Masan to leverage retail, telecom synergy by acquiring Mobicast

By May Pham    September 23, 2021 | 02:20 am PT
The Sherpa, a subsidiary of Masan, has announced a 70 percent acquisition of Mobicast shares with a total cash consideration of VND295.5 billion ($13 million).

Investment in Mobicast is the next step taken by Masan to integrate its third piece, digital services, into its ecosystem, after successful inclusion of grocery and financial services.

This was carefully mapped out by Masan in 2019 when the group revealed its plan to build a one-stop shop that satisfies consumers’ essential, financial, educational, social, entertainment, and healthcare needs. For Masan, this is a unified off to online platform, "Point of Life".

The entry into the telecommunication and essential service sectors on a digital platform will enable Masan to gain access to approximately 80 percent of the consumer wallet share.

Operating under the brand Reddi, Mobicast is a Vietnamese start-up, full-serviced Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). MVNOs are wireless communication service providers that do not have their own frequency spectrum allocation or wireless network infrastructure.

Mobicast is an owner of Reddi mobile network. Photo by: Masan

Mobicast is an owner of Reddi mobile network. Photo by: Masan

MVNOs partner with traditional Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to use their wireless network infrastructure to provide telecom and data services to consumers. MVNOs use an asset-light business model by leveraging existing transmission and network infrastructure. MVNOs are a common business model in the telecom space globally. For example, MVNOs command a nearly 20 percent market share of the total United Kingdom mobile market.

When incorporated into "Point of Life", Reddi stands to benefit from exclusive access to Masan’s consumer base and physical and online touch points nationwide. This will significantly lower Reddi’s consumer acquisition cost, enabling it to reinvest savings to develop unique digital consumer solutions, given that 44 percent of subscribers predominately use voice and SMS in Vietnam, and customer service experience platforms.

Masan Group CEO, Danny Le, said: "Reddi is the first step to digitalize our "Point of Life" platform and synchronize our products and services into a unified offering. While we are in the early innings, we have all the strategic components to develop the most cost effective consumer acquisition model, thereby lowering the costs of our services and products for the benefit of our consumers - this is the definition of Point of Life."

Masan has a wide distribution network as its first advantage. Photo by: Masan

Masan has a wide distribution network as its first advantage. Photo by: Masan

According to Masan, Reddi’s target market is modern consumers who are digital savvy. This group of customers is willing to change and try out new products and services to refresh their consumer experience.

Previously, in June 2021, Masan launched its first CVLife store that integrates financial services offered by Techcombank and Phuc Long Kiosk into WinMart+ supermarkets (formerly known as VinMart+). As shared by Masan, the current number of over 2,300 WinMart+ stores would be expanded to more than 3,001, with around 700 new stores to be launched, by the end of 2021. The Phuc Long Kiosk model will be integrated into 1,000 WinMart+ stores, thus boosting revenue and profit margins and bringing in more modern customers.

Masan has a wide distribution network as its first advantage, with nearly 2,400 WinMart/WinMart+ supermarkets and stores nationwide to serve more than 300 million customers annually. Added to this is Masan's strong consumer relationship with 300,000 general trade (GT) retailers. Masan's distribution network "weaves" across the country, offering convenient and fast access to its services.

Masan also has a loyalty customer base of nine million WinMart/WinMart+ members, including a large number of young, urban and digital-savvy customers from Phuc Long, five million affluent consumers from Techcombank and millions of customers from other Masan partners.

These two strategic factors allow Reddi to maximize its cost and time savings in building a distribution network, while optimizing its consumer acquisition and retention cost.

According to MIC’s Department of Telecommunications, Vietnam had nearly 133 million mobile subscribers as of the end of 2020, while its population is more than 97 million. Of these 133 million subscribers, 56 percent have 3G, 4G and 5G coverage.

According to the We Are Social 2021 report, the most used mobile apps include: chat apps (94.7 percent), entertainment and video apps (83.4 percent), music apps (58 percent), game apps (57.2 percent), shopping apps (68.5 percent), banking and financial services apps (40.1 percent).

Entry of a retail company into the telecommunication sector has become a huge success in India, as in the case of Reliance Jio, the largest mobile network operator in the world's second-largest mobile market. Reliance Industries is India's largest retailer with nearly 11,000 points of sale, 23 distribution centers and a database with more than 110 million loyal customers.

In 2016, Reliance stepped into the digital services and electronics telecommunication sectors by launching the Jio network operator. To date, Jio has raced past competitors to become India's largest mobile operator thanks to its reasonable pricing, good signal quality and appealing, differentiating service plans. Jio currently has about 400 million paying subscribers for services in their ecosystem.

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