Chinese Internet titan Alibaba made the headlines recently after announcing its biggest overseas acquisition yet. The deal will see it take control of Lazada, one of the most popular names in ecommerce in Southeast Asia, earning the reputation as the region’s Alibaba or Amazon.
Despite online shopping accounting for only 1 percent of retail sales in the region today, Southeast Asia has seen a rapid climb in ecommerce sales in recent years, and is expected to maintain double-digit growth rates for the next several years.
The agreement comes in the wake of earlier acquisitions that gave Alibaba control of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s biggest English-language newspaper, and Chinese video-streaming service Youku Tuduo.
Alibaba also invested $500 million in Indian ecommerce startup Snapdeal. There are others, but listing them might make you less inclined to read the rest of this post. Suffice to say, the Chinese firm has been on a spending spree for quite a while now, and its latest purchase no doubt makes sense financially and strategically.
Lazada, which sells everything from diapers to sofa to smartphones and operates in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, will essentially allow Alibaba to buy into markets where it has limited traction rather than expand its Taobao and Tmall sites outside of its home market of China. Why risk billions in expansion dollars to build an ecommerce empire from the ground up when you can buy one?
In a statement, Alibaba said it was investing $500 million in newly issued shares, plus an additional $500 million to acquire equity from current shareholders, for a total of $1 billion. Alibaba also said it has the right to buy out the remaining shares from investors after a 12- to 18-month period for an all-out acquisition. Lazada currently has a $1.5 billion valuation, according to its founder, Rocket Internet.
Speaking of the landmark deal, Alibaba president Michael Evans said: “With the investment in Lazada, Alibaba gains access to a platform with a large and growing consumer base outside China, a proven management team and a solid foundation for future growth in one of the most promising regions for ecommerce globally.”
Hopefully for online shoppers in Southeast Asia, Alibaba’s billions will translate into a marketplace that rivals what the Chinese have been enjoying for years now, something Lazada has so far failed to achieve since its founding in 2011.
TechCrunch previously wrote that Lazada generated $191 million in sales over the first nine months of 2015, but shelled out $233 million in operating costs for the said period.
[irp posts=”4610″ name=”HP’s affordable convertible is coming to Lazada PH”]
OPPO wants to build its own chipsets, hires talent from MediaTek
Also trying to tap Qualcomm and Huawei talent
In the last few years, the US war against Huawei has ramped up considerably with no end in sight. However, though the crackdown was against only a few Chinese companies, other seemingly innocent companies have found themselves just as affected as Huawei. For one, American companies, like Google and Qualcomm, have to deal with the loss of a valued client. On the other side of the Pacific, other Chinese companies are also feeling the heat from Huawei’s troubles.
For example, OPPO has started developing its own processors in the wake of Huawei’s chip problem. Last year, the Chinese company filed a new trademark — named the OPPO M1 — through the European Union Intellectual Property Office, according to LetsGoDigital. Presumably, the new property corresponded to an upcoming in-house processor. However, the M1 has since faded into oblivion.
Today, according to Nikkei Asian Review, OPPO has not abandoned its processor project. In fact, the company has started ramping up its efforts for an in-house chip. “OPPO has been aggressively recruiting chip talent since last year as they realized that owning the chip design capability will give it more control over its supply chain,” Nikkei’s source said.
OPPO has reportedly acquired high-ranking executives from MediaTek including a former executive for Xiaomi. Further, the company has tried tapping developers from Qualcomm and Huawei’s HiSilicon.
Much like Huawei’s efforts, OPPO’s aggressive hiring aims to build a team for in-house development. Currently, OPPO still relies on third-party suppliers to build its phones like Qualcomm and MediaTek. With Huawei being attacked on all fronts, OPPO is in as much risk if the US implements a wider ban against Chinese companies. Recently, the US wants to take away Huawei’s ability to make its own in-house chips.
iPhone 12 series will get almost all its OLED screens from Samsung
Around 80 percent!
By now, it’s no surprise that Apple sources some of its components from its competitors. Notably, the company obtains a portion of its screens from Samsung, one of the world’s most prominent screen suppliers. However, an upcoming report predicts a larger ratio than expected.
As reported by MacRumors, Apple will supposedly source around 80 percent of its OLED supply for the upcoming iPhone 12 series from Samsung. Meanwhile, the remaining 20 percent will come from LG and BOE. According to previous rumors, Apple was already talking with Samsung and LG prior to the report.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Samsung took a majority of the iPhone’s main supply line. Notably, the iPhone X obtained all of its OLED screens from Samsung Display. The iPhone X was the company’s first OLED smartphone.
Previously, rumors predicted five new iPhone models coming this year. Earlier this year, Apple launched the first model, the new iPhone SE. Naturally, because of the model’s budget-friendly positioning, the iPhone SE only had an LCD screen.
Hence, after the iPhone SE, Apple is still slated to launch four more models this year — presumably from the entire iPhone 12 series. According to more rumors, Samsung will provide the screens for three of these models, leaving the final model for LG and BOE.
If no further delays hamper Apple, the iPhone 12 series will still launch later this year.
Philippines wants to tax Netflix, Spotify to increase coronavirus relief funds
Might add 12 percent to current prices
After two months of community lockdowns, the Philippines’s response to the pandemic remains controversial at best. At the time of publishing, the country has 14,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 868 deaths.
Recently, Congressman Joey Salceda, currently chairing the Committee on Ways and Means, has proposed a new tax aimed against the country’s biggest social media and entertainment platforms: Facebook, Google, Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify.
Currently, the globally recognized companies are not taxed for putting up ads for goods on online marketplaces in the Philippines. Meanwhile, other entities still pay the 12 percent value-added tax.
As reported by Reuters, the proposed tax will siphon more funds into the country’s pandemic response, including a “national broadband project and digital learning [programs].” However, the bill’s provisions are not available to the public yet.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the tax is against both currently untaxed advertising and services. For merchants selling goods and advertising online, “only 50 percent… pay VAT.” Further, Salceda proposes that digital advertising, especially those done by foreign companies, must course through an official country representative.
For services, Salceda suggest an additional 12-percent tax on entertainment subscriptions. However, a big question lies on who will ultimately carry the blow of the new tax. Is it the company itself or the consumers through higher subscription fees? Right now, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions are slightly lower than their American counterparts. Netflix Philippines has declined to comment.
However, as a bill is still just a bill, no one knows if and when the new tax will push through.
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