Digital First: ASEAN Countries Still Face Core Challenges

Children in indonesia studying with laptops

WASHINGTON DC– Homegrown Ride-Hailing APPS, intelligent traffic systems, advanced construction techniques, automated energy-consumption management all propel the innovation wave washing over the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indonesia’s vibrant digital ecosystem, for example, boasts more than 1,700 start-ups—among the world’s largest clusters of new firms. GO-JEK, to name one, evolved from a ride-hailing app to a platform for mobile payments and other digital services. In Singapore, Sea, the most valuable start-up in the region—worth several billion dollars—began as an online gaming company and branched out into mobile money and…

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Opinion: will local brands dominate emerging markets?

local brand brazil fizzy drink

The global market of consumer packaged goods is US$ 1.2 trillion and global brands are facing strong competition from local brands in emerging markets. And what’s the global companies’ strategy to remain in relevant in emerging markets? They act fast to acquire these established and already much profitable local brands. In India, for example, the government policy from the invasion of foreign brands made local brand Thumbs Up cola the country’s market leader. In the early 90’s, when the Indian government opened the market to multinationals, Coca-Cola was more than quick…

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How China and Brazil are investing in Africa

After the economic slow-down, inflation and recession – and perhaps, some most pessimistic might say, the eminent down-fall of BRICS, all eyes turn to Africa as the new best thing regarding investments. Brazil and China have already been investing heavily in Africa, but how and where these two countries are investing in the African continent are strikingly different. China has been investing in infrastructural development such as, building highways in Tanzania, financing electricity projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and constructing whole towns in Angola. Most recently, Ethiopia made the headlines as the first African Sub-Saharan…

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SE Asia: eCommerce boom drives up mobile payment options

A recent Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA 2018 report highlights the explosive growth happening in e-commerce in Southeast Asia. SE Asia has long been seen as a challenging market for international brands to enter. Recent investments in infrastructure, improved regulatory conditions alongside rapid growth in internet and smartphone penetration open up the markets for foreign brands. With the growing acceptance of e-commerce, foreign brands no longer need to establish a local presence to target the Southeast Asian consumer. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2018 report, the SE Asia internet economy reached an…

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The Chinese Century: Is China-Brazil relationship a proxy of a new global governance?

Nature hates the vacuum, so do superpowers. Therefore, the geopolitical space allowed by the United States is seemingly being filled by China [1]. For instance, the Asian giant became Brazil’s most important trade partner in 2009 and Chinese investment in Brazil began around 2010 [2] as part of a state-led directive to increase China’s food and energy security through overseas acquisitions. Brazil plays an important role locally given the country´s economic weight and regional influence; therefore, a partnership with China changes the regional geopolitical landscape. The increase of interest in…

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WhatsApp Business: a powerful weapon for startups in emerging markets

It seems that all dreams came through for WhatsApp users in emerging markets. WhatsApp Business, a stand-alone app different from the usual WhatsApp, was rolled out in a few countries in February 2018. What was WhatsApp really for? Messaging? Well, people in emerging economies countries – specially small and medium businesses – took WhatsApp one step further. About two years ago I wrote the article – “WhatsApp for business: the secret weapon of Brazil” – telling about how Brazilian businesses are using WhatsApp to build a rapport with their customers…

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This Is How China Is Feeding Itself

While there is much ado about China’s not-so-subtle efforts in the South China Sea to expand its borders, and to attain a level of influence that extends far beyond its own shores, the emerging superpower’s international strategy goes well beyond military objectives. China’s population may not be growing at a huge clip, but its rising middle class is responsible for an uptick in consumption habits as protein gobbles up a larger share of the country’s diet. While this may not seem so ominous, there are reasons for seeing it as…

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Forget Black Friday: Emerging Markets eCommerce thrives with other ideas

In emerging markets, Black Friday is present in a lesser scale – different countries have bigger and better sales days. Here is a quick round-up. India Black Friday in India is taking its first steps – the main shopping date still is Diwali. However, some eCommerce sites are investing on Black Friday. We can’t talk about Indian eCommerce without mentioning local marketplace site Flipkart. As internet penetration growth accelerates web sales, Flipkart is giving Amazon India a run for its money. Flipkart beat Amazon India in the latest festive season…

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China is investing big in Brazil but not how you’d imagined

Brazil and China are the world’s foremost emerging markets. Brazil’s political turmoil and the economic downturn in the last to years didn’t seem to change China’s will to invest into the largest South American economy. China’s investments varies from region to region. In on of my previous posts I mentioned how China is investing in Africa, not only in infrastructure projects e.g. building highways in Tanzania and electricity projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also financing the first African metro system in Addis Abba in Ethiopia. With Brazil there is a…

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Social Gaming: How China became the games industry of the world

It was recently announced that the games company Zynga, most famous for Farmville, has donated an undisclosed amount to the University of Southern California (USC) so that courses in social mobile gaming can be developed. The university gets to access best practice from leading industry practitioners and companies like Zynga can influence how students learn about producing better social mobile games. This is an interesting move from a company that is already known for their innovation in social mobile gaming. But it may also be a wise long-term move as…

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