Tokopedia VP of Brand and Marketing Andi Djoewarsa (right)

Malaysia PM announces US$58B stimulus package for COVID-19-affected businesses

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has announced an economic stimulus package amounting to US$58 billion to help alleviate people and businesses, especially small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose source of income had been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) welcomed the initiative, which upholds the slogan “No one will be left behind” and is focussed on the development of the multimedia and telecom industry as well as the digital economy as a whole. An allocation of US$138 million in the special package of free internet service will be introduced to the people of Malaysia in collaboration with the telecommunications companies.

Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM),  believes that the package will help the telecom and multimedia industry as a whole. He stated that an additional US$92 million to increase network coverage and capacity to maintain high availability and quality of telecom and multimedia networks will assist in the development of the digital economy sector.

“KKMM, together with MDEC will continue to enhance the efforts to enable the Malaysian business community to tap into digital technologies, assist them to discover new markets, enable cashless transactions and virtual marketing,” Abdullah said.

The aid for SMEs including micro-entrepreneurs with additional funds of US$1 billion in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia covering five key initiatives. This would also be of great benefit as there is currently more than 86 per cent of 907,065 SMEs using technology and digital adoption in business operations.

Also Read: Time is ripe for startups around the world to capitalise on Malaysia’s potential as the heart of Digital ASEAN: MDEC’s Surina Shukri

Meanwhile, MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said the third thrust, which provides US$115 million worth of grants under the Micro Credit Scheme to help micro-entrepreneurs, including the creative industry and online traders, will further accelerate growth in both sectors, as the sectors are also MDEC’s main focused areas.

She also welcomed the US$115 one-off assistance to 120,000 e-hailing drivers with an allocation of US$14 million, which will provide more opportunities for workers in the Gig Economy sector, who are now feeling the economic impact on their income.

E-commerce unicorn Tokopedia invests in Indonesian last-mile delivery company SiCepat

Looking to boost its logistic capabilities, Tokopedia has made a strategic investment into SiCepat, an Indonesia-based last-mile delivery operator, DealStreetAsia has reported. The deal was signed last year as part of SiCepat’s US$50 million Series A funding round.

Tokopedia is said to have co-invested with Kejora-Intervest growth fund and Barito Teknologi, the investment arm of Indonesia’s largest petrochemical group Barito Pacific.

In April last year, Kejora and Barito were named as investors in the round, but there was no mention of Tokopedia’s investment.

This would be Tokopedia’s second investment in a last-mile delivery startup. Previously, the e-commerce company put in an initial investment of US$50 million alongside local conglomerate Triputra Group and China’s SF Express to set up a last-mile delivery platform,

Founded in 2014, SiCepat caters to e-commerce and online merchant requirements and offers couriers, warehouses and air and cargo delivery across Indonesia.

Singapore’s medtech firm Biolidics acquires laboratory operator Biomedics

Biolidics, the Singapore-registered medical technology company, has announced that it has acquired Biomedics Laboratory for a consideration of up to US$2.6 million, DealStreetAsia has learned. Biolidics said it will pay US$70,000 upon completion of the acquisition, with the remaining consideration can be deferred for up to 24 months post the deal.

Also Read: News Roundup: Indonesia’s mPOS firm Cashlez to raise US$6M via IPO to acquire IT firm

The company will acquire Biomedics from SAM Laboratory, a subsidiary of Clearbridge Health. Biolidics will continue to collaborate with Clearbridge to tap into its established customer base in Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, and Australia.

Offering clinical diagnostic tests, Biomedics focusses on genetic tests and other cancer related diagnostic tests for oncology which laboratory operation is accredited by the College of American Pathologists programme for its detection of circulating-tumour-cell (CTC).

Biolidics has a novel patented CTC-based technology that it deems to be compatible with Biomedics’ CTC programme.

Thai bank SCB to tap into RippleNet remittance market

Thailand-based Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has reportedly entered into a partnership with Ripple’s enterprise-grade digital payments solution RippleNet to assist citizens in making instant low-cost cross-border payments from their mobile devices, as reported by BTC Manager.

Ripple is a San Francisco-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) startup that SCB has appointed to take the charge in spearheading its digital banking operation in the country.

Arthit Sriumporn, SCB’s SVP of Commercial Banking, said: “Siam Commercial Bank is more than 100 years old and has more than 1,000 branches across the nation. We support a wide range of customers from retail to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporations. Our focus is always on enriching the customer experience and RippleNet has helped us to do this with remittances.”

Currently, Thailand’s total remittances value is close to a whopping US$68 billion. SCB said that it’s currently working on a QR code-based app that enables tourists to use their home country mobile app for Thailand’s QR code payment.m by simply scanning the QR code to pay for something instantly without dealing with exchange rates or having to carry around large amounts of local currency.

Picture Source: Tokopedia

The post News Roundup: Malaysia announces US$58B economic stimulus package for COVID-19-affected SMEs, Tokopedia invests in SiCepat appeared first on e27.