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SME Featured APAC

EventX offers free three-month corporate trial for SMEs to host virtual events

Singapore – Event SaaS company EventX has announced that it will be offering three months worth of free corporate trial to SMEs to host their events virtually amidst at rising COVID-19 challenges of hosting business events.

EventX’s virtual event platform strives to serve companies of all sizes to let them spot new business opportunities by enhancing audience reach, helping small and medium enterprises or even the startup community to strategically harvest leads through engaging and interactive events with its extensive expertise in event management. 

Through the trial, small enterprises can also explore potential business opportunities by using the EventX platform to conduct e-commerce livestreaming to attract online shoppers and expand their business on an international scale. EventX differs from other virtual event platforms in its interactive functions, such as clicking the raise hand button to ask questions, sending emojis, polling and more. 

Organisers can clearly capture the audience’s real-time reactions and respond to questions instantly. Enterprises can also make good use of the product showcase function to customise their own virtual product catalogues, which allows attendees to browse the top recommended products.

For Sum Wong, CEO of EventX, through understanding the urgent demand of SMEs for the need of capturing new business opportunities from the digital economy, they want to step up their efforts to relieve businesses’ operating pressures.

“We strive to be the pioneer in the industry to launch the initiatives and take an active part to tide over the hard time hand in hand with our community. SMEs can make best use of our virtual event platform to develop their business, discover potential customers and convert them into business opportunities, or even expand their overseas markets,” Wong said.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Amazon SG launches annual virtual event to help MSMEs ‘start local, go global’

Singapore – Following Amazon’s Seller Boot Camp in 2021, the Singapore arm of the e-commerce giant has launched anew its Seller Summit 2022 with new programs and tools to help sellers in Singapore start selling online locally and expand globally.

The free virtual event, which will be held on 14 January 2022 from 9 am to 6:30 pm SGT, aims to educate Singaporean sellers on key e-commerce topics such as shipping and fulfillment, advertising, brand building, and global expansion plans. Attendees will be able to network with Amazon experts, Amazon sellers, and third-party service providers.

Moreover, the virtual event will also feature the ‘Amazon Small Business Awards 2022’, which aims to recognize brands that have expanded globally, grown tremendously, and impacted their communities. Sellers can also look forward to a revamped website with more accessible education online and one-on-one account management support, among others, to be announced at the event.

Eric Broussard, Amazon’s vice president of international seller services, noted that global selling is a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes.

He further shared that according to the report ‘Local Sellers, Global Consumers: Capturing Singapore’s e-commerce export opportunity’, the annual value of B2C e-commerce exports in Singapore was estimated at S$1.4b in 2021, and it could reach S$3.5b in 2026 if MSMEs accelerate their pace of using e-commerce to sell overseas.

“As such, through the Singapore Seller Summit, Amazon will further empower sellers to discover innovative solutions, leverage selling, and advertising tools, and better understand growth opportunities locally and overseas to take their business to the next level. Our goal is to enable more businesses to expand and reach customers everywhere through our 20 Amazon stores worldwide,” said Broussard.

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Technology Featured Global

Hubilo’s US$125m funding to expand dev’t on the ‘future’ of virtual events, engagement

Bengaluru, India – Global virtual events platform Hubilo has announced the conclusion of its US$125m series B seed funding, putting the company’s total funding to US$153m to date in 18 months. Said funding will be used to develop new business functions, advance innovation of its platform, strengthen its product, engineering, and design teams in India, and go-to-market teams in the US, UK, EMEA, and APAC.

The new funding was led by Alkeon Capital and additionally, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Balderton Capital.

Hubilo, which is based in India, was founded in 2015 to build event tech that increased attendee engagement at in-person events. Currently, the company works with some of the globe’s largest brands such as Blackboard, Walmart, United Nations, Roche Pharma, Maersk Shipping, with several others.

For Vaibhav Jain, CEO and founder at Hubilo, the power to engage with massive audiences unlocks the potential for more diverse, geographically dispersed communities to come together for business and consumer events, remote workforces to stay engaged, and organizations to rethink the way they hire and train. 

“The potential ahead of us with this investment is massive. But what we’ve learned over the last 6 years is that an intuitive platform is just table stakes. Our commitment to event organizers is that we will always provide a dedicated event team to ensure flawless execution of every event. This is why so many event organizers make Hubilo their platform of choice,” Jain stated.

Hubilo also plans to set up new sales offices in key regions to expand its operations and reach a greater volume of customers. In addition, Hubilo will also increase the overall employees’ count by 150% to support its rapid growth plans and to respond to the increased customer demand for virtual and hybrid events.

Despite the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 25% of Hubilo’s business, the company still plans to further grow in the APAC region, especially in India. The recent additions to Hubilo’s India clientele are Publicis Sapient (TLG India Pvt Ltd), Nivea, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P Johnson.

“While Hubilo started as an events technology platform, its solutions go beyond special occasions. It has successfully supported 10,000 events with more than two million attendees across more than 100 countries. As the new era of events unfolds among the uncertainty, one thing remains steady: Hubilo’s innovation and commitment to foster human connection through the re-imagination of events,” the company said in a press statement.

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Technology Featured APAC

Virtual event platform EventX scores partnership, US$10m funding from HTC VIVE

Hong Kong – Realizing the greater need for virtual event management platforms in the Asia-Pacific region, virtual event platform EventX has announced an alliance with virtual reality (VR) company HTC VIVE, following its conclusion of a US$10m funding from its series B funding.

Aside from the funding being led by HTC VIVE, the funding also saw participation from Gaocheng Capital, a top China-based private equity fund focused on enterprise software and technology-enabled services sectors.

EventX’s virtual event management platform has been well-used in the region, especially for events that involve Mainland China attendees where its unique design architecture overcomes internet firewalls to enable the service of any cross-region events. Meanwhile, HTC VIVE has gained great attention and acclaim for its strides in VR research and development. By combining the knowledge pools of the two respected digital trailblazers, a range of unique experiences is set to be developed through this strategic alliance. 

A major player for the rise of these virtual event management platforms can be attributed to the COVID-19 health pandemic, which has drastically curtailed travel and how people spend time in crowded places, decimating the wider event industry, estimated to be worth more than US$1t annually before the pandemic. 

COVID-19 has permanently transformed the professional events category and in turn raised attention to venture capitalists to pour in massive capital to the virtual event software space.

Speaking about the partnership, Sum Wong, co-founder and CEO at EventX, said, “It is certain that virtual workspaces and virtual events will become the new norm. The creation of this alliance will result in a deep level of integration between our own expertise and HTC VIVE’s groundbreaking work in the VR space. This collaboration will result in EventX bringing virtual and hybrid event experiences to a brand new level of immersion and interactivity. To take the responsibility as one of the event industry leaders, EventX will keep exploring new possibilities of event technology, popularizing the application, and creating users’ needs.”

EventX is going to invest heavily in products and engineering for leading the recovery of the events industry during the current pandemic, which will not only stabilize and solidify existing virtual event services but carve out new spaces and opportunities for the marketing and event industry. 

Meanwhile, Joseph Lin, president of VIVEPORT said, “VR has the power to improve the world. At HTC VIVE we strive to create the tools to expedite VR adoption — using not only our VR devices but also computers, tablets, and smartphones — and interact effectively. The strategic alliance with EventX illustrates HTC VIVE’s continuous efforts in providing people and enterprises with the tools to meet, socialize, and learn in VR and beyond. Massive possibilities and enthusiasm can be seen in this partnership to bring people closer together without any geographical boundaries.”

With their unique China accessible ability and together with HTC VIVE, they will be adopting VR and prospecting technology into the core capabilities of the event software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to make it accessible and reinvent the virtual event experience. For the first attempt to add VR and prospecting technology into core capabilities, they would be releasing a virtual event lite platform and open it for segments such as NGOs, SMEs and startups to register and organize virtual events for free.

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Marketing Featured Global

This wine tasting event merges meetups and wine-tasting in a ‘phygital’ setup

Hong Kong – Despite being postponed in 2020 due to health concerns, French wine-growing area Vins d’Alsace is returning this year with its biannual wine-tasting event Millésimes Alsace, with a twist added: integrating technology to explore the full potential of the wine-makers drink lineup.

The event, called ‘Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting®’ combines real-life tastings and virtual meet-ups made possible by collaborations of local winemakers, alongside 100 exhibitors that will be presenting 4 wines each.

The said event, which is slated for the 7th and 9th of June this year, is an initiative launched by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA), an interprofessional organization for the wine industry in the Alsace region in France. CIVA houses more than 950 winemaker operators including private cellars, cooperatives, merchants to help revive the traditional wine-making industry in the region.

By registering on the event’s dedicated platform, visitors can discover all the wineries and access the wines’ technical sheets. A filter system allows visitors to select the wines that best match their criteria from among the 100 wineries and 400 wines listed. There are wine-related filters (color, sweetness level, vintage, grape variety, appellation) and winery-specific (distribution circuit, environmental practice, country of export, importer search).

When ordering the wine samples that they can taste simultaneous the event, each visitor can choose between 2 options to suit their needs and receive them free of charge at the address of their choice:

  • 5 boxes = 4 selected boxes + 1 ‘discovery’ box (i.e. 5 wineries, 20 wines)
  • 10 boxes = 8 selected boxes + 2 ‘discovery’ boxes (i.e. 10 wineries, 40 wines)

Visitors will also be able to receive ‘discovery’ samples added by Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® to their wine orders. 

“The wines are bottled in their region of origin in a small glass shaped like a traditional Rhine flute. A unique technological process guarantees the wines’ integrity: bottled in an inert atmosphere, they retain their most subtle qualities and aromas. By staying as close as possible to the original product, this process respects Alsace wines’ very essence,” the event organizers said in a press statement.

During the virtual event, winemakers will be able to share their know-how with the visitors, discuss grape varieties and Alsatian terroirs while tasting the wines together. Naturally, visitors will be able to chat virtually with any of the producers, even if they did not order a tasting box. 

“Having been the first vineyard to put together a major response to the current situation right from the first lockdown, Alsace is once again the first to innovate in the strategic field of trade shows! We remain a small vineyard globally, but we are ambitious and determined to achieve our goals. Alsace has a strong history and is resolutely turned towards the future,” said Didier Pettermann, chairman of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA).

‘Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting®’ also showcases a real large-scale trade show with conferences, workshops, and themed events about wine, terroirs, the economy, and consumer trends. Visitors will also be able to share their experiences thanks to integrated networking features on the platform and social media.

According to Philippe Bouvet, marketing director at CIVA, the event was launched in response to not having the current global state as an ‘excuse’ to forego the event. He also noted that the event aims at wanting to combine century-old know-how with cutting-edge technologies.

“Digital technology is not an end in itself: its primary purpose is to bring people together and make the virtual and physical worlds work together. Wine is not a product like any other. It is both intangible because of the emotions it evokes and very real thanks to its terroirs and the men and women who produce it,” Bouvet stated.

He added, “Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® aims to generate synergy between the real and the virtual worlds and create a relevant and successful exhibition designed to provide a quality experience for visitors and exhibitors alike.”

The event will take place on 7 and 9 of June this year, with a dedicated website to be launched on 29 March, where wine-tasting professionals can register for free. Wine-tasting orders from the 100 exhibitors will be made available from 29 March to 2 May.

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SME Featured South Asia

Amazon India to host ‘Smbhav’ virtual summit this April

Bangalore, India – The Indian arm of e-commerce giant Amazon is once again hosting for the second time its ‘Amazon Smbhav’ summit on April 15 to 18, 2021, aimed at leveraging digital strategies and innovations to Indian customers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

‘Smbhav 2021’ aims to bring together important industry and thought leaders for invigorating discussions on the way ahead towards creating an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’, the vision by the Indian government to be self-sufficient, by unlocking possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs through partnership with Amazon.

Centered around the theme ‘Unlocking Infinite Possibilities for India’, the four-day summit will tackle various industries, ranging from manufacturing, retail, logistics, IT/ITeS, content creators, start-ups, brands, and entrepreneurs across India. Over 30,000 participants are expected to participate at Amazon Smbhav, learning about best practices and industry trends from over 70 speakers.

For Manish Tiwary, vice president for Amazon India, ‘Smbhav 2021’ showcases Amazon India’s commitment to “being a strong partner in making the 21st century the Indian century.”

“As we continue to work with a gamut of Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, we are committed to bringing to them tools, technology, and innovation that empower the Indian economy, help create jobs at scale, and unleash entrepreneurial agility in companies of all kinds and sizes. Smbhav 2021 will therefore be a unique platform offering opportunities to unlock these possibilities towards an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’,” Tiwary said.

During the last Smbhav 2020, Amazon pledged to invest an additional US$1B to digitize 10 million MSMEs, to generate US$10B in cumulated exports from India, and create an additional 1 million jobs in India by 2025.

The summit will primarily focus on four key pillars – Innovation, Skilling & Job Creation, Digitization, Exports & Startup Enablement. The summit will bring together diverse perspectives from eminent business leaders, policymakers, solution providers, and Amazon leadership on areas that are most relevant for India’s growth. 

Other summit events that will be included are ‘Amazon Smbhav Awards’ that recognizes businesses, innovators, and individuals that have contributed to the concept of ‘self-reliant India’, and the ‘Amazon Smbhav Startup Pitch Competition’, where participants must pitch feasible startup pitches and get a chance to win Amazon-related cash prizes and mentorships. 

The event will also be conducting an ‘Amazon Smbhav Hackathon’ that will provide an opportunity for individuals and startups to present breakthrough ideas that have the potential to solve real-world problems in the areas of business innovation, sustainability & healthcare.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Asahi Beverages collabs with Entropia for its first-ever immersive virtual product launch in SEA

Manila, Philippines – Asahi Beverages has collaborated with marketing consultancy Entropia in the Philippines in its first-ever immersive virtual launch in the Southeast Asia region.

Asahi Beverages’ product, Goodday Cultured Milk, was launched on the platform MootUp for Zoom, where press, dealers, and the brand teams all over from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines are connected in an immersive virtual event.

Over 200 participants joined the event, and were treated first to virtual worlds such as  Japanese-inspired Airport Terminal, an outdoor-themed conference hall where the main presentations were held, an intimate Zen garden, and a mini Japan town. By utilizing Moot, the event did not only engage participants, but also unified them, mimicking a physical gathering with people moving around and interacting with one another.

According to Hemalatha Ravagan, Asahi Beverages Philippines’ CEO and head of international business development and exports, the Goodday Cultured Milk virtual launch was the brand’s first foray into the Philippine market.

“After more than two years spent on research and development to perfect the formulation for Goodday, we are elated to introduce a cultured milk drink that we believe every Filipino would enjoy every day. Since COVID-19 has placed restrictions on face-to-face launches, we had to adapt and tap into consumers’ changing habits as well as their curiosity to connect in the digital space,” Ravagan stated.

Online participants were also treated to performances brought by Filipino bands Up Dharma Down (UDD) and Autotelic. 

“Goodday is a proud product of Japanese innovation, and we want to launch it here in a big way. The challenge for this launch is to get people from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines together for a fun and different experience. Thankfully, our partners in Entropia Philippines knew what to do,” said Karl Bustos, Asahi Beverages’ head of operations.

In a statement, Kaye Enriquez, partner and chief analytics officer of Entropia Philippines said the recent virtual event is an experience that responds to ‘people missing traveling and bonding with other people’.

“Through the use of available technology, we wanted to create that experience – one that is immersive where they could actually feel like they are traveling and having a good day, while learning about the new Goodday brand,” Enriquez said.

Meanwhile, Entropia Philippines’ Principal for Creative Services Hans Malang added, “While the platform is readily available via the use of Moot, we had to add new 3D layers to complement the immersive experience of this created new virtual world.”

Entropia Philippines is the first international expansion office of Entropia Global based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.