In this edition of Weekly Focus APAC: Singapore Fintech Firm Unveils Product Comparison Platform; L’Oréal & Lotte Reveal VR Makeup Sampling Service; New Asian Consortium Formed to Enable Cross-Border Payments; and Ant Financial Partners Vanguard to Launch Chinese Investment Advisory Service.
Singapore Fintech Firm Unveils Product Comparison Platform
SingSaver has introduced an online comparison platform for insurance products that include home and travel and covers more than 100 policies from 12 providers.
The Singapore fintech company said it was targeting a share of the local insurance market, estimated to be worth SG$4bn (£2.21bn) next year. This market was projected to clock a compound annual growth rate of 3.4%, said SingSaver, citing figures from General Insurance Association of Singapore.
Insurance services providers listed on its site included AXA, Ergo, MSIG, NTUC Income, Tokio Marine, and Etiqa TIQ.
SingSave said securing a new licence as an insurance broker in Singapore would allow the company to expand its product comparison service beyond credit cards and personal loans.
Its founder and country manager Rohith Murthy said: “We’re seeing more demand from consumers in Singapore of all ages for online online shopping when it comes to financial products. It used to be the case that banks and insurers sold you a product. Now, that model has been flipped upside-down.
“As we become more digital savvy and less loyal to brands, a new generation of shoppers spearheaded by the Millennials and Gen Z’s want to instantly compare and apply for financial products, like insurance, online and–increasingly–on mobile,” Murthy said.
Founded in 2015, SingSaver is part of online financial marketplace CompareAsiaGroup, which investors include Alibaba, Goldman Sachs, IFC, and Experian.
L’Oréal & Lotte Reveal VR Makeup Sampling Service
L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia-Pacific has joined hands with Lotte Duty Free to unveil a virtual reality (VR) online platform that lets travelling shoppers try out products virtually.
Called Modiface, the L’Oréal service is available at Lotte Duty Free Online where travellers can use the AR technology to try on products from brands such as Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, and Urban Decay. L’Oréal’s in February acquired ModiFace, launching its digital skin diagnostic for consumers “based on 15 years of scientific research on skin aging” by its research and innovation teams.
“L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia-Pacific and Lotte Duty Free share the same vision that online AR is becoming key throughout travellers’ journey of product discovery and purchase,” said Emmanuel Goulin, managing director of L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia-Pacific. “Our launch of ModiFace make-up virtual try-on further expands our expertise in beauty tech, and I look forward to revolutionising the travel retail industry with the AR-enabled future we are creating today.”
The beauty company’s executive business director Iris Lam added that travellers’ expectations today were growing and the “modern way to elevate” beauty products and services and enhance consumer experience was through technology.
Lam said the introduction of ModiFace was part of L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia-Pacific’s “digital acceleration strategy”, with such beauty experience services paving the way for personalisation and consumer engagement.
Lotte CEO Kap Lee noted that the AR app “reinvents” a traveller’s shopping journey, helping them discover, sample, and buy beauty products.
Lotte’s own branding of the AR service is called DreamFace, which is offered via a mobile app so shoppers do not need to visit the store to experience or purchase the products. The feature can be applied to several colours across different product categories including lipstick, mascara, and foundation. It also recommends colours based on the consumer’s face shape, neck, and current makeup.
New Asian Consortium Formed to Enable Cross-Border Payments
Several organisations have come together to form an alliance that aims to facilitate cross-border payment services in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
Taiwan’s contactless smartcard operator iPASS, South Korean NHN Payco, and various subsidiaries of Japan’s LINE Corp, including LINE Pay Taiwan, Rabbit LINE Pay in Thailand, and Naver Financial in Korea, formed the Cross-Border Mobile Payment Alliance.
The partnership would enable consumers from Japan, South Korea, and Thailand to use their respective local mobile payment services when they visit Taiwan. The group said it was looking to launch its operations next quarter.
The alliance would connect their collective payment ecosystems in the region, encompassing more than 78 million consumers and facilitating cashless payments across various vmarket segments including dining, shopping, transport, and hospitality. Merchant partners also would be able to access the regional user base, said the group.
LINE Pay Taiwan’s chairman Jeong WoongJu said: “The mobile payment industry in Taiwan continues to grow. We hope to build a path for all LINE Pay users and merchant partners in Taiwan to transcend national borders and to share a borderless payment experience.”
Ant Financial Partners Vanguard to Launch Chinese Investment Advisory Service
Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group has partnered US asset manager Vanguard to launch an investment advisory service for Chinese consumers.
The joint venture would enable retail investors to customise services based on their investment goals, risk preferences, and time horizon. They would be able to invest through the new service with a minimum sum of ¥2,955 (£85.8), which could be facilitated through Ant’s mobile payment app, Alipay.
Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley said: “This venture marries Vanguard’s time-tested investment philosophy and approach with Ant’s digital platform and technology to fundamentally change for the better how individuals in China invest.”
The new service was approved the China Securities Regulatory Commission.