KrASIA Weekly: 2019 Kicking off to a strong start

Happy New Year everyone, it’s Khamila from Jakarta. I hope you’re as excited about the dawning of 2019 as I am. It is not an exaggeration to say that 2019 will go down the history as […]

Photo credit: KrAsia

Happy New Year everyone, it’s Khamila from Jakarta. I hope you’re as excited about the dawning of 2019 as I am.

It is not an exaggeration to say that 2019 will go down the history as a year of Southeast Asia’s digital industry booming. We’ve witnessed the feat SEA startups pulled off in 2018, be they unicorns like the ride-hailing duo of Grab and Go-Jek, or early startups, and the momentum continues, 2019 is kicking off to a strong start.

We’ve heard of several good news from various startups in the region in the first week of the new year. For instance, Vietnam’s local rental sharing platform Luxstay raised US$3 million fresh to expands its products and services. As sharing economy in Vietnam is on the rise, Luxstay is expected to bring new innovation and contribute greatly to the country’s tourism and real estate industry.

We also spoke to experts to pick their brains about the Indonesian startup scene prediction this year. Fintech and e-commerce are projected to remain at the forefront of the country’s digital industry, new sectors like edutech and healthtech have big chance to steal the limelight in 2019. Various new regional players also expected to enter the Indonesian market, which opens up more opportunities for local startups to collaborate and grow together. Moreover, the government has prepared a series of plans to boost the startups’ landscape, including supporting SMEs, farmers, and fisherman to go online, strengthening the e-commerce roadmap, and many more.

Another exciting update is that ride-hailing unicorn Go-Jek now fully operates in Singapore. Since Go-Jek launched its beta version in late November, tens of thousands of drivers have signed up through the app’s pre-registration portal. As a newcomer, Go-Jek still has a long way to go in Singapore although the platform’s dynamic pricing model could be a good strategy to attract more drivers for now.

From China, the biggest movie ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment is set to go public this month. The platform was founded in 2012 and has grown rapidly since then. Interestingly, Maoyan Entertainment’s development further strengthening a proxy war between Tencent and Alibaba. While Tencent is backing up Maoyan, Alibaba is supporting its competition; a ticketing platform named Tao Piao Piao. However, it is not only rainbows and butterflies in the Chinese tech industry as we were shocked by Ofo’s bankruptcy rumour a few weeks ago. Our contributor also shared the reasons behind Ofo’s failure here.

The new year brings change, which isn’t always easy, and sometimes it can be hard to get motivated to embrace something new and different. Nonetheless, change can be good for us and even necessary to help us grow, especially in the tech industry. Here’s hoping to a better year for all of us.

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss from this week:

SEA

Alibaba veteran launches $200m new fund ATM Capital to invest in Southeast Asia

Singapore’s Carousell appoints two new executives

SoftBank Group’s early venture arm rebrands, to focus on AI startups in Asia

Vietnam’s sharing economy gets boost as Luxstay raises $3 million

CHINA

China resumes approving new video games again after a 9-month hiatus

Luckin Coffee shoots back at critics, suggests it’s victim of a smear campaign

Chinese movie ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment to go public as early as January

FEATURE

What to expect from Indonesian startup landscape in 2019

Why Ofo Failed?