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Singapore’s Ecommerce Shopmatic Raises $5.7m to Expand into Indonesia

Shopmatic, an ecommerce enabler for small businesses, announced pre-series A funding of US$5.7 million led by Singapore-based VC firm ACP and Spring

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Shopmatic, an ecommerce enabler for small businesses, announced pre-series A funding of US$5.7 million led by Singapore-based VC firm ACP and Spring, which is an agency of Singapore’s ministry of trade and industry.

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1. Singapore’s Shopmatic raises $5.7m to expand to Indonesia, the Philippines

Shopmatic is an ecommerce enabler for small businesses as well as individual entrepreneurs. Apart from building and managing their own stores, sellers can use it to get on to multiple ecommerce marketplaces, put ‘buy’ buttons on their social media pages, and so on.

Today Shopmatic announced pre-series A funding of US$5.7 million led by Singapore-based VC firm ACP and Spring, which is an agency of Singapore’s ministry of trade and industry.

Shopmatic is an ecommerce enabler for small businesses as well as individual entrepreneurs

Shopmatic is an ecommerce enabler for small businesses as well as individual entrepreneurs

Shopmatic will, similarly, partner with local payment gateways in Indonesia and other markets. It has also focused on the needs of mobile-first markets like India and Indonesia.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Google and Indonesia reach agreement in tax dispute

Indonesia’s government reached a settlement with Alphabet Inc.’s Google over a long-running tax dispute, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.

Indonesia has been more strictly enforcing tax payments since Minister Sri Mulyani took office last year. Other technology giants like Facebook and Twitter with large user bases in Indonesia could be targeted next.

Part of the problem is the complexity of Google’s corporate structure, which makes it difficult to determine where revenues are generated. The firm is facing similar issues elsewhere. It settled for $185 million in its tax dispute with the UK last year.

Original content by ecommerceIQ

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

Oxford Business Group

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

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A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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Tech

How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms

It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.

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In the West, villages are emptying out due to the lack of economic opportunities. Consider Italy where, in a bid to attract newcomers, a handful of municipalities have turned to selling houses for €1.

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Ecommerce

Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?

Oxford Business Group

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Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
– SPACs have become a hot-button topic in global finance
– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly

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South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.

SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.

Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.

While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.

Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.

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