Jack Ma’s Alibaba has led a US$1.1 billion investment in Indonesia’s Tokopedia, further accelerating the Chinese giant’s expansion into Southeast Asia.
Alibaba also controls ecommerce firm Lazada, a leader in many markets in the region.
Founded by William Tanuwijaya, Tokopedia has been dubbed Indonesia’s Taobao – Alibaba’s consumer-to-consumer marketplace. It lets sellers and buyers connect directly through its platform, with Bukalapak as its closest competitor in the archipelago.
The company raised US$100 million from SoftBank and Sequoia in 2014. Among its early backers are East Ventures and CyberAgent.
This marks Alibaba’s first direct investment in an Indonesian startup, though it’s no stranger to the country.
Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, established a joint venture with Indonesian media firm Emtek to launch a mobile payments and financial services product for the Blackberry Messenger, which is operated by Emtek. Emtek happens to own a significant stake in Bukalapak.
Alibaba is also present in Indonesia through its browser and news aggregation business, UC Web, and plans to open a data center in the country via its cloud computing arm by next year.
In Southeast Asia, Alibaba has already taken over Lazada, investing another US$1 billion in the Singapore-based company to boost its stake to 83 percent.
The investment in Tokopedia gives Alibaba a foothold in Indonesia’s ecommerce landscape and is expected to turn Tokopedia and Lazada into allies.
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