Tech Notes

Our latest thoughts and published pieces.

Alibaba is Taking E-Commerce Live Streaming Model Global

June 8, 2020

E-commerce live streaming has been validated in China, with companies increasingly leveraging it as a digital channel to reach consumers. Alibaba is now looking to take this model global through its subsidiary AliExpress by hiring of 1,000,000+ influencers worldwide over the next three years.

China Live Streaming: Why Picking Winners and Losers is Very Important

June 8, 2020

Live streaming was a staple source of entertainment for people in China during the 1Q20 lockdown. The industry saw traffic spike significantly during the quarter, however, this growth was not equivalently shared among the key players. We highlight the winners and losers in this post.

China's Domestic Travel Market Rebound Could Prove Bears Wrong

June 8, 2020

While the international travel market remains depressed due to global lockdowns and consumer sentiments, China's domestic travel market has rebounded since the easing of lockdowns. We believe that this could be an indicator of strong demand for domestic travel in 3Q20 (seasonally the strongest quarter) as outbound travel spending converts into high-end domestic travel activities instead.

Bye, Bye Public Transportation? COVID-19 Could Accelerate a Shift to Micro Mobility Solutions

June 1, 2020

With the COVID-19 virus still prevalent in various countries around the World and the possible threat of the virus resurging in recovering countries, many people will likely avoid public transportation to reduce their chances of infection and switch to individual forms of mobility. A form of transportation that could benefit from this shift in consumer behavior is micro-mobility, defined as travel of distances below 8 kilometers, as people travel less and shorter durations to reduce their risk of infection.

Tencent Remains One of the Best Anchors in a Post-COVID World

June 1, 2020

In February, we published Tencent: The Best Anchor for Your Portfolio in the Coming Coronavirus Storm on Smartkarma. We explained our thesis on why Tencent could outperform during the coronavirus due to 1) the Company's focus on digital services, 2) potential acceleration of structural trends increasing adoption of digital services, 3) cheaper valuations allowing Tencent to strategically take positions or increase stakes in complementary businesses.

The Rise of a New BAT: ByteDance Takes a Chunk Out of Baidu's Lunch

June 1, 2020

In 1Q20, ByteDance's TikTok saw its most successful quarter ever since inception with global downloads of 315 million, bringing the lifetime total of downloads of the app past 2 billion. Due to the platform's popularity, ByteDance has been eating into Baidu's market share of the digital advertising spend.

Did Circles.Life Just Become a Unicorn?

March 4, 2020

We believe Circles.Life may have become Singapore's newest unicorn thanks to recent investment from Warburg Pincus. We can use relatively conservative math to reach a US$1bn+ valuation based on just 5% market share in Singapore and Taiwan.

Softbank’s Oyo Looks Like Another WeWork Debacle

March 4, 2020

India-based Oyo Hotels & Homes reported financials to the market recently and the company is burning significant cash. We see worrying signs that another company backed by Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group is looking vulnerable – just like WeWork.

China Edutech is the Big Coronavirus Winner

March 4, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak and quarantines have driven hundreds of millions in China to discover online education technology platforms based on recent earnings conference calls from listed China Edutech companies GSX Techedu and Youdao.

Why Grab & GoJek are Stronger as a Duopoly

March 4, 2020

While many speculate about whether a Grab & GoJek merger could happen and the many synergistic benefits a merged Grab-GoJek would enjoy, we actually believe that the two companies should never merge.

ByteDance Goes Head-to-Head with Baidu, Enters Search Engine Market

March 4, 2020

ByteDance has been leveraging its userbase of 1.5 billion to expand into multiple verticals and the latest is the search engine market, with the launch of Toutiao Search on 28 Feb.

Softbank's Vision Fund Could Face More Trouble Due to Oyo

March 4, 2020

Post-WeWork debacle, another of Softbank's startup, Oyo, is increasingly at risk of a down-round due to continuous rapid expansion despite increasing losses. Although Oyo doesn't make up a large portion of Softbank's fund, a down-round right after the WeWork saga would increase doubt on management capabilities.

One Chart Shows Why a Global Economic Decline is Unavoidable

March 13, 2020

The COVID-19 is pandemic and beginning to spread rapidly in the US, Iran, and many European countries. Most of these countries lack the ability to evoke drastic measures like China, and we believe the outbreaks may already be uncontainable. Hence, a global economic decline is very likely as consumer sentiment sour and businesses shut down.

Tencent-Backed Sea Ltd Trades 56% Higher as Virus Situation Escalates, Sell

March 13, 2020

Even as the coronavirus pushes the global economy closer to a recession, Sea Ltd continues to trade at 56% higher than prices in October last year. While we believe that Sea has been very successful these past months, it’s time to sell while its valuation is bullish ahead of the potential economic downturn.‍

China Manufacturing Recovery Could Give False Hope of Virus Rebound Beginning

March 13, 2020

Despite the escalating coronavirus situation worldwide, China's manufacturing industry signaled a strong rebound in March through the China Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI). However, the virus outbreak continues spreading worldwide and will ultimately damage the global economy affecting demand globally.

Softbank Vision Fund Adding More Cash into Oyo in Reported Down Round, Avoid Softbank NAV Discount

March 21, 2020

According to ETtech.com and other media sources on March 17, Oyo has just raised US$807 million of a US$1.5 billion round from Oyo's founder and Softbank's Vision Fund, but we believe this isn't a good sign. The funding was reportedly at a downward valuation without any third-party investors, according to media reports.

Trip.com Customer Satisfaction Soared Amidst Virus, Shows Global OTAs how to Handle Customers

March 21, 2020

Trip.com has offered complete consumer protection policies including fast and generous refunds, while providing cash flow support for its hotel partners. The result was customer satisfaction hitting an all-time high even though the Company's customer satisfaction score was already higher than the industry average prior to the virus outbreak.

COVID-19 has Signalled the Next Big Battleground: Enterprise Collaboration

March 21, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow globally, enterprise collaboration apps that enable employees to work from home has seen increased traffic and demand as companies are now realizing the importance of working remotely after lockdowns started being enforced. We believe that the virus has catalyzed a shift towards digital services and enterprise collaboration will be a major benefactor.

SoftBank Group: Is it Time for Masayoshi Son to Step Down?

May 5, 2020

SoftBank Group's recent track record feature a number of casualties due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The founder, Masayoshi Son has stated that its is likely that 15 of the 88 companies in the SoftBank Vision Fund ("SVF") will go bankrupt, in a recent interview with Forbes.

Asia’s Digital Banking Landscape and Future

May 5, 2020

The digital banking industry in Asia is still in its nascent stages, however, the industry is presently experiencing the potential onset of a virtual banking trend as we see more and more countries begin to issue digital banking licenses or regulatory frameworks to promote digital banks. We analyzed the digital banks that have already received a license to operate by their respective financial authorities and those that are in the process of applying for one and we found three major strategies that will drive the industry’s expansion in Asia.

Is Google & Temasek’s e-Conomy SEA Report Underestimating Southeast Asia’s Digital Potential?

May 5, 2020

Google, Temasek, and Bain & Co have collaborated to produce the e-Conomy SEA Report, a widely referenced survey that values the total digital economy of Southeast Asia and analyzes growth metrics of digital enablers such as internet penetration and its impact on the digital economy. Despite the bullish outlook presented in the e-Conomy SEA report, we believe that Google and Temasek still underestimate the potential for Southeast Asia's growth. We highlight the things that stood out to us.

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