Jon Russell

Southeast Asia Editor, The Ken • SEA Edition

Jon Russell is Southeast Asia editor for The Ken based in Bangkok. Originally from the UK, Jon moved to Thailand in 2008. He’s passionate about telling thoughtful business stories, and tracking the impact of the internet in his adopted home of Southeast Asia.

61 Articles published

Top Comments by Jon Russell

Indonesian digi bookkeepers BukuKas, BukuWarung vs a monetisation riddle

I think that's an astute observation, Niraj. Indonesia is quite forward-looking when it comes to working with the private sector, especially startups. I didn't mention in the piece but I suspect there's already a lot of conversations, and I'm quite sure you'll see more formal state-startup work in this area. Has happened with ride-hailing, e-commerce, edtech and more in Indonesia. Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

Jon Russell

Indonesian digi bookkeepers BukuKas, BukuWarung vs a monetisation riddle

Hey Partjiv—the general consensus is Khatabook is a year or so ahead in terms of maturity. That's reflect in the funding at a basic level. Interestingly, neither BukuKas nor BukuWarung ruled out acquisitions but I think that for now they want to see if they can do it on their own with the embedded fintech play. Perhaps they'll get more opportunistic later. Don't forget, also more potential acquisition targets in India than Indonesia... you can only buy what's available. Thanks for the comment.

Jon Russell

HOOQ, the first (and last?) casualty in the house of Singtel

Hi Sukanto—Singtel didn't provide full autonomy, at least according to ex staff I spoke to, which seemed to serve to inhibit HOOQ. I'm not sure that's cannibalisation, but the fact it does fully own the telco affiliates that did launch local services competing with HOOQ was a problem. I can't take credit for "Hooq, line and Singtel" — that's our excellent team of editors who often sit in the background and help tweak/enhance our copy. I truly do appreciate them!

Jon Russell

HOOQ, the first (and last?) casualty in the house of Singtel

Hi Rahul—good question. HOOQ (and to some extent iflix) really put a focus on local productions, and particularly Indonesia. Some people I talked to positioned Netflix as a little "higher brow" and more Westernised. I think the challenge is mixing content that appeals to a larger audience with the right price point. The market for Western content may be smaller, but you'd suspect that demographic may be more willing to pay (and pay more) based on that taste? It's tricky to say why—the fact iflix (which we've written about too) is struggling too shows it is as much about the local SVOD market as it is those companies.

Jon Russell

Hungry, Thailand? Foodpanda, Grab, LINE deliver jobs during Covid-19

Hi Eshwar, we did look at Indonesia also (https://the-ken.com/sea/story/covid-19-pressure-cooks-indonesias-foodtech-and-cloud-kitchens) as it happens with an angle more on the restaurants themselves, so that might be of interest. I'm not really sure that the increase in deliveries is even getting close to making up from the loss from in-restaurant dining, but at this point—and particularly for smaller eateries—it is their livelihood so they have no choice but to do what they can. I'm curious to see how the impact of the proposed support packages from food deliveries companies will help that long tail of restaurants which have less saved up and are therefore in a tougher spot than larger businesses.

Jon Russell

Hungry, Thailand? Foodpanda, Grab, LINE deliver jobs during Covid-19

Hi Rahul—I think Thailand is quite unique with four pretty big companies competing hard, I imagine the realistic scenario for improved unit economics is when weaker players drop out or deprioritise. Right now, if anyone did raise prices or make decisions to be more sustainable, you'd imagine others would step up and see an opportunity to burn to win market share. For hygiene, the companies said they provide masks and santiser and teach "best practices"—the kind of responses that you'd expect.

Jon Russell

Stories by Jon Russell