News digest 24.08.2020

Shopee dominates online shopping in Vietnam

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Shopee reported a new web traffic record in Vietnam with 52.5 million monthly visits last quarter, exceeding Lazada’s previous record in 2017.

The Singapore online shopping platform’s numbers exceeded those of the next two put together, Vietnamese companies Mobile World (25.1 million) and Tiki (21.1 million), according to data collated by Malaysian online shopping aggregator iPrice Group.

Shopee achieved growth of 21.6 percent from the first quarter, while the three behind it, Mobile World, Tiki, and Singapore’s Lazada, saw declines of 6-12 percent.

In the last quarter of 2017 Lazada reported 50.5 million monthly visits, but since then its numbers have declined — to 18.5 million in the second quarter of this year — as other players grabbed a bigger share of the market.

JD outlines aggressive expansion strategy for Mainland China

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Chinese e-commerce giant JD is planning on a widespread store network expansion within five years.

The firm will open 20 E-Space experience stores in first-tier cities, 300 home-appliance flagship stores in prefectural-level cities and 5000 stores in towns and villages by 2025, according to the firm’s senior VP Yan Xiaobing.

Ad blocking software popularity is decreasing

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In a new study by Audience Project on the attitude towards advertising and use of ad blocking, ad block usage is dropping, raising the question of whether ad blocking has reached its peak.

Online ads are still not particularly loved (the majority of the online population still has a negative attitude towards ads on websites and in online video clips). Especially not online video ads, where more than two-thirds are annoyed with the ads. However, when comparing numbers from 2018, fewer people today are annoyed with the ads they are exposed to – both when it comes to ads on websites and online video ads.

From 2016 to 2020, the share of the online population using ad blockers has decreased across all countries. Today, less than one-third in the Nordics are using ad blockers, while Germany – with close to half of the online population (48%) using ad blockers – is the country where ad blocking is most widespread. In the US and UK, 41% and 36% are using ad blockers, respectively.

U.S. might ban other Chinese companies such as Alibaba

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he could exert pressure on more Chinese companies such as technology giant Alibaba after he moved to ban TikTok.

Asked at a news conference whether there were other particular China-owned companies he was considering a ban on, such as Alibaba, Trump replied: “Well, we’re looking at other things, yes.”

Trump has been piling pressure on Chinese-owned companies, such as by vowing to ban short-video app TikTok from the United States. The United States ordered its Chinese owner ByteDance on Friday to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok within 90 days, the latest effort to ramp up pressure over concerns about the safety of the personal data it handles.

New sanctions deal 'lethal blow' to Huawei

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The United States has cut off Huawei's access to vital, advanced computer chips, striking a deadly blow to the Chinese tech champion.

The US Commerce Department on Monday announced fresh sanctions that restrict any foreign semiconductor company from selling chips developed or produced using US software or technology to Huawei, without first obtaining a license to do so.

Restrictions announced in May had already limited companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) from making and supplying Huawei with chips designed by HiSilicon, a subsidiary of the Chinese company. Monday's measures effectively extend that ban to all chip designers, such as Taiwan's MediaTek, whose shares plunged nearly 10% Tuesday.

Amazon can add Germany and Canada to its list of investigation headaches

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Joining the multiple parties currently investigating Amazon and its shady marketplace behavior, authorities in Germany and Canada are now launching their own respective probes.

The German Federal Cartel Office, the regulatory authority responsible for enforcing fair competition, has since April been investigating Amazon following complaints about the company’s influence over pricing on its platform.

The probe appears to have been spurred by issues that arose during the pandemic and subsequent seller complaints. The Federal Cartel Office told CNBC that it’s “not up to a private platform to be a price regulator or the price police.” The regulatory authority did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment about the investigation.

Meanwhile, Canada is also now investigating the tech giant over antitrust concerns, Canada’s Competition Bureau announced Friday. The agency said that its ongoing investigation is looking specifically at whether third-party sellers are capable of succeeding without being forced to use the company’s advertising or Fulfilment By Amazon services, whether Amazon uses any tools to influence shoppers to buy its own products over similar ones from third-party sellers, and if Amazon has had or is still using policies that “may impact third-party sellers’ willingness to offer their products for sale at a lower price on other retail channels.” That last part sounds awfully similar to a kind of price-fixing the company was last year found to be engineering.

ShopBack launches cashback reward platform in Vietnam

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ShopBack’s website and mobile app made their official debut in Vietnam on Saturday, bringing about a smarter way for local online shoppers to “shop, save and discover”. Online shoppers in Vietnam can now earn up to 25 percent cash back from ShopBack Vietnam’s roster of over 150 merchants. These include international and regional brands like Lazada, Shopee, Watsons, Booking.com, Klook and 7-Eleven, as well as local brands Tiki, Sendo, Juno, G Kitchen, Vascara, and Fahasa.

Founded in 2014, ShopBack, a leading rewards and discovery platform, now serves over 20 million users in nine markets across Asia Pacific. Besides Vietnam, it is also present in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, and South Korea.

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