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During 2020 China-Malaysia (Guangxi) online durian festival, Tiong King Sing, Malaysia's special envoy to China, said that the export of Malaysian durians to China plays a part in facilitating bilateral trade between Malaysia and China.
This Week's News Spotlight:
Thailand will allow low-risk tourist flights | How COVID-19 accelerated fintech in Myanmar | How Singapore’s Sea thrives in Southeast Asia | Electricity consumption rising in Laos | 300,000 durians sold in less than one hour during China-Malaysia online durian festival
Thailand will allow low-risk tourist flights - Asia Times
Thailand’s economy is projected to shrink by up to 10.4% this year.
Tourism-dependent Thailand will reopen its borders to travellers from low-risk countries later this month. It recorded almost 40 million international arrivals last year, and the government hopes to present Thailand, which boasts only 59 COVID-19 deaths so far, as a safe tourist destination.
Only visitors from low-risk countries can enter, with a group of 150 Chinese tourists as the first arrivals. Visitor numbers will be limited, and they will be monitored via wristbands and mobile apps. If the first group encounters no issues, two more flights from China and Europe will follow.
How COVID-19 accelerated fintech in Myanmar - TechWire Asia
Data from the Oxford Business Group projects that digital transactions will increase by 7.1% in Myanmar this year, along with a 19.7% increase in the number of users.
With its relatively young population of 60 million that is increasingly tech-savvy, Myanmar is an emerging market with huge potential. Though only one quarter of the population has a bank account, the country’s mobile penetration has skyrocketed by 126% and internet penetration has increased to 41% in recent years.
COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of fintech in the country. The country’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan distributed one-off payments to low-income households through digital channels, like Wave Money and OnePay. Wave Money has also collaborated with humanitarian organisations to process transfers for social security payments, loans, emergency funds, and financial relief.
Initiatives like these that incentivise users to register for digital platforms are a driving factor in the development of fintech in the country.
How Singapore’s Sea thrives in Southeast Asia - Nikkei Asia
The firm has also applied for a digital banking license in Singapore, in hopes of expanding its digital financial services.
Singapore’s New York-listed Sea, which operates Shopee, Garena, and SeaMoney, was recently in the news for the quadrupling of its market capitalization to over USD 70 billion. Its growth has even outstripped giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and Tencent.
Forrest Li, CEO of Sea, noted that the pandemic has been good for the Southeast Asian economy, helping drive digitalisation in the region. Its online gaming arm has 500 million active users worldwide and Free Fire, its mobile game, was the most downloaded app globally last year on Google Play and iOS combined. The firm has also applied for a digital banking license in Singapore, in hopes of expanding its digital financial services.
Electricity consumption rising in Laos - Laotian Times
Laos has 78 hydropower plants with a combined generation capacity of 9,972 MW.
Laos stated that electricity consumption in the country could reach 9,401 million kWh and increase by 7.7% each year to 13,521 million kWh by 2025. According to Lao Post, 47% of electricity consumption is currently utilized by the industrial sector; this number is projected to increase to 52% by 2025.
300,000 durians sold in less than one hour during China-Malaysia online durian festival - The Star
The durians sold out in 50 minutes and 48 seconds.
300,000 Musang King durians were sold in less than one hour during an online flash sale that was part of the 2020 China-Malaysia (Guangxi) online durian festival. Sales recorded were worth a total of approximately RMB 100 million (USD 14.7 million). The sale was held virtually from three locations: Qinzhou, Kuala Lumpur, and Raub.
In 2018, China imported 3,200 tonnes of frozen durian pulp and paste from Malaysia. China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park vice-chairman Datuk Beh Hang Kong also floated the possibility of setting up a Malaysian durian hub in the industrial park, stating that only 3% of the Chinese population had tried Malaysian durians.