Bangkok Post

Shopee taps into B2C revenue slice

- SUCHIT LEESA-NGUANSUK

Shopee, Southeast Asia’s leading online marketplac­e, is tapping into businessto-consumer (B2C) e-commerce after focusing solely on C2C as it seeks new revenue opportunit­ies.

The mobile commerce arm of Sea Ltd, formerly known as Garena Interactiv­e Holding — one of the region’s biggest tech startups — seeks to capitalise on the local e-commerce market, which is one of the fastest growing in the world, said Maneerut Anulomsomb­ut, chief executive of Garena Online Thailand, the parent firm of Shopee Thailand.

Sea recently raised a new round of funding worth US$550 million (19.1 billion baht). Part of the proceeds have been allocated to help the Thai operating unit compete against e-commerce giants like Lazada and SK Telecom’s 11 Street.

The list of investors in its new funding round include Cathay Financial Holding, Farallon Capital Management, L. L. C (3) GDP Venture, Hillhouse Capital, JG Summit Holdings Inc and President Internatio­nal Developmen­t Corporatio­n.

A report by Frost & Sullivan, a global research and consulting firm, estimated Thailand’s e-commerce market value at $3.1 billion in 2016 and would grow to $10.1 billion by 2021. The local e-commerce market saw a compound annual growth rate of 27%.

Ms Maneerut said the proceeds from the funding will support Shopee Thailand’s business expansion and help it develop innovative technologi­es to match consumers’ requiremen­ts and changing lifestyles.

Shopee Thailand has registered over 5 million app downloads since its inception in December 2015 — one-fifth of the total downloads in the seven countries where it has already establishe­d an online footprint: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippine­s and Taiwan.

The company saw double-digit monthly growth on average in 2016, he said.

Ms Maneerut said Shopee Thailand expects to maintain its strong double-digit growth in 2017 to cement its leadership position in the mobile commerce market in the region.

Mobile commerce or purchasing through mobile devices will inevitably grow among Thai online shoppers over the next five years as Thailand is a mobile-first country, said Terence Pang, chief operating officer of Shopee.

Although Shopee Thailand has not yet turned a profit, it could potentiall­y do so in 5-8 years, in line with global e-commerce trend, said Mr Pang.

Shopee does not charge fees for product listings, transactio­ns or advertisin­g.

A recent statement from Sea noted that Shopee has more than doubled in shop size over the past nine months. The firm has an annualised gross merchandis­e value exceeding $3 billion in seven markets in Southeast Asia.

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