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Platforms Featured East Asia

Innity HK unveils new self-serve advertising platform, ‘Innity Premium AdHub’

Hong Kong – Innity Hong Kong, a digital advertising solutions company, has announced it has launched Innity Premium AdHub, a new self-serve advertising platform that allows brands and SME advertisers to run campaigns more openly on their own terms. The new self-serve advertising platform enables businesses of all sizes to tap into Innity’s network of more than 250 quality publishers and reach over 12 million active devices in Hong Kong with precise targeting.

With Innity Premium Ad Hub, advertisers can set campaign budgets, monitor results, and adjust content in real-time, all from an easy-to-use online platform. The platform is backed by rich 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party audience data, enabling the delivery of branding and performance campaigns in a brand-safe and transparent environment. 

The self-serve platform also lets advertisers build and design their own ads directly on the platform with minimal effort. Advertisers are also able to run Innity’s high-impact mobile ad formats like Mobile Spin, Mobile Cards, and more that aim to deliver the highest viewability and engaging ad experiences.

Andrew Lim, managing partner, Innity Hong Kong, shared, “We’re excited to enable advertisers to easily and quickly create and upload their own campaigns that they can push live to 12 million active devices in Hong Kong in a fast and effective way. Our mission with the Innity Premium AdHub is to create a high-quality premium marketplace to offer a transparent, brand-safe, and high-viewability advertising platform, and we are very happy to be on track to deliver this to all our advertisers.” 

Innity is currently powering the self-serve technology for two premium publisher co-operatives in the region – The Online Premium Publishers Association (OPPA) in Thailand, and Malaysian Premium Publishers Marketplace (MPPM) in Malaysia and continues to encourage the adoption and education of self-serve automation in the region’s digital media industry.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Credit OK launches new ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for Thai SMEs

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s fintech startup for SMEs, Credit OK, has launched the ‘Protect Now, Pay Later’ program for SMEs, corporations, and individual customers. This program aims to be an alternative for SMEs in managing their risks and accessing the right SME insurance packages plus payment plan options.

Credit OK helps to provide credit facilities for insurance premium payments (premium financing). This aims to serve the requirements of corporate customers and make SME insurance purchases not only convenient but also a friendly experience.

In collaboration with insurance company Chubb Samaggi Insurance in Thailand, Credit OK has designed and developed insurance products to fit the needs of Thai SME operators, including health insurance, motor insurance, compulsory motor insurance, group personal insurance, credit/loan protection, and construction insurance, as well as inland transit/carrier insurance, and machinery insurance.

Phuwarat Norchoovech, CEO of Credit OK, said, “There are 2 factors that contribute to the sustainable growth of SME business, one is cashflow and another is the ability to reduce the risks.”

Credit OK made instant instalment plans for SMEs possible through machine learning, data analytics, and verification systems to make credit assessment simple yet accurate and effective. Customers can choose to have instant coverage from the straight-through purchasing process with 6 instalments with a 0% interest rate. No credit history, guarantors, or bank statement is required.

Moreover, the fintech also houses an online community for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs called ‘OK Partner’, where small business owners or even individual customers can participate to earn cash back whenever they or their friends purchase on the platform by simply registering on OK Partner and sharing their unique referral links. This will allow their friends to get a cashback discount when buying insurance on Credit OK, and the referrers will also earn extra money through a successful referral.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Chubb, JA Assure launches online cyber insurance platform for SMEs

Singapore Chubb, a publicly traded property and casualty insurance company and multinational niche market insurtech firm JA Assure, has announced the launch of HaxsafeTM, a cyber insurance portal targeting SMEs looking for an easy and accessible insurance solution. Haxsafe, which is currently offered in Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, and Singapore, offers a hassle-free experience with instant quotes and policy issuance.

Underwritten by Chubb, a provider of cyber insurance with more than 20 years of experience, the cyber insurance product offered on the platform is a comprehensive risk management solution providing clients with pre-loss risk mitigation and incident response services. The pre-loss mitigation services include complimentary access to a password management tool and regular spam tests designed to help keep organisations cyber safe. When a cyber incident occurs, clients can access the Chubb Incident Response Platform, an end-to-end process, developed to contain the threat and limit potential damage to their businesses. The incident response manager assigned to the client will assist to triage the issues, develop a plan of action to contain the threat, as well as appoint specialist vendors to assist with loss prevention and business recovery.

Japhire Gopi, CEO at JA Assure, shared, “Haxsafe will be a gamechanger for SMEs as it simplifies the insurance buying process for small business owners who simply do not have the time and resources to go through lengthy insurance purchase processes. We are in the business of innovation and I’m excited to make insurance more accessible to those who need it.”

Grant Cairns, regional head of property & casualty, Asia Pacific at Chubb, commented, “Our data shows that SMEs, like large organisations, are vulnerable to cyber attacks, despite the popular belief that SMEs are too small to be of interest to threat actors. I’m pleased that we are now able to bring Chubb’s cyber risk management solution closer to SMEs, underscoring our commitment to better serve the small commercial segment.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

GA Malaysia, MARQETR partner to upskill Malaysian marketers, assist SMEs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Akademi GA, the exclusive partner of General Assembly (GA) in Malaysia (GA Malaysia), and MARQETR, an on-demand platform that links marketing experts to startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have collaborated to equip Malaysian marketers with future ready digital skills and to empower them to work the way they want.

The partnership would be an avenue for both parties to achieve their goals; GA Malaysia can have placement referrals for marketing students or graduates for project opportunities on MARQETR. Meanwhile, MARQETR can refer new and existing marketers to upskill and reskill themselves at GA Malaysia, in order to maintain a high level of quality and performance in the marketing and digital discipline.

Upon analyzing and concluding that there is a demand for digitally skilled workers, MARQETR and GA Malaysia aim to close the digital skills gap among marketers in Malaysia and help with matching talents to on-demand work opportunities through this partnership.

Andrew Pereira, CEO of GA Malaysia, said, “GA Malaysia’s partnership with MARQETR will enable us to upskill and reskill even more marketers and provide another avenue for GA Malaysia graduates to access on-demand work opportunities with MARQETR. I look forward to seeing the impact of this partnership on the ultimate beneficiaries – marketing professionals and the organisations that benefit from their expertise.”

Meanwhile, Mawarni Adam, founder and CEO of MARQETR, shared, “Partnering with General Assembly Malaysia will not only boost the digital skillsets of the marketing talents on MARQETR but will also provide access for SMEs to hire the right marketers according to their business needs without the hassles of the traditional way of search and procurement.”

Adam adds, “Providing a supported and secure platform for marketers to offer their skills and services, and work the way they want is part of our mission too, and we are excited to be welcoming graduates from GA Malaysia and supporting them in their careers, as part of their on-demand marketing experts path on MARQETR.”

The partnership is already live and is available for SMEs to tap into GA Malaysia marketing talents via MARQETR, and for new signups and existing marketers on MARQETR to get access to GA Malaysia digital-driven marketing courses at exclusively-discounted rates to upskill themselves.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

IFC, HDBank partner to boost finance for Viet SMEs

Hanoi, Vietnam — International Finance Corporation (IFC) has collaborated with Vietnamese private retail bank, Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank), to help Vietnamese small and medium businesses access innovative funding enabling them to better take part in global supply chains, expand into new markets, and help drive Vietnam’s economy.

The move follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IFC and HDBank with the aim of boosting supply chain financing (SCF) for the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The collaboration is expected to help HDBank build an SCF portfolio of $1b by 2025.

The lack of working capital has been a key constraint for local businesses in Vietnam, especially SMEs which account for about 98 per cent of all businesses. Innovative funding such as SCF is relatively new in Vietnam and still to reach most SMEs. Additionally, the main sources of SME finance continue to be loans backed by mortgages. As a result, the share of receivables and inventory registered as movable collateral in Vietnam is just about 30 percent, significantly lower than those in the more developed markets.

Thanh Pham, chief executive officer of HDBank, said, “SCF that links buyers, suppliers, and financial institutions will efficiently support the trade cycles. IFC’s timely support will enable local businesses to leverage emerging trade opportunities and improve their linkages to formal supply chains, contributing to Vietnam’s economic growth.”

Pham added, “It will further help HDBank realize its vision to be among the top banks in the country with a core focus on SME and retail banking, while emphasizing value chain financing and growing its anchor client base. Also, agriculture chain is an important target industry for us, especially high-tech and green agriculture.”

IFC will help HDBank grow its SCF portfolio; specifically assisting HDBank to design an SCF strategy for the agri sector, broaden its SCF products—especially supplier and distributor financing—and bring on board anchor firms along with their suppliers and distributors, among others.

Meanwhile, Stephanie von Friedeburg, senior VP of Operations for IFC, commented, “SMEs are the backbone of Vietnam’s economy and are essential to the country’s ambition to become a regional manufacturing hub. Our support to local financial institutions like HDBank will help SMEs in Vietnam link into global supply chains and access opportunities to grow and create jobs.”

IFC’s technical support to HDBank is part of a multi-year program to be implemented in partnership with the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs to provide in-depth advisory services to regulators, local banks and non-bank institutions to develop SCF business in Vietnam, contributing to greater market integration and supporting the SME sector’s growth in the country.

Earlier in April, IFC also provided HDBank with a $40m trade finance line under its Global Trade Finance Program, which will improve the lender’s capacity to cover payment risk in granting trade financing to local companies, mostly SMEs. HDBank is the newest Vietnamese bank to join the program since its launch in Vietnam in 2007.

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SME Featured South Asia

New report cites Indian small businesses as ‘most innovative’ in APAC

New Delhi, India India’s small businesses are reportedly the most innovative in the Asia-Pacific region, for the second consecutive year, according to a survey by a professional accounting body, CPA Australia. Combined with a very strong domestic economy, this is expected to make Indian small businesses one of the Asia-Pacific’s top performers in 2022. 

Sixty-two per cent of Indian small businesses reportedly started growing last year, with 46 per cent experiencing very strong growth – the highest result of the markets surveyed. As a result of this, 77 per cent of respondents said that they had hired more employees, outperforming all other markets.

India’s small businesses are likely to be strong creators of new jobs this year, with 83 per cent expecting to increase employee numbers, ranking first among all markets. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents forecast their small business will grow this year.

Leslie Leow, general manager – Emerging Markets, CPA Australia said, “The survey results confirm that Indian small businesses are very ambitious. Despite the pandemic, most undertook actions such as making substantial changes to the product or service and made investments associated with high growth businesses.

Leow mentioned that India’s small businesses take the crown as the most innovative in the region with ninety-four per cent will introduce a new product, process or service this year, surpassing all other markets surveyed for the second year in a row. 

India has a strong and competitive local economy, growing access to skilled workers and government policies such as the recently signed India-UK Global Innovation Partnership is anticipated to trigger a golden era of innovation for the sector according to Leow.

Reflecting their strong innovative culture, Indian small businesses are investing in technology with a very high success rate. Of local businesses that invested in technology last year, 80 per cent reported that such investment had already improved their profitability, well above the survey average of 54 per cent.

To support their innovations, India’s small businesses were the most likely to access external finance for business growth last year, and are the second most likely to expect accessing finance for growth this year. Financing this growth shouldn’t be difficult with 69 per cent expecting “easy” or “very easy” access to external finance this year, the highest result of the markets surveyed.

India’s small businesses are also one of the leaders in selling online, with 83 per cent generating more than 10 per cent of their revenue through that channel. Related to that, they are also one of the leaders in receiving payment through new payment technologies such as PayTM and PhonePe.

Indian small businesses were the most likely to have sought advice from IT consultants (49 per cent), business/management consultants (40 per cent) and accountants (35 per cent). Seeking external advice is a characteristic of high-growth businesses as professional advisers can guide small businesses through challenges and help them take advantage of opportunities.

Leow said, “Policy measures such as the Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme are likely to accelerate technology adoption and meet strong demand for external finance. Indian small businesses should make full use of these government initiatives to expand and innovate, however, some may wish to consider whether they are striking the right balance between short-term growth and sustainable development.”

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SME Featured ANZ

NZ small businesses anticipate growth this year despite lag in 2021: survey

New Zealand – Amongst small businesses in New Zealand, about 33.2% grew, compared to 41.9% that shrank, while 56.1% expect to grow in 2022, which is an improvement from last year but still lags the average of 61.9%, according to a new survey by professional accounting body CPA Australia.

The new survey reveals that small businesses in the country continue to be significantly less likely to earn revenue from online sales. More than 35% do not earn any revenue online, compared to just 1.3 % of businesses in Mainland China.

Moreover, the same survey found that NZ small businesses were also the third least likely to begin or increase their focus on online sales as a reaction to the pandemic. Also, nearly 30% made no investment in technology in 2021, compared to just 5.2% of surveyed businesses in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, more than 35% of NZ small businesses have not adopted new payment technologies such as Apple Pay, Paypal or buy now pay later, compared to 0.1% of Mainland Chinese businesses, and about 36.8% did not use social media for business purposes, compared to the survey average of 17.2%.

Gavan Ord, CPA Australia’s senior manager of business policy, noted that results are somewhat surprising given the country’s success in limiting the impact of COVID-19 in 2021.

“Improved expectations for 2022 reflect a more confident economic outlook, along with a higher percentage of small businesses intending to invest in innovation and exporting. However, the economic environment has become more challenging for NZ small businesses recently, with inflation and interest rates rising, oil price shocks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the effects of Omicron still reverberating throughout the economy,” said Ord.

He further shared that a possible explanation for the lower levels of technology investment by NZ small businesses is the poorer short-term returns they deliver. Of those businesses that did invest, only 32.3% said the investment improved their profitability, compared to the survey average of 53.6%.

“This demonstrates the need to improve the digital skills of our small businesses and for them to seek advice to ensure they adopt the right technology solutions for their business,” added Ord.

CPA Australia noted that another possible reason for a relative lack of investment in digital capability is the demographics of the country’s small business sector. New Zealand was the second most likely of the 11 markets surveyed to have respondents aged 50 or over, and only 24.8% of respondents were aged under 40, against a survey average of 45.2%.

The survey also shows that New Zealand small businesses do, however, take the threat of cyberattack seriously, while 30.3% thought an attack was likely in the next 12 months, about 42.6% reviewed their cyber defences in the last six months, comparable to the survey average of 46.7%.

Moreover, the responses to questions regarding external funding and business growth appeared in part to reflect the different government policy responses last year to the pandemic. Some 45% of NZ small businesses required funds from an external source in 2021. Of those, only 24.8% sought funds for business growth, while 40.4% said they sought funds for business survival. 

New Zealand was also the only market in which ‘government grant or funds’ was the most cited source of funds with 28.4%, and only 24.1% said a bank was their main source of external finance. 

Meanwhile, only 28.1% of NZ small businesses expect to increase employee numbers in 2022, this is a sharp improvement in 2021, when only 11.3%t of businesses expected to increase their staffing levels. 

“This result reflects stronger growth expectations for 2022, but achieving it may prove difficult for many businesses due to labour shortages”, said Ord. 

He added, “Year after year, the survey results show a clear connection between increased investment in technology and digital capability, and business growth. That helps explain why many New Zealand small businesses are confident they will grow faster in 2022 than they did in 2021.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

REV Media Group, Dattel Asia to empower SMEs with data-driven advertising

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local digital publisher REV Media Group (RMG) has partnered with data analytics and consumer intelligence company Dattel Asia to launch its first AI-powered advertising manager platform in Malaysia to empower SMEs with data-driven advertising.

The collaboration offers a unique solution that empowers brands and agencies to target audiences based on strategic consumer insights. The self-serve platform powered with AI for better audience targeting, known as REV Ad Manager (RAM), allows SMEs to leverage the platform’s data to make more informed marketing decisions.

The platform is designed to be the starting point for running ad campaigns and reaching your ideal audience for SMEs to grow their business. Thus, RAM is basically a tool that lets a user segment customers, create ads, and manage them easily and effortlessly.

In addition, the partnership also provides an opportunity for SMEs to leverage on the 15.8 million visitors on RMG’s network audience, reaching 80% of Malaysians monthly and a special rate at a minimum of RM1,000 with a 100,000 audience reach.

RMG’s Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Wee said, “Gone are the days where SME business owners and agencies need to traditionally acquire data and create personas to match their audience targeting. Our AI powered recommendation engine will recommend the best media asset that is optimised for your market audience which makes it easier for the agencies and brands.”

Meanwhile, DAG’s Chief Executive Officer, Ashran Dato Ghazi, commented, “Targeting the right audience is crucial in any business aspect. We want to come in aid and empower SMEs with data that is actionable and most importantly yield results.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

DBS launches new complimentary cybersecurity training for 280,000 SMEs in SG

Singapore – Singapore’s consumer bank DBS has launched its new complimentary cybersecurity training programme to help protect 280,000 SMEs in Singapore against the growing threat of cybercrime.

The programme, ‘DBS #CyberWellness’, comprises 10 online modules, each covering a different facet of cybersecurity, such as password protection, phishing, digital scams, and physical security, as well as social media security. These modules can be accessed on the go digitally through an e-learning platform, with all 10 modules taking no more than 120 minutes to complete. At the end of the programme, SMEs will be presented with recommendations for suitable cyber insurance and cybersecurity solutions. This enables SMEs to take immediate steps to protect their businesses from potential cyberattacks.

Following the launch of the new initiative, DBS has also appointed telco StarHub as its new programme partner for DBS #CyberWellness. StarHub will be providing participating SMEs with a complimentary two-month trial of their hardware-free, plug-and-play cybersecurity solution called ‘Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) for SME’, which enables SMEs to gain a business-wide defence against cyber threats.

Joyce Tee, the group head of SME Banking at DBS, believes that they can make the biggest impact by equipping the employees of SMEs with foundational cybersecurity skills, which become ingrained everyday habits as they put their skills to practice.

“We’re especially proud that DBS #CyberWellness was developed entirely in-house in partnership with our technology teams. This speaks to our commitment to come together as one Team DBS to help our SMEs, social enterprises, and even charities digitalise their operations safely,” said Tee

Meanwhile, Charlie Chan, StarHub’s chief of enterprise business group, shared that they are partnering with DBS to help SMEs and their employees stay safe online, and with the partnership, they have combined critical and free training with defensive tools that are easy to use. 

“There is no better time than now for SMEs to say ‘no’ to being an easy target, both for the business as well as their employees. We are in it for the long haul, to be a trusted partner for our customers in their digital and cybersecurity journey,” said Chan.

DBS said that the programme was first rolled out as a pilot to social enterprises and charities in Singapore and was subsequently expanded to include SMEs.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesia Eximbank introduces exporter pilot program participants at G-20 event

Jakarta, Indonesia – Financial institution, Indonesia Eximbank (LPEI), has introduced a number of export-oriented SMEs during Indonesia’s historic event, G-20 2022, which has the theme ‘Recover Together, Recover Stronger’.

The move aims to show the resilience of Indonesian SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These SMEs have participated in ‘Coaching Program for New Exporters’ (CPNE) or new export pilot programs, which is one of the government’s mandates through the Act to LPEI to create new exporters.

Rijani Tirtoso, LPEI’s executive director, shared that they have presented 16 selected SMEs during the event, of which are the results of the Consulting Services program, namely CPNE.

CPNE is a one-year mentoring and training program is also carried out by LPEI during the pandemic and has produced more than 2000 alumni. It aims to provide sustainable financial inclusion for SMEs can be accelerated, especially related to exports in accordance with one of the finance track agendas in the G-20 Indonesia presidency, namely ‘Financial Inclusion: Digital and SMEs’.

“A continuous training program for one year or we can say financial inclusion for export-oriented SMEs which aims to give birth to new exporters. Their presence at the G-20 presidency shows the resilience of SMEs to face the pandemic storm that has occurred for approximately the last two years,” said Tirtoso.

“We can find export-oriented SMEs from the CPNE program at the Rumah Joglo and Rumah Minahasa stands at JCC, Senayan. The products are also quite varied, such as fashion, handicrafts and home decorations, to accessories. Even more uniquely, a non-machine loom (ATBM) from one of the fostered partners that produce sarongs was brought directly to the JCC and attracted the attention of a number of delegates, even the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia,” said LPEI in a press statement.