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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

E-commerce potential still low, despite rapid growth, says minister - The Malaysian Insider

The e-commerce sector in the country has yet to reach its full potential despite having grown significantly, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said the value of e-commerce was expected to grow to about RM72 billion by the end of this year from RM53 billion last year, and is expected to further increase to RM88 billion by next year.

He said as such, several initiatives would be taken to improve the workings of e-commerce at a fundamental level in order to accommodate its increasing popularity in Malaysia.

 He said these include improving broadband connectivity, gaining consumers' trust in the system and addressing logistics issue.

"Right now, about 70% of Malaysian households have access to broadband.

"The government will continue to work with industry players to ensure that more people will enjoy widespread, affordable and quality broadband service, which will hopefully spur more online activities, including e-commerce," he said when launching the Logon Mobile Apps and Logon V2 at Sin Chew Daily headquarters in Petaling Jaya today.  
Shabery added that a combination of education, awareness, and legal measures could allay consumers' fears with regard to keying in credit card information on a commercial website.

Quoting a recent study by AT Kearney, Shabery said that Malaysia had one of the most complete e-commerce laws in Asean, which covered electronic transactions, privacy, cyber crime and consumer protection.

He also emphasised the significant role of traditional couriers such as Poslaju in contributing to the success of trading in the digital age.

Shabery added that the ministry's e-Commerce Globalisation Initiative would also help to develop and enhance competitiveness of the local e-Marketplace players, as well as to expand their market in Asean.

Citing the same study by AT Kearney, he said that the online retail market in the Asean region had the potential to grow by as high as 25% annually., managed by the Media Chinese International Limited, is an e-commerce platform that offers consumers to shop online for variety of products such as car parts, fashion, toys, reading materials, home appliances and pet food.
– Bernama, June 29, 2015.

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Welcome to a New Era of Convenience Shopping

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Welcome to a New Era of Convenience Shopping
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​Pizza Hut eyes digital, data transformation in pizza wars | ZDNet

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Friday, June 26, 2015

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Enterprise IT News - The PIKOM CIO Chapter

The PIKOM CIO Chapter
Posted DateTuesday, 16 June 2015
By Cat Yong

When the National ICT Association (PIKOM) began its CIO Chapter six years ago, it was to represent the IT user communities in the local industry. Current CIO Chapter chairman, Hood Abu Bakar, who is also Group CIO of the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Group said, "PIKOM realised the fact that they represented the technology vendors, and they wanted us to be the voice of IT users."

"(Members) do not represent their company per se, but they represent themselves as the IT head of that organisation," Hood explained, adding that this leads to more freedom of expression by members.

The objective of the Chapter, in a nutshell, is for its members to share information and knowledge with one another, and they certainly haven't held back using technology to do so.
Popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is one way these CIOs keep in touch and share information with each other; there is a total of six chat groups at the moment.

There are also annual 8 day-trips abroad that promotes a spirit of camaraderie amongst these IT folks and allow them to engage different tech vendors all at the same time.

However, it is the forums that are turning out to be the most effective way of knowledge sharing, according to Hood who said, "Nothing beats face-to-face communication."

Strength in numbers
Having IT leaders of some of the largest enterprises in Malaysia, as members of the CIO Chapter led to a few significant outcomes, no doubt. One third of members are from the financial services industry, one of the few industries that spends a lot on information technology in Malaysia, at the moment.

These folks, all movers and shakers in their own right, command IT spending amounting to millions of Ringgit, each.

"We wanted CIOs to represent the user group, but who are also substantial enough so vendors would listen to us as a group," said Hood. He added, "Quite frankly we wanted CIOs of fairly large organisations, who can influence the community and the industry as a whole."

These CIOs also have enough pull for example, to break the stranglehold or 'monopoly' of certain vendors or technologies, and let smaller brands or emerging technologies gain some visibility in the market.

Solid state disk (SSD), for example.

Hood said, "SSD is mostly known as a storage technology for PCs.

"But, we know there is opportunity to use it (in the enterprise), and during the last CIO Chapter trip abroad to Korea, we engaged a vendor and tried to ascertain SSD's cost effectiveness for implementation in our respective organisations."

Best of all perhaps, it becomes less of a gamble for a CIO whenever he or she adopt a new IT platform, because of the reference points he or she can get from others in similar shoes.

Hood concluded with a message for his fellow CIOs: "You have to see how you can add value to your organisation. Join us and learn from others as well.

"Knowledge shared, is knowledge gained."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

12 women entrepreneurs who smashed the glass ceiling in Southeast Asia

12 women entrepreneurs who smashed the glass ceiling in Southeast Asia
Description: Tech in Asia
By Judith Balea | Tech in Asia – 18 hours ago

In business, men have traditionally ruled. Most of today's biggest startups were founded and are run by men. Yet some women are changing the scene.
Tech in Asia brings you a list of at least 12 women who have broken through barriers and overcome obstacles to achieve success in Southeast Asia's tech industry.

Nabilah Alsagoff, Doku

Description: doku2Alsagoff is the founder and current chief operating officer of Doku, an online payments firm in Indonesia.
She got the idea for her startup after working on a tourism website that was meant to help Bali recover from terrorist attacks in 2002. A Malaysian company was servicing payments for transactions on the website so Alsagoff formed a similar concept for Indonesia.
Doku counts big brands like AirAsia and Sinar Mas Land as its clients.

Veronika Linardi, Qerja

Description: qerja1Linardi is behind Indonesian site Qerja, which lets jobseekers and employees share information about companies publicly – much like US platform Glassdoor. Users go to the site to find transparent information about a company's pay scale and hiring practices.
In March, Qerja raised an eight-digit funding round from SB ISAT Fund, a joint venture of SoftBank and Indosat. It called the round "one of the highest series A valuations of any Southeast Asian startup."
Linardi, which has led her own recruitment firm Linardi Associates since 2006, is ready to take Qerja to the next level.

Hooi Ling Tan, GrabTaxi (MyTeksi)

Description: hooi-ling-tanAsia is experiencing a ride booking boom. Uber is aggressively attacking Southeast Asia, while Easy Taxi is fighting hard to gain a strong foothold.
Malaysia-based GrabTaxi, in the meantime, is gaining traction across large swathes in the region, and was recently named one of Southeast Asia's "unicorn" startups with an estimated billion-dollar valuation.
Hooi Ling Tan, a former McKinsey consultant, co-founded GrabTaxi with her classmate at Harvard, Anthony Tan. Together, they worked on a business plan for the mobile app that would connect customers directly to taxi drivers via phone. They submitted the plan to a Harvard startup competition in 2011. By 2012, they launched the app in Malaysia. GrabTaxi is now available in 21 cities across the region, and has so far raised US$340 million in funding.

Sylvia Yin, Shoppr

Description: Sylvia-yin-200xWith ecommerce companies rising in waves, the competition is heating up rapidly. On the receiving end are consumers who need to contend with a mess of store apps on their smartphones. Yin experienced this herself, so she co-founded Shoppr, a Tinder-like online store aggregator app.
Shoppr draws heavily from the dating app's swipe-to-discover methodology and uses a behavior learning algorithm. This way, it shows users products that they would most probably buy.
Yin aims to steer Shoppr from Malaysia to become a leader in mobile fashion discovery and shopping in Southeast Asia.

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Rags2Riches

Description: reese-ruiz-rags2riches-200Since 2007, Fernandez-Ruiz and her team have been helping women in poor communities in the Philippines make a living from weaving eco-ethical fashion and home accessories for their startup Rags2Riches.
Rags2Riches sells accessories created out of upcycled scrap cloth, organic materials, and indigenous fabrics online and in retail stores. The startup has trained 900 people in the business – mostly women who reside in one of the Philippines' biggest dump sites. Before Rags2Riches entered the picture, the women were engaged in handicraft production and had fallen prey to middlemen, who unfairly controlled their access to the market.
This year, Fernandez-Ruiz was recognized by Forbes in its prestigious annual list of 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs. Forbes said she belongs to "an elite group of people who are directing their talent and conviction to better the world."

Chow Paredes, Zipmatch

Description: chow-paredes-200Paredes is a professional real estate broker who's behind ZipMatch, one of the Philippines' leading real estate portals that lists and reviews properties for sale and rent. ZipMatch is now a driving force in the country's economy.
Through ZipMatch, Paredes aims to professionalize property brokerage by taking out old industry habits of cutting corners and pushing for sales without a strong sense of customer service. Her team is doing this by taking bulk of the work of brokers, training them, and helping them go the extra mile in servicing clients.

Huang Shao Ning, JobsCentral

Description: huang-shao-ning-200xThe community of internet-based entrepreneurs in Singapore rejoiced when US-based CareerBuilder bought JobsCentral back in 2011, when there weren't many such deals.
Co-founded by Huang Shao Ning, JobsCentral was one of the largest job portals in Singapore with over 800,000 registered jobseekers at the time of its acquisition. The team's story serves as an inspiration to many founders who wish to carry out a successful exit.

Qing-Ru Lim, Zopim

Description: qing-ru-lim-200xZopim, a Singapore-based startup known for its live customer support chat widget, was acquired by San Francisco's customer support company Zendesk in a deal worth S$30 million in 2014. It was one of the biggest exits among Singapore startups.
The Singapore company started in 2008 and came out of beta two years later. The founders, among them Qing-Ru Lim, struggled in the early stages, paying themselves a measly S$410 a month for two years. The hard work bore fruit and they grew their user base to 40,000 businesses at the time of the Zendesk deal. A source familiar to the transaction said Qing Ru got S$3.57 million for her stake in the company.

Alexis Horowitz-Burdick, Luxola

Description: alexis-horowitz-200xWhen online cosmetics store Luxola started in 2011, there were months when founder Alexis Horowitz-Burdick could not pay herself or her team, as there was no predictability in the business at that point of time. Fortunately, her colleagues believed in the company, and were willing to sacrifice and forgo their salaries for the bigger mission.
Fast forward to 2014, Luxola raised millions of dollars in funding to fuel its expansion in Southeast Asia. Luxola now has operations in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, and they ship to Hong Kong, UAE, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Australia.

Sarah Huang, WhatsNew

Description: sarah-huang-200xHuang co-founded Ardent Capital-backed WhatsNew, Thailand's rising ecommerce conglomerate. Having spent the last 10 years in ecommerce, Huang is very knowledgeable about this space.
With her at the helm, WhatsNew grew from a small business to a regional one, scaled from one vertical to a portfolio, which now includes brands Petloft, Venbi, Sanoga, and Lafema.
Recently, WhatsNew announced the acquisition of lifestyle-focused MOXY, its fifth ecommerce store.
You can say that WhatsNew's model is similar to Quidsi in the US, which was acquired by Amazon back in 2010 for US$550 million. Quidsi owned three ecommerce verticals when it was bought over and today owns 10 of them. The question then becomes: is WhatsNew heading down the same path?
Getting acquired or going public, however, isn't WhatsNew's focus, according to the team. It's to build the female economy and be number one in categories the company is in. CEO Thai Bounthay Khammanyvong was recently quoted as saying: "if we remain number one in the categories we are in, it would be stupid to sell."

Esther Nguyen, Pops worldwide

Description: Esther_POPNguyen grew up in the States. After graduating in 1998, she ran an ecommerce startup selling beauty and cosmetics in US. She didn't have much experience in running a business so it didn't last long. Then she went into green technology. It was the dot-com era, and green tech wasn't sexy; this folded too. Her unsuccessful ventures didn't stop her though. She set up a developer studio in Hanoi and managed it offshore from the US. In the course of running this business, she saw a big opportunity in music downloading in Vietnam and she went straight at it. She sold her shares in the developer studio to her partners, packed two suitcases, and left the US to put up Pops Worldwide.
Pops Worldwide specializes in producing mobile apps as well as licensing and publishing media. Since September 2008, it has been accumulating the licenses and distribution rights for most of Vietnam's music – up to 90 percent. It is now the main licensee of Vietnamese music on Youtube.

Thuy Thanh Truong, Tappy

Description: thuy-truong-200xTruong is famous in Vietnam's startup scene, thanks to all that she has achieved at the young age of 29. She co-founded Greengar, one of Vietnam's successful mobile startups dealing with games and utilities as well as Tappy, a social app that transforms any location into a virtual community sharing content. In May, Tappy was acquired by game-building platform Weeby, catapulting Truong into becoming Weeby's director of business development for Asia.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Why This CEO Believes An MBA Is Worthless

Why This CEO Believes An MBA Is Worthless

 We’re going through a once-in-a-century transformation in business that is throwing out all the existing rules.
The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?” is by Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora.

The first piece of advice I would give anyone starting a new business is to forget everything they learned in business school. Or better yet, don’t go to business school. Why? Because right now we are going through a once-in-a-century transformation in business that is throwing out all the existing rules. And that includes everything that the MBA programs are currently teaching their students. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at how business has been taught for the past 100 years. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the fundamental goal of business is to create a hit product. You then sell as many units of that product, thereby spreading your fixed costs over as many units as you can, and you compete on margins. Well, in my opinion that’s all worthless. Those days are gone.

If you’re starting a new business today, it’s highly doubtful that you’re selling a physical product on a per unit basis. You are probably launching something online in order to deliver great services, not sell widgets–think of all the new delivery services like Instacart, BloomThat, Washio, or PostMates. This is because the world is shifting from selling products to selling subscriptions, and in the “subscription economy,” companies are focused on generating recurring revenue. So it’s not about the price of the product and the margin. It’s about delivering value to customers, so they don’t want to switch services. But in order to manage this effectively, you’re going to have to do five things, and answer one very important question:

Define subscriber metricsYou’re going to have to think about measuring annual and total contract values, payments and declines, monthly and annual recurring revenue, and relationship retention. Stuff they don’t teach in Accounting 101.

Understand your consumerPeople now expect products to adapt to their specific needs. They expect ongoing value and unique experiences. And they’re not as interested in methods as they are outcomes. Stuff they don’t teach in Marketing 101.

Personalize your service
The product economy is dead–products can’t be personalized. A product can’t learn your behaviors and preferences. A product can’t be constantly upgraded, so that it gets better—instead, it becomes obsolete. Stuff they don’t teach in Manufacturing 101.

Customize accessPeople now define ownership as managing the decline of a physical asset. They’re opting for access over ownership: ride shares, streaming services, and subscription boxes. Stuff they don’t teach in Design 101.

Create a great experienceYou have to create services that can learn and adapt based on behavior. Services that can improve themselves autonomously. Services that can be truly customized. There’s no MBA class for that.

And finally, the key question isn’t “What product can I sell?” but rather “What do my customers really want, and how can I deliver that as an intuitive service, rather than a stand-alone product?” Answer that question and you’re on your way.


Joel Neoh's KFit aims to make keeping fit fun, and social

Joel Neoh's KFit aims to make keeping fit fun, and social

By Karamjit SinghMay 06, 2015
  • Aims to be first APAC fitness platform, harnessing sharing economy
  • Raises possibly largest pre-seed round in Asia from family, friends
THE speculation is over. Joel Neoh has launched fitness sharing platform KFit in Malaysia and Singapore over the past two weeks, with Hong Kong the next market.
All this is part of a rapid rollout planned across 10 Asian cities in seven countries over the next few months, before the next phase of another 10 cities. The target is to hit every Asian city within 18 months.
You read that right: Every Asian city.
Capitalising on the sharing economy, KFit aims to democratise access to fitness in Asia Pacific. It is targeted at the average gym-goer, say someone like Neoh himself, who goes about four to five times a month.
It is also targeted at those who also want to try different gyms but don't find enough variety in the market or price point that may tempt them to.
This is where KFit comes into the picture, with its RM99 (about US$28) membership in Malaysia and S$99 (about US$74) in Singapore. Partner gyms will get a portion of this fee depending on where the KFit member goes to utilise his membership.
Different from what one can expect from a gym membership, the fitness activities KFit provides access to include not only gyms and studios with CrossFit, Pilates, Zumba, cycling, yoga, dance, kickboxing, and bodybuilding, but also sports facilities such as badminton, tennis courts and more.
In a phone conversation with Digital News Asia (DNA), Neoh says he intends to make fitness more accessible, flexible and fun, and to improve the general fitness levels across Asia Pacific.
And if you are slightly disappointed – thinking "that's all?" – perhaps expecting Neoh to uncover or create a new billion-dollar market with his post-Groupon startup, here are the numbers that drew Neoh to the fitness market.
The global market size is US$78 billion a year, while the Asian market is at US$14 billion a year, according to KFit.
Why is he targeting the Asian market only? Because that US$14 billion comes from 1% of Asians and is only the amount spent on gym memberships, not accessories, clothes, equipment or even nutrition.
Increasing this 1% rate is the market opportunity that has drawn Neoh in – and attracted funding.
"Just from family and friends, I managed to raise, in single digit, a few million US dollars in a pre-seed round," he tells DNA.
Among the friends are those in venture capital firms and international angel investors. They include 500 Startups, SXE Ventures and Founders Global; Daniel Shin, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ticket Monster; and Danny Yeung, former CEO of Groupon Hong Kong; in addition to Neoh himself.
Among largest pre-seed rounds raised in Asia
Neoh (pic above) believes that the single-digit millions raised could be among the largest pre-seed rounds raised in Asia.
And he is also set up nicely for his next round, with a few options available. "While I feel fortunate and quite blessed, we are going to be methodical with how we raise the next round," he says, adding that the model KFit is employing opens doors for funding.
What he means is that gym-goers are used to paying monthly subscriptions for membership, and according to Neoh, subscriptions are one of the best models for e-commerce plays.
For now, the KFit platform is web-based, with an app in the works.
Aside from the subscription model, another advantage of KFit is that it does not involve any capex (capital expenditure) as the infrastructure is owned by gym owners. All Neoh has is operating expenditure, which is mainly salaries and marketing expenses.
Strictly speaking, this is not an e-commerce play as members have to physically go to a location to enjoy what they have paid for. Nothing virtual here aside from the payment option, one may think – but to Neoh, this is an example of local commerce with technology being used to help connect local merchants, in this case gym owners with customers they likely would not be able to reach out to.
It is what Groupon used to do before it expanded into products, and to Neoh, this is really akin to offering a deal management solution for gyms owners.
"What any merchant wants the most is to attract the right customer to the right outlet at the right time," he says.
He believes KFit can solve the problem across Asia for gym owners, especially small outfits with one or two outlets. "That's our sweet spot," he declares.
This is not to say the large outlets of global brands are not potential partners. They are. "We are in conversations to figure out how to work with them and I am confident they will all eventually come on board in the long term," he says.
If anything, the needs of the larger gyms are even more acute as he recalls one industry report that revealed the utilisation rates of large gyms were less than 10%. This leads Neoh to observe, "There is a strong synergy between their low utilisation rate and our desire to democratise access to fitness."
The challenge is to figure out the tactical aspects of making the relationship work. This may happen sooner rather than later as a pilot with CHI Fitness Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur is about to expand into a full partnership, with the details still being worked out.
And while the PR (public relations) spiel is drawing business model comparisons to what KFit is doing with a US-based startup, ClassPass, which is apparently being positioned as the next Uber, Neoh makes no such claims in his conversation with DNA, sticking to what can make KFit successful.
Aside from the business model and its low-capex advantage, Neoh believes the social aspects of keeping fit will kick in once more people sign up and start encouraging their friends to join.
"For the casual user, keeping fit should be fun … and it is fun when you are doing something with your friends," he says, expecting referrals to be a major channel.
For those keen to keep track of the numbers, at least from a gym partner and number of gyms signing up with KFit, this will be an exercise in futility as KFit keeps signing up new partners by the week, and with more cities to be opened up, what is current this week will be outdated next.
As of this week, there are more than 400 partners with over 500 gyms that have signed up to partner KFit.
Meanwhile KFit claims that over 75,000 enthusiasts across Asia Pacific have registered their interest in the service.
For a casual gym user who had his first experience of a gym when he was 19, Neoh is fired up to enable as many Asians as possible to join gyms, have fun while getting into better shape, or to just keep fit and encourage their friends to follow suit.
When that happens, expect the 1% Asian gym membership needle to move.
Related Stories:
Joel Neoh quits Groupon, goes back into startup mode
Joel Neoh's meteoric rise in Groupon: What now?
19,000 health fitness trackers sold in Singapore in 6mths: GfK
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