Weekly News Wrap: Thai army boycotts Lazada; Tax, input costs hit Reliance’s profits

And Indian grocery startup Zepto raises $200m in fresh funding.

From Reuters:

The Thai army said it will ban its 245,000 members from using one of Southeast Asia's biggest e-commerce websites for official purposes after royalists said a promotional video appeared to mock the royal family.

Thailand has strict lese majeste laws and courts can hand down jail terms of up to 15 years for each offence of defaming, insulting or threatening King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the queen, heir or regent.

Citizens loyal to the king complained that a video on Lazada's Facebook page featuring a woman dressed in a traditional Thai costume sitting in a wheelchair was a veiled reference to a member of a royal family.

Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn told reporters the government was considering legal action against the social media influencer and the advertising agency responsible for the video, and against Lazada.

Army spokeswoman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong said in a statement the video was "offensive to the monarchy" and "caused disunity in Thai society".

Read more here.



From Bloomberg:

Reliance Industries, India’s biggest company by market value, posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as higher tax liabilities and surging input costs offset gains made from fuel exports amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

Net income at the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate rose 22% to $2.1b (INR162b) in the three months ended March 31, according to an exchange filing Friday. But that still fell short of the average $2.17b (INR168.2b) profit estimated by a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Revenue surged 37% to $27.39 (INR2.12t) compared to the same period last year, narrowly missing the analyst estimates. Total costs jumped 34% to $24.81 (INR1.92t), lifted by a 69% rise in raw material prices. The company announced a dividend of 8 rupees per share, the filing said.

Read more here.



From Reuters:

Indian grocery startup Zepto said on Tuesday it has raised $200m in fresh funding that values the company at around $900m, signalling growing investor interest in a sector where companies are luring customers with quick 10-minute deliveries.

Zepto was started last year by two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts. Its latest funding round was led by an existing investor Y Combinator, a prominent Silicon Valley fund.

It also saw participation from a new investor, U.S.-based healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente, and all of Zepto's key existing investors including Nexus Venture Partners, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Zepto competes with SoftBank-backed Blinkit in India, both of which promise 10-minute deliveries for groceries.

Read more here.


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