SMEbiz news in brief

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  • Sunday, 25 Sep 2016

Jack Ma’s finance business may be bigger than Goldman Sachs

Alipay got its start in 2004 as a way for the customers of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to more easily buy goods online. Now the business’s parent company may be worth US$75bil — more than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

That’s the conclusion of Elinor Leung, the head of telecom and Internet research at CLSA in Hong Kong.

The number may not even sound that outlandish: Ant Financial, Alipay’s parent company, was valued at about US$60bil in June when it raised US$4.5bil, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Leung estimates that most of Ant Financial’s value is in Alipay, China’s most popular online payment service, with a projected worth of US$50bil. Its micro-loans service is probably worth another US$8bil, while Ant’s wealth management unit is given a valuation of US$7bil.

The rest of Ant Financial’s valuation comes from investments and cash on hand, outstripping Goldman’s roughly US$70bil market value as of Monday last week.

”Alipay has a very strong leadership in terms of online payment eco-system,” Leung said. “Alipay is not just for payment. It is also a big distribution platform for Ant Financial’s other products.”

The company could grow to US$100bil in two years, as the current valuation didn’t include growth brought in by insurance, credit scoring and cloud computing, Leung said.

Ant Financial is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong in the first half of next year, people familiar with the matter said last month. If it goes ahead, Ant Financial could rank among Hong Kong’s largest debuts ever.

MDeC hopes 2017 budget will boost digital economy

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) hopes Budget 2017 will help spur the agency in boosting the digital economy, chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said.

She said MDEC’s two initiatives, e-Rezeki and eUsahawan were gaining attention from low-income earners, especially housewives, students and youths, in providing them opportunities to increase their income.

Last year, MDeC received an allocation of RM100mil from the Government to assist low-income earners who run businesses via the online platform.

“This is the area that we have been championing in the last couple of years that is enhancing the digital economy and giving a good impact to the rakyat,” she stated.

According to Yasmin, as an agency responsible for overseeing the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor implementation, MDeC aimed to evolve and transform in order to stay ahead and to fully capitalise on the digital innovation.

“We will have more partnerships with private companies to make a difference together in the digital economy,” she said.

Personal finance app MoneyLion launches in M’sia

US-based MoneyLion, the mobile personal finance platform that helps consumers improve their financial health, has launched in Malaysia.

MoneyLion’s free mobile app would be able to help Malaysian consumers gain a 360° view of their finances through a suite of analytics tools that track spending and saving activity across multiple bank accounts.

“MoneyLion’s expansion into the Malaysian market is the first step in its international growth strategy. We are committed to bringing next-generation personal finance tools to Malaysia and the Asean markets,” said Diwakar Choubey, founder and CEO.

While many banks in the local markets offer mobile apps, MoneyLion is one of the only platforms that lets consumers connect multiple bank accounts in a single app and take advantage of personalised analytics around their entire financial lives, the company said.

Financial literacy is still a challenge in Malaysia among consumers who lack access to next-generation personal finance tools.

The rise of fintech in Kuala Lumpur had helped to change that environment and there’s opportunity for businesses like MoneyLion to introduce products and services that deliver personalised financial advice, said chief technology officer, Cheemun Foong.

SMEs need to protect their business

It is important for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to have insurance coverage to protect and grow their business, Allianz General Insurance Company Bhd said.

It outlined three reasons why an SME owner needed to have business insurance coverage: to protect against third party action or employee action; to shield the business in case of fire, theft, damage, or other disasters; and to reduce business risks.

Allianz General Insurance chief underwriting officer Rafliz Ridzuan said it was important to change the perception of insurance being a luxury to one of necessity.

Bank Negara, in August, revealed that general insurance penetration level, measured in terms of premiums as a share of gross domestic product, stood at only 1.68% as at end-2015.

“When you are a small to medium retailer, you worry about many things — uncertain market conditions, increase in costs and competitive activity. But one thing you need not worry is the misfortunes that can be protected with insurance.” Rafliz said.

He added that SMEs faced an ever-changing risk landscape, in which supply chain disruption, damage or disasters were a huge concern.

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Business , Central Region , briefs Sept 26


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