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Business

Startups wage war at home and across Asia

Blake Larson, head of international for lalamove, left, and Santit Jirawongkraisorn, city director for Bangkok

HONG KONG   When Blake Larson was conducting market research in Bangkok, he asked a van driver sitting by the road how much it would cost to move a parcel. The driver said, "1,500 baht" ($42.66). Asked how much it would cost to hire him for a day, the driver gave the same answer, "because I don't know if I'll get another order," he said.

     Every day, thousands of freelance drivers in major Asian cities wait outside warehouses for new orders but they rarely know where their real customers are. The business of lalamove, formerly EasyVan, fills this gap -- matching customers with vans via Web and mobile apps to provide an on-demand delivery service.

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