Burda International Asia announces a restructuring of the company and large investments in digital businesses

Burda International Asia, a subsidiary of Hubert Burda Media, is proud to announce new, far-reaching changes that will place the company at the forefront of the region’s publishing industry. In response to the changing needs of readers and advertisers, Burda is introducing a new structure that reorganises the business into three distinct units: Digital, Print and Services.


The Digital business unit will be responsible for Burda’s digital publications, including luxury content platforms Lifestyle Asia, PrestigeOnline, Pin Prestige, August Man and Hello! Thailand. The Print business will continue to oversee the group’s luxury print publications. In addition, the Services unit will be renamed to AUGMENT and endeavour to increase the product offerings within content marketing, custom publishing, event planning and an array of digital marketing services. 


Burda International will be making a significant investment to expand its business units across the region, bolstering its workforce to offer innovative luxury content solutions. The Digital business unit is the first of the three units to be aggressively launched in the coming months, with 38 new hires planned across the region. Burda’s appointed key members for the Digital business unit will be Lifestyle Asia’s co-founders, Christopher Lindvall and Richard Nilsson, who will act as Digital Managing Directors for Hong Kong and Thailand, and Singapore and Malaysia. In their new roles, Lindvall and Nilsson will draw upon more than a decade of experience in online publishing to steer the Digital business towards growth.


Formerly Lifestyle Asia’s Editor in Chief, Michael Alan Connelly and Managing Editor Luann Alphonso, will be appointed Heads of Digital Content for the region. Tony Cheong is appointed the new Head of Digital Sales for Hong Kong and Thailand, and Chris Ng is announced as Head of Digital Sales for Singapore and Malaysia.


“Our mission is to be the first in luxury. We connect affluent consumers with luxury brands and services, through targeted content solutions. We believe to support this mission, we must redefine ourselves, from a traditional publisher, to a content company,” CEO Sven Friedrichs announced recently to key executives at the BurdaTomorrow conference held in Bangkok on March 6th 2018.

“We’re thrilled about Burda making such a significant investment into the Digital unit and sharing our vision for the future of the business,” said Christopher Lindvall, Digital Managing Director for Hong Kong and Thailand.

“We can’t wait to launch new brands and products, while offering our clients strong social media offerings”.

The new structure of the Digital business will enable growth strategies and improve product development. To ensure a cutting-edge digital portfolio, Burda has recently signed a contract with American agency Wondersauce, which specialises in creating best-in-class content experiences for the modern consumer. Past clients of Wondersauce include GQ and specialised watch site Hodinkee.


“We’re excited to work with renowned developer and agency Wondersauce, not only as our platform builder but as our product advisor moving forward. Our ambition is not only to enhance the existing portfolio of digital brands, but also to launch new brands, expand into new markets and launch products in the social media and transactional space. Still, our core focus will remain on working in the luxury and lifestyle space,” said Richard Nilsson, Digital Managing Director for Singapore and Malaysia.


About Hubert Burda Media
Hubert Burda Media, headquartered in Munich, is an international technology and media company with over 540 brands and products that are oriented to the needs of consumers. Burda has 175 million users and approximately 60 million paying consumers. Its commercial success is driven by over 10,000 employees around the world. Burda is active in 19 markets, including Germany (where it is one of the country’s largest media groups), elsewhere in Europe, the United States and Asia. A culture of entrepreneurship and Innovation is the driving force behind the organisation, which builds on its original roots and values as a family-owned company.
For media enquiries, contact Sarah Huang, Head of Corporate Development – Burda Asia


Time to attack – Stefan Winners at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona

Stefan Winners gave an overview of the future developments in the media business at 4YFN’s keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress. While media use has risen steadily in recent years, it is now approaching its zenith: with around 6 hours of daily media consumption, the temporal capacity of most people has been reached. Digital is the most used media, but growth is much slower. And the digital advertising business also offers few opportunities for growth: most of the advertising expenditures have been moving to Google and Facebook for some time now, and there is still no change in sight. At the same time, people are stubbornly pursued through the net by trackers, and the resulting display advertising is increasingly being blocked away by unnerved consumers.

The new way for media

„We need to rethink content,” explained Winners. The shift away from “eco chambers” like facebook offers great new opportunities for publishers, e. g. Focus Online Local. BurdaForward‘s new platform offers 675,000 local messages per month, with 90 percent of the content generated by content partners. A second major trend for media is the bundling of content, such as Xing‘s exemplary success. Users will find everything they are interested in about jobs and careers here. Content and services from many different providers are bundled and individually connected at Xing.

Taking consumers seriously

The protection of privacy, as guaranteed by the Cliqz browser, was also an exciting topic for the Mobile World Congress. At Cliqz, consumers regain full control of their data that does not leave their personal computer.

The media business is constantly changing. „Interdisciplinary cooperation is needed,” explained Winners – at all levels: At Burda, for example, expert teams have already formed in areas such as mobile, performance marketing, HR, SEO, web analysis, finance, corporate development and data security. These groups have never been ordered from the top, but organize themselves and meet regularly.

Trends 2023

Finally, Winners gave an outlook on the media development of the next five years. The dominance of the tech giants from the USA remains, but it is increasingly being attacked from Asia such as Samsung, Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent. Europeans must make an effort to keep up. Artificial intelligence is expected to provide the greatest innovation impetus for the next few years – it will once again bring about lasting changes in many industries. The digitisation of society has only just begun, explained Stefan Winners. The right time to attack is now.


Burda invests in used car marketplace Carsome


Hubert Burda Media announced its investment in Carsome, the leading used car marketplace platform in Southeast Asia. Burda’s growth capital arm BurdaPrincipal Investments led the US$19M Series B funding round alongside Gobi Partners and other existing investors. This round will be used to strengthen the company’s position in Indonesia and Thailand, the region’s largest automotive markets. The company is headquartered in Malaysia and employs over 150 employees.

“We feel Southeast Asia’s burgeoning automotive sector is in the early stages of a digital transformation and believe there is a tremendous opportunity for Carsome to bridge the offline-to-online space. We are thrilled to join them as they build the leading used car platform in the region.”

Albert Shyy, Principal of BurdaPrincipal Investments

“Currently, Southeast Asia’s used car industry – estimated to be valued at over US$30 billion yearly – is still highly fragmented, inefficient and lacks transparency. Carsome takes on these problems by providing a seamless and transparent online used car selling process; one that provides users an easier way to sell their cars to dealers nationwide in a fast, fair and free manner.”

Eric Cheng, Co-Founder and CEO of Carsome

CEO Eric Cheng and COO Jiun Ee Teoh founded Carsome in May 2015. Through its online bidding portal, customers are able to sell their vehicles directly to dealers nationwide. Carsome facilitates the entire car selling process from inspection, to valuation, bidding and payment as well as logistics needs, allowing the customers to sell their cars as fast as one day with zero charges and minimal effort.

Carsome’s monthly total transaction value has increased by more than fourfold since January 2017. Total car sales facilitated on its platform have more than quadrupled with more than 70% of the transactions being done inter-city, which is a strong testament to the value proposition and product fit of Carsome’s business model. They have also grown their staff strength to over 150 in all four operating countries to cater for the rapid expansion of their business.

BurdaPrincipal Investments has significant experience investing globally in ecommerce and marketplace platforms. The company provides long term growth equity for fast growing digital technology and media companies. Current investments include ZilingoEtsy,Notonthehighstreet.comM.GemiVinted and Showroom.

Dorothee Stommel

Burda gets involved in blockchain technology

Burda Media invests in blockchain technology and founded the start-up BOT Labs in Berlin in January together with Ingo Rübe, up to now CTO of the national publishing business. The business goal of the company is to develop practical innovations for companies based on the blockchain technology, and to identify ways of integrating them into the operational business.

Blockchain has the potential to succeed the http protocol in the world wide web and to lead the internet, which is dominated by a few mega-corporations today, back to its highly democratic founding myth.“

Philipp Welte, Burda board member

is a new technology that makes secure transactions of all kinds possible without intermediaries. It creates smart contracts that ensure they are adhered to themselves. The first well-known product is the cryptocurrency Bitcoins. In practice, Blockchain could be used, for instance, for cars that rent themselves out, trips that are processed without intermediaries, as well as the booking of advertisements on media platforms and the fee-based use of editorial content.

What is exciting about Blockchain is that it is a deeply democratic, consumer-friendly, as well as secure technology. It is able to revolutionize the media business by making intermediaries of all kinds redundant and eliminate the misuse of data and data silos – and that is not all.“

Ingo Rübe, director of BOT Labs, becomes co-founder

The successor of Ingo Rübe and new CTO of Burda’s national publishing business will be Kai Riecke, who has been responsible for operationalizing technological innovations in various divisions at Burda since 2014. Riecke was product director at BILD digital from 2007 to 2012 and director of publishing at WEKA afterwards. For the past year, he has been advancing the implementation of a new technology platform as product director of AdTech Factory, Burda’s service provider for processing printed and digital advertisements. In his new role as CTO, he will continue to closely supervise the projects he is responsible for at AdTech Factory.

open-source CMS Thunder, which Burda created in 2015, and which has since been expanded successfully together with many other publishers, will be managed by a governing board consisting of Ingo Rübe and Kai Riecke in the future.

Further information: ingo.ruebe@botlabs.org

Burda invests in fashion marketplace Zilingo

Hubert Burda Media announced its investment in Zilingo, the leading fashion-focused marketplace platform in Southeast Asia. Burda’s growth capital arm BurdaPrincipal Investments led the $17M Series B funding round alongside Sequoia Capital India and other already existing investors. This round will be used to strengthen the company’s position in its newest market, Indonesia, and expand their supply base.

CEO Ankiti Bose and CTO Dhruv Kapoor founded Zilingo in April 2015 with the idea of aggregating the abundant yet unorganised fashion supply in the Southeast Asian markets. The company first launched in Thailand and now ships to eight countries while working with over 5,000 merchants who offer clothes, jewelry, and beauty products.

Zilingo is a perfect fit into Burda’s investment portfolio with our history in fashion and ecommerce. They have clearly found a sweet spot catering to a young, up-and-coming demographic as evidenced by their growth and strong repeat rates.  We are very excited to join them in building the leading fashion marketplace in the region.”

Albert Shyy, Principal of BurdaPrincipal Investments

“Since we startedZilingo, our focus has been building an extensive seller ecosystem catering to fashion sellers across Asia. This makes us a favourite with thousands of private labels and merchants, who are our real growth engine. We believe Burda’s vast network and experience supporting fast growing digital companies will be a tremendous asset as we scale our business globally.”

Ankiti BoseZilingo CEO & Co-founder

Zilingo provides services to merchants that allow them to grow their business digitally, including packaging, video production, and working capital loans. Over 60,000 new styles are added each week to cater to the rapidly evolving fashion trends of Zilingo’s core customer group of millennial buyers (85% of their customers are under the age of 35).

BurdaPrincipal Investments has significant experience investing globally in fashion and marketplace platforms. The company provides long term growth equity for fast growing digital technology and media companies. Current investments include Baublebar,Etsy,Notonthehighstreet.com,M.Gemi,Vinted and Showroom.

For additional information on Zilingo visit www.zilingo.com.

Thunder CMS expands beyond publishing business

120 publishers, IT experts and representatives of agencies got together at Thunder Day in Hamburg to share their experience with Burda’s Thunder CMS. Only about one and a half years after its start, Thunder is a well-known player in the publishing and tech community. All seats were taken in the conference room at Hamburg’s Wälderhaus. Guests included representatives from publishing companies such as Axel Springer, Gruner + Jahr and Droemer Knaur, content marketing agencies such as fischerAppelt and The Digitale, as well as IT agencies that rely on Thunder.

Dialog on an equal footing

The day showed that Thunder has long expanded beyond the boundaries of the classical publishing industry: Messe München, the supermarket chain Woolworth in Australia, universities and many more need a system for professional publishing and rely on Thunder. Experts from different industries and more than ten countries got together at Thunder Day, making new contacts and sharing their experience with Burda’s CMS.

Thunder success stories

Staff members from The Digitale, a Telekom subsidiary, told the audience how they were able to develop a content marketing project successfully in only twelve weeks’ time thanks to Thunder. “Thunder has prevailed against many big enterprise content management systems in a full-scale strategic evaluation process with our client, and has set many benchmarks”, says Peter Bilz-Wohlgemuth, CTO of The Digitale, who is responsible for the CMS project.

Thunder generates business

The users talked about their projects with great enthusiasm, explaining how they are able to implement small projects at a very reasonable price based on Thunder: “For our agency, Thunder stands for cost efficiency, focussing of resources on customizing features, and a faster time to market”, said Wolfgang Leitner from the agency Zensations. He was able to accept smaller projects as well with the help of Thunder, which he had had to turn down before. More and more companies are recognizing the importance of Thunder and are building up their business based on Burda’s CMS, for instance by developing connections to third-party systems.

Many more Thunder Days to come!

“Besides publishers and agencies, other industries as well as universities took part in our first Thunder Day. Developers, managers and decision makers met on an equal footing, sharing an interest in advancing their business based on Thunder. This mix created a unique dynamic which we have not experienced at any other symposium”, says Ingo Rübe, CTO of Burda Magazine Holding and initiator of Thunder. Thunder Day will become a regular format and will certainly attract even more enthusiasts next year.”


“Goodvertising” against Ad Fraud

Apart from low viewability, ad fraud is one of the problems the digital advertising industry is closely concerned with at the moment. Ad fraud mainly includes non-human traffic, also referred to as invalid traffic (IVT). Sites are visited by bots that generate unseen and therefore false impressions. Some bots can be recognized easily, others are difficult to detect, as they create user profiles and imitate human behavior. Admittedly, with 2.2 per cent, the proportion of potentially deceptive online ad impressions is very slim in the German market, according to Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BDVW) (BDVW quality report 2017). Nevertheless, advertisers expect more transparency. BurdaForward Advertising will therefore measure its IVT inventory regularly from now on and publish the figures transparently online.

Carsten Sander, director of product & development at BurdaForward Advertising, provides some background information concerning the new service in our interview:

Why is invalid traffic an important issue for BurdaForward Advertising and your customers?

We want the quality of our inventory of programmatic and direct advertising to be as good as possible. The measurement parameter has to be viewability generated by real users of our services, which does not include ad impressions generated by machines. This is what our clients expect when booking services with our goodvertising marketing network. Transparency is an important part of our goodvertising initiative. We have dealt with the IVT issue because it is very important to our clients at the moment. Fortunately, our IVT figures are extremely low and we would like to communicate that, of course.

What practical problems does IVT involve for marketers?

Invalid traffic cannot be recognized in advance in every case. Often an invalid impression only comes to the attention of our ad server provider as part of their downstream analysis. Therefore there may be differences in the counting systems, and sometimes the delivery figures even have to be corrected up to 12 hours later. Understandably, such variances cause distrust, and the ex-post analyses result in extra effort on each side, for buyers and sellers. The percentage of inventory generated by machines should not be relevant for marketing, but it partly cannot be anticipated as such. There are some known producers of IVT, but new ones appear every day. Detecting these new ones is different depending on the procedure and the algorithm of the ad server provider. This then again leads to different figures in the chain.

What does your approach to solving this problem look like?

In terms of measuring, we collaborate with the three top providers MOAT, Meetrics und Integral Ad Science. We use two approaches: The first involves MOAT measuring the IVT percentage as continuously as possible in almost every one of the advertising campaigns we deliver to our clients. MOAT is our current service provider for measuring the viewability of our clients’ advertisements. In addition, we have our other measurement partners Meetrics and Integral Ad Science send us their figures for our network once a quarter. All three measurement results are then published. Furthermore, our Google adserver has a built-in IVT analysis tool, which is generally able to correct the delivery figures within the first 12 hours of the following day. We will disclose the IVT rate for our network on a website specially created for theses analyses from now on. Basically, we use the options offered to us by our partners to measure the quality of traffic in our network.


Burda Hackday & Bootcamp

100 participants, 24 hours, 10 flashes of inspiration that were turned into prototypes, and one theme: health & fitness. At the fifth Burda Hackday, developers, designers and product managers were again able to show what they can come up with in a very short time. While some teams implemented smart ideas to make strength training even more efficient, others puzzled over diagnostic tools designed to support doctors in taking a patient’s history.

Innovation meets lack of sleep

After a long and busy night, ten teams presented their prototypes to the jury members Florian Sauter (founder of E-Gym), Ralf Brüstle (founder of Startup Con), Tamara Wettengl (Pfizer Healthcare Hub Berlin) and Patrick Müller (board member of Hackerstolz e.V.).

While there was a surprising amount of good ideas, the winner chosen by the jury was Food Cloud. Food Cloud records all meals taken, in various convenient data-driven ways: The system is able to record food manually as well as automatically based on a barcode scanner, or, if you have eaten out, based straight on the menu of the restaurant.

These data can then be made available to the family doctor, who can use them to draw conclusions about health developments. The winners were happy to receive tickets to the DLD Berlin, We Are Developers and Startup Con conferences, as well as a complete set of Nokia health devices and some money.

Positioning Burda in the tech community

Natalia Karbasova, head of Burda Bootcamp, is very happy with the result of Burda Hackday. Looking back on the past five events, she says: “We created Burda Hackday to address exciting topics and position Burda in the tech community. We were among the first to start hackathons in Germany four years ago, and by now we see that the format has become established. Almost every weekend a hackathon takes place in and around Munich”. The hackathon was organized in cooperation with E-Gym, Adidas, Nokia, Pfizer, Fit For Fun and Hasso-Plattner-Institut. We are already looking forward to the next Burda Hackday and will again inform you about it here.


Berlin calling #DLD conferences

Berlin calling

DLD première in Berlin: On 26 and 27 October, DLD founder Steffi Czerny and her team will hold the first DLD conference in the German capital. Lasting a day and a half, the conference will be packed with fascinating speakers from a wide range of industries as entrepreneurs, politicians, designers and artists take to the DLD stage for surprising panel discussions.

“As the founder of DLD, I am always looking for exciting ecosystems. With its great innovative prowess and interesting mix of art, culture and politics, Berlin fits perfectly with our leitmotif of ‘Connect the Unexpected’. After all, DLD conferences stand out for their varied topics and interdisciplinarity, factors also reflected in the programme for DLD Berlin. I am delighted to be visiting the capital with our international DLD network, friends and partners for the first time and look forward to learning from the Berliners!”                        

DLD founder Steffi Czerny

Chatbots, pitches and fashion

From Silicon Valley to Berlin: Slack founder Stewart Butterfield made his DLD début back in 2005 at the very first DLD conference together with his wife, with whom he co-founded the photo portal Flickr. Butterfield’s appearance at the first DLD Berlin event is highly anticipated; the messaging service Slack recently raised $250 million in a new funding round and is now valued at $5.1 billion. California will also be represented by Ben Parr, co-founder of the chatbot company Octane AI and former editor-at-large for Mashable, who will discuss the hot topic of chatbots.

The SevenVentures Pitch Day (7VPD) also promises to be exciting, as the four finalists in the start-up competition go head to head on stage to pitch for a media package worth 3 million euros. The winner will be chosen by the audience and an expert jury including presenter and investor Joko Winterscheidt.

Alongside investors, entrepreneurs and politicians such as Jens Spahn (CDU), DLD Berlin will also welcome international artists: star pianist Igor Levit, fashion designers Marina Hoermanseder and Leyla Piedayesh (Lala Berlin) and Chinese artist Aaajiao will attend.

Trained for the future

Speakers such as Telefónica CEO Markus Haas and Elisabeth Denison (Deloitte) will discuss the challenges facing managers in the digital world. Leading a company through digital transformation requires a totally new approach and largely depends on innovative employees and recruiting new talent.

Thomas Bachem of the Code University knows how to train and nurture up-and-company tech workers. From October, the state-recognised university founded just this year will be offering three Bachelor’s programs focusing on coding. Bachem describes coding as creative problem-solving. Instead of teacher-centred training and abstract concepts, students will gain practical knowledge and implement it through creative means. Bill Aulet of the MIT Sloan School also knows how to deal with young talent: A successful businessman, he will explain how he trains young entrepreneurs as an MIT professor and what he passes on to his students.

If you would like to get a DLD Berlin conference ticket, please apply here. In order to get a press accreditation, please contact dldpress@burda.com before October 16th. For further information about the speakers and the DLD Berlin programme, please visit: http://www.dld-conference.com/DLDBerlin.

Self-publishing at BurdaForward

Customers and agencies with content experience can now independently publish branded content campaigns on BurdaForward portals (including Focus OnlineChip and Huffington Post). The new self-publishing tool can be used to display and scale native campaigns across multiple portals. In one of the first cases, the agency C3 Creative Code and Content is using the tool for a customer campaign from the energy industry.

For the first time, advertising customers and agencies will have direct access to the Focus OnlineHuffPostChipNetMoms and Finanzen100 portals. This will allow BurdaForward customers to post scalable native advertising products and display them across various media brands.

“Self-publishing is a core part of our Goodvertising strategy. Together with our customers, we want to forge new paths to better, user-friendly advertising, support new metrics and above all create the transparency the market has been justifiably demanding for some time”,

Carsten Sander, Director Product & Development BurdaForward.

Products such as native teasers, articles and even entire sections can be created in just a few steps and published in the portal’s look and feel. To measure the success of the campaign, the customer/agency is given access to key figures such as ad impressions, clicks, teaser click rate (CTR), length of stay and many more, which can be viewed during the campaign.


C3 Creative Code and Content is one of the first customers to use the self-publishing tool for an energy-related client campaign on Focus OnlineChip and HuffPost. Various native articles are running for three months on topics relating to energy and electricity, efficient electricity usage and alternative energy resources.

“Native campaigns are a strong content marketing instrument for scaling relevant content. We are using the target group-specific reach of the HuffPostFocus Online and Chip brands for the content of this campaign. The BurdaForward self-publishing tool provides us with short lead and response times and flexible set-up.”

Karsten Krämer, managing director of C3 and manager of the Munich site