Janio Bi-Weekly News Round-up | Mid-March 2019

Amanda Lim

A curation of the latest news in e-commerce, logistics, and tech in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Janio's Bi-weekly News Roundup

Nearing the end of Q1 2019, Singapore is heating up as the unicorns’ battleground, India’s players challenge Amazon, and China’s e-commerce giants want to penetrate the US market despite trade war tensions.

Unicorns in Singapore Continue to Raise the Bar

Sea is raising up to US$1.5 billion for its Shopee e-commerce business in Southeast Asia. The Singapore-based company is planning to offer 60 million American Depositary Shares (ADS) at a price of US$ 22.50 each. Sea plans to use the capital for “business expansion and other general corporate purposes”, where most of its funds could be channeled to its e-commerce arm, Shopee. Shopee saw its annual gross merchandise value (GMV) cross US$ 10 billion for the first time.

Go-Jek expands driver benefits from Doctor Anywhere partnership. From April 2019, Go-Jek drivers can gain access to online video consultations with Singapore-registered medical professionals on the Doctor Anywhere platform. The Indonesian ride-hailing company will cover Doctor Anywhere’s subscription fees and offer its most active drivers fully subsidised medical benefits. This offer for freelance drivers marks the first of its kind, which sets Go-Jek apart from its rival, Grab.

Grab lands US$ 1.46 billion in fresh funds, raising coffers to US$ 8 billion. The latest funds were raised from Softbank Vision Fund, on top of its Series H funding round from Toyota Motor, Oppenheimer Funds, Hyundai Motor, Booking Holdings, Microsoft Corp, Ping An Capital and Yamaha Motor, bringing in US$ 4.5 billion in total. The company will use the investments to expand and diversify its services, with plans to become the Southeast Asian region’s No. 1 super app.

India’s Startups Rise to Challenge Amazon

Reliance buys Logistics Startup Grab A Grub to Power E-commerce Ambitions. Reliance wil control 83% of Grab A Grub in a cash deal worth US$ 14.9 million, furthering the company’s digital commerce initiatives. Ambani is now looking to challenge US companies Amazon, which has committed US$ 5 billion to Indian e-commerce, and Walmart-owned Flipkart, which was acquired for US$ 16 billion in August 2018.

On the mobile front, Paytm First was launched to take on Amazon and Flipkart. The mobile wallet company launched a premium subscription service to offer benefits across various categories like food, travel, and entertainment. Paytm First’s yearly subscription costs INR 750, with benefits worth INR 1,200 in the programme, compared to Amazon Prime’s INR 999 a year.

China’s Giants Adamant in US Expansion

Despite US-China trade tensions, China’s e-commerce giants are trying to penetrate US market. Alibaba and JD .com are trying to expand into the US by partnering with US-based companies. Alibaba has partnered with Office Depot to target small businesses, whereas JD .com has partnered with Google and started selling B2C items under Joybuy. This development is still in the early stages, so it remains to be seen if the E-commerce giants can turn a profit in the US market.

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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