Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ONE Esports partners with Samsung to launch ONE Esports mobile app

Singapore – ONE Esports, the Singapore-based company catered in bringing the latest esports events and news across Asia, has partnered with tech giant Samsung to launch a ONE Esports mobile application, which will be positioned as the go-to source for esports news and content in Southeast Asia, and will be seamlessly integrated into the ONE Esports media ecosystem

This partnership with Samsung will see ONE Esports develop an exclusive ONE Esports mobile app for Samsung devices in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, to be launched in the second half of 2022. In addition to having its content localized across each market, Samsung users will also enjoy exclusive videos and rewards produced by the ONE Esports team for the app. 

The app will be made available in the Samsung Galaxy Store and Google Play Store for over-the-air download exclusively on Samsung mobile devices this year. 

For Carlos Alimurung, CEO at ONE Esports, the partnership will give the new generation of mobile-first consumers the best way to consume esports content, as the penetration of mobile usage and gaming across Southeast Asia continues to grow.

“I am proud to announce this partnership with Samsung that brings ONE Esports’ world-class esports content natively on mobile, in collaboration with Southeast Asia’s leader in mobile devices and experiences. Samsung clearly understands that brands need to connect and engage with the next generation to stay ahead of the curve, and mobile devices and esports are two of the most effective ways to reach them,” Alimurung said.

Meanwhile, Chris Tarr, head of mobile services and partnerships for Southeast Asia and Oceania at Samsung Electronics, commented that ONE Esports is uniquely positioned as Southeast Asia’s premier esports media organization, and their partnership sets the cornerstone for combining esports experiences with mobile gaming devices for their customers.

“Led by a young, digital, and global audience, esports is shaping up to be the future of sports, media, and entertainment. Through this unprecedented partnership with ONE Esports, we are excited to bring the galaxy of esports to Samsung mobile users, many of whom are passionate about esports and mobile gaming,” Tarr said.

Marketing Featured East Asia

K-beauty brand aggregator B2LiNK acquires skincare app Picky Inc.

Seoul, South Korea – B2LiNK, a brand aggregator for K-beauty products, has announced that it will be acquiring Picky Inc., a community skincare app through a formal agreement set to close this month. Said acquisition follows B2LiNK’s total fundraising to US$23m since being founded in 2014.

The acquisition enables B2LiNK to bolster its leadership position and global lineup of beauty brands and helps Picky to leverage B2LiNK’s network and resources to further expand its strong community base and global reach.

As part of the acquisition, Picky founder and CEO Jihong Lee will join B2LiNK as chief marketing officer and board member, leveraging his career experience that spans international roles with Google and Supercell. 

“In what has been a challenging time for startups worldwide, we’re proud to have gained an avid following of hundreds of thousands of regular users in our skincare community. Our team set our sights on the global marketplace on day one, and the opportunity to keep that momentum going with the resources behind B2LiNK is the perfect match,” Lee stated.

To date, B2LiNK has extended its portfolio to include seven brands that have surpassed US$30m annual recurring revenue in 2021, including its flagship brand Skin1004.

Meanwhile, for Nate Sohyung Lee, co-founder and CEO at B2LiNK, with K-beauty being a global phenomenon, there is a seemingly endless pool of unique indie brands relevant for global beauty consumers. He added that they have access to established distribution channels to meet the demand for K-Beauty products everywhere.

“We’re helping K-Beauty products become much more accessible in more markets through our deep experience in the retail business and world-class global marketing team. With the Picky acquisition, we’ve strengthened our team and firmly established our No. 1 market position in Korea,” he stated.

Picky aims to build on its strong community base of more than 250,000 global users and growth throughout 2021. Its web and mobile app-based community has established itself as an ‘every day’ app for skincare enthusiasts, including those passionate about K-Beauty products.

Platforms Featured Global

TikTok most-downloaded app globally on Christmas Day

Singapore – The short video sharing platform TikTok continues to rise in popularity globally, with the app being the most-downloaded app across Google Play and iTunes globally on Christmas day, the latest data from mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp–all owned by the recently rebranded tech giant Meta–ranked second to fourth. Meanwhile, social messaging platforms Snapchat and Facebook Messenger ranked fifth and sixth respectively.

Encrypted messaging platform Telegram ranked seventh, highlighting continued consumer patronage of encrypted messaging services along with strong network effects from a growing user base.

Singapore-grown Shopee ranked eighth, the highest-ranking shopping app worldwide, driven by strong uptake in India, LATAM, and Southeast Asia. Spotify ranked ninth globally for downloads. The music streaming app likely received a boost in demand from its end-of-year ‘wrapped’ campaign that has been widely shared on social media.

Lastly, video editing platform Capcut ranked tenth in the most-downloaded apps globally.

In terms of games, ‘Brain Story: Tricky Puzzle’ by Onesoft ranked first following a version released on Dec 21, 2021. ‘Poppy Rope Game’, an open-world action game by Zego Studio ranked second and ‘Rocket League Sideswipe’ by Psyonix (Epic Games) ranked third — a race car soccer game popularized on PC and console, this is the latest example of a gaming title successfully migrating to mobile.

Meanwhile, streaming platforms YouTube, Disney+, and HBO Max all ranked in the top 5 as demand for streaming exclusive content remained. In the case of YouTube, consumers preferred to subscribe to remove ads. It is also noted that digital collectibles app VeVe ranked ninth by spend — an indication of the demand for NFTs.

In terms of games, ROBLOX saw the greatest consumer spend as gamers worldwide spent Christmas day building in the metaverse and upgrading avatar skins and other in-game consumables. Free Fire ranked third for consumer spend — further evidence of online multiplayer gaming driving deep engagement and cross-device play.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Payments platform Instarem revamps brand identity, launches SG app

Singapore – Instarem, a cross-border payments platform, has launched a new brand identity, as well as a new mobile application catered to users in Singapore.

The rebrand involves a new logo, redesigned website, as well as the launching of a consumer debit card called ‘Amaze’ for users within the year.

With the new rebrand, Instarem seeks to go beyond just enhancing consumer remittances globally, to move towards being the change-driver for the complexities around global payments – empowering its customers to do more with their money in an intuitive, transparent, and cost-effective manner.

According to Yogesh Sangle, global head of Instarem, Instarem’s rebrand aligns with the new consumer initiatives to be rolled out in Singapore in coming months, as the company moves beyond digital remittances to becoming an all-in-one app for consumers.

“We see the future of Instarem as becoming an essential part of our customers’ everyday lives, offering them the most convenient option for money transfers. Our new identity reflects our belief that money should not be disconnected – it should be simple – and our enhanced offerings bring this belief to life. Our new look better represents who we are today – current, innovative, and global,” Sangle stated.

He added, “Our new mobile app provides increased usability for Singapore users that makes it easier for them to navigate and manage their transfers from anywhere in the world. Singapore customers can also expect a new and improved Instarem experience through the launch of a consumer debit card, which allows them to consolidate all their spendings in one.”

Instarem currently operates in six continents and over 100 markets, including markets in APAC such as Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and India.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google, Facebook Ad Networks still key for market retention in SEA: report

Singapore – Southeast Asia brands still see ad networks Google Ads and Facebook Ad Networks holding significant relevance in achieving retention among target consumers as well as in applying remarketing, a new report from mobile marketing analytics company AppsFlyer showed.

According to the report, Google Ads ranked number one when it comes to retention in Southeast Asia (SEA), while Facebook Ads fare better when delivering high-quality users from remarketing campaigns across Asia Pacific (APAC).

Google extended its lead over Facebook at the top of the index report, claiming first spot in all gaming and non-gaming categories, especially finance-based apps. Indonesia’s financial consultant app, Pendanaan Teknologi ranks third place in the overall finance-based apps in SEA, followed by Cashcash and Akulaku. 

Meanwhile, in all lifestyle non-gaming categories such as shopping, life, and culture, as well as social, Facebook ranked first in SEA, followed by Google Ads and Apple Search. 

As the report stated on the high index ranks of finance-based apps and well-known gaming apps, share of non-organic installs (NOI) on iOS dropped 17% in the second half of 2020 in Southeast Asia compared to the first half of the year, while NOI on Android saw the opposite effect — increasing by 9% in the same period. This is especially relevant in Southeast Asia, where AppsFlyer’s data from July to December 202 shows that Android users contribute 84% of organic installs, versus just 13% for iOS.

“2021 is going to be significantly different to previous years for marketers with end users enabling Limited Ad Tracking (LAT), and growing attention around user privacy alongside Apple’s privacy changes. iOS reliant networks and advertisers using them need to start thinking of active solutions to limit impact now,” said Beverly Chen, marketing director for APAC at AppsFlyer.

AppsFlyer also noted a 30% jump in the cost per install (CPI) on iOS in July to December 2020 which was a key factor behind the significant drop (Android cost increased by only 10%). As a result, mobile app marketers generated fewer installs for the same budget. The rise in media cost for iOS users was driven by two main elements: an increase in demand due to accelerated digital transformation caused by Covid-19, and a decrease in supply due to a 40% rise in the share of users who enabled Limited Ad Tracking (LAT). 

Other key insights noted in the report are TikTok Ads’ significant growth on iOS (+52% in its share of the pie). From 2019 to 2020, TikTok Ads recorded 82% more NOIs in APAC, climbing five spots in the global iOS gaming power ranking to reach an impressive 9 position from 14. Meanwhile, Unity Ads is still establishing its dominance in the gaming battleground, specifically in hypercasual gaming.

Platforms Featured Global

Ferrero’s Kinder launches AR app to bring Kinder toys to life

Singapore – Chocolate brand Kinder, part of the line of confectionery company Ferrero, has launched a new mobile application called ‘Applaydu’ that utilizes augmented reality (AR) to bring Kinder toys to life. 

Since the creation of Kinder, it has been engaging kids with toy surprises inside its egg-shaped packaging, wheretoys may range from toy cars to figurines of animals and characters. Through the application, it aims to deliver kids an immersive new experience. 

The app, dedicated to children from four to nine years old will feature environments, characters, and stories that are thought and built to spark their imagination and stimulate their ability to learn new things. Users of ‘Applaydu’ can enjoy games, interactive stories, activities, and a lot more.

Furthermore, the ‘Applaydu’ mobile app also provides a family-friendly, safe and controlled environment, that is free of ads nor in-app purchases, as well as parental control features such as activities report and adaptive difficulty to ensure a complete peace of mind for parents. It is designed to be used with the whole family, however, parents can rest assured that appropriate safeguards are in place to guarantee that children can enjoy themselves securely.

“By sparking the imagination of children, and uniting adults and children in play and enjoyment, we believe that Applaydu can play an important role in helping ensure that a happy child today will be a better adult tomorrow,” said Emiliano Laricchiuta, global head of Kinder Products with Surprise.

The app was developed by game developer Gameloft, and has sought the expertise from the Oxford University’s Department of Education in coming up with a set of guidelines to help Kinder’s development of the app, aimed at helping children’s progression by creating and developing a game that utilizes and develops cognitive skills including mathematics, motor skills, reading, and writing, as well as memory.

“We are really proud to partner with Kinder to make this project a reality. It is incredible to bring our 20 years of gaming expertise to the Kinder brand and their beloved toys in order to craft an app that brings a whole new layer of fun to families, by merging physical and digital worlds in order to expand the traditional play experience,” said Alexandre Tan, VP brand partnerships and advertising at Gameloft.

Applaydu can be downloaded now for free from the App Store or from Google Play.

Platforms Featured South Asia

Bangladesh ridesharing app OBHAI now also available on WhatsApp

Dhaka, Bangladesh – OBHAI, the locally-based ridesharing application, has expanded its online services to WhatsApp, tapping on the communication app’s ease of use and application to all walks of life.

The new WhatsApp integration fits the accessibility bill, as WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly active users around the globe, and 22% or around 40 Million users in Bangladesh.

“As Bangladesh marches forward towards a more sophisticated digital era, the masses are now more accustomed to having the world at the palm of their hands. As such, the frequency of communication via social media platforms, the likes of Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp etc. are increasing significantly,” the company said in their press statement.

It added, “Keeping the need and comfort of the citizens of Bangladesh in mind, OBHAI edged a step ahead and introduced its own WhatsApp service to complement its ride-sharing offerings, and to provide passengers a more personalized experience.”

Through the OBHAI app, users can book the OBHAI G (car), CNG (three-wheeler), or OBHAI Express (parcel) on WhatsApp. Commuters can save +8801313201222 in their address book as ‘OBHAI WhatsApp’ to which they will type ‘Hi’, as automated replies will pop up, to which one would simply punch in the corresponding number to their needed service.

“WhatsApp OBHAI booking will help a lot of OBHAI users to simply order an OBHAI Gari, OBHAI CNG, and even order OBHAI Express services in few keystrokes,” said Anis Ahmed, startup founder and investor at OBHAI.

OBHAI WhatsApp can be used by current OBHAI customers seamlessly, and all facilities including refund requests, complaints, billing, reviewing ride history, and suggestions will be available within minutes from OBHAI call center representatives.

The ridesharing app has existing services across 53 cities in Bangladesh.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

MSME reach is UnionBank’s ulterior motive for newly-launched banking app

Manila, Philippines – In response to the steady recovery of the Philippine banking industry and to provide better funding opportunities for small businesses, UnionBank has announced the launch of its new UnionBank SME Banking app, aimed at the country’s growing small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Through the new banking app, UnionBank’s newest innovation aims to continue empowering SMEs to embrace digital transformation and unlock more opportunities for them to pivot, grow, and thrive in the now digital normal. 

Furthermore, It also underscores UnionBank’s primary goal of using its digital expertise to extend more financial services to all Filipinos, including the strategically-vital SMEs who comprise about 99% of the country’s registered businesses. 

“Specific segments of the sector’s market continue to be in increasingly vulnerable positions. Some customers face temporary financial strain. Individual and corporate borrowers may lack sufficient money. Those with special servicing needs, such as the elderly, require customized assistance, especially with the transition to digital banking. SME owners are focusing on keeping their business afloat by seeking efficient and accessible banking solutions,” the bank said in a press statement.

Through the UnionBank SME banking app, any business owner can open their own checking account online with ease and convenience. There is no fuss as the account will be available and ready to use within the same day and there is no need to fill out any forms or visit a branch. The app also helps SMEs manage all their financial operations with just a few clicks. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and we want to help all Filipinos be financially inclusive. We are a digital partner that Pinoy SMEs can trust and rely on amid any challenge,” said Jaypee Soliman, vice president of the SME Segment at UnionBank.

UnionBank also offers other SME-related services including their online lending marketplace SeekCap that allows easier lending for SMEs, and business digital platform hub UnionBank GlobalLinker which integrates their business inventory, team and knowledge on the local SME scene all in one platform.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Cebuana Lhuillier, fintech Nium team up for remittance app launch in SG

Singapore – Philippine-based financial services Cebuana Lhuillier and Singapore-based fintech Nium have announced a new partnership in launching the remittance app Quikz in Singapore to increase the remittance reach of Filipinos residing in Singapore. 

The Quikz app will be powered by Nium’s Remittance-as-a-service (RaaS) solution and Cebuana Lhuillier’s huge network of pay-out locations in the Philippines, allowing   Filipinos based in Singapore to enjoy improved convenience, security, and real-time global transactions in sending money to the Philippines. 

Yogesh Sangle, executive vice president and global head of consumer and SME business at Nium, said, “With millions of Filipinos living and working overseas for their loved ones back home, the convenience and transparency in remittance processes play such an essential role – especially with continued social distancing measures and lockdowns in place.”

He added, “We are extremely excited that Cebuana Lhuillier, a home-grown Filipino brand, shares a common goal with Nium, and we are proud to co-establish and power this new platform through our enhanced remittance capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Jean Henri Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier’s president and CEO, commented, “Cebuana Lhuillier’s core of Financial Inclusion always pushes us to provide better micro-financial services to Filipinos, wherever they may be. This new partnership with Nium strengthens our remittance services to ensure that Filipinos around the world have access to fast, reliable, and safe transactions.”

Cebuana Lhuillier currently has more than 2,500 branches in the Philippines. Besides Nium, a partnership with technology provider Ripple has also been forged in order to facilitate low-cost payments. 

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

First-ever office, home cleaning services in SG launches mobile app

Singapore – The first-ever home and cleaning  services in Singapore HomeHelpy has launched its mobile app to make bookings of their services more accessible to their customers.

Through the app, clients can book their desired cleaning service  and manage their booking. HomeHelpy’s cleaning services include a wide range of cleaning methods such as office cleaning, which covers general office areas, pantry/lounging areas, meeting rooms, reception counters, reception rooms, exhibition rooms, and toilets. 

Other services that may be also booked include clothes ironing, bedsheet changing, cooker hood cleaning, refrigerator cleaning, microwave oven cleaning, oven cleaning, and air purification, as well as upholstery cleaning and marble polishing.

“Our HomeHelpers are well-mannered and highly-trained to produce high service quality, giving us an edge over the market,” a statement from their press release stated.

Included in the course of their app launch, is HomeHelpy’s  ‘Get What You Give’ referral promo package where participants can win various cash vouchers and an iPhone 12 Pro Max, as well as 10% earnings of the participant or its referrals to their availed HomeHelpy services.

For its CEO Vernon Kwek, the company’s values are based on being: ‘Trustable’, ‘Quality Guaranteed’, ‘Friendly’, and ‘Legal’.

“HomeHelpy ensures their clients feel [that] their chores are being taken care of, and their wide range of services are backed by highly-trained HomeHelpers who go through stringent screening processes and training programs that require a theory and practical exam at the end. HomeHelpy sets the standards to provide and cover all corners that require cleaning, whether it’s in the home or office,” the press statement added.

The HomeHelpy app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.