In our last blog we mapped out the Southeast Asian eCommerce market. In this follow-up, we zoom in on one of the landmarks: online marketplaces. Looking at a glance, these names might not be as familiar to you like Alibaba or Tmall. Their numbers however are no less impressive. How do the largest Southeast Asia online marketplaces differ from each other and what are their strong points?
Launched in 2012, Lazada is the largest online shopping and selling Southeast Asia online marketplace. It is present in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The platform includes more than 155.000 local and international sellers, as well as 3.000 brands serving the 560 million consumers in the region.
With over 300 million SKUs available, Lazada offers a wide range of products. Categories range from consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion, sports equipment to groceries. They focus on customer experience, offering multiple payment methods – including cash-on-delivery – and returns through their own first and last mile delivery arm supported by more than 100 logistics partners.
It is only expected for such a giant to cooperate with another one, so in 2016 Alibaba took a majority investment. In March this year Alibaba invested 2 billion USD in the platform. Furthermore, they installed Lucy Peng, one of Alibaba’s original 18 founders, as the company’s CEO. According to Forbes, its influence is clear in Lazada’s new business models. Lazada now offers a C2C platform, LazMall (similar to Tmall) and LazGlobal (similar to Tmall Global).
Shopee is to Lazada what Alibaba is to Tencent. Literally, since Tencent has a 34% stake in Shopee’s mother company Sea. The platform first launched in Singapore in 2015, and has since expanded its reach to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. So far in 2018, the total value of all goods sold on Shopee, grew 171% to 2.2 billion USD.
Mother company Sea is a leader in digital entertainment, e-commerce and digital financial services across Greater Southeast Asia. Shopee provides sellers with its own supply and logistics solutions, language-specific customer service and guaranteed payment solutions.
Shopee’s eCommerce marketplace is first and foremost mobile-focused. Asked which factors contributed to their growth in the SEA Region, Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing for Shopee in Southeast Asia said “a mobile-first approach [that] helps attract the online consumers who are bypassing desktops, and going straight from offline shopping to mobile shopping.”
11street has positioned itself as a seller of genuine products from qualified sellers, offering a good and reliable customer experience. The platform is operated by Celcom Planet Sdn Bhd — a joint venture between the subsidiaries of Axiata Group Bhd and South Korea-based SK Telecom. Jeon Hong-cheol, chief executive of 11street Thailand, said in June: “We want to grow together with our partner and hopefully be no. 1 in four years.”
Lelong.my is another large Southeast Asia online marketplace, based in Malaysia. Founded in 1998 by Tan and Kwok Wei it is one of the longest running eCommerce companies in the country. It supports not only C2C transactions, but also B2C relationships. In addition to Lelong.my and Lmall.my, parent company Interbase Resources also manages online marketplace Superbuy.my and e-payment platform Netpay.my.
Founded in early 2012, Zalora is present in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Its parent company Global Fashion Group is active worldwide, from India and South America to Russia and the Middle East. Their online marketplace focuses on men’s and women’s fashion and beauty. They also promote their fast shipping, which as we saw is indeed a challenge in the region.
Reportedly, 60% of eBay’s revenue is derived from regions outside of the United States, with over 116 million active users, 25 million sellers and 400 million listings worldwide. Although closing down its Chinese site in 2006, eBay is re-entering other Asian markets. Last year, it launched a “Go Global with eBay” initiative. This managed to attract more than 3.500 Malaysian businesses. Head of Seller Growth (SEA Cross-border Trade) Wong Mei Inn said eBay focused on offering localised seller support to catalyse the growth of cross-border trade in the country.
Qoo10 is also an important SEA eCommerce online marketplace. Launched in June 2010, Qoo10 currently has 2.5 million registered users in Singapore, where it is also headquartered. In the heavy competitive market, Qoo10 is focusing more on SMEs. General manager Sam Too said: “We want to engage these brick-and-mortar business owners and encourage them to try out e-commerce with minimum risks and resources…that is where the [growth] potential is.”
Go Shop launched in January 2015 with a 24 hour Malay-language home shopping TV channel. Astro started a Mandarin-language channel for Go Shop in October 2015 to reach a wider audience. However, they are also active online and doing quite well. Astro CEO Datuk Rohana Rozhan noted: “Online and mobile commerce sales are growing strongly, accounting for 21% and 17% respectively of total sales, while Go Shop’s digital platforms recorded 5.5 million page views monthly.”
Hermo is a beauty eCommerce website and currently available in Malaysia and Singapore. They partner directly with brand owners and distributors, establishing flagship brand stores on their platform and maximizing benefits for both brands and consumers. For its future direction, co-founder Ian Chua has said: “We may delve into other sectors of the business such as beauty media and retail stores. I feel there is still room for growth in Malaysia.
EZBuy started out helping users shop on online marketplaces based in overseas markets like China, the United States, Taiwan and Korea. Websites like EZBuy act as middlemen, contacting sellers on those platforms on behalf of its users to purchase the items and have them shipped, imported, and delivered to buyers. The startup has more than 3 million active users, according to co-founder He Jian.