With a nett worth valued at billions, the e-commerce market is growing rapidly in Southeast Asia. A report co-authored by Google revealed the region has over 330 million Internet users, with as many as 70 million new users since 2015. Southeast Asia’s Internet economy is expected to shoot up to US$200 billion by 2025.
Here are some of the biggest regional participants in the e-commerce battle.
A pioneer in the Southeast Asian e-commerce scene, Lazada hosts over 155,000 sellers and over 3,000 brands in its marketplace. Launched by Rocket Internet in 2012, they came with an ambition to become Asia’s answer to Amazon and they’re closing in on that goal. The Southeast Asian company is partially acquired by Alibaba Group Holding Limited. In March 2018, the Chinese tech giant invested US$2 billion in the company. In an official statement, Alibaba said its investment in Lazada underscores confidence in the growth prospects of Southeast Asia which is key to its plan for global growth.
Part of Lazada’s new approach is to introduce trending online sales, including the highly successful Singles Day or 11/11 sale to users across the region. Adweek.com reported 20 million consumers across Southeast Asia browsed and shopped on Lazada during the 24-hour sale, hitting record numbers.
Originally aimed at being a one-stop online shop where consumers can find just about anything under the sun, the Kuala Lumpur-based iPrice Group Sdn Bhd is unique in the Southeast Asian e-commerce scene as a shopping aggregator, where users can easily compare prices from other online sites. The privately owned company is backed by Asia Venture Group (which co-founded iMoney, TrustedCompany and Happy Fresh). iPrice has since expanded into a leading platform across seven key markets in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
Last year, they received funding from LINE Ventures. The company said in a statement, since the last funding they received in 2016, more than 50 million shoppers had visited the site. They added that iPrice’s product catalogue expanded from just a few dozen million to over 500 million SKUs across their seven markets since that time. It’s worth keeping an eye out to see what the new funding will bring to the burgeoning company.
11street started off in South Korea in 2008, while its Malaysian equivalent was established in 2014, operated by Celcom Planet Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between the subsidiaries of Axiata Digital Services Sdn Bhd, SK Planet Ltd and most recently PUC Ventures Sdn Bhd.
The platform offers fast shipping services – from tech gadgets to apparel, beauty products, books and more – on items similar to its rivals. Last year advertising firm PUC Bhd said it was investing a whopping RM90 million (estimated at US$23 million) in 11street Malaysia. During their launch year, 11street Malaysia invested over US$10 million in various seller development programs, and also in their marketing and promotion campaigns. Now 11street ranks third in the most visited e-commerce platforms in Malaysia after Lazada and Shopee respectively, according to iPrice’s MoE list.
Singapore-based Shopee, launched in 2015, is the new kid on the block that has become a direct rival to Lazada and they’ve probably got that catchy jingle to thank for that. iPrice group’s Map of E-Commerce (MoE) list shows Shopee ranked second within the top three most visited e-commerce companies within Malaysia in the second quarter of 2018 with 12.3 million visitors. Nevertheless, Lazada still ranked number one with 27.99 million visitors as per July 2018.
But what’s interesting to note was that Shopee gained more monthly visitors during the third quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter, most likely after executing massive marketing and advertising campaigns. The mobile e-commerce posted a 28% growth in monthly site visits, followed closely by 11street with 21%. Lazada, meanwhile, had a 16% decrease in visitors.
As the fastest-growing fashion and lifestyle retailer in Southeast Asia, Zalora operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and most recently in Taiwan. It ranked number five on the most visited sites in Malaysia, according to iPrice’s MoE list at the end of last year’s fourth quarter, showcasing the high demand of fast fashion in the region.
Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, the same folks behind Lazada. Alleged reports suggest that Global Fashion Group (GFG), an emerging markets online fashion retailer created by Zalora owner, Rocket Internet and Sweden’s Kinnevik, is planning to file for an initial public offering (IPO) sometime in March 2019. According to Manager Magazin, unidentified insiders are saying GFG had already mandated investment banks, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, to prepare for a possible listing in March.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest e-conomy, with the most mobile users in the region. So it’s no surprise that another big player in the region is Indonesia’s Tokopedia which rivals Lazada, that also has a big presence in Indonesia. As of November 2018, Tokopedia is valued at over US$7 billion. The platform, which allows individual vendors to set up shop online, was founded in 2009 by William Tanuwijaya.
Since its inception in 2009, SoftBank and Sequoia Capital have dished out over US$100 million in investments in the Indonesian start-up. A year ago, Alibaba led a US$1.1 billion investment in the Indonesian firm in a bid for the Chinese tech giant to further push into the Southeast Asian market after investing US$2 billion in their main competitor Lazada last year, making both companies dominate the list in Southeast Asia backed by Alibaba.