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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab ties with KLEAN, MRANTI to promote recycling in Malaysia

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – As Grab Malaysia continues to scale up its environmental sustainability efforts, the superapp has partnered with Malaysia’s reverse vending machine ecosystem, KLEAN, and the one-stop-shop for innovation commercialisation, Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI), to look at solutions that will responsibly recover and recycle single-use plastic with reverse vending machines (RVMs). This move aims to help encourage recycling and make it easier for consumers to contribute to a greener Malaysia.

Through this partnership, Grab and KLEAN will be rolling out AI-driven RVMs, at specific locations, where users can easily send their recyclable food packaging waste. In addition, Grab will be leveraging its platform to increase visibility, and drive consumer participation and education efforts. Meanwhile, MRANTI’s role in providing integrated facilities for end-to-end research, development, commercialisation, and innovation (R&D&C&I) services will assist in the enhancement of the AI on the RVMs, and will help accelerate the commercialisation of the product.

Hassan Alsagoff, Grab Malaysia’s country marketing head, shared that they seek to protect the environment as it is crucial to building resilient small businesses and strong communities that can thrive for generations to come.

“We will continue to collaborate with government bodies, corporate partners, and policymakers through various programmes, to tackle the challenge of climate change. Together we want to create a sustainable future and provide easy ways for our consumers to make greener choices in everyday decisions”, said Alsagoff.

KLEAN Reverse Vending Machines, which was launched in 2019 by JANZ Technologies Sdn Bhd, collect aluminium cans and plastic bottles, and sort on-site, while registering users and rewarding them with virtual points. These collected items are then smelted back into aluminium in the case of cans and recycled into Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pellets and fibre in the case of plastic bottles by recycling partners within the KLEAN ecosystem.

Over the next few months, the partnership aims to look at developing more AI-driven RVMs, onboard more reward partners to its redemption platform, data collection and deploy the machines to various locations across the country for easier access.

Alsagoff added, “We believe that this is a small step in the right direction. We are committed to making a real sustainable and scalable impact in partnership with drivers, industry innovators, and governments. It’s the right thing to do for our communities, our cities, and the planet we all share.”

Joey Azman, KLEAN’s co-founder and chief financial officer, shared that they applaud Grab Malaysia’s commitment to recover back and promote recycling of single-use plastic alongside its aim to partner locally, as with the rising popularity of food and grocery deliveries, it is essential that they find ways to enable greater recycling of plastic waste. 

“Partnerships and initiatives from corporations like Grab can help rally communities to adopt greener practices and contribute to positive change. We hope other companies will join us in our mission to improve the recycling habits of consumers through KLEAN’s own digital version of a ‘container deposit scheme,” said Azman.

Meanwhile, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, MRANTI’s CEO, noted that MRANTI is set to bridge the gap between public and private sector collaboration by connecting problem statements (demand) with solutions (supply) and increasing private sector participation, either through market access, investment, advisory, consultation, or providing testing and prototyping facilities. 

“This project collaboration amongst the great minds of Grab and KLEAN is what we aim to nurture further within the ecosystem,” said Abu Bakar.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysia’s tourism marketing agency ties with Expedia Group to scale inbound travel to Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Tourism Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia, has partnered with global travel platform Expedia Group, for a joint-marketing collaboration to support Malaysia’s domestic and international efforts to promote tourism in Malaysia.

Aligned with Tourism Malaysia’s tourism promotion strategies, the agreement will see both parties embark on an Expedia Group Media Solutions global campaign to promote inbound travel from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to Malaysia. It will spotlight Malaysia’s hidden and unique tourist attractions, as well as promote the variety of accommodations to Expedia Group’s more than 750 million monthly visitors globally.

Moreover, the collaboration will support the country’s target of achieving two million tourist arrivals and RM8.6b in tourist spending, set for its national ‘Malaysia Truly Asia 2022’ campaign.

Doug Park, Expedia Group Media Solutions’ vice president of operations and services, said, “As the world’s travel platform, Expedia Group is proud to be embarking on this journey with Tourism Malaysia to promote and help Malaysia rebuild its reign as a top tourist destination in the region, connecting Malaysia’s tourism industry to millions of travellers in Expedia Group’s worldwide network.”

Meanwhile, Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Binti Shukri, the minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, said, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a stranger to us, and we have become comfortable with this new norm. It is only crucial for the tourism industry to step onto the bandwagon and be one with this new trend and lifestyle.”

Aside from boosting promotion internationally, Tourism Malaysia is also continuing with its focus on further enhancing its domestic promotion with the local media. In addition, the agency has introduced nine mainstream and new media, namely ASTRO, Media Prima Omnia, Star Media Group, RTM, Sinar Harian, Nanyang Siang Pau, Borneo Post, Free Malaysia Today, and BFM 89.9 Radio, as well as two ambient media which are KLIA TV and AEON, who will work together with Tourism Malaysia in enhancing the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia Campaign for the year 2022, to produce a series of branded contents and niche programmes emphasising on the PRE 2.0 projects, to cater for the local market.

“Tourism Malaysia will be intensifying the campaign together with these respective platforms through various means, including electronics, print, and digital, covering tourist destinations within Malaysia. A special thanks to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Malaysia (KPKT) for providing us with their digital billboards across the states in Malaysia,” added Shukri.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Redhill appointed as SO Sofitel Hua Hin’s PR agency in Singapore

Singapore – Full-service global communications agency Redhill has been appointed as the lead public relations (PR) agency for SO Sofitel Hua Hin in Singapore. This remit is SO Sofitel Hua Hin’s first partnership post-pandemic as Thailand reopens its doors to international visitors.

As part of the remit, Redhill will be working with SO Sofitel Hua Hin to raise awareness of the resort and boost its reputation with a scope that covers PR counsel, media, and influencer engagement, as well as media monitoring and analysis. 

Shubham Chandra, SO Sofitel Hua Hin’s cluster general manager, commented that they are delighted to have Redhill on board to support SO Sofitel Hua Hin as they open the doors to visitors from around the world.

“We are proud to partner with an agency that has deep expertise in the hospitality sector in Singapore, and one that truly understands our commitment to bringing unique, personalised and authentic lifestyle experiences to guests,” said Chandra.

Meanwhile, Marienelle Castelino, Redhill’s managing director, said, “We are honoured to be working with a high-end, fashion-led lifestyle brand like SO Sofitel Hua Hin. We look forward to a meaningful partnership and positioning SO Sofitel Hua Hin as a perfect destination for travellers who want fashionable and social luxury experiences.”

In April 2022, Redhill has officially launched Redhill Studio, a specialist division offering services for the designing of creative assets and web development. At the same time, the agency has also welcomed Aditya Menon as the division’s business director. He will spearhead the division and enhance Redhill’s broad range of services.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Mediabrands appoints Raymond Dizon to newly created role of chief integration officer for PH

Manila, Philippines – Mediabrands, the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group, has elevated Raymond Dizon, who was previously the managing director of Reprise Philippines, to step into the newly created role of chief integration officer at Mediabrands Philippines.

In his new role, Dizon, who will be based in Manila, Philippines, will be leading strategic partnerships, direction, and digital product development and integration across the Mediabrands network of agencies including UM, Initiative, and Reprise, in addition to strategic business units such as Mediabrands Content Studio, Magna, and Orion. Dizon will also be retaining his strategic leadership oversight of Reprise Philippines.

Dizon brings with him 14 years of digital and media experience, the last six of which across Mediabrands agencies UM and Reprise. Aside from his previous roles at Mediabrands, he also worked with MediaCom, PHD Singapore, and UPFRONT MEDIA.

Dizon shared, “We are firmly focused on the goal to provide our clients with the most progressive solutions. As the market continues to evolve, and the array of tools, technologies, and synergies open up even more opportunities; we are looking to provide seamless synergy across crafts and a thoughtful blending of expert insights. I’m looking forward to the many possibilities that lay ahead.”

Meanwhile, Tricia Camarillo-Quiambao, Mediabrands’ CEO for the Philippines, commented that Dizon has a strong track record of commercial business building and specialised digital craft leadership which includes pioneering work in the e-commerce space.

“The creation of this new role is a testament to the evolving needs of our client partners which is reflected in the structure of our organisation. Raymond’s extensive expertise and experience across multiple craft and categories make him perfectly poised to take on the broader strategic remit across the network of agencies,” said Camarillo-Quiambao.

Just recently, Mediabrands has announced the launch of the media industry’s first major transformation of automated systems for more than two decades. To bring the 20-month project to life, Mediabrands partnered with global software company UI Path, and information and technology services company, Cognizant. The transition fully automates repetitive manual tasks across Initiative and UM using robotic technology, providing an enhanced career path for talent and a stronger value proposition for clients.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Viettel Telecom ties with bolttech to launch new insurance offering on MyViettel app

Hanoi, Vietnam – Vietnam’s telecommunications network operator, Viettel Telecom, has partnered with international insurtech, bolttech, to launch an insurance offering, which will be powered by bolttech’s insurance exchange platform, on its customer app MyViettel, with products including health, travel, and home, as well as car, and motorbike.

The partnership will see bolttech cooperating with Viettel and reputable insurers to create an insurance ecosystem that offers a range of product options to meet the different needs of Viettel’s customers. In a seamless experience within the MyViettel app, customers can now access the new insurance offering via the home page of the app and view options in a few clicks.

Chien Ta, bolttech Vietnam’s CEO, believes that their partnership with Viettel Telecom, a leading telecommunications provider in Vietnam, is an important milestone for bolttech. 

“By embedding an insurance platform into the Viettel customer experience, we can reach more customers in Vietnam with a choice of insurance to meet their needs and the convenience to access these products in a simple, easy way,” said Ta.

bolttech said that this partnership is another step in its partner-led expansion strategy for the market.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Basketball star Jeremy Lin launched as LingoAce’s first global brand ambassador

Singapore – Singapore-based education technology company and language learning platform for K12 students, LingoAce, has appointed Jeremy Lin, Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, and founder of the Jeremy Lin Foundation, as its first-ever global brand ambassador. 

As part of this ambassadorship, Lin will be collaborating with LingoAce to promote language learning and cross-cultural understanding through education technology. 

Lin knows firsthand the struggles of having to learn a second language – growing up in the United States, with a family living in Asia, he learned Chinese as a child through traditional experiences. Through working with LingoAce, Lin recognises the value of applying technology to create immersive learning experiences and wants to help more children learn languages in this manner. 

The announcement was made last week during Lin’s fireside chat at The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) Partner Summit in Washington D.C. During the chat, he discussed the upcoming documentary about the Linsanity phenomenon 10 years ago, 38 at the Garden. LingoAce will be partnering with TAAF to promote and bring awareness to the film.

Lin shared that growing up and playing basketball in California, he personally knew many kids that had to navigate through inequities in terms of access to education. 

“I am proud to be partnering with LingoAce to help children across the globe from all backgrounds to be open to new cultures and languages, perspectives and wisdom, friendship and connections, as well as futures and possibilities,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Hugh Yao, LingoAce’s CEO and founder, noted that Lin’s personal story, passion for education and bridging cultures, as well as his impact on society, make him the most ideal brand ambassador for LingoAce.

“We’re proud to partner with Jeremy who has shattered entrenched stereotypes through hard work, compassion, and no small amount of grit. We hope our global students learn from his example and aspire to dream like Jeremy,” said Yao.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Outbrain names Benjamin Steel as new GM for SEA

Singapore – Global web recommendation platform Outbrain has appointed Benjamin Steel, former head of business development for APAC at advertising agency Bench, to be its new general manager for SEA

In his new role, Steel, who will be based in Singapore, will be responsible for developing Outbrain‘s regional business strategy and digital growth, leading a successful business team and delivering revenue growth from both publisher and advertiser sales.

Steel has a wealth of experience in APAC, having spent eight years based in Singapore. Aside from his previous role at Bench, Steel has held senior sales management roles at eGentic and AB Tasty. Moreover, he has held various roles in Australia, including new business manager at Yahoo, where he was tasked with launching Yahoo Native.

Commenting on his appointment, Steel said that Outbrain is a rapidly growing company and now is an excellent time to join the team, as he aspires to make a positive difference here.

“Great content matters even more today than ever before. Outbrain publishers can expect continued support to better monetise journalism and independent journalism as we expand deeper into South East Asia regions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Andrew Burke, Outbrain’s managing director for APAC and growth markets (India, China, and Brazil), shared that Steel brings a strong track record of digital technology experience and is the ideal candidate to help lead the business in South East Asia, a region that is becoming increasingly important to their business.

“As Outbrain’s new general manager, we know Benjamin is committed to growing our existing presence in the market. He already has plans to expand the publisher base and deepen relationships with marketers and agencies using our innovative monetisation tools. In doing so, we’re working towards building a thriving native advertising ecosystem in the region,” said Burke.

He added, “His expertise in digital advertising and ability to collaborate in a team-oriented environment will advance our growth in the region, and we are very much looking forward to working with him.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Esker ties with fintech HitPay to provide businesses more payment options

Singapore – Esker, the global cloud platform and AI-driven process automation solutions provider for finance and customer service functions, has partnered with HitPay, a full-stack payment provider offering a full range of payment methods that include credit cards, BNPL and local e-wallets in Asia.

With HitPay, Esker customers in Asia can now offer additional payment options to their customers, such as Paynow, Grabpay, and Alipay. HitPay’s payment solution is fully integrated with Esker’s Accounts Receivable solution, offering a wide range of options to get paid faster by providing additional payment methods that are available throughout Asia.

Aditya Haripurkar, HitPay’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “HitPay is dedicated to helping companies grow with scalable, easy-to-use payment solutions. We’re delighted to partner with Esker and drive the success of businesses around the globe.”

Meanwhile, Albert Leong, Esker Asia’s managing director, said, “We continue to make strategic partnerships for innovative local and global payment solutions to enrich the portfolio of Esker Pay. The partnership with HitPay will provide our customers with additional payment options such as Paynow, Grabpay, Alipay and more.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Women’s health ecosystem Ease Healthcare launches mobile app in PH

Manila, Philippines – Women’s health ecosystem in Asia, Ease Healthcare, has officially launched its digital health services and mobile app in the Philippines, aimed at empowering Filipinas with the tools and support they need to make informed decisions about their sexual, reproductive, and menstrual health and wellness. 

Through the Ease app, users can gain access to convenient, affordable, personalised, and credible women’s health information and services from the comfort of their own homes. Users can access teleconsultations with leading local medical professionals for their various women’s health needs, as well as opt for discreet medication delivered right to their doorsteps within one to two business days in Metro Manila and Antipolo, and three to 10 days for the rest of the Philippines. Ease will also be building more in-app community features localised to the specific needs of Filipino women.

As part of the app launch, Ease has partnered with ‘It’s OK to Delay’, an SBC (social and behaviour change) campaign by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ReachHealth project, to educate young adults in the Philippines about family planning and contraception. This partnership has launched a virtual live event, ‘Girls Helping Girls’, which was held in April 2022, focused on family planning.

Together with local organisations such as Philippine Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), Ease also aims to address four key access gaps for women’s health in the Philippines through its services, namely inconvenience, high costs, stigma, and lack of education. 

Juan Antonio A. Perez III, POPCOM’s executive director, said that in a conservative society like the Philippines, women’s health is not often openly discussed, which has led many young women to come unprepared in making informed decisions about family planning and their own sexual and reproductive health matters. 

“We’re excited to democratise conversations on women’s health with Ease, and we look forward to more partnerships with them in the future,” added Perez.

Meanwhile, Guadalupe Lazaro, Ease Healthcare’s co-founder, noted, “Besides providing greater education, we also wanted to build a safe community for women to exchange information and ideas without feeling judged so that more could make informed decisions about their own health. Through these efforts, we hope to change the landscape of women’s health in the Philippines.”

Rio Ho, Ease Healthcare’s co-founder, shared that today, they have over 12,000 women in the Philippines alone using their app and teleconsultation services, and they look forward to growing this community with this official launch. 

“We hope to establish ourselves as a trusted and reliable source for women’s health services and education in the country,” said Ho.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Salim Group, WIR Group form JV to develop metaverse platform

Jakarta, Indonesia – As the digital era poses challenges to businesses which require them to get support from advanced technology to excel in the domestic and global competition, Indonesia’s conglomerate company Salim Group has established a joint venture with technology company WIR Group to develop a metaverse platform that will help them maintain their business leadership and competitiveness, and at the same time drive the development of the metaverse platform in Indonesia. 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for this strategic partnership was signed by Michel Budi Wirjatmo, WIR Group’s president director, and Axton Salim, Salim Group’s executive director.

Commenting on the partnership, Salim said, “We see that our partnership with WIR Group will bring us great opportunities for the growth and development of our business in the future. Through the adoption of the metaverse platform, we can explore the potentials and business opportunities that are unimaginable before.”

Meanwhile, Wirjatmo thanked Salim Group for its trust to collaborate and establish a joint venture with WIR Group, and underlined WIR Group’s commitment to keeping the trust by presenting leading technology solutions based on the company’s expertise and experience in developing metaverse technologies that have been recognized in many countries.

“We have the capability to build and develop virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) that will support Salim Group in entering the borderless digital era through the metaverse technology that we are developing,” said Wirjatmo.

He added, “With our expertise and experience in building and developing metaverse technology since 2009 to complete thousands of projects in the US, Germany, Spain, Nigeria, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Myanmar, WIR Group is confident in assisting the industry, including Salim Group, to enter and explore the metaverse world, to make innovations and breakthroughs, and to optimize every opportunity.”