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KrASIA Weekly: Should technology be a cost or an investment?

Written by Robin Moh Published on   3 mins read

The race for creating efficient platforms in a technology era.

Hi there, it’s Robin.

Businesses should change their minds, to think of technology expenditures as an investment, rather than a cost. This is the most interesting idea that I have heard this week, and it pretty much tells the difference between the technology companies we know of today and the traditional ones.

Meituan’s founder Wang Xing once emphasized that the future of businesses belong to those who know how to use technology to bring greater efficiencies and bring down costs.

JD.com’s founder and CEO Richard Liu saw the need to take its business online as something that’s inevitable. It was a move that’s necessary, one that can potentially pay off later.

Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing told CNBC  this week that the firm’s core business will be about technology, not just payments. This speaks of the commitment to continue to spend on technologies like blockchain and be innovative about how technologies can be used to redefine financial services.

After all, it is with technology that Alibaba managed to achieve a new feat for Singles’ Day this year, servicing up to 1 billion delivery orders all in one day. This isn’t something anyone would imagine possible given that just about 12 years ago, China took one full year to hit that number of delivery orders.

And with these successes being more and more evident, it is not surprising to see many companies jumping on the technology wave. Traditional companies in Southeast Asia have started to express interest in innovative ways to change and tweak their businesses.

The FinLab, for example, is bringing its accelerator program to Thailand, where it seeks to offer the foundation and help Thailand small-and-medium sized business owners to embrace technology.

The monetary authorities of Singapore and China also inked a deal this week, seeking to collaborate on fintech innovations and cross-border supervision of futures exchanges and intermediaries.

Go-Jek also has partnered with DBS Bank, looking to offer a slew of privileges as it prepares to foray into Singapore as soon as December.

Clearly, technology is increasingly spreading its reach across more and more industries. It is evolving very quickly from just being a question of technology as a cost or investment into something that is the key foundation of businesses of the future. No industry is immune and perhaps thinking of these as investments would make more sense.

Read on to find out more interesting stories from last week, and feel free to tip us if you have news clue or you just want to talk with us, email us at [email protected] and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

Here are some stories you shouldn’t miss.



China’s Huawei working to roll out AR glasses in one or two years

What tech executives have said at China’s World Internet Conference 2018

Children digital library KaDa Story plans to go global after 100 million RMB of Series A+ funding

Alibaba sets another Singles’ Day record with slowing growth

Tencent-backed Mogujie targets $200m NYSE public offering


Rest of Asia

The FinLab forays into Thailand, helping innovate SMEs

Go-Jek to launch in Singapore in December, says company president

Cherubic Ventures launches new fund to target Southeast Asia

Indonesia fintech startup CashCash raises millions in new funding

Behind this year’s Singles Day sales in SEA, is the somehow unnoticed rise of Shopee

Efishery nets $4m new funding to move Indonesian agtech forward (updated)

Marvelstone Group joins hands with Singapore’s research institute to incubate AI startups

Go-Jek and Grab race to launch financial services via bank tie-ups

Razer Pay to debut in Singapore next year with NETS partnership

Indonesian fintech startup AwanTunai announces $4.3m Series A led by Insignia

Newcomer makes a splash on Singles’ Day as Chinese smartphone makers tighten grip on Indonesian market

Grab to launch remittance service next year, targeting foreign workers and regional travellers

Netflix competitor Iflix targets new paying customers in Indonesia and Philippines with telco tie-ups

Indonesian Tokopedia launches service to bridge online and offline retailing

Disappointed with new compensation scheme ‘hundreds’ of Grab drivers say they’re migrating to Go-Jek

Interesting Stories

Inside food delivery in China and its implications for the SEA market

Responding to global backlash, WhatsApp funds research on misinformation

Two Lippo Group’s ISPs at risk of losing operating licenses

Ant Financial invests several hundred million RMB in indoor location service provider ShuWei

Pakistan online travel site grabs $1.5m in Series A round led by Gobi Partners

Chinese tech money will continue coming into Asean

This startup is looking to help grow ASEAN retailers with big data

DGene prepares to integrate 3D reconstruction capabilities into mobile phones with IDG’s 100 million RMB


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