The developing markets of SE Asia offer insight, opportunities and perspectives that can help established markets learn valuable lessons. We’ve got a roundup of what’s happening now and in the near future. IndiaMart, one of the original e-commerce startups in India is thriving today. According to a report from yStats, fashion apparel was the top category for online and mobile commerce. TNS report highlights common and interesting practices in India and Indonesia markets. Rocket Internet SE merged its two ecommerce startups – Daraz and Kaymu which operate in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
BOV Capital launched a new $14.89 million VC fund targeting tech and e-commerce startups in Sri Lanka. Malaysian e-commerce is booming thanks to pioneering by startups like iPay88. While Philippines has only $30 million invested into local startups, more than $800 million flowed into Indonesia. E-commerce in Vietnam is growing fierce as Thai and Chinese acquisitions forcing local firms to respond.
How Dinesh Agarwal built the Alibaba of India
“There are around 10 million requests for quotations being generated on our platform each month,” says Dinesh. He has gotten smarter and put a payment barrier between a listed supplier and an interested buyer.
“This has removed a lot of spam too. Earlier, insurance companies, loan companies, even other websites would just pick data from our platform and list on their site,” he says. Now it’s an IndiaMart call center which comes between the supplier and buyer. The call center brokers the deal and provides relevant quotes to buyers.
The company also started Tolexo, a marketplace for industrial goods. IndiaMart earlier this year raised a series C round of an estimated US$19.4 million from investors led by Amadeus Capital, and followed by Westbridge, UK based Quona Capital and existing investor Intel Capital. Via Tech in Asia
Apparel leading online retail category in Asia-Pacific
Apparel is leading the online retail category in Asia-Pacific, as close to half of online shoppers in Asia-Pacific have purchased fashion related items online in 2015. This was revealed in the ‘Asia-Pacific Clothing B2C E-Commerce Market 2016’ report unveiled by Ystats.com, a Germany-based market research firm.
According to the research firm, the fashion category ranked among the top products, both for online and mobile purchases. Clothing ranked first, second and third by B2C ecommerce sales among all product categories last year in China, South Korea and Japan, respectively.
“In South Korea, online channels accounted for more than 10 per cent of total retail sales of clothing and Japan was close to this number,” the report said. Countries like China, India, Indonesia and others recorded double-digit growth rates in B2C ecommerce sales of apparel, while India stood out with more than a 50 per cent growth in 2015. Via fibre2fashion.com
Made in e-India?
What’s common to India and Indonesia? Apparently a lot, particularly, if you consider the developments in e-commerce in both these countries. A report by research major TNS, Playing the right cards for Asia’s next e-commerce opportunity: India and Indonesia highlights the common ground and interesting practices followed by e-commerce majors in these markets.
Immense linguistic diversity is another product of the vast geographical spread of these countries. India has over 120 major languages and over 1,500 languages in total, with 22 of these recognised in its constitution and no single national language.
Within the Indonesian archipelago, over 700 languages are spoken and the national language of Bahasa is the first language of less than half the population. The report states that in such situations, ‘speaking the consumer’s language’ becomes a significant challenge for brands. “They don’t need one e-commerce strategy; they need a strategy for each significant language community,” says the study.
The other highlight of the study is the highly engaged consumer in these markets. The study cites that while the average European fashion website receives queries on only five per cent of its orders, the fashion website Zalora receives at least one query for every single order placed through its website in Indonesia. Via Business Line
Rocket Internet merges Asia e-commerce startups Daraz, Kaymu
German startup investor Rocket Internet SE has announced the creation of a new entity called Daraz Group, a merger of its two ecommerce startups Daraz and Kaymu. “The new entity Daraz Group will unite the two companies under one roof and manage their operations across all existing markets,” Rocket posted on its Facebook page.
The combined company will provide a vast variety of items, used or new, such as smartphones, computers, fashion items and clothing, home appliances, cars and real estate. “Both brands, Daraz and Kaymu, will remain active with separate websites in Pakistan and Banglades.
Kaymu was founded in 2012 and is currently active in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Daraz began in 2014 focused more on providing fashion items.U e Via dealstreetasia.com
Google Southeast Asia & India head, others launch VC fund for Sri Lankan startups
A new Sri Lanka-focused fund launched today. BOV Capital, run by Google Southeast Asia and India VP Rajan Anandan, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, and Eric Wikramanayake, is based in Singapore and plans to invest a total of US$14.89 million (INR1 billion) in Sri Lanka-based startups.
Right now, the plan is to spread that money across seven to ten companies, with an investment range of US$750,000 to US$1.5 million. It’s already closed US$4.7 million of the total sum, from participants across India and Sri Lanka.
BOV Capital isn’t focusing on any sectors at the moment, but will look at startups that have strong teams, an idea with product-market fit, and plan to serve markets outside of the island. Via techinasia.com
Digerati50: The ‘behind-the-scenes’ entrepreneur
It may not get all the buzz that other startups do, but when it comes to the e-commerce boom Malaysia is enjoying right now, much of the credit would have to lie with the pioneering efforts of iPay88.
Most online shoppers in Malaysia would have either used its services, or at the very least, have heard of the local online payment gateway provider.
Founded by Lim Kok Hing and Chan Kok Long in 2006, iPay88 has become one of the most widely used payment solutions in all of South-east Asia, in fact. The company has a presence in Indonesia, its home market of Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Via themalaymailonline.com
#ThinkPH: Country has to solve ‘real world’ problems first
While ecommerce has grabbed a small foothold in the Philippines, it pales in comparison even to neighboring Indonesia with traditional retail firms and their malls still very much the dominant force. “This is a function of the small amount of venture capital, or investor money, flowing into tech startups in the country as whole,” Nolledo said.
In 2015, not counting Xurpas investments, there was about $30 million invested into local startups while about $800 million flowed into Indonesia.
That is particularly troubling if one is an ecommerce startup. Nolledo explained that the playbook for online retail is 80% goes into customer acquisition, advertising and marketing, to get customers to make that first transaction. Via rappler.com
Thai, Chinese jump into e-commerce market, worrying Vietnamese rivals
In early April 2016, Alibaba, the Chinese giant, accepted to spend $137 million to become a big shareholder of Lazada, an e-commerce website present in six South East Asian markets, including Vietnam. According to Rocket Internet, with the deal, Lazada is valued at $1.5 billion.
After Lazada and Zalora were taken over by big retailers, the competition in the e-commerce market became fierce. Vietnamese firms rushed to retain their market share. The deal is believed to pave the way for brands and distributors in Alibaba’s chain all over the world to access the South East Asian market, including Vietnam.
In mid-2016, Thai Central Group successfully took over Zalora Thailand, while Vietnamese Nguyen Kim successfully took over Zalora Vietnam. But in fact, Zalora Vietnam also belongs to Central Group, because Central Group now holds 49 percent of Nguyen Kim’s stakes. Sources said that the value of each deal was $10 million. It is estimated that 1.4 million transactions are made through Zalora in 10 countries in Asia Pacific every year. Via english.vietnamnet.vn
SE Asia e-commerce challenges ahead
That’s our update on e-commerce in SE Asia. It’s a region with big challenges and big opportunities. Watch for updates next week on EU e-commerce and US retail. Enjoy your weekend!