SC unveils six P2P platforms for SMEs
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has introduced six registered Peer-to-Peer (P2P) financing platform operators in Malaysia to widen funding avenues for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The six operators are B2B FinPAL, Kapital, FundedByMe Malaysia, ManagePay Services, Modalku Ventures and Peoplender. They are expected to be fully operational in 2017, said SC chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh.
“This makes Malaysia the first country in the Asean region to regulate P2P (peer-to-per) financing,” he said at the Digital Finance Conference 2016.
SC introduced equity crowd funding (ECF) in 2015 to provide early-stage financing for startup entrepreneurs, while the P2P financing framework, introduced in April this year, aims to address funding needs for SMEs to raise working capital for growth.
“SC’s digital agenda aims to achieve four key objectives, namely to enhance access funding, increase investor participation, augment the institutional market and develop a synergistic eco-system.
“Market-based financing, including P2P and ECF, will help enhance access to financing for entrepreneurs and SME businesses in Malaysia,” said Ranjit.
To meet the investment needs of the emerging digital generation and increase investor participation, SC will also be introducing its Digital Investment Services framework in 2017.
“This will allow approved licensees to offer automated discretionary portfolio management which is a more cost-effective, accessible and convenient channel for investors to manage and grow their wealth,” he added.
Angel networks go regional
Angel networks from seven Asean countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia – announced the creation of Asean Angel Alliance (AAA) last week at the Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) second annual summit in Kuala Lumpur.
The alliance is aimed to promote cross-border syndication and co-investment support, as well as intra-Asean investment in startups, particularly tech-based companies and high growth business.
As part of the pact, MBAN joined forces with six other participating groups: HATCH Ventures of Vietnam, Cambodia Investors Corporation, the Bangkok Venture Club, the Business Angel Network (BANSEA) of Singapore, the Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN), and 1000 Angels of the Philippines.
Currently, the alliance connects more than 1,000 angels.
“AAA’s presence in the Asean angel eco-system will open up networks to a wider community of angels and champion angel investing across the region,” MBAN president Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah said.
Eventually, the AAA hopes to come up with harmonised methodologies or frameworks that can help ease movement of angels and capital between different countries.
Amazon may make inroads to Asean
American online retail giant Amazon reportedly has plans to expand to South-East Asia and may be looking to enter the region through Singapore.
The report by Techcrunch, citing sources close to the company, said Amazon was acquiring assets and hiring new employees in Singapore.
There has been no official announcement by Amazon.
The report added that Amazon may debut its Prime delivery service and its AmazonFresh grocery service as soon as early 2017.
Amazon’s possible South-East Asian foray comes soon after aggressive moves to enter India and China. In China, it started offering its Prime free-shipping service last month. Prime gives members in the US perks like free delivery and access to a growing library of videos and music.
The US company has also pumped US$3bil more into its Indian e-commerce operation.
Amazon’s entry to the region, if it materialises, may heat up competition in the online retail market.
In a separate development, Singapore-based e-commerce company Lazada recently announced that it would acquire Redmart, an online grocery retailer. China’s Alibaba bought a controlling stake in Lazada in April this year in a US$1bil deal.
Mobike launches first overseas branch in S’pore
Chinese bike-sharing startup, Tencent-backed Mobike, is exploring opportunities to introduce its bike-sharing services in Singapore, according to a report by DealStreetAsia.
Singapore is the first overseas market identified by Mobike, and its expansion to the city-state underscores Mobike’s business decision and growth strategy campaign aimed at creating greener urban environments.
Aiming to facilitate an eco-friendly and sustainable mode of transportation, Mobike is utilising technology and purpose-built bicycles to complement the public transport network, improving commuters’ accessibility and point-to-point options in their first and last mile travel, the company said.
Mobikes’ bicycles are equipped with GPS tracking and a specially-designed locking system that can unlock Mobike with its mobile app. It also uses real-time monitoring of its fleet and can enable one operator to manage 50 times more bikes than conventional bike-sharing models.