Chinese consumers spent a total of USD5.5 trillion on mobile payment platforms last year, about 50 times more than American consumers. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of transactions through non-banking mobile apps has increased from 3.8 billion to over 97 billion, with WeChat Pay and Alipay taking over 90% of the market. As a result, these two companies are now taking the fight overseas, from Europe to Southeast Asia.
In Southeast Asia, both Alipay and WeChat Pay have taken the approach of providing subsidies to quickly educate the under-banked population in hopes of quick adoption. On one hand, Alipay has been forming partnerships with local partners to help boost infrastructure and expertise, as it has done with Paytm in India. On the other, WeChat Pay has focused on working with partners in developed markets to expand their market presence. Recent examples of this include partnerships with Citcon and Stripe to allow local businesses to accept WeChat Pay.
Airbnb and Alipay has announced a new financial feature, Travel Deposit, that helps China’s yong travelers to save up for their dream holiday.
After users set the destination location and duration of stay on Alipay, the system shows users the amount of money they have to save, and will transfer the sum to Alipay’s money market fund, Yu’ebao automatically. Users can then share their travel plans through WeChat or Weibo. This is enables Airbnb to engage users even earlier in the vacation planning process, while tapping into social networks to improve their marketing and distribution channels.
Lazada has just announced a new membership program called LiveUp, which will provide consumers a one-stop shop platform for shopping, transportation, delivery and entertainment services. This service has been launched together with Redmart, Uber, UberEats and Netflix, and is viewed by many as a pre-emptive move to Amazon’s highly anticipated market entry to the region.
This new service is aimed at the ‘online lifestyle natives’, according to Redmart CEO Roger Egan, a term used to refer to people who are time-starved savvy internet users and want affordable convenience. It makes sense, therefore, that the service will be launched first in Singapore, before any specific plans to expand to the other regions.
This is an interesting post that first appeared on TechNode.
According to Ms. Emmy Teo, CEO of Fashory, the opportunity today lies in being able to show consumers where to buy the things they are interested in, especially if something catches their eye on a TV show. As an example, Fashory has been able to increase traffic and conversions dramatically using a combination of a push and pull strategy, to post content within communities of their target customers, and at the same time, leading interested customers to their WeChat account.
Secondly, marketers should understand the different social networks out there and that each one of them fulfils a different purpose for their target consumers.
Lastly, videos are now a crucial factor to attracting followers. Yoli, an online platform for English learning, regularly posts videos on Weibo to get the attention of their target users. This channel feeds Yoli’s customer conversion funnel, and eventually allows users to convert by registering on their WeChat account.
As an increasing number of people learn to code in developing economies, several initiatives have popped up to cater to this growing need. In Indonesia, 7-Eleven has joined the foray as they have come up with a new program that teaches mothers how to code at local 7-Eleven stores.
Local mini-marts have developed into community hubs in recent years; these stores are often seen as a place to hang out by teenagers as well as families.
This initiative by 7-Eleven creates a win-win situation in which it helps the country solve the acute shortage of tech developers, and at the same time, drive more traffic to its stores, and persuading people to spend more time in them.
An article published on Tech In Asia on a few key takeaways from developments in the Southeast Asian ecommerce industry.
Consolidation will rise in the B2C ecommerce space: A few instances of acquisitions include Luxola’s sale to LVMH and Lazada’s acquisition of Lamido.
Digital agencies will adapt or go extinct: Agencies have been looking to develop their presence in the ecommerce space. An example is Publicis’ acquisition of BysoftChina, a Shanghai-based ecommerce agency.
The marketplace space gets overcrowded: A range of foreign and domestic competitors have flooded the marketplace space, in hopes of carving out a niche for themselves in a market that is still wide open.
The recent Chinese stock market slowdown and slower economic growth have raised concerns over the high case burn rate at O2O startups, resulting in a drop-off for funding for those startups. In the US, similar startups have gained traction due to the convenience that they bring to end consumers. However, in China, consumers are attracted to such services due to the discounts they offer.
Roughly half of the capital raised by such startups typically go toward subsidies for customer acquisition. According to Ken Xu, a partner at venture capital firm, Gobi Partners, 30 to 40 percent of O2O startups have shut down over the past few months.
One car-repair app based in Shenzhen, Xiuyang, shut down in August after being unable to keep up with its competitors in offering discounts and promotions as it ran out of funds, after spending more than one third of its initial capital on customer acquisition.
UK-based Marks & Spencer is aiming to double its number of stores in India in the next 15 months. With stores in 21 cities in India so far, Marks & Spencer is looking to expand into less-developed cities, while increasing its store footprint in larger cities.
By the end of next year, the company hopes to have 100 stores in the country. One challenge faced by the company may be finding the right locations for new stores as there is intense competition for prime retail locations even though there is a glut of space in numerous malls.