AirAsia to raise capital to fund AirAsia Digital

AirAsia Digital leverages the group’s physical and digital assets to create an ecosystem of businesses that connect with its customers in their everyday life


AIRASIA Group Bhd is looking into raising capital to fund its digital arm AirAsia Digital to further diversify revenue stream for the group.

Group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes (picture; right) said AirAsia Digital is the group’s “next phase” and aims to be a new kind of travel technology company in the region through the strength of its assets and access to talents.

“Our aim is to be an Asean super app, our strength is in Asean. Obviously, we have accelerated this plan in this post-Covid-19 world,” he told reporters in a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Previously known as RedBeat Ventures Sdn Bhd upon launch in 2018, AirAsia Digital leverages the group’s physical and digital assets to create an ecosystem of businesses that connect with its customers in their everyday life.

It comprises three main pillars — venture builder, RedBeat Academy and data centre. Venture builder is dedicated to incubating and growing strategic businesses that focus on logistics and e-commerce and financial services.

It includes its five portfolio companies, Teleport, BigPay, BIGLIFE and Santan.

RedBeat Academy trains and produces a steady pool of digital experts to fill and boost the talent gaps in Asean, while the data centre is a data consultancy department that provides a range of services including data governance, data engineering and various types of analytics.

Asked about the company’s strategy against competitors and to fit into an Asean market such as Indonesia, Fernandes said they are there to complement the market instead of competing.

“In the same way that AirAsia is much smaller than Lion Air, but we fitted into that market. We are nowhere near the size of Gojek but again, AirAsia is not about being dominant in one country, it’s about providing an Asean product and serving the market,” he said.

Fernandes said the business will seek venture capital or other investors to grow the user base of the super app, similar to how AirAsia raised its capital.

“AirAsia’s first capital was raised with private equity money while the second capital was from our IPO. We will do the same.

“We built the super app in our own capital just like we built AirAsia. We have some debt capital coming in that has been secured for part of the group including Teleport and Santan,” he added.

He added low-cost airlines will bounce back faster than their premium counterparts in the current economic climate as people will look for value at affordable fares.

Additionally, Fernandes mentioned AirAsia’s digital and logistics company Teleport which operates its cargo delivery.

“We are a fantastically strong cargo operator, the strongest cargo operator in Asia, only Singapore Airlines have more tonnage than us but that’s because they fly to Europe and the US but there is no airlines that fly to all the destinations that we fly.

“We’ve been cleared now and we are able to carry all kinds of cargo that we weren’t able to do before, so we are not far away from the DHL’s and FDex’s of the world,” said Fernandes.