Singapore-based telecommunications and fibre operator MyRepublic has received US$3.5 million in funding from Indonesian energy company Dian Swastatika Sentosa (DSS), a subsidiary of the Sinar Mas Group, in return for 5.9 per cent ownership in the company. The Sinar Mas conglomerate has been involved in a couple of deals in Asia, chiefly, the joint venture between Excite Japan, one of Japan’s leading internet portals, to start work on an online advertising service in Indonesia, as reported by The Bridge.
Its investment in MyRepublic seems to suggest that the conglomerate has interest in the Singapore market, despite it’s diminutive size next to the Indonesian market. It is likely that the Sinar Mas Group intends to use the country as a launchpad to expand to other regions in Asia.
Eka Tijpta Widjaja, that owns the Sinar Mas Group, controls the world’s second largest palm oil producer through Singapore-based GoldenAgri Resources, according to Bloomberg. Perhaps it will employ a similar strategy for telecommunications, which is one of the six verticals that the group is involved in. Others include pulp and paper; agri-business and food; financial services; real estate development; and energy and infrastructure.
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MyRepublic’s claim to fame is to provide a 1Gbps broadband services at S$49.99 (US$40) per month, much cheaper than the existing rates from larger competitors such as Singtel and Starhub. It has set itself to be an ‘Open Telco’ – one that will commit to joint development of services. It made an announcement earlier this year in January to launch its MyGigNation initiative, which is a living laboratory to support developers in creating Gigabit services and applications. It claims to provide these independent developers with technical resources, custom routing and network optimisation to support applications, exposing APIs with potential integration with its billing and CRM platforms, and a joint marketing and promotional effort for their ideas.