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Rakuten leads $1.25M funding round for ShopChat

ShopChat is a “mobile shopping keyboard” that allows users to shop in ecommerce platforms while engaging in conversations inside a messenger app.

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US-based chat-commerce solutions ShopChat debuted today with a $1.25 million funding led by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten.

1. Rakuten Invests in Chat Commerce App ShopChat

ShopChat is a “mobile shopping keyboard” that allows users to shop in ecommerce platforms while engaging in conversations inside a messenger app.

ShopChat allows users to share the products that they are about to purchase with the people they are having conversation with, and shop directly without having to open a mobile app.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Malaysia’s ecommerce adoption rate among SMEs to grow to 50% by 2020

Ecommerce adoption among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is expected to grow to 50% by 2020 from 32% in 2016, driven by the sector’s increasing interest in online business.

The industry is poised to grow 11% per annum by 2020, accounting for 6.4% of gross domestic product

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3. Recommended Reading: Mobile advertising in APAC still dependent on banners

Across APAC, the mobile advertising inventory is shared almost equally between mobile apps (51%) and the mobile web (49%).

In Indonesia, 91% of all ads were over mobile apps

Advertisers desperately need returns from their advertising investments in order for the ecosystem to sustain. That can only happen if advertisers shift to alternate channels of advertising.

Asia Pacific is expected to see an 8% annual growth in mobile internet users over the next several years.

Read the rest of the story here.

4. Recommended Reading: How beauty brands are leveraging from WeChat in China?

The evolving role of WeChat from a content-heavy platform to one that is more dynamic is not restricted to beauty brands, but also evident among luxury brands.

For example, digital research firm L2 cites how Chanel saw a successful launch of its new version of its signature N°5 scent last year by turning WeChat into a social commerce site.

In 2017, if beauty and luxury brands hope to continue to benefit from WeChat, it is time for them to recognize that the app is not a mass communication platform, but instead ideal for one-on-one communication, but ideal for commerce.

Read the rest of the story here.

Original content by ecommerceIQ

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Ecommerce

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

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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

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.

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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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