Business innovation in South East Asia

24 February 2021

Southeast Asia is a dynamic region developing at a fasat pace. The folloinwg two articles provide some interesting insights to how local businesses use innovation to gain competitive edge.

Adapting to climate change: How Thailand’s tropical wines are teaching the old world new tricks

GranMonte is one of Thailand’s largest vineyards producing 100,000 bottles of wine a year. To develop their plantations in a country, where dry spells can abruptly alternate with monsoonal rain, the estate has to rely on advanced climate technologies and precise monitoring. Smart farming system allows GranMonte to monitor metrics, such as UV, humidity, and evaporation across the estate. Disease prevention models are utilised using leaf wetness sensors. These technologies help the wine producers to better understand the area where they grow. Even within GranMonte’s 16ha estate, some parts can be more suitable than others for certain types of grapes. As weather becomes more extreme and unpredictable due to climate change, winegrowing and winemaking is getting more challenging in traditional wine producing regions, like Europe. Traditional winemakers increasingly turn to tropical operations to learn how to respond to evolving conditions. Common tropical grape growing practices, such as early picking and pre-cooling grapes before processing, could be implemented in Europe. Science and data will prove to be useful resources for wine producers in a rapidly changing world.

Read the article on the Channel News Asia website.

Vingroup taps Vietnam’s mom-and-pop stores in retail comeback

Over the past decade, Vietnam’s retail market doubled in size, reaching 180 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Yet only 25% of the market goes through supermarkets and other modern retail formats. Small mom-and-pop stores continue to dominate the local retail scene, and recent partnership with Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, may further strengthen their market share. In 2019, Vingroup withdrew from the retail business as rapid expansion led to mounting losses. To regain its positions, the company plans to work with small independent retailers through its newly launched VinShop, a wholesale service. Instead of dealing with tens of suppliers, retailers can reduce their procurement costs by putting centralised orders on VinShop. These orders would then be delivered by a Vingroup truck the next day. The platform also features VinID, an integrated e-payment app, which already boasts over 10 million active users. The stores benefit from additional exposure through periodic in-app advertising. In addition, Vingroup partnered with Techcombank, a local bank, to provide cheap financing to retailers, who often experience cash flow problems. This unlikely cooperation between a large conglomerate and traditional mom-and-pop stores may prove to be profitable for both parties.

Read the article on the Nikkei Asia website.

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