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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee’s parent company named top retailer in SEA

Singapore – Sea, the parent company of leading e-commerce platform in the region, Shopee, bags the top spot as the top retailer for the Southeast Asia region based on sales in 2021, as seen from the latest data of Euromonitor International. This was two places up from last year’s rankings where in the previous report, Sea fell behind Indonesia’s e-commerce Tokopedia, the top retailer for the said year, followed by Seven & I Holdings, the holding company of 7-Eleven. 

Sea recorded sales of $16.06b 2021. It’s the same brands showing up for the top three retailers in the region only their places shuffled – Tokopedia ended second with $12.88b in sales, followed by Seven & I Holdings with $10.85b. 

Meanwhile, Chinese retail & tech giant Alibaba comes in fourth, followed by Indonesia-founded convenience store Alfamart. Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group also makes a comeback, while we see two Thai retailers entering the upper 10 – Central Retail Corp and Charoen Pokphand Group. 

In the top 10, Vietnam’s Mobile World JSC enters the list, while Philippines’ SM Retail also retains its crown as one of the region’s top retailers.

The report notes that the retail industry in Southeast Asia is largely fragmented, where growth primarily comes from companies with a regional presence. The biggest pattern we see for the period is the dominance of e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Tokopedia, and Alibaba reflecting the pace of channel shifts. E-commerce players outperformed other distribution channels, especially in markets with 

In 2021, e-commerce grew more than 30% in Southeast Asia and is expected to reach over $165b by 2026. This makes the territory a lucrative target for global e-commerce players.

The report notes that while this is the case, a general or broad strategy will not work. Conquering the market is complex and regional e-commerce players must create localised strategies catered to various cultural needs.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab launches new enterprise service, GrabMaps

Singapore Grab announced its new technology GrabMaps, a new enterprise service that Grab can leverage to capture the US$1 billion market opportunity in Southeast Asia per year for its mapping and location-based services. First developed for in-house use, GrabMaps was created to address Grab’s need for more hyperlocal solution to power its services.

Currently, GrabMaps offers location-based services for all Grab verticals in 7 out of 8 countries it operates in, and Grab expects to be fully-sufficient with GrabMaps by Q3 2022.

Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder, Grab, said, “Grab’s focus is how we can always deliver technological innovations that address the needs of every Southeast Asian region appropriately, and GrabMaps is one example.”

According to Ling, the narrow roads and alleys commonly found in Southeast Asian cities, frequented by their driver and delivery partners often do not appear on conventional maps. “We have invested in turning this intelligence into a competitive advantage, enabling us to serve our customers and partners with the best possible experience, while driving efficiency and cost savings for the business. We are very pleased that soon we will be fully using our own mapping technology,” added Ling.

Mapping, pick-up point technology such as points of interest (POI), and route intelligence are vital parts of the core features that platforms like Grab rely on. Currently, GrabMaps supports more than 800 billion API calls per month across various Grab services. 

Internal data also shows that for countries that have made full use of GrabMaps, the ease of finding the right pick-up point for transportation bookings has increased by an average of 3%, while the accuracy of estimated travel time (ETT) has increased by 1% regionally, with some countries experienced an increase of up to 7.8 percentage points.

The growth of street images in GrabMaps in a span of a year in Jakarta.

The main advantage of GrabMaps lies in the principle of community-based mapping that involves consumers, business partners, and Grab’s fleet of driver and delivery partners.

The GrabMaps solution draws on new data from millions of orders and rides served every day, where feedback from partners is obtained directly real-time information, from road closure information, business address changes, and more. Driver-partners and delivery-partners also have the opportunity to contribute to developing our maps, collecting pick-up points and other data such as street images, street names, traffic signs and more to earn additional income. With this, GrabMaps is not only superior in terms of accuracy, coverage and updates but also cost-efficient.

Philipp Kandal, head of Geo, Grab, said, “As superapp The leading company in the region, GrabMaps supports Grab to serve the daily needs of millions of consumers every day. With our track record and deep understanding of Southeast Asia, we believe GrabMaps can be the best mapping platform of choice for Southeast Asia.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SEA consumers willing to pay more for sustainability, but affordability still most important: report

Singapore – Consumer data and analytics company Milieu Insight released the findings of its ‘Sustainable Beauty’ study, which aimed to find out their opinions of sustainability claims, and how receptive beauty product shoppers in Southeast Asia are towards sustainable beauty products in light of World Environment Day coming up on 5 June. 

The survey aims to find out opinions of sustainability claims, and how receptive beauty product shoppers in Southeast Asia are towards sustainable beauty products as the market of environmentally-conscious shoppers grow within the region.

New beauty brands have emerged in recent years to cater to a growing market of consumers – environmentally-conscious shoppers who are looking for beauty products that are good for them, and good for the Earth. Even large industry players are hopping onto the bandwagon, introducing sustainable products or product packaging and aggressively marketing them to be so.

The survey has shown that the majority of Southeast Asians are receptive towards sustainable beauty products, Singaporeans least so. Through a series of questions that asked Southeast Asian consumers about the likelihood of choosing a more sustainable option, they are generally receptive towards them with 93 per cent of respondents being very/somewhat likely to choose a chemical and toxic-free beauty product over one that is not. 

Meanwhile, 87 per cent are very/somewhat likely to choose products with 100 per cent recyclable packaging. Moreover, 84 per cent of the consumers are very/somewhat likely to choose cruelty-free products, especially Filipino consumers with 90 per cent votes on the category. 

The report also noted that 83 per cent are very/somewhat likely to swap to a refillable option if it’s available, while 73 percent are very/somewhat likely to try a water-less beauty product (eg. shampoo bar, bar soaps), versus conventional bottled products (eg. liquid shampoo and soap) 

Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability, but affordability remains the most important. Affordability emerged as the top consideration in purchasing beauty products with 78 per cent., while 81 per cent of the consumers said that while they are willing to pay more for sustainable/ clean/ ethical beauty products, prices still have to stay within the comfortable range for consumers.

The report also found that consumers don’t blindly trust sustainability claims. About 67 per cent of respondents indicated that they ‘research more about the claims on my beauty products’ packaging to know if it’s really sustainable/ clean/ ethical’, especially consumers from the Philippines with 83 per cent and Malaysia with 72 per cent. 

Most agree that there should be more regulations to ensure that beauty products’ claims about being sustainable/ clean/ ethical are well-substantiated with evidence.” (88 per cent agreed that companies themselves also have to be transparent and clear in their communication of their products’ sustainability, well-substantiated with evidence. In addition, 86 per cent of the respondents agreed that ‘More should be done by companies to communicate to customers how their beauty products are sustainable/ clean/ ethical.’

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Platforms Featured East Asia

South Korea’s taxi-hailing company Kakao Mobility to expand mobility roaming services across SEA

Seoul, Korea – South Korea’s taxi-hailing company Kakao Mobility, has announced its partnership with global mobility platform provider Splyt Technologies Ltd., to begin offering access to local ride-hailing services in seven Southeast Asian countries. Through the partnership, Kakao Mobility users will be able to book various transportation options in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia directly via the ‘Overseas Travel’ menu in the Kakao T app home screen. 

Without any additional settings or logins, users can also book local taxis, private cars, and motorcycles while abroad through the Kakao T app. The technical integration has been developed by Splyt, the superapp enabler, while the transportation itself is provided by Grab, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing platform.

The company said, users will also have various payment options via the Kakao T app. In addition to the automatic payment function that allows users to pay with a pre-registered Korean domestic card, the Kakao T app also supports mobile phone micropayments, eliminating the hassle of users preparing local currency in advance.

Splyt’s CEO, Philipp Mintchin, shared, “We are proud to expand our partnership with Kakao Mobility across more and more countries, enabling true mobility roaming via the Kakao T superapp. As travel resumes across Asia, our partnership will truly lead to a win-win-win situation – for Kakao Mobility, for Splyt, as well as for the traveller.”

To further simplify a user’s journey, the Kakao Mobility – Splyt partnership ensures that, when users call a vehicle from abroad, the Korean departure and arrival address automatically converts into their local language via real-time automatic translation messenger and current location photo transmission service.

Dong-Hoon Shin, head of Kakao Mobility MaaS Business Unit, commented, “This partnership is a cornerstone in Kakao Mobility’s aim to develop into a global mobility platform. Being able to provide a global roaming service allows Korean domestic travellers’ seamless mobility experience to expand into the overseas market.

“In addition, our advanced technologies for realising mobility services, such as our own map and routing engine, allow us to introduce various mobility services in a global market beyond simple means of transportation,” Shin added.

In 2018, Kakao Mobility introduced its first roaming service in Japan, and in 2019, it began providing the service in Vietnam. Kakao has chosen to launch now, as it expects significant increases in cross- border travel across Southeast Asia, with vaccination certificates now ensuring convenient and safe travels across the region.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Elloe raises $7m in pre-seed funding, to expand to SEA

Philippines – Elloe, a US-based social e-commerce firm focused on Kenya and emerging markets, has announced that it has raised $7m in pre-seed capital, led by Mad Ventures, Inc. of the Philippines. The funds will be used to expand its Kenyan operations and enter the Philippine and Southeast Asian markets by 2023 and beyond.

Elloe is an AI-powered, social commerce platform that allows businesses to buy and sell things online across any messaging network. It was co-founded by Owen Sakawa, Abhijay Rao, and Aaron Madolora.

Elloe’s consolidated merchant gateway simplifies operations, logistics, payments, and marketing for businesses, resulting in increased sales and profitability. It is especially beneficial for micro-SMEs that seek to offer their products and services online without paying excessive commissions to third parties.

Owen Sakawa, founder and CEO at Elloe, shared, “We are very excited and humbled by the opportunity to partner with Mad Ventures, Inc and join its growing livelihood ecosystem as digital ambassadors to local Kenyan entrepreneurs and netizens.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Adtech Quantcast launches cookieless solution in SEA

Singapore – Quantcast, global adtech company, has announced that its cookieless solution for the Quantcast Platform is now available in Southeast Asia. The company will now be able to assist marketers in the region in finding new audiences in cookieless environments, including Safari and Firefox.

The new cookieless solution was formally launched last September. The solution allows for cookieless activation with just one click and leverages multiple signals for a holistic view of the open internet. Ara™, Quantcast’s unique AI and machine learning engine, makes sense of complex multiple signal sets to understand behavioral patterns, which allows marketers to find, activate and measure audiences without third-party cookies.

Andrew Double, Quantcast’s managing director for APAC, believes that now is the time to begin testing and activating on cookieless environments ahead of cookies deprecation in 2023.

“We have enabled cookieless capabilities to allow customers around the world to reach, influence, and acquire new audiences on cookieless inventory and go beyond the competition for limited cookie-based impressions and inventory,” said Double.

In the first half of the year, Google, which has been eyeing cookie deprecation for 2021, has delayed such for another year. Similarly, tech giant Apple has also tightened its privacy features with an update that’s been designed to conceal a user’s identity amid browsing in Safari.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Martech Techsun launches in SEA, unveils new product for SMEs

Singapore – APAC Martech brand Techsun, which provides solutions for consumer marketing, consumer data, and marketing process automation has launched in Southeast Asia with a new headquarters in Singapore. In conjunction with the regional expansion, Techsun has also rolled out a new product built for SMEs.

The new product is an expansion of Techsun’s flagship product, Social Hub, a cloud-native customer understanding and engagement SaaS for omnichannel retailers and brands. It is an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Data Platform (CDP) solution and enables brands to have a 360 degree understanding of their customers by managing and analyzing relevant customer data across multiple online to offline (O2O) touchpoints such as transactions in-store and in-app, official and authorized reseller websites, social media channels as well as payment platforms. 

Deepening brand loyalty is also part of Social Hub’s value proposition via its omnichannel personalized customer messaging, automated precision marketing, and management of promotion initiatives and loyalty programs such as membership points and discount coupons. 

The expansion to Southeast Asia marks the martech’s first regional office outside of China and is considered as a stepping stone to the greater APAC region.

Ivan Zhou, Techsun’s general manager for APAC, commented that they see great potential for Techsun in the SEA region due to its growing regional economy and a strong business community. 

“With Social Hub, we aim to be the solution of choice for both the global brands and the large SME market in the region. We want to utilize the experience we gained working with numerous global brands in China and the APAC region and help businesses in Singapore as well as the rest of Southeast Asia,” Zhou said. 

Zhou added that its SaaS promises better value with less than 20% of what big companies are charging and is confident that it will go a long way in “uplifting the retail landscape in Asia.”

He also remarked on democratizing tech for SMEs, “SMEs may not be as prolific as MNCs but they are important engines of growth in Southeast Asia. Technology is a key competitive advantage for brands, especially in the new retail era, and we want to democratize access to the same cutting-edge solutions that big brands have been using for SMEs so that they can equalize the playing field.”

SMEs can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Social Hub on Techsun’s website.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

GroupM’s tie-up with PH’s Tier One to make advertising more inclusive in esports

Manila, Philippines – Tier One Entertainment, Philippine-headquartered esports talent agency for SEA, has landed a major partnership with media investment company GroupM with an aim to make advertising more inclusive in the esports industry, specifically to open up esports and gaming content to more mainstream brands. 

GroupM owns some of the top agencies internationally, such as Mindshare, Mediacom, and Essence, and holds global FMCG brand accounts like P&G, Unilever, Nestle, and Colgate-Palmolive, and Pepsico. Through this partnership, both GroupM and Tier One look to lead the way in extending advertising opportunities to more brands, and not just those that are esports-dedicated. 

Despite its rise as a phenomenon, esports and gaming largely remain an endemic sponsor-dominated industry, especially in Southeast Asia. Tier One hopes that with GroupM’s considerable network and resources, they can work to change this and bring more eyes to the industry and their talents.

Tier One is the first and only esports and gaming company GroupM has partnered with in the Philippines, and with this, the company will be onboarded into GroupM’s content platform INCA which streamlines the selling and buying of Tier One’s commercial inventory.

When Tier One launched in the country, one of its core goals is to bridge the gap between gaming and mainstream. The company said that GroupM is the perfect partner to enable them to pursue that goal more actively than ever. 

“It’s been a long-term goal of Tier One Entertainment to partner with GroupM. We are glad to have reached a point wherein our backend team can experience working with the best and brightest in the advertising industry. We look forward to a productive and meaningful working relationship as we bring esports and gaming to the forefront of mainstream advertising,” said Joanne Llavore, CCO of Tier One Entertainment

Meanwhile, Laurent Goirand, head of digital at GroupM, commented, “Seeing the growing interest for e-sports in the Philippines, it is naturally becoming a new venue for our clients to reach out to new customers. With our partnership with Tier One, we are able to have access to premium content and a team of experts, which will be highly beneficial to our overall proposition. We are already starting to offer this new content to all our clients through INCA, our Content Performance solution.”

Tier One shared that the partnership comes at an opportune time, as it looks to expand to more countries in 2021 and in the future. GroupM is believed to be instrumental in mirroring the model of success that Tier One pioneered in the Philippines to other countries across the region, with the partnership expected to allow Tier One to scale up at an unprecedented rate.

Tier One’s CEO Tryke Gutierrez said, “While we have made great strides towards bringing gaming and esports to more mainstream audiences, the fact that a company like GroupM chose us as a partner is a real game-changer. This shows that the advertising industry is finally confident and believes in the power of esports in Southeast Asia.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Globe partners with Grab, makes available prepaid internet products on platform

Manila, Philippines – Ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia Grab has partnered with internet service provider, Globe at Home, to offer another channel to customers in availing its prepaid internet services.

The team-up will enable users of Grab to choose and avail Globe at Home’s internet products on GrabMart, namely Globe at Home Prepaid, LTE-Advanced, and Xtreme Prepaid Wifi. The products can be shipped within a 10-kilometer radius and have them delivered directly to the customer. When customers make a minimum purchase of ₱900, they can also avail GrabMart’s unlimited free delivery promo, which runs until 31 March, with code UNLIFREEDEL upon checkout.

EJ dela Vega, head of deliveries for Grab Philippines, commented that being connected is more important now more than ever, saying that amid the shift to a work-from-home setup, a reliable internet connection enables productivity as well as to enjoy leisure time to stream movies and music. 

“It’s [also] a necessary instrument for online businesses to grow by reaching a wider audience. Most importantly, being connected allows us to buy groceries and other essentials in the comfort of our living rooms. The partnership between Grab and Globe at Home aims to give Filipinos the chance to enjoy affordable, and reliable internet connection when they need it,” said dela Vega.

Meanwhile, Vice President and Head of Broadband Business at Globe Darius Delgado said, “Globe’s home prepaid WiFi sets the bar for broadband not only because of its larger capacity, but more importantly for its affordability and accessibility. We decided to partner with Grab because of the shopping convenience it offers. Customers can order our budget-friendly internet solutions right in the comfort of their homes. All they have to do is browse through GrabMart and choose the package that suits their needs.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

InMobi, Gojek team up to help brands in SEA drive personalization

Singapore – Mobile ad platform InMobi has partnered with multi-service platform Gojek, in an aim to provide privacy-compliant personalized advertising, consumer intelligence, and identity resolution for brands in Southeast Asia – particularly to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Through the partnership, InMobi will also provide brands the capability to run surveys among Gojek audiences to unravel unique industry and consumer insights. The industry and vertical insights will be powered by InMobi’s AI-driven mobile-first consumer intelligence platform – Pulse.

Rishi Bedi, vice president and general manager for InMobi Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea, stated that through this partnership, brands can engage with Gojek audiences programmatically on InMobi Exchange via their preferred demand-side platform (DSP) platform.

Brands will have a unique opportunity to build a single view of the consumer by combining browse and buy patterns, category or brand affinity, location intelligence, and media behavior across the InMobi and Gojek platforms. Additionally, brands can also measure the sales impact of their online advertising across platforms using InMobi’s mobile intelligence, such as location and Gojek’s in-app engagement signals.

“With the deprecation of the cookie, identity resolution is becoming critical for brands across the globe and Southeast Asia to reach consumers in a relevant manner. By combining InMobi and Gojek proprietary intelligence, we will soon provide brands with a unique ID to drive contextual targeting and advertising in a cookie less world,” said Bedi.

Meanwhile, Vice President for AdTech, Data Partnership & Monetization of Gojek Pulkit Khanna commented, “Our partnership with InMobi will offer an actionable solution for marketers and be a key growth driver for their businesses, as we will be able to help them optimize their marketing spends via effective targeting. By helping marketers deliver the right content to users on the right occasion, they will be able to maximize impact and ROI. Users will also benefit from having more targeted and relevant content, in line with Gojek’s mission to remove friction from consumers’ daily lives.”