Focusing on creating cashless retail in Southeast Asia, BLUE has received additional capital injection from old shareholders such as Ant Group

2022-11-21
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Author:letschuhai
Source: 36kr

36 Krypton went abroad to learn that BLUE, a new retail technology enterprise focusing on the Southeast Asian market, has received additional capital injection from old shareholders such as Ant Group and Joyful Capital.

36 Krypton Sailing has reported this company. BLUE, founded in 2015, is a high-tech new retail enterprise. At present, the company has two main businesses, BLUEmart and BLUEpay. BLUEmart is a new online+offline retail platform, and the offline form is vending machine. On line, consumers can place orders on virtual shelves through mobile apps, and pick up goods at offline pickup points. BLUEpay is a third-party payment tool developed by Blue, which can help users complete transactions on BLUEmart.

Southeast Asian consumers have a high demand for snacks and beverages, which are common in vending machines. According to a Nielsen survey report, the average daily beverage intake of Thailand and Indonesia is about 10 times that of China. In addition, the urban population density in Southeast Asia is high. Public data shows that Jakarta, Indonesia, has a population density of 37600 people per square mile, while Bangkok has a population density of 13700 people per square mile, which is much higher than the population density of major cities in China. These are favorable conditions for vending machines to be located in major cities in Southeast Asia.

Compared with vending machines in China, BLUE's machines in Southeast Asia also play a role in digitizing transactions and popularizing mobile payment. At present, the penetration rate of Southeast Asian banking is still low, and most countries are in the early stage of realizing paperless transactions. In order to help Southeast Asian residents achieve the leap from cash transactions to paperless transactions, BLUE users directly use cash to recharge their personal accounts, and then pay through payment tools. In this way, BLUEmart vending machine becomes the entrance for recharging mobile payment tools. In addition to supporting self-developed BLUEpay tools, BLUEmart also supports Truemoney, Dana and other local third-party payment tools.

At the supply chain level, Chen Rui, the founder and CEO of BLUE, introduced that BLUE has established the first fully digital intelligent retail terminal in Southeast Asia to ensure access to online and offline shelf information. This terminal can accurately detect the inventory depth of each vending machine location, help operators obtain inventory information in a timely manner, and achieve dynamic management. Off the line, BLUE has also established a push, storage and distribution team by means of self construction and cooperation and other ways of focusing on assets, realizing the timely control and maintenance of each vending machine.

At the channel level, BLUE not only distributes in the common densely populated areas (shopping malls, schools, industrial parks, etc.), but also takes into account the unique market environment in Southeast Asia. BLUE adopts a business model from heavy to light, actively cooperates with industry customers, local stores and operators, and has built a standardized service system in terminal system, operation, supply chain and other sectors that meet the actual needs of the market.

In order to ensure that BLUE can make full use of the two online and offline channels, BLUE divides all SKUs on sale into three categories: high-frequency (food and beverage), medium frequency (daily necessities) and low-frequency (cosmetics, 3C, etc.). Products purchased in small amount and high-frequency are directly sold in vending machines, while products with medium and low frequency consumption and high customer price are sold through virtual shelf channels.

BLUE has deployed tens of thousands of vending machines in Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand, with nearly 14 million registered users. According to Chen Rui, BLUE's vending machine business UE (unit economics) has been corrected. During the epidemic, people's preference for contactless services led to the performance growth of BLUE vending machines. In the future, BLUE will also expand its market in Bandung, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc.

BLUE has also received the attention of the host government. Recently, Indonesian Ambassador to China Zhou Haoli and Consul General in Guangzhou Gu Danduo paid a special visit to BLUE Shenzhen R&D Center. The government and enterprises had extensive discussions on the company's business and future cooperation.

The founding team of BLUE comes from Huawei and domestic first-line Internet companies. In 2015, the company obtained million dollar angel round financing from Skynet, in 2016, it obtained million dollar round A financing jointly led by Jiayu Fund and Joy Capital, and in 2018, it obtained tens of million dollar round B financing jointly led by Source Capital, Joy Capital and Jiayu Fund. In 2019, BLUE completed the C-round financing led by Ant Group and followed by Joyful Capital.

Article | Jin Kaiyue

Figure | Unsplash

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