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StarHub, UOB to launch digital marketplace for SME business solutions

TELCO StarHub is set to launch a digital marketplace for solutions aimed at small businesses, with United Overseas Bank (UOB) its first partner, under a memorandum of understanding unveiled on Sunday.

The tie-up will also see both companies looking into providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with real-time customer insights on transactions, as well as technologies such as artificial intelligence.

StarHub's digital marketplace, which is set to launch in October, will give SMEs access to different product and service providers for digital tools, including business automation options from UOB.

Chong Yoke Sin, chief of StarHub's enterprise business group, said in a media statement: "Combining our established network of clients and partners, we will be able to create a digital economy of buyers and suppliers of solutions and services to spur a thriving SME sector.

"Such an intimate level of connection and collaboration enables all of us to break industry silos and to create new value through better connectivity and insights."

Frederick Chin, who heads group wholesale banking at UOB, added: "By partnering StarHub and participating in its digital ecosystem, we will be able to help more of our SME customers connect with a broader set specialised solutions and expertise they need to seize opportunities and overcome business challenges."

Retail and food and beverage operations are one of the biggest segments served by StarHub's SME business, the telco noted, citing point-of-sale systems, mobile ordering and in-store analytics among the products and services on offer. Its other enterprise solutions packages include broadband and mobile connectivity and accounting and human resource applications.

Enterprise services made up 43 per cent of StarHub's FY2017 revenue of S$2.4 billion, according to its annual report.

Digital marketplace development was one business strategy raised in its report, such as the blockchain-based digital trade platform aimed at SMEs that it launched with insurer Prudential in November 2017.