News

Monday, 28 December 2015

Briefs

Malaysia tourism urged to tech off

Malaysia’s tourism industry must adopt new technology to attract tourists, an integrated amusement park solutions and services provider said.

London Stock Exchange-listed Galasys PLC said as consumers got savvier, the tourism industry needed to leverage on new technology to revamp the traditional approaches of attracting tourists.

“There is a marked rise in the investment in digital channels and computerisation amongst Asian theme park operators. However, on the Malaysian front, investments have been rather slow due to the new Goods and Services Tax and weaker currency,” the Malaysia-based company said.

According to Tourism Malaysia, tourist numbers dropped 9.4% between January to June this year, with 12.56 million foreign visitors recorded during this period, compared to 13.87 million in the same period in 2014.

Arrivals from China was the worst hit, falling from 520,400 during January to March last year to 380,000 (-28.5%) this year.

“To stand out in the region, the Malaysian tourism industry needs to look into changing the way it promotes Malaysia to the world,” it stressed.

CrowdPlus.asia launches first company

CrowdPlus.asia, Asean’s first equity crowdfunding platform operator, has launched its maiden company, Curren$eek, aiming to raise up to RM500,000.

Curren$eek is a location-based currency comparison app poised to revolutionise the travel industry by enabling travellers to find or negotiate the best rates on the go. For this fundraising exercise, it is issuing between 9.09% and 14.29% of its equity.

SAME (Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs) facilitated the listing on the equity crowdfunding platform in Malaysia with its monthly pitching session in Menara Usahawan, Putrajaya.

CrowdPlus.asia, with it tried-and-tested deal sourcing and selection process, ensures only credible deals are presented for equity funding.

The equity crowdfunding platform also has the unique “QMI” feature that will bring to play qualified mentors and investors across the region to achieve greater value creation and enhance the success for companies funded through CrowdPlus.asia.

This fundraising campaign puts Curren$eek in a good position to scale its operations. Curren$eek takes the hassle out of locating and negotiating the best currency exchange rates in the Klang Valley. Over 25 million travellers to Malaysia could benefit annually from Curren$eek’s solution.

Users can see all the rates on a map along with the disparity between the best and worst.

Startup shakeout

The good times seem to be over for many of China’s once-hot startups. After pouring more than US$30bil into the country this year, venture firms switched off the easy money, concerned there’s too much competition and too many copycat products.

A shakeout is beginning, particularly among app makers offering generic services like car washes and massages.

“In this climate, if you can stay alive, that’s the best,” says Meng Junxian, co-founder of Kungfu Bear, a startup that lets people order inexpensive massages through a smartphone app.

China venture investments surged to historic highs earlier this year, partly inspired by the fortunes investors made in the record initial public offering of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. China VC deals hit US$34bil through Dec 2, according to the London consultancy Preqin Ltd.

In the current shakeout, startups hit the hardest are those in the online-to-offline, or O2O, business, where consumers use an app or website to order grocery deliveries, laundry, in-home manicures or car rides. Many would use venture cash for subsidies to pull in customers and suppliers.

But the freebies are disappearing now.

Venture firms are holding back and many startups struggle once they can no longer subsidise services. The turning point came in July, when China’s stock markets lost US$5tril.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , briefs

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