Marketing Featured East Asia

Anzu taps into China gaming market; appoints new partner to lead expansion

Shanghai, China – In-game advertising solution Anzu has announced that it is now entering the Chinese gaming market, and has sought Chen Zeng to lead its expansion in Mainland China as its strategic partner for China.

Anzu’s expansion speaks for its previous goal after it concluded its US$9M series funding last February this year led by WPP and Sony.

In regards to Zeng’s background, Zeng is an industry professional with more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry and an impressive track record of building technology-focused advertising brands in China. Before joining Anzu, Zeng spent five years as the General Manager of mobile ad tech Glispa China. He was also the head of sales at mobile marketing company MobPartner China, as well as leading InMobi China’s business development team.

Speaking about the partnership, Zeng said, “I am beyond excited to assist Anzu with its expansion into the region. Anzu’s unique and creative platform is a game-changer and Chinese advertisers and game developers will be eager to tap into the power of this disruptive technology. I am committed to seeing Anzu’s operations in China succeed and have no doubt that success is only moments away.”

Anzu has always ramped up its global presence prior to its China expansion, as it has forged partnerships with companies such as Eskimi and AdColony to bring in-game advertising to a greater reach, as well as with game developers like those of the game World Cricket Championship.

“Anzu has been operating in the APAC region for some time, but expanding to China specifically brings us one step closer to becoming a company with global operations. As the number one gaming market globally, China is overflowing with opportunities, and this partnership helps circumvent the Great Firewall,” said Itamar Benedy, co-founder and CEO of Anzu.

He added, “I’ve known Chen since the days of Glispa and am thrilled to be working with him again on this joint venture which promises exciting synergies for the local gaming industry.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Porsche’s new concept store in Vietnam to include art exhibitions

Hanoi, Vietnam – Global automotive brand Porsche has launched its newest retail concept, Porsche Studio, an open concept store, in Hanoi, Vietnam aimed at bringing contemporary ‘taste’ to its brand.

Veering away from the proverbial physical exhibits of the cars, the newly launched Porsche Studio exercised an innovation strategy in showcasing the brand’s products, adding art exhibitions and installations by local artists inside the store. The new concept store will also feature a configuration table – for individuals wishing to work through the list of vehicle options themselves, which can be used as a projection surface for viewing a configured vehicle in augmented reality. 

One of the interior feature of Porsche Studio in Hanoi, Vietnam

Furthermore, the studio will also be used as an event space. The Porsche Destination Charging, a global charging network with AC-charging points installed at exclusive lifestyle locations, is also set to become part of the facility.

“The new Porsche Studio concept offers an easy way to immerse yourself in the Porsche brand. With these attractive touchpoints, visitors experience what Porsche is all about in relaxing and inviting surroundings. Within the next months and years, we will roll-out the thinking behind this concept across all our retail locations,” said Deniz Keskin, head of brand management and partnerships at Porsche.

The Porsche Studio branch in Taiwan

The Hanoi branch of the Porsche Studio was initially based on the recent launch of the same studio in Tainan City, Taiwan which featured the same ‘boutique-like’ experience Porsche Studio aims to portray to its customers. It is part of the automotive brand’s ‘Future Retail Strategy’, which aims to provide “hospitality and inspiration.” The stores have also been strategically located in city centres to be within convenient reach of customers and new target groups. 

Marketing Featured APAC

Remote work solution BeeRemote expands to Asian market

London, United Kingdom – Global remote work solution BeeRemote enters the Asian market and offers companies access to hundreds of co-working spaces in Asia including prime locations in Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

The Asian expansion will primarily target startups as well as larger companies, which will give companies support for their employees working remotely anywhere in the world.

BeeRemote gives companies their own lifestyle benefits marketplace, customized to their own needs and budget and complete with experiences, services and hundreds of global brands such as Apple, Amazon and Uber Eats in addition to local businesses such as yoga studios, gyms, restaurants, among others. . 

Furthermore, companies are given their own branded form of ‘currency’ on the platform, which they can give as an allowance to their staff. The employees can then choose the benefits they want to spend it on, based on their preference and where they are in the world. This means wherever a business’ employees may be, they are able to claim their benefits, without the need for additional admin. 

“BeeRemote gives a company’s employees access to more than 1000 state-of-the-art offices in the best locations across the world, from London to New York, to Tokyo, Bali, Singapore and beyond. Employees can book their working space in any of them, so, whether living there or traveling, they’ll always have a perfect base,” the company said in a press release.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s ‘Eve’s Drop’ podcast producer afoot on SEA expansion after US$750k seed funding

Manila, Philippines – Podcast Network Asia (PNA), a Philippine-based media and technology company, has recently concluded its seed funding round, valued at around US$750k.

The funding round has seen participation from Lisa Gokongwei, president of Summit Publications, multi-focus venture capital firm Foxmont Capital, and Jakarta-based VC firm Venturra Discovery, as well as Filipino live-streaming platform Kumu.

Commenting on her participation, Gokongwei said, “I think podcasting is still in the early stages of growth in the country, and that PNA has put a stake in the ground ahead with a scalable business model. The team knows the industry well and they are quite passionate.”

Funds collected from the investment round will be used to expand the company’s presence in the Southeast Asia region, particularly in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Since its establishment in August 2019, PNA has helped podcast creators have access to production support and monetization opportunities. Over the course of the pandemic, PNA has since grown its roster to 93 shows. With four Spotify-exclusive shows, PNA is also home to the top podcasts in the Philippines, including ‘Boiling Waters’, ‘Eve’s Drop’, ‘Kool Pals’, and ‘Walwal Sesh’.

For Ron Baetiong, CEO and co-founder of Podcast Network Asia, podcasting is already entering its ‘golden age’, as statistics from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and consulting firm PwC, podcast advertising has grown exponentially along with the increase of podcast shows which is estimated to be at 1M. From 2015 to 2020, podcast ad revenue grew exponentially from US$69M to US$659M and is forecasted to reach a value of US$1B in 2021.

“We are very excited with what this investment allows us to do – with the Philippines as the sixth fastest-growing country in terms of listenership plus our own listenership, which already stands at 10M; we can scale up and continue the momentum we’ve built in the Philippine podcasting industry and replicate it across the region,” Baetiong said.

PNA will also leverage its data analytics and ad marketplace platform, which allows monetization opportunities to the global podcast market. With the new funding, PNA hopes to grow its client network, which currently has 415 podcasts signed to Podmetrics. 

As the client numbers of Podmetrics Marketplace, a feature within the platform, is slated to grow, users will now be able to take advantage of viewing total podcast analytics, applying to affiliate marketing campaigns, brand collaboration for episode sponsorships, and viewing campaign impressions, conversions, and other podcast metrics.

“Podcasting is still in its nascent stage in Southeast Asia. When we look at top-charting podcasts, [a] majority of them launched within the past year. The industry has strong momentum, as audio streaming platforms are doubling down on this segment. We believe we can empower creators to improve and commercialize their content through data analytics and production support,” said Raditya Pramanay, partner at Venturra Discovery

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

K-beauty conglomerate Amorepacific inks deal with Shopee to bolster regional reach

Singapore – South Korean beauty conglomerate Amorepacific and e-commerce platform Shopee have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen both their regional partnership, which started in 2018, as well as to accelerate the growth of K-beauty brands in the region. This adds Taiwan to the beauty company’s market aside from the Southeast Asia region. 

Through the MoU, Amorepacific will be launching the first regional campaign for one of its brands, Sulwhasoo, on Shopee Premium this April, to drive online sales and premium category growth on e-commerce. This follows the exemplary performance of Sulwhasoo’s launch in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand on Shopee last year. 

Amorepacific’s portfolio includes known K-beauty brands such as Laneige, Mamonde, Ryo, and Mise en scene, as well as innisfree and Etude. The company aims to leverage Shopee’s market leadership and deep data insights into consumer shopping trends and behavior to help pre-launch new exclusive products. 

In addition, Amorepacific will explore introducing its brand ambassadors such as popular Korean celebrities and artists into its Shopee campaigns, strengthening its brand affinity and awareness with consumers across the region.

With regards to Sulwhasoo, aside from the campaign in Shopee Premium, Sulwhasoo will curate brand content and tap on the differentiated user experience on Shopee Premium to enhance its brand storytelling, and deepen engagement with the growing number of premium and luxury consumer segments. The beauty brand will also explore launching a brand membership program on Shopee to reward loyal shoppers.

For Michael Youngsoo Kim, head of Amorepacific APAC, their partnership with Shopee is a natural evolution of its successful business results in the past 9.9 and 12.12 campaigns. 

“With Shopee’s deep understanding of the local market landscape in the region, engaged users, and data expertise, we believe that Amorepacific and Shopee together, will be able to better serve the needs of consumers by bringing more of our world-class products to them,” Kim stated.

Meanwhile, Chris Feng, chief executive officer at Shopee said that they look forward to working with Amorepacific, as they have been invited as new brand partners for Shopee’s Regional Champion Brands Programme, which aims in boosting top-performing brands on the platform.

“We are confident of helping Amorepacific capture more growth and opportunities regionally with priority access and support on all regional initiatives and resources. This partnership will also enable us to tap on their vast portfolio and industry expertise to strengthen Shopee’s beauty and personal care offering, giving our shoppers more choices, as well as upgrading the online shopping experience,” Feng explained.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

MY commerce platform Poptron bags US$1M funding to connect microbrands to global users

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local-based lifestyle e-commerce platform Poptron has secured US$1M investment from its recent seed funding, which will be used to further connect its partner micro and emerging brands to global users.

The platform aims to extend its operations to Singapore by the first quarter of 2021. The investment will be put into developing and releasing a second version of the platform, projected to be finished by January this year.

Established in September 2020, Poptron offers microbrands selling high-quality, natural, and eco-friendly products or artisanal goods, a platform to be connected with global users. Since then, 100 microbrands with more than 700 different types of product listings have since come on board, ranging from personal care, fashion items, arts and crafts, to pets necessities and home & living products.

“Before the Movement Control Order (MCO), I used to frequent local arts bazaars and discovered a lot of interesting, high-quality products from small brands and businesses. Due to the pandemic, bazaars came to a halt, so these brands are depending on online sales, usually gathered from various social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram. Online demand generation became a critical area of focus, and it became quite evident that securing new customers online isn’t as easy as it seems,” said Brian Johnson Lowe, founder of Poptron.

Poptron’s main proposition is helping sellers overcome key pain points in customer acquisition, business management, and regional growth by using a single platform to handle everything from inquiries to shipping. Users can also discover, follow, and shop through a practical and intuitive user interface while tracking each delivery straight to their doorstep.

“With Poptron, we hope to gather all these brands in one place for consumers to discover, our idea is to prove the value of this unique platform and increase the business returns of our merchants first. Being able to make the strides that we have during the course of this year is a testament to the drive and passion of the team,” Lowe added.

SME Featured Southeast Asia APAC

Visa invites PH, other APAC start-ups to join new accelerator program

Manila, Philippines – Digital payment company Visa has announced the launch of their newest accelerator program for APAC start-ups in expanding their business reach to a global level.

The new “Visa Accelerator Program” will focus on making selected start-ups be connected with bank and merchant partners of Visa globally through commercial opportunity collaborations. Furthermore, the accelerator program is designed for start-ups that have built a consumer base in their home country, and are ready to enter new geographical and consumer regions.

“In Visa’s ongoing work with the startup community, we often see companies face challenges when taking their business from a local success story to becoming a player in multiple markets. There is a vibrant fintech ecosystem in the Philippines. At Visa, we have global expertise that can help startups take their expansion plans off the white board and into the real world. We encourage Philippine startups who want to partner with us to join this program so we can help them scale,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines & Guam.

Areas of interest that Visa wants the participating start-ups to address are as follows:

  • Expand access to the digital economy to consumers and businesses that are underserved or cash-dependent
  • Support of small businesses as they struggle with changing technology demands and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Leveraging the growing open data environment in the region to develop more personalized banking and shopping experiences
  • Developing new ways of moving money that aren’t dependent on traditional credit and debit cards

“There is no shortage of fantastic solutions coming out of the Asia Pacific, particularly the Philippine startup community. What’s most important to Visa is how we can support those solutions getting elevated to a stage where in a few months’ time they could be pitched as a commercial deal to a leading bank, retailer or technology company in the region. A big differentiator for the Visa Accelerator Program is our concentration on a small number of startups that are truly ready to unlock that next level,” Wolbert added.

SME Featured ANZ

Aussie startup Metigy’s latest funding round aims to take SME reach globally

Sydney, Australia – SME marketing company Metigy in Australia has recently concluded its funding round, which the startup will use in expanding its services globally.

The funding, closing at USD 20M, will be initially used to expand its business to the United States and Southeast Asia, specifically in Singapore. Furthermore, the funding will also aid in growing the company’s product and engineering teams in Australia.

We’ve had fantastic growth so far but it’s just the beginning — there’s a massive opportunity to help the nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S. and 150 million businesses across South East Asia. According to Google, 97% of SEAsian SMEs have no ad tech or martech solutions and also lack the supply of talent to meet that demand. Innovative technology developed with the SME in mind is the only way to solve this problem

David Fairfull (pictured left), CEO and co-founder at Metigy

He also added,“We created Metigy to make digital marketing an effective tool for all types of businesses, not just those with massive marketing budgets. Half of all small businesses fail within the first two years, and marketing — or a lack of effective marketing — is always one of the key reasons. We want to improve those odds and give them a fighting chance.”

The startup is working closely with Google and telecommunications company Optus, and has created strategic partnerships with companies such as Singapore’s SingTel, who co-sell Metigy’s tools to add value to their own business customer relationships.

Speaking about the funding round, Darien Jagger, lead investor at Cygnet Capital, states that Metigy’s fast expansion pushed the venture capital to invest in the startup.

“Cygnet was an early-stage investor in Metigy and after seeing their impressive growth, it absolutely made sense to lead this current raise. Completing the raise 100% oversubscribed in this market with an all Australian investor group is a testament to the solid business the team has built. Strategically, this also places Metigy firmly on the path to remaining Australian based,” Jagger stated.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Commerce company VTEX expands Asia growth with SG office

New York, USA – To officially mark its presence within the Asian market, commerce company VTEX is officially expanding its growth by establishing its first Asian regional office in Singapore, with a greater reach for the APAC region.

For VTEX, its APAC expansion means looking at the various commerce opportunities, especially with the shift to e-commerce in the region. Furthermore, Singapore is one of the region’s growing e-commerce hubs, which VTEX sees as a potential place to seek local and diverse e-commerce talent.

“With our growing number of global clients, we want to ensure each of our customers feel supported in whichever markets they do business in. Opening an office in Singapore is the next step in building our expansive global presence, and we’re thrilled with what this team of local commerce experts will be able to do for our customers,” said Alex Soncini, co-founder and head of global accounts at VTEX.

France Roy, CTO, D2C at AB InBev added, “VTEX’s unique commerce capabilities allow us to operate more efficiently while having the flexibility to scale and meet demand. We’re excited to deliver a streamlined and efficient buying experience, available to our customers now.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

AnyMind Group plans for future expansion, renames CastingAsia, AdAsia

Singapore – AnyMind Group, a company that produces software in direct-to-consumer, cloud manufacturing, entertainment, marketing, and HR, has announced its plans to connect its various offerings and to build a runway for future expansion.

AnyMind Group has renewed its vision, and now aims to “make every business borderless,” through removing borders and barriers for organizations whether it be geographical, online and offline, industries, platforms, and mediums.

Having launched, developed, and acquired brands across various industries such as marketing, entertainment, and direct-to-consumer, the company aims to offer end-to-end solutions from brand building, product manufacturing, and marketing.

Commenting on this development, Kosuke Sogo, CEO, and co-founder of AnyMind Group discussed the company’s plans to expand its offerings. 

“Having grown and established strong offerings across multiple spaces, we are looking to move into a position to connect our various offerings to form one of the first end-to-end brand enablement platforms. Apart from leveraging on our individual products, we’re moving towards helping businesses and individuals tap on a comprehensive solution to seamlessly turn previously-siloed data into action, in the future.”

“True to our underlying philosophy of Growth for Everyone, we can enable businesses and individuals to become borderless, from brand establishment,product creation, marketing, selling, and very soon, fulfilment.”

In addition, the company will be renaming its flagship brands in influencer marketing, and influencer management, and advertising. 

In a nutshell, said brands will now be renamed to carry the word “Any.” CastingAsia, its influencer marketing platform will now be called AnyTag. Meanwhile, its influencer management network CastingAsia Creators Network has been renamed to AnyCreator. 

The AdAsia brand on the other hand, which includes AdAsia Digital Platform, the AdAsia Premium Marketplace and AdAsia360 will be discontinued, with the AdAsia Digital Platform software being renamed to AnyDigital and its publisher platform names, AdAsia360, FourM360, and Acqua360 to be consolidated under the name AnyManager.

Sogo said, “In line with becoming an end-to-end brand enablement platform and longer-term plans to expand out of Asia, we have renamed our products to fit in with the wider AnyMind Group branding and to position ourselves for future growth through a unified branding strategy.”