Category: SG Budget Babe

Get cashback or miles on your income tax payments? Why not!

Wow, I wasn’t expecting so many of you to appreciate my previous post on reducing your income tax – thanks for the support!


To all the new readers who just visited this space because you got directed here from Ho Ching or IRAS, hello!

Anyway, as a continuation to the earlier post, now that we’ve explored the various ways to reduce our income taxes, the next step to look at would be the mode of payment. Should you opt for monthly repayments or a one-time yearly bill? Should you use GIRO or your credit card?

Unfortunately, if you’ve ever tried paying for your cashback with your credit card in a bid to earn cashback or miles, you would have probably realised by now that tax payments (as well as that to government organisations) are usually excluded from these rewards.

Even the SCB Unlimited Cashback card, which I’ve previously reviewed and raved about here (seriously, go get one now if you haven’t already! What’s more, get $270 in cold hard cash if you apply for one before 30 April 2018 here), excludes tax payments from cashback as seen in their exclusion clause 3j.

You see, most of the banks and credit cards reward based on discretionary spending i.e. products or services that you want to buy instead of the stuff that you need. That’s why categories like dining and shopping get such generous cashback / miles rewards, because you could technically live without eating out and buying new stuff.

As such, one glaring gap in my credit card strategy was in how I could never get any rewards back on my mandatory spending, such as when paying for income taxes, insurance and clearing off my loans. It was frustrating to see how I wasn’t able to get anything back on the expenses I couldn’t avoid every month!

Until recently, that is.

Those of you who have read my Guidebook to the Best Cashback Tools in Singapore should be familiar with how much I’ve raved about CardUp since discovering them months ago.
With CardUp, you can now pay for insurance premiums, rent, school fees, condominium charges, income taxes and get cashback / miles doing so!

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How CardUp works


If you study the T&Cs of most credit cards, you’ll realise that no miles or cashback are given for payments made to government agencies, insurance premiums, ez-link top-ups, donations to charitable organisations, etc. CardUp basically enables you to make single or recurring payments online via your credit cards on these spending categories where you couldn’t previously use your card.


Now, this is a big game-changer because prior to CardUp, there was no other service or tool that allowed you to do this! Previously, you could only pay for your rent, mortgage and other mandatory expenses through bank transfer, cash or cheque options. This eliminated a huge chunk of big-ticket spending that can actually help you rack up significant credit card rewards.


There is a 2.6% processing fee imposed (due to the banks and credit card fees), so it is vital that you choose a card that netts you positive rewards even after paying this.


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What if the recipient doesn’t accept credit cards?


CardUp does a bank transfer to your recipient, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they accept credit card, and neither do they need to be registered with CardUp. This is what makes CardUp such a fantastic solution, and I only wish I discovered it sooner.


CardUp already has many recipients on its platform, but if you still can’t find yours, all you need to do is to set up a new recipient so that the transfer can go through. In addition, you can even set up recurring payments so you don’t have to log in every month just to transfer.


What you can use it for
  • Paying your income tax, property tax or utility bills
  • Insurance premiums
  • School fees (childcare, secondary schools, universities and private institutions)
  • Condominium fees
  • Charity donations
  • Car loans
  • Rental
  • and more!
Sounds good! Which cashback card should I use on Cardup then?

The best strategy would be to use a cashback credit card that gives you a higher rate than CardUp’s service fee in order to net positive cashback.


Here are the cards I would recommend to use with CardUp:
  • UOB One
  • Standard Chartered Manhattan (SCB is no longer accepting new signups for this card, which is a huge pity, but if you were lucky enough to get your hands on it previously please maximise it!)
  • BOC Family
  • Maybank Platinum Visa 
You can also check out their cashback calculator here first to calculate the amount of cashback you’ll get when you pay via the recommended cards!

Before CardUp broke into the scene, I was paying for my tax bills once every year, but now, I’m opting for monthly repayments via CardUp in order to get my credit card rewards.

So when you pay for your income tax bills from next month onwards, don’t forget to route them through CardUp so you can chalk up more cashback / miles while doing so!

For readers looking for a further discount, I’ve reached out to CardUp and they’ve offered $20 off your first payment fees when you enter the promo code “SGBUDGETBABE“.
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Always remember, credit cards can be your best friend if you know how to use them well! You can read more about maximising cashback tools in Singapore here on my previous post too ; have fun!

Note: This post was written in collaboration with CardUp.

With love,
Budget Babe

How to reduce your income tax in Singapore (make use of these tax reliefs and deductions!)

Back when I was still in my first job, my annual income tax was only about $200. This was based on a yearly income of $30,000, of which I saved $20,000 – read about how I did it here. (Nope, no bonuses either.)

I don’t mind paying taxes as I understand and appreciate the fact that the money is channeled for the government to help the lower-income groups, as well as pay for other public goods such as our roads, education, etc.

But ever since I got headhunted to my second, and now third, job where I received a pay raise each time, my income taxes have jumped significantly and it has come to a point where I’ve been looking into (legal) ways to reduce paying so much. For context, my income tax jumped by over 10x, but my salary hasn’t jumped 10x at all!

I’ve talked about how achieving financial freedom involves cutting down your expenses while looking for ways to increase your income at the same time. Income tax is definitely one area where you’d want to reduce, because Singapore’s tiered income tax system is such that the more you earn, the higher percentage of taxes you’ll have to pay.

For someone earning $30k a year, they only need to pay 2% of income tax, or $200.
If you earn $3,500 a month and get a 13-month bonus, you’ll be looking at an annual tax of $935. If you’re luckier and get more (eg. 3 months bonus), you can expect to pay $1,425.
But if you earn $80k annually (about $6k monthly with bonus), you’ll be paying $3350.
If you earn $100k a year, you’ll be paying over $5k…which could otherwise pay for a holiday to Europe!

While evading taxes is a crime, there are perfectly legal ways for you to reduce your income taxes. Here’s some:

1. Top up your CPF account (and/or that of your parents).

I used to give my parents their monthly allowance in pure cash. However, ever since I found out about this hack, I’ve changed this to put the money as voluntary contributions to their CPF accounts instead. Given that my dad is already retired and my mum will soon be eligible to withdraw her funds, this approach makes a lot of sense to me as my parents still get their money, and I get to concurrently enjoy tax rebate for the same.

Since the maximum tax relief we can claim is $7000, you can also make voluntary top-ups to your CPF Special Account (SA) where it can earn attractive interest rates, and up your tax relief amount further to a maximum of $14,000.

Do it before the end of the year so you’ll get the tax relief! I’ve blogged about this previously here as well.

2. Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) relief.

If you’ve already maxed out your CPF tax reliefs, you can also make use of the SRS relief scheme to enjoy up to $15,300 of tax relief if you and/or your employer make contributions to your SRS account!

3. Donate to charity.

It (literally) pays to be kind!

I’ve always believed in contributing to charity to help those who are less well-off than us. After all, I come from a family whose parents couldn’t even afford to send me to university, and I benefited from the university scholarship (generously funded by alumni) which allowed me to pursue my studies, so I’m extremely familiar with the struggles of not having enough money.

Because of my background, I have a soft spot towards donating to bursaries and other funds for needy students.

Aside from helping those who need it, the additional good news is, you can claim 250% in tax deductions based on the amount you donated!

4. Claim tax relief for supporting dependent or handicapped grandparents / parents / siblings / spouse.



If you have or parents, living with you who are older than 55 and earn no more than $4,000 annually, you can also claim up to $9,000 tax relief for supporting them (or up to $14,000 if they’re handicapped, in which case the income requirement doesn’t quite apply). But if you have siblings who are claiming for the same, you’ll need to split that evenly with them. There are also tax reliefs if your grandparents stay with you.

Unfortunately this scheme doesn’t apply to me since my mom is still working and my dad only just retired recently, so his annual income still exceeds $4000 for this year, but I’ll be able to claim this soon next time!

If you’re supporting a handicapped spouse or sibling, you can also claim up to $5,500 of tax relief.

5. For married spouses, claim NSman Self Relief.

Husbands can claim up to $5,000 if they’re a key appointment holder (or up to $3,000 if they’re not but served reservist), while their wives can claim $750 tax relief.



6. For parents, claim Parenthood Tax Rebate / Qualifying Child Relief / Working Mother’s Child Relief / Foreign Maid Levy Relief

It seems like the government is really encouraging us to have kids, as they’re giving out a lot of tax subsidies for those who do!

On your first child, you can claim $5,000 of Parenthood Tax Rebate. If you have 2 kids, add on another $10,000 for your second child. Or, if you’re like my cousin with 3 children (or more), you can add on $20,000 more for each subsequent child! This works out to a significant total of $35,000 of tax rebates if you have 3 children and make the maximum claims for them!

Under the Qualifying Child Relief, you can also claim up to $4,000 per child if your offspring is younger than 16 years of age or studying full-time.
Tip: the spouse with the higher income should be the one claiming for this, as it could probably reduce his/her taxes by a larger margin!

For mothers who are working and handling dual roles (mad respect to you women), you can claim 15% of your earned income in tax reliefs for your first child, 20% for your second, and 25% for each child if you have 3 kids or more! Do note that the total cap for QCR and WMCR is $50,000 per child, but that’s already a lot of tax deductions (and making me think twice about whether we should aim to have 2, or 3 kids!)

If you’re hiring a domestic helper at home, you can also claim twice the amount of foreign maid levy paid for a maximum of one foreign maid last year against your earned income.

7. For landlords, claim tax deductions on rental expenses.

Saving up to 15% of your gross rent or actual rental expenses incurred can be quite significantly, while protecting your (somewhat) passive rental income earned!

Worked Example

Thus, by using the (applicable) methods above, a working mom (under 55 years old) who earns $6k a month with a 13-month bonus, yet has 2 children and lives with her retired parent who’s helping to care for her kids, can get away with paying NO income tax, instead of the original $3,210!

*Assumes the following parameters:

That’s a whopping $3,210 saved in taxes (which you can then use to fund a holiday abroad, or other expenses) as long as you make full use of the reliefs available!

And that, my dear, is how you can legally get away with paying ZERO taxes in Singapore.

As your income rises (the moment you get any pay raise, commissions or bonuses), you’ll soon realise that your income taxes rise disproportionately and you could be paying a huge chunk if you aren’t savvy about the various relief schemes available for you to tap on. Considering how much you’ll have to pay otherwise, this is where saving on your taxes become increasingly important!

However, do also bear in mind that there is a cap of $80k on the amount of tax reliefs you can claim. You can also calculate your income taxes and reliefs here on the IRAS income tax calculator.

Looking at the schemes available, wouldn’t it make sense for the husbands to be stay-at-home dads while the mothers go out to work? 😛 (since there isn’t a working fathers child relief scheme). If you want to reduce your income taxes, having kids will definitely help!

At any rate, just don’t try to avoid paying taxes as the Singapore government now considers that as a predicate to anti-money laundering! That involves personal and even criminal liability, so just be a good citizen and pay your income taxes. But be a smart citizen so you can get away with paying less, or even none at all 😉

Public Service Announcement (PSA): Remember to file your income taxes by April 18, 2018 🙂 and don’t forget to make use of these tax reliefs and deductions that I’ve just shared!

With love,
Dawn

Note: This post was written in conjunction with IRAS, and all infographics shared here are rightfully credited to them!

Savvy Travels – Siem Reap Itinerary on a Budget

It has been close to half a year of working non-stop without a break, so my husband and I decided to go on a short getaway to Siem Reap, Cambodia. In all, we spent 4D3N there, and our total expenses came up to about $600 per person for the entire trip.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Item

Cost

Flight (Jetstar)

$290

Accomodation

$80 for 3 nights

Travel insurance (FWD)

$14.40

Tour – Angkor Wat

$17 (tour) + $48 (entrance fee)

$25

War Museum

$6.50 admission

Food

$60 (approx. $15/day)

Transport (by tuktuk)

$34

Shopping & others

$25

TOTAL per person

$600

Flight tickets
Given that the flight duration was only slightly over 2 hours, we opted for a budget carrier – Jetstar – so that we could spend more on accommodation, food and activities instead.

We paid $290 per person inclusive of taxes.

Accommodation
I highly recommend booking a hotel near the Night Market or Pub Street, as that is within the city centre and where you’ll find everyone heading to after 6pm for the bustling nightlife and activities. The great thing about Siem Reap is that there’s a hotel for every budget, and you’ll save on transport fees (i.e. the tuk tuk rides) as long as you’re staying within walking distance of the night market.

Our hotel suite which was super affordable and HUGE!

We chose Lavender Angkor Boutique, which is owned and run by the locals, and was a short 7-min walk from the night market. It cost us only $80 per person for a 4D3N stay.

Local hostels or cheaper budget hotels are also aplenty, and you’ll find rooms going for as little as USD per bed a night. One of our friends snagged a hotel room for just USD 13 / night!

Transport
When we landed at the airport, we ordered a tuktuk (remork) ride for USD 9 to our hotel. If you’d rather not breathe in all the dust from such a ride, a car is also available for just USD 1 more.

The best way to get from your hotel to the night market every evening would be via foot. For other attractions, they’re mostly located quite a distance away but you’ll find a horde of tuktuks easily available on the streets, and it’ll cost you anywhere from USD 5 to USD 20 for a ride depending on the distance.

Our tuktuk driver, Mr. Kim

If you need a good tuktuk driver, we really loved ours – Mr. Kim, who is contactable via Whatsapp at 
+855 12 589 955. A father of three, he was extremely sincere and patient while waiting for us to be done at the various attractions, and was even familiar with most of the hipster cafes that are popular online. He even gave great ideas for other sites to visit – including the Pink Temple – and most importantly, he has a good command of the English language so we didn’t have any issues communicating with him throughout the trip. We met and were approached by so many tuktuk drivers while we were in Siem Reap, but only Mr. Kim managed to win us over because of how genuine he was (and no hard-selling or ridiculous markups of his tuktuk rides compared to some of the others on the streets!).

I’m not sure how much it’ll cost to hire a tuktuk driver for the day to take you to Angkor Wat and around the other temples though, but I’d recommend a tour for that with an English-speaking guide instead so that you can better appreciate the history and the differences between all the temples, as they might look almost the same to you otherwise. Alternatively, you could also get your own private car hire here for just S$20 for 5 hours (way cheaper than any of the tuktuks!).

Tours

Our 4D3N itinerary was pretty straightforward and looked like this:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Morning

Breakfast in hotel

Breakfast in hotel

Breakfast in hotel

Afternoon

Arrive in Siem Reap

War Museum

Night

Head to night market

Flight home

The night market

We used Klook for our tour bookings and the prices were the same, if not cheaper, than what was offered to us by the local tour agency offices which we enquired with in Siem Reap. I’m not sponsored by Klook for this trip but I’ve used them on so many holidays and really recommend booking with them for the quality and competitive prices they offer.

Starting the morning at Angkor Wat and ready to trek the temple grounds!

Angkor Wat

The inner temple grounds

Ta Phrom – more famously known as the site of filming for Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider

Bayon Temple 

Our main regret was that we didn’t get to catch Phare, the Cambodian circus – this was fully sold out during our stay and we didn’t manage to book it beforehand on Klook either.

The tour for Angkor Wat was extremely hot and tiring due to the humid weather; we clocked over 10,000 steps across 7km that day while trekking the different temples! I would advise bringing insect repellent, a cap or umbrella to shade you from the sun, and even a fan or water spray to cool yourself down from the heat.

A photo with our tour guide Vanna, who’s from the fishing village we visited. We loved his tour so much that we rewarded him with a generous tip at the end of it!
Olden-style houses in the fishing village

The kids will run up to you and hound you for money / sweets. Don’t give any to them unless you’re prepared to have a whole swarm surround you the next minute!

Catching the sunset at Tonle Sap Lake

Food and other expenses
We mostly spent the rest of our cash on food, drinks, massage and (barely any) shopping. Breakfast was settled at our hotel, which served complimentary breakfast and it was so yummy that we made it a point to wake up early every morning just to make it in time before breakfast hours (6am – 10am) ended.

Our delish hotel breakfast spread every morning

Beer is as cheap as USD 0.50 in many bars along Pub Street, and you’ll find most dishes ranging from $3 at the local restaurants to $8 at the international ones. I didn’t try too much of the street food since I had a weak stomach, but for those of you who are game enough, you can try nibbling on their fried scorpions / tarantula spider / snails for the fear factor!

My husband tried the scorpion (USD 2 with a shot of hard liquor)

and weed (happy) pizza too

We particularly enjoyed this family-owned restaurant that is located across the street from Nature Republic, which served such yummy local food that we went back twice during our trip. Dishes are mostly USD 3 each, and our entire meal pictured below with my avocado shake cost us only USD 10.50!

So there you go, here’s how we did Siem Reap on a shoestring budget of $600 per person! In a city where tours, accommodation, food and drinks are extremely affordable, you shouldn’t have to spend too much to have a good time here.

(You can even trim that further to just $500 if you get a 1-star hotel or opt for a hostel, and get flight tickets on sale! Don’t forget to book through Shopback + use your cashback credit card while you’re booking online for more rebates!)


For first-time users, you can also key in the promo code BB5 to add a $5 off voucher into your wallet (you can add the code into your wallet first for future use, valid until 30 November 2018). Remember, I’m not sponsored by Klook for this, but I’ve been personally using them for my trips and their tour bookings are extremely competitive, if not cheaper, compared to what you’ll usually find locally!

With love,
Budget Babe

My favourite app to always get 50% off dining and activities, even during peak hours!

For those of you who love dining out, what’s a good way to save on your dining?

By using a cashback credit cash with the highest rate for dining + savings app.

You’ll find the respective credit cards with the highest dining cashback rates on the SGBB Cashback App (just tap onto weekday / weekend dining to view the respective rates), although currently BOC Family Card holds the honour of 10%. However, this benefit is capped at $30 – which means you shouldn’t exceed $300 in food every month – and provided you also chalk up $700 in monthly spending.

On the best savings app for food, eatigo undeniably offers the best value…IF you can dine at the odd, off-peak hours. So while the app is great for those who are self-employed and do not have to stick to regular schedules like most of us corporate slaves, it isn’t that fantastic for the rest of us who have schedules to align to.

And for those of you who got a copy of The Ultimate Guidebook to the Best Cashback Tools in Singapore which I published earlier this year, you’ll be familiar with The Entertainer, which I recommended as the best app for shaving 50% off your dining and activities in Singapore anytime, even during peak hours! 



But if you haven’t heard of The Entertainer app before, think of it as an extensive booklet of coupons which gives you 1 for 1 deals on dining, hotels, spas, activities and retail, all within a single place on your mobile. With it, you can get 1-for-1 deals on over 1,700 merchants for dining, drinks, hotel bookings, spa sessions and many more. 

Here’s a preview of some popular merchants on the app:

  • Food:
    • Fat Cow
    • Bedrock Bar and Grill
    • MUNCH
    • Patisserie G
  • Activities / Shopping:
    • BOUNCE
    • Bubble Soccer
    • Photography (brides-to-be, you can even get a 50% discount off AndroidsinBoots here!)
    • The Tinsel Rack 
and more!

  

Tip: Remember to combine with your cashback credit card for savings AND cashback!


The app may seem a little pricey at first, but you won’t regret it because you only need to go to three nice restaurants in the year (or a single hotel stay) and the savings you get will be more than enough to cover what you paid for the app! There’s an entire range of merchants, including top-notch ones like Jamie’s Italian, Fat Cow, Bedrock Bar & Grill, Wave House Sentosa and more.


 

I recently met a couple who are huge fans of The Entertainer app, and taught me how they maximised the app in their own lifestyles, and they agreed to be interviewed so they could share their story with all of you here today. (As they’ve asked to retain their privacy, we’ll simply use Mr. and Mrs. S to refer to them from here.)

1. Tell us more about yourself.
Mr S is a civil servant while Mrs S is a banker. We’ve been married for a few years now, and our hobbies are eating, travel and exercising, necessarily in that order!

2. How did you come across The Entertainer app? 
Mr & Mrs. S: We were planning to visit Fat Cow for a birthday celebration, and a good friend mentioned she had 1-for-1s via the Entertainer app. All we had to do was to download the app, and she pinged us the coupons, which worked out really well for our pocket! 

3. What made you purchase the app (especially in contrast to other free dining apps which offer discounts)? 
There was no looking back after the Fat Cow experience, we wanted to check out the other 1-for-1s and being foodies, this was perfect allowing us to try more places.

4. How much have you saved on The Entertainer in 2017? 
USD2,521 or SGD3,393! Here’s a screenshot from our app.

 

5. How does The Entertainer app fit into your regular lifestyle as a couple? What do you mostly use it for? 

Food food food food! And occasionally gym and hotels. Basically it opens up many new possibilities for us to explore, and makes our days more exciting.

6. Other than dining, have you tried any of the other services?
We have used it at several boutique gyms – mostly classes where we have tried pilates, aerial yoga..

7. What are some restaurants / services you would recommend on The Entertainer app?

We highly recommend Bedrock Bar and Grill for awesome steak, Poke Lulu and Living Botanica for their drinks! In fact, you would have earned back the cost of the app by just using it at Bedrock once! 

We also recommend Osteria Art for fine dining, Patisserie G for desserts (these guys take their desserts almost too seriously), any of the high teas offered by the 5 star hotels on the app, Bangkok Jam (their curry fish head is really awesome), Group Therapy for a “chillax and nua” cafe experience, Working Title for their burgers and Mad for Garlic for their garlic-infused pastas and pizzas. Actually there’s too much to list! We were really spoilt for choice when rummaging through our memories picking our top eats. For 2018, we are looking forward to using more of the services offered on the app. 

(Dawn: I also highly recommend Guac and Go – located near Guoco Tower – if you’re an avocado and salad lover like I am!) 

——–

I first reviewed The Entertainer app back in 2015 here when they had 800 merchants (and they’ve doubled that number since), where I had first tried out the free version and redeemed some basic vouchers. I was so blown away by the offers on the app that I immediately upgraded to the paid version afterward just so I could get access to the thousands of 1-for-1 coupons.


How The Entertainer works

Simply browse on the app to see the different vouchers per merchant, and head down to the merchant outlet to redeem. What’s more, you get 3 vouchers per merchant, which means you can go back for repeat visits while always paying 50% lower than what their other regular customers are paying!



If you’re planning for a hotel staycation whether in Singapore or abroad, you can also pick from their offers which basically allows you to stay for 2 nights while paying only for the price of 1. Hotel partners include InterContinental, Shangri-La, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt and more, as well as various hotel resorts and lodges.


Couples will also love this app as you get to engage in a myraid of activities that will keep your date nights novel and exciting, while chalking up substantial savings at the same time. I’ve been using this app pretty often this year and foresee that we’ll be using even more to chalk up the 50% savings.


 


Get a further 10% off with promo code SGBB2018, which means the app will only cost you $95 for thousands of coupons. What’s more, you’ll get Cheers Singapore 2018 (1-for-1 drinks across 130 outlets in Singapore) bundled in for free. 

The average savings per member in 2017 was SGD 725, so you can just imagine how much you’ll be saving with The Entertainer app!


Here’s another tip: Share The Entertainer app with your friends and family, and split the cost even further that way! 

Foodies and couples, you won’t want to miss this.
With love,
Budget Babe
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I’ve been using The Entertainer app since 2015 and reached out to The Entertainer in Q4 2017 to ask them for a reader promo code so you guys can enjoy some discounts off the original app price!

IPO Analysis: Sasseur REIT

Sasseur REIT is an upcoming Chinese outlet mall portfolio that is currently open for IPO applications and will soon be listed on SGX.


This is the third retail REIT in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to be listed here – BHG and Daisin Retail Trust are the other two – pointing to the growth in the spending power of the Chinese middle class, which is expected to continue growing. With a CAGR of over 24% per annum, it is expected that China outlet malls will become the biggest in the world by 2030, surpassing the outlet mall markets in Europe and USA. While I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on these estimates, I would however review this IPO as both a dividend and growth stock for the future.

You’ll currently be buying into a portfolio of 4 retail outlet malls located in Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming. 


Details:
– 266.6 million shares for offer at $0.80 each, raising S$396 million 
– 13.8 million public tranche
– IPO closes on 26 March at noon.

Business:
Sasseur REIT owns and manages four outlet shopping malls in China, valued at RMB 7.34 million (or S$1.5 million) in total (although I would take these valuation numbers with a pinch of salt). All of these outlet malls have an occupancy rate of above 90% each, with land tenures of 30 – 37 years and includes 4,466 car park lots (translates into extra revenue for the REIT).

Strengths

1. A chance to ride on China’s growing consumer market

The PRC outlet market industry has experienced a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.8%, and is expected to continue its growth at a 24.2% CAGR from 2016 – 2021.

Most of you should be well familiar with how the Chinese shop and spend by now, but if you haven’t seen it for yourself, I kid you not when I say they can go insane at outlet malls. I saw this firsthand in both the US and Italy where the PRC folks were buying bags and bags of discounted branded stuff…whereas all I walked out with was a pair of Nike shoes, lol. These outlets get so much sales from the Chinese that even their salespeople are trained to speak in the language (I remember the shock I got when I saw the Italian salesman speak in Chinese to a PRC customer!).



The concept of “face” or “mian zi” is huge in China, and you only need to see them buying to be convinced of this. Sasseur REIT offers an opportunity for investors to ride on this trend.

2. High occupancy rate and low tenant default risk.

Their outlet malls at Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming have high occupancy rates of 96.4%, 91.5%, 95.8% and 96.1% respectively. This comprises of over 1,119 tenants which means that even if a few tenants were to default, it should not pose too much of an impact to Sasseur REIT.



3. Strong sponsor and sponsor interest.

The sponsor is Sasseur REIT is one of China’s largest retail outlet mall operators, Sasseur Cayman Holding Ltd, which was founded in 1989 and currently manages 9 retail outlets in China. They will be the largest single unitholder with a 55% to 58% interest, which represents good news to retail investors since there will be a strong incentive for the Sponsor to ensure the REIT performs well.

The sponsor also had a 2 billion net profit for FY2016 (S$420 million) which signifies a relatively strong financial position.

4. Positive management fee structure.

The manager will receive a 10% per annum base fee of the REIT’s distributable income, together with a performance fee of 25% of the difference in DPU between each financial year. I like how this management fee structure is based on distributable income and DPU growth, which further aligns the interest of the manager to ensure that the REIT does well.

5. Strong interest from cornerstone investors

The list includes prominent investors like JD.com (through their subsidiary, Adroit Ideology Limited), Bangkok Life Assurance PCL (a leading life insurance company in Thailand) and CKK Holdings (which operates Charles & Keith and Pedro).

6. Decent dividend yield above 6%


The expected distribution yield is 7.5% for 2018 and 7.8% for 2019. I’ll look at the most conservative figure in this case, which would be the 6.1% forecast yield for this year without factoring in the EM agreements.

As a dividend stock, 6.1% is a fair yield that I would accept for a REIT investment, which is higher than Suntec REIT (5.2%) and Capitaland Retail China (6.0%)…although it still can’t beat my Sabana REIT which is giving me a historical yield of over 10% based on my last purchase price, heh.

7. Fixed and variable income model.

The structure of most REITs are easy to understand – they lease out their assets and collect rent from tenants, which they then distribute to unitholders. However, Sasseur REIT adopts an interesting model that warrants a second look and further evaluation on its merits and downsides.

Instead of a pre-agreed rental model, or even one with escalating lease agreements structured in, Sasseur REIT instead receives a percentage of the tenant’s sales turnover as rental. What this means is that Sasseur REIT’s income is highly dependent on the sales performance of its tenants, and dividends could therefore vary from year to year. 

To incentivise consumer spending and sales, Sasseur REIT offers a VIP membership program where customers qualify by spending more than RMB 600 at any one of its outlets. At the moment, there’s over 809,000 VIP members who contribute 50% to 65% of the sales in its outlet malls. 


Aside from these sales-based leases, a small proportion of Sasseur REIT’s tenants are under conventional lease models where they pay a fixed rent, or the higher of turnover rent and fixed rent. These tenants include the F&B operators, cinema and other entertainment or lifestyle providers.

Its fixed income portion also comes from the fact that in the event where the resulting rent falls below the Minimum Rent, then Sasseur REIT shall be entitled to receive the shortfall. (RMB 472.9 million or S$95.9 million for FY2018, and RMB 611.4 million or S$124 million for FY2019). This basically provides income support to Sasseur REIT for the first two years whereby it is guaranteed a minimum rental, but will fall away in 2020 onwards.
This leads me to the biggest and most important risk in my next section…


Risks / Red Flags
1. Loss of income support after 2019

Unless the agreement is restructured to guarantee the minimum rent payment to the REIT after 2019, we could potentially see a drop in the REIT’s income, especially if economic conditions worsen or if the Chinese cut back on their spending at outlet malls. If you’re investing into Sasseur REIT, you probably should keep an eye on how it’ll perform from the third year onwards.

Another point to note is that the percentage of distributable income will fall by 10% after two years.

2. Extremely susceptible to economic cycles, especially recessions.

The outlet malls that Sasseur REIT owns are mainly focused on discounted luxury and high-end brand items, which makes them highly susceptible to economic cycles. In an economic boom and growing disposable income, all will be good; but in a recession where consumers tend to cut back on their discretionary spending, Sasseur REIT will surely be impacted negatively, and even more so because their rental model is based on tenant sales turnover.

Sasseur REIT claims that “the outlet mall industry tends to exhibit counter-cyclical characteristics and resilience during economic recessions” (page 32) but I don’t know how the US market consumer behaviour is supposed to be representative of how the Chinese will react in similar conditions, plus that runs contrary to what I believe so I’m just going to brush this claim aside as marketing speak.

3. Heavy exposure to fashion.



Fashion accounts for almost half of Sasseur REIT’s portfolio property income. In times of recession, we’ll probably see this discretionary spending on clothes and fashionable apparel be the first to go.

4. High concentration risk – Chongqing outlet

Another factor I’m pretty uncomfortable with is the fact that out of its 4 outlet malls, Sasseur REIT derives a majority of its sales and revenue from its Chongqing outlet. Take a look at how the different malls compare.

Now, there’s a good explanation for this – the Hefei and Kunming outlets became operational only in 2016, so there’s limited data for us to analyse. In contrast, Chongqing has been operating since 2008. 

However, given that Chongqing outlets accounted for over 70% of its income last year, this makes me a little uneasy given the high concentration risk.

5. What’s the actual gearing ratio?

Based on its IPO prospectus (page 163), Sasseur REIT claims that its gearing ratio stands at 30.3%, which leaves them with enough room to take up more debt for acquisitions and growth if they need to.

However, I’m not so certain about the accuracy of this because based on its unaudited pro forma financial statements (page 155), I arrived at a ratio of 40.8% for 30 Sept 2017 instead (630,155,000 / 1,552,002,000), and this is considered high if we compare it against the other REITs listed here.

6. Short land tenure and weighted average lease expiry (WALE)

At 30 – 37 years remaining on its land tenure, this seems rather short at first glance, but there’s apparently a good reason (page 110) when you consider China’s Urban Land Regulations, which stipulate that maximum term is up to 40 years for commercial, tourism and entertainment use. The Chongqing outlets are held under the land use right for commercial use, limited to 40 years, which includes the time taken for developing the land. Sasseur REIT states that it will be able to apply for renewal of this land use right at least a year in advance of its expiry.


Another point to note is that at 3.2 years, the WALE is quite short in contrast to other REITs listed on SGX. 


7. Forex risk

Lastly, as Sasseur REIT receives its income in RMB and pays out dividends in SGD, we’ll be exposed to forex risk in this case, as with the other REITs listed here locally which derive a majority of their income from overseas markets.

Financials

With its NAV at $0.773 per unit, the current IPO price represents a fair value to NAV (1.03 P/NAV ratio). Then again, it is hard to expect any decent REIT to price its offering at a significant discount to NAV.

Moreover, don’t forget that Sasseur REIT will be distributing 100% of its distributable income until 31 December 2019, with a promised yield of above 7% if all goes well for the next 2 years.

I’ve also not really discussed much about its growth potential (highlighted on page 11) where Sasseur REIT has been granted a right of first refusal (ROFR) from the Sponsor, giving it the opportunity to acquire the Sponsor’s Xi’an and Guiyang outlets, which commenced operations on 30 September and 9 December last year respectively. In addition, the Sponsor also manages 3 other pipeline properties in Hangzhou, Nanjing and Zhongdong Changchun, which were not injected into Sasseur REIT’s current portfolio since these properties are not currently owned by the Sponsor.

My suspicion is that due to 
(i) the stability of dividend payouts and income support for the next 2 years, 
(ii) the expected CAGR for China’s outlet mall market and 
(iii) the potential asset growth for Sasseur REIT in acquiring (2 to 5) more outlet malls in the near future
that explains why the IPO price is valued as such.


Conclusion

Having seen firsthand on the Chinese consumers’ shopping and spending tendencies, I’m inclined to apply for this IPO placement just to ride on this booming market, which I believe should continue to grow unless a serious economic recession hits China. However, I’m wary of Sasseur REIT’s income support model, high gearing ratio and over-reliance on Chongqing outlets. 

It is also interesting to note that Sasseur REIT seems to have invested quite seriously into its marketing efforts to push out this IPO, as seen from this huge booth that they set up at Raffles Place just to distribute its IPO prospectus…which you can easily find online here


Nonetheless, there was a good video that shows how traffic and activities at the outlet malls look like, although the girls manning the booth couldn’t tell me where I could find the link so I can rewatch it back at home in detail. I was a bit disappointed as I had thought this was a golden chance to perhaps speak with its investor relations team, or at least an insider who would be able to share more insights into the malls that Sasseur REIT owns, but the girls manning the booth couldn’t really answer my questions, saying that they were mainly hired to distribute the prospectus to potential retail investors in the area.

With its unique offering and demand for its IPO, I won’t be surprised if its share price flies after listing.  It’s worth a shot, but not a big one based on the risk factors I’ve identified above. Hence I’ll be applying for a small tranche for now and watch this closely for further developments.

What about you?


With love,
Budget Babe

Is the motor insurance industry headed down the same path as healthcare?

The same warning signs that led the state of our healthcare insurance to what it is today has also just appeared in the motor insurance industry. What’s going to happen next?

If you recall, earlier this month, it was announced that patients with new Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) riders will no longer be able to enjoy zero co-payment of their hospitalisation bills. A 5% co-payment will now be imposed (capped at $3,000 annually) to address the issue of over-consumption of medical services

Between 2005 – 2016, the industry’s claims ratios surged from 42% to 84%. These rising claims have prompted hikes in ISP and rider premiums, but that didn’t help the insurers from still making underwriting losses.

Q: How did this come about? 
A: Rising claims + underwriting losses.

For many years, riders on top of their healthcare insurance policy (which would allow one to not fork out a single cent for hospitalization) were highly popular among Singaporeans, with 1 in 3 Singaporeans opting to take up a rider. 

But in the last 2 years, ISP premiums had risen by up to 80%, with older policyholders and those on private hospitalisation plans experiencing higher increase. Yours truly was one of them. One of the causes identified by Health Minister Chee Hong Tat was that the zero co-payment feature of these full riders had resulted in a “buffet syndrome”, which led to over-consumption and over-charging of healthcare services.

He pointed out that the average medical bill size for full-rider policyholders was about 60% higher than for those without riders, even though the former group are generally younger and in better health.

Were there warning signs that this was coming?

Yes. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the news. That’s because after having seen how all the healthcare insurers suffered from underwriting losses in 2016, and coupled with the rise in healthcare costs, I knew this move was only a matter of time. 

Source


The industry chalked up underwriting losses ranging from S$7.3 million to almost $30 million, with AIA and NTUC Income suffering the biggest hits. Even AXA, which only started selling ISPs and riders in the second half of 2016, suffered a considerable loss.

Now, there’s no point in crying over split milk, which is why I haven’t really bothered writing a commentary about the state of the healthcare insurance industry (mainly because I expected it) until today…because I just spotted a glaring similarity in another insurance segment:


Is the motor insurance industry headed down the same slippery slope?

We already know by now that the healthcare insurers got to this state because of rising claims and underwriting losses. But why aren’t we talking about how the same warning signs have now appeared in the motor insurance industry?

I quote:

Motor insurers in Singapore are expected to review the commercial viability of their business after booking a combined underwriting loss of S$27.2 million in 2017 compared to the previous year – the segment’s first underwriting deficit since 2010. 

The general insurance industry’s 2017 full year results were announced by the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) yesterday, revealed a 3.3% drop in gross motor premiums to S$1.1 billion while claims rose by 12%, representing an increase of S$60 million. 

Loss ratios in motor jumped to 64.9%, the highest recorded by the industry in the last 5 years.


What does that mean? In other words, for every dollar of premium collected, 65 cents was paid as a claim. When you factor in operational overheads, distribution costs and commissions to agents for selling the policy…what I’m seeing is that the motor insurers are hardly making any money.
This points to the high possibility that we may see a huge rise in our motor insurance premiums as well. 
IP riders were created as a way for insurance companies to boost their profits, and it is a rich irony that the insurers themselves, after years of enjoying the spoils, appealed to the Ministry of Health to make co-payment compulsory.
“Yet the full-rider predicament could have been prevented if the starting point of insurers was to act more responsibly. Responsible competition is the name of the game. There was no need to fight tooth and nail for the last policyholder and win the battle, only to realise belatedly that fighting among themselves has cost them the war.

The insurers must be made culpable for their actions, which have brought us to this undesirable state of affairs. They should not attribute the problem to the demands of free markets. Nor should they have appealed for regulatory intervention when things went astray.

Their actions seem to suggest that insurers did not act in their own best interests.

By chasing the short-term profit, they effectively mortgaged away their own future.

Most gallingly, however, they took risks with our future.”


With love,
Budget Babe

How to avoid the hidden charges in your online shopping

How many of you have realised that whenever you shop on an international website and pay via your credit card, you’re actually being charged more?
Yes, this is the case for all your favourite websites overseas – Airbnb, Expedia, Hotels.com, Taobao, Amazon, ASOS, Colourpop and what not.

It gets worse when you opt to check-out and pay in SGD, which is what most of us do, while not realising that we’ve just effectively chosen to be charged for:



·       Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) – a practice where your card transaction is converted to Singapore dollars through a DCC service provider used by the merchant

·       (Double) forex fee (FX) – (i) most credit cards convert all foreign currency transactions (i.e. anything that isn’t USD) into US Dollars before (ii) being converted again into Singapore dollars.

·       Visa / Mastercard processing fee – usually anywhere between 2.5% to 3.5%

·       The bank’s administrative fee

When you total up all of these charges, these can easily set you back up to about 15% of your entire purchase (that’s $150 extra if your bill is $1000). In fact, when my husband and I booked our hotels for our Hanoi trip online last year, we compared the USD and SGD charges and decided to check out in USD instead because it was lower.

However, our final bill ended up being higher than what we had expected, due to DCC and FX conversion charges that we forgot to account for. We opted to pay via my credit card in USD because we knew we’d be charged double FX conversion fees otherwise, but even then it wasn’t the best rate still. It would have been perfect if we had a local US credit card to pay the bill, but that just isn’t practical. There just wasn’t a way for us to avoid the fees, other than trying to reduce it.

And this is why I believe the DBS Multi-Currency Account is the solution to getting around these fees, because of how it allows us to transact in the local currency.

Here’s how to best take advantage of your DBS MCA to save money whenever you shop online:

·       Set up alerts so you’re notified when the currency drops to your preferred (low) rate. You can even apply the dollar cost averaging (DCA) method, just like how my friend has been changing and stashing away a lot more USD almost every month in preparation for his upcoming trip ever since it fell below 1.35.

·       Buy and lock the rates into your local currency account (choose from 12 different currencies). Change your SGD only when the rates are low.

·       Pay using your DBS Visa Debit Card – linked to your DBS MCA – in the local currency (I’ve also previously reviewed this card as the best cashback debit card in the market).
Check the HQ of the online e-commerce store and use their corresponding local currency.

·       Make sure you have enough funds in your local currency wallet.

·       Sit back and watch your funds being deducted directly from your foreign currency wallet, knowing that you’ve just bypassed sneaky DCC + FX + admin fees!

Using this method, your MCA + DBS Visa Debit Card now fulfills the role of that local (country) credit card that I wished I had earlier. When you click to pay for a USD 100 item, you’ll see exactly USD 100 deducted from your USD wallet, and nothing more.

What’s the trade-off?

Ah, if you were sharp-eyed enough, you might have noticed that the DBS Visa Debit Card is ultimately a debit card, so you naturally won’t be able to get the usual miles or cashback rewards that come with using your credit cards.

But is that a cause for concern? Not really, because when you’re losing up to 15% to foreign currency conversion and processing charges, you’ll need a lot more than the usual 5 – 6% of cashback offered by most (or anything less than 10X rewards) to even balance off those extra costs you’ve paid.

For those of you playing the miles game, don’t forget that if you opt to pay in SGD or did not realise you were charged in SGD (instead of foreign currency through DCC), then you will not receive the bonus miles because your credit card may not count this as a foreign currency spend anymore. Confused? That’s why you should always just choose to pay in the local currency when you can and avoid DCC whenever possible. (The thing is, if you were paying overseas and got a physical receipt, then you’ll be able to identify the DCC charge, but online merchants almost never disclose whether they use DCC.)


The choice is yours. Cashback and rewards get reduced changed all the time (and are always subject to so much T&Cs) whereas fees are a permanent fixture. I don’t know about you, but it certainly makes a lot more sense to minimize my fees each time instead.


Don’t forget to keep at least S$3,000 in your daily average balance as well, because there will be a fall-below fee of $7.50 monthly if it falls below the minimum sum. This fee is waived if you’re under 29 years old.

How do I get my DBS MCA account?

You can first learn more about the account here, or if you’ve an existing DBS Autosave account, you can simply convert it to a DBS eMulti-Currency Autosave plus via your digibank app.

Remember to link your DBS Visa Debit card and select MCA as your primary account for the card so that you get to tap on all these savings and benefits. With this, you no longer have a reason to pay for all those nasty extra fees anymore!


This article is written in collaboration with DBS. All opinions are of my own.

ICO Review: CloudMoolah

Democratizing the gaming industry by unlocking global game payments and distribution.

What’s the problem CloudMoolah is trying to solve?

Game developers currently pay a hefty amount in distribution and marketing fees to incumbent app stores (eg. Apple App Store, Google Play). Furthermore, more than 50% of total mobile game revenue is currently earned by less than 2% of all app developers, particularly those with big advertising budgets.

SEA is the world’s fastest-growing mobile gaming market (69% y-o-y growth), but is currently fragmented, consisting of 11 countries with a fragmented payment landscape and low credit card penetration.
Game developers currently need to undergo lengthy and cumbersome integration processes to publish their apps in various app stores. Most in-app purchases currently utilize credit cards for processing, but not every gamer owns a credit card.

Within the Southeast Asia market, credit card penetration is still under 3%, so there is a need for gaming payments to be integrated with telco top-up cards, pre-paid cards, e-banking, or through other current localized modes of payment.

The existing solution is to integrate with multiple Software Development Kits (SDKs) with local payment companies, a process which takes months to complete as developers have to undergo negotiation and integration testing process with different vendors for the different markets.

The Solution

Utilize blockchain technology to faciliate gaming payments, which will help developers save on intermediary costs (such as retail margins and currency conversion fees). CloudMoolah will be a payment aggregator integrated within the Unity game development software.

What used to be months of payment integration across different country markets can now be completed in 10 minutes, and within a single CloudMoolah integration through the Unity Editor, game developers can now access more than 100 million gamers in Southeast Asia from over 500,000 retail point of sales.

As of October 2017, the CloudMoolah payment aggregator has been launched and successfully integrated into the Unity Editor. It is currently available alongside global titans such as Apple, Google Play, Amazon, Facebook, Xiaomi and Samsung:

I was also able to verify this directly from a Unity source here, where you can find proof in their manual for game developers on how to configure and integrate with CloudMoolah for in-app payments.

Over 300 game developers have already expressed an interest in integrating the CloudMoolah payment system and are currently in process of onboarding to the system.

In the next phase, Cloud Alliance, the team behind CloudMoolah aims to “build the best 3rd party Android App Store” i.e. the MOO Store, which will simplify the mobile app publishing process as it allows developers to directly publish their games from the Unity platform. The MOO Store will also offer value-added publishing services for game developers such as content localization.

Transactions on the MOO Store will be facilitated by CloudMoolah Points (CMP), which can either be purchased with fiat currency at USD 0.01 per CMP or using the MOO Tokens (at 20% bonus).

With a unified in-app currency, game developers do away with forex conversion costs and the hassle of managing currencies for different games. Game developers can easily consolidate revenues from their various games — providing operational efficiency and transferability of game economics, hence incentivising them to use and integrate this form of payment gateway into their games.

You can think of it as the “Mobile gaming Steam Store for Southeast Asia, with an in-built Kickstarter for game developers and virtual items marketplace”. (taken from their Telegram)

How does this compare with other payment competitors?

CloudMoolah is currently the only company offering an aggregated localized payment solution directly within the Unity editor. Instead of competing, they work alongside local payment incumbents and game developers.

Partnerships

To achieve their mission in democratizing game publishing and monetisation, Cloud Alliance has partnered with Unity Technologies, which many independent game developers swear by.

Unity Editor is the world’s largest video game development engine used by over 5.5 million developers today. The development of multimillion-dollar games such as Pokemon Go, Super Mario Brothers and Assassin’s Creed were supported by Unity. The Unity development platform is used to create 2D, 3D, VR and AR gaming experiences.

CloudMoolah is currently Unity’s exclusive partner in Southeast Asia. In addition, they have partnerships with the following major payment partners in SEA and Taiwan:

How impressive is the team behind CloudMoolah?

The founding team has experience and a proven track record in the gaming industry, particularly in publishing popular games such as FIFA Online 2, World of Warcraft, Counterstrike Online, Starcraft 2, etc.

What’s the value of the MOO Token?

Gamers who have purchased the MOO Token will be able to exchange their MOO Token for more CMP in the MOO Store than if they were using fiat currency. Gamers can also support the games they love using the MOO Token through crowdfunding as well as trading of services and items on the MOO Store. 

For developers, use cases of the MOO Token include: (i) Paying for game publishing services to grow their games; (ii) Receiving incubation support from Cloud Alliance; (iii) Obtaining support through crowdfunding and (iv) Trading various services and items on the MOO Store.

My Q&A with the team

1. CloudMoolah previously raised USD 5 million from Aetius Capital, of which the funds was supposed to be used to develop the product and market it worldwide. Why raise $30 million more through an ICO? Or have you already run out of the original $5M funding?

The original $5m was primarily used to develop the CloudMoolah system which we have already integrated within the Unity Editor and launched. Because of the success of the CloudMoolah project, we signed a new deal with Unity to develop an App Store called the MOO store. This is a much bigger project which requires more resources. We realise that raising the funds via an ICO would therefore make the most sense because it also draws in the community into supporting the project, which is crucial as we are ultimately about engaging the game community.

2. Given that many members on your current team have other existing commitments outside of CloudMoolah, how will your team intend to balance this out?

Of course most active and energetic people would have other interests in life outside of their core work, likewise for our team members. But our key work commitment now is CloudMoolah & MOO store. Rest assured we are expending all our efforts and time on making it a success.

3. Focusing on the Asian market first will eliminate a large majority of gamers who are based in US and Europe. Wouldn’t this limit your sales and returns?

Our business model is about improving monetization from emerging markets. We technically bridge content from advanced game-manufacturing markets such as US/Europe/Korea to SE Asia markets. Next up, we would be looking at including new payment gateways from other emerging markets as well. If you look at the SEA online gaming market alone, it is potentially a $10b market by 2025, and staying focused on this market alone can reap huge rewards.

4. “More than 100 million gamers…in Southeast Asia and Taiwan” was mentioned in your whitepaper as your target market, as well as a revenue projection of “the MOO store may generate revenues of USD 295 million by the year 2022”. Can you explain if these statistics covers all gamers in SEA, or whether it excludes gamers who use iPhones?

SE Asia markets are about half the size of China and with a red-hot growth rate of +40% as a whole. Our projections cover SE Asia alone and only on the Android users (which is also gaining market share aggressively).

5. Games downloaded from the Apple App Store will have to be paid through Apple as well. Given that many gamers also download apps from the Apple App store, how do you intend to overcome the issue of not being able to target these consumers?

Our current focus is on emerging markets where there are pent-up demand for games that is hindered by access to the centralized financial system. Android-based smartphones dominates these market – in Southeast Asia alone, Android market share (by game installation) is close to 90% – that is why we decided to target this market first.

Just the Android market itself is already a sizable potential. Also, our target audience are the non-credit card users in emerging markets, which are largely served by Android-based smartphones.

6. Adding on to the above, how will the games be distributed then? How will the game developers market and promote their games?

Our MOO Store! And we intend to put in tools to help them market and promote their games “kick-starter-style.” Having met hundreds of Unity developers in the past year, we discovered that they are their own best person to sell their game.

7. How many % of market share are you targeting for CloudMoolah, especially given that you’re competing against already established payment channels of Amazon, Google Play, Samsung Galaxy and Xiaomi?

We would prefer to see ourselves as a complement to what these established companies are providing. Realising untapped revenue for indie game developers means survivability and motivation (a great deal).

8. Regarding your whitepaper and Appendix A, how many of the 300 developers mentioned have committed to building and integrating with CloudMoolah store for payments? Will this be exclusive, or will they be integrating CloudMoolah simply as an additional payment method on top of Google Play / other competitors?

100% of them. Every developer we spoke to at the game conferences loves what we are doing. We are giving them access to a market opportunity they would most likely miss (outside of their comfort zone markets). We help them save time and effort. We help them pay their bills. In short, we help them get the “Moolah”!

TLDR Conclusion

After successfully launching their payment aggregator solution for Southeast Asia, Cloud Alliance is trying to raise USD 30 million through their ICO to now finance and develop the MOO Store, which will serve to democratize the gaming industry. Their exclusive partnership with Unity, as well as with local payment providers in SEA, will serve them well.

After an in-depth review, I’ll be putting some ETH into this ICO, and am excited to see what the team can achieve with the MOO Store!

If you’ve any thoughts to add on, I’ll love to hear them in the comments below!

With love,
Budget Babe