revenue growth

 
 

Data ‘R’ Us: Alibaba, JD.com seek to lock in merchant loyalty with new services

BEIJING/HANGZHOU, China: In China, the sales maxim of ‘know your customer’ is being taken to new lengths.

One of the first firms to join an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd programme that provides years of consumer shopping history, snack food chain Bestore Co Ltd plans to link facial recognition technology with the e-commerce giant’s account data by the year’s end.

For customers opting to have their facial data in Bestore’s systems, that means shop assistants will be able to check on what food they like the moment they enter one of its stores.

Bestore, which already offers customers the option of paying with Alibaba’s face scanning tablets, has also started using Alibaba’s other services for more successful marketing.

It can now arrange for a person who likes salty food, owns an SUV and probably has a family to receive an ad suggesting suitable Bestore snacks for a Spring holiday road trip, Huang Xiao, Bestore’s head of e-commerce, told Reuters.

“With the partnership, our strategies are more focused, sales behaviours are more targeted and resources are better allocated,” Huang said.

The Alibaba programme, called A100 and which counts Nestle SA and Procter & Gamble Co as clients, is part of a major push by e-commerce giants in China to retool their relationship with merchants – offering them a trove of shopper data in return for broader and closer partnerships.

The shift is integral to what Chinese e-commerce firms call ‘new retail’ or ‘boundary-less retail’ – the marrying of data available from internet shopping and gathered through brick-and-mortar stores to provide highly personalised services.

It has been enabled by the widespread use of payments by smartphone, the rise of facial recognition technology and Chinese consumer tolerance of data-sharing between businesses.

Other services Alibaba offers to retail clients include shopper movement ‘heat maps’ to help stores better design the layout of products, as well as its chat app Dingtalk to communicate within their own companies and with customers.

SEEKING MORE DATA

Keeping merchants happy and signing them up for more services has taken on added urgency for Alibaba and rival JD.com.

Both are seeking to diversify amid slowing e-commerce revenue growth at home – due in part to saturated markets in China’s biggest cities, flagging consumer confidence from the U.S.-China trade war and increased competition from rivals such as newly listed Pinduoduo Inc.

“For Alibaba and JD.com this is critical for their overall ecosystem because they have pretty much already exhausted the online growth,” said Beijing-based Jason Ng, partner at consulting firm Bain & Company.

By providing data-driven tools to retail stores, e-commerce firms can expand the amount of data collected. “It’s not just about money, it’s about continuing to grow, and hopefully they will find a way to monetise that,” he said.

JD.com, which provides similar services to Alibaba, says it helped U.S. diaper brand “Huggies” work out why Chinese competitors were rising in popularity, prompting Huggies to change to a material that is more absorbent and comfortable when wet. That contributed to a 60% percent rise in Huggies sales on JD.com in 2018, the Chinese firm said.

A spokesman for Kimberly Clark, which owns the Huggies brand, declined to comment on the details of its partnership with JD.com.

After a trial run of a new product, JD.com said it creates a ‘profile’ of a potential buyer based on early sales that is cross-checked with its entire userbase, before targeted ads are sent to close matches.

Other tools JD.com offers to retail clients include an customer service chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that can the “sense” the mood of customers, and adjust its tone to appear more empathetic.

It has also rolled out checkouts in some Hong Kong convenience stores that can scan several items at once and charge customers using their ID-linked accounts, which it says cuts the average checkout time by 30%.

FREE FOR NOW

Both JD.com and Alibaba executives say they are not charging companies for most data services at the moment, noting the new partnerships facilitate sales of other services such as cloud computing and logistics.

Nestle, which sells Haagen Daaz and Nespresso through third-party retail locations in China, says it now has one warehouse instead of four after tapping into data at Alibaba distribution centers which give real-time updates on orders.

“You don’t have to carry huge inventory in your warehouse,” said Rashid Qureshi, chief executive of Nestle’s Greater China business, adding it’s the first time Nestle has integrated an e-commerce firm’s data into its own systems.

Where previously Bestore and Nestle would have dealt with different parts of the Alibaba empire for delivery, payments, cloud computing and messaging, they now work with one Alibaba team dedicated to their company which organises a range of tailored services.

“It’s a change that subverts the way our entire company has operated,” Alibaba’s Jet Jing told Reuters in an interview. Jing, formerly president of Alibaba’s retail site Tmall, has since become assistant to CEO Daniel Zhang.

Alibaba has not disclosed how many companies are currently participating in its A100 programme, but some analysts say for now only big firms will be able to benefit as smaller firms do not have the funds to justify major organisational changes.

One risk for retailers, however, is that they may become overly dependent on their e-commerce partners.

The Chinese market remains tough for brands to crack independently and Alibaba and JD.com represent the two biggest online retail channels into the country. In the face of such tough competition, Amazon.com Inc said in April it is shutting its China online store.

“It’s a must for the brands to be involved,” says Ng. “But everyone would like to have a balance and not put their eggs in one basket.”

More broadly, questions remain over how big e-commerce firms manage their data in a way that is fair to all parties using their services.

EU regulators in September launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into Amazon over concerns it is collecting similar data from brands that it might use to boost competing products of its own.

Alibaba and JD.com do not produce their own products but both have made significant investments in retail stores including experimental grocery and convenience store formats.


Data ‘R’ Us: Alibaba, JD.com seek to lock in merchant loyalty with new services

BEIJING/HANGZHOU, China: In China, the sales maxim of ‘know your customer’ is being taken to new lengths.

One of the first firms to join an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd programme that provides years of consumer shopping history, snack food chain Bestore Co Ltd plans to link facial recognition technology with the e-commerce giant’s account data by the year’s end.

For customers opting to have their facial data in Bestore’s systems, that means shop assistants will be able to check on what food they like the moment they enter one of its stores.

Bestore, which already offers customers the option of paying with Alibaba’s face scanning tablets, has also started using Alibaba’s other services for more successful marketing.

It can now arrange for a person who likes salty food, owns an SUV and probably has a family to receive an ad suggesting suitable Bestore snacks for a Spring holiday road trip, Huang Xiao, Bestore’s head of e-commerce, told Reuters.

“With the partnership, our strategies are more focused, sales behaviours are more targeted and resources are better allocated,” Huang said.

The Alibaba programme, called A100 and which counts Nestle SA and Procter & Gamble Co as clients, is part of a major push by e-commerce giants in China to retool their relationship with merchants – offering them a trove of shopper data in return for broader and closer partnerships.

The shift is integral to what Chinese e-commerce firms call ‘new retail’ or ‘boundary-less retail’ – the marrying of data available from internet shopping and gathered through brick-and-mortar stores to provide highly personalised services.

It has been enabled by the widespread use of payments by smartphone, the rise of facial recognition technology and Chinese consumer tolerance of data-sharing between businesses.

Other services Alibaba offers to retail clients include shopper movement ‘heat maps’ to help stores better design the layout of products, as well as its chat app Dingtalk to communicate within their own companies and with customers.

SEEKING MORE DATA

Keeping merchants happy and signing them up for more services has taken on added urgency for Alibaba and rival JD.com.

Both are seeking to diversify amid slowing e-commerce revenue growth at home – due in part to saturated markets in China’s biggest cities, flagging consumer confidence from the U.S.-China trade war and increased competition from rivals such as newly listed Pinduoduo Inc.

“For Alibaba and JD.com this is critical for their overall ecosystem because they have pretty much already exhausted the online growth,” said Beijing-based Jason Ng, partner at consulting firm Bain & Company.

By providing data-driven tools to retail stores, e-commerce firms can expand the amount of data collected. “It’s not just about money, it’s about continuing to grow, and hopefully they will find a way to monetise that,” he said.

JD.com, which provides similar services to Alibaba, says it helped U.S. diaper brand “Huggies” work out why Chinese competitors were rising in popularity, prompting Huggies to change to a material that is more absorbent and comfortable when wet. That contributed to a 60% percent rise in Huggies sales on JD.com in 2018, the Chinese firm said.

A spokesman for Kimberly Clark, which owns the Huggies brand, declined to comment on the details of its partnership with JD.com.

After a trial run of a new product, JD.com said it creates a ‘profile’ of a potential buyer based on early sales that is cross-checked with its entire userbase, before targeted ads are sent to close matches.

Other tools JD.com offers to retail clients include an customer service chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that can the “sense” the mood of customers, and adjust its tone to appear more empathetic.

It has also rolled out checkouts in some Hong Kong convenience stores that can scan several items at once and charge customers using their ID-linked accounts, which it says cuts the average checkout time by 30%.

FREE FOR NOW

Both JD.com and Alibaba executives say they are not charging companies for most data services at the moment, noting the new partnerships facilitate sales of other services such as cloud computing and logistics.

Nestle, which sells Haagen Daaz and Nespresso through third-party retail locations in China, says it now has one warehouse instead of four after tapping into data at Alibaba distribution centers which give real-time updates on orders.

“You don’t have to carry huge inventory in your warehouse,” said Rashid Qureshi, chief executive of Nestle’s Greater China business, adding it’s the first time Nestle has integrated an e-commerce firm’s data into its own systems.

Where previously Bestore and Nestle would have dealt with different parts of the Alibaba empire for delivery, payments, cloud computing and messaging, they now work with one Alibaba team dedicated to their company which organises a range of tailored services.

“It’s a change that subverts the way our entire company has operated,” Alibaba’s Jet Jing told Reuters in an interview. Jing, formerly president of Alibaba’s retail site Tmall, has since become assistant to CEO Daniel Zhang.

Alibaba has not disclosed how many companies are currently participating in its A100 programme, but some analysts say for now only big firms will be able to benefit as smaller firms do not have the funds to justify major organisational changes.

One risk for retailers, however, is that they may become overly dependent on their e-commerce partners.

The Chinese market remains tough for brands to crack independently and Alibaba and JD.com represent the two biggest online retail channels into the country. In the face of such tough competition, Amazon.com Inc said in April it is shutting its China online store.

“It’s a must for the brands to be involved,” says Ng. “But everyone would like to have a balance and not put their eggs in one basket.”

More broadly, questions remain over how big e-commerce firms manage their data in a way that is fair to all parties using their services.

EU regulators in September launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into Amazon over concerns it is collecting similar data from brands that it might use to boost competing products of its own.

Alibaba and JD.com do not produce their own products but both have made significant investments in retail stores including experimental grocery and convenience store formats.


MAHB registers 66.36% drop in Q1 earnings

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 plunged 66.36% to RM149.58 million from RM444.60 million a year ago due to one-off gains recorded a year ago.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, MAHB said the one-off gains recorded last year were in relation to the fair valuation of investment in GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited amounting to RM258.4 million and a gain on disposal of investment in GMR Male Private Limited amounting to RM28.2 million.

Excluding the one-off gains, the group’s pre-tax profit fell by 11.6% year-on-year due to higher expenditure, mainly on utilities as a result of higher tariff effective July 2018 and maintenance recorded during the period.

The airport operator’s Malaysian operations saw a 60.8% drop in pre-tax profit to RM212.7 million. Excluding the one-off gains recorded last year, the pre-tax profit was lower by 17%.

Its Turkey operations’ pre-tax loss narrowed to RM51.7 million from a net loss of RM76.6 million a year ago while Qatar operations recorded a 44.6% drop in pre-tax profit to RM3.6 million.

During the quarter, MAHB’s share of associate’s profits amounted to RM2.4 million compared with losses of RM400,000 a year ago, due to higher contribution from MFMA Development Sdn Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Aviation Fuelling System Sdn Bhd.

Share of joint ventures’ profits amounted to RM4.7 million compared with RM2.9 million a year ago due to higher contribution from Segi Astana Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, revenue for the quarter rose 3% to RM1.25 billion from RM1.22 billion a year ago on the back of higher overall passenger growth of 3.7%.

Revenue from airport operations grew 2.5% to RM1.17 billion while revenue from aeronautical segment grew 9.9% to RM646.5 million.

Malaysian operations recorded passenger growth of 3.7% to 25.3 million passengers from 24.4 million passengers a year ago while passenger traffic from Turkey operations grew 3.8% to 8.1 million passengers from 7.8 million passengers a year ago.

Non-aeronautical segment fell marginally by 0.6% year-on-year to RM525.6 million while non-airport operations grew 10.4% year-on-year due to higher revenue from the project segment.

Overall, Malaysian operations recorded revenue growth of 2.6% year-on-year to RM931.7 million while Turkey and Qatar operations recorded revenue growth of 2.6% to RM279.7 million and 17.5% to RM40.9 million respectively.

MAHB said its network of airports, including Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), recorded 33.4 million passengers during the quarter, representing a year-on-year growth of 3.7%.

Traffic for international passengers improved by 3.9% while traffic for domestic passengers increased by 3.6% during the quarter. Aircraft movements improved by 1.1% with both international and domestic aircraft movements rising 1.4% and 0.9% respectively.

Moving forward, MAHB expects future seat capacity filings by airlines to remain above expectations for its Malaysian operations.

“MAHB remains optimistic that the projected 4.9% growth for 2019 will be achieved. The domestic traffic correction and consolidation is expected to continue while the international sector may also see improvement,” it said.

For its overseas operations, it expects ISGIA to maintain its growth momentum this year especially for international passenger traffic.


KPJ healthcare’s net profit falls to RM39.13m in Q1

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — KPJ Healthcare Bhd’s net profit fell to RM39.13 million in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2019 from RM42.48 million posted in the same quarter last year. Revenue, however, rose five per cent to RM868.13 million…


MISC’s Q1 profit surges on higher freight rates, one-off gains

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Energy shipping firm MISC Bhd’s first-quarter (Q1) net profit jumped by 64.4 per cent year-on-year to RM510.50 million, buoyed by improved freight rates as well as gains of RM41.2 million from a business acquisition and a…


TIME sees increased growth in Q1 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Data centre TIME dotCom Berhad has seen increased growth in the first quarter of 2019, posting a consolidated group revenue of RM262.5 million. The year-on-year growth by 13.8 per cent is due to higher sales recorded from…


Perangsang Selangor buys Toyoplas mManufacturing for RM311.25m

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd’s (Perangsang Selangor) unit, Perangsang Dinamik Sdn Bhd, is acquiring a 100 per cent stake in integrated plastic injection moulding firm, Toyoplas Manufacturing (Malaysia) Sdn…


Tencent profit climbs as it emerges from gaming quagmire

HONG KONG, May 15 — Chinese internet giant Tencent said today net profit soared nearly 17 per cent in the first quarter as the company appeared set to emerge from the battering it received from Beijing’s crackdown on gaming. Shenzhen-based…


FTSE gains as trade tensions ease, earnings dominate

LONDON, May 15 — UK shares rose as risk sentiment picked up after comments from President Donald Trump playing down Washington’s trade war with Beijing, while a slew of earnings reports drove major share moves on both main indexes. The FTSE 100…


Uber ends below $45 IPO price, washing out in market debut

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Uber (UBER) officially began trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, but stumbled out of the gate as its stock settled below its $45 initial public offering price. In Uber’s first test of whether it can transition from Silicon Valley unicorn to a publicly traded company while winning over a skeptical, volatile market, the stock — which priced at $45 on Thursday — gradually drifted lower from the $46-$48 indicated range prior the open. In its first trade, Uber hit the market at $42 per share on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE),Read More