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

Hui Shan Tan

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

Janio's Bi-weekly News Roundup

The month of May 2019 may see more competition heating up: Lazada and Shopee take top spots in Southeast Asian eCommerce, a Singaporean bank claims their stake in eCommerce and logistics, Etihad Cargo connects to Singapore in its network revamp, and Trump-Xi trade talks turn sour.

Major eCommerce Platforms Solidify Positions in Southeast Asia

Shopee, Lazada lead in the battle for Southeast Asia’s eCommerce crown1. According to iPrice’s latest figures for Q1 2019, Shopee took the lead in desktop and mobile views with a monthly average of 184.4 million visits on desktop and mobile web, surpassing Lazada’s 179.7 million average. However, Lazada was the most popular mobile app in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore in Q1 2019.

While these two giants rank well in Southeast Asia overall, it does not necessarily mean they are number one in individual countries. Local players like Tokopedia and Bukalapak in Indonesia2, and Tiki in Vietnam, are also vying for the top spots in eCommerce within their own countries.

This is evident in Vietnam News’ article, where it states that both Shopee and Tiki solidified positions as top eCommerce sites in traffic in Q1 20193. Lazada ranked third in Vietnam, drawing in 29 million in average monthly visits, in contrast to Shopee (40.7 million) and Tiki (35.6 million). Other notable eCommerce platforms include thegioididong.com (28.8 million) and Sendo (25.3 million). Thus, merchants who are looking to expand into a new country would do well if they can find these local platforms to list on.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) Dips Their Toes Into E-commerce and Logistics

UOB, Qoo10 join hands to drive eCommerce growth in Southeast Asia4. This strategic alliance is part of UOB’s efforts to build eCommerce ecosystem partnerships and bring banking services closer to customers and small-medium businesses in the region.

Small businesses can also apply for a loan directly at Qoo10’s website instead of having to present physical papers to UOB. Meanwhile, UOB card members can also enjoy privileges when shopping on Qoo10 like an additional 10% in Q* coins. With around 438 million Southeast Asians unbanked5, UOB is attempting to fill the gap between the unbanked population and help them digitalise alongside the eCommerce boom.

On the logistics side, UOB lends to ESR for largest logistics parks in Japan6. ESR is an APAC logistics real estate platform headquartered in Hong Kong. The loan would help ESR to build one of the largest logistics parks in Japan on its newly acquired land in Yokohama. With UOB’s loan, ESR will build for its growing network of logistics facilities and grow alongside Japan’s burgeoning logistics property market. With ESR filing for IPO back in March7 and its regional focus, it is likely that they may become key players in cross-border logistics in terms of providing facilities for eCommerce, brick-and-mortar stores, and manufacturers.

Etihad Expands its Cargo Network into Southeast Asia

Etihad Cargo continues network revamp with Singapore connection7, which will continue its flights into Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before returning to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The new service will meet demands for more freight capacity between Abu Dhabi and Singapore, and the opening of a direct link will support strong economic and trade links between the cities.

This further cements Singapore’s status as a logistics hub in the Southeast Asian region, while opening up more possibilities for cross-border trade between Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Based on our commentary in our previous articles on Muslim youths and Indonesia’s export potential, Islamic products are an upcoming trend in cross-border trade between the two regions.

US-China Trade Talks Go South

Where did the US-China trade war talks take a turn for the worse? Even after 11 rounds of trade talks, Trump has since tweeted that the 10% tariff on Chinese goods will go up to 25%. The tweet has roiled financial markets and caused more uncertainty over the outcome of the US-China Trade War. We previously covered this topic in September last year, and our stance hasn’t changed. While this will disrupt the global supply chain, there is still opportunity to be had if US and Chinese companies decide to enter Southeast Asian markets.

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.

Want to clear customs in Southeast Asian countries like a pro? Get our customs clearance guide to find out how!

If you’d like to find out more about how we can solve your SEA eCommerce cross-border delivery needs, come and have a conversation with us.


  1. Business Times: Shopee, Lazada lead in battle for S-E Asia’s e-commerce crown: iPrice
  2. iPrice: The Map of E-commerce in Indonesia
  3. Vietnam News: Alibaba Cloud, China Telecom, Google Cloud, HUAWEI CLOUD & McAfee – Catch them all in one place at Cloud Expo Asia, Hong Kong
  4. Business Times: UOB, Qoo10 join hands to drive e-commerce growth in South-east Asia
  5. The ASEAN Post: Banking Southeast Asia’s unbanked
  6. Retail News Asia: UOB Lends For Largest Logistics Parks In Japan
  7. Business Times: ESR Files for Hong Kong IPO 
  8. Logistics Middle East: Etihad Cargo continues network revamp with Singapore connection

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