For Nguyen Ngoc – a shopkeeper in Ho Chi Minh City, a typical way to reach customers online is through Facebook. However, these customers often ask her to switch to Shopee’s platform for payment.
Ngoc understands why they have to: Shopee has free shipping codes!
“From the very beginning, Shopee has been aiming for low fees. People stick with this platform because the shipping codes are free“.
The sublimation of Shopee
Free shipping and low commissions are part of Shopee’s “bloody marketing” efforts in Vietnam to make them the largest e-commerce platform here and grow even more after the Covid-19 pandemic. . Shopee is owned by Singapore Sea Group, which attracts 62 million monthly visitors in Vietnam in the third quarter of 2020, an increase of more than 80% from a year ago.
Shopee’s remarkable expansion in Vietnam is part of a new phase of growth in the $ 100 billion digital economy in Southeast Asia. In the post-Covid-19 era, e-commerce will be the foundation of a series of new alliances and competitors are all pushing to build an entire ecosystem to serve as many things customers like as possible. .
The growth of prominent regional tech startups like Grab and Gojek has been driven by services like ride-hailing. Currently, the emergence of Sea – Southeast Asia’s most valuable company, valued at over $ 100 billion is driving the creation of new links and acquisitions with the expectation of a brighter outlook in 2021. and beyond as the economy begins to recover from a pandemic.
Backed by the cash flow from its gaming business, Sea invests heavily in e-commerce and digital financial services. In the June-September quarter 2020, their e-commerce revenue grew 2.7 times from last year to $ 618 million while losses widened from $ 277 million to $ 338 million, mainly by assisting with expensive marketing campaigns to gain market share
Their efforts, though, seem to have paid off. According to data from iPrice Group, Shopee was the most visited website in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the third quarter of 2020. Just 1 year ago, Lazada (an Alibaba company) still stood No. 1 position in the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand while the market in Indonesia is led by Tokopedia.
Sea’s rise has forced other competitors to find ways to cope. Lazada has joined hands with Grab in Vietnam while Grab and Gojek are also making new investments in digital finance.
Until 2015, according to Edwin Muljono – an expert from a consulting firm based in Indoensia, Southeast Asia’s digital economy “is in the growth phase of the industry lifecycle with new players and rapidly increasing demand and relatively low competition.“.
Right now, he says the market is in a “rebounding phase” – reminiscent of Uber’s 2018 acquisition between Grab and Southeast Asia. “Despite continuing to see 2-digit growth, the market has started to saturate and consolidations are just ahead.“.
Emphasizing the prospect of consolidation and prioritization, the Nikkei newspaper earlier this month said that Gojek was nearing a merger agreement with Tokopedia – an alliance that will create the largest tech conglomerate in Indonesia – the economy. the largest economy in the region. Gojek was previously said to be discussing a possible merger with Grab, but it looks like the talks have come to a standstill.
Southeast Asia is now at the center of “unicorn hunting”. Grab and Gojek have become the biggest, valued at $ 14 and $ 10 billion, respectively, but Southeast Asia is also home to 12 startups valued at $ 1 billion or more.
This fact is slowly changing after the pandemic. The ride-hailing app is heavily influenced by travel and remote work bans as Grab and Gojek have to drop 5% and 9% of their staff by mid-2020. However, demand for e-commerce and Food delivery has skyrocketed again and this will continue to be accelerated in the post-pandemic era.
“The long-term vision for Southeast Asia’s digital economy remains stronger than ever. Factors such as greater confidence in technology and markets forcing to create significantly larger online supply chains will allow for a long-term boost to the digital economy.“.
The “dry blood” war
Vietnam is a prime example of a new battlefield in digital economy. The digital economy sectors in Vet Nam, including e-commerce, food delivery and ride hailing, have increased in value to $ 14 billion by 2020, up 16% year-on-year and will reach $ 52 billion in value. 2025, according to a Google report.
Shopee outperforms its domestic counterparts. Next is Mobile World with 29 million monthly active users in the same period, Tiki ranked third with 22 million and Lazada with 20 million.
Mr. Tuan Anh – Director of Shopee Vietnam told Nikkei that: “We engage users in our ecosystem by integrating electronic payments“.
With Shopee’s rival Lazada in November joined Grab in Vietnam. “We truly hope that we will be able to bring all of our Grab services to our e-commerce partners.“Grab President Ming Maa said at a startup event in late November”Not only door-to-door delivery, but we also hope to cooperate on payment solutions and other services to provide a richer experience for our customers.“.
Lazada reaches Grab’s customers and driving network, directs buyers to Grab’s food delivery service and will use Grab’s delivery service to ship products. Grab also directs app users to Lazada. Both Alibaba and Grab are “backed” by Softbank.
Meanwhile, Tiki offers a 2 hour delivery option thanks. They also launched their own credit card linked with a local bank, showing their ambition to go beyond e-commerce.
The new partnerships emerging in Vietnam by Lazada and Brab may be widely recognized in other Southeast Asian markets. “I see there are many things that we can do together“Grab’s Maa said.
In November, Lazada also partnered with Google to start a digital training course for online sellers so they can improve sales – helping to improve Lazada’s business. They launched a program aimed at providing cross-border e-commerce opportunities to Southeast Asian sellers by leveraging Alibaba’s global platform.
Grab and Gojek are also looking to grow in the financial services segment. In 2020, Grab buys asset management startup Bento and invests in payment company LinkAja.
Like Sea, Grab has acquired an online banking license in Singapore through its cooperation with Singapore Telecommunication. As with Gojek, they bought a 22% stake in Bank Jago.
Other multinationals have also entered the market. Amazon is increasing its presence in Singapore. In the field of food delivery, Delivery Hero of Germany is expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia through its Foodpanda brand. Japanese messaging app Line is also popular in Thailand.
In the future, the global economy also begins to recover, thanks to the positive signals of Covid-19 vaccine. A few unlisted startups are also starting to receive more capital. Specifically, Gojek received $ 150 million from Telkomsel in November.
Listed companies like Sea have taken advantage of the stock market’s rally. In December, Sea raised nearly $ 3 billion through a new issue of shares targeting “strategic investments and acquisitions“While most startups, including Sea, are losing money, new funding allows them to expand even further.