Category: Others

Grab Announces A $988 Million Financial Loss In Q3 Due To A Drop In Ride-Hailing During Lockdowns

The Singapore unicorn expects its SPAC deal to finalize in Q4 of this year.

Grab, the Southeast Asian unicorn reported a net loss of $988 million for the July-September quarter, increased from a loss of $621 million a year earlier, as increased COVID-19 control measures in the area impacted its core ride-hailing business.

The Singaporean digital tech business, a significant startup in the area, offers ride-hailing, delivery, and banking services through what it calls a “superapp” approach.

Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Myanmar are among the countries it operates.

On Thursday, Grab also stated that its proposed merger with a particular purpose acquisition company, Altimeter Growth Corp., located in the United States, “continues to advance and is slated to complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.”

The deal values Grab at roughly $40 billion and allow the business to be listed on the Nasdaq.

Grab said noncash expenditures such as accrued interest, stock-based compensation, and fair value fluctuations on assets account for a substantial portion of the massive loss for the quarter.

However, several Southeast Asian countries took severe restrictions to control coronavirus spread during the three months through September, creating a “difficult operating environment,” Grab said in a statement.

According to the company, revenue fell 9% to $157 million in the third quarter “as a result of the predicted fall in mobility owing to the severe lockdowns in Vietnam,” according to the company.

Revenue from the ride-hailing business fell 26% to $88 million, while revenue from the delivery business increased 58% year on year to $49 million.

Financial services revenue, such as its e-wallet, climbed 11% to $14 million.

The accounting revenue for Grab is shown net of incentives for drivers, retailers, and customers.

Consumer incentives more than quadrupled to $271 million in the third quarter, indicating a competitive business climate in the region.

Due to its delivery and banking services growth, its gross merchandise value (the entire value of transactions completed through Grab’s platform) climbed 32% to $4 billion in the quarter.

“Despite severe lockdowns in Vietnam and heightened limitations across the region in the third quarter as a result of COVID-19, we performed successfully on our superapp strategy and produced excellent growth,” said CEO Anthony Tan in a statement.

“With a recovery insight and the progressive reopening of economies giving tailwinds to our company, we are doubling down on investments that will help us grab a larger part of the possibilities before us and open up new addressable markets for Grab, such as grocery.”

Separately, Tan stated during an investor webcast that the firm anticipates a significant rebound in the ride-hailing sector in the fourth quarter, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, as vaccination rates rise in the area.

Carousell Achieved Unicorn Status, With a Valuation of US$1.1B Thanks to a US$100M Investment From Korea’s STIC Investments

Carousell Group, a Singapore-based classifieds startup with operations in nine countries throughout Asia and Canada, revealed yesterday that it had secured US$100 million (RM415 million) to accelerate expansion.

The media announcement made no mention of a listing. However, media sources from June have connected it to a prospective US listing via SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company).

Quek Siu Rui, co-founder, and CEO of Carousell, mentioned that the pandemic has proven its mission to inspire the world to start selling, and buying secondhand is more relevant than ever.

People are utilizing our platforms to make it more feasible for one another, whether via shared interests, making ends meet, affording what they require, or just because it is more sustainable.

They believed that the increased adoption of digital experiences is an opportunity for them to double down on their recommerce efforts, focusing on convenience and trust to unleash step-change growth in their community.

The investment by STIC validates their goal and strategic direction.  Also, they envision increasing their investments in recommerce across new categories and markets, and they will continue to look for opportunistic acquisitions to help them scale up.

Jason Cho, Managing Director of STIC Investments, stated they have been keeping an eye on Carousell and are thrilled to be partnering with a significant share in its development narrative.

Carousell continues to see tremendous user growth as it transforms the recommerce industry by introducing new features to build trusted marketplaces and improve the overall user experience.

The team and he are convinced that Carousell will be at the heart of the secondhand economy in this region at a time when a growing number of socioeconomic and environmentally concerned customers are turning toward a circular economy.

Besides that, Cho will join the Carousell Board as part of the financing round.

Since its founding in 2012, the Group has served tens of millions of consumers in eight Southeast Asian and Taiwan markets through the brands Carousell, Mudah.my (in Malaysia), Cho Tot (Vietnam), and OneKyat (Myanmar).

The last three locations were formerly held by Telenor Group, a Norwegian telecom, before the two companies merged in late 2019.

MarketersMEDIA Offers US$1.5M in PR Credits to Help Startups Manage the Coronavirus Crisis

The tension is very real since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It has quickly swept our lives, and radically transformed the world and businesses in less than a month; forcing countries to enter into a state of lockdown and the economic downturn changing even large, established companies literally overnight.

We can only imagine the impact it has for smaller businesses and newer ventures that do not have the resources or cash flow to maintain their operations for long periods.

The vast majority of marketers are now putting their marketing on hold to conserve their funds during this financial uncertainty. Almost nine in 10 marketers are now delaying their campaigns in response to COVID-19, according to Marketing Week.

At the same time, press release distribution company MarketersMEDIA stresses that marketing is still, if not more important than ever to remain relevant and competitive.

There will come a time when the coronavirus pandemic is over and the businesses who will come out as winners are businesses that have never stopped their marketing efforts to remain connected with their users and customers.

“We see a need to aid businesses to continue their marketing without having to worry about their costs,” said Daniel Tan, the Founder of MarketersMEDIA. “So when the crisis is all over, businesses can rebound quicker especially if they have remained engaged with their customers throughout the crisis.”

The press release service debuted a marketing aid of US$1.5 million in press release credits to help small and midsize businesses get through COVID-19 with one less expense. Businesses can apply for the initiative to receive a First Tier press release where they can use to reach out to their users and customers to ensure business continuity during the crisis.

A First-Tier press release with MarketersMEDIA will help them get their message to AP News, USA Today, MarketWatch, Comtex, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and over 500 authoritative media outlets in different verticals, in addition to reaching thousands of newsdesk journalists and archival systems.

This can be extremely helpful in times of the lockdown when more and more people are looking and searching for news updates. Using MarketersMEDIA free First Tier press release can also be a great start to building online presence, to apply for this grant, interested businesses can visit: https://www.marketersmedia.com/grant

Korean Soft Power launches real-time interpreter app ManTong, translating Korean into 10 different languages

Soft Power, a Korean software engineering company has recently released a real-time interpreting application that translates Korean into 10 different languages based on AI technology.

The application is known as ManTong and users can activate it by simply talking into their mobile phones, and the app utilising Google Translate API, which applies a Neural Machine Learning AI (NMT) technology will translate the sentence instantaneously at the level of a professional interpreter.

The application is also especially useful in noisy environments, which makes it suitable to use when abroad for short conversations. Since the app translates voice messages, one can simply talk into headphones that they are wearing and show the translated content to the other person without much hassle.

Soft Power CEO Kim SuRang said, “Some interpretation or translation applications that exist in the market either cannot handle long sentences or directly translate voice recognized sentences. The users have to press the buttons for every sentence they would like to translate, which is very inconvenient in the situation where you are given instructions or counseling.”

He further explained, “In this way, ManTong app solved the fundamental problem that occurs in existing interpretation and translation app, we created a technology that will tackle the problem at its root, as ManTong guarantees high quality and applicable interpretation and translation that supports a simultaneous two-way interpretation.”​

Software engineering expert Park JinHo, the director for Software Education Research Lab in Soongsil University also commented on the app, saying that “In fact, ManTong did not require a single line of code. It utilized ‘SmartMaker’, a software solution that expands upon language processing AI, and this technology can be used in a variety of other relevant fields such as voice recognition and speech synthesis to easily develop new applications.”

Mantong is free for any personal use and can be downloaded via both the Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore. Hence, with a ManTong application on their smartphone, one is no longer restricted by a language barrier.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

VinaCapital and partners to open US$4 billion Vietnam casino project in 2019

Vietnam-based real estate management firm VinaCapital and its Hong Kong and Macau JV partners have set a timeline for the long-delayed US$4 billion tourism and leisure project Nam Hoi An.

The integrated tourism and leisure destination casino resort is now re-branded as Hoiana, occupying four kilometers of beachfront just outside the UNESCO World Heritage site Hoi An in Quang Nam province.

The project is expected to launch its first phase in Q1, 2019.

Hoiana’s first phase will feature a resort and casino complex including a 445-room hotel, 220 residential apartments for sale on a buy-to-let basis operated by Hong Kong’s New World Hotels.

Besides, the project also includes an extra-luxury Rosewood resort offering 75 guests villas and 25 exclusive residences, as well as a golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II.

Hoiana will also comprise a beach club, a hall to host entertainment activities and events, a watersports and diving center, retail promenade as well as a range of new bars and restaurants as it is completed.

VinaCapital acquired the project in 2007 and forged an alliance with Malaysia’s Genting Berhad to develop the township. However, the Malaysian partner soon exited the project in 2012, leaving VinaCapital to scout for new investors

Last year, the Vietnam firm diluted its holding in the mixed-use development as it announced a partnership with Hong Kong Gold Yield Enterprises, a subsidiary of diversified group Chow Tai Fook and Macau-based junket operator Suncity Group.

“Hoiana is poised to become Asia’s most renowned resort destinations, and a new benchmark for high-end tourism in Vietnam,” reportedly said Don Lam, CEO of VinaCapital.

“For enterprises, it’s the land of golden opportunity,” he added, referring to the tourism attractiveness of the central city Hoi An, where the project is located.

The developers also plan further investment for the US$ 4 billion township in the next construction phases, which are due to be completed over the course of the next 10 to 15 years.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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