Rocket Internet is increasing its focus on Asia after it opened its first engineering hub in the region.
The center is located in Bangkok, and it will house a tech team that carries out work for Rocket Internet’s portfolio of startups.
The firm currently has 20 people at the base in Thailand, and it said it plans to more than double that headcount before the end of this year.
The focus is very much on mobile, given that it dominates Asia as the primary method of internet connectivity.
The Bangkok hub is head by former Lazada executive Sohil Gilani, who is chief product officer for Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG) — the joint venture that Rocket Internet operates in partnership with telco Ooredoo.
“Bangkok is poised to become the tech capital of Southeast Asia. We look forward to tapping into this talent of world class developers, product managers and designers,” Gilani said in a statement.
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Thai ecommerce sector expected to expand by 20% this year
The bullish forecast came as it was revealed the Southeast Asia ecommerce market in 2015 was worth $900 million (Bt31.7 billion) and is forecast to grow up to 16 times that figure , to about $11 billion by 2025.
The Electronic Transactions Development Agency has forecast that the total ecommerce market in Thailand this year will be worth Bt2.52 trillion.
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
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.
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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