Singapore – Eight start-up companies in fintech or fintech-related businesses occupied the spot in the latest ‘2023 LinkedIn Top 10 Singapore Startups List’, showing the rising trend of fintech firms in the country.

The list is based on the data analysed by Linkedin, covering the areas of employee growth, jobseeker interest, member agreement, and start-ups’ ability to attract talent from top company lists.

In this year’s list, a total of 8 fintech or fintech-related company start-ups, 4 of which provide business-to-business (B2B) fintech services, dominated the spot. This is a record number for fintechs on the list since their debut in 2020.

Among the list, financial services firm Aspire has retained its top spot since last year. Following behind it is the debut of fintech startup YouTrip, which offers a financial mobile platform for overseas payments.

Also on the list are telehealth provider Doctor Anywhere, which is focused on improving healthcare accessibility; car-sharing service GetGo Carsharing; AI tech start-up Advance Intelligence Group; digital corporate service provider Sleek; fintech company Endowus; digital securities trading platform ADDX; digital wealth manager Syfe; and cross-border payments platform Thunes.

The list reflects Singapore’s thriving ecosystem of innovative businesses. It highlights fintech’s enduring appeal as an engine of opportunity in Singapore that provides growth opportunities for professionals.

Furthermore, the presence of B2B start-ups suggests the growing relevance of B2B solutions in the country, especially in the small city-state where the business-to-consumer (B2C) market remains relatively small compared to other countries.

LinkedIn also revealed that the top companies on the list were those who were able to recognise and leverage the power of AI to grow in a fast-evolving environment.

For Pooja Chhabria, career expert and head of editorial in Asia Pacific at LinkedIn, the list is a great basis for career growth opportunities for professionals. And to be able to enter these top start-up companies, one must know what skills are needed to snag the job.

According to Pooja, one must think like a founder, as top start-ups are now looking for candidates with entrepreneurial spirit to seize opportunities for the business. It is also important to be a diverse team player and possess a growth mindset that is eager to learn, face challenges, and bounce back from setbacks.

Pooja said, “Fintech has a strong showing in Singapore’s Top Startups 2023 list, with 8 out of 10 startups in fintech or fintech-related businesses.This may be attributed to Singapore’s vibrant start-up ecosystem that nurtures and develops technology-based startups. The city-state is known as one of the world’s leading innovative and smart cities and is also looked upon as a model by other nations.”

“This year’s list of Singapore’s most thriving startups serves as a unique and actionable resource for professionals who are eager to work in companies that are revolutionising the industry they are in and driving exciting new innovations. Professionals can acquire hard and soft skills such as market research, agility, and entrepreneurial acumen,” she added.

Speaking on the list, Lim Wai Mun, founder and CEO at Doctor Anywhere, said, “We have been using AI in the form of machine learning and data analytics, reducing patient consultation time through smart form filling of common prescriptions, as well as understanding and matching users with various health and wellness products after they recover. With the advent of generative AI, this will enable us to deliver more personalised, efficient, and patient-centric care and also alleviate some of the most pressing challenges. This includes the talent shortage that the healthcare industry is facing globally.”

Meanwhile, Adrien Barthel, co-founder and chief growth officer at Sleek, also added: “The integration of AI is non-negotiable for businesses today. We started our AI journey a few years ago, and we continue to actively work on incorporating artificial intelligence to deliver more data automation that results in increased accuracy and better predictive outcomes.”

Singapore – Storyteller platform Viddsee has announced today that Derek Tan, co-founder, has stepped down from his operational role as Viddsee’s chief business development officer, and will be transitioning to a non-executive director role on the board.

Despite stepping down from his executive role, Tan will continue leading Viddsee’s future with his tenure and experience from his previous role, guiding the company strategically as a non-executive director.

Throughout his career, Tan has immensely contributed to the company’s growth and success. By focusing on strategic partnerships and business development initiatives, he played a substantial role in expanding Viddsee’s commercial offering, user base and strengthening its position in the industry. To date, Viddsee has amassed over 3 billion views with its rich repertoire of over 5,000 films.

The business, under the guidance of co-founder and CEO, Ho Jia Jian, senior vice president of commercial, Michele Schofield, and vice president of studios, Kenny Tan, will continue its journey after the tenure of Tan as the chief business development officer. Their collective vision is to persistently uphold the company’s commitment to promoting narratives and empowering diverse voices in this digital era.

Ho Jia Jian said that the company is very grateful for Derek Tan’s invaluable contributions over the years.

“He has been instrumental in fostering partnerships that have elevated our platform’s status internationally. We appreciate his expertise and dedication, which will continue to be a resource in his role as a member of the board,” he added. 

As this executive transition takes place, Viddsee remains in its goal of empowering storytellers and delivering quality, entertaining and engaging content to its global audience.

Singapore Nativex has been appointed as Baidu’s marketing agency. The partnership aims to create growth and development for companies who work with Nativex. 

With Nativex’s integration, Baidu’s advertising platform will have access to a higher level of innovation from a global marketing authority. Nativex is in a good position to take full advantage of its progress in global localization.

Nativex is offering assistance by leveraging their capabilities in conjunction with Baidu’s extensive traffic coverage. This will be used for international companies and developers aiming to achieve sustainable growth in the Chinese market.

Cheryl Huang, senior vice president of Nativex, remarked, “We take immense pride in becoming an official certified agency within the Baidu marketing ecosystem. We are confident that by blending Nativex’s global perspective with Baidu’s industry-leading position, we are poised to deliver exceptional services to our global clients, facilitating business growth.” 

Meanwhile, Yan Fei, director of overseas channels at Baidu, said, “The addition of Nativex to the Baidu Advertising ecosystem is a source of honor for us. As a renowned figure in the marketing industry, we believe Nativex will infuse our advertising platform with innovation and vitality. We eagerly anticipate close collaboration with Nativex, as together we drive advancements within the digital marketing domain, crafting additional growth value for brands and developers.” 

Seoul, South Korea – Multinational electronic company LG Electronics (LG) has launched its latest motivational brand film that highlights the importance of optimism to communicate the true meaning of the brand’s ‘Life’s Good’ message. 

Crafted in collaboration with the creative team at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and headed by EmmyAward-winning director Nicolai Fuglsig, the 90-second film powerfully illustrates what can happen when one elects to walk the path of optimism.

The new brand film features a middle-aged man struggling to ride a longboard down a suburban street. However, as the film progresses, he becomes more determined and begins to slide gracefully over the asphalt with a smile on his face. 

Upon choosing optimism in his personal journey, the man was able to overcome obstacles and accomplish something no one believed he would be capable of. The heartwarming story is a reminder that there’s an optimist inside everyone; it’s merely a matter of deciding to embrace it.

The new brand film is part of the brand’s ongoing global ‘Life’s Good’ campaign, which aims to inspire people to face challenges with an optimistic attitude during difficult times. It also highlights the enduring nature of LG’s brand philosophy and values, which the company has consistently upheld throughout its entire history.

The campaign has also graced some of the most iconic landmarks in various cities around the world, including Dubai, London, New York, and Seoul.

LG is transforming its businesses and the way it communicates its brand with customers and stakeholders through brand reinvention. With this, the company ensures the values and philosophy of ‘Life’s Good’ are delivered at every touchpoint across the customer experience.

Jeongseok Lee, senior vice president and head at LG’s Global Marketing Center,  shared, “Life’s Good represents our unwavering commitment to making people’s lives better through innovation. In line with our future vision to become a smart life solution company, we will communicate with various customers at every touchpoint in a more dynamic and youthful way.”

Speaking on the campaign, Kim Hyo-eun, vice president at LG’s Global Marketing Center, also said, “With our global campaign, we aim to convey our message of Life’s Good, inspiring and encouraging customers to take life with an optimistic attitude. We hope that our brand film can uplift customers and create meaningful influence on their lives.”

Meanwhile, Director Nicholai Fuglsig said, “LG came to me with the idea of sharing the meaning of its Life’s Good philosophy through the lens of choosing optimism, and I was immediately drawn to the project.” 

“I love the story of an unexpected hero venturing out of his comfort zone and using optimism to overcome challenges. Personally, I feel it’s a powerful reminder not to get bogged down by negativity and to live life to the fullest,” he added. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) have partnered up, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create about 200 capital market ready micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by 2026.

The three-year MoU paves the way for mutual cooperation in building a strong pipeline of capital market-ready MSMEs, which also includes enhancing their sustainability and corporate governance awareness and readiness.

Under the MoU, both the SC and SME Corp. Malaysia also agreed to embark on several joint developmental initiatives to strengthen market insights and data analytics on MSME access to the capital market, as well as expanding the capital market funding pool for MSMEs.

The MoU also looks to strengthen the familiarity of 300 MSMEs with sustainability disclosures and corporate governance best practices.

Commenting on the MoU, SC chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Awang Adek Hussin said, “This MoU aligns with our vision to foster a vibrant and resilient capital market that serves not only large corporations, but also the smaller enterprises. MSMEs are an integral part of the economy, contributing about 38% of Malaysia’s GDP and 48 per cent of total employment in 2022.”

Meanwhile, Rizal Nainy, chief executive officer of SME Corp. Malaysia, mentioned, “Both SME Corp. Malaysia and the SC are committed to ensure that the capital market is competitive and vibrant, while remaining accessible to MSMEs in Malaysia”.

“Hence, this collaboration paves the way towards capital market vibrancy and competitiveness. As the Central Coordinating Agency for MSME development, SME Corp. Malaysia is also committed to playing a key role in spearheading the sustainability agenda for MSMEs,” he added.

Canberra, Australia – Icon Agency has announced three senior appointments, with Dr. Jason Guo as the new chief technology officer, Andrew Mackay as executive director of digital, and Isaac Townsend as lead developer, to strengthen its presence and bolster its digital capabilities in Australia.

The key appointments come as the agency continues its mission to remain at the forefront of the web and service design spaces, meeting the needs of government and enterprise clients alike.

In his new role as chief technology officer, Guo will oversee the expansion of the agency’s technology stack and systems. He is a 20-year veteran in information technology with extensive experience in the public sector. 

Guo’s experience and unique insight into digital transformation processes ensure he is well-positioned to guide the technological journey of the agency.

Meanwhile, in his new appointment as executive director of digital, Mackay’s remit includes guiding and growing Icon’s burgeoning digital team to meet the growing needs of the agency’s rapidly growing client roster.

He brings with him a track record of digital success with his work at CRE8IVE, ACT Government, and Adelphi Digital. 

And to further complete the technical line-up, the agency brought in Townsend as its new lead developer. In his new role, he will drive software and platform development for Icon Agency, fortifying its competitive edge.

His wealth of experience and expertise from holding previous senior positions at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, EY, and Adelphi Digital makes him an instrumental part of the roster of strategic appointments.

Christopher Dodds, co-founder and managing director of growth and innovation at Icon, said, “Our vision has always been to push boundaries and deliver top-tier digital solutions for our clients. With the collective expertise of Dr. Guo, Andrew, and Isaac, we are now poised to expand our digital offerings into the DXP space and further develop our integrated digital communications and service design offering.”

Sydney, Australia – Over the past 90 days, more than 800 influencers have taken to Instagram to share where they stand when it comes to the Australian Indigenous Voice referendum, according to AI analytics platform HypeAuditor, who has been analysing how influencers and brands take a stance on social media about the event. 

The past three months have seen 1,773 posts on Instagram about the referendum, shared by a total of 805 influencers, reaching over 4.5 million people. 87.5% of the Instagram posts supported the referendum and only 2.5% were against it. 

Additionally, the report states that 73% of the influencers posting about where they stand when it comes to the Voice to Parliament are nano influencers, with a follower count between 1,000 and 10,000. Common hashtags for posts regarding the referendum are also in favour of it, with the most common being #yes23 in 1,376 posts and #voteyes in 726 posts. 

Alex Frolov, CEO and co-founder of HypeAuditor, said, “The Australian Indigenous Voice referendum will be such a critical point in the country’s history that it is not surprising to see the level of interest it has garnered over social media. While many influencers, brands and organisations might have deliberately chosen to remain silent in this discussion at the beginning, we can clearly see a turning point on social media as voting day approaches and tensions mount.”

“As influencer marketing continues to be a key component of many marketing campaigns across the country, the Voice will no doubt become a criteria brands and marketers will consider when selecting the influencers they want to align themselves with. There is this urge to use their platform to stand up for what they believe in and do what they believe is the right thing, but on the other hand they also run the risk of potentially significantly reducing their future partnership opportunities with brands,” he added.

Philippines The Philippines-based Asia United Bank (AUB), a publicly traded universal bank, is stepping up its efforts to help more local merchants accept cross-border digital payments from Malaysia, South Korea, and Hong Kong SAR. It does this by utilising AUB PayMate and Alipay+.

Tourists can now use their home country’s e-wallets to pay for a variety of purchases connected to tourism, retail, food and beverage (F&B), entertainment, and attractions within the Philippines as the market grows. This includes Alipay (Chinese mainland), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), in addition to Alipay (Chinese mainland), which Filipino retailers have been accepting since 2017.

At the moment, AUB PayMate has made it possible for more than 5,000 businesses in Manila and Cebu, two travel destinations in the Philippines, to accept Alipay+. As AUB’s all-inclusive digital payment acceptance solution, AUB PayMate enables merchants of all kinds to accept digital payments from their customers, including local and international e-wallets, bank transfers, and card payments.

SSP Mactan, a company that manages restaurants and bars at tourist hotspots around the world, is one of the first organizations in the Philippines to accept Alipay+. One of the busiest travel hubs in the nation, Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), has adopted it in all of its businesses there. Visitors arriving at MCIA from mid-September to mid-November will be greeted warmly by AUB, SSP Mactan Cebu, and Alipay+, providing them with a more convenient payment experience and special deals at Alipay+-enabled vendors inside the airport.

Mags V. Surtida, senior vice president and cards & acquiring group head of AUB, said, “We see a resurgence of inbound personal travels this year so our partnership with Alipay+, the first in the Philippine banking industry, will give a much-needed boost to merchants serving the tourism sector. Expect more foreign wallets to be added under this unified QR code.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Cherry Huang, general manager of Alipay+ offline merchant services at Ant Group, said, “We are strengthening our partnership with AUB, our pioneering bank partner in the Philippines, to enhance the travel experience for tourists as they return to visit. Digital payments have become more important than ever, particularly for international visitors who have become so used to using their e-wallets and bank apps for day-to-day purchases.”

She added, “Through our local partners, we aim to help more businesses integrate Alipay+, creating a positive digital ecosystem, driving more opportunities for partners, and merchants, while making it more convenient and seamless for travellers.”

Singapore – A staggering 98% of B2B marketers in Southeast Asia are already utilising influencer marketing, yet 60% are still not experiencing improved lead generation from B2B marketing activity, a new Ogilvy study shows. 

The research shows that B2B influence is among the fastest-growing marketing priorities in SEA.

In an interview with 550 chief marketing officers (CMOs) across 11 markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, from brands including LinkedIn, Dell, EY, IBM, and Samsung, it was shown that 75% of B2B marketers are now utilising B2B influencer marketing. Additionally, 93% of those are already planning to increase influencer activity.

Furthermore, the survey, which polled marketing leaders from across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the USA, showed that C-suite leaders are already recognising the potential of B2B influence activity in building a credible brand and supporting lead generation.

Half of 49% believe influencers can help their brands be more credible and trusted, while 40% experienced improved leads or sales because of influencer marketing strategies.

In Asia specifically, industry adoption is soaring, with almost 94% of businesses in the region already integrating B2B influencer marketing into their strategies, and among them, 77% have expressed their intention to further increase their investments in this area. With this number, it is expected that those who haven’t formulated a B2B influencer marketing strategy may find themselves falling behind their competitors.

When it comes to influence effectiveness, 66% of businesses found that B2B influencers deliver more significant impact when compared to traditional brand-only marketing approaches. Further adding to this, almost all of the industry executives in Asia consider B2B influencers on social media as vital tools for staying updated and engaging with their respective industries (98%). This surpasses the global average of 90%.

Meanwhile, the study also showed that more than half of industry executives in Asia incorporate insights gleaned from B2B influencers into their presentations. Similarly, over 50% of these executives actively share relevant content with their network.

However, despite these impressive numbers and high usage, the survey also showed a worrying percentage of B2B influencer marketing potential that is still not realised or utilised properly.

The findings of the survey suggested that no teams are utilising after-sales influence to its full potential, despite 47% agreeing there is an opportunity for B2B influencers to have the biggest impact during after-sales when executed correctly. With 60% not yet experiencing improved lead generation from B2B marketing activity, there is also a large opportunity to immediately realise more value from influencer marketing.

In addition, the global research pointed out some missed opportunities for ROI, considering there is a symbiotic relationship between employees and influencers that few CMOs have spotted, with limited numbers identifying that employees can be influencers themselves. 

With this, the global report has pointed out three key imperatives that CMOs can use to improve their B2B influencer marketing strategies.

First, peer-to-peer 2.0, which is a widely recognised marketing channel to reassure prospective buyers and revolutionise digital relationships and professional communication. Second, the holistic growth approach recognises the importance of including influencers in the entire business operation and integrating them into the post-sales experience. Lastly, CEOs and CMOs must recognise their employees as valuable assets in promoting their brand, with each having a network of connections outside the company.

Commenting on the study, Emily Poon, President of PR and influence in Asia at Ogilvy, said, “With 66% of CMOs in Asia saying they find B2B influencers more impactful than their usual marketing activities, a B2B influencer marketing strategy has become a must-have for brands and businesses. Our global research— the first-of-its-kind—with local insights from senior marketers in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines provides actionable steps for CMOs, communications, and business leaders in the region to turn influencers into the most versatile full-funnel tool in their B2B marketing communications armoury.”

Ashutosh Gupta, country manager and head of online sales for LinkedIn APAC, also added, “B2B companies are increasingly choosing creative ways to connect with their target audience in a more authentic and engaging way. A big reason behind this trend is the trust and credibility that these experts offer. On LinkedIn, we have seen industry leaders carve a niche for themselves as thought leaders in their space, where their opinions hold significance within their network. Thought leaders often provide a more genuine connection than brand advertising thanks to the fundamental trust that is already fostered between them and their network over time.”

Shanghai, China – Marking its 120-year anniversary as a global automotive manufacturer, Ford, in partnership with advertising company Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, launched the ‘Wild At Heart’ campaign, featuring its iconic vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, Ford Bronco, and the Ford Explorer Timberline.

In showcasing how Ford adds adrenaline to everyone’s wild side, Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai created a film centred around a human’s desire to move through the personal life stories of 3 characters who fall in love with movement – and everything that comes with it.

The film showcases a coming-of-age story told from the 1990s to the present day, following the characters who meet their match with a Ford vehicle, specifically highlighting each character’s desire to go wild, be free, and feel the thrill.

Zhong How, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, said, “We all grew up with the desire to move. From your first step to your first bike to your first car. These are moments filled with excitement and thrill. Ford really understands that and wants you to feel and embrace it.”

Meanwhile, Aier Xu, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, also mentioned,  “We have so many up and coming local vehicle brands in China nowadays, it’s crucial for Ford as a foreign brand to show its strong relevance with this market, that’s why we chose to go for an emotional approach as opposed to talking about functions and features.”