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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Huawei Malaysia inks partnership with Vita Media to bolster SME digitalization

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Cloud service provider Huawei Technologies in Malaysia has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with marketing agency Vita Media, to accelerate digitalization among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

At the center of the partnership is the aim to boost Vita Media’s information review hub, ‘Askpert’, and Huawei will be providing the needed infrastructure to improve the platform. The marketing agency will be carrying out business-to-business (B2B) collaborations in order to get SMEs to take full advantage of ‘Askpert’ in their business transactions.

Through ‘Askpert’, consumers are able to have more access to transparent and accurate information, enabling them to make more informed purchasing decisions by referring to other users’ comments and personal reviews. On the merchant side meanwhile, the review hub will be able to help them address users’ voices through their personal verdict of products and services. 

Vita Media’s CEO Kiro Tan said, “We are grateful to Huawei Cloud for their commitment to bringing affordable, effective, and reliable cloud services through technological innovation. We firmly believe that with the availability of a platform such as ASKPERT, combined with Huawei Cloud’s expertise, we will be able to improve the awareness among SMEs on the latest digital trends, thereby expanding the range of market scopes.”

Meanwhile, Huawei Malaysia’s Cloud and AI Business Group’s vice president Chee Siong Lim thanked Vita Media for choosing Huawei Cloud as its business and industry partner and reiterated the need for businesses, especially SMEs which are more vulnerable to the negative effects of COVID-19, to upskill digitally and adopt technology to give them a competitive advantage in today’s world.

“Huawei remains committed to driving digital growth among SMEs for the benefit of both businesses and consumers while supporting the Malaysian government’s vision to digitally transform the sector. This collaboration with Vita Media will leverage Huawei’s technology to improve accessibility to infotainment content and in doing so, enrich consumers’ lives,” said Lim.

Vita Media has also announced the upcoming launch of its new ‘live broadcast plus e-commerce’, which will be hosted on Huawei Cloud, with the aim to offer interesting live sales content in three languages and guarantees the lowest price for a three-hour broadcast limit throughout the year.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH rolls out vaccination support program

Manila, Philippines – Super-app Grab in the Philippines has launched ‘GrabBayanihan Vaccination Support Program’, to help increase vaccine access and education for Filipinos. 

The program aims to encourage all consumers, drivers, and delivery partners to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Through this, Grab will work closely with the national and local government units and leverage its ground fleet network and app.

Grab will be subsidizing COVID-19 vaccinations for the driver and delivery partners who are not covered by the national vaccination program. It will also be launching a specialized car fleet composed of vaccinated driver-partners to provide discounted mobility services to senior citizens and high-risk Filipinos going to and from vaccination centers.

Furthermore, Grab will also work with the Department of Health (DOH) to provide accurate vaccine and other public health information within dedicated high-visibility spaces in the Grab app to combat misinformation and boost public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The super-app will launch a ‘COVID-19 Snap Survey’, which will enable DOH to gather real-time data on vaccine sentiment and conduct a series of workshops and town halls to educate Filipinos on getting vaccinated.

Grab Philippines’ country head Grace Vera Cruz said, “Now that we are gradually striving towards socio-economic recovery, we believe that the vaccination efforts from both the private and public sectors provide much-needed hope for many of our kababayans (fellow citizens). Through Grab Philippines’ technology, platform, and partnerships, we are reinforcing our commitment to supporting livelihoods and helping the recovery of our communities.”

This year, Grab has also shown its commitment to vaccination efforts in Indonesia. It has been using its platform as an educational channel to fight misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and has been opening new vaccination centers in different parts of the country, including Bali and Banten Province.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SRA appoints Lazada as first e-commerce partner for Great Singapore Sale 2021

Singapore – Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), the non-profit non-governmental key representative body for the retail industry in Singapore, has announced the appointment of e-commerce platform Lazada as the first-ever official e-commerce partner for the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) 2021, an annual shopping event in the country.

GSS is a shopping fair that started 27 years ago and is annually organized by the SRA, with the aim to promote the tourism industry in the country. 

The previously held edition of GSS was in September 2020. It was also online due to the pandemic and it took place as a hybrid event as part of the SingapoRediscovers – a campaign by Singapore Tourism Board that supports local businesses and encourages people to explore the country. 

One year on, and with Singapore back to ‘phase two’ of reopening, SRA believes that the decision to partner with Lazada will greatly help the retail industry. With the platform’s expertise in equipping brands and sellers to move online, they can achieve successful sales.

Through the partnership, SRA members will benefit from Lazada platform’s technology infrastructure, payments gateway, and logistics solutions with its third-party logistics partners, which will eliminate costly barriers retailers face when selling online. They will also enjoy a 0% commission, with new LazMall sellers enjoying this promotion for the first three months on the platform from the first day they sell on their LazMall store.

James Chang, chief executive officer at Lazada Singapore, said, “The Great Singapore Sale is a national institution and sentimental for Singaporeans and those who remember flying into the country to enjoy the sales. In these challenging and transformative times, we’re doing our part to rally the retail industry and equip them with the tools they need to have a successful Great Singapore Sale in 2021.”

Furthermore, SRA members on LazMall during the fair can also take advantage of the suite of marketing solutions available to increase visibility while appealing to shoppers. They will each have a dedicated account manager to navigate the plethora of options including LazLive, Lazada’s in-app live streaming service, and flash sales, as well as the Lazada store. 

Meanwhile, shoppers are allowed to make purchases at a seller’s Lazada store and pick them up at their physical outlet. This not only provides an additional delivery option to suit customers’ needs but also paves the way for sellers to enjoy a successful hybrid operating model with both online and offline outlets.

Singapore Retailers Association’s president R Dhinakaran shared that the pandemic has had a profound impact on consumer shopping habits and accelerated retailers’ urgency to expand their digital presence quickly so as to stay engaged with their consumers and develop alternative sales channels. 

“Our partnership with Lazada this GSS is timely, in the light of tighter SMM guidelines limiting shopper traffic to stores and malls, and a changing retail landscape,” said Dhinakaran.

This year’s GSS will kick off with Lazada’s 6.6 sale campaign until 7 July, which is also Lazada’s much-anticipated annual 7.7 sales.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Funding Societies boosts payment services for haulers via Haulio team-up

Singapore – Funding Societies, the largest SME digital financing platform in SEA, has partnered with Singapore’s hauler network Haulio, to speed up payments of hauler partners across the country. 

Funding Societies is an SME digital financing platform that offers growth financing solutions to creditworthy SMEs ranging from S$5,000 to S$2M. By leveraging technology, the platform is able to disburse funds in as quick as 24 hours. 

The partnership is the first of its kind across the fintech and haulage sectors, which aims to benefit more than 90% of haulers in Singapore within Haulio’s network. Through this, Funding Societies’ pre-approved credit facilities will now be available on Haulio’s digital platform, allowing Haulio’s partners to enjoy access to early payment services in as quick as seven days, in comparison to the industry standard of 30 days and more.

According to the platform, the partnership comes at the right juncture as the logistics sector remains a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, contributing 1.4% to the nation’s GDP in 2019. 

“The traditional logistics industry is still fragmented by complex and inefficient business processes, which means that payment delays to haulers could go up to 120 days with larger corporates, creating more obstacles to the sector’s pay-per-use model,” said Funding Societies. 

Shrawan Saraogi, the head of partnerships at Funding Societies, said, “We leverage our digital platform to bridge the huge financial gap that small businesses still face today. Southeast Asia is rising to become the next global economic powerhouse and we believe this partnership with Haulio will boost the region’s trade tremendously.”

Meanwhile, Haulio’s Co-founder and CEO Alvin Ea, shared that it has always been Haulio’s mission to uplift the industry by empowering our ecosystem of users with technology. 

“We hope that through this partnership with Funding Societies, our haulers will enjoy improved cash flow and greater flexibility in managing their operations, as well as set the stage for us to scale this value-added service to our fast-growing expansion markets regionally,” said Ea.

Aside from the logistics sector, Funding Societies’ suite of SME growth financing products serves across various industries such as food and beverage, healthcare, and manufacturing, as well as medical supplies.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee PH rolls out this year’s virtual National Food Fair to support MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – Shopee in the Philippines has launched anew this year’s National Food Fair, which had been originally introduced to support local businesses, done in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The National Food Fair was first launched in May 2020 and is being relaunched in 2021 to give micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) an online platform to showcase their products during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following last year’s online set-up, consumers can find products such as jams, pastries, condiments, and more from local sellers starting from 10 to 16 May.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we provide our local businesses with opportunities to bounce back and stay afloat. Shopee will continue to ramp up its efforts to plan initiatives that support local MSMEs and help them thrive on our platform. We invite our shoppers to support our local entrepreneurs this 10 to 16 May at the National Food Fair,” said Martin Yu, the director at Shopee Philippines. 

Meanwhile, Marievic M. Bonoan, Director at DTI – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, shared that they are working towards empowering MSMEs by expanding and increasing their access to economic opportunities. 

“We have partnered with Shopee to further bolster our support for Filipino MSMEs, especially during this pandemic. With the online National Food Fair, local businesses can promote their products on a larger scale and help them grow in the long run,” said Bonoan.

Last February, Shopee also launched #TatakPinoy: Buy Local, Support Local, a campaign that empowered local MSMEs by giving their products a spotlight on the platform, and other Shopee initiatives focused on online sellers to equip them with the necessary tools to monitor their business growth and development while providing them with knowledge on e-commerce and digital marketing.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PTBC Indonesia to bolster customer engagement via tie-up with Perx Technologies

Jakarta, Indonesia – PT. Bank Commonwealth (PTBC) in Indonesia, the subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, has partnered with lifestyle marketing platform Perx Technologies, to further drive its customer growth and engagement through digitalization.

The partnership comes after the recent launch of PTBC’s new mobile banking app, CommBank Mobile, which was designed to help its users better manage their finances and achieve their goals through features such as an easy-to-use expense tracking function and goal saver product. 

Through the partnership, PTBC will be leveraging Perx Technologies’ lifestyle marketing platform to deliver personalized and gamified engagements that reward customers for specific actions and interactions. Perx Technologies will also enable PTBC to run multiple reward campaigns that appeal to their customers and efficiently meet business objectives.

“The Perx platform was purpose-built for large enterprises, investing in mobile-led and data-driven approaches. The primary driver has been to creatively connect with customers and drive change in customer behavior through dynamic last-mile engagements while boosting revenue and improving customer experience through instant gratification. This has been a key differentiator for us, and we are thrilled to support PTBC in its journey to further improve its engagement with its customers,” said Anna Gong, the founder and CEO of Perx Technologies

Meanwhile, PT. Bank Commonwealth’s Director of Digital and Strategy Ming Chen believes that Perx Technologies will help them achieve their customer acquisition targets, and its deep domain expertise in the banking and financial services sector, and end-to-end customer data and engagement platform will be a great match for PTBC’s customer acquisition and retention needs.

“As we demonstrated in the past with our digital innovations, which has included the digital e-Kiosk, and the SmartWealth app – our award-winning wealth management mobile application, PTBC is committed to continuing its digital transformation journey. The CommBank Mobile app is the next evolution of that journey and will ensure Commonwealth Bank continues moving towards its purpose, which is to improve the financial well-being of our customers and communities,” said Chen.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

The Asia Foundation brings digital skills program ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ to Filipino MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – To reduce the economic impact brought by the pandemic, nonprofit organization The Asia Foundation has brought ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ in the Philippines, a regional initiative that provides digital literacy training.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization that addresses five overarching goals, such as strengthening governance, empowering women, and expanding economic opportunity, as well as increasing environmental resilience, and promoting international cooperation.

The initiative aims to equip job seekers and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the necessary online tools and technological skills to participate in the digital economy, with various partners such as Pailig Development Foundation, Clevergrit Web Services, and Yoveo Digital, with support from Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.

‘Go Digital ASEAN’ is a free digital skills training conducted through online classrooms of two half-day sessions with a certification issued upon course completion. It delivers employment opportunities and business growth through three-course offerings, including Digital Tools for Jobseekers, Harnessing Social Media to Expand Your Business, and Getting Your Business Online.

According to the organization, as of 30 April 2021, ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ in the Philippines has already trained 3,385 job seekers and entrepreneurs, and training participants who are ‘very confident’ in the use of digital tools rose from 18.62% prior to training to 52.55% post-training.

The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in the Philippines Sam Chittick said that they are scaling the ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ training to bring fundamental digital skills training to 25,000 Filipinos with support from Google.org.

“Initially working with a team of 25 partners skilled in training, Human Resource Management, Business Process Outsourcing, Information Technology, micro, and small-enterprise development, and digital freelancing backgrounds, we will expand partnerships with government agencies and units, private sector, civil society organizations, and the academe to strengthen digitalization programs and ensure economic and business continuity across the country,” said Chittick.

Jerry Clavesillas, the director at DTI Bureau of SME Development, shared that the recent partnership with The Asia Foundation complements the Department’s effort on digitalization of MSMEs envisioned in the Philippine MSME Development Plan 2017-2022. 

“The project intends to reach more enterprises particularly those in the countryside including businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and equip them with digital skills and tools to recover and grow their businesses and livelihoods and to participate in the digital economy. This ASEAN-wide commitment which was approved and officially endorsed for implementation in 2020 by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs (ACCMSME), where the Philippines is an active member, supports the objectives of the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework, contributing to its vision set out in the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2016-2025,” said Clavesillas.

Meanwhile, Bernadette Nacario, the country director at Google Philippines, said, “Small businesses are at the heart of the Philippines’ economy and community. We have seen how the current pandemic has impacted so many entrepreneurs and business owners across the country, and there is an urgent need to support their digitalization so they can continue to keep their businesses going. We are extremely proud to support the work that The Asia Foundation is driving through the ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ program. This grant builds on our ongoing commitment to equip more individuals with skills training so they can participate in the country’s growing digital economy.”

Interested learners can register at godigitalasean.ph, while interested partners keen to collaborate and bring free ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ training opportunities to their communities can contact the program through the website or email.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SP Setia’s new campaign embraces old Raya traditions in new normal

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – In celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, property development group SP Setia in Malaysia has launched a new heart-warming campaign that aims to embrace the old Raya traditions and strengthen its value on togetherness, done in collaboration with marketing consultancy Entropia’s brand for disruptors Rouge by Entropia.

SP Setia is one of the leading property developers in Malaysia. Its portfolio includes townships, eco homes, luxury homes, and high-rise residences, as well as retail and commercial, and integrated developments.

The almost four-minute film depicts one of the longest-standing Raya traditions – the traditional way of cooking Rendang – a tender coconut beef stew dish especially served during Hari Raya. It centers around a father and a son, and their 10-hour journey of keeping their Raya tradition alive by preparing homemade Rendang from scratch. In an ‘old vs new’ scenario, the father tries to instill traditional values in his son. Even though there are easy ways to cook Rendang with plenty of shortcuts like ordering on food delivery service, buying it off a roadside stall, or buying ready-made paste, the tradition lies in the time spent together and the adventures shared.

Rouge by Entropia’s Principal Samantha Tay commented that they are honored to be part of SP Setia’s 2021 Raya campaign, assisting the brand’s goal in keeping the core values and traditions that have transcended the times. 

She further shared that synonymous with quality, reliability, and value creation, SP Setia is a brand that believes every tradition is “worth doing, worth keeping, and worth continuing,” and they wanted this brand campaign to reflect these beliefs while “making old traditions the new normal”.

“Contrary to previous Raya celebrations, we might not be able to spend the time with our extended family members and friends, but as our campaign shows, we hope the effort of our traditions can still bring us closer together,” said Tay.

The Raya campaign is now available on SP Setia’s Facebook page, and will also run in print on newspapers and as a radio ad.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

AnyMind Group upgrades publisher platform to accommodate use of PWAs, native apps

Singapore – Marketing technology solutions provider AnyMind Group has announced the launch of the new features on its publisher platform, AnyManager, to help mobile and web publishers to tap on the continued growth of mobile usage. 

AnyManager is a web and mobile app publisher monetization platform that allows users to consolidate, manage, and track their revenue streams across a wide range of demand sources. It also provides publishers with features including header bidding and automated pricing optimization, along with integration with Google Analytics and 3rd-party ad verification, viewability, and brand safety tools.

Initially launched as a platform with features just for web publishers, AnyMind Group has expanded the functionality of its AnyManager platform for native mobile app publishers in the past year.

The new suite of features center around helping web publishers leverage progressive web applications (PWA) infrastructure, and for native mobile app publishers to gain more insights from their app store data, and are designed to provide both sets of publishers with greater accessibility and insight into user acquisition and monetization.

According to AnyMind Group’s Managing Director of Publisher Growth Hitoshi Maruyama, in a mobile-first region like Asia, and in some markets even mobile-only, it is imperative that publishers are able to grow further by fully maximizing their potential audience while keeping up and capitalizing on the latest technologies. 

“We are also seeing, and in fact powering, more fluidity by mobile app and web publishers in expanding opportunities by leveraging further on social media channels and e-commerce, augmenting possibilities for borderless growth,” said Maruyama.

Through AnyManager, web-based publishers that are looking to better tap on the world’s mobile-connected population can now leverage features for PWAs. By implementing PWAs, they can improve user experience such as speeding up site load speeds and creating a push notification system to inform users of the newly published content.

Web-based publishers can tap on targeted push notifications to specific user segments based on device, location, and other parameters including users that have clicked on a site during a certain period or frequency of clicks, allowing web publishers to notify users of new content, promotions, and opportunities, directly on their mobile device. Data from push notifications is also linked to a publisher’s own Google Analytics data and advertising yield data, both available through AnyManager. They can also tap on customizable Add-to-Home screen prompts and formats to easily cue browser notifications for site visitors to add a site as a PWA on their mobile devices. 

Meanwhile, native mobile app publishers can now access analytics features for app store and conversion improvements along with competitive analytics. This is in addition to current functionality for advertising demand activation and mediation and an app health score feature that provides publishers with a rating of their native mobile app based on factors including development, monetization, analytics, and user acquisition.

Furthermore, publishers can tap on a new feature called AnySDK, a software development kit (SDK) for ad monetization that enables the delivery and mediation of ad requests from major mobile platform partners through a single SDK. Native mobile app publishers can gain greater insight into user opinion of their apps by tapping into natural language processing-driven features such as sentiment rating and analysis of user comments, and identification of keywords and phrases based on app store rating, which helps publishers to better understand and highlight potential app issues, improvements, and fixes.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

The Content Forum MY names Astro Radio’s Kenny Ong as new chairman

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s independent self-regulatory body The Content Forum has elected Astro Radio’s CEO Kenny Ong to be its new chairman, which was announced during its annual general meeting.

The appointment will see Ong assuming the position for a two-year term, succeeding outgoing chairman Y.Bhg. Dato’ Khairul Anwar Salleh, the CEO of Media Prima Television Networks.

Ong is the current CEO of radio company network Astro Radio and is also the CEO of performing arts company Rocketfuel Entertainment. Prior to joining Astro, he was the managing director of Universal Music Malaysia, where he was instrumental in increasing investments and accelerating the development of local content and artists. He has also previously worked as the country head of Unilever Network Malaysia and Singapore, where he created a safe, credible, and new e-commerce network both locally and regionally.

The Content Forum is made up of various organizations representing the communications and multimedia industry. It governs content by self-regulation in line with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code a set of rules that are applied to all content in the networked medium such as radio, television, audio text, and internet content from the country, as well as electronic boards, and public transport, among others.

In his new role, Ong will be bringing over 25 years of knowledge and experience across different industries to lead the council that sets the agenda on building a strong and agile self-regulatory framework for the communications and multimedia content industry. Together with members of the council, he is charged with executing strategies to achieve the vision of the Content Forum, which includes facilitating self-regulation and establishing best practices necessary for the growth of the content industry and the protection of its consumers.

Commenting on his appointment, Ong said that he is truly humbled and thankful for the responsibility entrusted to him, and looks forward to raising the bar on the good work that has been done by the Content Forum. 

“The challenge for us now is to self-regulate and continuously update the Content Code that caters to a world of multiple complexities resulting from a new era of User Generated Content such as piracy, fake news, online scams, cyberbullying, hateful messages, e-commerce complaints, invasion of privacy and misleading information on products, services, and platforms. At the same time, it is equally important to identify and help manage the emergence of new industries and players such as OTTs, live-streaming platforms, e-sports, and the proliferation of social media influencers and KOLs,” said Ong.