Insights 5 Brands Making Bold Moves To Win Young Asian Consumers
Image courtesy: Frank by OCBC

A handful of savvy players are designing competitive solutions for APAC consumers of today and tomorrow.

1. SEA, 2. LIVI & 3. FRANK:
Banking underserved Asian SMEs & Millennials

Frank by OCBC

Asia’s digital banking space is pushing for change. Tech giant Sea operates e-commerce platform Shopee, online gaming arm Garena, and digital financial services provider SeaMoney — the perfect storm of services to make the most of our post-COVID digital-first economy. With the Singapore government awarding digital full bank licences late last year, players like Sea and FRANK are fine-tuning their offering to enhance their appeal to SMEs, millennials & Generation Zs.

In Hong Kong, livi, a virtual bank co-owned by Bank of China (Hong Kong) appeals to a broader target audience, integrating banking with how people shop and consume. It joins others like WeLab, ZA and Mox, with experts noting that the pandemic marks the clear the need for end-to-end digital services, making virtual banks more relevant to the average Hong Konger. 

Insurance, not so stodgy anymore

Outside banking, virtual insurance providers like Bowtie and ZA Insure, digital insurance players Blue from AVIVA Hong Kong and bite-sized micro-insurance providers like SNACK are gaining traction. We’re seeing emerging partnerships between insurers and consumer platforms to offer innovative short-term insurance products designed to serve the region’s underinsured.

Why We’re Watching this Space

New Financial Models for New Consumers

  • At US$ 69 trillion by 2025, financial assets in Asia account for ~3/4 of the global total
  • Retail lending in Asia is forecasted to hit US$ 21.2 trillion by 2025
  • At US$ 23 trillion, the loan book for Asian SMEs is already bigger than retail and corporate lending and expected to grow 9% each year

4. NEIWAI: Breaking Stereotypes, Inside and Out


Chinese retailer NEIWAI is rebranding social stereotypes. Their 2020 social campaign No Body is Nobody featured six women questioning traditional beauty standards. The lounge wear brand is no stranger to crowdsourcing customer-first innovation. To determine their target personas, NEIWAI tested over 70 potential profiles with the public before settling on the final six. NEIWAI is also one among a growing number of homegrown Chinese brands adopting a conscientious approach to sourcing raw materials and transitioning to eco-friendly packaging. They’re investing heavily in R&D, digitalising their stores with 3D scanners for product personalisation, and building an engaged online community. NEIWAI were valued at US$ 154 million post their Series C financing, and entered the US market with a product that is positioned to make the most of global conversations around diversity, body positivity and inclusion. 

Why We’re Watching this Space

Consumers are Embracing Inclusivity and Imperfection

  • –  < 20% of current products cater to non-standard sizes
  • 69% of Gen Zs are more likely to embrace diverse companies
  • 60 to 80% of Gen Zs think brands should be held to account for their actions

5. COUPANG: “Never Say Never” Service for Asia’s Convenience Consumer

To succeed in South Korea’s demanding delivery ecosystem, startup Coupang designed and built Rocket Delivery, a last-mile logistics network with branded trucks, algorithm-controlled warehouses and 5000 trained “Coupangmen” who deliver goods and delight customers. Coupang’s Dawn Delivery lets buyers place orders by midnight, and delivers it — with minimal packaging and zero waste — early the next morning. Rocket Delivery drivers are known to hand out balloons and chocolate to children, chat up customers and text them photos of dropped-off packages for assurance. It’s no wonder then that the Coupangmen enjoy unprecedented popularity (a net promoter score of 97 out of 100) among their target demographic — Korean mothers. The SoftBank-backed start-up, valued at $9 billion is aiming for an IPO in 2021. 

Why We’re Watching this Space

Ecommerce Strong and Growing in the face of COVID-19

  • US$1.4 Trillion e-commerce market in Asia Pacific
  • 94% of new Asian e-consumers intend to continue with delivery services post-COVID