Thailand-based e-commerce logistics provider Flash Express and AIF Group Laos have announced a joint investment to enter the CLMV market with the launch of Flash Laos. In a separate development, The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Grab Malaysia have signed an MoU to help the ride-hailing firm’s drivers and delivery partners save for retirement.
Thailand’s Flash Express launches Laos unit
Thailand-based e-commerce logistics provider Flash Express and AIF Group Laos have announced a joint investment to enter the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) market with the launch of Flash Laos, a full service express logistics provider by land and air in Laos.
In the first stage of the cooperation between Flash Express and AIF Group, Flash Laos will provide logistics services from Thailand to Vientiane, in northwest Laos, before eventually expanding the service to cover all areas of Laos in the second stage.
The second stage will include cross-border logistics services between Thailand and Laos to support the demand from B2B, B2C, and C2C businesses and will be launched in November 2021.
“Flash Laos, a fully integrated digital service provider, will help support the continuous growth of our e-commerce division, already bolstered by the recent integration of a local marketplace platform within the group activities,” said chairman of AIF group Laos Rithikone Phoummasack.
Established in 2018 by Komsan Saelee, Flash Express is a subsidiary of the Flash Group, a Thai-based fully integrated e-commerce service provider.
In June, Thailand-based Flash Express raised a combined $150 million in its Series D+ and Series E rounds. In 2020, it landed $200 million in a Series D funding round, bringing the total investment in the company to about $400 million.
Grab Malaysia partners EPF for drivers’ welfare
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Grab Malaysia have signed an MoU to encourage Grab’s community of drivers and delivery partners to save for their retirement via the EPF’s i-Saraan programme.
The scheme will be open for those below the age of 55, while those older than 55 can opt for a self-contribution programme.
i-Saraan is a voluntary contribution programme that is designed to allow individuals in the gig economy and the self-employed to save up for their retirement through contributions to the EPF.
Under i-Saraan, members will receive government incentives of up to 15% of the individual’s annual contribution, subject to a cap of 250 ringgit per year.
Under the self-contribution programme, EPF contributions can be made by any individual at any time up to a maximum of 60,000 ringgit per year.
The move comes as the topic of rights in the gig economy has resurfaced in recent months across Southeast Asia due to COVID-19 and its resulting economic fallout. Long hours, increased competition, and health risks have led to frequent worker protests and scrutiny from governments, as reported by DealStreetAsia recently.