AirAsia rebrands RedBeat Ventures, presses on with biz diversification

Shortly after the launch of AirAsia's marketing solutions group, AirAsia Media Group, the airline has rebranded its digital venture arm from RedBeat Ventures to AirAsia Digital. It comprises three main pillars - Venture Builder, RedBeat Academy and Data Centre - and leading the team is Aireen Omar, (pictured below right) president (AirAsia Digital), AirAsia Group.

Leveraging the Group's physical and digital assets, AirAsia Digital aims to create an ecosystem of businesses that connect with its customers in their everyday life. This is part of AirAsia's goal to become more than just an airline. It also comes at a time when group CEO Tony Fernandes (pictured below centre) plans to turn AirAsia into a new super app in Southeast Asia to compete against the likes of Grab, WeChat and Gojek.

airasia digital 2020

Under Venture Builder, AirAsia Digital incubates and grows strategic businesses, some of which are spin-offs from AirAsia’s business units. The three focus areas are platform, logistics and eCommerce and financial services. The five portfolio companies under this unit are AirAsia.com, Teleport, BigPay, BIGLIFE, and Santan. RedBeat Academy is a training centre that was formed in collaboration with Google, to train and produce a steady pool of software engineers, data scientists and other digital experts to fill and boost the talent gaps in ASEAN. Meanwhile, Data Centre is a data consultancy department that provides a range of services including data governance, data engineering as well as various types of analytics. They include descriptive, diagnostics, predictive and prescriptive, and the aim is to assist companies to make more informed data analytics decisions.

AirAsia Digital is focused on developing, incubating and accelerating companies that have the potential to maximise revenue or generate new revenue streams sustainably; better manage costs through increased efficiencies and productivity; or enhance the customers’ experience.

The airline is also considering options to raise capital for AirAsia Digital, The Edge reported, quoting Fernandes during a press conference. While he did not reveal the exact amount required, Fernandes said "[it does not] need a lot", adding that it will receive some debt capital that has been secured for certain parts of the group, in particular Santan and Teleport. Meanwhile, executive chairman Kamarudin Meranun (pictured above left) said AirAsia Digital is likely able to cushion the shortfall in earnings so much so that the airline is able to survive, The Edge added.

Separately, the airline recently unveiled its marketing solutions group, AirAsia Media Group, with Sumit Ramchandani at helm as CEO. He told A+M previously that the closest parallel to the new group, in terms of offering, is Amazon Advertising. The media group comprises five pillars - content and creative, media, data and adtech, talent and celebrities and channels - with over 100 employees overseeing the ASEAN market.

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