You know WhatsApp. She uses it to exchange messages (and slightly too many cat GIFs) with her friends and family. He uses it to buy organic vegetables via chat with the local grocer. They use it to launch a business.

Wait, what?

Yes, startups in Southeast Asia are built on WhatsApp these days. Most businesses built on chat apps are in e-commerce—much of buying and selling is rooted in conversation and persuasion after all (we recently reported reported The Ken Chat spells ka-ching and conundrum for SE Asia’s e-commerce Read more on conversational commerce in detail).

AUTHOR

Li Mei Foong

Li Mei Foong is based in Kuala Lumpur, where she seeks to connect the dots between culture and technology in Southeast Asia while keeping an eye on interesting development in its digital creative space. She was previously a freelance features journalist and has reported for regional publications including Channel News Asia (CNA), Southeast Asia Globe, and New Naratif.

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