been working closely with pharmaceutical, logistics, retail and F&B brands to solve their supply chain problems across Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, Zyllem has presence in eight countries in Asia and manages two million monthly delivery orders, with 20% coming from the Philippines. Zyllem is funded by Philippines conglomerate JG Summit Holdings and leading early-stage venture capital firm Wavemaker Partners.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech platform Airwallex officially launches in Singapore

Singapore – Global payments platform Airwallex officially launches in Singapore this year, following a beta test in November 2021, and an approval grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MSA).

Through the market expansion, Singapore businesses can now benefit from Airwallex’s suite of global payments services including global account issuance, domestic and cross-border money transfer at market-leading rates, multi-currency wallets, and online payments acceptance.

In addition, Airwallex’s global customers will also be able to receive funds locally in Singaporean dollars, making their businesses more accessible to the Singapore market.

For Nazim Ali, CEO at Airwallex Singapore, Singapore has established itself as a major international hub for global technology and innovation, supported by a dynamic business community across startups, major financial service institutions and a growing talent pool.

“That said, many Singapore businesses – SMEs or larger enterprises – still face challenges with international payments, and are looking for better partners like Airwallex that help them tackle that cross-border payments complexity. Since we were founded, we have enabled the global growth of many businesses. With this official launch we’re pleased to be able to empower Singapore businesses in the same way by supporting their payment needs across their entire transaction life cycle,” Ali explained.

This was not the first time Airwallex ventured into the Southeast Asian market. In September 2021, the company secured a money service business (MSB) license in Malaysia with an expected launch in the coming months, raised US$300m in its Series E and E1 fundraising rounds, and increased its valuation to US$5.5b.

“Our launch in Singapore is just the beginning of a wider journey. Growing our presence and payments capability across Southeast Asia is part of our ambitious expansion plan for 2022, and Singapore is no doubt instrumental to this growth. We look forward to expanding our product suite and supporting businesses in Singapore, as well as tapping into its influence as a leading tech and innovation hub to better serve our customers in the region,” Ali concluded.

Marketing Featured Global

Indonesian logistics company J&T Express sets foot in UAE, Saudi Arabia market

Jakarta, Indonesia – J&T Express, the Indonesian-based express logistics company, has announced its market expansion to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, marking the company’s first presence in the Middle East and making their total served markets to ten.

Currently, J&T Express serves primarily in Asia, namely China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Singapore.

The expansion was first conceptualized during April 2021, where J&T has established its own nationwide distribution network and localised warehousing system in the UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively, covering all local provinces and regions in the two countries. 

In addition, as an integral aspect of its courier service, the UAE and Saudi Arabia versions of the J&T Express mobile application have also been launched simultaneously.

Sean Xiao, head of J&T Express Middle East, said, “We hope that with J&T Express’ efficient and comprehensive delivery network, we can effectively improve the shopping experience of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and contribute to the development of the e-commerce industry in both countries.”

Meanwhile, Steven Fan, CEO at J&T Express, commented, “The expansion to the UAE and Saudi Arabia marks an important step for J&T Express in establishing a global delivery network. In the future, the company will actively explore opportunities in emerging markets as part of its global strategy to connect the world with greater efficiency and bring logistical benefits to all.”

The latest endeavor for J&T Express comes after their recent funding round of US$2.5 in November 2021, and their acquisition of China-based logistics solutions provider BEST Express.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Online video adtech startup Pancast marks SEA presence with first office in Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia – Online video adtech startup Pancast has officially launched in Southeast Asia, marking it with its first office in Indonesia. In addition, Pancast has also appointed Miranti Herwinda as the startup’s country manager in Indonesia.

Pancast has already started working with some of Indonesia’s online publishers. These include publishing conglomerate Kapanlagi Youniverse, streaming platforms Vidio, WeTV, and True ID, as well as sports platforms ESPN, One Football and Football Co.

Speaking about their services, Alex Prior, CEO at Pancast, said, “Premium video inventory delivers highly-engaged audiences at scale, in a safe and transparent context, offering advertisers targetable and quantifiably real viewers across multiple screens.”

He added, “Our partnerships with leading publishers, scale of premium inventory, audiences and ad impressions, and Miranti’s extensive industry experience and familiarity with the region, puts us in a strong position to meet marketer’s growing digital ad appetite.”

Herwinda, with over 14 years of industry experience, was previously affiliated with Collab Asia as the commercial director for Indonesia. She also had experience as head of digital development and growth for MRA Media, and co-founder and managing director of Glitzmedia.

Speaking about her appointment, she said, “I am excited to join Pancast and take on the challenge of leading the operations in Indonesia. I look forward to introducing the uniqueness of Pancast to publishers and advertisers. I believe this complements the increasing online video viewers in Indonesia. I am delighted to take on this opportunity and play a role in shaping the online video advertising industry.”

Pancast offers a fully transparent marketplace in terms of quality inventory and revenue model, unlocking the true value of video inventory for publishers and delivering access to scalable, targeted audiences for advertisers. With Pancast, advertisers also have access to a wide scale of premium videos from publishers through a single deal.

“The foundations of the Pancast marketplace are privacy first, content and behavioral data strategy. The company’s unique and ever-evolving deep data solution delivers value to publisher partners and advertisers searching for reach and [relevance]. Pancast is continuously expanding its capabilities, working with its tech partners, to offer greater audience identification and in-depth data insights,” the company said in a press statement.

Marketing Featured APAC

Digital agency Dept expands to APAC

Singapore – Dept, a Netherlands-based digital agency has announced that it will be expanding to the Asia-Pacific region, marking it with the appointment of former Havas Group CEO Vishnu Mohan to assume the agency’s partner and chief growth officer role.

Dept, founded in 2015, is majority owned by Carlyle, a global private equity firm. Dept has recently acquired design and experience agency BASIC®️, as well as creative marketing technology agency Byte.

Through the market expansion, Dept said it will follow an acquisition-led growth approach to grow to 1,000 people and contribute 10% to global revenues by 2024. This will be complemented with a Singapore hub and a satellite team in Manila.

Meanwhile, Mohan, who will work closely with Dimi Albers, Global CEO of Dept, joins the agency after a 25 year stint with Vivendi’s Havas Group, where he was widely recognized as the key figure behind the launch and development of the group in Asia Pacific.

Speaking about his appointment, Mohan said that he looks forward to working with Albers and the teams, adding that they will be leveraging the agency’s growing client base and track record in the region to build a business that is ‘big enough to cope and at the same time small enough to care’.

“Dept is a very strong digital transformation agency with a rich tech heritage. Their integrated one-stop-shop principle of delivering tech, design, creative and performance with a simple structure, speed, clarity, and personal contact is why I truly believe it can make a difference in the APAC markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Albers commented that a team on APAC that will work fully integrated with their teams across EMEA and the Americas will help them make an even bigger impact in the region, both for global clients and local brands. He added that with Mohan’s network, market knowledge, and growth mindset, they have found the right leader to boost their Asia journey.

“Over the last few years, we’ve delivered a variety of impactful projects in the Asia Pacific market for brands like Mizuno, Samsung, Weber, Fujitsu, and KLM. Our vision has always been to help our clients work with the best talent in the world, regardless of geography,” Albers concluded.