Southeast Asian Business Roundup 3

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Southeast Asian Business Roundup

Vietnam

The Vietnam-based ‘Airbnb for tour guides’, Triip.me, recently announced it had closed a fundraising of US$500,000, the majority of this led by the Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

The seed investment marks the venture capital firm’s first deal in Vietnam. Gobi Partners stated it believed Triip is the strongest player in its category in the country.

Gobi Partners stated, “Unlike traditional tour packages, which generally take a one-size-fits-all approach, Triip’s tours are personally curated by local experts across a wide range of interests to offer unique travel and cultural experiences.”

Vietnam is still an emerging tourist market, with 7.9 million inbound tourists last year. Founded in 2013, the Ho Chi Minh City-based Triip enables local individuals to design their own customised tour packages, offering independent travelers local cultural experiences. The website allows tourists to find the local experiences posted by independent tour guides and then book a trip.

Like other on-demand service startups, the Vietnamese company also enables a two-way rating system to weed out bad guides and travelers. Payment is delivered upon completion of the tour through Triip, with the company receiving 10 percent of the total transaction.

 

Malaysia

Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (SOHL) said it had reached a conditional agreement with Malaysia Hengyuan International Limited (MHIL) for the sale of its 51 per cent shareholding in the Shell Refining Company (SRC) in Malaysia for US$66.3 million.

Shell said the sale was in line with its current global strategy, although the amount paid was considered to be low by asset value for the Port Dickson site.

The discount was due to the fact the refinery is small by current standards and would need to expanded to make it profitable, and this would take a considerable investment.

In its statement, the oil and gas group said: “The Shell Downstream strategy has been to concentrate the footprint on a smaller number of assets where it can be most competitive. As a result of this strategy, Shell has also been reducing its refinery footprint and recent examples include the sale of refineries in Norway, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. A refinery of SRC’s scale is no longer a strategic fit for Shell’s portfolio and would find it difficult to compete for new capital.”

 

Singapore

Singapore-based telco MyRepublic said it expected to complete a

US$178-million funding round by April 2016 ahead of Singapore auctioning licenses for a fourth mobile operator.

The move to raise capital is also aligned to its plans of conducting an initial public offering (IPO) in the next two to three years.

 

Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo pledged further steps to open

Southeast Asia’s largest economy to foreign investment after announcing the most significant liberalization in a decade in early February.

Widodo, speaking at an Asean trade conference in San Francisco, said

his plans to open up some 30 sub-sectors of the Indonesian economy to

foreign investors for the first time and allow majority foreign stakes

in 100 others did not go far enough.

The lifting of investment restrictions would open the restaurant and the film industries and other sectors to full foreign ownerhsip and allow 67 percent stakes in sectors including telecommunications and healthcare.

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