Janio Bi-Weekly News Round-up | End-July 2019

Hui Shan Tan

Janio Bi-Weekly News Round-up | End-July 2019

A curation of the latest news in eCommerce, logistics, and tech in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Janio's Bi-weekly News Roundup

Towards the end of July, Southeast Asian eCommerce platforms witness optimistic growth, Chinese eCommerce giant JD.com increases artificial intelligence use, and the US-China trade war continues with US tariffs on Vietnam and Alibaba’s move to thaw tensions.

Southeast Asian eCommerce Giants Ramp Up

Singapore’s eCommerce players are seeing growth following strategic efforts as a recent report by iPrice looks at their performance for the first quarter of 2019. Qoo10 continues to lead as the most-visited platform in Singapore, with a 31% market share, followed by Lazada with a 28% market share. Additionally, Lazada’s mobile shopping app leads with the highest number of monthly active users (MAUs) in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, growing 19% in total visits. 

Shopee also demonstrated significant improvement within a short period of time, currently holding the third-biggest market share in total visits at 10%. The Singapore-based eCommerce firm was at sixth place in Q1 2018, with just 6% market share in total visits. 

In other regional news, increased US tariffs on China-made goods have accelerated the garment manufacturing industry’s move out of China, encouraging them to source from countries like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, and Indonesia. This window of opportunity has allowed Zilingo’s Southeast Asian base to plug the supply gap with their lower costs in manufacturing compared to China, benefitting over 4,000 factories across the region.

Expanding into China’s Smaller Cities with AI

In light of slowing growth in China’s eCommerce industry, Chinese eCommerce giant JD.com is adopting artificial intelligence to help drive online consumption in smaller cities and among female users amid the uncertain economic climate. The company’s AI-powered SnapShop allows users to take a photo of a product and the platform provides identical and similar product recommendations. 

JD, as well as its rivals Alibaba Group Holding and Pinduoduo, are seeking opportunities among consumers in smaller cities to make up for the fall in consumption in China’s biggest cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The US-China Trade War Plays Out 

Earlier this month, US imposed on Vietnam penalties 18 times larger than those exacted from Beijing, including a 400% tariff rate for Vietnamese steel. Over the past year, as tariffs against China wreaked havoc with supply chains, Vietnamese factories grabbed business from multinational companies. Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US reached a record $40 billion, up from about $20 billion in 2014, prompting US action. 

In more optimistic news, two years after Jack Ma promised Donald Trump he would help create a million American jobs, Alibaba is opening up its wholesale platform to U.S. sellers who want to tap a multi-trillion dollar global procurement market. This announcement comes at a time where US-China tensions are darkening the outlook for global trade, and could generate goodwill for Alibaba in the US.

That’s all for this news round-up! In the meantime, to stay updated with the latest news and our articles, consider signing up for Janio’s regular newsletter.

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