E-Commerce, Ridehailing led Southeast Asia’s $100 billion Internet Economy in 2019

Online travel and digital payments are on the rise as well, a joint study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co showed

That number is expected to hit $300 billion by 2025, with the advent of smartphones, a meteoric rise in the number of internet-based startups, and the development of futuristic technology in the region.

Southeast Asia’s internet economy hit the $100 billion mark in 2019, tripling in size over the last four years, a joint study by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Co showed, driven mostly by e-commerce and ridehailing.

Indeed, some of the biggest unicorns out of the region are internet-based: Indonesia’s Gojek and Traveloka, and Singapore’s Grab and Garena, among others. Even the sectors in which they operate – e-commerce and ridehailing – grabbed a major chunk of the $37 billion capital that was invested into the internet economy, the study showed.

Country-wise, Indonesia and Vietnam showed the best growth rate in internet companies in the region, accounting for 40 percent of the overall growth, while Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines grew 20 percent to 30 percent.

Indonesia is on track to match the $4 billion in investments it raised in 2018, with funds also flowing into digital payments, the study showed. Some of the large funding rounds in 2019 were completed by giants such as Bukalapak, Gojek, Tokopedia and Traveloka.

Vietnam’s internet economy is gaining momentum too, fuelled by homegrown marketplaces like Sendo and Tiki, which compete with regional players like Lazada and Shopee.

In Singapore, internet companies have raised more than $26 billion since 2016, led by unicorns like Grab and SeaGroup, as well as companies like Carousell, GoBear, ONE Championship, PropertyGuru, ShopBack and Zilingo.

Other regions, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia have room for growth, the study said. In the Philippines, online media such as music and video streaming is on the rise, while in Malaysia, e-commerce and travel are leading the way.

Thailand’s online travel sector is among the biggest in the region, valued at $9 billion in 2019.

Apart from e-commerce, ridehailing, online travel and online media, the uptake of financial services in the region has been slow, but robust. The adoption of digital payments is expected to account for almost $1 in every $2 dollars spent in the region by 2025, which means of every $2 spent in the region, $1 would be online, through digital payments.

The Internet Economy in Numbers

  • Over a decade ago, only one in five Southeast Asians had internet connectivity, the study showed.
  • Today, of the nearly 570 million people that live in the region, 360 million use the internet.
  • The internet user base in the region has grown by 100 million since 2015; most of those new additions are between 15 to 19 years old.
  • 90 percent of the 360 million internet users in the region use their mobile phones to connect to the internet.
  • People living in the bigger, more urban cities or metropolitan areas in the region buy six times more online than those living elsewhere.
  • Internet users in Thailand spent 5 hours, 13 minutes per day on mobile internet, higher than in most other countries; the global average is 3 hours, 13 minutes – research by We Are Social and Hootsuite showed.
  • Most users in the region spent more time on social media and communication apps, more than anything else;  video apps follow close behind.

Article by Aparajita Saxena from Entrepreneur.com

5 Things To Consider When Choosing An Online Payment Gateway In Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the countries in South East Asia that is seeing a tremendous growth in ecommerce. As more and more locals get the hang of online shopping, many are also choosing to start their own online business in the hopes of striking it rich.

Anyone wanting to sell online will most definitely need an online payment gateway to accept payment from customers.

There are 5 things to consider when it comes to choosing an online payment gateway in Malaysia.

Don’t Rush

If you’re just starting out with your own little online business, it’s wise to take some time to research on the available payment gateway providers in Malaysia.

You’ll need to decide whether you want to accept only online banking or with credit card processing features. These days, most businesses will and should accept credit card payments.

But please note that you’ll need to pay a higher fee if you choose to accept credit card payment processing functions. More on that soon.

So if you’re just starting out, go with PayPal first with a personal account instead of locking yourself down with an expensive yearly plan.

What Does Malaysia PayPal Offer? 

PayPal doesn’t charge any setup fees or annual fees. All you need is a PayPal account to start off with and make sure that you link your online store to PayPal correctly to be able to accept payment from customers.

For every local Malaysian online transaction, PayPal takes 3.9% + RM2.

If you’re selling to oversea buyers, PayPal takes 4.4% + fixed fee based on currency received.

Many sellers will consider this rather high but my advice is that you factor in the transaction fees into the cost of your products.

Here’s the Malaysia PayPal transaction fees page.

Compare The Transaction Fees

Online payment gateway providers in Malaysia offer online banking transfer plans.

This means that customers can pay with their online bank account direct to the sellers’ bank account.

The transaction fee for online bank transfer payment is usually lower compared to credit card payments transaction fees.

Credit card processing includes the use of debit cards.

Most payment gateways will accept MasterCard and Visa for credit and debit card processing.

If you want to accept online payment with American Express, UnionPay or Diner’s Club, it’s best to also check with the Malaysia online payment gateway provider on whether they’re able to process these cards and to also check on the transaction fees as they are higher for certain cards.

Need An Online Payment Gateway In Malaysia Business Account? 

If your online business is starting to gain traction, you’ll discover that PayPal’s transaction fees are eating away at your profits particularly if you’re doing volume transactions.

That’s when you need to consider getting a business account from other payment gateway in Malaysia like iPay88 or MOLPay.


Another good payment gateway provider in Malaysia to consider would be eGHL but please consider their conditions as well.

If you only have a few orders a month, just stick to PayPal first.

Are Your Products And Services Prohibited? 

If you’re planning on selling products like medicine, weapons, or certain types of services, you’d best check with the payment gateway whether they are able to offer you a merchant account.

Because if your products are listed under their prohibited items list, there’s a high chance that your application will be rejected.

Worse case scenario will be when people want to buy your products but they have no way of paying you with their credit cards unless you use a payment gateway provider that is able to accept the products that you’re selling.

Any Additional Charges? 

Since payment from customers will land in your payment gateway account, you’ll also need to check if there are any fees involved when you need to transfer those funds to your own bank account.

Some payment providers require a minimum threshold amount in the account before they allow you to transfer it to your bank account.

Others may charge a certain percentage fee if the minimum amount is not met.

When Can I Get Hold Of My Funds? 

There may also be a minimum amount of working days required when you initiate the fund transfer.

So be sure to check with the payment gateway provider on the time frame needed in case you want the funds urgently.

Do You Need Help Setting Up Your Payment Gateway? 

Creating an account with any of these providers should be easy but just in case you’re not very technical savy, it’s best to get an expert to help you with it.

Especially when it comes to linking your payment gateway to your online store as this will require testing to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Some of the best ecommerce shopping cart in Malaysia offer their merchants free service to help them set up their online sites which include setting up their payment gateway for them.

The Rundown 

Well, I mentioned 5 things to watch out for. Looks like there’s 7 to consider but these are crucial as you don’t want to get stuck with a payment gateway that will frustrate you to bits.

Because different businesses have different business needs, the main criteria is always the same. You want your payment to be processed fast, secure with low transaction fees and it needs to be easy to set up and use.

Take into account these crucial points to choose the payment gateway that will best meet your online business needs.