The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Fintech / Is Southeast Asia ready to go cashless?

By: Tom O'Connell - Posted on: August 13, 2018 | Business

Southeast Asia Globe probes how financial technology and the regional startup scene could change the way Cambodia and the other countries of Southeast Asia pay for stuff

Fintech startups
are driving innovations as they push toward a cashless society Photo: How Hwee Young / EPA

As investments in fintech continue to surge globally and throughout Southeast Asia, the region may be on its way to solving the divide between mobile connectivity and financial inclusion.

While the region has a 133% mobile connectivity rate (meaning some users own more than one SIM card or mobile phone), only 27% of Southeast Asians have a bank account. Cambodia enjoys the highest mobile connectivity in Southeast Asia, at 173% – but only a 13% banked population, according to a 2017 Asian Development Bank report.

That presents a barrier to loans and saving cash. But banking apps and other fintech products could provide solutions for unreached individuals and smaller businesses.

Globally, it’s estimated that payments made via mobile and contactless systems will reach $95 billion by the end of 2018 and will lower the cost of basic financial services by up to 90%, according to a 2017 study by PwC and Startupbootcamp.

Cambodian fintech guru Ros Khemera has seen an increasingly cashless future for the region and is prepared for big changes in how business is done and how people pay for basic necessities such as food and transportation.

“I just came back from Penang [in northwest Malaysia], where I saw a street vendor selling coconuts in his cart along the street accepting QR code payment,” said the busy fintech professional who is associated with the Mekong Business Initiative, the Asian Development Bank and the e-commerce startup Kiu Global. “In Vietnam, I saw a vending machine that allows people to buy stuff using QR code or biometrics… In Cambodia, cashless transactions are growing too, with Wing [Cambodia] introducing a tap-and-pay card – thousands of factory workers signed up and used it to pay their public transportation fee.”

Global funding of fintech ventures peaked at $46.7 billion in 2015 as ewallets and other financial platforms rushed to market, but it fell to $24.7 billion by 2016. Singapore is the region’s fintech king, with a total of 490 fintech startups host to $141m in investment in 2017.

The rest of the region shows promise and interest in playing catch-up, said Khemara: “The next fintech unicorn can come from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia or even Vietnam or Thailand. Maybe from Cambodia, too.”

500 Startups of Silicon Valley is one entity investing in promising startups throughout the region through its 500 Durians platform. Country-specific venture capitals are also popping up to support fintech – such as Cambodia’s Ooctane, launched in late June to support local entrepreneurs.

The fintech sector is ready, but one of the biggest challenges remains educating people to encourage them to transition from cash payments to cashless wallets

Still, fintech’s growth in Cambodia and the rest of the region also depends on “cultural habits” and user experience, explained Matthew Tippetts, the CEO and co-founder of Cambodian fintech startup Clik.

“A cashless society already exists in China, but in countries with very high banking penetration like Singapore, 15% to 20% of payments are still made in cash,” said Tippetts.  “It’s a cultural habit, so I doubt they will go completely cashless anytime soon.”

Educating consumers remains a hurdle to mass adoption of digital financial transactions, insiders agree.

“The fintech sector is ready, but one of the biggest challenges remains educating people to encourage them to transition from cash payments to cashless wallets,” Tomas Pokorny, CEO of Cambodia’s  Pi Pay digital payments startup, said at a conference last year. “Step by step, people will adopt the new technologies.”

Potential users just need to learn the benefits fintech can offer them, insisted Tippetts.

“The pros of going cashless, when done properly, is reduction in costs, risks, fraud, seamless payment – no more manual effort, superior user experience [and] improved accountability,” he said. “What will change is how we use cash, and its utilisation will indeed decline, but not disappear.”

This article was published in Southeast Asia Globe’s Banking Special 2018. For full access, click here